Category Archives: Binders

Frugal Friday #1

Welcome to my favorite day of the week! 🙂

Frugal Friday | Kristen's Kindergarten

During the summer on Friday’s, I will share with you some frugal ideas I use in my classroom.

First up…black socks!

Yes, black socks!!

Best idea ever!

Frugal Friday | Kristen's Kindergarten

We use black socks in our classroom for a couple of things, but mostly as erasers.

We used to use tissues as dry erase erasers on our whiteboards, but each child would have to get up and get one each time we needed one…wasted too much time!

I thought that there had to be a better option–I started thinking of things that could erase the dry erase marker and came up with SOCKS!!  Black socks of course…they hide all the mess that gets erased, so they are perfect for the job!

The best part is that when they get dirty, I can bring them home, toss them in the washer and they are good as new!

They work great on dry erase boards, sheet protectors, clear pockets, and my dry erase stick on stars!  They even erase dry erase crayon. 🙂

We have also been known to use them as mitten substitutes if someone cannot find one of theirs. 🙂

Do you have any Frugal Friday ideas you would like to share?

Leave a comment below and I’ll pick my favorite Frugal Friday idea to receive my dry erase friendly Binder Pack #1!!


Magical Monday 5

MagicalMondayBanner copy

So remember last week when I said I was working on a new lesson plan book for myself?  I sat down last week to make the tabbed dividers for my new binder and here’s how I made them:


First I used my label punch (I sell Stampin’ Up! products and this is a retired punch–but I can probably get you one if you’d like it!) I punched out 5 colors, two tabs in each color (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue) because we are in school for 10 months.  I printed a label on my DYMO LetraTag with clear label tape for each month. photo

These are the papers I used.  They are retired Stampin’ Up papers, but are some of my favorites because of the colors, so I decided to dip into my hoard of them and use them. 🙂


Then I used adhesive and stuck the tabs onto the papers at different intervals so they were spaced out and not overlapping with the month before or the month after. Then, I laminated them in my PurpleCows laminator.  The size of the papers was 8 x 9.  I couldn’t get an entire 8 1/2 x 11 sized paper plus the tab through the laminator, so I cut them down a bit to fit. 🙂  photo

Here they are all laminated!  I used 5 mil laminating film, so they are thick and won’t come apart easily when I flip from month to month.  I left about a 1/2 inch of laminating film on the back end of the dividers so that I could punch the holes in them.

I did decide to go with a 3 ring binder instead of binding it myself because after looking at last year’s lesson plans, there are so many documents I have to insert through the year, that I need it to be flexible! 🙂  I got a binder that’s 1 1/2 inches thick, so I won’t have the page turning problems like I did in the 1 inch binder. 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Kindergarten Binder Pack #1

Hi All!

I just posted another new item in my Teachers Pay Teacher (TpT) store!

I’ve been wanting to revamp my binder pages for awhile now and so I took some time today to redo them.  I used to use them during our calendar time (but with the common core standards taking the focus away from that), I wanted to make something my students could use when they first get to my room each morning, so I came up with these 8 sheets to keep them happy! 🙂


These sheets are what I came up with.  I hope you like them…if you would like me to make activities specific to your classroom or students, please let me know and I’d be happy to do that! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

P.S. You can click on the TpT button on the left hand side to visit my store. 🙂

2010-2011 Classroom Pictures

Hello Everyone!

I was hard at work at school today arranging my classroom in a new, totally different way.  After re-reading Literacy Work Stations, some changes were needed and the most important thing I did today was add a Science Work Station.  Can you believe it?? Me, All things Science Girl, did NOT have a proper Science center!  Done!  I do now!!

Here are some before pictures, what I walked into today.  They go from right to left around the room.  I was standing in my door way when I took them:

Below is what I was able to get done today:

Here you see my mailboxes (far right) and the kids tables that I moved closer to the carpet. My drama station will be on the closed door next to the blue cabinets.  I will hang the drama props in bags that I got from the dollar spot at target.  I will put one or two books out with the props in the bags and hang them on the wall with hooks.  I think that will help get the props back into the right spots and with the right books.  I’ll take pictures once I get that more established.   The table that you see will house my “Social Studies Work Station”–still in progress!

This is a better view of where the kids tables are.  I have six of them, five rectangles and one circle.  I moved my horseshoe table under the television so that I can use it for small groups.  I’m starting my grad classes later in August and will need this table for many of my “projects”.  My degree will be an M.A.E in Elementary Education with a Reading Focus.

Here is a long shot of the room.  It looks so open here!  And narrow too!  I pushed the tables all over to the right side and saved the left side for our whole group area, writing, computer, science, library, and listening work stations.

In the very front of this picture you can see my sand table (piled high with big books because the tub I had them in busted into 12 pieces when I moved it off the table).  You also see the back of a tall and short bookcase which serves as a wall to my library work station.  It used to be back in the corner by the window you see.

Here is another look at part of the library.  The books you see in magazine holders are my read aloud collection that I sorted out last year.  I wrote a grant to get the bookshelf and the magazine holders in January.

This is another look at my new library work station.

And another view.  I will be putting black baskets on a few of the shelves and after I label the books, they will go in the baskets. I’ll do that tomorrow.

This is a picture of the backside of the library work station.  The back of the book shelf you see (smooth, brown) will have small pocket charts hanging from it for the Word Study Work Station.  You can also see the blue, red, and green shelves that house my baggie book collection.

The table you see to the right is my new Writing Work Station.  I used to have a writing desk there with cubbies, but decided I needed to create one to suit my needs.  I’ll be making a table skirt for both of these tables and my science table with fabric I got at Wal-Mart (5 yards for 5 bucks).  I spent $20 and got 20 yards of fabric that will be more than enough to cover all three tables.

Here is another look at the Writing Work Station.

This is a shelf that holds more materials for the Writing Work Station.

This is a picture of our large group space.

Calendar area–still unfinished!  I can’t bring myself to put up August yet! 😉

This is my new Science area.  Looking un-finished still, but I need to figure out what to put here first! I’m going to make a skirt for this table as well.

Here is my small group teaching area, covered in all the back to school goodness of paper work and binders!

Here is another view of the room from the opposite end of the door.

One last view.  I’m going back in tomorrow to work on it some more, but this will be the basic layout this year.

Kristen 🙂

New Binder Pages

As with anything you do in teaching, you work with something for awhile and then decide it needs to change…so my binder pages are getting an overhaul.  I was noticing the kids were having trouble if I oriented the pages vertically, so I changed the layout to horizontal, that way the rings of the binders or folder prongs don’t get in their way. You will also notice that there are now permanent places for the children to write numbers on the money and base ten block pages.  I’m working on a new number writing page as well (to go with the Dr. Jean Number Writing Song…it takes 2 minutes and we get in practice writing numbers everyday!!)

Included are a new color page, money page, base ten blocks page, and tally mark sheet.  Also, I’m uploading the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets I use on my visual presenter to show the children the animal they should be pointing to and singing about while singing Dr. Jean’s color song.  I model how to point to each letter as we sing.  I’m sorry the pictures don’t match up exactly with the color page for the binders itself…I made my set about 7 years ago and I can’t find the clip art for them anymore and couldn’t get them to shrink without looking ick!  They are old school clip art! 🙂






Q & A about binders

Q: How and when do you use binders?

A: I use them daily, from the first day of school.  I introduce one page at a time, beginning with their name, then the calendar, days of the week/months, weather graph, money, base ten, days in school, tally marks, color, shape, and number songs, until I have introduced them all.  If we did their name on day one, day two would then be their name and the calendar…just keep adding a page, until you are doing them all. The birthday and tooth pages are used on special days (birthday=first day of the month we are in school, we add tally marks for that month’s birthdays, tooth=when a child loses a tooth)

To assemble the binders, I use 1 inch 3 ring binders.  Each of the pages are inserted into page protectors back to back (in the order listed above).  The children use dry erase markers to complete the pages that require marking.  There are a few pages (days of the week/months and color song) that the children just use their finger to point to the words.  The children do all of the recording…I never write in their binders, but they do help each other by keeping their friends on the correct page and activity.

I like to use these binders to help reinforce calendar concepts and to allow each child to have practice all the calendar activities each day in a low risk way.  I might lean over to correct their number writing or to make sure they are completing the activity correctly, but I want to see what they can do on their own! 🙂  By the end of the year, the children can complete the binders independently, in under 5 minutes.  Not only do we talk about what we are doing on each page daily, I have the children explain what they are doing and why to other adults just to check their level of understanding.  It’s amazing how they explain the base ten blocks and money pages!

I hope to get a page that looks like a clock face as well, so that we can practice telling time to the hour on a daily basis.  I’m thinking that if I just had a clock face, the children could draw in the hands to correspond to the number on the calendar or a random time that I tell them (just to the hour and half hour). What do you think?

I hope these pages help!

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Kristen 🙂

Classroom Photos 2009-2010, Long Post! :)

I charged my batteries in the camera and took some pictures.  I’ll take you on a tour and you can also check out my photos from last year here to see the differences.

Everything is mostly in the same place, but a few things were changed.  First, I’ll start with some general views:


This is a look at my new computer area; last year the table was perpendicular to where it is now and there was a tall white cabinet in front of the back half of the blue bulletin board you see there.


Looking at my Listening Center Work Station (it’s on the backside of my writing station)


Library Work Station–I moved the book cases around and added my light up palm tree for some fun


Calendar area, bench where I sit, my Big Book teaching cart


The back of my big book cart, this is where Drama Work Station will go–tentatively, I may move it


A view of the mess that is my room! 🙂  The house, loft, my desk and a few tables


My desk, this year I stacked my filing cabinets and moved a table next to my desk.


We moved my son’s train table from home to school and it’s up in the loft now.


Here’s a view of the rest of the loft


My pocket chart stand my hubby built last year–I’ve come up with some new ideas how to use it! 🙂


I use this pencil pouch to store what ever the children are working on at Pocket Chart Work Station


Here’s the new part:  I’m using the back of the chart for Magnetic Work Station during LWS.  Below is an explanation…


Here’s an upclose view.  I just hung it on the 2nd rung down with some of those metal binding rings.


I put magnetic letters in these pencil pouches and velcro-ed  them to the stand…


Here’s the velcro


Sometimes, the children will not be using the board with the spaces I’ve defined.  Instead, they will use these sheets I made last year.


I put magnetic strips on the back to hold them on.


Here’s the desk where my student teacher will sit–do you think she has enough prizes from me?!?!


Binders–waiting for my classlist to arrive so I can write names on them and put their sheet inside for practicing their name


I signed my classroom up through TerraCycle so we can recycle our snack and Capri Sun containers.  These are some I purchased from Target to show my children.


After our first round of Getting to Know you, we will put beads into plastic water bottles with sand so the children can find the letters in their name.


This is how I’ve organized them.


Some birthday certificates I got from the Target dollar spot to recognize birthdays.


A game called Whiz Kids from Discovery Toys I will use with my kids this year.  You pick a letter and a category and then get the number of points on the letter card if you can name something starting with that letter in that category.


This shelf sits next to my bench and will be home to several Literacy Work Stations.


My small group area, parent volunteer area, and where the wonderful, amazing Pam will work!! 🙂


Listening Work Station


The tape recorder sits on top of the cart and the tapes and head phones are stored in the drawers


My basket of things for Pam (yeah!! Pam!!) to copy and pass out to the kids for me.

There it is…I’m going back tomorrow to clean up some more and work on pulling things out for my Math Work Stations and figuring out where they will go! 🙂

Kristen 🙂


I created this sheet to use in my Kindergarten student’s binders next year.  I want them to be able to graph various things and not use so much paper. They can use dry erase markers to fill in the boxes and we can use this graph over and over again.

I also designed it to be used at a new Literacy Work Station I’ve recently created.  I haven’t settled on it’s name yet, but it will be one of the following:

Word Family Work Station

Rhyming Work Station

Sight Words Work Station

This grid can be used for Roll-A-_____ games (word family games, rhyming words, sight words, etc.) and can be customized to what ever you need it to be.  At this point it’s blank, but as the year goes on, (next school year), I’ll post them as I make them, and then there will be an entire collection of them! 🙂


I am hopeful that it will work when you download it-I made it in Word and it’s just a table with nothing in it, so let me know if you are able to use it.

Please also let me know how you use it or plan to use it and I can make a list for everyone to share ideas with! 🙂

This Week’s Lesson Plans

Awhile back, I had a request to see what a typical page in my lesson plan book looked like, how I get everything in in one day or in a week.  I’ve completed my plans for this week (December 15th-18th, 2008) and I’m going to post them below.  They are very general, as this week is kind of a crazy one with a All School Holiday Sing/Convocation, Winter Party, All School Volley Ball Game, Polar Express, and anything else that is happening that I forgot to add.  I’m going to start saving all my plans on the computer, just for sanity’s sake next year and the following years–it will be easier to make updates that way! 🙂  Let me know if you have any questions–there are some abbreviations listed that mean something to me, but may not to you! 🙂


Also, our lunch time was switched from 10:40 to 10:30 so my schedule changed a bit from the one I posted at the beginning of the summer/school year.  I had to move Writer’s Workshop to the afternoon-right after recess/lunch, so you will see that change, but it did buy me 10 more minutes for Literacy Work Stations! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Thanksgiving Week # 1

Thanksgiving week (or any short week for that matter) tend to be weeks where I am a little more laid back, less structured in my teaching.  I save all those fun projects and ideas for these weeks and they always turn out to be great!

Today for example, we did not follow our day through our regular routine.  There were parts of it here and there.

We began our day by doing calendar and then we updated our binders.  I then read the children the Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaola.  I then remembered that I was able to find the movie of the Legend of the Indian Paintbrush (Reading Rainbow style) so we watched that and learned a little bit about Native American way of life.  We then shifted to the Pilgrims and we looked over our Scholastic News about chores that pilgrim children did.  We also looked at the Pilmoth Plantation website ( and shared thoughts with each other about what we saw. 

We then totally changed subjects and we all cut apart newspaper to create more bedding for our composting bin.  I read a book last night that told me how to get rid of the gnats and I hope this works!  

We then had our usual Literacy Work Stations, lunch, and indoor recess.

After that, we worked on creating our Pilgrim girl bonnets and our Native American headdresses for our Thanksgiving Meal tomorrow in our Dining Room.  I will take some pictures of that tomorrow.  Here are some of them in creation: 


These are the bonnets–very easy to make, just cut two slits about halfway up the page and 1/3 of the way in on each side.  Take the two end flaps and turn them so they are parallel to the middle flap and staple.  Punch two holes in the sides that are left and tie with string.


These are easy too!  Trace three feathers, have the children cut “fringes” in the sides of the feathers to make them look more feathery and then staple to a decorated sentence strip.  I taught the boys how to draw some Native American symbols (just Google it!) and they decorated the strips that way.  I’ve also had them glue on patterns with foam seasonal shapes as well and that works great too. 

One thing we still might do is to make “wampum” necklaces this year.  Large macaroni, dyed with rubbing alcohol and food coloring and strung on necklaces.  We also did not make Pilgrim Boy Hats this year–they wanted to be Native Americans! 🙂

We then had a convocation and went home!  Busy, busy day! 

See you tomorrow!

Kristen 🙂

Behavior Card

****Edit–this somehow linked to the wrong file, so I’ll post the corrected one soon! ***** 9/9/08

**** The correct one is now here!***** Kristen 😉

I had to sit down and make a new behavior card because my 1/2 day cards just weren’t working for Full Day! 🙂  This is what I came up with:


I would have liked to keep it down to 1/2 of a page, but with all the different chunks of time and activities that Full Day allows for–I just couldn’t make it happen.  I’m leaving the document unlocked so that you can change the times if you would like and use it in your classroom.  I had a particular student in mind when creating it, so if you need to include small time frames or larger, feel free.  I usually copy 200 of these and then keep them handy and fill them out as needed.  I try to use them as often as possible, but also realizing that after about 1 month of a student having “great” days, I wean them off because I want them to understand that they have truly changed their behavior and no longer need my reminders.

I tape these to the table where the child sits (I tried keeping it with me, but I kept laying them down and loosing them!) and that way every time they sit down, they can self-monitor how their day is going thus far.  I also leave these when I have a subsistute in my room to help with the “difficult” children 🙂 .

My husband-being the wonderful Special Ed. teacher that he is, went round and round with me about the time frame chunks in the afternoon as opposed to the 30 minute frames in the morning.  We are doing less structured activities in the PM, and I find that I have less problems there, so I want to try as hard as I can to give my students the benefit of the doubt.  Our AM activities are the mostly academic times and I want to stress to the students that what we are doing is important and deserves their attention.  You change it to reflect your classroom! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

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