Monthly Archives: November 2008

Up next….

The Gingerbread Man is coming!  We will start our study of the Gingerbread Man on Monday and I will have all those ideas posted for you as they happen this next week.

I will also be doing a Holidays Around the World Theme the next week.  I think this year I will incorporate the two.  I think the Gingerbread Man will send us some mail from around the world (he will go missing at some point and then send us things from his travels!)  I’m still working on developing some of the ideas–so we’ll see how it goes!  We can learn a little about the countries that he visits and their holiday customs as well.  So far, I know we will learn about Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Antartica, Africa, India, China and of course we will learn about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well!  I’m tired just thinking about it!  🙂  But it’s fun and the kids enjoy it and it helps to make the time until Holiday Break go a little faster and make it a little more exciting!

Here is an link to the Christmas Around the World Series that I will be using.  These are really books for grades 3-6, but there is enough important and simple information that can be pulled for Kindergarten and the pictures are helpful in explaining what the customs are! 🙂

What do you do during December?

Kristen 🙂

Thanksgiving Week day #3

Sorry this post is a little late…you know Thanksgiving just got in the way of everything!  I was able to go to my sister’s house and then on to my in-laws house this year, so that was fun.  My hubby and son are both sick, so they’ve both been laying around like bumps on logs and I feel so bad for them–but they’re getting better! 🙂

Anyway….on with Wednesday!   We had an off schedule day Wednesday!  In the morning, we did our calendar routine, updated our binders and then we started working on our turkeys!  My son’s preschool class made these and I thought they were so cute that I made patterns for them on Tuesday evening and the kids traced, cut out and glued all the pieces on:


Here is the whole flock/herd/gaggle/what ever you call a group of turkeys:dsc000103

They were adorable!

We then wove Thanksgiving-y place mats: (I thought I had a picture, but no such luck!)

My new big book storage rack and big books (from my grant on Donor’s Choose) arrived on Wednesday:


(Sorry my computer is being difficult and will not rotate the picture the correct direction).  I love this stand though!  It will make Big Book Work Station much more organized and easier for the kids to find what they need and put things away.  I am going to add a plastic shoe box to the front of the stand so that the envelopes with task cards in them can be stored there.  Otherwise, they tend to get wrinkled and lost from the area!


Again, I’m sorry it’s the wrong direction!  This is a graph we made about our favorite Thanksgiving foods.  We talked about what the pilgrims ate (or what we thought they ate!) and listed some of those foods as well as favorites today.

Here are some of the books we read in the last 3 days! :






I thought it might be a good idea for both comprehension and math skills to make a graph at the end of a week like this; where all of the books are about a similar topic, to make a graph asking the children to pick their favorite.  They would need to be able to remember something from each story to be able to do that and explain why that book was their favorite.  It would also help us get in more graphing! 🙂

Last night, (Friday) my hubby, son and I went downtown to see the lighting of the World’s Largest Christmas Tree:


It would be way better if it were turned the correct direction, but you get the idea!  There were 100,000 people that came to watch it and amazingly enough–we actually saw people we knew!  Hope you’re enjoying your few days off!  The next break isn’t far away! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Thanksgiving Week day #2

Today we went through our usual morning routines, calendar, updating our binders, etc. The children helped me write a letter to our DonorsChoose grantors thanking them for providing our classroom with new games and then we all signed that.  We then had lots of Writer’s Workshop time to make up for having so little yesterday.  

During Literacy Work Stations, my small group worked on blending sounds in words together to make two and three letter words.  My assistant worked with her small group on identifying and naming letters and their sounds.

We then had our Thanksgiving Meal: dsc000093

Here is my class all dressed up!  They were so cute!  It was fun to watch them pass the dishes to each other and to listen to them use their manners at the table.  This meal always brings up a good discussion about appropriate table conversation as well! 🙂

After recess, we graphed our favorite Thanksgiving foods–dessert was the winner (never saw that coming!!) followed by turkey–so if you ever have Kindergartners over to your home for Thanksgiving, you now know what their favorites are! 🙂

We then went to Computer, celebrated a birthday and had Discovery time! 🙂

Tomorrow, we will be weaving fallish placemats for the children to take home, that should take all morning! In the afternoon, we will watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving! A favorite of all!


Kristen 🙂

Thanksgiving Week # 1

Thanksgiving week (or any short week for that matter) tend to be weeks where I am a little more laid back, less structured in my teaching.  I save all those fun projects and ideas for these weeks and they always turn out to be great!

Today for example, we did not follow our day through our regular routine.  There were parts of it here and there.

We began our day by doing calendar and then we updated our binders.  I then read the children the Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaola.  I then remembered that I was able to find the movie of the Legend of the Indian Paintbrush (Reading Rainbow style) so we watched that and learned a little bit about Native American way of life.  We then shifted to the Pilgrims and we looked over our Scholastic News about chores that pilgrim children did.  We also looked at the Pilmoth Plantation website ( and shared thoughts with each other about what we saw. 

We then totally changed subjects and we all cut apart newspaper to create more bedding for our composting bin.  I read a book last night that told me how to get rid of the gnats and I hope this works!  

We then had our usual Literacy Work Stations, lunch, and indoor recess.

After that, we worked on creating our Pilgrim girl bonnets and our Native American headdresses for our Thanksgiving Meal tomorrow in our Dining Room.  I will take some pictures of that tomorrow.  Here are some of them in creation: 


These are the bonnets–very easy to make, just cut two slits about halfway up the page and 1/3 of the way in on each side.  Take the two end flaps and turn them so they are parallel to the middle flap and staple.  Punch two holes in the sides that are left and tie with string.


These are easy too!  Trace three feathers, have the children cut “fringes” in the sides of the feathers to make them look more feathery and then staple to a decorated sentence strip.  I taught the boys how to draw some Native American symbols (just Google it!) and they decorated the strips that way.  I’ve also had them glue on patterns with foam seasonal shapes as well and that works great too. 

One thing we still might do is to make “wampum” necklaces this year.  Large macaroni, dyed with rubbing alcohol and food coloring and strung on necklaces.  We also did not make Pilgrim Boy Hats this year–they wanted to be Native Americans! 🙂

We then had a convocation and went home!  Busy, busy day! 

See you tomorrow!

Kristen 🙂

The one that got away!

This week got away from me!  I’ve been so busy, that I didn’t have time to post!  I had dinners with friends, family, a Holiday Bazaar at school, my brother’s birthday, and then all the usual things!  So here is a recap of the rest of the week (Wednesday – Friday).


As we read Rosie’s Walk this week, we completed this extension to the story.  This one is about a turkey and the children had to decide where they would like their turkeys to go.  They were very creative in doing that.  I had 2 other adults in the room during the time we were doing this so we each worked with small groups of children and helped them choose words and then stretch them out and write them.  The children all wanted to know when they were going to get to do Writer’s Workshop that day and when I explained that we had just done it, they all said that it had been to easy and too much fun! 🙂

The children helped me to write the Morning Message on Thursday and Friday.  They came up with the message and then helped each other to write and stretch out the words. (We are going to art. We will have lots of fun!)


This is our very sweet Predictable Chart “I’m thankful for…”.


I could not remember if I posted this or not already, but this has been our Pocket Chart station for the last 2 weeks (I leave it up that long so every one can rotate through it)


This is a not very good picture of our milkweed plants–they are starting to grow! 🙂


This is a shot at our recycling bins right after they were emptied.  They were FULL! Our goal is to fill them totally up every week!


We also started heavily into intervention groups at the beginning of November.  We use “My Sidewalks” by Scott Foresman.  I have a rotating group that works with me during Literacy Work Stations and my assistant has a static group (for at least 6 weeks) that works with her.  Each child in the classroom is seen at least once a week to work on skills specific to their needs and to either help them or challenge them. What do you use for your RTI groups?  I like this program because it’s all laid out for you and you just follow the book and all the lessons build upon the next.  Any thoughts?

During our math time, we worked on pattern block turkeys, pilgrims, and trees.  We also completed a little bit of graphing with a Thanksgiving theme, and ended the week by shopping at “store”.  Inflation happened a bit at the “store” this week!  I had to hire a “shopkeeper”, so prices went up a little so I could afford to have her help me! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

New Stuff

I added some things to the “Tech” tab at the top of the page.  While sitting in my Science Academy workshop today, I decided to start posting the books that I use to read aloud to the children by topic.  The topics will not be in order (I don’t have time to do that! 🙂  ), but they will be there if you need a list of books for the same topics.  Please feel free to leave comments on that page if you know of any other books that I could list.

I will also be posting an updated Earthworm 5E Inquiry Science plan and a newly created one for Recycling sometime soon, so that will be on the Inquiry Science Tab.  Watch for those! 😉

Kristen 🙂

Rosie’s Walk

Our Big Book this week is Rosie’s Walk.  


We started our day by taking a picture walk through the book–I have never seen Kinder. kids so excited about a book.  They were very curious as to why some of the pages did not have words on them, so we had a nice little talk about that.  They were also surprised that there was no mention of the fox anywhere in the story.  The Kinder. kids hung on every word once we started reading the story!

Here is our Morning Message for the day.  



In January, the children will be writing it by themselves (I’ll be there to help!!).  We’ve moved our focus away from identifying letters (we all can do that and will return to it as needed) and on to letter sounds, studying words, sentences, punctuation, and finding sight words. 

We then had time for Writer’s Workshop where the children continue to do a great job at writing and using their knowledge of letters and sounds.  I’m holding off on teaching any new lessons at this point because they are all at a comfortable, successful level right now.  In January, I will pick back up with more structured lessons.  Now I am doing different mini-lessons with individual or small groups of children based upon needs.

We also started a new Predictable Chart titled, “I am thankful for…”.  I figured there would not be time next week to get it all in, so we’re doing this one this week.  We had a talk before we began the chart about what things we are truly thankful for and those things that are special (video games, extra toys, etc.).  We also talked about how some children do not have some of these things and they all became very thoughtful with their responses! 🙂

I kept the same poem from last week in our pocket chart station–I haven’t rotated everyone through it yet.  You can see it in this post: I Like Turkey Feathers

We also make Native Americans using math facts.  I differentiated this lesson by making three groups of children get the same answers in different ways.


One group matched numbers to numbers, another matched dots to numbers and a third completed simple addition facts to get their answers.  The answers all matched up to the same key, so in the end, they all looked the same:


After the children were done, we got out some of our Lakeshore Math Boxes and rotated around different stations:

Here are some various pictures from the children working on them:





Simple Addition



Although I think these boxes are fabulous, I think that you could make them just as easily and have them change or fit in with your concepts/themes.

I’ll be out tomorrow but my kids will be echo reading Rosie’s Walk, completing a Thanksgiving themed graph, reading our Scholastic News “Food In The Forest” and the usual things!

I am attending a Science Workshop tomorrow–what themes do you do for science this time of year?  We’ve already done leaves, we might do turkeys, and will head towards animals in winter.  I have to bring a theme to keep working on tomorrow. I was thinking of beefing up my seasonal changes theme–any great ideas you can’t live without for this theme?


Kristen 🙂

Old Lady Site

Here is a site I came across with more Little Old Lady ideas, some songs, and a listing of all the variations of the book that are available currently.  You can search at the library or on for many variations on this title.  I think I spent $30 one year buying used copies of these books on and I love all of them!  I’m always looking for more!! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie (day#4)

Not much to share today…

The children each made their own Little Old Ladies and I am in the process of attaching their “stomachs” to their backs so that we can use them tomorrow with the food props:


I have to say that this is the nicest group of Little Old Ladies I think my Kinder. kids have ever colored! 🙂

We also used cut up sentences with our predictable chart:

And an update to show you where we are with our Rainbow Words (sight words)



I had to put a little colored dot on the bottom of each word today because in all the excitement of borrowing them for Writer’s Workshop, they get put back on the wrong color!  This is helping!

I think I am finally catching my first cold of the school year.  I don’t want to get sick!! I have rubber stamping class on Saturday morning, a wedding reception Saturday night, and an anniversary dinner for my in-laws (37 years!) on Sunday–all of which I have to make a dish to bring to!!  Any ideas for a quick and easy something for breakfast?  I was thinking a casserole, but we don’t eat them and I’m not sure how to make one up! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Little Old Lady Printables

Here are the printables for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie.  The old lady could work for any of the stories, but the food just goes along with this one.  If there are any other versions of this story that  you want me to find images for, let me know! 🙂  Just click on these and they should download a larger version for you!

Kristen 🙂



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