Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wrapping Up 2012

All of my gifts are wrapped, most of my cookies are baked, and school is out for Christmas break.  It's hard to believe that we are already here - Christmas Eve Eve!  We had a fun class party - planned by my awesome Room Moms.  The kids enjoyed making a craft, playing games, and eating a yummy snack.

This year our school is participating in an number of philanthropic opportunities.  One is Heifer International Read to Feed.  Out  PTO has secured donations to purchase animals for this program: one dollar per book read.  So far, my Kinders have "donated" a trio of rabbits (60 books), a flock of chicks (20 books), and are well on the way to donate a goat (120 books).  Of course, in kindergarten these are read aloud books.  Because of the crazy nature of last week, we spent more time reading than we usually have time to do.  As of Friday, 12/21, my class total is 182 books read aloud in class since the beginning of the school year!  We have an envelope of "dollars" - after a book is read, one is transferred to our collection folder.  Periodically we would take them out and count them.  This past week we counted them, and I wrote the total on a sticky note.  Each time we read one, we got to practice "adding one" and changed the number on the sticky note. The kids loved doing addition with such big numbers!

Here are some Learning Stations we did in the past few weeks.

Addition activity.  Students used this "Instant Center" from Lakeshore Learning to practice addition skills.  A page from Teacher's Helper (not pictured) was used to give additional practice.  


Counting and reading number words activity from The Mailbox.  Students cut apart the cards and matched the correct cookie jar pictures with the number words.  Mrs. S. helped them do this station.  Now that everyone has done this activity, I plan to copy the cards onto card stock and place it in a Skill Tub for independent practice.
Write the Room.  We studied the letter F last week.  When describing what to do in this station, I had to be sure to tell them to look for words beginning with f, not to look for f-words! 

Sight Word Memory & practice page from Teacher's Helper.

Christmas Ornament  The kids drew a Christmas picture and wrote a sentence (or two) about it.  The word list is from an older issue of The Mailbox.

CVC Spelling.  This great activity is from Of Primary Importance.

Color by Sight Word.  One of my wonderful teaching partners found this on Pinterest.  There are no "identifying labels."  Is it yours?  If so, let me know so I can give you credit.
 Foam ten frames to make numbers to twenty.

 Here are some crafts we did this month.

Kinders love to make crafts - especially when they are gifts for their parents!  They sponge painted these little tree cut outs (from Michaels), affixed a small photo, and went to town with sequins & glitter.  The bags in the background are gift bags made from lunch bags and sequined trees. 

The tree theme was continued in the cards they made for their parents.  I'm sure not too many of these gifts are under any trees - they were so excited to give them to their parents!
Gingerbread Babies dance around our hallway bulletin board.  I made the gingerbread house a few years ago after reading Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby.

Snowman Word Family Chart.  I made this little snowbuddy to help my Kinders read word family words.  I figure it will take us through January, etc.
Under the Tree.  The kids had fun making numbers to twenty on this page (get it here).  We used linking cubes for the "gifts" before coloring in the ten frames.

I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Leibster Award


Yay!  I've been nominated *twice* for an award!   

Thanks to Angie over at Making The Basics Fun and Linda at Kindergarten and Mooneyisms for the nominations!
The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It’s to show that new bloggers are appreciated and help spread the word about our little pieces of cyberspace.

Here are the rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see who you nominate.

Eleven Random Things About Me:

1.   I taught preschool for 12 years before joining my current elementary school.
2.   I love Mexican food - I could eat the salsa at my favorite restaurant with a spoon (who needs chips?).
3.   I am currently reading Reaper one of the five books my daughter, Emily Goodwin, has written.
4.   I  have four brothers, two sisters, 13 nieces & nephews, and 17 great nieces & nephews.
5.   I have 24 skirts, 40 cardigans, and over 30 pairs of shoes.
6.   I might be a bit of a shop-a-holic
7.   I went to Purdue University.  Boiler Up!
8.   I'm a "Gleek" - I never miss an episode of Glee.
9.   I recently watched a Christmas episode of The Brady Bunch.
10. I know how to sew and crochet and have entered things in our county fair.
11.  I do not like gardening - waaaay too much dirt!

Angie's Questions:

1.  Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
Mrs. Rositer (spelling??)  She was very kind and grandmotherly.
2.  If you could trade places with one person for a day who would it be?
Hmmm... Someone who can sing or dance.  I'd love to do either one *well* for a day.
3. What is your favorite condiment? 
4.  If you could yell anything from the mountain top what would it be?
My family ROCKS!
5. Share one of your blogging goals for the new year.
I would like to keep up with my posts & do a give away of one of the books my daughter wrote.
6.  What is a favorite educational app, youtube video or web resource?
I get tons of great ideas from Pinterest!
7.  Salt or sugar?  What do you crave?
Sugar - yum
8.  Favorite Holiday Tradition?
I LOVE Christmas!  We put up about 8 - 9 trees and lots of lights!
9.  Camp, Cruise or Road trip?  What kind of vacation would you pick?
I'd love to go on a road trip to somewhere warm.
10. What is your favorite classroom tool?
I use my Elmo all day long.  I also don't know what I'd do without my mushroom containers from Aldi.  They are the perfect size for doling out materials and corralling small objects.  (And, they are seen in many of my blog pictures!)
11.  Who would you like to say "Thank You" to?
My husband for his love and support, my beautiful daughters for their kindness and the beauty they have brought into my life, and to my wonderful Kindergarten teammates for the ideas, fun & laughter we share.

Linda's Questions:

1. Do you stay at school to work, or do you take the work home?
 Both... I like to get everything ready before leaving at the end of the day, but do bring home papers and planning to do at home in front of the TV with my Chihuahua Macie on my lap.
2. Pie or cake?
Cake for sure!
3. What is the best part about being a teacher?
Seeing the ah ha moments.  It is so gratifying to watch the little ones learn and grow.
4. What is the not-so-good part about being a teacher?
The RISE document
5. If you could have one wish for your classroom, what would it be?
I have a wonderful classroom in a newer addition to our school  It is far away from specials, so I guess I wish it was a little closer to things.
6. What 3 things do you want every child to know before they leave your classroom to advance to the next grade level?
I hope they have a strong desire to learn, are able to read all of our sight words & be able to use strategies to figure out many other words, and have a solid understanding of numbers to 20.
7. Do you play music in the classroom during the school day?
On the CD player.  We sing (and dance) everyday.
8. What do you do when the weather prohibits going outside for recess?
Students either play in the gym or cafeteria.
9. Do you have a special "tip" that you pass along to substitute teachers?
Jot down notes on how the day went.  
10. Classroom aide or no aide?
Each grade level has a shared aide.
11. If a college student asked you if they should pursue a teaching degree, what would you tell them?
Go for it!  I know teaching is hard - especially with all of the new competency requirements - but I don't like when I hear kids being told to pick something else.  I was thrilled when my oldest daughter went into teaching.  We are now both kindergarten teachers!  

The SUPER blogs I am nominating!  Be sure to visit them, and say Kinder Doodles sent you. 

Flights of Whimsy
Not Just a Teacher
Kindergarten Faith
Mrs. Perea's Kinder Eagles
Gracehopper Learning 
Coloring Outside the Lines
Mrs.Kazanjian's Kindergarten
Kindergarten Nightowls
Over the Moonbow
Mrs. Unger's Unbelievable Elementary Experiences
Learning Adventures

My questions for these lovely bloggers:

1.   Why did you go into education?
2.   Do you have a late-start PLC/Collaboration  day?
3.   What is your favorite subject to teach?
4.   What tip would you give a new teacher?
5.  What inspires you?
6.   What do you do to relax?
7.   What is your favorite thing to wear while teaching?
8.   Do you have a Pinterest board?
9.   What is your favorite way to use technology in your classroom?
10.  How many teachers are in your family?
11.  What is the first thing you do with your students (after attendance, etc.) each day?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hello Again!

It has been a while since I've last posted anything!  Sorry!  As I'm sure you all are, I've been super busy with the holiday preparations - and trying to keep my Kinders on track.  Christmas - and other December holidays - really add a whole other dimension to a Kindergarten classroom!  Really, they have been pretty good.  

Here are some pictures of a few activities we've recently done.

 How many will fit?  My Kinders enjoyed this lesson on volume:  Testing how many items will fit into a small plastic cup "with the lid shut" (a hand placed over the top).  Using a white board & clothes pin to fashion clipboards, they recorded their findings on this record sheet.

 Each table group had the same six *mushroom* tubs of objects.  The little pompons were the most challenging to count.

When they compared their results, they were amazed to find out that their numbers were very similar.
 Math Art!  I have really enjoyed incorporating art projects into our Math curriculum.  In this activity students sorted large and small triangles, circles, and stars.  After sorting they created these cute Christmas trees for our classroom bulletin board.

We recently read Yoko - a tale of a girl who is teased for her lunch of sushi.  (As it happened on the day I read this - before I read it - a little boy told me that he had sushi in his lunchbox!)  Using manilla file folders (which are on our school supply list) I had my eighth grade helper cut out these lunch boxes, which the kids decorated.  Inside they wrote a menu of what they would like to have for lunch, and then drew the food.
This little boy has such nice handwriting! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Learning Stations for the Week of 11/26/12

 I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your families.  Mine was filled with fun, love, and laughter.  About seven years ago my mother finally announced that she could no longer host the 40 - 50 of us at Thanksgiving, so my siblings (all six of them) and I began hosting our own family dinners. We still all gather for Christmas (it's Barb's turn to host this year!).  Last Thursday my three beautiful daughters, two sons-in-law, two adorable granddaughters, sister Debbie, brother John & his daughter, Mom, friend Megan & her son, husband Kevin and I sat down to share a delicious meal of turkey and all the trimmings.  After stuffing ourselves, we settled in by the fire to play "Apples to Apples," and enjoy the wonderful desserts (that I didn't have to make!).  It was kind of difficult to go back to school after our five day weekend (serious fog on Wednesday cancelled school).  Anyway, here are the stations we are doing this week.

Mrs. S.'s Station.  This is the third week of our Lakeshore Learning sight word rotation.  It has been quite nice rotating the stations - no additional planning necessary!  This file folder activity focuses on color words.
A page from a Teacher's Helper gives additional practice in reading color words.
Writing Station.  Nut books filled with "N" word pictures.  Occasionally we will plan an activity in the Writing Station that gives the Kinders fine motor practice.  In addition to coloring and cutting out the nuts and pictures, they practiced writing the letter n and copying the picture names.
 Word Work.  Short i word sliders from Make Take Teach, plus the -it slider I made, give the kids practice reading CVC words.  A worksheet from Teacher's Helper whose photo absolutely refused to load below this one gave extra short i CVC word practice.

My station.  We named and described shapes with this fun game from Lakeshore Learning.

This page (from one of my partner's resource books) extended the shapes practice.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Learning Stations & a Math Craft

Here are the stations we began last week.  They will continue tomorrow and Tuesday.  We'll begin new activities on Wednesday even though the four day Thanksgiving weekend is coming up. 

Listening Station.  If you haven't read this book, try to get a copy before Thanksgiving.  It's really funny!

Mrs. S.'s Station.  This is week 2 of a three week rotation of sight word activities.  My two partners and I are taking turns with three of our Lakeshore Learning file folder activities.  We love these ready-made centers!  (But, I'm sure Mrs. S. is going to be tired of them at the end of the three week rotation...)  The candy jar page is something from an old book belonging to one of my partners.
Writing Station.Students write a sentence (or two) about Thanksgiving using the sight words we have studied thus far.  As for the other words, they are encouraged to use their "best kindergarten spelling."  So far, I have been pretty impressed!  :-)  Here is the writing page.
Word Work Station.  Super simple - this web is from the resource book included in our Reading series.  The Kinders trace the letters (T and I - not shown), and look for words that begin with the letter to write on their webs.  This seems so easy, but they have fun searching for the words!

My Station.  Another one of our nifty Lakeshore Learning Instant Learning Centers - week 2 of another three week rotation.  In this activity students sort out a variety of interesting items.
As with most of our Learning Stations, we like to have the students complete a worksheet or record sheet of some kind so that we can check their understanding, and give parents something to see. This page is from the old book (from my preschool days) pictured below.
Math Craft!  We have been working and working and working on numbers, so I thought that it would be fun to make a craft featuring numbers!  The kids loved making these links (in school colors) to show different ways to make six

Now that I am writing this, I realize I should have taken a picture of the first step...  Using the number 6 number bracelets, the Kinders arranged their beads as desiredThe number on the top of the bracelet represented the number of yellow links, and the number on the bottom showed how many green links.  They transferred this information onto their number bond page.  Once this was done, the fun of creating the links began!  And, I am happy to say that it went pretty smoothly.  As you can see from the pictures above the craft turned out very well. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Number Sense Activities

We have been busy working on building number sense this year.  As mentioned in an earlier post, our corporation has adopted Math in Focus - a Singapore approach to math.  This method of teaching math focuses on using lots of manipulatives - something that really makes a lot of sense for kinders!  They have really  enjoyed working them.  Here are some pictures of a few activities we have done.

Dino Math Mats.  I made these to help my kinders to practice today's lesson on "How many more?"  Partners took turns rolling the die and placed that many spikes (wooden blocks) on the dinosaur.  They then determined how many more were needed to make six.  After working for a while, some of my little smarties figured out that they were making number bonds!  *yay!*  I added ten sticker spots to each dino - for decoration - but also with the thought that these prehistoric pals could be used when making ten.
Match me!  Partners take turns building a tower of cubes for the other to match.
Roll & build.  Roll a die and make a cube tower with the specified number of cubes.  Gerber baby food containers make a great "shaker" for die - they can be sufficiently rolled, but don't get away.
Laminate construction paper to create durable work mats.  Mine are color coded for our four tables and have been in use for three years.  They give the kids a defined work space and help to keep their materials organized.

 Playing cards are a fun alternative to dice and number cards.  (Remove the face cards and be sure to tell the kids that the Ace card stands for 1.) 
One more - select a card and then add one to get a new number. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gobble Gobble!

 We made these cute turkeys yesterday.

It was quite an undertaking, but my Kinders cut out all of these circles and glued them on in the correct order!  My high school helper spent several days tracing the five circles needed for each of my eighteen kiddos.  (You may be wondering how do you have middle & high school student volunteers?  Our school is a little, country school with K - 12 in the same building.  On a side note, we may be small in size, but our student achievement is great!)  I made the cute letters with my Cricut "Speaking of Fall" cartridge.  

Our cute Thanksgiving bulletin board.
Several years ago a student gave me this wooden basket wall hanging.  It came with some schoolish clip-ons.  I later found out that it was made by a local crafter who sells the baskets and additional clip-ons at the various festivals in our area.  I was happy to find this cute turkey when I visited the "Scarecrow Festival" last year.  I have found that I am able to personalize this basket by simply sticking seasonal items to wooden clothespins with poster sticky *stuff*.

This Week's Learning Stations

We began these stations on Wednesday of this past week.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have found it to be convenient to start stations in the middle of the week because we don't feel the need to stay late on Friday getting everything set up.  This also works well when we have a short week - as long as the stations are rotated in order everyone gets a chance to visit each one.

The yellow station cards are rotated down one pocket each day.  When "Mrs. Phillips" gets back to the top, it's time for a new round of stations.  (This picture is from last year.  I am so happy that I took the time to cover my focus wall entirely in fabric - it looks so much nicer!)
Writing Station.  Students copy the sentence frames onto their papers to write a rebus story.  This masterpiece is my sample - so far no one has copied it!  :-)  Here is the worksheet for the story.
Word Work Station.  Students sort picture cards by initial sounds.

 The little boat pictures came from this book.

After sorting their boats, they sorted pictures on this page.  The theme of this unit of reading is transportation, so these activities fit in nicely!
Mrs. S.'s Station.  Students sort picture/word cards into categories.  They practice using picture clues to help figure out the words with this page I found at
My Station.  The kinders practice counting objects with these cute picnic work mats and *creepy* ants.  As they work, I ask them questions such as which food has the most ants?  Does the sandwich have more or fewer ants than the hotdog?  The kids like playing with these creepy crawlies, and I am able to get a quick look at their understanding of greater/fewer, one more/one less, etc.
After the fun of counting the ants, they are asked to write a number and draw that many ants.  The back of this page (not shown) has a skip counting activity - place ten ants in a number of circles and count by tens.  This worksheet seems super simple, but it was a nice tool to use for differentiated practice.
Listening Station.  I made copies of this page for each of our book/CD combos.  The kids complete one after listening to the story.  As the year progresses, I ask them to write some words or sentences in addition to drawing a picture.

I got the form shown above from this book.
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