Category Archives: New Items

Poster Markers

I’ve been using the Mr. Sketch scented markers for a few years now to write on my chart paper.  They were fine for awhile, but they dried out quickly from too much use on the paper.  I found these Crayola Poster markers at Jo-Ann’s a few weeks ago and I’ve been using them ever since!



They have a wide tip, but if you turn it around, you also have a small tip you can use.  The colors are really bright and the kids can see them all; even the yellow.  They are more of the “Brights” colors than the primary colors, but I really like using them so far and they haven’t started to wear out yet–and I use them a lot! 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

Down on the Farm (day 4)

Is it just me or has this week been crazy??  I feel like every time I sit down to do something, something else comes up! 🙂  

Here is what we did today–short and sweet!

We started our day by reading What Comes from Trees.  It is a little book I got from Scholastic a few years ago, but it talks about all the things that we get from trees (rubber tires, chocolate, syrup, etc.)  

During our Writer’s Workshop mini-lesson today, I introduced exclamation points.  You would have thought that it was the greatest thing ever invented!  I also showed the children how to make thought bubbles and also showed them how to use an ABC chart to assist them in writing.  I made a recording sheet (will post it soon!) to use so I can track their growth in writing.  

We used our Predictable Chart to make some cut-up-sentences:

Here they are holding up the words in this sentence.

The children love to laugh when I read the sentence out loud in it’s all mixed up state!

We also completed our Roll A Pattern Block Scarecrows:

I found this idea on another website, the Virtual Vine, I think, but I had to create it myself.  I will post it soon for all of you to use (if you want it!)

We also added more coffee grounds, apple cores, and newspaper to our composting bin today!  It actually smells pretty good right now!  The worms will be arriving next week!

Kristen 🙂

Down on the Farm (day 1 and 2)

We started our theme by reading Mrs. Wishy-Washy!  Who doesn’t love that book??!!  Day 1, we took a picture walk through the story and then I read it out loud.  Day 2, I re-read the story and then we echo read it.  We also started a new predictable chart called, A Scarecrow…”.  I’ll take photos of it when it is done tomorrow.  We got a late start on it, and so we’re a day off schedule.  I will combine touch reading sentences and cut up sentences into Thursday to get it all in this week.  We made scarecrows (I’ll post pictures tomorrow and the “tracers’ for that).  They are SOOO cute!  I just love to see the expressions the children draw on their faces!  Today we made a pattern block scarecrow and instead of gluing on the shapes, we colored them in instead–a little fine motor practice during math time! We will complete a graph to go along with it, showing them another way to collect data! We will also glue some crows on to the arms of the scarecrows and make math sentences with them.  (2 crows on the left arm + 3 crows on the right arm= 5 crows).  We will write the math sentence on the scarecrows shirt.

We also started our composting bin.  Monday, we added dirt and water to moisten the soil.  Today, we took a leaf walk, noted the trees color and then picked up what leaves we could find and added a layer of them in the composting bin.  Tomorrow we will add coffee grinds (??)  and crushed up egg shells.  I’ve been saving them forever!  We will also start our “Nature’s Recyclers” journal (found on the Inquiry Science tab) to tell about our process.  At this point, we will talk about what we want to write and then will write it together and then copy it into our journals.  I want them to get the process more than the writing at this time in the year, so I will help them along with that.  Later in the year, I will ask them to write from their minds, but we need to work on collecting ideas! 🙂  I’m sure that’s the same across Kindergarten! 🙂

Once I finally get done assessing all my children for report cards, I will switch the Work with the Teacher Station to actually working with me!  I will be using the My Sidewalks RTI kit that we purchased with our reading series (Scott-Foresman, I think!, we just get texts to supplement what we do, not exclusively use them).  For my upper/middle level students, we will focus on higher order literacy tasks and writing mini lessons throughout the year.

See you tomorrow!

Kristen 🙂

New Pictures…

Here are some newer pictures of my classroom as it gets a little more “used”.  I have also included pictures of my Literacy Work Stations pocket chart (with pictures that I made) so you can see those.  I cannot post those pictures because I used a program that I purchased for my computer and the images won’t upload, but at least you can see what you could use.

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 🙂

Dr. Jean’s Color Farm Song

I made these pages a few years ago-okay more like 8-9 years ago, but they are still useful!  You can use them to show the kids how to spell the color words (they print out in the correct color) and the animals to cue them to what animal is coming next.


Needless to say, I haven’t had much time to post anything.  Our guest from China is staying in our computer room/office/guest room so I can’t upload anything unless I remember when I’m at school–where I STILL am now! 🙂  


Mini Economy Classroom Job Cards

Here are the cards I made to use in a pocket chart for our Mini-Economy Jobs.  You print them out on business cards and then tear them apart.  I would suggest laminating them before you tear them apart-or you could do what I did–laminate each individual one! 😦  I hope they save okay and download okay!  Let me know if they come out funny and I will try to find a way to fix them!

Kristen 🙂


Unique Experience

I was presented with a unique experience today and I thought I would share it with you!  Yesterday, we had our staff retreat and it was announced that we would have a Chinese Teacher in our building this year to teach the 1-5 children Mandrin Chinese–which I am thrilled about!  My principal also announced that he would need a place to stay–so after talking with my husband, we decided that we would offer to host him for 9 weeks in our home.  He arrives from DC on Saturday (this is Wednesday), so it’s a short time schedule!  I have to clean like crazy–you know the kind of cleaning you would do to make your home feel like the a 5 star hotel, kind of cleaning!!!  I’m so glad we didn’t get rid of our storage facility, because some things from our extra room will soon be making their way there!  We thought this was a unique opportunity that we were just too excited not to offer a place for him to stay.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!  I’m just a little stressed since it’s the beginning of the year and all, but I’m sure as always, everything will turn out just fine!

Kristen 🙂

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