Monday, December 8, 2014

Ho Ho Ho! A classroom full of fun!

Wow, has it really been over a week since I posted last?! I'm so sorry!! 

Well, to catch you up on all the fun things we've been doing and are doing this week! We have been having so much fun doing all the different parts of my gingerbread unit. The kids have been working on our sight words, and our gingerbread ten frames. They love helping the gingerbread man across the river by following the special number. We are having a blast. 
our Gingerbread writing

We have also done a bunch of winter/Christmas crafts. The first one we did was a thumbprint reindeer ornament for our moms and dads. The kids got an ornament and a tray with brown paint. We all went step by step dipping our thumb in the paint and placing it on the ornament. My recommendation, HAVE VOLUNTEERS! I did this by myself and ended up having to wipe the paint off half of them and redo them with the kids because they were blurry, or too close together. If you REALLY want to keep a secret for the moms and dads and don't want them helping, then I would recommend dedicating a good 30 minutes (I did mine during universal access time) and call the kids over one at a time or maybe in groups no bigger than 3 or 4. Something small that you can handle and keep the kids following the directions so they turn out properly. 

I used paint pens from Michael's to draw on the nose, eyes and antlers. I felt extra crafty and drew on holly because I had the colors and the time. Here is how they came out. 

We also did a directed a art lesson, much like our turkeys, where we made reindeer using our hand prints as antlers!! They came out super cute! I forgot to snap extra pictures of the kids' reindeer, so you only have my lovely teacher sample to see for an example of the final product. Again...YOU WILL NEED VOLUNTEERS! Have your volunteers trace all the kids' hands on the light brown and then do the art lesson bit by bit. If you don't have volunteers or want to keep this as a surprise, take time during independent time and trace the kids hands one by one...OR you could use a hand cut out and just trace that instead of the kids' actual hands. It is completely up to you. 

Here is what they look like completed (at least my teacher sample.)

Another craft we did (that worked with fine motor skills) was our paper plate Christmas tree. This was a 2 day craft that took some prep work from the teacher. I had the kids paint their plate green and then after it dried I cut them into thirds and glued them into the tree shape. I placed them under books to be pressed flat while they dried. On day two I gave the kids their plate tree and some pom poms. They needed to glue the pom poms to create a decorated Christmas tree. I think they turned out adorable. Don't you?

The last craft we've done (so far) is a hand print reindeer. I painted both of their hands brown and placed them down one at a time. Some of the kids didn't let me place their hand and they ended up right on top of each other rather than next to each other to create the head and the body. The kids glued a red pom pom down for the nose and then the fuzzy pom poms for the collar.  I took a sharpie and drew on the eyes and the mouth. These are hanging above our desks and the kids love them! (The parents can't wait to take these home either.)

I have two more crafts (at least) planned but they are simple foam crafts from Michael's. These crafts help the kids work on their fine motor (the peeling of the paper off the backs of small pieces.) These are fine motor activities...that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Once I do these crafts I'll get pictures of them too. 

Ahh so many fun things crammed into 2 weeks. My count down has already started! 4 days left!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Always remember, every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Monday, December 1, 2014

Not your normal blog post!

Well hello there!! I am full into Christmas mode at school! We're doing reindeer and gingerbread in my class. I cannot wait to show you some of amazing crafts that the kids are doing. It's going to be amazing. 

Anywho, I'm here to remind everyone that TPT is having its annual cyber sale!! Go shop till you drop and enter the code TPTCYBER at checkout and receive 10% off instantly! To go along with the amazing discounts, I am having a sale as well! 10% off everything in  my store. Exciting!

I am also here to promote some good friends and fellow bloggers! My friend Kristen from Easy Teaching Tools has released an UH-MA-ZING writing product for Christmas!! It contains 27 pages of amazing writing prompts and pages for little writers to write their hearts out! Check it out!!

She is a fantabulous blogger and if you want to see what she's doing in the classroom as well as what is going on with her creative and fun products go follow her on her blog here! She really is amazing!

If you're looking for some fun math activities that go along with all the holiday fun, check out Jamie Huerta's (from 
Laughloveteachlearn.blogspot.comCommon Core Holiday Math Pack for First Grade! This pack is 30 pages of student-friendly math sheets that get your student's brain a tingling! 

This pack contains concepts like: Number Bonds (Numbers 1-15), Word Problems (solve using number bonds & pictures), Creating number sentences using number bonds, Fact families, Solve it making a ten, Doubles plus one facts, Find the missing addend (cut & paste), Is it true? Is it false? Prove it!, and Find the missing number (addition & subtraction)! 
Swing by to pick up your copy before the sale runs out!! Follow Jamie on her blog here!
So, I'm off to go prep for more fun Christmas activities for tomorrow's festivities (OooooO! I rhymed!) and I hope everyone had an amazing break!
And never forget! Every moment can be a learning moment.
Sincerely from TK,

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I'm so thankful for all my kiddos!

Good morning! I hope everyone has had a great week so far, whether you were off this week or still have to work another day.

My kiddos did a lot of fun crafts last week getting ready for Thanksgiving! We had so much fun!  We talked about all the things we are thankful for (I am thankful for my family, my job, and all my super smart kiddos in class...just to name a few) and then turned or discussion into our very first free write! We made foam turkeys  (from Michael's)...

We did a super fun directed art lesson. This lesson was SO time consuming. I budgeted for a half hour but it took us closer to 45 minutes. The kids loved it though, and I can use it as a measurable assessment for following directions and fine motor skills (double score!) which is always a plus.  Their turkeys came out super cute and I'm super excited for more lessons like this.

The last turkey activity we did was our tie-dye turkeys! The kids got a coffee filter and markers. They got to color their filter how ever they wanted. When they had it just prefect they brought it to me and I misted it with water to make the colors bleed together. After they dried the kids got their turkey body and glued it to the middle of their filter.

Some turkeys have a lot more color than others but I still think they came out beautifully! Don't you?
Well I hope you have a great rest of the week and I want you to know I'm thankful for each one of you and all that you do in the world!

Have a happy Thanksgiving and remember, every moment can be a learning moment.

Sincerely from TK,

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'm on break! (Well...sort of.)

So I officially am on break! Yesterday I stayed EXTRA late to prep everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING)  for the next two weeks. I thought I got it all done, but alas...I did not. I am going to go back to school Monday and stay for a couple hours. I bought some new baskets and made some labels to organize my classroom and *drum roll* MY CLASSROOM LIBRARY!! 

So far my kiddos have been putting books back willy nilly, and often times they're not in the correct area or even on the correct shelf. That all stops! I bought a basket for each "theme" I'm doing and I will color code the books. Each book will receive a sticker that corresponds to the correct basket. I am so, so, SO excited!

I am also really excited to announce that I am having a sale on my TPT account! Everything in my store is 20% off for the next week! 

I have a HUGE gingerbread unit that I'm doing for the two weeks of December. I am also working on my units for January and February. So far I've got a bundle on arctic animals, the water cycle, and  the weather. They're no where near done but I'm already excited to get them out for people to use. I'm also looking for some guidance. I know my kinder team has put in a request for some specifics in a bundle I am making for them and my TK team has asked me to create our progress report forms, but if there is anyone out there who needs something or has a specific request, please feel free to let me know! 

Any who, our Thanksgiving themed crafts post will be up Monday and I'll be posting some of the Christmas/Gingerbread crafts we will be doing a little later as well. 

Thank you for stopping by and don't forget to stop by my {store} and take a look. 20% off sale for a very limited time!

I hope everyone has a good week next week, whether you work or not. 

Always remember, every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Our fall crafts {better late than never!}

After many complications, a new hard drive, reinstalled windows 8 and $200 I HAVE MY COMPUTER BACK!! So, here is what I was planning on posting Monday night. 

We did some fun fall activities last week. We did some fall color thumb print trees that came out awesome! My kiddos are really still working on mixing up where their leave are, but a lot of them realized leaves FALL in fall and started putting some leaves on the "ground"! Super adorable!

 So these were a little difficult to get good pictures of. They are hanging from my ceiling, by ribbon, and the AC was they were moving around a lot. I took about 50 shots of each of these...these were the best. Don't judge me!

We also did some fun watercolor resistant painting. The kids had no idea that crayon would keep the watercolors from painting through. It was a really fun lesson! Some of them really focused on coloring in their leaves all the way and others really focused on painting everything a deep green. They came out awesome and I am so proud or my kiddos for doing such a great job. Take a look at their watercolor painting!

This week we are working on Thanksgiving and turkeys! We did a scarecrow today (that I will have pictures of on Friday) and tomorrow we do foam turkeys! Thursday we are doing a directed art lesson to create a turkey from scraps of paper (this is going to be great, I am so excited!) and Friday we are making turkey hats! Cannot wait to show you these!

I hope you have had a great start of your week, and I thank you so much for being so patient with me and my sporadic posting. 

As always, happy learning! And remember, every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Monday, November 17, 2014

Computer problems

So just a quick update. My computer died last night and I'm in the process of getting a new hard drive.  I want to cry because as of right now I lost ALL my documents and coming projects. Anything posted is done through my phone. Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon. Thank you for being patient with me.

Sincerely from tk,

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Turkeys are coming!

So I have a ton of pictures I want to upload to show you the lessons from last week, but sadly with the hectic-ness of this weekend (it's my anniversary and I had to leave work quickly to miss all the traffic) I FORGOT MY CAMERA AT WORK!!! (*sob*) So I'm going to tell you all about this coming week and I'll upload pictures tomorrow after school so you can see all the fun projects we worked on! 

So this week we have a ton of fun projects planned. On Monday we are coloring a scarecrow craft and cutting him out. He will be pinned together and put up on our theme board. Tuesday we will be working on our "What are we thankful for?" writing prompt. Wednesday (my favorite!) we will be doing TIE-DYE TURKEYS!!!!!!! I'm so excited! (Can you tell??) The kids get to color a coffee filter with marker and then we spray it with water and watch the colors blend together. Thursday we will color a big turkey cut out to mount our writing to it, and Friday we will be making Pilgrim and Indian hats and learning all about the first Thanksgiving. Unfortunately because of the new healthy snack act in California (I think I've mentioned it a couple of times) we wont be able to reenact the first Thanksgiving with actual food. Such a bummer! But we're still going to have fun. 

I also wanted to take a moment and let you, my dear readers, know that I have released my Gingerbread Man unit on TPT! It's 100 pages! A complete unit, with writing, math, letters and all sorts of fun activities, all for you to use during your winter months. I will be using it for the 2 weeks of December, but it can be used during many different times of the year. 

Now normally I have my products free for the first 24 hours, but because this product took me almost 2 full weeks of work I'm only allowing it to be free for the first 10 downloads. So swing on over and take a look, but be quick! It'll go quickly.

I hope you've had a great weekend, and, as always...always remember every moment can be a learning moment. 

Sincerely from TK,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

This is a personal post, and has 0% to do with my classroom, but I want to take a moment to talk about someone very important and very special to me. Today is a very special day for me and my family. I want to tell you a little bit about my grandfather. He was born in Poland in 1933and lived a happy life until WW2 and the Nazis invasion of Poland. His mother was a U.S. citizen so she was deported back to the states, leaving behind her young son and husband (both Polish citizens.) My grandfather lost his father on his 8th birthday. He was taken away to a work camp. My grandfather never saw him again. 

My grandfather survived Poland and WW2 hiding and running with his aunt who was only 3 years older than him. He had little, and asked for even less. He saw things that we only talk about in whispers, or that many people actually believe never happened. After the end of the war he came to the states at the age of 15. He worked hard to learn English and graduated high school at the age of 18. 

Shortly after he graduated he enlisted and served in the Korean War. He made it home and went on to get married and have three beautiful children (my father being the youngest.) He was a dedicated single father to his three children and worked hard to provide everything he could for his family. He is the best grandfather I could have ever asked for and it is so humbling to know him. 

This man, who has had a difficult life, endured so much more than the normal person, left his home and came to this country. Not only did he come to a new country, he learned the language, the culture and was so filled with pride to be American, shortly after he finished school he enlisted to protect his new country and their freedoms. He stood up and took his oath and fought for each and every person in this country; so they could have their lives, so they could have their liberty and freedoms. He has never asked for special treatment and when asked why...his simple response of "It was my duty and I was proud to do it." seems so matter of fact and beautiful in its simplicity, it just makes you want to cry. So on this day, Veteran's day, I am taking a moment to honor him. He was a soldier. He is a hero. He is MY hero and I am so proud to call this man my grandfather and my family. 

I salute you sir. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your pride in our country. Thank you for your sacrifices. Thank you for being such an amazing individual. I am honored to have you in my life, shaping and molding me into the young woman I am. 

I love you!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Up and Coming! {Scheduling Sunday}

So, I'm doing something a little different with this blog post. Instead of telling you all about lessons I've already done, I'm going to tell you all about what I have planned up to Thanksgiving. For me, that is only two weeks of planning. I'm super excited!

Next week, our letter or the week is Ii. We will be starting simple readers!!! I'm so excited. We are going to be focusing on the sight word I and songs that go with it, along with crafts that really help them understand the /i/ sound. Our number is the number 7 so we will be working a lot with ten frames that show seven, tallies up to seven, and picture sets up to seven. I also have been teaching my kiddos about touch math to really get them ready for adding and subtracting next year.

Our theme of the week is fall. We will be doing a TON of fall activities. We're making fingerprint fall trees, fall leaf construction paper mosaics, AND fall colored leaf resistant painting. I'm super excited for the last craftivity! The kids are going to use their crayons to color in the fall leaves and then they're going to take some water colors and paint over it. My kiddos love to paint, so introducing them to watercolors is a very exciting!

The week after will, of course, be themed THANKSGIVING! We will be reading a ton of Thanksgiving books, one about the first Thanksgiving, one about the letters of Thanksgiving and one simply about turkeys. I have some fun turkey crafts planned. We will be making tie-dyed turkeys, heart turkeys, and reenacting our very own first Thanksgiving with Pilgrim and Native American hats! I am so excited I could just burst! I cannot wait to upload pictures of our learning for all of you to see! Keep your eyes peeled!

Always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Gobble" up the learning centers!!

I have officially posted BOTH my turkey math center {0-20} and my turkey beginning phonics center {A-Z}. The phonics center is free for a limited time! (New products are free for the first 24 hours, then they must be purchased!)

Please swing by to take a look and as always, feedback is greatly appreciated!

Always remember: Every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ready for Thanksgiving!

I have a new product listed on my TPT store! It's Thanksgiving themed and free for a limited time only! Please pick up your copy and leave some feedback! Thank you much and I hope you enjoy it!

Check out my store to pick up your copy!

Always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Spiders and bats and ghosts! OH MY!

So, I don't know if you realized it or not, but it was Halloween yesterday! (I was very adamantly reminded by 17 bright scholars, so I thought I would share the message.) We had a blast with our pumpkin Olympics, but before I share any of that I want to rewind to the beginning of this week. I felt bad for not having introduced many informational texts. I know they have to have some exposure in kindergarten, but I had been dreading it since I unpacked my library back in September. This week I finally pulled out some of my science readers to read to the kids. These are scholastic leveled science readers and they kept the kids entertained while still teaching them all about their respective animals! 

With it being Halloween I planned on a bunch of different crafts for the kiddos. I figured bats, spiders and ghosts were pretty Halloween-y and, with my science readers I found a way to tie it in with an actual learning concept (double score!) Our song of the week is "Itsy Bitsy Spider" so I figured we'd do our spider craft first. I found some cheap black plates (Hello Halloween sale!) and decided on a craft. Armed with my trusty scissors, white yarn and my newly purchased black plates I got to work prepping and creating my example. 

The next day after we all sang Itsy Bitsy Spider I sat down on the rug with them and asked them, in a very serious voice, "Boys and girls...that poor spider has been crawling up the water spout all week, and he just keeps getting washed away. What can we do to help him?" Now I got many interesting answers, but one quiet little guy raised his hand and said "Ms. P...spiders live in webs. Maybe we could make him a web to live in." I could have cried because it was the most perfect answer. After we all praised him for such a thoughtful and awesome answer, we all got up and went to our desks. I passed out our plates, and the white yarn. I showed them my example and then I showed them how to lace the string through the cuts in the plates. The kiddos had a blast, and now our spider has a comfy dry place to live!

This week we were also working with our letter Gg so naturally...we made ghosts!! Another fine motor activity that the kiddos loved to do. I gave each of them a Styrofoam plate (this would work A LOT better with paper plates but I had Styrofoam on hand) and had them flip the plates upside down so the part you would eat off was face down and I put glue along the rim of the plate. Each kiddo got a square of white tissue paper that they had to rip into strips and then glue on the rim of the plate. I drew eyes, a mouth and the letter Gg on the front. Next year I will do this with paper plates and the students will draw/write everything on their own. Here is the finished product for this year:
The last craft we did was for our bat. I read our little science mini reader and we did our big can-have-are page as a class. Then we started out bat-lacing project. I prepped this project by cutting out a bat shape out of a manilla folder and tracing each bat individually before cutting them out. Then I hole punched each hole onto the bat. There may be easier ways to do this, but I couldn't think of any. (Please share if you have any ideas on how to speed up this process and not kill my arm/wrist with hole punching!) I cut orange yarn and laced it through the holes. 

I did not expect this craft to be so difficult for the kiddos but A LOT of them struggled with the up-down in-out of the lacing. As a perfectionist, I have had to learn to embrace and love the imperfections. They are adorable and my students are so proud of how they turned out. I can't NOT love them. Just to see their faces and how excited they are to show me makes me so in love with the product. 

We did do pumpkin Olympics on Friday. Each student got their own mini pumpkins, courtesy of one of my parents. We did a science experiment where we guessed, or predicted, whether our pumpkin would sink or float, and then we tossed (ok, placed gently) our pumpkins into a big tub full of water. The kids were SO surprised to see my big pumpkin floating right along side their little ones! I think every single one told their mom or dad about it when they were getting picked up. We also did Jack-o-lantern bean bag toss, decorated our pumpkins with stickers and markers, and did five frames with pumpkin seeds. 

Overall, a great week. I had a blast and I know my kiddos had a blast. I can't wait for weeks to come. That's all I have for now. I'm off to go finish some products for the classroom. 

Always remember: every moment can be a learning moment. 

Sincerely from TK,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The pumpkins are coming! The pumpkins are coming!

Ok, so I think I may be the only person on the planet that gets THIS excited about pumpkins. I know, I'm silly, but for's the little things in life you just gotta enjoy and for me it's PUMPKINS! (Really I love all my units of study from now until the end of the year, but this is the start of it and I'm just SO EXCITED I COULD BURST!)

My kiddos covered the life cycle of a pumpkin for this past week and boy did they do GREAT at it! I have to put a disclaimer out there...I HAVE THE BEST BUNCH OF KIDDOS EVER and they make my job super easy and fun. We started off with the plant unit last week to kind of lead into this unit (I totally planned it that way! No really, I did!) and that helped when we got to the different stages of the pumpkin life cycle.

We started the week with a big chart paper and some pictures from a pumpkin mini unit I downloaded from Mrs. Ricca's TPT store here! For my advanced students (who are working on blending and reading) they helped me spell out different words as we worked through our chart.

After we put the life cycle in order and filled in our chart, I taught the kiddos our life cycle song with the motions. (I wish I had video but alas...I did not think ahead!) It's to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell.

The seed becomes a sprout.
The seed becomes a sprout.
Hi ho did you know...
The seed becomes a sprout!

(repeat tune with each life stage)

The sprout becomes the vine.
The vine becomes a flower.
The flower becomes a pumpkin.

Hand motions:
Seed = fist with all fingers curled into palm
sprout = pointer finger extended like counting the number 1
vine = make a flat "shelf" with arm and hand all straight and parallel to the ground
flower = extend fingers like counting 5 or giving a high five
pumpkin = both hands in front of you pretending to hold a pumpkin (or a ball)

My motions were all created on the spot last year, but they worked for me so I reused them. If you have better ideas I would LOVE to hear them. I'm all for cute motions to help the kiddos learn.

Tuesday we did our pumpkin craft. OH MAN! Be prepared for the cuteness that my kiddos created!! (I think I'm biased, but meh I'm allowed.) I cut 6 pumpkin shapes for each kid in my class out ff orange construction paper. I then passed out a sheet with all the stages on it so the kids could cut them out. Before we did anything, we sang the song again so the kids could remember what we had focused on the day before. I hung the completed big poster up on my white board and then we began the craft. Now, I was VERY specific with my kids. Even down to asking them to find specific colored crayons and hold them up, so I could keep everyone on the same step and the same page. Once we colored everything I had them cut them out and glue each step on to the middle of one of their pumpkins.

From here, I planned to have the kiddos glue the pumpkins together...but we were using liquid glue which takes FOREVER to dry so instead I had the kiddos fold their pumpkins in half and I went around and stapled them to make our 3-D pumpkin!

 Adorable right!? Well I hole punched them and hung them from the ceiling above each kiddo.

 Tuesday we "read" through the pumpkin life cycle book that came with this mini unit and the kids got to color the pictures and take the book home. Thursday I planned on giving the kids a sentence strip and the stages again and then we would put the whole project together step by step, to really help them understand the stages...but on a hunch...I handed them all the materials and said "Ok guys...I wanna see what you know. Can you color these the correct colors and then put them in the right order??" I did leave the big poster up on the white board, but all I did was walk around and monitor to see if they really understood everything. I am proud to say...ALL BUT 2 OF MY KIDDOS DID THE PROJECT 100% ON THEIR OWN AND 100% CORRECTLY!!

I nearly squealed when I looked at them to see if there were enough of them correct to put up on the board. Out of 17 kiddos 15 did it perfect (granted some put them in order from right to left instead of left to right, or the pictures are upside down...but hey THEY'RE 4! That's really good for that age, with little to no direction!)
Here are the finished products!

What a great way to end! Like I said, I had planned on doing this activity together and then having them do it on their own on Friday, but rather than go back and rehash I let them come up with their own way to tell me about the pumpkin life cycles. A lot of them just sang the song I taught them, but one little boy (a little guy that is working on reading and blending already) actually came up with full body motions for the song. He curled up fetal position on the floor for seed, stuck his arm up into the air for sprout, Stuck both arms in front of him for vine, stood in star position for flower and tried to make himself a big ball by touching his toes for pumpkin. Oh my goodness, it was adorable. (Again, I wish I had video, but alas...not thinking ahead again!)

I can't wait to start our "Halloween" unit with our Pumpkin Olympics on Friday! We have some pumpkin math planned and some pumpkin science! Oh man. I'm so excited!!!

I hope everyone is having a blast in their class as well. 

And always remember: Every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I redesigned my room...a little bit

So...I get bored with  my room fairly quickly...and that has already happened in my Rainbow paradise (as my lovely team lead as deemed my room.) So I rearranged some stuff just recently and wanted to share them with you guys! We'll start with my "new addition"...

I was struggling with how to track my kiddos progression with counting. I had a "race to 50" number line above my board and every kid had a paw print with their name on it (our mascot is the panther...this was the best I could do.) but it was above my board and required me to climb on furniture to move paw the race theme looked thrown together and crummy. I changed it to a "Leap frog to 50!" number line that I put on one of my cabinets right by the front door. It's a great visual for the kids to see where they are, AND for parents to see where their student is. They can see the progression and know how high to work with their student on counting each week. I'm LOVING THIS!
This is a shot of the whole thing with student frogs

Each student has a frog with their name on it.
Every student has a frog with their name on it. Each week we set a goal for where we want to be. Surprisingly, the kids are really excited about counting to 50, so they picked their first goal for the first trimester (I was a late hire so my kiddos started a month behind everyone else in the district...and I'm STILL getting new kids because I haven't reached my cap.) Our first goal was to 10. Seeing as how I got a lot of kiddos that couldn't count past 3 when they started...I'd say we did a great job meeting the goal by the time report cards came out! They're already thinking and talking to each other about our next goal. (A lot of them want to make it to 100 by the end of the year...we'll see how far we get.) 

Some great ways to have them work on their counting, aside from the obvious math assignments and curriculum, every morning I have them practice speaking in complete sentences "Hello, my name is _______. My favorite color is _____. I have a pet _____/I would like to have a pet _____." They also practice counting with each other. They get to pick their partner and count as high as they can. If their partner knows the next number they can prompt each other, if not they compliment each other and the other person takes a turn. It builds counting AS WELL as classroom community! Like I tell everyone in my class, we are all friends in here and we work together to make sure we all shine!

I also received MOST of my furniture (I'm waiting on my computers-I have loaners right now from our computer lab- my rug, and a teacher printer so I can print stuff in my classroom as well as some developmental play equipment that I have NO IDEA where I'm going to put...but hey...I'll take everything I can get.) so we have NEW student desks with name tags, MY KIDNEY TABLE (just about cried when they brought that beautiful baby in) and big kid roller chairs. That's right ladies and gents, this teacher has a chair that doesn't put my knees up by my ears! Can I get a hallelujah?! HALLELUJAH!

I kept my desk layout but moved a lot of stuff on my walls...
Our new "Parent News" board!
 I've always had a "Parent News" board in my room. It's an easy way to post things and newsletters for parents to see, without cluttering up my counters and keeping a zillion copies of everything in case parents ask for something specific. I noticed about a week ago (when a parent asked me about our Peek at the Week newsletter) that I *gasp* never made one this after school that was the first thing I set about doing. It's small, but it's there and it has our current information of things going on in class/at school. My parents LOVE this. (I never realized how much parents rely on this board for information....or maybe it's just my parents?)
I received bookshelves that I didn't know what to do they went into my library/developmental play organization.
 The day I received my student desks...I also got 2 big black bookshelves that I had NO WHERE to put! I decided to rearrange my tactile wall and library area to include these new bookshelves. I'm not sure I like it yet, because it cuts off my view of the carpet area when I'm doing one-on-one work at my beautiful kidney table...but I'm sure I'll make it work soon enough. 

Student tables and a piece of my lovely kidney table.
 I spy some BEAUTIFUL kidney table and some awesome student tables! My old student tables were on loan from our preschool classrooms and can I just say what a difference these tables have made?! They're wider so I can sit 2 kiddos across from each other without someone getting kicked or not having enough room to do their work. They're also big enough that I *could* put 3 to each side...but why crowd them? Now they have enough room to spread out and keep their little crayon box next to their name tags. No more "Mrs. P...this kid is touching me!"
I love my elmo and projector.
 A LOT of people have asked me why I put my elmo and projector at the back of the class and I have one simple answer...I can watch everyone while doing the guided practice or the example on the board with them! I don't like not being able to see what I'm doing...and with my back to the board I feel like I can't see what the kids see...and it is just awkward to have to turn around to check that they can see exactly what I'm pointing at or where I'm working. This is just so much more simple for me.
Missing a rug...but our learning carpet area is almost complete!
 The kids have access to everything they can use for play time and I have access to everything I need to teach. This setup (albeit a little blocked off from the rest of the class) is amazing and really helps get the kids to understand "This is where we learn."
Our new entrance with our Leap frog to 50 number line.
 Kiddos come in, hang up their backpacks, put their folder in their cubby and then sit down to do breakfast. It makes for morning routine to go VERY smooth. Honestly my kids are so set in our routine already (30 days into the school year) that parents are astounded that the kids say bye and go about their business. No tears, no fussing. My parents have even, playfully, complained that the kids just go on without them...they're growing up too fast.
Technology nook
 This is our technology nook. I put my classroom rules on the divider walls for all the kids to see, and the number posters (from my number posters pack) on the wall too. The next 2-3 weeks will be spent REALLY establishing number recognition 0-5. I've introduced the number, but have had so many new kids start, and some kids leave that I don't feel like we have a solid understanding. So before jumping into number 6-10 I'm going to make sure we're solid on 0-5. I'm responsible for recognition up to I think spending some time reteaching 0-5 will be good for when we get to higher numbers. 

I don't know if anyone can see it, but we've also got some words on our word wall. The kids can't really read them but they're history vocab that I really try to get them to recognize by sound (I say the word and they tell me what it means) and I will be adding the colors as well. I don't like adding words when the kids are around because I have to stand on the computer counter...and that's a big no-no when kiddos are around, so adding words is a hassle (hence the reason I'm not regular on doing it.)
My front wall with our new BOOK BAGGIES!
Our new front board. It looks so bare now, but I'm sure I'll add stuff to the wall sooner rather than later. For now I've added our book baggies. I use these alot during our UA (universal access) time. The kids usually have a worksheet they work on and then when they finish they have to grab 1 book out of their book baggy before they can do developmental play. They are responsible for coloring the pictures and tracing anything that might need tracing. These books go home for parents and students to practice reading together. I want to put a disclaimer out there...I'm a TK kinder team has told me to get them ready for reading...but DON'T have them reading fluently by the end of the year. They don't want bored kindergarteners and if I teach them EVERYTHING (adding, reading, writing) they will be super bored and it will just make life miserable for teachers and students alike. So I am really pushing that the kids HEAR good reading, rather than practicing the reading least for now. 

I love my room...and I'm excited to see how it grows, changes, and becomes more like home through out the year. Thank you for joining me on this (long-winded) tour of my room.I hope to see you soon.

And always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

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