Friday, August 31, 2018

Back to school - Week 1 (with lots of FREE downloads)

It's the long weekend before school starts (which is next Tuesday) and I'm putting the final touches on my timetable, week-at-a-glace and paperwork to send home to parents.
I set up my classroom this week and, although the set up is primarily the same as last year, I know that it changes often as students express interest and co-create the learning environment with us as the year goes on.

Here are a few pictures of what it looks like for the beginning of the year:
Dramatic Centre - the small ceramic plates come from Ikea

Science/Discovery Centre - large sunflowers will also be added to this centre for children to explore the seeds

Light Table - the shelf to the left (not in picture) holds a variety of transparent materials and loose parts which are perfect for this centre

Math Centre - a variety of materials focusing on early numbers (1-10) are on the shelf
Do you follow me on Instagram? @mrsalbanesesclass
I posted a virtual tour of our entire classroom which shows a much better picture of our class.

I decided to try something different this year in terms of my day plans.
I have always used a "Week-at-a-Glance" document to plan out the week rather than day by day.  With the Ontario Kindergarten program, provocations and materials set out are intentional and rather than change things every day, we like to keep them out for students to explore for at least the week (although we might tweak something as we go).
*Side note:  The schedule below may change (i.e. library) during the first few weeks of school *
I got the idea for this template from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.

You can download the above Week-at-a-Glance PDF version{here}.  
If you would like the editable version to modify this for your own class click {here}.

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

Here's a closer look at some of the provocations and centres I set out for the Week 1 of school.

All of the Year 1 (JK) students will be making a crown to celebrate their first day.  We have been doing these for years and I think they are so much fun!  If they can, the students write their name on the line and decorate the crown with foamies, stickers, alphabet stampers and crayons.
It reads "I started school today!"

Can you match the letters?
This is another provocation I like to start with each year.  The alphabet pebbles are from Quality Classroom.

What do you know about numbers?
We set out simple materials for children to explore and show us what they know about numbers 1-10.

Routines - from day 1
We start our daily routines right away.  We gather on the carpet once the children get undressed and listen for announcements.  The Helper of the Day is revealed, one letter at a time - we start by showing only one letter and if your name starts with that letter you stand up.  Then we show the next letter, if you have it in your name you keep standing, if you don't you sit down.  We continue until the children are able to guess and the name is revealed.  We also look closely at the Helper's name - how many letters does it have, how many syllables, what smaller words can we find inside, etc.

We also teach the children the Alphabet Song - which we sing every morning when the Helper of the Day and a friend take the attendance down to the office.
Click {here} if you would like to see this product on TpT.

We also begin with a new poem each week.  For the first week, we will be introducing the Welcome poem.  You can find this poem and so many more to last you the entire year in my Rhyme and Chime pack on TpT.  You can click {here} if you would like to see that product.

New centres are introduced the first week so that students are familiar with where they are but we really like to leave things as open-ended as possible for students to explore the materials.

We also start by explaining our Daily Schedule to the students.  This helps children with anxiety as they can visually see the things we will be doing for the day and when it will be home time.
You can find this {here} in my TpT store or by clicking the pictures below.

Getting Organized!
We have been using the same system for organizing our students for years - a simple zippered pouch from Dollarama!  They are durable enough to last the entire year (for most students!) and the zippered pouch means that notes and money won't get lost.

I made these editable mail bag labels that fit perfectly inside the zippered pouches.
You can find these {here} on TpT.

We send home a few papers the first day including a Parent/Guardian Questionnaire and Back to School Flip Book.

Download the Parent/Guardian Questionnaire for FREE by clicking {here} or the picture below.

You can find this Back to School Flip Book on TpT if you are interested.  Click {here} to take you there.
It's editable but I did add the information we share with our parents if you would like to use that!
Note:  I blocked out the name of our school for privacy reasons.
We can't wait for another amazing school year to start!
Happy long weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Interactive Pocket Chart {Poem Builder} - FREEBIE!

This past school year I introduced a new centre to my students.  I found that it was perfect for my Year 2 (Senior Kindergarten) students and worked well during small group instruction with my Year 1 (Junior Kindergarten) students.

I have lots of pocket charts that I have purchased over the year and I just attached it to a rolling clothes rack (although I think this year I will actually attach it to the closet you see behind with 3M hooks).

Each Monday morning, I introduce a "Poem of the Week".  We spend time together as a class reciting it (chanting, singing, rapping, etc.) and use our pointers to find letters/sounds or sight words.
We revisit our poem often during the week, listening for rhyming words, replacing words to see if the poem still makes sense and building it together.  
I write it on chart paper so that students can revisit it during the week and use a pointer to "read" the poem - it works great for practicing tracking print!

I also project it on the Bright Links board so that we can manipulate the poem - circle letters, highlight sight words, etc.

I like to cut up the word cards for the poem and place them in a Ziploc bag at the Pocket Chart Centre.  Here students are invited to build the poem (I encourage them to work with a friend to help each other).

In small group lessons, I have students who are working on identifying sight words.  I made this yellow highlighter paper by cutting a plastic pocket folder so that it fits over the cards.  We play games where I call out a sight word and they have to find it, I reach into my bag of sight word cards and see who can read and then find it first on the poem, etc.

To challenge some students, I cut up the words and have them rebuild the poem in a large journal.

I have a LOT of poems!  Although we might not have this activity out every week (I like to use the pocket chart for so many different things), I have them ready in case I need them.
Here's how I store everything:

I store all the poms in a large binder (this one is from Staples - it has a rubber re-enforcer on the side which is excellent!).

Each poem is laminated an kept in a clear plastic page protector.

I store the cut up cards in a small Ziploc bag inside the page protector as well so everything is together.

I know that many of you who own these poems have asked me about storing them.
I have included the title page for the binder here as a free download (and it's editable so you can add your own name, school, etc.)  I created it using Power Point so be sure to download and look at the "Read Me First" section to see which font I used and install it.

Click the picture to download!

You might be interested in these poems which are perfect for Back to School!

You can find all of these poems (and so many more for the entire year!) in my growing bundle where you get all of the poems at a 25% discount!