Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Taking A Break

I will be taking a break from my kindergarten blog this year. I'm moving to first grade! I spent 11 years teaching first and second grades, before moving to kindergarten, so I'm very comfortable with the change. I'm excited for a new school year, and the opportunity to loop up with a few of my kiddos. I'm an early childhood teacher at heart, and first grade is included in early childhood, so I'm happy. I'm hoping to move back to kindergarten next year! Until then, you can find me at www.homeiswheremystorybegins.com  or www.lovelaughterandlitercy.blogspot.com.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting Ready For The Beach

We've been exploring shells this week!
The kids love sorting the shells by size.
There are so many to explore! We can't wait to see some live sea creatures at the beach next week!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Books We're Reading Now

For the past few months, kids have been self selecting books for independent reading time.  They keep these books in their book bags, and exchange them once a week.

Some of the books are easy readers, that kids can read on their own.

Some of these books are more challenging, and kids use the pictures to retell the stories.

We try to encourage a nice balance when kids self select their books.  Over the past few weeks we been trying to build our stamina in reading.  Just like runners need to build their stamina for running, readers need to build their stamina for reading independently.  Last week, our record was 5 minutes and 35 seconds of quiet reading.  This week, we made it all the way to 10 minutes!!! Kids were so proud of themselves.

I'd like to encourage you to continue reading with your child at home, but also try to add independent reading to their "to do" list.  I would suggest 5-10 minutes each day of independent reading time for kindergartners.  Set a timer, have your child grab some books, and let them read! Don't worry if they can't read all of the words in a book.  There is value in retelling a familiar story as well.  Please keep reading to your child as well!  It's truly the best thing you can do to help your child develop in literacy!

Happy reading!
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We've been working our way through assessments in kindergarten, preparing for the end of the year report cards.  Sight words are just one small piece that we are assessing, but it's hard to take pictures of assessment!  We have been checking kids' progress in letters, sounds, phonemic awareness, concepts of print, comprehension, number sense, probability, measurement, problem solving, communication, and MUCH more!

I am happy to report that kids are doing a great job!  Our class tends to be quite strong in letters, sounds, and ability to use their letters and sounds in their writing.  We are seeing kids use their sight word knowledge in reading and writing every day.  It's so exciting to see such an academically strong group of kindergartners!

It's our job, as teachers, to use assessment to drive our instruction.  There are a couple of areas that we have noticed, the class as a whole, tends to be a little weak in.  Those are the areas we will really be focusing on in the few weeks we have left!  We will be working on graphing and interpreting our graphs, and we will also be practicing our problem solving and communication in math.

We don't have many days left, but rest assured, we are using every minute of our time with your kids!

Happy learning!
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Friends and Flowers

Parents in our classroom have probably heard about new friends.  They're kind of a big deal.

There are 11 of them and we LOVE watching them.  The kids have been observing, drawing, and writing all about butterflies.  I love the descriptive words kids are using in their writing.  They flutter, shiver, and float, according to our kindergartners.

We will be releasing our friends tomorrow (as long as it's not pouring).

We were so lucky to have a few flowers to add to our butterfly habitat!  We are the luckiest teachers in the world and feel SO appreciated.  Thank you so much for all of the cards, flowers, and kind comments during Teacher Appreciation Week.  We have fabulous students AND parents!
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Thursday, May 2, 2013


It was a beautiful sunny day in kindergarten, so there just HAD to be an outdoor activity built into the day.  We chose to have a bubblerific time outside.  We started by reading a book about bubbles.
Pop will be read later, but it's a fabulous book about the science behind bubbles.
Then came the fun part....

I have some great bubble wands that make giant bubbles.  Oh, how the kids love exploring!

Of course, it isn't just free play with bubbles.  We have other motives.  We use the bubble experience to inspire kids to write!  We are working on our poetry unit right now, and we love seeing how a little inspiration gets the kids super excited to write!
I can't wait to share a few of their finished poems with you!
Happy writing!

Snails in Kindergarten

 You have probably heard about our new class pets!  Personally, I prefer pets who are cute, fuzzy, and cuddly, but fish and snails are part of our curriculum.  So, we are loving our new pets even though they don't really have personalities!
Most of the kids will let the snails sit on their hands.  (Yes, we have them wash!)

The snail races are... well.... very slow going. I don't think it really qualifies as a "race" but we get to watch how they move.

Today we watched how they eat too.  Hmmm... now I know where all of the lettuce in my garden goes.

I can't remember the names the kids call these snails, but it was something like Swirly and Shelly. (The snail that was accidentally stepped on today, will now be known as Crush.)

I'll bet you didn't know that when snails are frightened, they make bubbles!  You learn something new every day in kindergarten.

Be sure to ask your child what they have learned so far about snails!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone!
Today was a fun day in kindergarten!
Ms. Cook had the kids planting flowers.

We planted Pansies.

What a glorious day we had for an outdoor Earth Day activity!

They were planted in recycled deli containers too, in keeping with the Earth Day theme.

We hope your child's flower will find its way into your garden at home! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Water Table

It started with corn, moved to wheat, then sand, and now....
The water table is open!  Oh, this has been a highlight over the past week!  We've been giving kids the chance to explore at the water table.  We have boats, funnels, large and small cups, eye droppers, turkey basters, and tubes.

We encourage the kids to explore capacity, objects that sink and float, and experiment with the way water moves.

If you volunteer in the classroom during our center time, I will probably ask you to supervise the water table.  The kids LOVE it but, as you can imagine, it can get a little out of hand without an extra pair of eyes. 
As the weather warms up, especially when it gets to be pool season, I would like to encourage you to break out the measuring cups and other plastic kitchen utensils for kids to experiment with!
Happy water play!

Our New Friends

We'd like to introduce you to a few new friends in our classroom!
This is Goldie, Cutie, Carly, and Tiny.
Our new friends are part of our Animals 2x2 science curriculum (and they will be looking for new homes at the end of the year).  We've been writing about our goldfish every day.
We are learning to observe like scientists and draw exactly what we see.  Sometimes it's really hard, when you're in kindergarten, to not draw a blue goldfish or a fish with stripes.  We are learning to make observations.
We've been labeling the parts of a fish.


We've also been researching all of the things fish need to live. 


I'm pretty sure the fish are the highlight of the school year so far.  It has been a lot of fun and a fabulous learning experience for the kids!
(Wait until they find out that live snails and worms come next!)
Oh, the fun we have in kindergarten!!!

Rice Rainbows

A few weeks ago we started working on learning to spell our color words.  As a follow up, we made some rice rainbows during centers/choice time.
It's so great to hear the kids sing the spelling of the color words as they make their rainbows.

I love working with colored rice.  Not only is it pretty, but having to pinch those tiny little grains of rice is great for small motor development.

Happy Rainbow Day!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sight Word Bingo

Well, I think it's a toss up!  I can't decide the kids' favorite way to practice sight words.  They love singing and dancing to their Heidisongs in the morning, but we also love shaving cream sight word practice too.  Oh, but wait... now we've added sight word bingo to the mix!


School is such a fun place to be!
Don't forget to keep practicing those sight words at home!  We will be testing again soon to see how many more words we know.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Ants Go Marching

Miss Cook had our little ants marching all around the classroom last week! 
Be sure to ask your child to sing the song for you.  Singing is a great way to develop phonemic awareness and there are tons of rhyming words in this song.
Happy singing!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Writing at Home

If you are looking for a few ideas for writing over Spring Break, be sure to check out the printables section of my main blog.

The Spring Break Journal is my favorite printable for our week off.

Spring Break Journal

Happy writing!

Bricklayer's Snack

The  Bricklayer's Snack was our writing project for the day.  We started by reading the book/rhyme Peanut Butter and Jelly.  Be sure to ask your child to sing it for you!  We talked about the sequence of events and the transition words we heard.  (Words like first, next, and then are transition words.)
Kids started with a graham cracker, added some frosting, and then put another cracker on top to make a sandwich.

We wrote a rough draft of the process and then came the yummy part!

We ate them!
Happy writing!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Black, White, and Gray

Ask any kindergartner.  Center time is the best part of the day.  It's the time of day when we have developmental play.  There are blocks, cars, puppets, and home center.  We have the light table and sand table open.  Kids just love to explore and learn.  Last week we set up a painting table, but we resisted the urge to put out every color of the rainbow.

Instead, we experimented with black and white.

The kids mixed their paints and created.  They were creative and curious.

Happy painting!
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