Monthly Archives: February 2013

Ooey Gooey Lady

Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop held for free at our downtown library.  I was there to see Lisa Murphy (aka the Ooey Gooey Lady).  If you haven’t seen her or heard of her, you need to check her out!

Lisa brings a funny story along with a serious message–KIDS NEED PLAY! AND THEY NEED LOTS OF IT!!

We got to watch her make some of her crazy concoctions and talk about the ideas we could use them for in our early childhood classrooms.

My favorites are Flubber and Oobleck (guess what I’m making Friday for Dr. Seuss Day??)

We got to learn about edible paint, cheap musical instruments, and ways to teach young kids about science and Non-Newtonian fluids.


Here is Lisa doing her thing!  She’s hysterical to listen to and tells it like it is! 🙂

Check her out! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Simple Science

Here is some simple science that happened yesterday in my classroom:


I have this Discovery Toys ball run from when my son was younger.  The kids really like hooking the road track up to it and watching how far they can get the balls to roll down it.  The track is also from Discovery Toys (although I’m not sure they sell either of them anymore).


The kids began with the straight track and I asked them if they thought about measuring to see which ball had gone further (had to get some math in there too!!).  We laid the ball along side the track next to where it had stopped:


We noticed that every other time the red/yellow ball would go the furthest and opposite of that, the purple ball would go the furthest.  We never did figure out why, but the kids loved when I suggested that we make the track curved a little:


So we tried again and noticed that the balls were not rolling as far as they did on the straight track.  Innocently, I asked why they thought that was happening.  They stared at me for a few seconds…silence…they then stared at the track…silence.  Then…(insert angelic noises here)…I think it’s because the curves slow it down!  The ball can’t go as far because it’s sticking to the sides of the track as it rolls down and it takes a lot of time for it to do that. BINGO!


We then made the track into a circle.  That wasn’t so exciting, but the kids had fun betting each other how far the ball would go.  They then started experimenting with putting different things under the track and the ball run to make them lean different ways.  I slowly backed away and watched as they suggested all kinds of ideas to each other and to listen to their conversations…


I ❤ science. 🙂

Kristen 🙂

March Problem Solving Pack

Back by very popular demand!!  I’ve had probably 100 e-mails and messages asking when and if I’ll be creating a March Problem Solving pack….so here you go!  And it’s done before March!  That’s because today we had a snow day, well and ice day really, but we got the day off due to the freezing rain and sleet that fell over night last night and made the roads horrible today.

I had some time to finish up this pack and get it posted.

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It covers 9 different standards and focuses on some common core standards we are working on this quarter.  I had a couple of requests for 2D and 3D shapes and some ten frame/base ten block work, so those are included as well.  I also included an optional Math Journal cover, so that if you wanted to, you could print all the sheets out (there are 25 sheets) and use them individually with your students.  I use some of these sheets on my Promethean Board and then print out some for my students to work on individually.  They would also be great in a Math Work Station or Center!

You can click on the picture above to find out more and download a sample of some of the sheets that are in this pack. 🙂

I’ll be working on April’s pack soon–any requests for that?  We will be working on addition and subtraction, composing/decomposing numbers, and some 3D shapes. 🙂  Let me know what else you’d like! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Science Notebooks

After attending several workshops two weeks ago, I’ve decided that I need to try harder at Science notebooking.  I’m just so-so at it, but I really need to step up my game and get my kids using them–more often than not.  It’s a hard balance to strike…how much time do you need to have a science activity and how much time do your kiddos need to put something in their notebook.  Solution–have your kiddos do them at the same time.  Older kids are very capable of doing this, so why shouldn’t the little ones learn this too?


It’s all about how you set them up from the beginning.  Sure there will be sometimes when the kids just need to sit and spend some time with their notebooks and put some information in them before or after an activity is over, but there will also be times when in the middle of a lab, they will need to put some information down on paper to reference later.


There’s also the balance between using the journal/worksheets that came with your science series and letting your students create their own tables, graphs, and charts to record their information in.  Ultimately, I want my kiddos to be able to have everything student created, but in order to get them there, sometimes you will have to give them a pre-made graphic organizer or table, just so you can actually collect information during that lesson. 🙂


Where are you at with your science notebooks?  How do you use them with your students?  What are you finding successes with and what are some challenges you face?


Last week, we were learning about seasons and I asked my kiddos to draw what each season made them think of or something (an event or type of weather that typically happened during that season).  I gave them four post-it notes and the only thing I told them was to label the top of each note with the name of the season (I provided these so that we could move on from stretching out the words and move on to the season activity).

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Kristen 🙂

A Valentine Freebie

I’ve been out of my classroom from Tuesday-Friday last week, so I’m behind on getting some things to share with you, so I thought I would give you a freebie instead. 🙂

First I want to show you a new product I’ve added to my Teachers Pay Teachers store:

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I created a half sheet book for the -at family.  The children “read” the sentences and then using the last page, the children cut out and glue in the correct beginning sound.  They then can practice writing all the -at words they completed in the book.


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What other word families would you like to see?  I plan to make more of these, but I need to know which one’s you’d like> 🙂

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Okay, now for the freebie. 🙂

This is a quick Valentine themed subtraction freebie.  I took the “Way up high in the apple tree” poem and changed it up a bit to fit for Valentine’s day.  You can get it by clicking here.  I’ve also included the “Way up high in the apple tree” poem in addition to the Valentine’s poem. 🙂

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Kristen 🙂

HASTI 2013

Thanks for attending my session, “Going Green in Kindergarten” at HASTI 2013 this year.  Even if you didn’t, you can still download my presentation and have a look at it. 🙂


going green in kindergarten


Kristen 🙂

A few of my favorite things….

I don’t usually do this, but I thought I would share a few of my favorite things that I can’t get through the day without! 🙂

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My blogging friend Greg (at Kindergarten Smorgasboard) shared about his favorite pens about a month ago and I saw them on sale at Target, buy one, get one for $1.  The packs I got each had 18 pens each, so I got 36 pens total.  4 of each of the colors you see above.  I like pens that write in different colors, but I was skeptical about ball point pens being great.  I. LOVE. THESE.  I keep one set on my desk and one set at my small group table.  I can color code things easily now and don’t have to worry about these not working.  You know how when you get new pens you have to scribble on paper with them to get them going–not these beauties!  They work right out of the package.  My total cost for 36 pens was $4! 🙂


Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 6.40.37 PMMy Purple Cows laminator!!  LOVE IT!!  I bought it with my first Tpt check and I’m pretty sure I run it at least 4 days a week.  I keep it at home and I love how thick the laminating pockets are with it!  I get everything ready to laminate, then sit and run everything through.  Quick and easy and it takes up almost no space.  I love that it heats up quickly and cools down quickly.  I really like that I can use any brand of laminating pouches with them, but the purple cows brand are my favorite so far! 🙂


Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 6.45.25 PMI love my Greenroom blank journal.  These are similar to the one I have (mine has a spiral binding down the left side, but the same size).  I love that it’s recycled paper and it’s the perfect size to take everywhere!  I use it for notes in workshops and staff meetings, but I also use it to sketch out things I want to make for Tpt and other ideas for my classroom.  I take it everywhere I go! 🙂


Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 6.47.59 PMI LOVE my Canon EOS Rebel T3i!!  It’s something else I always take with me.  I have a 16GB memory card which can hold close to 1,000 pictures at any given time.  I have the zoom lens that goes with this camera and I love it almost as much as the regular lens that comes with it.  It takes great action shots (those happen in my classroom a lot!) and beautiful still and posed pictures.  My kids are so used to seeing this bad boy, that when I click the shutter, they usually don’t look up now! 🙂


Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 6.51.41 PMI love Avery’s binders.  I love them even more now that they have the one touch open lever in them.  No more pinched fingers!  I use a one inch binder in this awesome green color for my lesson plan book, so that I can find it no matter where I put it down! 🙂  It holds my entire year’s worth of lessons and the tiered pockets in the front and back are great at helping me keep track of things small and large, so they don’t get lost behind each other!  I also like that I can personalize the front and sides of the binder with my own images and when sliding things in, they don’t get stuck like they used to in my older binders.  I have every size binder I can think of, all the way up to 4 inches and I think I love them all!


What are a few of your favorite things? 🙂

Kristen 🙂

A new day, a new grocery!

For the last two weeks, our home living area has been a Pizzeria, but for the next two weeks, we’ve transformed our house into a Grocery Store!

I purchased a pack from Kathleen @ Growing Kinders called “Fun at the Grocery Store”.  That helped me get started and add some environmental print to our grocery store.  Here are some pictures of our grocery.  Any labels or signs that you see came from Kathleen’s pack. 🙂

You might also see my son in a few of the pictures.  The cash register that we are using used to be his, and no matter how old he gets, he is still fascinated by it each time I bring it out. 🙂











I asked families in my class room to donate canned goods so we could pretend with them.  After we are done with them, we will donate them to our Community Closet at our school to give to other children in our building who might need them.

Today was the first day they used the grocery and they got the biggest kick out of the coupons I laminated!  I felt like a crazy lady laminating coupons, but they were expired ones and I thought it would be fun for them!

All day today, my kids made “dollars” when they were at our art center.  I hadn’t added them yet, so they decided to create their own.  Every single one of them was a $100 bill, so I hope they have lots of groceries to buy!

Kristen 🙂

My classroom

Here are some pictures of what my classroom looks like mid-year:


This is my desk area.  It usually looks as messy as it is in the picture, but I can find everything you need!  I really to need to organize it better–what do you do to organize your desk?



This is the beginning of the counters just to the left of my desk.  I keep my Reading A-Z readers in these buckets right behind my horse shoe table, so I can grab them quickly when doing small reading groups. IMG_4872


Here is my horse shoe table.  I rarely looks this cleaned off!  I meet with 4-5 students at a time.  IMG_4873


This is the opposite end of the counter top.  I got these pink and purple baskets in the Dollar Spot at Target a couple of weeks ago to help me organize materials I need for each day.  I’m still getting used to the system, but it’s better than having everything all over my desk! 🙂IMG_4874


Here is a glance at our science centerIMG_4875

This is where I sit when we do whole group activities.  You might notice that there is a blue desk chair there now…my beloved bench broke a few weeks ago and I had to put this here.  I didn’t think I was going to like it, but I like being able to roll around to write on the easel and forward when I’m reading a story.



Our Listening Work StationIMG_4877


Our Library Work StationIMG_4878


A look back towards my desk (far left) and the home living area.   It’s currently a grocery store!IMG_4879


Panning to the left a bit…I think one day, I will make some curtains to cover up those shelves! 🙂IMG_4880


Whole group area…IMG_4881


The Promethean BoardIMG_4882


Looking into the Library Work Station and at the back of the computers.IMG_4883


Looking out towards the hallway.IMG_4884


Our classroom door and cabinets.  The three cabinets on the left hold the kids coats and backpacks on the bottom and my stuff on the top. IMG_4885


The open doorway is a little office between my room and the K classroom next door.  Mostly we have our microwaves and fridges in there along with some other assorted things…The closed door is a storage closet (it used to be a bathroom).  Sometimes we are scared to open the door because things have and will fall on us! 🙂  You can also see our sink and drinking fountain.  IMG_4886


Can you tell we are studying community helpers?IMG_4887


These are the shelves where we store our supplies.  The tub on the bottom is a math work station tub.  The yellow bucket is storage for SSR books and science notebooks.  Above that you see our Writer’s Workshop basket holding paper and our folders.  On top of that we keep our Morning Work folders.  IMG_4888

In the buckets on the top of the shelf, we store our supplies we use most often.  The kids can bring the tubs to the table and they usually bring the crayon basket, but leave the larger tub on the shelf.  They like having more room!


That’s a look at the room right now…what does your room look like?  Leave me a link to pictures of your classroom! 🙂


Let me know if you have any questions!

Kristen 🙂

I told you…

I told you I’d probably go back for more things I had in my cart!  Here’s what I got this time:

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Kristen 🙂

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