Category Archives: January

January Problem Solving

I’m on a roll creating things for my classroom (and posting them for sale in my TPT store!).  I’m trying to get as many things made as I can during winter break so that I can have some free evenings to train for the Mini-Marathon in May. 🙂

This time, I created a 30 page pack of sheets that can be used during math for your students (and mine) to reinforce the Math Common Core Standards K.OA.1-5.  There are at least 5 activities for each of the 5 standards and these would be great as morning work, as a math journal, or as independent/small group work.  They would also work on an interactive white board (SMART Board or Promethean Board).

These are the 5 standards I’ll be focusing on the most this next 9 weeks, as that’s what my data indicated I needed to teach more about. 🙂  I’ll be using these in conjunction with other mini-lessons and then these will be used for reinforcement. 🙂 I’ve even included an optional cover page if you wanted to make these into a January Math Journal. 🙂

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You can click the picture to go to my TPT store and check out the preview and the whole pack. 🙂

I’m trying to decide if a February Pack would be in the future. 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Ice, Ice, Baby!

For the past two weeks, we’ve been experimenting with ice. This is the first unit this year that has been truly all inquiry. Usually, I have to provide some leading questions (ok, MANY leading questions!) to get us around to where we need to be, but this time, it took only three.

What do you know about ice?
What are your experiences with ice?
When do we usually see ice?

We only got the first one answered and went in a completely different direction than what I had planned (at least that’s what I wanted them to think!!). I was expecting to use the other two questions and after 2 weeks now, we still haven’t gotten around to answering them!! Did I mention I LOVE INQUIRY??

Below are some pictures of the things we have been doing. Most of the charts you can probably figure out, but we did two experiments and I wanted to explain them at bit.
Yesterday, after talking about ice and how to get rid of it, we determined that we wanted to test different types of salt. I happened to have (wink, wink) rock salt and table salt in the room along with some ice and cups. We had 5 different types of things to test to determine how best to get rid of ice; the sun (a flashlight), our hands, rock salt, table salt, and a base (the control group). We waited 5 minutes and then measured to see how much water was in each one.
Today, we used dirt, gravel, hot water, and sea salt to try the experiment again. This time we used an ice journal to record our findings. I am presenting at NSTA in Philadelphia in March and this is part of what I will be sharing.

Okay, now on the to the pictures:

Kristen 🙂

Snowflakes #2

Here are some pictures that show how we have been learning about snowflakes this week:

They should be pretty self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, let me know!

More pictures of this week’s ideas coming on Friday!

Also, good news… I was able to get my Farmer’s Market Snowflakes paperwork rescued off my crashed computer so I can now offer the e-mail option in my Kristen’s Kindergarten store.

Kristen 🙂


Have you ever done a lesson on snowflakes with your students?  A hands-on, inquiry based lesson?  At our last district Kindergarten meeting, I shared some ideas I read about in the December 2009 issue of Science & Children magazine and added some of my own!

My students will be learning about snowflakes for at least 2 weeks beginning when we return to school on Monday!  I have lots of ideas planned and have typed them all up into a document that includes a LWS planning sheet, the 5E model grid, and a list of other ideas for using snowflakes in your classroom.  I have it posted for sale on my Kristen’s Kindergarten Store blog.  At this point I am only able to send paper copies (my desktop computer crashed…bummer) and the cost is $10.00 plus $2.00 shipping.  For more information, you can click the link above! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

The Mitten

For the last 2 weeks, my children and I have been reading and learning about The Mitten by Jan Brett.

I’ll give you a run down of what we have been doing day by day, then I’ll post separately about 100’s day tomorrow! 🙂

Monday: We took a picture walk through the book and then I read the story aloud to them.  To incorporate a little science, we read a book about the Mole (from the story) and we made a chart listing all the things we learned about moles.  The children were fascinated with the idea of a mole, so of course, I had to go back to the school libarary and find more books about them!  Our Predictable Chart for the week was called “The Mitten…” and the children each gave me ideas about the mitten from the story.  We also learned another addition/subtraction game, I’ll post that in another post as well.

Tuesday: We took a “Memory Walk” as I like to call it, through the story and the children told me about what they remembered happening on each page and then I read the story to them again.  We also learned about Snowshoe Hares/Rabbits and made a list of all the things we learned.  We also interviewed a child in my class who has a rabbit at home and she shared with us how to care for and feed a rabbit, so we added that to the chart as well.

Wednesday, I read the story once and then the children choral read it with me.  Up next, the Hedgehog!  He had a long list and we found out that another child in our class had previously had a hedgehog for a pet and he shared his feeding tips for hedgehogs!

Thursday, we told the story using the masks from Jan Brett’s website. We had to do this twice so that everyone got a chance to be an animal.  We also used sentences from the Predictable Chart that I cut up and we put them back in order.  The children loved learning about badgers and the chart about them was FULL of facts!  We had a 2 hour delay.

Friday, we made a class book from our PC sentences.  I have had the children write their sentences at the bottom of their papers instead of me copying them and printing them each week.  They are doing a great job, handwriting is improving, and so is that left to right concept.  I’m also noticing that the spacing between words is getting better by having them do this.  The book is really cute and I have to make copies of it for my National Board portfolio before binding them together. We also read about foxes and made a chart about them.  We had a 2 hour delay.

Monday: No School-MLK Jr. Day

Tuesday: We gathered to watch the inauguration as a school, so we did pretty much that all day! 🙂

Wednesday: We played catch up learning about owls and bears.  Two charts in one day!  One in the AM and one in the PM parts of the day.  I also talked with the parents of incoming Kindergarten students for next year, so I was out of the room for 45 minutes during our AM literacy time.

Thursday: We read about mice first thing and made our chart.  At 9am, I recorded my video for my National Board Certification.  Here’s the basic idea of what I did.  Using the charts that we have been making for the last 2 weeks, I made a Venn Diagram and the children helped me to sort the animals into groups by eating habits; herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore.  I then had them pick two of their favorite animals and write one thing that was the same about them and one thing that was different about them (that was my assessment).  They did a great job! 🙂

Friday: 100’s day–see my next post! 🙂

I am preparing to speak to the district Kindergarten teachers in two weeks about Literacy Work Stations as well as websites for Kindergarten students.  If you are intersted in seeing other, please leave me a comment on this post (which automatically e-mails me) and I will post them if I am able! 🙂

I’ve also been asked to speak at the ICE (Indiana Computer Educators Conference) next week about my Monarch Migration project and how I use technology in Kindergarten.  I’ll post the info for that, just as soon as I get it finished.  Again, if you would like see that, leave me a comment and I’ll try to get something posted for you.

I hope you all know that what I list each day is not all that we do in a day–we actually do MUCH, MUCH more, I just post the highlights and things that change from day to day.  I didn’t want you to think that our whole day was taken up by this! 🙂

On to 100’s day! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

The Inaguration

WOW!!  What a day!  My principal arranged the day so that we started our day of celebration by talking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his hopes and dreams for the future.  We then made our way to Barack Obama until we all gathered together in the gym/dining room to watch the inaguration together as a community.  It was unbelievable!  Everytime Obama’s name was mentioned or the kids saw a picture of him, they went crazy!  The room was so full of noise!  It was so cool to see how even the smallest children knew that our country needed this change and what it meant for them and their futures!  Many of the children in the older grades shared their feelings through poetry, songs, and readings, and you could tell that in this new Presidency that their small voices would be heard!

My kids did such a great job!  We ended up sitting together for 3 hours!!  We had a little break in between for lunch, but they hung in there and not one child asked to use the restroom because they were all so enamored with what was unfolding before them.

I didn’t get any teaching in (other than calendar and updating our binders), but I feel as though the children got to witness an event far greater than anything I could have ever shared with them and I can’t wait for them to grow up and share with their children this amazing day!

As I sat watching the children, all I could hear in the back of my head was Dr. Phil saying, “This is gonna be a changing day for you!” and how right he is!

My hope is that my children took away the message of hope.  It’s always out there, and though some get there in different ways, there is always some thing to keep hoping for.  My other wish is that my children saw that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how humble your beginnings are, you can do great things!

How did you spend this day? With your students?  Anyone make it to DC and see it first hand?

I also registered my son for Kindergarten today–my baby will be in Kindergarten next year-YIKES!!  What a wonderful day to get him started on a journey that will last the rest of his life!  Look out PTO here I come! 🙂  I can’t wait to share all those wonderful moments with him and to be able to participate with him in life–however it happens!

Kristen 🙂

The Jacket I Wear In The Snow Pictures

I posted the pictures that go along with this story under the Lang. tab. (it is the 2nd up from the bottom) I use these pictures over several days to help the children work with oral sequencing skills.  I also write the names of the items on sentence strips.  On Day 2 of this book, we will sequence the pictures.  Day 3 we will sequence the words, and Day 4, we will sequence both words and pictures.  Day 5 we will use the pictures to help us act it out.  Day 1 is used to make our selves familiar with the book–I would never expect the children to be able to sequence the story after just one reading! 🙂  After we are finished using them as a class, I will put them into my pocket chart station and let the children try for themselves.  I will also put the Big Book version into our Big Book Work Station for the children to explore.

I am able to download the pictures on my computer, even though I created it on my laptop.  I am hopeful that it will work for you too, but I know that with the Grouchy Ladybug pictures there was some problem.   I created the document using Word and because there are graphics involved, I am unable to convert it to a PDF file.  If anyone knows another way for me to post them to make them accessable for all, please let me know and I will do what I can to make it happen! 🙂

Lesson Plans for part of January 2009

Here are what’s done already of my plans for January.  You will see that I still have a few big holes to fill in.  Sometimes I get the most important things out of my brain first and then mull over the missing parts.  The DNC BK. 2 that you will see referes to Developing Number Concepts Book 2 (Addition and Subtraction) by Kathy Richardson.  This is where my kids are (95% of them) and so we will work our way through this book.

Click on them once then again for a bigger image.







The 2nd week and into the 3rd, I will be working on filming and creating my lesson for National Boards.  You can see that those are very detailed and I think the kids are going to have a blast!  We are going to be working with The Mitten by Jan Brett.  Over the course of that week and 3/4 we will write our own script for the book, act it out, burn DVD’s for all families, make story boards so the children can do voice overs, and get to know about all the animals in the story.  It will be so much fun!!

The area for National Boards that I have chosen is Early Literacy; writing, speaking, and listening.  I think this fits all 3 areas with technology thrown in and a good home school connection! 🙂

I’ll try to post when we do those things, but I’ll see how in over my head I am first! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

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