Sunday, September 15, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up -> Week 2

This week we focused on discussing how we are each special.  Our poem of the week was "I am Special" -> you can find this in my Rhyme and Chime pack on TpT.

I've been having my students sign in each morning using 10-frames.  We decorated a small card with our face the first week of school (you can also use a photo of the student).  I affixed a magnet on the back and used these magnetic 10-frames (they can be found on Amazon).
Lots of math can be learned with this activity:  How many students are at school today?  At home?  Who is number 7?  How many more to make 20?

Each morning we sing the Alphabet Song Book to help students remember letters and their corresponding sounds.  I also gave each Year 1 (JK) student a black and white copy for them to colour and practice at home.

This is a fun provocation I set up each year - because the faces are all different!!!
Use a bunch of loose parts, round cork boards (Dollarama) and mirrors and have students create their face.

Focusing on names is huge in kindergarten!  I read the book The Name Jar and we spoke about how we each have a unique name made up of letters.  I created these name cards (from Yukari at A Pinch of Kinder) and left them out with magnetic letters for students to build their name.

We open up our centres gradually in kindergarten.  Students must prove to use how they clean up, share materials, have gentle hands when using materials, etc.  This week we opened up our Paint Centre.  We start with one colour of paint and gradually added another colour each day. 

I introduced a very simple STEM (or STREAM in our school) activity this week.  Can you build a tree using small blocks and Popsicle sticks to hold letters?  How many letters can it hold?  Can you build your name on the tree?

My colleague, Ms. Cippollone, gave all of the kindergarten teachers some apples that she had leftover from picking them last weekend.  They weren't too good to eat so instead we used them for this math (1:1 correspondence and counting) activity.  

We worked on our self-portraits, having students draw their face with pencil and then I traced over it with a Sharpie.  Their name is below.  We dotted it using Q-tips and paint.  
You can download the Q-tip rainbow name activity from last week's blog post here.

I worked with Mrs. Petrone (RECE) for the past 6 years and this year, with my class of 15, I am alone.  She sang such great songs to the children that I knew I just had to continue that!  So I typed them up and created my own props.  
This is one of my favourite songs - you can search the song on You Tube if you aren't sure of the tune.  I made the donuts from felt, although you can use construction paper also!
You can download this printable song for FREE by clicking below.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up...Week 1...with LOTS of freebies!

I survived the first week of Kindergarten!
It was great to be back at school and meet all my new students.  What a fun week we had getting to know each other and exploring the different centres and provocations.
You can read all about how I set up my classroom this year and download my Week 1 plans by clicking here.

I saw this activity a few years back on Pinterest and new it would be a hit (I don't know who originally made it but if you do, please let me know so I can give proper credit!).  I found these foam letters in the bath section at Dollarama and placed them all in a basket.  We sang this song as we passed the basket around.  Students chose a letter and said the name and sound.

I like to play a lot of games the first few weeks to have students feel comfortable with each other and the classroom environment.  This is a game I quickly made this week - have students roll the die and do that action (i.e. touch your toes).  I used pocket dice so you can easily slide these cards inside.  Pocket dice are a MUST in any K/primary classroom!  I use them for so many things!
You can find the dice on Amazon (I have created an Amazon store that lists many of my "must have" items if you'd like to check it out):

Click on the picture below to download this game for FREE:

We usually start the year by learning each other's names and think of a name activity to showcase on our walls.  I always like activities that focus on fine motor skills also so I came up with these rainbow Q-tip names.  I made the name templates on Power Point using KG Red Hands font (size 200) and then duplicated the slide to make additional names.  
You can download this activity for free (along with complete instructions on how-to make these) by clicking below.

I'm off to enjoy the must needed weekend!  Hope you enjoy yours also!

Friday, August 30, 2019

The 1st Day of School -> FREE assessments, name badge & crown

Well summer is officially coming to an end this weekend as I prepare to go back to work next Tuesday after Labour Day.  I've been into my classroom a few times this week moving furniture and preparing centres, activities and provocations to welcome my newest group!

I moved classrooms this year as I only have 15 students and took a smaller room.  
Here are a few pics of my new classroom:
This is the view from the hallway door.

Here is our whole group gathering space (which also doubles as the blocks area), with the Book Nook behind and Dramatic Play behind that.

I don't have a desk but I use the white container you see in the background to store my "teacher things" (i.e. staples, notepads, etc.).  I use this half moon table for small group work, reading groups, etc.

The large rectangular table is our Writing Centre and the table set up behind will be Science/Discovery (right now it has some shells I've collected over the years for students to explore).

This is one of the provocation tables in the room.  Behind is our snack table.

Because I don't have many children this year, I didn't need such a large carpet space.  I broke it up using large shelves (which house the blocks) and have mirrors on the backside where the children can use this area for Small World play.

I've had a lot of requests asking what I do on the first day of school.  I always start by meeting my students and parents outside in our yard before the bell.  Many parents are new to our community and might not know who I am so I created this badge that I wear on a lanyard.
You can download this *editable* name badge for FREE by clicking on the picture below.

We welcome our students by having them decorate and wear a 1st day of school crown.

You can download this for FREE by clicking on the picture below.

 I often get asked how I assess students.  I carry around my Student Anecdotal Binder with me everywhere!!!  That's because I'm constantly writing down things that I see students doing, playing with, showing interest in, saying, helping, etc.  This is a MUST for every Kindergarten teacher - it's the best thing when it's time to sit and write the Communication of Learning (report cards) because most of your notes are in one spot!

I don't have a formal assessment for the beginning of the year.  Instead, I use a variety of things to give me a general understanding of where the student is with his/her learning.

Click on the picture below to download this recording sheet for your own binder.

Each student writes his/her name on the Name Sample page.  I do this several times during the year and again in Year 2 (SK) so we can document their progress.  This gets filed in the student's portfolio.  I got this idea years ago when I took Kindergarten Part 1 AQ course with Joanne Babalis and loved the idea!

Download this name sample page for FREE by clicking on the picture below.

I use this Letter/Sound Assessment page to track how many letters and sounds students know.  On the reverse I have included a variety of sight words.  I like to assess students several times a year (or even into Year 2) - I just date stamp the top of each column.

You can download the Letter/Sound Identification assessment for FREE by clicking on the picture below.

Here is my Week-at-a-Glance for Week 1! 
(Note:  Things may change as I meet my new group of students and learn more about their interests and needs.)
You can download the Week-at-a-Glance PDF version {here}.  
If you would like the editable version to modify this for your own class click {here}.  
You will need Power Point to edit.

I used the following fonts if you wish to keep it the same (free to download):

KG Primary Penmanship
KG Behind These Hazel Eyes

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and a fabulous start to the new school year!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Back-to-School Prep!

We actually just started our summer vacation about 3 weeks ago but I like to jump start my back to school prep work in the summer so it's one less thing to do come September.

Here's a look at some of the things I do...

There is so much information we like to tell our parents that, instead of 4000 individual papers, we compile them all together in this flip book.  I like to include daily communication (we use a Mailbag/Communication Folder), school hours, information about how snack time/lunchtime works, what "Play-based Kindergarten" is all about, and more!

I have this product available in my TpT store and it's completely ***EDITABLE*** so you can add whatever you'd like!  It comes already filled with my own school information but it's easy to change.  You can find the Back to School Flip Book here.

I've been using these zippered pouches from Dollarama for years as a way for students to take home work, notes, forms, etc. and for parents to communicate back.  I made these ***EDITABLE*** mail bag tags last summer as I've had many requests for various versions.  

Each morning when the students come in they take out their mailbag and place it in the basket (from Ikea). 

I like to write down what my month looks like (staff meeting, parent meetings, birthdays, etc.) so I created this Teacher Calendar/Planner a few years back.  It's set up so you are able to type right onto it!  There's a spot for Notes and also Things To Do.  Best part is...when you purchase this item, you get it updated each school year for FREE!

I've had many questions about what my daily schedule looks like.  Here's what it looks like from last school year (2018-2019).  
Stay tuned in the next few weeks as I work on the daily schedule for this coming school year!
If you'd like to download it for FREE, click {here}.

Each week during this past school year (2018-2019) I also posted my Week-at-a-Glance plans.  Be sure to check my weekly blog posts and you can download all of them for the entire year to see what we did each week!

I like to post our daily schedule, for the students to refer to during the day, on the white board.  I bought these magnetic photo cards from Dollarama and the schedule cards fit perfectly inside!  If you can't find them, you can also attach a magnet or piece of Velcro to the back.  
One colleague adds these inside a small pocket chart!
Students move a magnetic dot (seen below) on top of each card as the day progresses.  This helps children feel less anxious as they await dismissal.

This form we send home and ask parents to fill out all pertinent information about their child (i.e. pickup, telephone numbers, allergies, etc.).
You can download this for FREE by clicking here.
I've had a lot of requests to make this questionnaire EDITABLE.  
To do so, download the ***editable*** questionnaire for FREE {here} and be sure to download the free font KG Primary Penmanship.

I have one student helper each day - that person is responsible for taking the attendance down to the office, leading prayers, delivering notes to other classes/office, etc.  That student also gets to choose a peer and sit together in the Dramatic Centre where we have a small table for 2!  It's a special role and students eagerly look forward to being the Helper of the Day.
To reveal the helper, I hide a name card behind the "Guess Who?" sign with only the first letter showing.  All the students who begin with that letter stand up and we guess who it could be as more letters are revealed.
Once the helper name is revealed, we see how many words we can find within the name! 
You can download this ***EDITABLE*** "Guess Who?" sign for FREE by clicking {here}.  
It is a PowerPoint file.
Be sure to download the free font KG Primary Penmanship to edit the names.

I've also had a lot of questions around what a "typical" day/week looks like.  I'll be sure to write a blog post soon highlighting that!