Monthly Archives: April 2011

Sound Work Station Materials

I couldn’t remember if I had shared these ideas before or not…I got them from Debbie Diller at the workshop she presented in March (ISRA).  I’m making them now and using them in Puzzles and Games and ABC Work Stations.  Next year, I ‘ll be making a Sound W


Sound Boxes

The children use items stored in a pencil box and match them with the appropriate letter that each item begins with. I store additional items in a plastic hardware drawer unit (each drawer is labeled with a letter).   If you don’t have an item for the letter, just use several magnetic letters (upper and lowercase and different font styles) until you find something.  This activity will be introduced later this week to the whole class and will be then placed in the Puzzles and Games Work Station.


In addition to this activitiy, I created a Word, Write, Spell sheet:


The children use this sheet to help them learn sight words.  Before using this sheet it needs to get laminated so it can be reused. They are provided with cards (business sized cards) with the sight words printed on them (also laminated).  The children place five word cards on the left hand side of the page.  They then use a dry erase marker to write the words on the lines provided and then spell the words with magnetic letters.  I will begin using the page as soon as our laminating machine is repaired.  It needs to be printed on 11 x 17 sized paper.

Kristen 🙂

Garden Monsters Day 6

Here is an updated picture of my Garden Monsters (planted on April 3rd)…April 9th…

This is the view from the front.

Here they are from the back:

I think they’re going to need a hair cut soon!

Small Group game and Literacy Work Station materials

Here are some new games we have been playing during our small group time.  These materials will also be introduced into our Literacy Work Stations after the children have had a chance to use them.


This is a word family game/rhyming game.  The children have two bee hives at the same time and say each word aloud (from the cards) and then match it with the appropriate bee hive. These are from the Mailbox magazine site (2006 I think).  They were some online extra materials I was able to print.

In this game, the children can use the cards to find words that match, words that start with the same letter/sound, or words that end with the same sound.  We made two sets of these cards, one has the name of the object in the picture written on them and the other set is pictured above.  The cards (the white part) came from the Phonemic Awareness book listed below and I glued them on 1/2 of an index card and laminated.

These games are pre-made from a book titled, “Full Color Literacy Activities-Sight words and Rhyming Words“.  I like these activites because they are simple to create, easy for the children to complete and also include a review of many math skills (tally marks and graphing).  There are many to choose from in this book and these are just a few samples along with a picture showing how I store them.  These are also being introduced in small groups and then will be put into Work Stations for the entire class to use.

This is a game from “Phonemic Awareness Activities“.  The children take turns rolling the supplied paper die and moving among the pictures to help get the mouse to the house.  Each time they land on a picture they need to supply a rhyming word.  It could also be used to help children review beginning and ending sounds instead of rhyming words.

This game helps children to review sight words.  The children read the word, stamp the letters in the box (using the stamps shown below) and then write the word on the line.

Another idea I am trying is these word family books.  I write some simple sentences on the bottom of each page: This is a cot, This is hot, This is stop, etc.  The children illustrate the pictures that go with them.

This is Sight Word Blackout (also from the Full Color book).  It’s like BINGO and the children say, “Blackout!” when they have covered all their words.  You could white out words that you do not learn and write in your own words.  You could also set this up in a Word document using a Business Card layout.

This is another index card game I made to help the children learn their sight words (aka Rainbow Words).  I wrote the same word on each half of the index card (3 x 5 size) and then cut them in half and laminated.  The children have two sets of them– I labeled one set with a “1” in the top corner and the other with a “2”.  The children can play with the cards in one set and not worry about getting them mixed up with the cards in set 2.

Kristen 🙂

Would you…

be interested in purchasing a book about linking children’s literature with science ideas in Kindergarten?  I’ve been toying around with the idea for awhile and have found a publisher who can help me (and I have an awesome graphic designer on board).  I thought I would take a poll to see how much interest there might be.  I’m thinking it would be divided into seasonal sections and be somewhere between $20 and $30 a copy (depending upon what the publisher says).

Kristen 🙂

Garden Monsters!

One of the sessions I was able to stand outside the doors of at NSTA this year was about gardening with children (or something to that effect). I can’t remember the presenters name right now, but I’ll try to find it and come back and add it.  The room was PACKED and I got there just in time to see this idea about Garden Monsters–they are cute monsters, I promise!

Here’s what you need to make them:

1 bag of soil (this is a 10 qt bag and I had plenty)

1 bag of grass seed (I hear rye grass works well)

1 10 x 10 piece of tulle for each child (make sure it has tiny holes not large ones)

roofing nails (2 per child)

glue dots (at least 4 per child)

wiggle eyes (2 per child)

mini zip ties (one per child)

lids (any lid will work, but the deeper the better for watering purposes)


Place the tulle on a scrap piece of paper.  Put 1-2 spoonfuls of grass seed in the middle of the square of tulle.  Cover with 4-6 heaping teaspoons of soil.  Gather up the sides of the tulle and form into a ball.  The extra tulle will be on the bottom of the garden monster.  Pull tulle tight and secure with a zip tie.  Pull tight, snip off the extra.  Using glue dots, secure two wiggle eyes to the roofing nails and push into the side of the garden monster’s head, creating eyes.  Use the other two glue dots to secure the monster to the lid.

Here’s what they will  look like:

The Three Stooges! 🙂

I set them on this lid and poured some extra water on the lid so I don’t have to water for a few days.  The grass will grow out their heads  and then the children will need to give them hair cuts.  I made these today (4/2/11) using much smaller pieces of tulle (5 1/2 x 5 1/2) so if you use 10 x 10 yours would be twice as big.  I’m also thinking that you could grow different kinds of herbs out of their heads for different looks.  Couldn’t you see chives or parsley or even cilantro garden monsters?? 🙂

I think I’ve spent about $30 for a whole class to make these and will have enough materials left over for next year’s kiddos too (probably even the class after that as well)

($5 for the soil, $7 for grass seed, $1.50 for roofing nails (100+ nails), $2.35 for 100 zip ties (I bought 2 packs), $4.00 for two rolls of tulle (36 yards long each), $2.50 for 124 wiggle eyes (I bought two packs), and $4.99 for 250 large size glue dots (great time to use your Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s 40% off coupons!)

You can see that this is a pretty inexpensive project to make with your students and it takes up very little space.  The children can take them home after their first hair cuts.  Think of all the directions the conversations could go with these little guys! 😉

Of course, we will be charting their growth in our own Garden Monster baby books (After I create it, I’ll post it for you) to keep track of their hair length and hair cuts. 🙂

I’ll try to post pictures as they grow and their successive hair cuts.  If you try this out, please send me pictures to post! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Literacy Work Station closet

I thought I might give you a before and after look at my Literacy Work Station closet.  For some reason (I think I was possessed that day) the Friday before Spring Break I decided it would be a great time to clean out my Literacy Work Stations closet.  I got rid of a few things and organized the rest.

If you’ve read Debbie Diller’s Spaces & Places book or Math Work Stations she suggests organizing your materials before setting up your work stations so you know what you have to work with and can easily find it.  She also tells you NOT to go out and purchase any new containers–you won’t need them!!  I used the baskets and things I already had in my room before organizing this closest and actually ended up with more baskets than I started with.

Here is the before shot:

I found things I had totally forgotten about.

Now, (drumroll please…) here is the after shot:

Now most of the baskets have labels (still working on a few).  The bottom shelf is mainly Puzzles and Games Work Station and ABC Work Station.  I could also use some things for a Sound Station I am thinking about for next year.

The middle shelf is all of my Word Work Station stuff.  It also holds a basket of things for Magnet Work Station and a few games for Pocket Chart Station.

The top shelf holds all my blue Name Work Station boxes and some binders I had no other place for.  It also holds my Cut up Sentence necklaces and a few other random drama station props (like Jack be Nimble’s Candle).

It’s a work in progress.  I’ve decided as I put things back, I would like to start an inventory of sorts of what I have to help with my work on a particular skill.  In one of my grad classes I’m creating a scope and sequence of what skills to teach when (which is open to all sorts of interpretations as far as each class being ready for different skills at different times each year) and would like to list the materials I have to back up my teaching.  I can use them to teach a small group and then put them out into the stations for everyone to use.

The only problem with grad classes is the seem to create more work for me than just the class work itself…one idea ALWAYS leads my brain to another! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

5 Green and Speckled Frogs

As part of our learning about ponds, we learned the 5 green and speckled frogs song.  I made a pocket chart version for my students to use during Literacy Work Stations.  We also put a version at our Drama Station so the children can act it out.  I will be putting it in our Listening Station and if we can get a book version created by the children, it will also go in our Library Work Station.

(Yes, I do see the “typo” in the second to the last line…I’ll have to fix it after Spring Break. 🙂  )

Kristen 🙂

Playdough Ponds

I have an intern from our High School in my classroom four days a week and part of her internship requires that she teaches lessons related to our theme.  Two weeks ago when we were learning about pond habitats, she helped the children create this cute pond:

She made homemade blue playdough and then collected gravel and twigs and grass from our playground so the children could “decorate” it to look like a real pond habitat.  Cute! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Pictures of the Pigs

Here are some pictures of our newest classroom pets: Fluffy and Kiss:

Fluffy is on the left and Kiss on the right (Fluffy is the brown calico and Kiss is the gray and white pig)



They are one month old guinea pigs.  I feed them a piggy salad (romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, parsley, strawberries, and other fruits and veggies) two times a day along with their hay.  Now…how to figure out how I will get them to school…hmmmm!


As part of our text book adoption in Science this year we are looking into some of the kits that are available.  I am using one right now in my classroom that is all about Fabric.  To be honest, at first I didn’t think my kiddos would be so excited about fabric–but the LOVE it with a capital L!

The first day we checked out the fabrics and compared them to each other.  We also made a list after feeling each one that helped us to write down some of the “touch” words (rough, smooth, silky, bumpy, etc.).  Then, I taught the children the “Feely Box Game”.  There are 9 or 10 different fabric sample squares.  I put one set of the 9 or 10 on the table and the other set into a feely box (a box that you can’t see into and has one opening for the children to put their hand into).  The idea is that the children use their sense of touch to figure out which fabrics match.  They pick up one from outside the box and try to find the match from inside the box, using only their sense of touch.


The next activity we did was to hunt for fabrics.  When the children were at recess, I hid swatches of fabric around the room.  I laid matching swatches on the childrens’ tables.  They had to find a swatch that exactly matched theirs and then return to their seats.  All of the swatches are blue so it was difficult to find 23 hiding places for the swatches, but as it ended up, some were hidden so well, we didn’t find them for an hour after the hunt was over.

Comparing swatches to see if they match


We also created fabric collages.  The children could choose from a variety of different fabrics and were free to cut them any way they wanted to.

This one of the collages that the children created.


Another activity we completed was to learn about how fabric is held together.  We learned about the woof and the weave of fabric and then the children got to pull strings from either side of the fabric.  They had TONS of fun unraveling fabric for the purpose of science! 🙂

The children glued what was left of their square of fabric into their science journal and then wrote about their thoughts on how fabric is woven together.

Kristen 🙂


%d bloggers like this: