Author Archives: Kristen Poindexter

Penguin Day

My students love learning about penguins every year! I think they like them because of our annual field trip to the zoo–we always spend a LONG time in the penguin building! To capitalize on their interest, I created several activities that help them learn more about penguins!

We learn about how penguins stay dry! Each student uses a crayon to color the stomach area of the paper penguin and then we drop several droplets of water on it. The children notice immediately that the water beads up on the paper instead of soaking into it. We learn about how the coating on the penguins feathers helps them to stay dry. Use this collection of books from Epic! books to help your students learn more!

I created these penguin themed ten frame mats so students can practice making groups to ten with these adorable penguin shaped mini erasers!

We also practice making patterns with these cute penguin stampers. My students are able to create lots of different patterns with the variety of stampers that are included!

During our study of penguins, we also create a Penguin “Can-Have-Are” chart so students can share what they have learned about penguins. You can get the printables here to create that chart.

We also write about what we would do if we were a penguin! Click here to get the penguin printable pack for all of these activities!

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Reindeer Games

Each year, towards the craziness of the first semester, we have a day where we play “Reindeer Games”. Reindeer Games are a great way to review concepts we have learned throughout the semester and make one of the last few days before our Winter Break a little more fun (and easy on the teacher!).

I set up stations for my students to visit throughout the day, however, we have also played each of these Reindeer Games as a whole group, one at a time. Some years my students have been able to move independently to each station and complete it, other years, not so much. 🙂 . Most everything you see pictured here can be ordered from Oriental Trading and has been linked when possible.

This is our Reindeer Sight Word Toss game. I used clear library pockets and adhered them to the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Bean Bag Toss Game. I then used these printables to add our sight words to. I cut them out and placed them into the pockets. You can change out the words as needed to make this game leveled for your students.

My students love to Roll a Reindeer and this version can be played two ways! We like to play with objects. You will need some metallic chenille stems, mini hats, felted wool balls, wiggle eyes, and foam reindeer head cutouts. You will also need a die and this printable. Students roll the die and add the different parts of the reindeer. Alternatively, you can also play and add the materials to the paper itself instead of the foam reindeer heads. You can choose to have students glue each of the materials on, or just place them on the reindeer head for future use.

We have so much fun bowling each year and practicing subtraction skills! This cute set comes with 10 trees and two bowling balls. Students set up the pins (I usually put down 4 lines of tape on the ground to help in lining them up) and then gently roll the ball towards them. They then use this recording sheet and record the number of pins they knocked down and how many are left to create a math sentence.

This is another great game that helps us practice subtraction. You need two game markers, a dice, and this printable. Students roll the dice and move their marker back that amount of spaces. The first student to zero wins!

We also play a few rounds of Rudolph the Reindeer BINGO! Students can read a sight word out loud before covering the space or answering a math question (or you can just play BINGO!). My students also create a pair of these super cute Reindeer Glasses to wear while playing the game!

I also set up a station where my students can review sight words. They grab a recording sheet, pick up a rubber reindeer duckie and read the word on the bottom. After saying it, they record that word on this recording sheet.

In addition to all these fun activities, I wear my reindeer pajamas and antlers! We also read several books about reindeer to learn more about where they live, what they eat, and how they grow up! We spend some time drawing reindeer and work together to create a schema chart showing what we thought about reindeer, what we now know about reindeer, and any misconceptions we might have about reindeer. Epic books has some great books about reindeer you can read for free! (www.getepic.com).

As a parting gift for participating in Reindeer Games, I give each of my students a bag of goodies. They get a set of playing cards, new crayons, a pen, some stampers, a puzzle, and a cute bendy reindeer. 🙂

I hope you enjoy our peek into our annual Reindeer Games Day! My students love it and learn quite a bit about reindeer! It is a fun way to learn about this mammal and give in a bit to the craziness of the holiday season! 🙂

Fall product review

I am excited to share some products I just received from Carson Dellosa! I have used their products in my classroom for years and I am never disappointed in the quality.

First is this awesome handwriting book. I have two students who are struggling to form letters so I (and they) loved that they could practice making different kinds of lines before moving on to making letter. The activities in this book have already helped them tremendously!

Carson Dellosa also sent me several other handwriting books. The quality of these is amazing and will be great for continued handwriting practice! These are also a huge time saver because I can print off a few pages and send them home with students who need a bit more practice. I love in each of these books how large the space is for children to practice and how engaging the activities are.

I think I have every single themed notepad that Carson Dellosa has ever made so I was thrilled to be able to add some more to my hoard collection! I love using these shaped notepads to write sight words on! I write one word on each sheet and then laminate them. I then hang these around my classroom and students write the room. They learn to number their paper and write the corresponding sight word next to it. Just a fun way to practice sight words!

We love using BINGO games to review concepts we have learned about. I gave this BINGO game to one of m first grade colleagues and they had several fun rounds of BINGO happening in their room! Any time a student gets a BINGO, we love using fun seasonal stickers as a reward. The children LOVE collecting these and many have made a sticker collection on their daily take home folder!

I also use these stickers to help organize my classroom library. I place the larger stickers in the upper right corner so students know which basket they need to be returned to. This had cut down significantly on my time reorganizing books each day!

While I am sharing about books, check out this sweet new book that will soon be added to my classroom library!

My favorite thing about this book is that it is PERFECT for beginner readers! The sentences are short with lots of sight words and it is predictable text, so students can catch on quickly to the pattern and read it successfully by using pictures to help them with new words. It is a simple, fantastic addition to my library!

We had our first classroom library celebration yesterday and these crowns were a hit! The birthday student got to wear their crown all day and enjoyed receiving birthday wishes from others all around the school!

I LOVE that I only have to buy one package of crowns each year! These crowns come in a pack of 30, which is plenty even if I have new students move in later and they are from one of my favorite people, Melanie!

I am a brand ambassador for Carson Dellosa and was provided products to review.

Kristen 🙂

Get Your Skeletons Out of the Closet!

Friday, September 13th is the perfect day to get out your Halloween skeletons out of the closet and ready for October! I decided to take my skeleton into my classroom this year to help remind my students about the importance of healthy eating choices!

“Skelly” the Skeleton

“Skelly” (as my students later named him/her) greeted my students, dressed up in an apple costume as they walked into the classroom and had a basket of apples waiting just for them along with a sign reminding them to chose their snacks wisely on and after Halloween. 🙂

The best thing about “Skelly” is that he’s completely posable! I tucked some wrapped rolls of paper towels and some blankets inside his apple costume to help plump him up a bit. He was super simple to set up and set the stage to engage my young learners in a fun day of learning about apples! He will be heading home with me to grace my front door step and to hand out some yummy treats to our neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters in October!

Click here to learn more about “Skelly” and to see some other ways you can get your skeletons out of the closet and ready for Halloween! 🙂

If you shop for your skeleton today, you can save up to 50% off on lots of skeletons and if you use the exclusive code SQUAD19 today, Friday, September 13th, 2019, you can get free shipping from Oriental Trading Company on any size order!

Cactus Lesson Ideas with FREE Printables!

Who doesn’t love a cute cactus themed activity? I created some super simple, super cute cactus themed activities that your students can enjoy anytime of year (even in the summer!) Each of these activities are great for individual practice, center practice, partner practice, or even small group practice!

Just collect a few supplies and you will be ready to go! These printables are FREE!! There are two additional printables that also round out this collection of cactus themed activities that are perfect for anytime of year!

Click here to get your printables and to see the list of simple supplies you’ll need to make these activities happen!

Making CVC Words

One of the skills we practice from the middle of Kindergarten to the end of the year is making words! I want to share one of the ways we practice making words.

I love when my students can become the letters in the words we are making! The Pocket Pinnies from Oriental Trading Company were the perfect tool to help them do that! I love that this activity can be used with any words and you can customize the letters that you need simply by writing them on 4 x 6 sized index cards.

It is super quick and easy to change out the letters as needed and with 30 Pocket Pinnies in a set, there are enough for an entire class to be involved in making words. Students can pair up in groups to create words from the letters they are given in addition to using this activity as a whole group activity.

Click here to see more about how we make words and get ready to make some words with your students!

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.

Kwix stix 1

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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