Monday, July 25, 2011

Who's in the Club?

Here is a Rockin’ Idea with pictures: 
I like to make classroom-made books for my students to read in the classroom.  Kim Adsit makes a book called, Who is in the club?  Check out her site -  I heard she is going to have a blog very soon, too!!!  Here is what I did with her idea...
Each page is labeled with a task that the students need to learn.  For example…I can tie my shoes club.  When a student completes the task he/she will sign the page in the book.  I love this…it makes the students feel special when they accomplish a new task and I do not have enough room on my walls to display it all.  I think I might even laminate my book before the school year, so I can use it each year.  Kindergarten kiddos LOVE sharpie markers as much as I do!  

I am so SORRY.... I cannot get the picture to turn.  URGGG!!!!

I found some cute ANT ribbon so I added the caption - F"ANT"ASTIC LEARNERS ! under the title.

In my classroom "Who's in the Club?" book, I will have these pages:  
read all grade level sight words, recognize uppercase letters, recognize lowercase letters, produce letter sounds, recognize rhyming words, produce rhyming words, recognize ending sounds, recognize beginning sounds, recognize color words, print my first name, print my last name, days of the week, months of the year, say my address, say my birthdate, say my phone number, identify coins, tell time to the hour, name 8 shapes,  continue and develop patterns, tie my shoes, count sets of objects to 30,  count to 100, count by 5's to 100, count by 10's to 100, count by 2's to 20, write to 100. 

I will be adding my printable pages on Monday, August 1st to my classroom website. 


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kindergarten is the new...FIRST!

While most kiddos get it…some are just not developmentally ready for it!

Spontaneous play…building with blocks, building puzzles, make-believe play in the house area, finger paint, etc... are fundamental to a kindergarteners long-term academic success. 
The most effective way to teach students (I believe) is through thematic centers and free academic choice areas.  WOW…social skills are just as important, too!
Center time is hands-on and helps students become more independent.  I want the students to be actively engaged and if a theme attracts the student to work/play there – I will build it!  This will provide the time I need to work one-on-one with the students to meet the needs of each student. 

Changing out centers weekly is just too much work.  I have decided to do 2 center themes a month, instead of 4.  Here are the themes I think I will do this school year. 
September – Names / Colors shapes
October – Apples / Monsters
November – Pumpkins / Scarecrows
December – Gingerbread Man / Reindeer
January – Snowman / Penguins
February – Dr. Seuss / Friendship
March – Leprechauns / Space
April – Rainbows / Flowers
May – Insects / Farm
June - Ocean
What do you think?  Am I missing an important theme? It was hard to pick just 2 themes. What are your thoughts about this?  Some of my teacher friends have given up theme centers altogether to “FIT” all the reading and math in.  I hope I am never forced to do this because integrating math, reading, science, & social studies into themes may be just the ticket to kindergarten success! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sometimes I wish my husband was an elementary teacher!

My husband and I get in discussions on how much time I spend at school or at home on school work (and blogging is a new addiction to teaching!)

He repects that I care about my job and work very hard at being a good teacher, but wishes I was at home more.  He doesn't really get as excited about my job as I do (understandably!!), and I like to babble on with it comes to my classroom and he doesn’t understand it.  Good thing…I have great teahcer friends that I can share my stories and things with them. 

I think my husband is getting past the fact that kindergarten is not just rest, snack, and play time anymore.  This is going to be my 7th year teaching and YES each year has gotten better with my time spend in the classroom (unpaid – he would say).  I believe the time I put in now is how much time I will always have to put in as a teacher, and I am okay with that.  But a couple of my husbands friends wives are teachers and they come home right after the bell rings and do not go in on the weekends, why do I?  (Actually…I do not know how they do it!) 

I want you to know that he NEVER bashes my profession.  Sometimes I don’t think he understands what the profession of teaching really is!  He doesn’t understand me putting in extra hours if I'm not getting paid for it.  Ohhh…how rich I would be if we did get paid for all the hours of prep we put in on our own time because we don’t get enough prep time during the day!!!  

Maybe my blog is not the place to get this out, but I know that most of you “rockstar” teachers would understand how I feel.  Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world and I love to share my joy and enthusiasm on my blog.  Thank you for coming back and seeing what I do in my classroom.  It feels really GOOD!!! 


Monday, July 18, 2011

Kids are so freakin' funny!

Mrs. Dillard is hosting linky party about funny things kids say! I have been "cracking up" all afternoon reading other post from teachers! Thanks for the super-duper laughs!
I would love to post "MY FUNNY" but it might not be appropriate to share on my blog.  Anyway....I have a student funny to share.  I have a bigger chest and I try very hard everyday to make sure that the students cannot see down my shirt what-so-ever.  One day...I was tying "Josh's" shoes before recess and I noticed that you could see down my shirt ALITTLE.  So...I got up pretending that I need to see something down the hallway and adjusted my shirt hoping he wouldn't notice what I was doing.  I got back down to finish tying "Josh's" shoes and he said, "Don't worry Mrs. Osterman...I didn't see your boobs!"

Do you have any funny teacher stories?? Link up with Mrs. Dillard!

Kindergarten Conference in Vegas! IT'S ALL GOOD!!!

What a “ROCKIN’” great time at the Kindergarten Conference in Vegas (day & night)!  I love to share what I do in my classroom, and I learned some new ideas that made me dance the night away.  I will share with you one amazing idea from each session that I cannot wait to use in my classroom.  Check out the “Rock Star” teachers websites for more ideas. 

I wish I had pictures to share because I am a visual person, but here I go…   

Shari Sloane - Building Math & Literacy Skills with Calendar Time
Along with her freebies on her website for calendar time, Shari, is selling a Student Calendar Book Packet that she made with Kim Adsit.  Check it out!

Rockin’ Idea: At the end of the month when Shari is taking down the old calendar numbers she will call on students to help her.  For example… raise your hand if you can find an odd number to take down for me, raise your hand if you can find a number between 11-18, raiser your hand if you can find a number that has 2 of the same number, etc.   I can’t wait to do this in my classroom! 

Melissa Leach - Differentiate Literacy Learning with Centers
(sorry I do not know if she has a website)
This is the first that I heard of Melissa and I am sooooo happy I have had the chance to see her present.  We are both Michigan natives! 

Rockin’ Idea: Blow up a word search to fill a sheet of copy paper.  Have the students grab 5 or 6 different colored magnetic letters.  The student will place the letters above the copied word search.  Then he/she will color for example….all the p’s red, all the r’s blue, all the e’s yellow, etc on the sheet.  

Heidi Butkus – Developmentally Appropriate Ways to Get Your Kindergartners Writing
Rockin’ Idea: Have you ever heard of….Guided Drawing? – I used her No David Character Guided Drawing during my summer school class.  Check it out on my website and I believe it can be downloaded at her website, too! 
Melissa Leach - Over the Rainbow with Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, & Letters

Rockin’ Ideas:
Phonemic Awareness can be done with EYES CLOSED or in the dark!
Stir the Soup…In a pot fill about ½ way full with a bunch of magnetic letters.  Have the students use a ladle to scoop out some letters.  You can do so many variations with this activity/center for example…say the letter and/or the sound it makes, is this letter in a friends name, say a word that begins or ends with this letter sound, put the letters in order of the alphabet, etc. 

Kathy Griffin - Starting the Year Off Right in Literacy:  Building Procedures & Routines
Google her name and it will bring you to her website.

Rockin’ Idea: She shared the story, Pete the Cat, by Eric Litwin.
I HAVE TO HAVE THIS BOOK before school starts!  I ALSO HAVE TO HAVE “KINDERGARTEN CRAYONS” Unit on Pete the Cat.  You will find it on her TPT site.  I am sure you will not be sorry!   Fran from Kindergarten Crayons…what can I say but I cannot wait to get to know this women better (as a friend and teacher).  I am going to learn so much from her!!!

Kim Adsit - Differentiate: It’s as Easy as Pie!

Rockin’ Idea:  I like to make classroom-made books for my students to read in the classroom.  Kim makes a book called, Who is in the club?  She will have a page labeled with a task that the students need to learn.  For example…I can tie my shoes club.  When a student completes the task he/she will sign the page in the book.  I love this…it makes the students feel special when they accomplish a new task and I do not have enough room on my walls to display it all.     

Kimberly Jordano - Phonemic Awareness & Phonics Fun

Rockin’ Idea:  Take an empty water bottle and fill it a quarter full with sand/glitter/salt (whatever you wish).  Cut out each of your student’s heads and put inside the bottle.  Make a record sheet and have the students write down their friends name when they see his/her head. 

If you have any questions about the Rockin’ Ideas, please ask me!  I have a question for you…Have you ever used hot glue to put things on your wall!!!  I think I almost fell on the floor when I heard this and I am not sure if I am willing to try it! 


I know this is a lot to take in but….IT’S ALL GOOD!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Daily Fix It

A lot of "Rockstar" teachers have been asking what my "Daily Fix It" is. 
Last school year, I used my "Daily Fix It" in the morning when the students came into the classsroom and were settling in for the day.  The students completed the sheet individually, had it checked by a friend, and then checked by me.  This school year, I am planning on using my "Daily Fix It" during my calendur time.  I will have the message on board (not a smart board - BUMMER I KNOW!) and the students will take time to fix the sentence.  I will observe what the students are writing, and then we will fix it together as a class. 

Some things the students will be looking to "fix" are....uppercase letter at the beginning of the sentence (only), spaces between words, high frequency words spelled correctly, and ending marks. 

Other ideas...
You have to check out Growing Kinders Blog for her "Fix It Up" worksheets.  She does sell them on her TPT account.  So cute!  Love her "Math Problem Solving" sheets, too!

Have you checked out "Teacher Tipster" yet?  Under his video link there is a video called, "Inspector Fix It".  Actually...if you have about an hour to play on your computer, grab your favorite drink of choice and sit back and learn.  He shares so many of his great ideas in a fun, engaging way!

Off I go to pack for (((VEeEgaAas)))!  Can you tell I am super-duper excited?  My best friend and I are going to the I Teach K Conference on Tuesday and Thursday.  I wouldn't want to be there with anyone else, but her.  She is going to love it!  Did you know...she is going from teaching 5th grade for 25 years to Kindergarten next school year.  I think this conference is going to give her the boost of excitement she needs.  Because every student that walks into her room next year is going to be very LUCKY.  Hopefully...we will be lucky in Vegas, too!!!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Interactive Calendar Folders

Calendar time is a daily routine in my classroom.  For the next school year, I would like to make this time more interactive for every student.  I "GOOGLED" for ideas and of course found some great stuff on Mrs. Meacham's Website.  I adapted what I found from her site to fit into my classroom.  

Every month, I will staple the 2 sheets pictured below on laminated construction paper.  The students will keep their "Busy Beaver" calendar folders in a bucket.  The special student of the day will hand out their folders while they are sitting down for calendar time.  Another recognize their friends name!  The students will also get a sheet of paper with Today is..Yesterday was...Tomorrow will be.../ How many days in school / Daily Fix It that they will fill out during calendar time and take home each day.  Picture below, too! 

I am calling the folders "Busy Beaver" folders because I am going to have a camping theme in my classroom next school year.  I can't wait to show pictures when it is set up!


The printables for the 2011-2012 school year calendar folders is on my teacher website.  They are located under the link Calendar Time.  I would love to hear what you think.  I take constructive criticism and positive feedback very well.  Feel free to help yourself and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Kindergarten Keeper!

When I was in Kindergarten, Mrs. Dickow traced out our body lines and we got to color it in.  Then she cut it out.  See picture below as an example.  I am going to take it one step further next school year and have the students write down 5 tops things they did during their kindergarten year on strips of paper to glue on their body.  For example, I learned 30 sight words, I watched the principal kiss a pig, I can count by 5's to 100, I went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch, or I went on a vacation with my family to the zoo.  Then, I am going to add 5 more strips with information about the year. For example, top song, favorite movie, president, etc. to the body.  Hopefully...this will be a keeper in each household.  Wouldn't it be fun to go to their graduation party and see it hung up!?!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Are You Ready For School Yet???

Check out Kinder Kraziness Unit on Miss Bindergarten Get Ready for Kindergarten!  

Just like her….I love this story and you can get her unit for free if you check it out!

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