Monthly Archives: February 2009

5 Senses/Nutrition and Dental Health

We have been talking this week about 5 Senses/Nutrition and Dental Health–nothing like waiting until the last week of the month to squeeze it all in! 🙂

Monday, we started by reading My 5 Senses by Aliki (Big Book) and talked about how our senses help us in everyday life.  We also made a new Predictable Chart titled, “I can…” and the children finished the sentence with a sense that they can use.  In the afternoon, we took a “Hearing Walk” around the inside of our building and just listened to things.  We came back to the classroom and listed all the new sounds we heard in our school.  We also tried to complete a 6×6 Sudoku puzzle of our own and I had to help with about 1/2 of the puzzle and then they could finish the rest themselves.



Tuesday, We read another book about using our senses and finished up our Predictable Chart.  We also had tasting day.  I had three things for the children to taste–these are things that are easy to get! I got them from restaurants! 🙂  I had them taste soy sauce, taco sauce, and honey.  I put a little bit in each paper cup and then had the children taste it.  We then made a chart telling how it tasted (salty, sweet, or other):


We also talked about how to care for our teeth.  I show the children every year how to best brush their teeth by using a dry erase board.  I draw some teeth covered in plaque:


And then I take a tooth brush and brush it gently away.  I usually use a yellow marker to show plaque, but I couldn’t find it! So we went with a black marker:



Wednesday, we talked about the Food Pyramid.  I made cards for each of the food groups and put them on the floor inside my Venn-Diagram circles:



The children sorted our play food into the groups and then we talked about what a serving size of each would look like.  I got these placemats and work booklets from Teacher’s Treasures early this year when I was there and they were great for today’s lesson. 




Monday, I also added a new pocket chart poem to Pocket Chart Station:


Kristen 🙂

President’s Day #4 and #5

Thursday, we completed the graph that went with our Patten Block Snowflake (PDF page under “P”).  

We also read Silly Sally and I showed the children how to act out the story using the Drama Props.  We also did Cut Up Sentences and we really got some of the sentences mixed up! 🙂  We also completed our first 6×6 Sudoku puzzle (using shapes) and have started on another one.  

We also checked in on the Monarch Butterflies in Mexico and watched a slideshow from

We watched a movie about Dental Health and will talk more about that and Nutrition next week. I reviewed some of the basic topics covered in the movie (I got it from Colgate a few years ago, along with teeth brushing booklets and toothpaste samples and coupons and a board game).  They still offer them, however you have to request them in September to be sure to get them in February each year.  They are available in English and Spanish. 

I also spent some time after school organizing my books by month/theme.  They were like this already on the bookshelf, but I couldn’t find them when I needed them, so I decided to switch to this:





I’m still working on it, but basically each month has it’s own tub/or theme has it’s own tub and they are in the order that I use them in the year.  I am in the process of dumping things out of other tubs to steal them to use for this project! 🙂  When the month changes, I can just pull the tub I need and set it on my bench and pull books from there all month long and then put it back on the shelf when I’m done with it and pull the next tub.  I also need to have a general tub for books that can be read anytime.  My hope is to take up some of the next shelf as well and add more books to each tub that are scattered around the room in several places.  Today, after school, I plan on tackling the Library Work Station to reclaim my Arthur and Clifford books–hey, those are in tubs–I can steal those tubs too! 🙂


On Friday, I had the children play a different heads/tails game:




The children had to shake a penny in their small Dixie cup and then pour it out gently on their paper.  They then had to cut out the appropriate picture and glue it on their graph.  After 10 minutes, I stopped them and they totaled up their graphs and wrote those numbers down.  We again, made a class graph to show the results of everyone’s papers and found that heads was again, most likely to come up! 🙂

I also introduced the children to a game I learned from my friend Karen Berman, called Enchanted Forest:

You will need Attribute Blocks: 


or some other manipulative that has at least two attributes (like these farm animals have two sizes and are 8 kinds of animals, and come in several colors):


Here’s how you play:

1. Each child randomly picks one attribute block (I dump them all out on the floor and have a few children at a time choose one)

2. They put the block on the floor in front of them and you look to see what attributes you have to choose from (thick, thin, red, blue, yellow, big, little, etc.)

3. Choose an attribute and do not tell the children what it is.  (for example, thin, yellow shapes)  You can pick one, two, or three attributes.

4. Have each child one at a time ask you, “Will this key get me into the Enchanted Forest?”

5. If the shape meets your criteria, then you answer yes and that child lays their shape on the floor in front of you.

6. If you say “No”, then the child returns the shape to you and you put it away.

7.  Let everyone have a chance to ask and then ask if anyone knows what the “key” was.  

8. I then put the shapes back on the floor and we play again and again and again!  They beg to play! 🙂


Have a great weekend!

Kristen 🙂

Presidents Day #2 and #3

I was out this week on Tuesday and it was just chaos in my room and I cringe thinking about the guest teacher I had that day. 😦   They did complete the Pattern Block Snowflake and several Sudoku puzzles while I was away.  You can find the snowflake on the PDF page under “P”.  Click on it twice to make it actual size.


Wednesday, I was back and we picked up with President’s Day activities again.  

The children played a game where they had to stand a penny on it’s side and then bump the table.  They tallied whether it fell heads or tails side up.  I let them do this for 15 minutes and then we counted up our tallies on our papers and wrote that number at the bottom.  We then brought our papers to the floor and tallied up what everyone had written down and made a class total.  In our room, the penny was much more likely to fall heads side up.



I got this page from a Scholastic teacher book about July I think (it’s thin and blue–they have them for all the Holidays and other special days)


We also read Silly Sally and I showed the children the drama props I have to go with the story.  We talked about right side up and upside down.  We also completed our Predictable Chart titled, “Silly Sally can…” and touch read the sentences.  Lots of the day was spent playing catch up from Tuesday when NOTHING got done…not even calendar!  😦


Kristen 🙂

My Schedule

Hi Everyone!

I’ve had lots of requests asking about how I get everything done in a day, so I thought I would post my schedule and show you:


8:00-8:10 students arrive

8:10-8:15 announcements

8:20-8:50 we do calendar and update our binders

8:50-9:45 Morning Message, Shared Reading w/ Big Books, Predictable Chart

9:45-10:25 Literacy Work Stations (I also do assessments during this time or work with small groups, my assistant works with a small group daily during this time)

10:30-11:00 Lunch

11:00-11:30 Recess 

11:30-11:40 Quiet Rest time

11:40-12:05 Math

12:05-12:25 Science (this would be the time we would do experiments, because 9 times out of 10, I’ve picked a Science themed big book for Shared Reading, or have some way to tie it in)

12:25-12:50 Writer’s Workshop

12:50-1:25 Specials

1:30 Snack

1:45 Pack-up then Discovery time

2:10 cleanup

2:15 car pick up dismissal

2:20 bus dismissal


I hope this helps show how I get everything done–it’s all about using your time in the best possible way, am I flexible in this schedule!?  YES!! I have to be! 


Kristen 🙂

President’s Week Day #1

Hi Everyone!

We had to be in school today to make up a snow day–so what better way to celebrate than with President’s themed activities! 🙂

This is REALLY a stretch, but when I was trying to come up with a Big Book to read for this week, I had so much trouble!  Finally, I settled on Silly Sally by Audrey Wood–my tie in??  Abraham Lincoln’s step mother was named Sally, but they called her Sarah—see I told you it was a stretch! 🙂

Anyway, we took a picture walk through the story and then I read it aloud to the children.

We started a new Predictable Chart, “Silly Sally can…” and the children finished the sentence.

During our math/science time, we did an experiment that lasted about 30 minutes and since it covered both topics I didn’t mind.

I gave each of the students a water dropper, penny, paper towel, a cup of water, and a recording sheet.  The students needed to see how many drops of water would stay on the top of the penny before it spilled over.  They then recorded that on their pennydroppersheet. They got to try 6 times and try to beat their previous record.  It was fun:




They did really well and wanted to keep going! 🙂


We also took a look at a poster I got with my Scholastic News that showed all the Presidents, and they were WAY into that!  I had several requests to leave it up for the rest of the year so that they could see the pictures and write the President’s names.  We also looked at several older Time for Kids and Scholastic News’ that I had from previous years and the kids ate that up as well.  

It was a really productive day today! 😉  Considering only 18 of my 26 were here today! 🙂  The flu is going around!  Yeah! 😦


Kristen 🙂

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

This week, we have been reading If You Give A Mouse A Cookie:



We used it to make our Predictable Chart:


Monday, we took a picture walk through the story and then I read it aloud.  We had 1/2 of the class finish the sentence on the Chart.  

Tuesday, we retold the story and then Choral Read it aloud.  The second 1/2 of the class finished their sentence.

Wednesday, we used props to tell the story and then touch read the sentences aloud.

Thursday, we echo read the story and then did cut up sentences.

Friday, we read the story one last time, acted it out and then we made a class book using the sentences from our Predictable Chart.


We’ve also been learning about Abraham Lincoln and celebrated his 200th birthday.  We looked a the 4 new pennies that are being released in honor of the day and read a book about pennies (see below).  We also read a book called Honest Abe (see below) and the children had a good discussion about honesty.  Pictured below are the books that we have been reading this week (a few will be next week!)














This is my favorite book about Money–in pictures it shows the process of how coins are made–very cool! 🙂



This is my MOST favorite book about Abraham Lincoln–it’s written for a young child’s level (I usually leave out some of the details about how he died from the story though), but has just the right amount of details and the pictures are interesting to look at (they’re all paintings).


Monday, I introduced my students to the wonderful world of Sudoku.  We started with a 4×4 puzzle and have worked our way to a 6×6 puzzle and the children did a great job! 🙂  Tuesday, I gave them a blank 4×4 puzzle and they were able to finish 2 on their own.  I got several Sudoku books at Books-A-Million and also at Borders and Barnes & Noble in the kids section.  I also found one last year at BAM called “Sum-doku”.  The children have to add while filling in the boxes in the puzzle, so the sums have to add up across and down–way to hard for most Kinder. kids, but I had several students a few years ago who LOVED them! 🙂  Some days I put them on the overhead, ELMO or I just hand them a copy.  We are all addicted now! 🙂

Tuesday, we did another Sudoku puzzle and then finished our pattern block heart (found on the PDF page under “P” or do a search on my site for “Pattern Blocks” and it will come up.  

Wednesday, we completed the graph that went along with the heart.

Thursday, we sorted, counted, added, and graphed our candy hearts. Those pages can be found in my last post (below this one):



Friday, we also did our Roll-A-Valentine (see 2 posts below for the sheet we used).


I also introduced a new Literacy Work Station called Playdough Station.  We were having trouble keeping Name Work Station organized, so we substituted this one in it’s place:





I explained to the children that this station is meant to help develop their fine motor skills (we talked about what that means) and help them become better readers and writers in the process.  There are laminated file folders with numbers, shapes, and squiggles, as well as rings of upper and lower case letters and sight words for them to form with playdough as well. 

Next week, we will be reading Silly Sally! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Graphing/Sorting Candy Hearts

Here are two sheets I used today with my students to sort and graph candy hearts.  I also have them pattern with the hearts and find other ways to sort than by color (phrase, icon, etc.)  Click on them once and then when that image pops up, click again to make it actual size.


Kristen 🙂



Roll A Valentine

I have posted the Roll-A-Valentine under PDF (look under “R”).  You will need to add some pictures to the sheet and make the dots on the dice–I can’t get them to stay! Crazy Mac! 🙂



Kristen 🙂

Hi Everyone!

Hi Everyone–

I hope you are enjoying the month of February so far! 🙂  I’ll be better about posting than I have been–things have been CRAZY busy around here!

Last week was up in the air so to speak!  The week was full of teachable moments, field trips, convocations, snow days…

And a tragic accident…

Friday, a little boy was struck and killed by a school bus in our school parking lot  😦    I immediately retured from my conference downtown to see how I could offer help and make sure my kiddos were okay.  It was so hard looking at their innocent faces!  I have tried and tried to mentally prepare myself for the conversations/questions that I know will come up on Monday and how to answer them–there’s just no way to do that!  So, I’ll take it in stride and offer them as much comfort as I can.

It was INCREDIBLE to watch our school community pull together!  I am SO PROUD to be a part of the school and district in which I teach! 🙂  I know it will take time, and we will all have each other to see us through!  ( I have to stop talking about this now, or I will start crying again…)

Friday, before all this happened, I was downtown at the HASTI conference (Hoosier Association of Science Teachers Inc.) and heard an awesome presentation about Monarch Butterflies in the classroom and a class to take this summer–guess what teacher can’t wait to sign up for that!!??  I’ll share my notes from that workshop another day.

**This week we will be reading If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and doing lots of activities with candy hearts in preparation for Valentine’s Day.  I think I posted some activites for graphing on the Math page–I’ll check tomorrow at school and if I didn’t, I’ll scan them in tomorrow night and post them.

Tuesday evening, I will be speaking at our Foundation’s Board Meeting.  I was asked to speak because I “access” so frequently and I am to speak about how I have used those materials in my classroom.

I was also presented with the opportunity to attend the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) convention in March.  New Orleans here I come!!!  I’ve never been before and am scared to death to fly, but I do have 3 other teachers, two of whom are friends, flying with me, so I should be okay.  I will be presenting to my school staff when I return at some point.

I’ve gotten this impression that God wants me to have a public speaking career at some point–and I just keep questioning him!!  Why me?  Why an introvert?  I’ve had 4 opportunities in the last 2 weeks come up and all of them involve public speaking!  I am terrified of speaking to a group of adults!  Give me a bunch of 5 years olds and I’m happy! 🙂  Do you think this is his way of telling me to buck it up and get over my fear!?!?   I will admit, it gets a little easier each time and my scripts get shorter and shorter, but I already have butterflies thinking about Tuesday and it’s only Sunday evening! 🙂  It will be fine–it always is! 🙂

Thanks for reading! Please say a prayer for this little boy (“C”), the SM family, and the MSDWT family and go give your children a great big hug and tell them how much you love them!

My son thinks I’m crazy because I’ve been hugging him all weekend! 🙂  I just want him to know he’s loved! 🙂


The Napping House

I figured what better way to tie a book in with Groundhog’s Day/Week than to read a book about  sleeping/hibernating!  So, I chose The Napping House!   We read the book today after taking a picture walk and then we took a look at the drama props that go with this story.  I also put the book and cassette in our Listening Center.


We also predicted whether or not we thought that the Groundhog would see his shadow…


I normally have the children color and cut out a small groundhog and then we pop him up through a slit on the correct side of the paper–but I couldn’t find my pattern, so we went with this instead and it worked out just as well, and left us room for tally marks (got to tie in math whenever you can right!!??)

We also read several Groundhog’s day books:



We also read “Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day!”, but I couldn’t find it again to take a picture of it–wonder where I put it down?  I never did find it! 🙂

This is our pocket chart poem for the week:



We also made some cute little Groundhog paper bag puppets (the pattern came from and old CopyCat magazine–I miss those–do they have new ones?)


Last week (Friday) after our 12 inches of snow, I was talking with the children about the ratio of rain to snow and decided to do a little experiment to show them.  Each table had a small plastic tub and we filled it to the top with snow.  Here is mine:


We marked a line at the top where the snow started and then when it melted, we marked another line.  It was interesting to watch the snow melt–we had snow melting races!  On the far side of my room near the windows it’s 62 degrees on average, while on the other side of my room, it’s closer to 67.  So, I had this theory that the snow on the warmer side would melt faster and the other side slower.  I knew it would work, but I wanted to see how much longer the snow on the colder side would take, if we started with the same amounts.

We left the snow sitting for 2 hours and after returning from specials and our convocation, the snow on the warm side had melted totally, the middle of the room was about 2 minutes away from being totally melted and my container of snow that was sitting on the coldest side of the room, still had about another 45 minutes of melting to do.  It was very interesting and it affirmed for me that I’m not crazy for thinking one side of the room is colder than the other!  I just wish my desk were on the warmer side! 🙂

See you tomorrow!

Kristen 🙂

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