Monthly Archives: July 2011

Organizing Supplies

I had a question about what goes in the shelves that I keep at the end of each of the tables:

In the top part of the shelf, we store our paper baskets and crayon baskets.  The crayon basket sits inside the paper basket.

The second part of the shelf down, we store our binders.

On the bottom, we store our SSR baskets and starting this year, our clipboards.

On the very top of the shelf, we use buckets to store supplies we use on a regular basis.  Pencils will go in the longer, empty space and then glue and scissors go in the other two spaces.

I’ll take some pictures when they are “in use” later on.

Kristen 🙂

The House and the loft

I get asked a lot about the playhouse and loft in my classroom.  It was there when I moved in and through research, I’ve found out that it’s been there for about 30 years.  I took a bunch of pictures inside, outside, and up in the loft:

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I got a new lamp from IKEA to use inside the house.  I had a lamp in it a few years ago and the children accidentally knocked it on the floor and it broke, so I went with a plastic one this time (it was $4.00) with a bulb that stays inside the shade if it should fall and break.


More classroom pictures 2011-2012

I was in my room today working on hauling my new IKEA stuff around.  Here are a bunch of pictures that I took today and I’ll write below them what they are if needed. 🙂  I took these with my iPod Touch, so they might be a little blurry–left my camera at home! 🙂


The two new tables I got from IKEA ($20 for the table and two chairs; this is two sets).  The green rug below is also from IKEA for about $20.00.  The pillows came from Old Time Pottery and I wanted another color besides green, so I got these that have the same green in the centers of the flowers, but have some pinks and whites as well.  I really like how this all ended up! 🙂

This is a magnetic board I got on clearance for $9.99.  I think it’s going to serve as my Magnet Work Station.  I really like the try at the bottom for catching those sliding letters.  We hung it with some of those Command 3M picture hanging hooks that can hold up to 20 pounds.  It looks like a toboggan to me! 🙂

This is how my Writing Work Station looks right now…

My Computer Work Station.  I had these on a table last year and it just took up too much room, so I moved them to desks.  These butt up to the back of Writing Work Station.

This is my calendar area.

This is my new Author’s Chair that I got at IKEA.

How I store my pointers.  I got the star wands at Target in the Dollar Spot and the rest I’ve collected over the past few years.

This is my bookcase that I use to store things we use during calendar, morning message, my Magic Tree House books, CD’s and other pointers.

I don’t know if I’ve ever put an up-close picture of the bench I sit on when we are doing whole group activities, so here you go! 🙂

Here is our new and improved Science area.  I took out the large table that was here before because it took up too much room.  I used another table from IKEA here along with a few bookcases for easier organization of science materials.

Here is the bookcase in the Science Work Station.

The Window in the Science Work Station.  I bought two new window mount bird feeders that will hang outside the window so the children can watch the birds (hopefully) come to the window.


Where my Pocket Chart Work Station will go next year.  I moved it away from the computers to the bottom of these closet doors.

Right inside my doorway.

My lovely door!

Looking towards the library.  My doorway is just to the left of where I am standing.

These are the tubs that will hold my Math Work Stations.  I am going to number the ends of each of the tubs and assign the children to a number (that will change each day so they rotate through them).

This is my horseshoe table that I use to work with small groups.

These are the new stools for my horseshoe table.  I got them at Old Time Pottery and they were originally from Target and there were two in a box.  I got two stools for $10 and then they were %40 off! 🙂

My desk.

These will be our Science Notebooks…I’ll be blogging about that more this year!

My new magazine holders (5 for $1.99 @ IKEA!).  I’m going to work on creating individual book baskets for each child.

These are two finds from Marshall’s!  The Eric Carle shapes are Colorforms and I thought they would be cute to use when we read his many stories.  The On The Farm books has magnetic farm animals and it works on positional words.

This basket holds microphones that I got from Target and the glasses.  This will go in my Buddy Reading Station (as soon as I find a place for it!)

This is my Intervention Basket that I started for one of my grad classes last semester.  It has everything I need to work with small groups of children on specific literacy skills. Now…to create one for math!

Hope you enjoyed the new pictures!

2011-2012 Classroom Pictures (after)

Here are the “after” pictures.  This is what I was able to get done in 1 day.

This is my Library Work Station.  I’ve made the space a little bigger this year and have taken out the round table that used to be in here.  Tomorrow, on my IKEA run, I’m going to pick up a rug and some little tables and chairs for this space.

Another look (from the other side of the library)


A view of the room from inside the library!

A view looking down the long wall, towards our large group area and the science center!

Looking towards some student tables, the mailboxes, my storage closet, office, and sink.

The shelf right inside my door.  The kids put their red folders (take home folders) in the yellow bucket each morning and library books in the tub next to that.  Parent notes go in the green folder.  We store extra supplies on the bottom shelf and office supply type things on the top shelf (white tub).

Our large group area.

Listening Station

My calendar area (although, I completely took it down and rearranged it today, so when I go in next week, I’ll have to get a new picture).

The Science Cart with all most half of my science stuff on it! 🙂

New science area.  I’ve gotten rid of the big table in favor of a little one I’m buying at IKEA tomorrow.

The sand table’s new home in front of the house.  I’m going to try and get it open everyday.  Guess I need to get more sand!


I’ll have more pictures next week!

Kristen 🙂

2011-2012 Classroom Pictures

I’ve been in at school working all this week to get things set up in my classroom again.  Here are the before pictures.  Our housekeepers do an amazing job of cleaning everything during the summer for us, and I’m so happy that they leave me to put it back–I love walking into a blank canvas and figuring out how all the pieces will fit this year!  These are all the pictures I took as I stepped into the classroom for the first time in a month.  I’ll post the after (in progress) pictures in the next post!.

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Math Stations

I’ve had a few e-mails about my Math Stations packet and it not being listed on my Kristen’s Kindergarten blog anymore.  I took it down to work on it and haven’t had a chance to re-load it up there yet.  If you are interested in purchasing it, please e-mail me at and I’ll send you an invoice through Paypal.  You can decide if you want to purchase it or not, but I’ll go ahead and send the invoice if you are interested.  🙂


Kristen 🙂

Summer! Responses!

WOW!! I’m so amazed at the amount of responses I’ve received about my Summer! posting a few days ago.  I’m going to try and answer your questions below (Warning that this might be a long post!!).

Q: How do you decide what the journal topic will be each day?

A: I typically pick a topic that ties in with something we are doing or have been doing in class.  For example, if we were talking about color mixing during science, I might have the children write about something that they noticed or learned during that activity.


Q: Science!

A: All of my science stuff is under the science tab at the top and also if you look under the  “Categories” section you will find a link to all the things I have tagged under “Science”.


Q: I am wondering if you do Guided Reading and if so how do you manage that in your classroom?

A: I do guided reading in my classroom during our Big Book time (it’s more whole group where we learn about strategies we might use during our small group time).  When we do Literacy Work Stations, at the Work with the Teacher station is when we will do Guided Reading in smaller groups.  I have my groups organized by DRA level and they are flexible.  We use lots of Reading A-Z books as they lend themselves well to topics and reading levels.  I keep my books stored in tubs by DRA levels, so I just pull a new one out when I’m ready for it.


Q: I am trying to make my class more Kindergarten friendly-what are some must-have toys. manipulatives, etc. that you think should be in every K classroom?

A: I think every kindergarten classroom should have a supply of math manipulatives (pattern blocks, links, unifix cubes, junk boxes, etc.) in addition to board games, play food and dishes, legos, puzzles, dolls, hot wheels cars, blocks, and kid friendly toys.


Q: Students in my school also participate in student led conferences rather than parent-teacher interviews and will develop their own simple portfolio for that. What do you do?

A: I have a checklist of things that the children and I decide they would like to show their parents when they come to the conference.  We also pick out 5 of our best pieces of writing work to share.  I keep writing samples and other artifacts in a hanging folder for each child all year long and they can choose which pieces to share with their families at conference time.

Q: When do you start sight words?

A: I usually start introducing sight words in late September/early October, when we begin our homework packets.  I introduce between 5-10 each 9 weeks throughout the entire school year.

Q: Can you give some ideas on activities that address Common Core Standards!

A: There are some really great resources in Debbie Diller’s Math Work Stations book, the Math Their Way book, and Marcy Cook has some nice ten frame activities.  I’m still working on collecting resources, so as I find them, I’ll share!

Q: I’m interested in your schedule this year! The thing you were telling me about 90 minutes…that would be an(other) interesting blog.

A: The state of Indiana mandated that grades K-2 have to have 90 minutes of uninterrupted literacy time beginning next school year.  We cannot include any word work, hand writing, or spelling during that time–now that we’ve adopted the common core standards, the state is telling us we no longer have to teach handwriting, but computer keyboarding instead.  Our 90 minutes will look like this:

15 min: Morning Message

15 min: Open Court, Imagine It!

15 min: Big Book

15 min: Predictable Chart

30 min: Literacy Work Stations

followed by 30 minutes of writing


Q: HI. I would love to know how you do calendar…I often it is just a boring routine to put up the number. Could you please tell me how you do this and how you make it more exciting. I would love to see a picture too of your calendar and all that you do around it.

A: I think there is a picture of my calendar in my classroom photos, but if you can’t find one, let me know and I’ll take a picture when I go into school next week. Here’s what we do during calendar:

Place the number on the calendar and the children repeat the day, month, number, and year after me.

Sing the days of the week song and the months of the year song.

Choose four students to tell what the weather is like and move the hands on our weather circle to reflect that, then we graph it on a Math Their Way weather graph

Count to 100 by ones, fives, and tens.  The children make up patterns to go with them

Add a base ten block to our “How many days in school” count, add a penny in the money section for the same, and then add a straw to the straw count.


Q: I am a school counselor and this will be my first experience as a kindergarten teacher. I am wondering if you could give me some tips on classroom set-up and well as schedule. You might have something already written so if you could direct me to that portion of the blog I would appreciate it! I have enjoyed reading our entries and they are very informative!

A: I have my schedule in the categories section called “Schedule for Full Day Kindergarten” and pictures of my classroom over the last couple of years under “Classroom pictures” followed by the year that I took them.


Q: I would love to hear about how you begin your year, what your routine looks like, which themes/topics you cover, etc . . .

A: I think some of this can be answered by my schedule in the previous answer.  For topics, it will look a little different this year, because it will be our first full year teaching with all of our IB unit planners.  To begin, we are doing a unit called, Who We Are–how to be successful members of a community, essential agreements, all about me, and hopefully some great science!


Q: Do you do math and science journals and if so, how does that work?

A: I use science journals on a regular basis, from about October on.  I think I’ve posted copies of my science journal pages before, see if there is a category called, “Science Notebooks” and that should have them.  We will use them before, during, and after an activity.  I would recommend a book called Science Notebooks by Brian Campbell for more information.  I want to be better at math notebooks this year, so I’m working on something for that!


Q: Your site is wonderful! I’d love to see what you do to develop community within the first few weeks of school.

A: To develop community, you should read any of the Responsive Classroom books that can be found on Amazon and other book places.  They have great ideas for building community in your classroom.  We also do the “getting to know you” activity from Building Blocks and that helps as well.


Q: Thanks for asking! I will be teaching Kindergarten for the first time in the fall. My class will consist of 21 students. Some will leave at lunchtime, but the majority will stay for the day. How do you or others handle this type of situation? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

A: That’s a unique situation!  I would do all of your academic teaching in the morning because all of your children will be there.  In the afternoons, I would set up some Literacy and Math Work stations to reinforce the ideas you taught in the morning.  I would use the afternoon for the reteaching of concepts, not for introducing new ones.  It will take your kiddos who only stay half of the day a bit longer to get the routine down, so make sure you build that up in the mornings also.  Lots of interactive, hands-on activities in the morning too, so the children can interact with each other.  Also, make sure you get a good community developed so that the children who leave at lunch will still feel like they are apart of the classroom.


Hope this answers your questions–keep them coming and I’ll answer more!  I’m going to go into school next week and start setting up so I’ll take some before and after photos of that!

Kristen 🙂


It seems that in the summer, I have fewer things to blog about…so I want to know, what would you like for me to write about in the next few weeks (although, I have to admit, I’ll be going back in to school next week to start getting things set up!).

Leave me a comment or a question (in the comment section) and I’ll post a reply or have everyone chime in with their responses! Anything you want to know about what goes on in my classroom (or my head for that matter–sometimes its scary how many thoughts a person can have at once!). Maybe you have a question about organization??  My schedule?? Science??  Let me know what you want me to write about!


Kristen 🙂

New Goodies!

I’ve been wanting to post something new for a week or so but our internet is running PAINFULLY slow and with two of us in grad school now (my hubby is working on his Administration degree), it’s even more painful!

I stopped by Target yesterday for some retail therapy and to pick up some things my sister told me about.  She said that she got some microphones for $1.00 in the party section (for my niece’s b-day goodie bags) and when I asked what kind they were, my son said like the ones I have in my classroom that echo when you talk into them.  I went to Target a few weeks ago to try and find them and they had some back near the toys but they weren’t $1.00 ($1.99).  I got four of them from the toy area.  Yesterday though, I found them!!   I also got some cool glasses to go with them (think–Buddy Reading Work Station!!!).  I’d really like to try adding a new station this year to my LWS and I think that these will work really well!

I also noticed a new “teacher-y” section on one of the end caps near the office supply area at Target.  Bulletin Board stuff, name tags for desks, write on/wipe off charts, and some other cute things–very reasonable too!

I would get some of it, but my goal this year is to pare down as much as I can–I’m tired of not being able to put things away and find things when I need them! 🙂


Kristen 🙂

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