Back to School with a Freebie

Hi Everyone!
  As I am preparing to go back to school I am thinking about all of the procedures I need to teach my kids at the beginning of the year.  I usually weave them into my lesson plans, and to be honest, I know that some get grazed over more quickly than then should.
  I truly believe that if you teach a procedure properly from the beginning, and with lots of consistency, you will make life so much easier for you and your kids because they will know exactly what to expect.
  To help myself stay accountable for teaching these routines I have created a checklist that will be separate from my lesson plans in which I have listed all of the procedures I find absolutely necessary to teach my kids.  In this way, if I don't get to them all in the first week (which can be difficult with short weeks and mini-days), then I know what procedures still need to be reviewed the following days and weeks.

Please grab this freebie in my TPT store, and I hope it helps to make your first week stress free! : )


Learning to Tie our Shoes

Hi everyone!
   With a class of 30 tying shoes can take up a big part of my day.  I don't teach my students how to tie their shoes, because I don't want to interfere with the methods their parents are teaching them at home, but I do recognize my students when they have mastered the skill.

On one of my doors I have an "I can tie my shoes!" board.  Whenever a student learns to tie their shoes they get a shoe template printed on card stock that they color and cut out.  I add a picture of them and some yarn to complete the project.  This door is always a big motivator for the students, and also for the parents who often come in and take a picture of their student's shoe once they have achieved shoe-tyer status : )  These students are also my helpers, and are always more than happy to help tie another students shoes to practice their skills.  Since introducing this board a couple of years ago I have spent a lot more time instructing, and a lot less time tying! : )


Leap Frog TAG Readers

Hi everyone,
  To continue the tour of my classroom I wanted to discuss my Leapfrog Tag Readers.
When I first started reading about Daily 5 I did some research into the best possible way to present listen to reading.  Previous to my TAG readers I had a cassette player that I used with books checked out of the library.  There were a couple of problems with this, first off my students had a somewhat difficult time operating the machine independently, and secondly, our school library really didn't have the best selection of cassette's for the students to read.  They were out of date, and many only had one copy of the book.

I was reading a blog one day, and someone mentioned that they had some Leap Frog TAG readers donated to their classroom, and this is what they used for listen to reading. I did some research, and estimated that I would need $300 to make this a possibility.

At open house (on the 2nd day of school), I let the parents know what my goal was, and let them know that there would be future fundraising opportunities.  I also sent a note home a couple weeks later, and let them know they could send in straight out donations too! : )  I went on the Souplantation website, completed a form, and got set for "funraiser" at our local restaurant.  Souplantation would give us 15% of their total profits, from 5pm-8pm on the day that we chose.  I notified the whole school about this fundraiser, and we had a great turnout.  We recieved a $230 check from Souplantation!  I also had parents donate both money and TAG reader books worth $70-$80.  With this, I was able to buy 6 TAG readers, and about 4 books for each reader.  This is how I organize them:
Each box has a certain colored star on it, and the TAG reader and all the books in that box have the same colored star, that's how we keep them all organized.

I love the fact that my parents are still looking to help me out with this project.  Every now and then they come in with some TAG books they found on clearance at Target or Walmart, and just the other day a couple of my parents found some funny phrases boards, and create a word boards for $1!!!!  They purchased a ton of them for my class to use:
My kids LOVE using the TAG readers, and as we all know technology comes so easily to kids now a days!  I work in San Ysidro, California, which is the southern most city in San Diego County, just minutes from the Mexican border. For 95% of my students English is their second language, so these TAG readers really help with English acquisition and pronunciation.  They took a little bit of work to get them, but they were well worth the effort!

Talk to you soon!

My Pinterest Inspired Classroom

Hi everyone!
  I am obsessed with pinterest, just the same as any other woman I know, much to the derision of our husbands : )  Here are a couple of things in my classroom that have been pinterest inspired.

We've all seen the pin to use an oil drip plan for magnetic activities.  I bought 2 of them at Walmart ($10 each), and my husband attached them to the bottom of my calendar area. I tape on rotating activities for my students to complete.  Here is the link for these activities:
ABC Centers

 Here are a couple of other places to find magnetic activities:

The Snail's Trail Blog
Make, Take, and Teach Blog

After reading April Larremore's post on her blog Chalk Talk I decided to change up my word wall.  I had always done popcorn words, but they always seemed too scattered and difficult for the students to find the right words.  This way is so much more organized and I can see that the student's use it a lot more efficiently.  She had also mentioned that whatever picture you use for a letter needs to stay consistent.  We use Open Court at my school, and I had some extra flashcards that I stapled up next to each letter to help the students connect the letter to our larger set in the front of the class.

Last but not least is our guided reading stools.  I found this idea on pinterest, and it has really helped me out with some storage issues.  The kindergarten classroom is housed in a rather old building, and it lacks a good storage space.  Within these crates I keep extra wipies, kleenex, hand sanitizer, pencils, glue, pipe cleaners, you name it.  The fact that they double as guided reading stools and writing center stools makes it all the more useful!

Talk to you soon!


Word Family Practice

Hi everyone,
  I thought I would start by showing you around my room.  The first thing I wanted to show you was my word family door.

These are from a Carson Dellosa set that I purchased from our local teaching store.  The set has 30 different word family objects in it.  I kept the ones that were the most commonly used in kindergarten, and gave the rest of the set to the first grade teacher.  We go over one a week.  Every day we repeat what the word family is, read all of the words, and assign a motion to each word to help us remember its meaning.  After we read them over, I call on one student to pick one of the words for that day.  We write it down on this form:
We then come up with a sentence together that we add to the bottom.  This form and a cover for this form can be found at the wonderful website of Mrs. Nelson.  If you haven't looked through it yet, you really need to check out her website, it has many wonderful teaching ideas on it. 

Talk to you soon!



Hello out there in blog land

Hi everyone,
  This is my first attempt at writing a post.  I'm on Spring break and figured that this was as good as time as any to start with this whole blogging process.  Please be patient with me as I try to get this thing up and running, and I am hoping that things that I post might be useful to some of you out there.  I have received so many wonderful ideas from the blogs that I follow that I am hoping I will be able to give back to others as well.  Wish me luck!