Monthly Archives: September 2009


I just wanted to do a quick update and share some ideas that you could use in your classroom to teach about Apples:  

These are all ideas previously posted, but hey, everything old is new again sometime right?? 🙂


Hope this helps you with some ideas! 🙂  I’ll start posting again regularly in about one to two weeks! 🙂  Can’t wait–it’s like waiting for Christmas or something! 🙂


Kristen 🙂

September’s Limbo!

Okay, so we really haven’t been doing the limbo in my class room in September, but it sure feels like it to me!  I was able to teach my kids for the first 2 1/2 weeks of school, and ever since then, my student teacher has been teaching full time, so I feel like I’m in limbo!!  She’s all done teaching next week and then I’ll ease my way back in, although, one could get used to just observing…you hear the most interesting things that way!

I thought I’d better get my blog updated and after some urging from a few friends of mine (Hi Ellen and Vicky!!), I knew that I REALLY needed to!!  So here’s what we’ve been up to so far during September (what I can remember anyway! 🙂  )

Last week was all about Apples.  My student teacher read the Big Book called Apples (it’s from Scholastic and has a book about pumpkins on the back side of it, so it’s really 2 books in one!).  The children learned a song all about the life cycle of the apple tree (she got the song from the September Scholastic News) and then they cut out some pictures to help sequence it on paper. She also used another Big Book called “The Apple Pie Tree” and the children learned about what the apple tree looks like in various seasons.  The children brought in apples and participated in several activities with them.  On Wednesday, they each were given an apple and asked to observe it.  They then put them back into a large group and tried to pick out their apple from that group.  Friday, they had a tasting party, and had to decide which apple food was their favorite:  apple juice, apple, cider, applesauce, apples.  They then graphed their results.

This week, they are doing something with The 5 senses.

It’s so different updating for you when I am not the one teaching it! 🙂  I am aware of what is going on, being taught, and all that, but it’s different describing someone else’s teaching to you…especially since it’s not mine! 🙂  It’s very interesting watching a different style than I am used to…not as much Inquiry as I am accustomed to, and math in a different order, and no writer’s workshop yet.  I need to teach something to someone before I go crazy!! I finally am teaching some in small groups during our Decodable book time and during math, but I’m also getting caught up on some things, and ahead on others.  I’m going to try to post my October lesson plans for you soon…my to-do list is dwindling down to nothing, so that will give me something to do.

If anyone has any questions, requests, etc. now is the time to get them in…before I get busy again!

Not much of an update for you…but I promise to get going again here soon!

P.S. We’re on Magic Tree House Book #3 for those of you keeping track at home! 🙂  Oh, and we also started Name Work Station and Word Work Station today as well.

Kristen 🙂

Absent… :)

SI am sorry that I have been so absent lately from blogging! My student teacher is teaching full time now and I’ve been getting caught up on lots of little things I’ve needed to do! Tuesday, I cleaned out the entire contents of my com

Q&A with Kristen

I’ve had several questions e-mailed to me the last couple of days and I thought that I would post them for all of you to read, in the event that you were wondering the same thing! 🙂

Q: OK, so can you give me a “for instance” on your binders. You have gone through calendar, the kids go back to their seats with their binders and they sit down and do what with them. I am a visual learner and I am having a hard time “visualizing” what they do with, lets say the money page or the color page. Thanks for your time!


When the children go back to their seats, I have them all open to the “calendar page”. I have a set of the same pages on my visual presenter and so I fill out the page and then the students copy what I do. On the money page, the children circle the money that corresponds to the money we posted during our calendar time…a penny for each day we’ve been in school and then any coins we have traded in the pennies for. Same for the base ten blocks pages. On the color and shape pages, I use Dr. Jean’s color and shape songs and the children point to the letters in the words as we sing them together (with the CD player!). I plan on making a new page for the colors in the future that have the animals in the color song, so the children can see them as well. On the shape page, the children trace the shapes with their finger as the shapes are sung about.

Eventually, the children can do all of these things independently (about November-ish) and I just remind them to turn the pages and help get the songs started.


Q: How do you get the kids to do the stations? I mean, it would take a lot of time to teach the kids how to use all these different stations, and I wouldn’t think that it would be possible to teach all of them on one day…but how do you get the whole thing set up so that every child (I have 27) has something to do at the same time from the very beginning?


I introduce math stations one at a time, over a 2 week period. I only need two weeks because I have 24 children to place in 14 stations (give or take a few depending upon the theme that month). During our math time the two weeks I introduce this, we spend 20 or so of them exploring the big tubs of manipulatives that I have (links, unifix cubes, pattern blocks, etc.) and then we spend 10-15 more learning about how to use a new tub. For example, when I showed my students how to use the Math Overhead Work Station, I called them all over to sit near the overhead and then I placed the various materials on the overhead, demonstrated how to use them, and showed how to clean them up and put everything away.

The next day, we do the same thing, except introducing a new station…until 2 weeks have gone by and then we take one day to quickly review what we do at each station and then off they go! My assistant and I walk around constantly, answering questions, praising correct use of the materials, and then we clean up.



Do you teach a letter of the week?

What do you do with your predictable charts? Does this take a week and do you have the students write their sentence and illustrate it or what do you have them do?

What do your literacy centers look like? How often do you change them? Do they go along with your read aloud for the week?

Thinking about purchasing your math centers for the year-how long do you keep these centers and how do you manage them?

Did you have a predictable chart for Mouse Paint?
What were your activities for all subj. areas with this book? Know what you did for science but didn’t post the rest.

A: I do not teach a letter of the week.  This year we are trying out the Phonemic Awareness strand of Open Court and they do teach a letter a day, but I do no specifically focus on one other than during that time.

Please feel free to search my blog under “Literacy Work Stations” for information and pictures pertaining to them.

I keep my Math Work Stations running for approximately one month, but if the children are bored with them, I have several “back-up” tubs that I can use or I will just switch the activities out a week or so earlier. I might also skip a day here and there…for example, when we learn about apples, I might take a day where we graph, sort, and talk about the apples for our Math lesson instead of using the Math Work Stations.   Or they could be used for two out of the four weeks in a month, saving the other two weeks for more open ended lessons.  I also begin each day with a mini-lesson from “Developing Number Concepts” book #1 by Kathy Richardson…the new one! 🙂

I did have a Predictable Chart for Mouse Paint…”The mouse is…” and the children gave me one of the colors in the book to finish the sentence.  At this point in the year, my Math Work Stations do not tie into my Literacy theme…they will in the future, but not right now.


I hope these help some of you! 😉  Let me know if you have anymore questions and I’ll be glad to post them.  Make sure you take my poll below! 🙂

The Wheels on the Bus day #2

Today, we spent time singing along with the book.  The first time through, we just sang the book.  The second time, we made up actions to go along with each of the pages, and the third time, the children did the actions while I posted pictures on my flannel board that match each.  I got them from this site (scroll down all the way to the bottom and you’ll see a spot for “Printables”).

For all of you playing along from home, we’re on letter “G” with our Open Court series and we read the book called “A Farm” today.  It’s a rebus story. Tomorrow is picture day followed at the end of the day by a convocation to kick off our fall fundraiser! 😉

During Math today, I started using my Developing Number Concepts book #1 by Kathy Richardson (you can search for it at Amazon or for more info, search my site…I just love it for mini-lessons).  We spent 20 minutes with our Math Work Stations then 10 more minutes on the “Slide and Check” activity from this book.

More tomorrow…off to watch Hell’s Kitchen! 🙂

Kristen 😉

%d bloggers like this: