Category Archives: Building Blocks/Language Arts

Literacy Schedule

We are required to teach a 90 minute literacy block each day.  I’ve been asked if I would share what my time looks like within that 90 minutes so here is what it looks like right now:

8:35-8:50 Morning Message (usually something on the Promethean Board tied to our big book)

8:50-9:10 Big Book (we usually echo read, choral read, and really dig into the text of our book for the week)

9:10-9:40 Literacy Work Station (12-15 stations, 2 students at each)

Drama Work Station, Science Work Station, ABC/Word Work Station, Big Book Work Station, Promethean     Board Work Station, Listening Work Station, Library Work Station, Computer Work Station, Writing Work Station, Pocket Chart Work Station, Magnet Work Station, Sound Work Station, Puzzles & Games Work Station, and 2 Work with the Teacher Work Stations–we will add Buddy Reading Station 2nd semester

9:40-10:00 Imagine It!/Open Court (just the Phonemic Awareness portion)

10:00-10:15 Predictable Chart

10:15-10:50 Writer’s Workshop (mini lesson for 5-10 minutes at the beginning of this time, then I conference with 4 children per day as the rest write on their own)

Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

Kristen 🙂

New Pictures

Here are some more new pictures from my classroom:

Our Meal worms…

Meal worms are really easy to keep and you get to watch the life cycle happen over and over again.  I just put corn meal in the bottom and some apple slices and carrots.  You also will need to add some water in a dish that the meal worms cannot get in to keep the humidity up.

I got the 2 tanks, lids, a gram scale (for weighing the meal worms), 2 microscopes, and a hand held microscope from a Donors Choose grant in May.

Here are some new pictures of my Literacy Work Stations.

This is the ABC/Word Work Station.

Right now, we have letter cards on a ring in the bag with Wikki Stix.  The children make the letters with the Wikki Stix.

The children also have the opportunity to put Wikki Stix on each others names at the ABC/Word Work Station.  These are laminated.

Here is our Listening Station.  The black and white bags hold the books and CD.  The headphones are stored in a cleaning tote.  I am using the head headphones from my non-working leap pads.

I also have several books and their CD’s available on the ledge just above the books.  I try to put the newest titles on the ledge and the older ones in the bags.

The is our Pocket Chart Station.  Last year, I used a full size chart, but this year, I decided to make it more kid-sized and used these pocket charts from the Dollar Spot at Target.

I took all of my kids pictures and glued them on sentence strips next to their names and then laminated them.  The children sort the names by “Boy/Girl” or Alphabetical order.  I’ve also added a poem about Pets (you can find it in the Interactive Charts Book that goes along with Building Blocks).

This is my Drama Work Station with the Chicka Chicka Tree in the top bag.  Two other bags also now hold the drama props for Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Mouse Paint (I got them all through a Donors Choose grant).

A look inside the Chicka Chicka Bag.  There is the large tree, the velcro letters, and an copy of the book.

The Brown Bear, Brown Bear bag.  The book is missing…! 😉

Overhead Work Station

These are the overhead transparencies I made to go along with Brown Bear and Chicka Chicka.  The children use the pictures of them I printed on transparency sheets (see two posts ago) and put them in the blanks.  They then read the words and then put a new child’s picture in.

I also made some to go along with Cookie’s Week and I’ll post those soon.

Big Book Work Station

I found these cute pointers in the Dollar Spot at Target and we use them for pointing to words in Big Books and for reading the names and words at Pocket Chart Station.

Now for a few random things! 🙂

I got these puzzles at Wal-Mart for $3.00 each.  They show the life cycle of  a frog and a butterfly.  We’ll be using the butterfly puzzle next week, when we learn about Monarchs.  I’ll have it in my Science Work Station.

I also found these cute signs in the Target Dollar Spot.  They are great for using signals rather than trying to talk over all the children! 🙂  I use them as reminders when we are sitting on the floor.  They work really well!

I had a few questions about the kind of hooks I use to hang all the bags up around my room in my Work Stations.  Here is a picture of them.

Here’s a close up of them.

I’ll be updating with more pictures in a little while!  Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! 😉

Kristen 🙂

Leaves 2009

This week, we are learning about leaves and trees:


I copied several pages from the back of Leaves!, Leaves!, Leaves! and Leaf Man and the children compared the leaves they found on our leaf walk to them and tried to identify what kinds of trees we have on our school campus.


The Alphabet Chart that you see in one of the pictures is something I learned at a workshop I attended today.  I’ll share more about that and several other things in a few days–need to review it and process it a little more! 🙂


Kristen 🙂

Bats Day #1 and Day #2 2009

This week, we’ve been learning all about BATS!!  We have several students in our school who do not celebrate the fall holidays, so I always try to keep things neutral and not offend anyone.  In October, we learn about bats, spiders, pumpkins, and leaves, all kind of tying into the holidays, yet we do not discuss ways in which they might relate–these are just things you might see in our area in October!  Some pictures which are probably self-explanatory!


This is our Big Book this week!  I also created a PDF file to help re-tell this story.  There are 5 bats and an equal and minus signs to help the children understand the math.




These are some other Big Books we will be reading this week.







This is the “-at” cave (not the bat cave mind you!).  We made a list of -at family words in our morning message on Monday and then made bats today and they seemed to belong together–so the “-at” cave was born!

I’m in the process of finishing it, so I will take new pictures once it’s done.


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 🙂

LWS Check Sheet

Hi Everyone!

Only 4 1/2 more days of school left! 🙂  I’ll actually be really sad when the last day arrives, but it feels nice to say it now, being on this side of it! 🙂

I’ve been working on planning my workshop this summer.  We’ve decided to call it, “The Farmer’s Market; Inquiry Based Science through Literacy Work Stations”.  Catchy, huh?

I was asked today to present it (okay, more like told that I was going to be!) presenting at the ISRA (Indiana State Reading Association) Conference in March 2010! 🙂  What an honor!

Okay, on to the reason for this post…

I made several sheets to help me get organized so I thought I would share them with you and see what you think.  Now, you can only have them if you promise to leave me a comment! 🙂  Honor system here! I want to know if you would use them, if they are user friendly, and if they make sense!

Here they are in no particular order:

LiteracyWorkStationsPlanningSheet (this one I posted a few days ago…but here it is in the same post with all the others!)

MonarchplanningsheetLWS (this one is the sheet that is posted above, however I filled this one in-at the workshop, this will be given; along with several others to the teachers to help them plan/get started planning and it will also show them the activites they will complete during the workshop)

sciencethemegrid (I created this sheet to show when I teach particular science themes throughout the year, some overlap from month to month)

LWS Check Sheet (This little beauty I created about 5 minutes ago–I wanted to have a sheet that would not only  help me make sure that I had materials for every station this summer during our workshop, but also throughout the school year as well.  It makes the planning sheet above seem a little redundant, but think of this one more of a quick check sheet that you could use when getting materials out/storing them away.  I envision myself putting this sheet into a large Ziploc with the materials that are checked so that they are ready for next year and I know what stations can be open/closed during that theme)

Anyway…there you go!  Remember HONOR SYSTEM–I want comments here people!!! 🙂  If you leave me a comment, I might be persuaded to send 4-5 people a copy of all the handouts given out at my workshop–and I know from the daily hit counter that there are more than just 12 of you out there!  SO LEAVE ME A COMMENT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???!! 🙂

Kristen 🙂


Hi Everyone!

I’ve been too busy to post regularly, what with the end of the school year and the start of the summer of learning for me! 🙂  Here’s what June looks like for me (already–and it’s not even here yet!!)  June 1-5 and 10-12 Science Academy (I’m returning for a 3rd year) June 8th is open and June 9th, I’m learning about Open Court and the possibility of using it in our schools next year for Interventions.  June 15th, I’m presenting a workshop, June 16th, another one-day workshop offered by our district and then June 17th-19th and June 22nd-26th, I’m taking a General Economics Workshop for 3 credits.  Oh, and on May 29th and 30th, I’m taking International Bacculeraute (sp?) training so that I can incorporate it into my classroom (we’re going k-12).

In the meantime, this week, we’ve been reading 5  Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed–why did I choose this book??  Because we’re all so excited about the end of the school year, we’ve been acting like a bunch of Monkeys! 🙂

Monday, we took a picture walk and then read the story, we also started a Predictable Chart titled…Monkeys…

Tuesday, we listened to the book on tape and played some games and sung some songs that were on the reverse side of the tape.  We also started a KWL chart about Monkeys.  The children knew a little bit about Monkeys, and ended up with some great questions that they “Wondered” about.

Wednesday, we were supposed to go on a field trip to our local park, but it got rained out, so instead we watched A Bugs Life! 🙂  It was a fun time!

Thursday, we read another book about Monkeys, filled in some of the “l’s” on our KWL chart and then we read a book about Lemurs…which led to Madagascar…which led to me agreeing to watch it tomorrow afternoon! 🙂  In the morning we are having our Kindy Olympics.

We have 7 different stations set up and the children (with the help of LOTS of parents) will play their way through the events–just for fun, no competition!   We will have a parachute, trikes, relay races, bean bag tossing, jump ropes, obstacle course, and kickball.  We’ve never done it this way before–we usually have the Kindy 500 (since we’re here in Indiana!), but we wanted to change things up a bit for us and them this year!

Kristen 🙂


We are reading a big book this week titled “Seeds”.


Because there are a few students who will be leaving early this week to head out on Spring Break, we did not do a Predictable Chart, however we did do several neat Inquiry Based things in Science.  I like to begin almost all my themes/units with a KWL/OWL chart to asses where my children are at and what they are interested in.  We completed the “K” portion of this chart first, then after Observing the seeds (see below) we completed the “O” portion and the “W” (wonder) section.  I like to change the “W” from “What we WANT to Learn” to “What we WONDER” because it gets the children asking questions of the “I Wonder…” variety, something that is holding them back from exploring the world!  At this young age, they know what they want to learn about somethings, but they have no basis to draw from for many Science concepts (some do!!).  Asking “I Wonder…” questions sets the ground work for them to wonder, so ALL of my KWL charts are either KOWL or OWL charts. 





This is the “Wonder” section continued…


I gave each table of children a random container of seeds that I had leftover from previous vegetable plantings:

Here is the result:





Today, Tuesday, we planted all kinds of vegetables in Containers.  My kids took such an interest in the Seeds book that I went and got many of the seeds mentioned in the story.















The next few months (until the end of May) will be spent on growing things/plants/bugs/insects/Monarchs/Jack and the Beanstalk/and anything else that fits in to one of these categories! 🙂


Kristen 🙂

Growing Vegetable Soup

I’m tired of the cold weather, so I decided to get everyone excited about Spring and do some planting!  But plant what??

That’s when I chose our Big Book for this week: Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert.  


We also started a new Predictable Chart:


(Sorry the computer is being funky here–I’ll try to undo it’s funky-ness later!)

So then it was time to plant:

Each child was given two deli containers, one small and one large.  I cut holes in the bottom of the small one and the children put some wicking through and then put it on top of the larger container.  They then added peat and some soil to the small container and planted their choice of 6 vegetables (squash, cucumbers, radishes, peas, tomatoes, peppers).  We then watered them from the top and all the water seeps through to the bottom and collects there.  The wicking helps keep the plants constantly moist, yet not too wet and so the plants grow much faster and the quality is always better.  This is how you grow Wisconsin Fast Plants as well–those are amazing if you’ve never tried them.  I was going to do them again this year, but I cannot for the life of me find the seeds from last year’s crop! 🙂


We had two 1/2 days this week, so we did a lot of writing and catching up on things.  I need to go type my newsletter now–so I’ll be back in the next few days to update more! 😉

Kristen 🙂

Dr. Seuss’s Birthday 3/2/09

We will be celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday along with many others tomorrow and here’s what we will be doing:

I will be dressing up like The Cat!  I wear all black and my red and white striped stove pipe hat–no paint or anything! 🙂

Here is the link to (there are TONS of printables there and games for the kids to play online)

The Kinder. kids will be rotating through 6 stations, one for each table in my room.  I will lay it all out in the AM, but generally here’s what the stations will entail:

Station 1: The students will color a white hat with red stripes (I’ll photo tomorrow) and then we will staple it on a pink/red sentence strip.

Station 2: The students will color and cut out a red bow tie and a button that says “I’m Hooked On Reading” (from Copycat Magazine)

Station 3: The students will complete a maze I got years ago from and try to get the cat back to his hat.

Station 4: The students will play the -at family word game and tally the number of times they roll each word

Station 5: The students will create a door hanger for their bedroom door so their family knows not to disturb them when reading! (from Copycat Magazine)

Station 6: The students will complete a rhyming sheet, matching two pictures that rhyme in the -at and -an families (from Teacher’s Helper Magazine)

We will be reading Dr. Seuss books all day long and listening to books on tape as well! Afterwards, we will graph our favorite Dr. Seuss book!

What do you do?

Stay tuned for pictures tomorrow! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

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