Category Archives: Kindergarten classrooms
I’ve had the craziest two weeks I can remember at the beginning of the school year! You’re all probably experiencing or about to experience the same thing. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but all of it together had tired me out! 🙂
I’m slowly introducing Literacy Work Stations in my classroom. We haven’t officially used any of them yet (except for the library work station), but I hope to get them going later this week. I still have 3-4 more to introduce and then we’ll be ready to go.
I did add/change a few things this year and some I can show you and some I cannot not (I want to not post the names of my students on my blog), but I can take pictures of things without names and explain them in detail.
You can search for LWS on my blog and see how I managed them in the past. I’m sticking with something similar, however this year, in the interest of KISS (keeping it simple silly!), I printed all the names on pre-purchased business cards. I don’t have to write all the names out and when a new student comes in, I just print out one new card at a time. I also copied the work station labels and chart labels right from the back of Debbie Diller’s book (Literacy Work Stations). This made everything for uniform and the labels all have the names of the stations in English and Spanish! 🙂
I would stop what you’re doing right now and go hit up your Target Dollar Spot for the fabulous re-usable bags they have for sale for a dollar each (I got lucky one day and got ten of them for .50 each!!). I am using them for everything this year! I’ve purchased all I can find. They have had them out since the holiday season last year (I used them for stockings for my extended family and Easter baskets). There are always new designs. The ones now are black and white and are near the gift giving items. Anyway, buy lots of those (haven’t ripped one yet) and use them in place of baskets and buckets to stow all your goodies in! I have them in my Word Work station, Listening Station, Pocket Chart Station, Drama Station, and somewhere else I can’t think of right now! 🙂 I hang them on the wall with those 3M hooks that can be removed later and not take the paint off, but they stick almost anywhere (I haven’t ever had any fall off). You just buy refill packs of the sticky tabs when you need more. I thought I took pictures of them but I can’t find them on my camera, so I’ll take some tomorrow at school.
Overhead Work Station:
I’m introducing this one tomorrow and have been busy typing up parts of books that we have read (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) and printing them on transparency sheets.
I will use these on the overhead along with pictures of all my kids that I printed on transparency sheets. I printed them in black and white using iPhoto on my Mac. I will cut the pictures apart and the kids can put pictures of each other in the blank spots and read the words. I printed them using the “contact sheet” option, so there are 12 kids on a sheet.
Pocket Chart Station:
I wrote everyone’s name on a sentence strip and attached a color photo of them to the end of the strip (again using the “contact sheet” layout in iPhoto), and laminated them all. I showed the kids how to sort them by boy/girl (I wrote the boys on blue strips and the girls on pink strips) and how to sort them alphabetically.
I’ve added the props for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Brown Bear (you can purchase them from Lakeshore) to the dollar spot bags I got at Target and hung them on the wall using those 3M hooks. You can see pictures a few posts down of my Drama area.
Also using the dollar spot bags (I promise to take pictures of them!!), I placed a copy of Brown Bear and Chicka Chicka 123 along with their CD read-alongs in the bags. My old tape player quit working last year and all our media specialist had was a CD player (which I’m excited about!!), so I’m switching everything over to CD!! 🙂 This week, we will be reading Mouse Paint and I don’t have a CD for that, so I just made my own!! 😉 I opened Garage Band (on the Mac) and read the book slowly into the mic. I left spaces for the “turn the page sound” and added those in later. I also added subtle background music in so it would help hide the fact that it sounds like I was reading inside of a tin can! 🙂 I burned it to a CD and now we have Mouse Paint on CD for our listening station! 🙂 I might be open to adding them to my Kristen’s Kindergarten store if there is enough interest (I’ll be doing this with lots of other stories!). It was easy to do and took me about 20 minutes from the time I read to burning the CD.
I’ll get some pictures taken this week of those things and get them posted. Hope this was enough to tide you over! 😉 Today is my grandmas 91st birthday, so I’m off to bring her some birthday cheer! 🙂 Grad school starts tomorrow (8/23)…nervous!!! 🙂
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.
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:
We’ve been learning and reading all about Pumpkins this week…even though I was out 2 days this week (my son was sick). We started off the week by taking a picture walk through the Big Book Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington. Then the children heard the story read aloud. On the second day, the children re-read the story and then re-told the story using their own words. Today, we looked at the pictures to help us re-tell the story and then we played Guess The Covered Word. I covered the words pumpkin, seeds, pulp, flower, and sprouts. We would read the sentence and when we got to a covered word, we would try to guess what the word was. If the first letter was correct, we sounded out the word we thought it might be and would figure out if it fit. If not, we needed a new word.
Then later in the afternoon, we cut open our pumpkin and checked out the insides. I scooped out the pulp, we observed it and I put it in a plastic baggie to take home and roast the seeds. We also have a few smaller pumpkins in our room that were donated by parents (THANK YOU!!!) so we could observe them. And observe them we did and wrote our findings down on our KOWL chart.
Okay, so we really haven’t been doing the limbo in my class room in September, but it sure feels like it to me! I was able to teach my kids for the first 2 1/2 weeks of school, and ever since then, my student teacher has been teaching full time, so I feel like I’m in limbo!! She’s all done teaching next week and then I’ll ease my way back in, although, one could get used to just observing…you hear the most interesting things that way!
I thought I’d better get my blog updated and after some urging from a few friends of mine (Hi Ellen and Vicky!!), I knew that I REALLY needed to!! So here’s what we’ve been up to so far during September (what I can remember anyway! 🙂 )
Last week was all about Apples. My student teacher read the Big Book called Apples (it’s from Scholastic and has a book about pumpkins on the back side of it, so it’s really 2 books in one!). The children learned a song all about the life cycle of the apple tree (she got the song from the September Scholastic News) and then they cut out some pictures to help sequence it on paper. She also used another Big Book called “The Apple Pie Tree” and the children learned about what the apple tree looks like in various seasons. The children brought in apples and participated in several activities with them. On Wednesday, they each were given an apple and asked to observe it. They then put them back into a large group and tried to pick out their apple from that group. Friday, they had a tasting party, and had to decide which apple food was their favorite: apple juice, apple, cider, applesauce, apples. They then graphed their results.
This week, they are doing something with The 5 senses.
It’s so different updating for you when I am not the one teaching it! 🙂 I am aware of what is going on, being taught, and all that, but it’s different describing someone else’s teaching to you…especially since it’s not mine! 🙂 It’s very interesting watching a different style than I am used to…not as much Inquiry as I am accustomed to, and math in a different order, and no writer’s workshop yet. I need to teach something to someone before I go crazy!! I finally am teaching some in small groups during our Decodable book time and during math, but I’m also getting caught up on some things, and ahead on others. I’m going to try to post my October lesson plans for you soon…my to-do list is dwindling down to nothing, so that will give me something to do.
If anyone has any questions, requests, etc. now is the time to get them in…before I get busy again!
Not much of an update for you…but I promise to get going again here soon!
P.S. We’re on Magic Tree House Book #3 for those of you keeping track at home! 🙂 Oh, and we also started Name Work Station and Word Work Station today as well.
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???!! 🙂
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!
We began our study of insects/bugs by reading The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. After taking a picture walk and reading it aloud to the children, we discussed the clocks that are pictured on most of the pages. The children learned that we would be learning about telling time and addition (with ladybug spots) this week during math.
I have several sheets that I will post in the next few days that deal with telling time and ladybug addition…so stay tuned! You can download pictures to sequence by going to my PDF page and searching for them–they will only download on certain computers (not sure why!!), and so far there is nothing I can do about it! Sorry! You can search on Google for images and print those out.
We also checked in on our beans that we planted last week and noted our observations in our Bean Journals: beanjournal (you can switch these so that the journals take up 1/2 of a page side to side instead of top to bottom like they are here).
Our Painted Lady Butterflies (caterpillars really) have arrived and are eating lots and lots! They have doubled in size since arriving last Thursday, so we will soon transfer them to our netting we have set up for them.
We also looked at our Scholastic News: “How Do You Know It’s An Insect?”.
I’ve got so many awesome ideas about Science floating in my head right now, and some ideas for Math Work Stations that I’m going to be working on this summer, so I’ll post as I think! 🙂
Last week (yes, I’m a little behind) we read Jack and the Beanstalk, which ties in nicely to my seeds and planting theme. We began by reading Jack and the Beanstalk (the version by Little Golden Books). When we finished reading the story, we noticed that there was a large note hanging on our Morning Message paper:
The Giant had left us a message and some of his footprints:
The directions in his note were to find things that were the same length, longer than, and smaller than his footprints:
Tuesday, I gave the children plates of beans (the same ones from the previous week that they had already sorted). This time, I asked them to come to a consensus at their table about which 5 beans that their table would plant and care for. That was interesting!! We planted them in clear plastic gloves so that the children could watch them grow and change over time:
I asked the children to make sure that they all planted at least one lima bean and then asked them to consider these questions as they chose their beans.
Here they are hanging in the window.
I introduced the word hypothesis today and the children though about what kinds of beanstalks that their various beans would grow. Some one asked if there was a way to see inside the beans.
Wednesday, I asked the children if they could figure out a way that we could see inside the beans. They concluded that they knew that seeds opened once they had been planted so one of the things that was used to plant them must be the thing we would need. We made a list of things (sun, water, soil, love, air) and checked each one of the things off on our list. We decided that we had planted seeds in soil on Monday, so that was taken care of. We held our beans up to our hearts and talked to them (love) and although that did not work, it was awfully cute to watch! We also tried holding the beans up in the air and nothing happened. Finally, we decided that our experiment to see inside the beans would involve sun and water. Our hypothesis was that one of these ways was sure to make the beans open so that we could see inside them!
We also decided to use our greenhouse rather than take the beans outside. Some of the children were worried that squirrels and other animals might take the beans and we would not see what happened to them.
In the greenhouse.
Soaking in water.
We determined when we would check on them and also wanted to write something down to show what we were doing:
Thursday, we noticed that the beans that were soaking in the water had expanded and cracked open, so we used magnifying glasses to check them out (I was at Science Academy, so there are no photos for this!! Sorry!)
The children then got to plant beans of their own to take home and observe.
Because we had quite a few steps involved in planting these beans, we made a list of “Lab Notes” so that the children could refer back to them if they forgot what to do next:
That was our week last week…now on to this week!
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…
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! 🙂