Friday, September 30, 2011

Word Work Centre

Today I introduced new Literacy Activity Centres, one of which is a Word Work station. I stay at the Word Work station to help the small group of four students work through the activity.

First, I put on my princess tiara. This means that Mrs. Bremer is busy, and no one from the other stations may talk to me/ask me questions...unless one of the three B's is taking place: if they are Bleeding, Barfing, or need to go to the Bathroom. {Emergencies only}
It works like a charm!

Next, I show my small group the new sight word story. I have it mounted on sentence strips and placed in a pocket chart.
Today, the new sight word was like, so we highlighted that word in each sentence using these coloured transparent cards:
This is what it looks like on the pocket chart:
Then I gave each student their own copy of the sight word book. I get all of my books from a great website here at Hubbard's Cupboard.
We looked through each page of the book, searching for the sight word like. They highlighted the sight words on each page.
Then my students and I read the book aloud together, as they tracked print with their fancy fingernails.
{See here for my earlier post about these word-tracking beauties.} 
When we've been through the book, we put it aside and take out our sight word practice sheet. The students copy the sight word onto it for practice at home. I love this page...especially because it says right on it to 'hang it on the fridge'. 
I found the page here at Growing Kinders.
The word then gets mounted on my high-five chart, which hangs by the classroom door.

Students read the word aloud & high-five it as they head out the door for dismissal.
Learn about this activity {here}

Update: you can get the High Five chart...a new and improved version...{here}!!!
 The components for this Literacy Activity Centre are kept in a colour-coded tray, with the removable label I posted about here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

I found this on Pinterest.
It makes me smile.
Have a 'super' day!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Birthday Chart

I have never had a birthday chart displayed in my classroom (gasp!), so this year I was determined to find space for one. After doing some searching through teacher store catalogues & online stores, I was about to purchase this:

BUT...Pinterest strikes again! :)

I came across this really cute idea that is so much more personal than printing a name on a cupcake.
I took a picture of each child holding a small chalkboard which had their birthday number printed on it. I grouped students by their birthday month. Where two students have the same birthday, they are both holding the number together.

Instead of displaying this on a bulletin board (up high, where they can't even see it) I hung it on the back of my classroom door, where it is very visable. I used a small pocket chart held in place by over-the-door hangers. I then framed it out with a border, to finish it off.

My students L-O-V-E checking it out, to see who's birthday is next, or who has a birthday in the same month as they do.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I have been awarded the "I Heart Your Blog Award"!

Thanks so much Rebecca at Teaching First!
You have no idea how excited this makes me :)
Let me just pick my jaw up off the floor for a sec here. 

Now it's my turn to list the Top 10 blogs that have inspired my teaching. 
Actually, there are more than 10 inspiring blogs that I stalk regularly follow...and I am convinced that there are many, many more amazing blogs out there that I haven't had time to check out yet {but I will!}

Here are 13 of my faves:


                                                                Mrs. Patton's Patch
Now go share the love:
1) Pass on the award to the Top 10 blogs that have inspired your teaching.
2) Contact them, and let them know of their award.
3) Copy & paste the award onto your own blog, giving a shout out to the person who nominated you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Each year I begin with an activity called 'Getting to Know You' (GTKY).
The students meet at the carpet, facing a pocket chart that looks like this:
I hold index cards that have my students' names printed on them. I make a big production in shuffling the cards, wondering aloud who the person of the day will be. The kids get so excited! After I've shuffled the names I draw a card & reveal a students' name. They come up to the pocket chart & insert their name card into the first sentence. I take my pointer & we read the completed sentence aloud as I track the print.

Using a microphone (that doesn't work--I cut off of a broken toy tape recorder), I begin to interview the child. It is SO FUNNY how the students lean in to speak into the microphone that doesn't even work :)
I use index cards to record their answers, and they insert the card into the sentences on the pocket chart. We read through it together, tracking print with a pointer. The chart ends up looking something like this:
Next, I print the child's name and cut it apart, as seen at the bottom of the pocket chart. I mix up the letters, then have that child try to piece their name puzzle back together again. Then, I mix it up once more and they choose someone else to try their name puzzle.

Then I have my students reach into their pockets and take out their (imaginary) pompoms so we can cheer the letters in the name. For fun, I take a second to ask them what colour pompoms they brought today. Of course, there is always one person who says that he didn't bring I just tell him to use his hands instead :) Then the person of the day leads in the cheering of their name, using real pompoms:
When the cheering has died down, we take a look at the person of the day...what colour hair, eye colour, what are they wearing, etc. The students then proceed to their tables to make a picture of that person, and also print that person's name on their sheet.
When they are finished, I collect all of the pictures and put them into an envelope to send home, along with this message:
*You can find copies of my new GTKY forms {here} FREE!
{Fun monster themed/Superhero themed}
Lastly, their names get added to the Word Wall.

The students come into school very excited to see who will have their turn that day! It takes a couple of months to get through the entire class, but they know that they will ALL get a turn...eventually!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drooling For No Reason

So I'm sure you've all seen this idea from Pinterest.
photo from Virtual Vine

The great idea promoted here is that you can get an oil drip pan to use as an enormous magnetic board. When I saw this, I was so excited! Much larger than the average magnetic board, at a much cheaper cost.

I had been using this as my magnetic name centre, which is great too. It is double-sided, but even so, is a little on the small side for groups of four students:

So, I'm sitting at my desk, looking around the classroom, trying to decide where I could hang an oil drip pan, should I acquire one. I glance over at two doors that have been added as part of a classroom addition, and suspect they are steel doors. They are! I've got not one, but two steel doors, side-by-side, in the classroom.

So here is my new magnetic letter name centre:

     I taped the students' names to the door for use as a guide.

All that drooling... for no reason.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Facebook Linky Party

Want to link up with other great teaching blogs? Join the Facebook Linky Party {hosted by The Lesson Plan Diva} by clicking here. I did! You can find my Facebook page here. Let the stalking begin!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Online Storytime

I've come across a great resource!

Your students can enjoy hearing stories read aloud, no actual books are necessary, and it's FREE! The pages show up on screen so your students can follow along...without fighting over who holds the book or trying to figure out what page they should be on :)

Some of the books featured include: Pinkalicious, The Kissing Hand, Llama Llama Home With Mama, The Mitten, The Polar Express, Where The Wild Things many more!

It is found on the Barnes and Noble website. Click here for the link.

Easiest listening centre EVER. Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Classroom Management Tips

'Back to school' means introducing our new students to routines...
....and practice, practice, practice at following these routines.

Here are some classroom management tips that I've incorporated into my daily routine. They work for me! If you are having some difficulty in any of these areas, you may wish to try them as well:

In The Hallway
On the first day of school, I asked my students some questions about how they think we should act when passing through the hallway.
One of my questions was 'Would it be a good idea for us to run in the hallway?'
To which I received a chorus of "Ya!"
Except for one girl, who said "No! Then you'll get a speeding ticket!"

I decided it was time to teach them about peace and quiet.
One hand is making the peace sign while the other is showing quiet.

Sure we look crazy when we walk down the hallway, and we might even get funny looks. But we know what we're doing, and that's all that matters...right?!

At The Carpet
While sitting at the carpet, students sit with their legs crossed and have their hands in their laps. I call it 'Ducks in the Pond'. The crossed legs make a 'pond' that their hands (ducks) swim in. Even now, when we gather at the carpet, several students will say "Ducks in the pond!" and proudly show me that they remember how to sit. Cute!
When Someone Is Speaking
Are you feeling frustrated with students who aren't listening and generally look the opposite direction of the speaker? Tell them this, it works! Good listeners listen with their bellybuttons. Sure it sounds silly, but it's true! If your bellybutton is facing the speaker, so is the rest of your body. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter Of The Day

Now that we're settled into the routine of Kindergarten, it's time to start learning!

{Who am I kidding, the routine is a work in progress...anyway...}

Today we began our "Letter of the Day" routine.
I shuffled alphabet flashcards, then held them up one at a time & the students (all together) said what letter was on the card. The LAST card I held up was the "Letter of the Day".                                   
{It will take a couple of months to get through the entire alphabet, as we only have Kindergarten on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays.}
During the first week of October we begin our book study of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. This is when I mix some 'BOOM!' cards into the alphabet flashcards. Students yell "BOOM!" when they see these. It works wonders keeping them on task, while keeping things fun!
When we get to the last card, aka the Letter of the Day, I put it onto the pocket chart. Below the letter is a sentence strip that reads 'In My Name/ Not In My Name".

Next, students watch me as I hold up their names (on index cards). When they see their name, they come up, take their name, and look it over carefully. If they have the letter of the day in their name, they put their name in the column 'In My Name'. If they don't have the letter of the day in their name, they put their name in the column 'Not In My Name'.
Once all the names are up, we compare & contrast the results.

Now it's time to get down with the letter sound! 

Whoever has a name that begins with the Letter of the Day gets to wear the letter rap necklace, and we begin our letter rap:

"Yo, A, you're the letter of the day
Let's sing your sound like Happy Birthday"
{Proceed to sing the 'a' sound to the tune of Happy Birthday, as students show off their funkiest moves}

Finally, students get a little practice with letter recognition on the fronts of their papers:
...and a review of the letter sound by drawing something that starts with that letter on the backs of their papers:
You can find the whole alphabet pack of worksheets {here}

One letter down, 25 to go.....

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