Friday, June 29, 2012


Today I am lucky enough to guest post over on my friend Randi's blog, Teach It With Class
If you are just coming over here for the first time then Welcome!! If not, I would love for you to hop on over to her blog to read my post :)

I am excited to say that I am finally done with my Apple Unit!! I absolutely love teaching apples! I don't know if its because it is the beginning of the year and its one of the first units or just because it is FUN!!
This unit is great for the beginning of the year. It is very differentiated, just like our kids at this time!!  :) There are alphabet activities, beginning of the year sight word activities, beginning sounds, CVC words for those kids that are ready, labeling, measuring, patterning, 10 frames and I can go on and on!!  I snapped some pictures while I was prepping it for my class, but I would love for you to head over to TPT and read the overview so you can see all that it includes :) Just click HERE
Non-fiction writing book with plenty of options to choose from

Sight words, beginning sounds, and CVC words

Patterning, 10-frames, one-to-one correspondence

Cute Johnny Appleseed craft with optional fact book :)
If you read my guest post I explained how I love to start all of my units with a graphic organizer. If you want to grab my graphic organizer for the Apple Unit just click HERE and download the preview :)
I will keep my apple unit on sale throughout the weekend! Let me know what you think :) 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily 5: Chapter 3

1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks. I have a big carpet in the front and center of my room. I've never had a cute name for it like the 'family room,' I just call it the carpet haha. But, maybe I should change that? We use the carpet as a gathering place throughout the day--for calendar math, whole group reading, introduction to writing for the day, and we even sit in a big circle on the carpet for math a lot of the time!
2. Developing the concept of 'good fit' books. I like the shoe lesson the sisters talked about in the book and I also like the idea I read on Tammy's post on using Goldilocks to teach 'good fit' books. I am not 100% sure what I am going to do to teach this yet. I like the children to have some freedom at the beginning of the year when they are choosing books. I like to see them reading the pictures together and choosing books that really interest them. I don't really stress about whether or not they can necessarily read the books yet. 
3. Create anchor charts with students. I didn't catch on to anchor charts until about January of last year. I had never heard of anchor charts or learned about anchor charts. I started noticing them on blogs and then tried them out in my class. I love them now! I can't hang too many things on my walls in class (crazy, strict fire marshals!) but I think I am going to hang them with clothespins on a line and change them out periodically. I also want to keep up our 'class promise' anchor chart and an anchor chart next to each center with their center expectations.
4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes. I have these from Really Good Stuff...
that I can use for the students book bins. I have a really cute book I made that is titled 'I Can Read' and the pages consist of pictures like McDonalds, Target, and places the children recognize. So, even if they can't 'read' they can read that book. It is really cute and would be a nice little addition to their book bins to start the year off. I also wouldn't mind adding a book on colors or an ABC book since these are the first skills we work on. As far as short, repeated intervals go...I am planning on keeping track of their stamina on a chart and creating goals for them.
5. Calm signals and check in procedures. I definitely don't have a calm signal right is either a bell going off or me saying 'Clean upppp!' haha so I guess I should change this! I do like the idea of having a nice, calm chime. My students do have a specific place to hand in their work and they know to hand it in and then go sit on the carpet for further directions. This has always worked for me!
6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors. Modeling behaviors is SO important and reminders are needed often in Kindergarten. I actually see my kindergartners walking much nicer then students in upper grades in the hallway because I repeat these expectations so much! I also use a clip chart in my class and students do move their name down when I see inappropriate behavior as well as moving their name up when I see them demonstrating wonderful behavior! When I notice my students getting wiggly or they seem distracted, I usually stop what I am doing and play a quick round of Simon Says. I will have them stretching and then the last thing I usually say is something like 'Simon says show me your best work!' and they get back to what they were doing. My children love this!

I have learned so much already from reading everyones posts on the Daily 5. However, the more I think about my class and my schedule I am still not sure if I am going to be able to implement this 100%. During my morning rotations, I am required to get students onto a specific reading program on the computer and this is also the time we have incorporated science and social studies. What I am thinking of doing is having 4 rotations and making 2 of the rotations something they have to complete (1 being meet the teacher and the other being science, social studies, a thematic activity, or computers) and then having 2 of the rotations be their choice. We will see though, I am kind of just thinking out loud right now ;)
Don't forget to link up with Tammy this week!
Next week we will be heading to Mrs. Miner's for Chapter 4!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 2 Linky

I am totally loving this book study so far! I loved reading everyones posts and comments on Chapter 1...I am learning so much and getting some great ideas from you all!!

1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way?
I trust most of my students! I feel like you always have one or two students that you have to constantly stay on top of.  But with that said, I am going to really work on coming up with ways to guide these students better and show them how proud I am when they do a good job, etc.  I build trust starting the first week of school. I give them tasks and jobs to do. I teach them the right way to act and I model great behaviors. They learn so quickly and when they do, I am able to trust them! Now....can I stay out of their way? I really do for the most part!! But again, I have had certain students that I need to stay on top of to complete their work, follow directions, etc. Hopefully, if I teach Daily 5 the right way and I teach the students to take ownership in their learning--then other students will assist their peers in staying on task and reminding them! April Wolf emailed me a wonderful idea that would assist in building trust right off the bat, "A first step to building that I was not able to do last year, would be sending the student a post card before school starts." I LOVE this idea...I would totally do this if I could! (We don't get our class list until the afternoon before school starts!) 

2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?
To be completely honest, I haven't been giving my students that much choice. When I am pulling reading groups, my students have been rotating to ASSIGNED literacy centers. I can't wait to switch this! I think choice is going to be so good for them! Of course I will need to thoroughly teach the centers and expectations beforehand. I also do think I will need to somewhat monitor their choices just to make sure certain students aren't choosing the same thing daily. My daily schedule is posted, we go over it daily, and I even let a student put a check mark next to each item as it is completed. They LOVE this!! This is what I use....
I am putting them on sale until tomorrow evening....AND if you don't see something in the packet that you do during your day, let me know and I will add it for you!!
3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
The first few weeks of school are so important in building that sense of community. As a teacher, you need to show them how to act, treat the students how you want them to treat each other, and make sure the students feel almost like they are at 'home' in the class! What I have done in the past (and it really works!) is create anchor charts with my students on expectations and rules for all aspects of the day. I have even had my students sign these anchor charts as a promise to me that they were going to follow what we made/discussed together.

4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?
I think it is important to talk with your children about why they are doing certain tasks throughout the day. Even before I read a book I tell them why we are reading it and why it is so important.  Some children will pick up on this urgency right away and they probably don't need to hear me constantly explaining the 'why', but others need it all the time. They are 5 and they are going to be building this ownership throughout the year!

5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals?
April Wolf said in her email, "We had a goal of two minutes at first and built up to 15 minutes over  a couple of weeks. Setting a goal and celebrating it is something for the class to look forward to."  I think this is a great idea! I like the idea of setting a goal; however, I will need to make sure that 'goals' will work for my incoming class. I wouldn't want students to be only worrying about their goal and not focusing on what is really important, the learning!

Next week we are heading back over to Tammy's wonderful blog to discuss Chapter 3! I am excited to move on into the more fun parts of Daily 5! My mind has already been racing with new ideas for word work, listening, etc! 
Please link up with your Chapter 2 reflections, thoughts, experiences, ideas here:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

KD5 Book Study: Chapter 2

Some things to think about while reading this chapter:

1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way? ;)

2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? (would love for you to share some examples!) Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?

3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?

4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?

5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals? ...

As we continue reading, reflect on what your biggest challenges are going to be when you implement the Daily 5. Keep in mind what changes you are going to have to make and what you are still questioning about using the Daily 5 in your class (if you are not doing so already).

I created this printable for you to jot down your ideas on this Chapter. You can also add GREAT ideas you are learning from your fellow bloggers :)

I will be back on Wednesday with some other helpful items! Don't forget to get your blog posts done and ready to link up! I loved reading everyones posts/comments from last week!! I am learning a lot from you! If you don't have a blog, then just comment or email me! if you email me, then please let me know if I have your permission to post your thoughts.

We have been seeing some great 'pin's on our Pinterest board. Don't forget to stop by!

Have fun reading!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

....Some More Word Work!!

Hopefully if you are reading this, you read my post over at Kindergarten Lifestyle and you grabbed a copy of the sight word rings for your word work center.  If you haven't read that post yet then head on over there first by clicking on the picture below, then join me again when you are done :)
 In the back of the word wall word cards I added in additional cards with color words, number words, and then the 'FUN' cards as the kids like to say--cards with words and pictures!
Click on the picture above to see more!
I love having these rings in my word work center and the kids do too. They are so proud of themselves when they can spell new words and eventually start to read these words!! Hopefully you are able to enjoy these with your kids too!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Daily 5: Chapter 1

As some of you may know, I am joining Tammy and other bloggers in the Daily 5 book study.  I have heard about Daily 5 before and even have read about it on all of your wonderful blogs, but I have not implemented it in my classroom. Right now, I do literacy centers/workstations...and I have to say, I do LOVE it!  My kids are very focused and it just works! I teach a full day K class and I am the only teacher. We also have a separate writing block later in the day. But, a lot of people say that once you go Daily 5 you never go back! --that's the saying right ;) So, I am definitely interested in switching things up!
Tammy gave us all some things to think about while we read Chapter 1 so here are my thoughts...
1. How do I teach new behaviors? We spend a lot of time the first couple weeks of school going over behaviors. I model the behaviors and re-model. I demonstrate wrong behaviors and we discuss why it is wrong and how we can fix it. 
2. How do I teach expectations? I make sure to model and show them the behaviors that I expect. I also hold my students to high expectations and they always meet them!
3. How do I monitor student behavior? I currently use a clip chart for my students behavior and will continue to do so. This is a school policy at my school and it seems to be working wonderfully. With the Daily 5 I am also thinking that I will create a Daily 5 clip chart. The chart will be labeled with the different Daily 5 components and the students can clip their name onto the spot that they are going to work on.  This will also allow me to limit the amount of people at a certain center. For instance, on Listen to Reading I can have 5 dot stickers on the chart. If a students clip is on each of the 5 dot stickers, that means that all of the headphones are taken and they must choose something else to work on.
4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior? Again, I use a clip chart in my room. If I see a student not exhibiting the desired behavior then they move their clip down. I can do this nonverbally with a hand motion that I teach the kids, this way I don't distract others OR if needed I will walk up to that student or say it out loud depending on the behavior observed.
5. Whose classroom is it? Our classroom is definitely OUR classroom. The students help me make decisions, they help me clean, they take pride in how our classroom looks. We are a team and a we have a huge sense of community.
6. Locus of control? I actually discuss this a lot with my students in order for them to realize that they are in control of their education and their future and what they do in the classroom will affect them. I think the K students need reminders of this though. However, I still use sticker rewards and treasure box :/
7. Where are supplies stored? All of our classroom supplies are out in the open for everyone to use. The students text books, writing notebooks, and poetry/science notebooks are in their seat sacks. All other materials are labeled and available to the children. With the exception of tape and the stapler which I have had to keep on my desk due to excessive use and no supplies! :) I have very defined areas in my classroom--listening center, writing center, word-work center, etc. 

I can't wait to hear all of your opinions and ideas for Daily 5! Like I said, I have never done this or been trained on this before! This is all new to me and I am excited to learn from you!
If you are participating in the D5 book study, don't forget to link up with Tammy here...
Then, I will see you again soon because I am hosting Chapter 2!!

And before I forget!!! .... Kindergarten Smiles has a Facebook now! :) The little button on the side of my blog is not linked up yet, but I would LOVE for you to click on the picture below and 'like' my new page!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pinterest Quotes!

So if you are anything like me, you have found some GREAT classroom quotes on Pinterest!! I even have a Classroom Quote Board on Pinterest that you can see HERE :) 
Well, I knew I wanted to do something with all these quotes so I dedicated a wall for them in my class!! Before I left school on Friday (for the summer!) I made frames out of construction paper. I laminated the frames and stapled them in various places on the wall. Then, I printed out some of the quotes  that I've found and had them laminated. I stapled those on top of the frames...this way I can always change out the quotes if I want to!
I LOVE the way it came out!! The picture from my phone doesn't do it justice! I was literally running out the door to my end of the year luncheon and snapped a quick photo.
and some closer views at some of the great sayings...

That wall will even look ten times better when I can unpack in August!! Look at how we have to leave our classrooms for the summer...
Everything has to be stacked up on our back counter! Even though I am returning to the same classroom. Kind of a pain :/

You can find your very own Quote Wall Prints HERE!