Category Archives: Updates


Hi Everyone!

I just updated the Tech/Books tab with the list of books I used to accompany The Mitten by Jan Brett.  We have been using this book for the last two weeks and I am getting ready to video tape my lesson for National Boards tomorrow (Thursday the 22nd!).  I will be back later in the afternoon with what I am planning on doing for that-I can’t tell you the entire thing, because of National Board policies, but I can give you a general idea.  It will be fun and super cool! 🙂   We have been making charts about each of the animals in the story (thus the list of books I just updated) and will use those during our video taping tomorrow along with the terms carnivore, omnivore, and herbivore.  

Friday, it’s on to 100’s day!!  We are rotating through each of our 4 Kindergarten classrooms so we will have 8 stations done by the end of the day!  I’m making 100’s day hash in the AM and we are stringing 100 fruit loops in the PM.  I’ll share what the other classes are doing later as well!  

Kristen 🙂

Hello Everybodyeee!

I’m so sorry that I haven’t posted in a while!  My to-do list is as long as my arm (literally) and I’m preparing for 2 speaking engagements, a wedding (my sister on the 27th), recording my National Board video (all 15 minutes of it!), my new stamping classes/clubs, life in general, and the hope that school might, just might be cancelled tomorrow!

It looks bad to type it all out like that, but it’s really not too bad–I’m not feeling too badly about it all, just focusing on one thing at a time!

I’ll get back to posting this weekend-right after my dilligent hubby makes sure I’ve read everything I need to for the National Board videotaping!

Oh, and also remind me to tell you all about

I’ll post that at some point as well!


Kristen 🙂

Finding Old Posts

I added a few new things to help you find older posts/topics on my site.

Search box:  Up at the top right corner, just under my classroom picture is a search box.  You can enter topics/tags (ex: Literacy Work Stations) and it will pull up all the information I’ve posted on that topic.  See below for a listing of all my categories and where to find them.

Categories/Tags: Down the left hand side you will see a box listing all the categories/tags I have things filed under.  If you click on one of them it will show you a listing of all the things in that category/tag.

Essentially, these two things will get you the same results.  It’s just user preference! 🙂

I hope this helps you find older posts!

Kristen 🙂

This Week’s Lesson Plans

Awhile back, I had a request to see what a typical page in my lesson plan book looked like, how I get everything in in one day or in a week.  I’ve completed my plans for this week (December 15th-18th, 2008) and I’m going to post them below.  They are very general, as this week is kind of a crazy one with a All School Holiday Sing/Convocation, Winter Party, All School Volley Ball Game, Polar Express, and anything else that is happening that I forgot to add.  I’m going to start saving all my plans on the computer, just for sanity’s sake next year and the following years–it will be easier to make updates that way! 🙂  Let me know if you have any questions–there are some abbreviations listed that mean something to me, but may not to you! 🙂


Also, our lunch time was switched from 10:40 to 10:30 so my schedule changed a bit from the one I posted at the beginning of the summer/school year.  I had to move Writer’s Workshop to the afternoon-right after recess/lunch, so you will see that change, but it did buy me 10 more minutes for Literacy Work Stations! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

The one that got away!

This week got away from me!  I’ve been so busy, that I didn’t have time to post!  I had dinners with friends, family, a Holiday Bazaar at school, my brother’s birthday, and then all the usual things!  So here is a recap of the rest of the week (Wednesday – Friday).


As we read Rosie’s Walk this week, we completed this extension to the story.  This one is about a turkey and the children had to decide where they would like their turkeys to go.  They were very creative in doing that.  I had 2 other adults in the room during the time we were doing this so we each worked with small groups of children and helped them choose words and then stretch them out and write them.  The children all wanted to know when they were going to get to do Writer’s Workshop that day and when I explained that we had just done it, they all said that it had been to easy and too much fun! 🙂

The children helped me to write the Morning Message on Thursday and Friday.  They came up with the message and then helped each other to write and stretch out the words. (We are going to art. We will have lots of fun!)


This is our very sweet Predictable Chart “I’m thankful for…”.


I could not remember if I posted this or not already, but this has been our Pocket Chart station for the last 2 weeks (I leave it up that long so every one can rotate through it)


This is a not very good picture of our milkweed plants–they are starting to grow! 🙂


This is a shot at our recycling bins right after they were emptied.  They were FULL! Our goal is to fill them totally up every week!


We also started heavily into intervention groups at the beginning of November.  We use “My Sidewalks” by Scott Foresman.  I have a rotating group that works with me during Literacy Work Stations and my assistant has a static group (for at least 6 weeks) that works with her.  Each child in the classroom is seen at least once a week to work on skills specific to their needs and to either help them or challenge them. What do you use for your RTI groups?  I like this program because it’s all laid out for you and you just follow the book and all the lessons build upon the next.  Any thoughts?

During our math time, we worked on pattern block turkeys, pilgrims, and trees.  We also completed a little bit of graphing with a Thanksgiving theme, and ended the week by shopping at “store”.  Inflation happened a bit at the “store” this week!  I had to hire a “shopkeeper”, so prices went up a little so I could afford to have her help me! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

New Stuff

I added some things to the “Tech” tab at the top of the page.  While sitting in my Science Academy workshop today, I decided to start posting the books that I use to read aloud to the children by topic.  The topics will not be in order (I don’t have time to do that! 🙂  ), but they will be there if you need a list of books for the same topics.  Please feel free to leave comments on that page if you know of any other books that I could list.

I will also be posting an updated Earthworm 5E Inquiry Science plan and a newly created one for Recycling sometime soon, so that will be on the Inquiry Science Tab.  Watch for those! 😉

Kristen 🙂

Math Work Stations

In thinking about my classroom and how it would work best, I am still looking at the idea of introducing Math Work Stations.  What I would like to do it wait until 2nd semester (January) and then start them, so that I can get the “bugs” worked out before then.  I would like to use a 30ish minute block of time (maybe more/less  because our Science themes are getting incorporated elsewhere and are not taking up 20 minutes of time usually) I’m still sketching out plans/details but this is what I have so far:

Math Listening Work Station (math related books on tape)

Math Computer Work Station (math sites bookmarked on the computers according to topic)

Math Work with the Teacher Station (working with me on concepts)

Math Exploration Station (using manipulatives to explore concepts)

Math ____________ Station (using the Lakeshore math boxes to explore a concept)

Math Puzzles and Games (using puzzles and games to reinforce a concept)

Math Number Writing Station (using the MTW number writing tasks to reinforce/teach number writing)

Math Seasonal Station (a station using seasonal games-“roll a snowman”, stamping patterns with Halloween stamps, making valentine’s day patterns with foam hearts, etc.)

I’m trying to make it easy for the kids, easy for me; meaning using materials I already have and can easily get to and avoid worksheets! 🙂

I would like to use Monday to introduce a concept–not every Monday, but maybe the first one of the month, introduce the concept (patterning for example) and then spend the next 2-3 weeks working on it through various stations.  I want to try this because I know the children all learn in different ways and sometimes me going over the same thing over and over is boring and they could understand it a different way.  Having said that, I want them to learn the concepts and apply them in several ways so that when they are in first grade they will be ready for any presentation of the same material.

Any thoughts? Does anyone do anything similar?  Any pictures to share?

Kristen 🙂

Updates on Literacy Work Stations

Here are the pictures I promised yesterday showing the new things in our Literacy Work Stations–as always, if you have any questions, please e-mail me at



This is Handwriting Work Station–I added some dry erase slates, some of those Magic Slates (the kind that use static to help you write), and some alphabet writing task cards.


These are the practice cards in use! 🙂


An update to the Word Work Station–this is the “-at” family game.  It was very simple to make, I just printed off the sheet from Word/Excel and wrote “at” on 1/2 of the dice and several other letters on the other (s, m, h, p, b, r). To play the children take one of each kind of dice, roll them and if it is the first time they roll that combination, they record it at the bottom.  After that, they write the word they rolled in the box above where it belongs.

I also added one for the “-an” family as well.  I decided to go with these two because I had already added the word family tins to the station, so they would be familiar with the words, just in a different format.


This is another addition to the Word Work Station.  The children can make various words, and I asked them to write down any words that they make and share them with their partner.  They then need to try to sound out the words and bring it to me to read.


I added several new things to the Games and Puzzles Station.  We have two ABC puzzles, and ABC coloring mat that came with our new handwriting things, and ABC picture cards for the children to match (Letter to Picture).  Also I included Alphabet Lotto for the children to play.


This puzzle really could go to Puzzles and Games, but I put it into ABC Work Station instead.  


This is the rest of ABC Work Station–The blue pencil box has an alphabet puzzle inside, then the ABC rubbing cards, and a small pocket chart I got at Wal-Mart a few summers’ ago.  The children can take the words in the bag on the left and match them to the letters in the bag on the right in the pocket chart.  I also added a set of Alphabet stamps and an ink pad (the paper is 1/2 sheets) and the children are able to stamp words and letters that they know.

Did you notice the colored dots on some of the things?  I labeled the materials in some of my Stations to reflect the levels at which my students are currently at.  There are three levels currently and a dot was placed on each of the children’s name cards in the pouch to reflect the level they are at.  I left enough flexibility in the plan, so that I can change levels if needed throughout the year. When the students go to ta Station, they simply look for materials with a dot that matches their card.



I added several of these sheets to our Overhead Work Station.  I made them with a permanent marker and transparency sheets.  The children place them on the overhead and then fill in the missing letters.

I also had some time during our parent/teacher conferences last week to re-organize my Parent Volunteer Materials.  I used the same “dot” system as for Literacy Work Stations.  I put the children into fluid groups and labeled their sticks with a dot.


When the parents come into help, they just take the sticks from the pocket correlating to the day of the week, look at the dot on the stick, and choose a game or activity that correlates:



We also have a new guest in our room:


See him?  It’s Lucky a box turtle! 🙂  Does anyone know a good way to get rid of fruit flies?  They are hovering around his cage and I feel so bad for him! 🙂


Today we worked on the Little Red Hen, started to read Cook-A-Doodle-Do by Janet Stevens, made a Little Red Hen book that the children cut, colored, and stapled and then took home to help retell the story there.  We also finished our Predictable Chart, “I will help…”.  I have some good helpers in my room! 🙂

We also made patterns with foam shapes and halved sentence strips:



See you tomorrow!

Kristen 🙂



We’re a little off topic today (our theme is supposed to be The Little Red Hen), but since I was out yesterday pulling mommy sick duty and elections today-we went with that.  I have MANY pictures to show you, so I will post minimal words for now and go back and add details later:


Basically the bulk of our day was spent on elections.  We voted in the morning for our favorite flavors of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) and then we used our Writer’s Workshop time to write about why we chose that flavor and what our favorite flavor was.  You can find the ballot and writing page on the PDF page under “i” for ice cream.  We also practiced writing letter “e’s” (seemed to be difficult for most this year) and did very well on that.  We also looked at pictures of the candidates and talked about each one, what the kids knew about them and then we read our Scholastic News all about voting.  After recess, we tallied our votes from our election, declared vanilla this year’s winner and then colored an American Flag.  I also passed out “I voted” stickers to all the children. 

Here are the pictures:

Voting by ballot in secret…


Putting the ballot in the ballot box ( I need to get a better box–something a little more decorated! 🙂 )


Practicing those letter E’s


I love reading this book on Election Day!



Our Election Results Graph! 


I have other pictures to post, but my computer is running incredibly slow, so they will wait until tomorrow (they are of the new things I put in my Literacy Work Stations)


Kristen 🙂

Science Stretch Day #1

Instead of finishing up our Bats theme–which wasn’t much considering our schedule this week! 🙂  We opted for having one of our Science Stretch Days:  The 4 Kindergarten teachers get together and we pick a Science-y theme (fall in this case) and then we have 4 different thing stations that the Kindergarten children can visit.  Here are some pictures:

We cut open some pumpkins and let the kids scoop out the insides with their hands!

This is our sinking and floating station–the children were given mini pumpkins and gourds and they had to dtermine what would happen if placed in the water.

This was the leaf station–the children sorted leaves by attributes and then looked at them with magnifying glasses.

My station was the “rubbing” station.  I put out various materials and the children experimented with textures and different ways to rub their objects.

We also had a wonderful convocation on Friday morning and so we missed most of our morning activities, but we did make pumpkin bread first thing in the morning (in the bread machine) and tasted it for our afternoon snack.  It was yummy! All of the Kindergarten classes made bread at the same time–our hallway smelled so good! 🙂

This week will be the Little Red Hen–complete with bread on Friday! 🙂  I also added LOTS of new items to our Literacy Work Stations as well as differentiated them a bit, so I will take photos of those tomorrow and post them then.

Kristen 🙂

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