Sunday, July 31, 2011

Playdough Fun!

I love playdough, but I don't love to pay for Play-doh.  I'm always on the look out for ways to vary the playdough fun.  I also like to make playdough frequently, because let's face it homemade playdough + lots of little hands = petri dish for all sorts of things!

I found a new recipe for playdough that used crayons for the colorant! (found here) My first batch didn't go so well, and it seemed like it was taking way too long (maybe I'm just impatient), so I made a few modifications and I absolutely love it!  The crayons make the colors so vibrant!

Crayon Playdough Recipe
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
4 heaping teaspoons of Cream of Tartar
1-1/2 Tablespoons of oil
1 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla, almond extract, or whatever scent you would like
  1. Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar together well in a bowl.
  2. In large saucepan, heat oil and one broken crayon over medium heat until crayon is melted.
  3. Pour dry ingredients into oil, leaving the heat on.  Blend with a whisk until it is all mixed and resembles cornmeal.
  4. Pour warm water and vanilla into the saucepan and stir until it forms a ball and pulls away from the pan.
  5. Remove from pan and knead for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!
I plan to put it to the test over the next two weeks at Jumpstart!
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Doesn't Love a New Pair of Shoes?

Who doesn't love a new pair of shoes?  Especially new school shoes!  Mrs. Tabb at 
First Grade Awesomeness

has created a fabulous mini unit all about shoes!

Perfect for back to school!  So head on over and visit Mrs. Tabb and check out her mini unit!
Makes me want to go shoe shopping!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Target Here I Come! (again)

How exciting to take a break from some standards alignment and check a few blogs, only to find that I won a Target gift card from Spotlight on Kindergarten!
Thank you Mrs. S!

Spotlight on Kindergarten

I can't wait to go shopping and come back and share all my finds! 
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fall Read Alouds - Linking up with Mrs. Parker

Mrs. Parker is hosting a Read Alouds for Fall Linky Party!


Here are some of the books I plan on using:

Starting School:

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg   Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (Miss Bindergarten Books) by Joseph Slate  The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn 
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes  Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes    The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis  Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School 


Me First (Sandpiper paperbacks) by Helen Lester  Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell  It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel by Jamie Lee Curtis

The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill  Enemy Pie (Reading Rainbow book) by Derek Munson  Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

Content Related Back to School:

This Is The Way We Go To School (Blue Ribbon Book) by Edith Baer  Panda Kindergarten by Joanne Ryder  Follow the Line to School by Laura Ljungkvist 


Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems  Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems  Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook

It makes me want to go read a few good picture books! Pin It

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Exchange

OK, so there's nothing like jumping into the blogging world with both feet! I am linking this up with The Chicka Chicka Linky Party at

Me and Marie Learning

to share a fun idea that my class participated in last year!  

The wonderful teacher who coordinated it last year isn't able to this year.  So..... I'm hoping that my fellow bloggers (sounds so funny since I'm still fumbling my way through this process) will want to join in the fun!

Here's my bulletin board from last year.


A few close ups of the letters we received and notes from other classes.

R was definitely a favorite: rainbow, red roof, race cars on the road.

Very simple letter u, with upside-down umbrellas.

Notice the foam ear with the dangling earring on the letter e? This was one of our favorites! 
Letters (correspondence) from all of our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom friends!

And our map (Dollar Tree) that me marked our letter's originating locations on.

During our shared writing, we brainstormed a list of things that started with our letter D.  Then I started collecting those items. We used stickers, clipart I printed that the kids colored and cut out, and real items - a dime and a diamond (scrapbooking bling!).  I made letters cut on the die cut machine from school, and the kids glued one of each item on each of the letter sets.

We composed our note to send with our letters during shared writing, everyone signed it, and I made copies.

The kids stuffed the envelopes, put the mailing labels and return address labels on, and off to the post office I went.  There were some 1st grade classes that had students address the envelopes or write the notes to accompany the letters by hand!  They were really cool, but I thought it was a bit much for my class that early in the year.

It was a great experience for my kids, and the school secretaries even got into it.  They knew when the new letters came in the mail and visited our room frequently to see the evolution of the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree!

So, here's how the exchange will work:
  1. Email me and let me know you want to participate.  Info I need from you: Your name, or class name, address of where letters should be mailed to, and an email address for the fall, if it's different than the one you use during the summer.
  2. Each participant will decorate 25 uppercase and 25 lowercase letter ( plus one set to keep - or your alphabet won't be complete) of your assigned letter. You mail your completed letters by the first week in October.  You can send them earlier (which is fun because the letters trickle in instead of coming all at once) but I wouldn't send any before Labor Day because some don't start back to school until after Labor Day.
  3. I will send participants an email with more detailed instructions and template to print address labels for mailing.
If you are up for some Chicka Chicka Boom Boom fun, email me.
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Classroom Jobs - Linking Up with Mrs. Dillard

I'm linking up with Mrs. Dillard's Classroom Jobs Linky Party

I am reworking my classroom jobs, largely based on the some end of the year PD on oral language development and a book I am reading, Why We Teach:Learning, Laughter, Love, and the Power to Transform Lives by Linda Alston.  I also saw Linda Alston speak our district K-1 Conference in May.  She is amazing and I will have to devote an entire post to her work in the future.

Some of jobs are based on those in Alston's Logistics Team, and others are specific to my classroom.
  1. Line Leader -  this is the simplest title, but quite possibly carries the greatest significance, with the emphasis on what it means to be a leader.
  2. Door Attendant - pretty self explanatory, with the emphasis on respecting and serving others.
  3. Postmaster -  responsible for distributing papers into student mailboxes and ensuring that everyone has collected all of their mail at the end of the day.
  4. Conservationist - responsible for turning off lights, ensuring the faucet is not dripping, and that we are recycling within our classroom, with the emphasis on being good stewards or our resources (natural and material).
  5. Botanist - responsible for watering the plants and rotating them so they can all get a bit of natural light.
  6. Courier - pretty self explanatory.
  7. Information Technology Specialist - responsible for turning on all computers in the morning and shutting them down at the end of the day.
  8. Staging Manager - responsible for making sure the chairs are stacked, materials are returned, and we have an orderly environment to return to in the morning.
  9. Support Personnel - one or two individuals who step in and fulfill the roles of absent students.
The remainder of my jobs are centered around my morning meeting and calendar routines.
  1. Facilitator - leads our morning meeting and the transitions between the various calendar routines.
  2. Historian - basic calendar routines - yesterday was..., today is..., tomorrow will be..., number of days in school, upcoming events
  3. Meteorologist - basic weather routines that builds into an oral weather report with commentary.
  4. Flag Attendant - hold the flag during The Pledge of Allegiance, with the emphasis on the proper handling of the flag.
  5. Data Collector - attendance routines and graphing analysis during calendar routines.
My final job is Classroom Ambassador.  This job exists through the building.  Each classroom has four ambassadors, two boys and two girls, with one boy and girl being bilingual.  These students hold the position for a determined period, usually a quarter or semester.  These  students act as buddies to new students throughout the year, assisting them in the classroom and throughout the school.

I'm still have to create my management board, but it will likely consist of library pockets.  I would love to hear any thoughts or ideas you have!

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Building Number Sense

I was late ordering my Math Work Stations book, so I'm still waiting on it.  I wanted to share a very simple resource that I used at the beginning of the year and then built on.

I printed and laminated these and used them in a pocket chart at the beginning of the year.  As I introduced a number, I would also introduce the various ways to represent the number.  These stayed in a pocket chart at the front of the room.  After I  had introduced the numbers through 10, all of the cards came out of the pocket chart and it became a Math Work Station.

This chart replaced the pocket chart near our work station for additional support (prints legal size)

Students used a pocket charts to sort the representations.  At the beginning of the year, the representations are simplistic.  For example, the domino representations have all the dots on one side with the other blank.  As the year when on and their ability to subitize developed, I added mixed dominoes, ten frames with two colors, and varying dice and coin combinations.

My teammate also created a workmat that we used to reinforce number representations, I'm sure she won't mind if I share, but I want to check first!  I'll post that later with the explanation and some pictures.

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My name is Kristin, and I am a kindergarten teacher at a Title I school with high percentage of ELL students.  Prior to an unexpected move to kindergarten, I was a first grade teacher.  While I love the content at the intermediate levels, I am a primary teacher at heart!  If we get it right at the primary level, we have set our students on a path that predicts success in future grades and life.  For the students I teach, getting it right is of primary importance!

 will be a place for me to share ideas, resources, and adventures from my classroom.  I hope that you will find it useful and inspiring!

 Ladybug's Teacher Files 
and her fabulous 5 minute tutorials on setting up a classroom blog, I decided to take the plunge from blog stalker to actual blogger.

For all of you blog stalkers who secretly want to start your own blog, hop on over to Barrow's Hodgepodge
where Kristen is guest blogging!

I have to say I'm addicted.  I started a blog for parents that will feature classroom news and pictures.  I also started a classroom blog that will serve as the homepage on our classroom computers.  I am loving it!

There are so many bloggy things I want to learn how do...let the journey begin!
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