Category Archives: Updates


We started yet another short week by learning about bats.  How’s this for a strange schedule: Full Day Monday, 1/2 Tuesday, No school for Kinder Wednesday and Thursday (1-5 have 1/2 days) and a Full Day Friday!  Madness!!  It’s all due to Parent/Teacher Conferences this week!  I am excited about them–I have all my report cards done, on the computer for the first time ever before Fall Break!! 🙂

Today, we began by writing a Morning Message where I left some blanks for letters to be filled in (picture tomorrow-I left my camera at home today!)  One of the words was “bats”.  We then learned a new pocket chart poem, “5 Little Bats Hanging Upside Down”.  Our wikki sticks were found in a bunch, and could not be used, so we had to temporarily switch to post it flags to underline and find letters.

We then read a Big Book called, “5 Little Bats Flying Through the Night”.  If you haven’t read it, it’s a take of on 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed–very cute!  Great for teaching rhyming words! 🙂

We then made a Predictable Chart titled, “The bat…” and since it is a short week, everyone in the room completed their sentence today.  Tomorrow, we will do touch read and cut up sentences.  Friday will be class book day!

The children were very interested in the idea that bats are nocturnal and so we ended up making a list of animals that are nocturnal and those that are not–we had some great ideas (hamsters, racoons, owls, gerbils, hedgehogs, and a few, like the octopus that we had to do some research on to figure out when they slept)

During our science time, we started by watching an episode of the Magic School Bus about sound (and it just so happens–haunted houses!).  After wards, we got out our Lakeshore Sound Tub and talked about how some sounds are low because of small vibrations and how some sounds are high because of many vibrations.  The children then spent all day sharing with me how they made different sounds using various materials in our classroom!  They loved it!  We also talked about how bats “see” by using echolocation and how that is like sound.  We discussed the ways that bats might use small and large sounds to figure out where they are at.  It was an interesting disucssion! 🙂

I also added a new magnetic word family tin to our Word Work Station (you can see the previous post about them here, scroll down after all the spider things).  This one is the -at family (you know to go with bats!)

Does anyone have any great ideas to spice up ABC station?  Anything you use that your kids love?  I have some games and other things I would like to add, but thought I would see what everyone else is out there doing! 🙂

Tomorrow, during our 1/2 day—more bats!  I’ll take pictures tomorrow and get them posted!

Kristen 🙂


The original plan this week was to study bats, but I ended up being out yesterday, and leaves seemed easier for my guest teacher to handle.  The children began reading this big book:

They took a picture walk through it and then the guest teacher read it aloud to the children.

They then started a new Predictable Chart–this one will be quick because we only have 3 days of school this week due to Fall Break.  Monday/Tuesday will be the days to write the chart and Wednesday, we will make the classbook and touch read the sentences:

Yesterday the children took a leaf walk outside and collected leaves in ziploc baggies.  We used them today with this book:

After reading this story, I let each of the children make  a “Leaf Person” of their own.  We first did rubbings with the leaves, then looked at them with magnifying glasses and then glued them down:

Tomorrow, we have “double store day” because I keep forgetting to pay the children for their jobs!  I promised them a double pay week and more time to shop.  We also will have a Fall Party in the afternoon, right at the end of the day (thank goodness! 🙂 ) and we will do some sorting with leaves in the morning.  We will make our Leaves are…. classbook and finish up our regular morning routines.

I’m also excited to be DONE with report cards for conferences next week!  We were able to complete them on the computer for the first time this year, so they were lots easier and given the fact that I only have 26 children instead of the 50 in 1/2 day that I am used to, things went a lot quicker! Yeah!! I can actually have a Fall Break this year! 🙂

I was thinking of creating some more Roll-A-______ games for November/December, any suggestions?  I have Roll-A-Snowman already.  Do you think Roll-a-turkey, roll-a-pilgrim, or roll-a-native american would be offensive to any cultures?  Any that you would like for me to create?

Kristen 🙂

Skeleton Ideas

I just read a post from the Kinder Korner webring–if you don’t belong, it’s a must for Kindergarten teachers! 🙂  I found some really cute ideas for skeletons, and although I won’t be doing them before Halloween in my classroom, we make come back and do some of these in February when we discuss healthy bodies and nutrition.  I’m listing the names, because these are not my ideas! 🙂


I’ll post later about my own classroom and what we are doing in our short Fall Break ended week!


I posted photos on the group site of a skeleton project we did last year. We collected and painted toilet paper tubes and made a very large skeleton and labeled the major bones and body parts. I cut the skull and hips out of white paper. The children really enjoyed it. You will find the pics under the name Skeleton ideas.  Laura Columbus, Ohio —

“gayuhland”  I have done some darling skeletons with Q-tips mounted on black paper with a TLC-head (starting from a square white paper, etc.) Although not exactly ‘correct’ in terms of number of human bones, etc., it has been a great lead-in for a unit on skeletons/exo- skeletons. I also  have a great little booklet featuring different animal skeletons– I  remember a turtle for sure–I think 8 animals in all. Let me know if you are interested in a copy, photo &/or ‘q-tip count’  for the project. Off-list is fine. 🙂  Gay 

“kinderoom” <kimberlyennis@  Hi,  I am doing a short skeleton unit as well. I don’t have lot of time  so here  is one thing I will be using:  Last year my kids loved the “roll-a-?” games. I made a big  skeleton (just enlarged one of those easy ones from a  Worksheet- Mailbox, I believe.) We talked about the pips on the dice, how to  “recognize” or count them,  And how to find that piece of the skeleton to add. After we played  together,  I gave them smaller version to cut out and a die  so they could play by themselves. (don’t know how this year’s kids  will do but am trying something new….they would cut the poor skeleton up  too badly  to use so)  I bought the little plastic skeletons those that come 6 or 8 to a  pack and  cut them into 6 pieces.  (head, chest/trunk, 2 arms, 2 legs) and then made a “roll a  skeleton”  direction card. I put this along with a die in a baggie.  Now they will have game to play at home with their parents. Of course we will still play with the big one as a class, just won’t be cutting  them out  this year. I also got one of those big plastic moveable skeletons. I wrote an  alphabet  letter on each of the bones at the hinges (?) – you know, the  joints they  are put together(?) – for example – at the end of the collar bone I  put a  capital A and on the top of the humerous (the lone arm bone) I  put a lower  case a. I did this for all the bones where they came together.  Then I took  it apart. (the plastic buttons can be cut so you can take it apart).  The kids put it together by matching caps to lower case. You can  put it back together with the large brass fasteners. > > I used to sort and graph the “Dem Bones” candies, but it just got  too hard  to get them. I’m sure they are available somewhere still, but just  not  worth the effort now. (I do miss the activity though.)  I used to make large skeletons using paper towel and toilet paper  rolls.  (saw it on line somewhere) – That was fun and the kids loved that  they ALL contributed to making him.  I hope this helps.  Kim

Spiders (day 3)

I went back to school today–although I seriously considered taking another day off just because I could, but I would of needed to drive 45 minutes to school and then back, wasting all that sleeping time, when I could just go and teach!  So I did!  🙂  I’m glad I did, I miss my Kinder. kids!

Here’s what we did today:

We read I Like Spiders and predicted how many times the word “spider” would appear in the story (16).  We then read the story and highlighted the word “spider” and counted as we went.

We also wrote the word “spider” on an index card and that will be the task for the Big Book Work Station.

We then continued on with our Predictable Chart:

And revisited our KWL chart:

Here are the books we will read/have been reading:

We worked on Pattern Block Spiders yesterday:

I can only post a picture because I did not make this one, you could lay down some pattern blocks, trace and make your own! 🙂

Today, we started heavily into patterning and used candy corn!

We had everything from the very simple:

To a very elaborate pattern…

After a little while the Kinder kids had a self imposed contest to see who could make the coolest and best patterns!  That was fun motivation for them to get creative!

I also introduced a few new things into Word Work Station:

I showed these rubbing cards this summer and just introduced them.  I have had many rubbings done of them and some children are choosing just to copy them onto the dry erase boards.

These are word family tins I created using old playing card tins.  I have about 10 of them (the tins came from Teacher’s Treasures 5 years ago) and I just used a permanent marker to write in the inside.  I usually have small scraps of paper inside so the Kinder. kids can write down the words that they make, but we’re still just learning how to use these–maybe the first part of November!

I also introduced this sorting board into ABC Work Station.  Currently, it says “Letters in my name, Letters not in my name” and “Letters with a Curve and Letters without a Curve”.  I wrote it in dry erase marker so it can be changed easily and quickly and used electrical tape to make the lines.

I have a ring of names for the name side so once the Kinder kids are done with their name they can find their friends names and try them too!  I will add a ring with pictures of the Kinder. kids for my non-readers soon.

Kristen 🙂

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Spiders (day 1 and 2)

What a long weekend!  I’m so glad it’s over!  Between the wedding and my nephew’s birthday (which was the best by the way), I am wiped out! So much so, that I got the flu somewhere in there and stayed home today!  Fun!

Yesterday, we began our unit on Spiders (they give me the creepy crawlies, but hey, it’s for the kids!).  Now normally, I would have used my Mystery Box with some plastic spiders inside of it to get things started, but since I felt icky, I just told them what we were going to learn about this week.

We began by making a KWL chart to list things we knew and wanted to know about spiders (I’ll post pictures tomorrow).  I then used my much loved Shared Reading With Big Books book and introduced the big book “I Love Spiders” to the children. We took our picture walk and then read the story together.  After that, we started our Predictable Chart, “Spiders…”.  Then of course we had to read a story–“Be Nice to Spiders” which the children just loved.  Check it out if you are able!

During our math time, we completed Patten Block Spiders.  This time, I had the children color in the shapes.  Today, they are graphing their results.  We also added lots of things to our compost bin and you can really see the work that the worms are doing!  Everything is very moist in the box and the worms were busy this weekend crawling up the sides of the compost bin and laying some eggs (I think that’s what they do anyway–still reading about that part!).  So we will have baby worms soon!  The children love to help me turn the compost and check out what was what in the bin!

Tomorrow, we will start heavily into patterning–I have candy corn to help get things started, they always enjoy that!

I will post photos tomorrow, if I am well enough to go back!  Feeling better by the minute so it looks good!

Get those flu shots!

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 3) and pictures…

We continued our theme of the farm today…we re-read Mrs. Wishy-Washy and then we acted it out.  I acted it out for the children first and then I had some actors and actresses come up from our class to help me:

How cute are they??  Here’s Mrs. Wishy Washy’s apron:

I used a dishpan, and old scrubber and animals I collected various places to help wash the animals:

Here is a look at how I store it:

These props will do into our Drama Work Station later this week.

This is the Big Book we are using.

This week our Pocket Chart Station has the nursery rhyme Little Bo Peep, so before putting it in the chart, I reviewed a copy of it with the children and used this Big Chart:


Here are the scarecrows I promised from yesterday.  The first one is the pattern block scarecrow and the second are a few pictures of the scarecrows we made using tracers:

Here is a look at our Predictable Chart this week:

We also added many things to our compost bin: eggshells, coffee grounds, my apple core from lunch, leaves and dirt:

We also wrote in our Nature’s Recycler’s Journals (found on Inquiry Science tab):


Here are our read alouds for this week:

More tomorrow……

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 🙂

Pumpkins! (day 4 and 5) and some other stuff…

Here is a recap of day 4 and 5….

Day 4

We read our Big Book out loud together and then used sentence strips to sequence the details of the story:

I then had students come to the front of the room and hold the strips up so we could read them.  We then wrote numbers on them in the correct order of their sequence.

We also did the Cut Up Sentences activity from the Building Blocks books.  The sentences this week were very unique and many were thoughtful sentences completed after we read several books about pumpkins.

We were able to use our balance scales today (and yesterday!!).  Here are some pictures of us doing that:

While some children worked with the balance scales, I pulled several smaller groups of children over with me and worked on shape matching:

Here are the new Literacy Work Station cards I made:

This is the sequencing activity we did with the pumpkin life cycle. See day 3’s post for more info…

This is the activity that will go into the Big Book Work Station with Pumpkin, Pumpkin.  I wrote the Guess the Covered words on an index card and put several post-it-strips on the card.  The children will find these words, cover them and with their partner, try to use clues to Guess the Covered Word.

Day 5

We used our Predictable Chart to make a class book…

It is true that these are the MOST loved books in our Library Work Station!


This next week, we will be learning about farms.  I didn’t do a closure lesson to tie up our pumpkins theme, because we will come back to it after this week.  We will go on our study trip to the pumpkin patch and have more knowledge to add to our theme.

I ordered Debbie Diller’s new book Spaces and Places and I will get it sometime this week!! I can’t wait! 🙂

We will start our composting theme along with the farm.  Our PTO purchased a large composting tumbler bin for our nature center and we volunteered to be the first class to get it going.  I had already received bins from my grant on, so we will start that and talk about how redworms are  Nature’s Farmers! 🙂

I am also working on making name boxes for each child in the classroom. I’ve decided so that I don’t overwhelm myself and them, I will make one each day they are the Special Helper.  That way, we make one box a day, and add them slowly to the Name Work Station.  I’ve also decided that for now the Name Work Station and the Handwriting Station will be independent of each other, but could mesh into one Station in the second semester–this too would be a great way to save space! 🙂

I also recorded my students singing our ABC Sound Song, Days of the Week, Months of the Year, counting, Shape and Color songs and in between typing these words, am burning them on a CD for each child in my room to take home and practice.  This could be a Work Station as well–put a CD player, some head phones, charts of each of these songs and call it Calendar Work Station or Song Work Station.  The children who needed a review of these could sit and work on that and hear it as many times as needed–Hmmmm, I might have to try to find some room to set this up!

See you Monday down on the Farm!

Kristen 🙂

Updated Behavior Card

I updated my behavior card–I didn’t realize that I posted the wrong one, until I needed more today!  It has been changed so that this is the one I made this summer for Full Day Kindergarten:

Here is it–Hope it helps!

Kristen 🙂

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