Category Archives: New Items

Pages for AM skill folders

Upon request, from a former SM Bulldog, here are the pages I use for my morning skill binders.  I also include and change out several other pages at any given time.  For example, I might type the children’s names out in a handwriting trainer font, print them out and have them practice writing their first and last names on a daily basis.  I have also typed out my sight words list using the same font and had them practice matching words (draw a line to connect the words that match) or even have them practice writing them.  I also have put in pages from workbooks, making copies for each folder, depending upon what we are learning about.  If you have any other pages you would like me to make for you or that you have and want me to post for you to share, let me know!

I am unable to convert these to PDF (sorry!) because of the specific font I used–it doesn’t come out looking so pretty!





Just a note on how I make these (thanks to my dear friend and colleague Karen Berman for this idea!!)

I use a 3 prong pocket folder (assorted colors are fine, but when I did 1/2 day, I used a specific color for AM and one for PM) My friend Karen also attaches a short piece of sentence strip to the front and laminates the folder.  She then can write the students name on the front in permanent marker and the child will use the same folder all year.  I had their names seperate from the folders when I did 1/2 day, just so we could use any folder we wanted and it didn’t take a lot of time to find our exact one!

I put in no more than 10 sheet protectors (usually 5-6) because that would give you 20 possible pages (or 10-12).  We use dry erase markers in various colors (part of our school supply list this year!!) and use baby wipes or tissues to erase.

You could also use some of the pages I made for binders as well for different practice.  This would be great for addition practice, writing spelling words, tracing state outlines, KWL/OWL/TWL charts completed together, science labs, etc.

I use these to keep my Kinder. Kids busy and working while some of us eat breakfast, make our lunch choices, return our folders, library books, baggie books, and get unpacked for the day.

Kristen 🙂

More Pictures…

Here are some pictures that I took today, so enjoy and let me know if you have any questions/comments!

Kristen 😉

This is where I store my skill folders that the kids use each morning when they first come in.  The blue tub on top holds dry erase markers.  The folders are well loved! The folders contain pages that are protected by sheet protectors.  We use dry erase markers on them and clean them with baby wipes or tissues or even the occasional eraser! 🙂

My new reading work station, tucked away in a corner by the window where it’s sunny.  I have lots of comfy pillows, chairs, stuffed animals, etc.

My Big book stand, where we write Morning Message, getting to know you activities and cut up names (from Building Blocks)

My bench where I will sit during calendar, morning message, read alouds, writing mini lessons, special helper activities

My large easel with chart paper.  We use this for predictable charts, KWL charts, TWL/OWL charts.

The bottom of my calendar wall.  I bought this new calendar as a present for my self (pretty lame present??!).  We also have our weather circle, weather graph, and schedule chart.

The top of the calendar wall. Days/Months

The whole kit and caboodle! 🙂

My new Rainbow Words chart for learning sight words, our money pocket chart and the end of the dry erase board

Who could forget these?? My PVC pocket chart stands!

This is the beginning of the Word Work Station.  It is in front of the dry erase board where the interactive word wall will be.

Our beautiful new computers!  I moved them to this table so it was more kid friendly and so we didn’t have fights over the “rollie” chairs anymore!

The overhead-soon to become the overhead work station!

Writing Work Center complete with stamps, paper, markers, envelopes, stencils, and colored pencils.

The listening center.  The Kinder. Kids will sit at the table nearby to listen to tapes.

This mess will soon be my parent volunteer table.  Just as soon as I get it cleaned off!

Some of the Literacy games that my parent volunteers can play with the Kinder. Kids!

Math games in the parent volunteer area.

I hope this picture better defines this space.  This is the zoomed out version of the parent volunteer area. It will look so nice when it’s done!

The Kinder. kids will put their baggie books and red folders here when they come in each morning.  (on the right) The cart on the left will be used for the ABC Work Station.

This is how we find out who is bringing lunch, getting just milk or eating a hot lunch.  The Kinder. Kids use tounge depressors with their names on them to “vote”.  Eventually,  they will enter their “PIN” numbers into the dining room computer and not need to use them.

We take these notebooks into the cafe with us daily so the Kinder. Kids can write/draw when they are done with lunch and to stay out of trouble.

My Work Stations management chart.

How quickly my desk area went from clean to a disaster!

This is my awards wall.  I like to put up my awards to affirm that I do good work everyday in my classroom! 🙂

I love cows!! My sister painted the bottom painting for me and I got the one on top from Target a few years ago.

This is how we will organize our binders (on the top part) and our baby wipes, tissues, and writer’s workshop folders on the bottom.  Crayons and supply buckets are stored on top.

This is how I keep my assessment records for each Kinder. Kid.  They each have a red folder with their assessment data that goes inside a hanging file which holds their Writer’s Workshop pieces at the end of each month.

This is how I keep blank paper at each of the tables for Writer’s Workshop.  I’m having trouble with the round tables though!  I think I will put it in a regluar file basket and leave it in the center of the table for them.

This is how I store all my assessment masters, assessment booklets, and any other important papers that I will need to copy repeatdly.

A few panoramic views of the room!

This is one of three closets where the Kinder. Kids hang their backpacks and coats.  The upper part is for storage.

So, see, I told you it was coming along!! Still LOTS of work to be done yet, but it will get done–it always does!

Kristen 🙂

It’s coming along!

So I forgot to take pictures, but my room is really coming together!  I am going back in tomorrow (Monday) to begin meeting my new Kinder. kids and to do a quick assessment on them (letter identification, sound knowledge from DRA Word Analysis, and a quick math assessment based upon the Math Their Way assessment from long ago).

I promise to take some more pictures tomorrow when I go in so you can see the progress–I am not feeling so overwhelmed anymore!  It was a bottomless pit there for a few days!  I spent all day Thursday and Friday there and got most things to their new homes.  Am I the only crazy one who e-mails herself lists of things to do so she won’t forget to do them when she’s actually at school?

I will also be adding a new blog title picture, just as soon as I find a shot I like, so don’t be shocked if it’s different one day this week!

When do you start school?  We go back the 11th for our big township meeting and get kids the 13th and 14th for 1/2 days, then the 15th is our 1st full day!

Kristen 🙂

Classroom Photos 2008-2009

I was able to find some time today to get over to my school and start moving furniture around in my new classroom.  My Economics class ends tomorrow and I will be turning in my unit (look for it in another post soon!)  I took some pictures of my room as it was when I walked in–nothing was where it was belonged!  I have a big job ahead of me!!  I thought you might like to see it go from start to finish!  Here they are!

This is the view looking in from my dooway.

View to the right of the doorway.  Blue cabinets are 3 sets of storage cabinets, the first door way (on the right) is the door to my “office”–I will have my assistant work there.  The next door way is to the closet that was converted from a bathroom–we store our Big Books and Learning Themed tubs from Lakeshore there. To the left is the sink.

The sink, playhouse (downstairs is home living, upstairs is blocks, marbleworks, legos, bilding materials) In the fore ground is my sand table and what will become my Science area.

Moving on to the center of the classroom.  My desk is at the far end of the playhouse (you will see that in another picture).  The wall at the back is where we store everything covered in paper for the summer.  There are lots of shelves from about waist high down to the ground.  The upper half will be used for my birthday board and to display student word, and my awards wall.

The left side of the room.  The far end dry erase board is where we will have calendar/morning message/large group time.  The calendar is covered in brown paper right now.  You can see some of my tables, chairs, computers, crates, and in the foreground to the left is the back of the writing center.

More of the writing center, my tall white cabinet where I store all my arts/crafts materials.  The area behind the cabinet/writing center will be my parent volunteer/listening center/assessment area.

Parent Volunteer area, listening center, assessment area–this area will be used for all 3 purposes at different times during the day/year

A view of my desk under the playhouse, Television, filing cabinets–this area is next to the long wall of waist high shelves.

A view of my room from my desk area looking towards the door/parent volunteer area. The playhouse is on your left, out of view.

More tables, calendar area, and a view from my desk.  The dry erase board will be used for my moveable word wall-I will put magnetic strips on the back of all the words/names that go on it for use in the Word Work Station.

An up close view of the playhouse ladder and the playhouse profile.

The front of the playhouse, my desk area is to the left, sink to the right.

Inside the playhouse

The sink area and a little counter space too! 🙂

————————————–After moving some furniture!—————————–

Close up of my desk area, the underneath of the playhouse is to the right.

After moving the tables where I want them.

More pictures of the room after moving furniture, picture taken from my calendar area/reading station.

A picture taken slightly to the left of the previous one.

Our new computers (the red crate will be gone).  I traded the computer tables for one smaller Kinder. friendly table that didn’t take up twice as much space–I needed it for our large group area.  The computer tables were banished to the hall.  I will keep one for working out in the hallway, and one will go away.

The rest of my student tables (I have 4 long ones, and 2 circle shaped ones) The sink is in the background to the right and the playhouse.

My newly created science area with sand table.  In front of the 3 storage cabinets/coat closets.  My “office” is to the left.  The white shelves are our mailboxes.

Mailboxes–two shoe storage units stacked on top of one another (I needed 2 when I did 1/2 day)

What will be my parent volunteer area/listening center/assessment area

The shelves inside my doorway that will house dry erase markers, skill folders, tubs on top for me, and any thing else needing a home! 😉

I am going in tomorrow-our Econ. class is supposed to get done before lunch, so I will take more pictures of more details tomorrow and all the work I’ve gotten done! 🙂  If you have any questions please ask–I will define more spaces as I get the furniture moved where I want it and things put back in their places! 😉

Hope this inspires someone else! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Updated Job Application for Kinders.

After attending the Economy workshop last week and into this next week, I’ve made a change to the job application; I wanted to have the children make some choices in the jobs that they want, and wanted to make sure they didn’t have to choose one job exclusively.  There are now lines for them to choose 3 jobs–they will start with one and rotate through the others to make sure they have more than one experience.  My Kinder. kids will probably start the year using a rotation model–I will have “x” amount of jobs and they will do the jobs for 1 week at a time.  Then each Friday, they will be responsible for training the new person who will do their job.  I only have to train for jobs once that way, even if a new student comes in mid-year the person who currently has a job will show them the ropes-so to speak!


I will also be working on some job card pictures to put next to their names in a pocket chart.  I’m pretty sure I will have a pocket chart on a tall garment rack and then put two columns of jobs, one on the left and one in the middle.  I will put some colored electrical tape down the center to help with confusion of columns.  I will start them off with a job (1st of 2nd choice) that they would like and then move their name down the chart one space each week until we’ve been through the whole rotation.  The only time jobs would change is if I had to add a job or take a job away for seasonal reasons.  There is a list of the jobs I will have included in this application file, as well as a slip for fines, Random Acts of Kindness, job descriptions for the oddly named jobs, and then the application itself, with an area for “teacher use only!”

Enjoy and let me know if you have anymore jobs I should add to the list!

Kristen 🙂

A Quick Post…

Here are the gel glue cards I made using Elmer’s blue School Glue Gel (say that 5 times fast!!)  I wrote the letters on index cards using Washable Markers from Crayola and then traced over them with the gel glue.  They also have “Galactic Glitter Glue” available in red or blue as well, and when I’m out today, I may grab some of that and see how that works.

The Kinder. Kids will use these in the ABC Station and use old crayons and make rubbings.  I will have the paper pre-cut for them in various sizes and shapes.  I will also make a set for the Word Work Station, writing words instead of letters.  I will also make several sets of both words and letters without writing anything with a marker first, so the children will have to guess what the letter is as they rub over it.  I’ll be back later with more!

Kristen 🙂

P.S. Either wordpress or my computer are being funky and not letting the picture display below–It comes up if you click on it, hopefully it will work it self out! I may take a minute for it to load too! 🙂

Back to School (not yet!)

I just love Back to School time!!  The sales, the cheap glue sticks, the Dollar Spot at Target, the .88 cent markers at Wal-Mart, the… Oh!  I could go on and on, but you all know what I mean–there’s just  something about those isles that seems to be irresistible to teachers (my husband is a teacher too, but he seems to be immune to it!).  I just wanted to share all my new goodies, those that are in the house, and those that are in the car because I don’t want to lug them inside and then back out to the car again in a few days! 🙂

I purchased ANOTHER hardware storage drawer thing, this time to store my magnetic letters.  I thought this would be a great way to store them and keep them organized!

I then went to the Dollar Tree and found these cute little jungle animal themed erasers.  There are 40 in each backpack.  I got giraffes, elephants, and tigers.   I think they will be cute for sorting, patterning, and for math mats.

I thought these were so funny!  They are party favors made to look like coins, but they are all about 1 1/2 inches across.  I thought they would be great for calendar time, to show the kids the differences between the coins.  When I opened them up, they were even funnier, because some of the quarters/dimes were copper colored and some of the pennies were silver.  No nickels though…

These disposable gloves will become planters later on this year.  We will put cotton balls into the fingers of each area in the glove and place a bean seed (I think we may try others too just to see what happens).  Some we will water and some we will not.  We will then talk about the differences and what we see happening.  I think some will also be put into a dark area too.

Also at the Dollar Tree, were these sentence strips.  There are 30 in a pack and I got two packs.  I will use them for Literacy Work Stations management and for names on rings at various stations.

I also got these games.  The first one (on top) you match the upper to the lowercase letter, the middle one you build words, and the bottom one you put 3 cards together to make a complete picture.  I thought I would use them at the ABC Literacy Station.

Next up, this cool thermometer that I will hang on the outside of the window so we can look at it during calendar time and record the temperature (a form of measurement!!).  It was only a buck, so there’s no telling how long it will last!

On to the Target Dollar Spot!  I went to 7 different Target’s yesterday searching for more pocket charts to no avail!!!  All 7 were all out!  But I did pick up these letter mats–also for the ABC Station, you trace them for practice, uppercase on one side and lowercase on the other.

In my quest for pocket charts I came across these mini dry erase/magnetic boards.  At one place I got 6 and at another I got 6 more.  I may go back for a few more, but 12 may be enough! 🙂  I will use them for small group work, in the magnetic Station, for quick assessment, and other handy things!

A few assorted supplies.  4 new boxes of Crayola Markers ( I collect all things Crayola, so I love getting new ones!!).  I also got some glitter pencils from the Dollar Spot for the Writing Station, some name cards for various uses, and some more dry erase markers (they’re 30% off until midnight tonight!!).

This was a trip to Wal-Mart.  .88 markers!  .88 colored pencils! .88 Bic pens (my son put those in the cart!).  I also got some more tape for my label maker, some pencil grips, and some blue gel glue.  I will use the glue to make raised letters on index cards and have the kids rub over them in the ABC Station for texture! 🙂

This was another find at a different Dollar Tree…place mats that are solid colors and are 12×12.  We will use these under our playdough.  I like that they are smooth instead of with ridges, and I will start the kids out with these and then replace them with the textured ones they usually have.  I also got 3 packs of colored index cards to make more sight words on a ring.

Last, but not least–a trip to the teacher store!  My husband groans everytime I mention this place because he knows I will spend some money! 🙂  I’ve been really good though and have hardly been in the last 2 years!

I got some Wikki Stix and highlighter tape this trip.  The tape is in two sizes for Big Books and small books.  In Debbie Diller’s book, she mentions having this accessable for the kids to use and laminating file folders so the kids can put it there after using it for reuse later.

I also have some things in the car…

I got a set of uppercase alphabet stamps at Toys R Us on clearance for $7.49, 10 new book buckets at Dollar Tree, 30 spiral notebooks at Target, Lite Brite Refills, two I Spy puzzles, a Dora the Explorer ABC matching game (meijer on clearance), and some PVC pipe and glue to build another chart stand-this one to hold the 24×36 sized chart paper.  I’m going to make that one myself, so we’ll see how that goes!  Hopefully, it will end up in my poetry Station!

Kristen 🙂

P.S. If anyone finds 14 pocket charts from the Dollar Spot, I would love to have some!! I’ll pay for shipping too!  I’ll even send some of my handmade cards in your favorite colors!

Literacy Work Stations Recording Sheet

Well that’s it!  I finished Literacy Work Stations!  The last chapters I think were the best because Debbie Diller offered up several suggestions for data collection and record keeping.  Being the picky person I am, I created my own record sheet for each student.  You can print lots of these off and change the station names as needed throughout the year:


station-record (pdf file) The font will be different than the original.

P.S. The font is my new favorite. It’s called “Black Boys on Mopeds” I think its so cute–the serifs and curves!!

Another use for table top PVC chart

I also belong to the KinderKorner group and had a question about materials falling out of the pocket charts because they hang straight down.  So the pocket chart now hangs at a slight angle, enough to keep those materials in and Kinder. Kids happy! 🙂

To accomodate that, I simply punched some holes at the bottom of the chart with my Crop-A-Dile (We R Memory Keepers makes them), but I think a regular hole punch would work too and inserted grommets or large sized eyelets.

EDIT~*~*I think this would work even if you didn’t set grommets or eyelets in the chart because it’s make of thicker plastic~*~*~

I then secured the  chart to the leg (originally meant to hold up a big book) with large book binding rings:

Here are several views of the idea.  The rings can easily be removed so that it can be used for big books as well.  Hope this makes sense!

Kristen 🙂

ABC Literacy Work Station

I am almost done with the chapter on ABC Literacy Stations in Debbie Diller’s book Literacy Work Stations–I have to keep putting it down, processing, reading some more, processing, reading more, processing, because its FULL of such great information that I have to think about what I am reading, jot down a few notes, then read some more (oh, and in between, do the laundry, keep my hubby company, make sure my son is fed, take the dogs out, make cards, clean, and on and on!)

The latest idea that I read about was for those Kinder. kids at the beginning of the year, you know the ones that have little to no letter knowledge.  These activities are for them–these are sorting mats that they can use with magnetic letters (either on a cookie sheet or on a magnetic dry erase board).  They sort the letters in various ways to become aware of the letters, their formations, and the letter names.  A suggestion that Debbie Diller makes is to store materials in color coded tubs so that when different children visit the station, they can work on an activity that matches their current ability level–these sheets would go into the “green” tub, or beginning tub.  The colors are just a suggested order, you could use whatever makes sense to you.

I’ve also included sheets to put on a cookie sheet for simple matching.  The children take one sheet with a part of the alphabet and place magnetic letters over the typed images, matching them.  To make it harder, you could have them match the lowercase letters that are typed to the uppercase partner.  I will make the uppercase version soon and post that too!


Another beautiful thing about this book is that Debbie talks about introducing each station and gives you some ideas how to do that!  I could see these sheets being used on an overhead at the beginning of the year and then placed into the ABC Literacy Work Station.

Kristen 🙂

P.S. Just as an afterthought–I could see this being used for numbers as well–I’ll get right on that and post a sheet on the math page!

Here is the uppercase version and the math version is on the math tab!


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