Saturday, July 12, 2014

August Favorites

Since I haven't decided upon how I'm going to handle ANYTHING in my second grade classroom this year, I thought I would pick two (yeah, I'm borrowing the term from Panera, since I ate lunch there today) pics to share from kindergarten of some tried and true favorites.

In my kindergarten classroom, it was much easier to have community supplies.  These tackle boxes are my tried and true favorite way to store crayons at the tables.  When I started teaching, I had the chance to observe in my coworkers' classes.  Color me so impressed that I ran to Walmart that afternoon to buy some for my classroom.  When everyone needs a yellow crayon, I do not have to wait and wait for them to find it.  My OCD heart swells when I fill them with Crayola crayons each year.  Crayola is the BEST!  They have the truest colors.  Spend the extra dime.  Trust me!

Gee, isn't this cute?  (Sorry!  I couldn't resist!)  This is another thing I learned from a veteran teacher.  I find it's the best way to introduce kinders to your white glue procedures. It doesn't take much prep, you can use the left over scraps of paper from last year, it looks great on the walls or in the windows!!  Oh, and it gives you a chance to teach them about the first letter in their names, as in, "If your name starts with K, you may line up."  If you want to try them out, roughly cut the scraps into 1"x1" squares (roughly, no perfectionism please, as you can tell by my picture!!).   Use a pencil to draw the capital letter on 9x12 paper (M's and W's work better landscape).  Write the student's full name somewhere on the page for the future.  Anyway, I usually do this on the 3rd or 4th day of school.  It's eye catching in the windows, and it looks so kindergarten-ish!  When I had time and energy for memory books, I would eventually trim around the letter and glue it into the first month of school page in their books.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ice Breaker for Kindergarteners

Can you Choo, Choo?  Here's is an activity I do to learn student names and as an ice breaker the first days of school.  Whenever we have a new student, we play the game again to help him/her learn student names.

Note: I did not create this!  When I first started teaching, someone else taught me this game via a website called  I love this person!  If it is you, please contact me!!  So, I have always used it, even when I was 7 month pregnant.  It's extra fun if you ham it up!

The students sit in their squares on the rainbow rug.  I walk around pretending to be the engine of a train, making all types of train noises, "Chug-a-chug-a, Choo, Choo!"  I stop in front of a child and say, "Who are you?"   The child needs to reply, "My name is _______."  Complete sentences on the first day!  Once they give me the whole sentence, they can jump on the train conga-line style.  I choose the most social, spunky students I can find to interact with first.  I save the ELL students or shy ones until the end.  I never force anyone to participate, especially on the first day, but they usually will by the end of the game. I like to pretend that we are going up a steep hill very slowly, and then down the hill very fast like Casey Jr. from Dumbo. Afterwards, we go to our seats to make a page for a class book. The students get a paper with a train boarder all around it.  I apologize that I don't have the ability to share it.  Its from really old version of Print Shop, and I don't have a digital file anymore!  I typed "Who are you?" at the top of the page, and "My name is _______." at the bottom.  They write their names to the best of their abilities on the line, then they draw a self portrait in the middle of the page.  If necessary, I write their names with pencil, and they trace them in highlighter.  These pages make our first class book, which I then disassemble and put the page in their memory books. No samples to share with anyone :(  I'll keep looking.

Back to School

Can you smell new pencils burning out that new electronic pencil sharpener?  The laminator warming up getting ready to eat all of the new things you made over the summer?  Can you feel the sweat dripping down your back because your school has no AC until the students arrive?  Do you hear millions of parents praying for summer to be over?

I know, it's not even August yet.  It seems so wrong to be writing about Back to School.  I mean, the Fourth of July was just last week!  Sadly, school here in the desert is starting earlier each year.  I am set to pick up my classroom keys on July 28th.  Yes.  July.  Crapola!  That doesn't leave much time, but it sure is fun to do some shopping!  I'm all a flutter because I found clearance Crayola markers for 58 cents a box at Target.  And I have one Office Depot bag with penny deals for the week.  Don't be too jealous, ok!!  I'm sure I will make up the difference when I buy new bulletin board boarders AGAIN (oh, I need a picture of the overflowing box in my office).  And I'm certainly ready to charge up my credit card with some of my TPT wish list items.  Hurry up, and put them on sale already!!

Anyway, school supply shopping is as exciting as black Friday without having to stand in line for hours on Thanksgiving.  I can't wait to visit Lakeshore and CM School Supply.  Those stores are teacher heaven!

Hope to see you all there!!