Author Archives: Kristen Poindexter

Last minute parent gifts

If you’re like me, I wait until the last possible moment to work on parent gifts with my students.  The last possible moment.  2:00 on the last day of school before our break and cross my fingers and hope that the paint and glue dries quickly kind of last minute. Not this year. 🙂


I am ahead of the game.  For once.  And I was able to wrap and send home these parent gifts on the same day as we created them. 


I purchased some wood picture frames online and we used our favorite Kwik Stix to decorate them for our families! They were dry in under 2 minutes and my students LOVED creating their own designs for their families.  Can you tell we were studying patterns at the same time?  🙂  My students each drew a picture to place inside the frames that can be taken out and replaced as each family desires. 

These frames were SUPER quick and easy and I know each family will appreciate the thought that their child put into creating their frame.  Each frame fits each child’s personality so well.  🙂 

If you’ve waited until the last minute, grab some Kwik Stix and let your students decorate–you can send your gifts home in vivid color the SAME day! 🙂 


Kwik Stix Fall Project

Fall has finally hit us here in the midwest and we are looking for someways to decorate our classroom that bring the colors of fall inside!

I was getting out materials of my “fall” file and wanted something quick and easy my students could make, and then like magic, a roll of bubble wrap fell out of the closet–it was the answer to the beginning of our fall project!

You need a few simple materials to make these fun Flint corn ears in no time!

  • Kwik Stix
  • Scissors
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Construction Paper (orange, yellow, purple, brown)

Begin by cutting your construction paper into the shape of ears of corn and making the tasseled tops by fringe cutting most of the length of paper.

Next, pick out the colors of Kwik Stix that you will use to color your Flint Corn.  I used yellow, orange, brown, red, and purple.

Apply your first color of Kwix Stix paint to the bumpy side of your bubble wrap.  I cut my bubble wrap down to a 6 x 3 piece so it was more manageable and so that I was coloring the space I needed and not much extra.

Because Kwix Stix dry so quickly, you will be able to layer two colors at once and then you will need to apply them to your paper.


Just flip your bubble wrap over, so that the size you colored on is now facing down and is on top of your construction paper.  Rub the bubble wrap very well to transfer the color to your construction paper.


Lift off the bubble wrap and apply more color as desired.  Rub the bubble wrap well each time to transfer the color.  Don’t worry if the bubbles don’t line up exactly the same each time, it adds to the beauty of your Flint Corn. 


When you are done with each ear of Flint Corn, attach the fringe to the top and display! This was a super simple craft we made and it took us no time at all thanks to the super quick dry time of the Kwix Stix!

Introducing Kwik Stix

Kwik Stix continue to be one of my most favorite supplies I have in my classroom.  I think I am currently hoarding 6 to 7 brand new boxes of Kwik Stix in my supply closet!! I just love how versatile they are and because they come in 3 different “flavors”; classic colors, neon, and metallic, there is always a project we can use them on!

Enter the beginning of Kindergarten this year…we needed a way to decorate our letter D as we worked our way through the letters of the alphabet.  Kwik Stix to the rescue! The paint surface inside was the perfect thing to help us make dots! Lots and lots of dots to decorate our D’s! We also used them to make zig-zags on our Z’s, squiggles on our S’s, and lines on our L’s! Sadly, I forgot to snap pictures of all those experiences. 😦

This was the PERFECT opportunity to introduce my students to Kwik Stix and how we use them.

Each student took a Kwik Stix and we practiced how to gently twist the bottom up to raise the paint up so they could use more.  We also took the time to learn how to twist the paint back down so that we didn’t have any smooshed into the lids that would later bring us sadness. 🙂

Many times if we are all using our Kwik Stix for a project (such as in this case), I will pull the entire plastic case out of the box and leave one set on each table for my students to use.  They will have access to a variety of colors that way, (learn to share!), and can easily get another color they need.

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We also talked about where to put the caps! This is a perpetual problem we have and to solve this problem, we corral our Kwik Stix in an empty deli food container.  Each time a student uses a new Kwik Stix, they place the cap in the container so they don’t lose it (and it can’t roll away)! I also save the caps anytime we have a Kwik Stix that runs out of paint.  That way if we really can’t find the cap, we can look to the box of extra caps and find one that we can replace it with.

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My students have access to Kwik Stix everyday during our free play time and they will always choose them over traditional paint and markers. 🙂  They get super excited that they can paint and that their paintings will be dry in less than 2 minutes so they can take them home on the same day!

I love that the short chubby size fits my Kindergarten students hands perfectly and that we don’t have to leave stacks of papers around the room to dry overnight! Right after my students are done, they just pop their papers into their mailboxes and go on with their next task–while their paper takes a few more seconds to dry. 🙂

Stay tuned for another way to use Kwik Stix next month–this one is going to be super cute and perfect for fall holidays!

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Guided Reading Made Simple

I love anything that will help make my life easier and I stumbled upon two great ideas last school year that have helped make my Guided Reading groups run so much more smoothly!

2 ideas to simplify your Guided Reading time!Kristen's Kindergarten

Just changing up these two simple routines has bought me back 3-4 minutes of time and gives my students repeated alphabet practice along with a simple routine they can follow.  When my students see their material baskets out and ready by their whiteboards, they know which routine we will be practicing first and have everything they need ready to go!

In the same way, I used to spend 20 minutes or so every Friday afternoon getting magnetic letters ready for my students so we could make words, but after discovering this idea, my students do all the work and practice locating letters too!

Click here to read more about these tips that will buy you back precious Guided Reading minutes!

 

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Learning to Write Numbers

In Kindergarten, it’s important to have students practice writing and recognizing numbers as soon as you can.  There are so many other things that students will need to do in the first few weeks of school that involve reading, writing, and recognizing numbers!  With a few simple activities, your students (and mine) will be writing and recognizing numbers in no time!

I’m a big fan of anything that creates a tactile learning experience for my students because its another way to cement the learning in their brain.  In an age where so many things are learned through digital media, it is sometimes nice to just have your fingers interact with another surface. 🙂

I’ve got three super easy activities that your students can use to help them read, write, and recognize numbers.  You can start with the numbers 0-10 and add in 11-20 as you find your students mastering the first group of numbers.

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My students LOVE using each of these activities and its already given me great insight into who knows which numbers.  I sit with my students as they use these materials and am quickly able to find out which numbers they know and which ones they are still working on (check off those number id standards!).

You can read more here and get everything you’ll need to get these easy, fun, and tactile number making experiences going in your classroom!

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Back to School Literacy Centers

This year, somehow, I had the foresight to plan out my beginning of year literacy centers BEFORE I left for summer break.  I have no idea where I got that idea or when that idea popped into my head, but it was the best idea. Ever.

Imagine walking back into your room after summer break, and you have one less thing to do! #winning. Seriously.  I walked into my classroom and my literacy centers were ready to go.  Everything I needed to help my beginning of year Kinders learn the routines and procedures associated with learning the alphabet was there in a tub, ready to go.

I came up with 8 easy literacy centers that would help my students get into the grove of literacy centers on the fourth day of school.  Yes, the fourth day of school! That was another brilliant idea! Starting literacy centers as soon as I could.  Getting students in a routine as soon as we can gets them started on the road to independence (and frees you up to meet with small groups sooner!).  Anyway…

8 great literacy center ideas that take so little prep on your part, you will be amazed (and maybe even a little impressed with yourself!).

 

My students have been loving these activities this week (and half of them have asked when we are going to start “learning”)!! Find out all the details here and then get your literacy centers going!

These literacy center ideas are PERFECT for pulling back out later in the year to work with ELL students or other students who haven’t quite mastered all their letter names yet.  They are appropriate, fun, and help those learners who need a bit of an extra boost!

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Dr. Seuss Reading Stations

Anytime of year is a great time to learn about Dr. Seuss!  My Kindergarten students love hearing Dr. Seuss’ stories from day one, but it takes them a little bit to engage with rhyming, opposites, and writing on their own.  Once they are ready for that, I have 7 great stations that you can easily set up for a fun Dr. Seuss day or for small group or large group review!

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Each one of these stations took me less than 5 minutes to set up and create.  I rolled out some Red & White striped tablecloth just to set the scene and we had 7 activities ready to go!  Read all about them here!

 

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Cool Camouflage!!

You know I love all things Science (well almost all things!!) and helping my students explore the world around them is right up there!

I wanted to share this super simple idea that allows students to explore the idea of camouflage and helps them to understand why camouflage is so important to animals, insects, and sea creatures.  With some nature themed fabrics and some super cute critters, my students were able to explore why animals are camouflaged.

Cool Camouflage Pinterest

We spent about an hour exploring all the ways we could best camouflage all of these animals and insects.  It was very interesting to hear my students thinking about why they placed some of the animals and insects where they did to help hide them.  We had fun after this taking those same animals and insects outside to try to camouflage them there!

Click here to read more about our fun adventures in camouflage and to get everything you’ll need!

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Phenomenal Phonics

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to run out of fun activities to do during my small guided reading groups to keep my students engaged and learning! I’ve got 4 activities to share with you today that will keep your students engaged and LEARNING! These activities are great because they can be used in a small group and then introduced as part of an independent practice time.  I also love that more than one student can participate at a time!

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Each of these activities requires little to no prep work and can be used many times as your students skills grow and change.  Click here to check out these Phenomenal Phonics ideas!

 

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Community Helper Bags

I am SO excited to share these Community Helper Bags with you!! I’ve wanted to create them for awhile, but was just waiting for the ideas to come together in my mind so I could make them happen! I created 6 different bags and inside each one of them, I added items that would help my students experience a small part of that community helpers job.  Easy to Make Community Helper Bags

My students have had so much fun using these each day!  They ask for a different bag each time and I love that they are interacting with each other as they explore.

 

A few days ago, some of my students found out how the Chef depends on the Grocer to get the food they need to prepare it!  What a great connection.  Its fun to watch the student who chooses the Mail Carrier bag go on their delivery rounds each day around the classroom! Photo Apr 04, 9 24 19 AM2

This is a closer look at each item that’s in each of the Community Helper Bags!34Photo Apr 04, 2 47 04 PM5

In this photo, you can see one of my students borrowed the fish from the Grocer bag so he could feed it to the kitten! 🙂Photo Apr 09, 3 08 10 PM6Photo Apr 04, 2 52 02 PMPhoto Apr 04, 2 51 42 PM

My students are THRILLED to be able to use these easy to make Community Helper Bags!  You can read more about how I made them here! What other Community Helpers would you include?

 

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