Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday 6

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I was thinking that because there are so many new followers to my Kristen’s Kindergarten Facebook page, I would take a minute to introduce myself. 🙂

My name is Kristen Poindexter and I have been a Kindergarten teacher for 13 years (getting ready to start year 14!).  I love to incorporate science into everything I do and I’m a big proponent of Science Notebooks in the classroom. I graduated in 2000 with my B.S. in Elementary Education and a Kindergarten endorsement.  In 2012, I received my M.Ed. in Elementary Education with a Reading minor.  I’m contemplating getting another Masters in Curriculum or maybe my Doctorate (at some point!)

My husband is also a teacher.  He teaches 5-7th grade Special needs students in a K-8 school.  I also have a 9 year old son who attends my school.  He will be a 4th grader this year! 😉

I started this blog 5 years ago around midnight on July 4th as a way to share what I am doing with other teachers.  There were not that many blogs about Kindergarten out there and I wanted to be able to connect with those who did blog.

In addition to teaching, I am a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator and I love to make my own handmade greeting cards (but I usually forget to send them!).  I also sell Thirty-One bags and gifts in my spare time.

I love technology and will spend hours on my computer looking for new ways to incorporate it into my classroom.  We just got Promethean Boards last year in my classroom so I’ve LOVED using that this past year.

I present at state and national conference about how I am using Science in the classroom and during the summer, I travel around the state of Indiana and help other teachers learn about science in their classrooms.  I also do workshops in my own district about science. 🙂

I am a lifelong learner and I can’t stop searching for things to keep my brain sharp and my ideas changing! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Thoughtful Thursday 4

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I’ve been thinking about our new reading series a lot the last few weeks.  We adopted Journeys 2014 Common Core for the next 6 years and I’m just wondering if you use it and how it looks in your classroom.

This is the first time our Kindergarten’s have officially adopted a reading series that we need to follow with fidelity, so I’m a little nervous because I’m not a “follow the basal” type teacher.  We have adopted a reading series in the past but it’s either been just as a resource or to use a specific part of the series (phonemic awareness).

I will admit that I really like the texts (both trade book and big book size) that come with the series, but was disappointed that there wasn’t more in the way of AimsWeb/Dibles practice (nonsense words) in it.

I’m going to give it a chance and see what happens. 🙂

Any thoughts?

Kristen 🙂

Thoughtful Thursday 3

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Last week, I shared how I was thinking about Science Notebooks.  I promised I would share some pictures of the science notebooks we made at my workshop this two weeks ago.  I hope the ideas help you set up your own notebooks (and I’ll be better about posting the entries we make this year).  One of the things we did during my workshop was to set up all our notebooking pages for our entire science curriculum.  We looked at the point of the lesson and developed focus questions and other elements that we will put in our notebook.

On to the pictures:
IMG_5536Here is the science notebook on the outside.  We use a spiral notebook (80 pages) and duct taped the edges. IMG_5537

We added a straw to the edge and pinched off the end with duct tape so that your pencil will not fall out. 🙂

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Next, we added a Table of Contents (this will be available as a Fan Freebie on my Facebook Page tomorrow. 🙂 You will just need to “like” my FB page to get it. 🙂

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A 6×9 sized envelope is a great way to store items that cannot be glued in.  These envelopes are from Office Depot and are called Clear Clasp.  There is no clasp on these envelopes, but they are gummed and stay sticky for a pretty long time. 🙂IMG_5540

Here, we used duct tape to tape a quart size baggie into our science notebook.  This is another great way to store extras in your notebook (Reading/Science A-Z books, etc.) that you want your kiddos to have access to. 🙂  The green ribbon you see serves as a place holder/bookmark for my kiddos.  We put the ribbon on the page we stop on for the day and we know where to start the next day.  I use a piece of duct tape to tape the ribbon on the inside of the back cover (near the top) and then just drape it over when it’s needed. IMG_5541

Here is a quick way to create a pocket on any page in your notebook.  Just fold the page down towards you and glue.  Then run a thin line of glue across the bottom and up the short side to glue it down to the page behind it. Instant pocket! IMG_5542

Now what if you’re going on a field trip and you want to take your science notebooks with you?  Science notebooks on the go!  Using that awesome duct tape, tape on some thick yarn (you could braid it to make it even thicker!) on to the top of the bag and you’re good to go!  You could even put the tape on first and then punch holes through the tape for added durability. IMG_5543Here is the notebook ready to go!  You can also have your kiddos collect things they find on field trips (leaves, maps, etc.) in their bag.

Kristen 🙂

Thoughtful Thursday 2

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After the workshop I did last week teaching our K-2 teachers about science notebooks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about math notebooks and what those might look like.

I want them to be useful to the children and hold vocabulary words, direction on how to use math symbols and signs correctly, and be a place where they can include ideas about Math.

Does anyone use math notebooks in their classrooms?

What do they look like and how do you use them?

I used some this year, but I wasn’t happy with what we put in them.  We solved a math sheet each day and glued them in.  It was fine and the kids really did learn a lot, but I want them to be more interactive.

I’ve pinned a couple of ideas on Pinterest 

and I think I can make them work, but I need some more ideas! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Thoughtful Thursday

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Thoughtful Thursdays will be posts about what I’m thinking about (or things you’re thinking about!).

I’ve been staring at my Literacy Work Station organization charts and I think I need some new labels:

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I like the labels I have because they are easy to read, but they are all different sizes and some are handmade and some aren’t! 🙂

How many of you have read Debbie Diller’s Literacy Work Station book?

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My blogging friend Jennifer at Teaching with Grace is doing a summer book study about Debbie Diller’s book and I told her I would talk about my experiences with the management of the Work Stations.

This year, my kiddos rotated through one Work Station each day for about 20 minutes.  Next year, they will be rotating through 2 Work Stations for 15 minutes each.

I did like one Work Station per day because I could use my activities for about a month before switching them out.  That required a lot less work on my part, but I felt like the kids could have been doing more in that time.  I also felt like if they had a little less time and a little more work, they would be a little more on task. 🙂

This year, they will go through 2 15 minute rotations and although it will probably require a little bit more work on my part, I think my kiddos will get so much more out of Work Stations.

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I will probably create something similar to this pocket chart (you can get it at Really Good Stuff), but mine will look a little different because I have some different work stations.

Generally though, my Work Stations will rotate very similar to the ones in this chart.  I usually keep the stations in the same place and rotate the children’s names through, and I think I can make that work with a chart like this.

I teach my children early on how to “read” the name of the Work Station and where to find the matching pictures in the classroom.  I make the cards in the chart about the size of a 3×5 index card and the pictures around the room that label the Work Stations are 8 1/2 x 11 so they are easy to see.

When we first begin Work Stations, my assistant and I circulate around the room to make sure everyone understands what they should be doing.  I start Work Stations when we have been in school for 3-4 weeks.  Until then, we are usually learning other procedures, taking restroom breaks, or working on our getting to know you items.

Pretty soon, when I tell the children it is time for Literacy Work Stations, they jump right up and check the chart (see top of this post) and get right to their Work Stations.

If you scroll down a bit on my blog under “Categories”, you will see a link for all my posts about Literacy Work Stations and activities I’ve put in them in the past 5 years.

Let me know if you have any questions about Literacy Work Stations or the management of them.

Kristen 🙂

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