January 2012 - Miss Kindergarten

Groundhog Day

Is it just me or are groundhogs stinkin' adorable?? I am having so much fun teaching about them this week! Here's what we've done so far {and are planning to do!}

On Monday, we read My Shadow by Susan Winter, and talked about what a shadow is.
 First graders are so sweet, they have the best discussions!

Then we brainstormed some things that we can do with our shadows and did a mini writing activity.

After we wrote about what we like to do with our shadow, we did a super fun art activity! I got this idea from the first grade teachers I'm working with, so cute!!

I gave the kiddos a white piece of construction paper stapled onto a black piece of construction paper and had them draw at least three objects.

After they finished drawing, they very carefully cut out each object, making sure to cut the black paper at the same time. They completed this task surprisingly better than I had anticipated! Go first graders!

Then, they flipped the black paper upside down and glued it directly under their objects.

Finally, they added details to the background. I love how they turned out!
 {ugh, blogger!!}

On Thursday, we're going to make these cutie groundhogs.

You can download the template {here} or {here}.
I shrank the ears down a little on the template because it was looking too much like a mouse to me!

We'll read this adorable book that Kathleen at Growing Kinders made and write the interesting facts we learned for our groundhog to hold.

We're also going to draw our groundhog family in a math center!
 I haven't decided how I'm going to teach them to draw groundhogs just yet...but I think I will base them off the little groundhog template above.

And we'll tell about Mr. Groundhog's day using this adorable mini book that Christie at First Grade Fever created.

I'm loving Groundhog's Day!

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February Goodies Winner & a Freebie!

 Karyn from A is for Apple, B is for Blog {adorable blog name!}
Wow Karyn!
Just in the nick of time!

 Thanks to everyone who entered! As a consolation prize, I'm taking it upon myself to share this adorable freebie with you. Be sure to head over to Frog Spot and download these adorable Fancy Hearts Line Art for FREE! Make sure you follow Melanie's blog and leave her a comment saying thanks! We LOVE her!!

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February Goodies Giveaway!

Preparing for February? Wouldn't you love to get all these great activities for free!?

I am hosting a giveaway with these awesome teacher bloggers!

Check out what you can win!
 Visit Mrs. Tunstall's TpT store and TN store


A Cupcake for the Teacher

Visit Mrs. Cupcake's TpT store and TN store


First Grade Blue Skies

Visit First Grade Blue Skies's TpT store and TN store

Visit The Bubbly Blonde's TpT store and TN store

Visit Miss Kindergarten's TpT store and TN store

There are 4 ways to enter!
1. Follow all of our blogs and leave one comment on this blog
2. Follow all of our TpT stores and leave one comment on this blog
3. Follow all of our TN stores and leave one comment on this blog
4. Blog about this giveaway and leave the link in the comment on this blog

Giveaway will go until Monday, Jan 30th and one winner will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck!


My Craft Corner

I absolutely fell in love with Kelley's crafting organization when she posted about it a few weeks ago.
I couldn't wait to make my own! Before this, my craft supplies were strewn around my little apartment and all over my parents' garage. I've never had my own "space" before so this was really exciting! I was super giddy driving home from Michaels with these:
I wanted mine to look exactly like Kelley's because I loved it so much and she was so sweet sharing where she found everything! But, I couldn't find it all so I decided I had to be flexible and use what I could find!

Here's my final product!
I love it! I literally can sit and stare at it for hours!

It wasn't expensive either! Each little cube was on sale for 50% off and with my 15% teacher discount they came out to less than $20 a piece! I also found the little gray trays in the Target dollar spot to hold my printer paper and my cardstock. The little gray felt organizers hold my paintbrushes and pens. And my personal scotch laminator fits perfectly on top!

I printed the labels on a gray polka dot background using the adorable font Kelley suggested. It's from Kevin & Amanda called Pea Jo.

I am so proud of myself!

Check out my Etsy Shop to see what kind of things I create!

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I am SO excited for this!

 Check out my newest addition to TBA!

All the blog giveaways in one place! Go check it out! If you're currently hosting a giveaway be sure to link it up!
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Teaching Volume Levels

Last year, I introduced volume levels to my class and had a really positive response. It not only helped in managing students as a whole group, but was really helpful in teaching individual students appropriate volume levels throughout the day. So when I started with my new class this year, I knew I wanted to teach them about volume levels.

{someone made me this adorable chart, but I can't link back to where I got it! This was BP (before Pinterest) so if it's yours please leave a comment!  Jessica from Under the Alphabet Tree made this for me! Also, Katie at Little Warriors has a bunch of great volume charts!}

I recently attended a professional development workshop put on by some wonderful professors from the college I attended and learned some great ideas on how to actively engage my students during a lesson. I knew I wanted to engage them in this volume levels lesson for two reasons...one, I wanted them to be engaged because this is important! and two, I knew that would learn a lot more from it if I had them actively participating than if I just sat there and lectured at them.

{Side note: If you're interested in some new ways to actively engage your students I highly recommend this book!}

Anyway, I prepped the lesson by printing out several volume level charts {I selected "2 to a page" before printing} and several daily schedule cards that I purchased from Mrs. Bainbridge {I selected "4 to a page" for these cards and they were the perfect size for their little hands}and then cut them into strips. I put all 5 volume level cards and about 8 schedule cards into an envelope.

I started the lesson by introducing the volume levels chart and explaining the meaning of each number. We briefly talked about where it would be okay to use a level 5 outdoor voice, and when we would want to use a level 1 no talking voice. Then I split the kids up into groups of 4 using their desk letters, so that A's worked together, B's worked together and so on.
{they're working on place value using Cara's adorable snowman spinners!}

Here they are sorting their cards under the volume numbers:

I gave them about 5 minutes to sort their cards and loved listening to them working together to figure out where each activity belongs. Their dialogue was amazing!

We ended the lesson with sorting the larger cards on the board and sharing where we thought each activity card should go. This part was great because the groups where able to move their cards around after hearing a few examples up on the board. The students were so engaged!
{we decided that spelling referred to a spelling test which is why it's under no talking :)}

The kiddos did a great job with this activity and I think they totally left with the knowledge of appropriate volume levels. We constantly review this throughout the day too. When I hear them working to loud I say "volume check" and they chorally {well, for the most part!} respond with the correct level and adjust their volume. It's awesome!
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My New Clip Chart

When I started a new grade level, I knew I wanted a new clip chart too. I've been using a clip chart in my classroom since I've attended Rick Morris' classroom management trainings. He is a classroom management guru! I really like the concept of the clip chart because it helps me recognize all the great behaviors in my class. My students are really encouraged by one another and they love to get the chance to walk over to the chart and move their clip up. I automatically see a change in all behaviors when I ask just one child to clip up. I rarely ever have anyone clip down because I like to focus on reinforcing positive behaviors, but when I do it is really effective for me.

My main inspiration on creating my new chart was Denise's adorable pin chart that she shared on her blog over the summer.

I found the adorable polka dot headers on clearance at Michaels, but being the go-getter that I am, I laminated them before I even had any idea of what I wanted to do with them! So when I saw Denise post hers I was SO excited!

Because my cute polka dot headers were already laminated, I hit a slight speed bump while putting this together!!! I didn't want to risk laminating lamin, so I decided to print the titles on card stock and attached them with my scrapbooking tape, then attached  the headers onto ribbon. I tried my trusty old mod podge first, but the lamin didn't stick to it well and the headers just peeled right off. After much googling, I tried double sided tape...worked like a charm! I absolutely love the way it turned out!

I made the titles using one of my favorite Lettering Delights alphabets. It's polka dotted! How cute is that!?

I also couldn't find any regular sized pins, so I sucked it up and bought the tiny ones. I actually decided that I like the tiny ones more. They complement the cute polka dots. I wrote my students' numbers on their clips so that I can use them again {granted they don't break!} and to kind of sort of help with anonymity.

Then, my mission was to figure out how to document my students' behavior everyday. At first I thought of little business sized cards for the kids to fill out where they were for the day, but I knew I would never see the cards again once they were sent home, and that seemed like a waste of a lot of paper! I finally decided on a monthly calendar for my students to use daily. At the end of the day they color the box to show their behavior for the day. They take them home everyday and bring them back everyday. {The power of classroom money!} Each month, they also decide on a goal they want to reach. The goals can be something like "stay on green every day for one week" or "clip up to Role Model once this month". They also have a place to write what they will earn when they reach the goal. It's a great way to keep the home-school connection going!

I thought I'd share these calendars if anyone else would like to use them!
These calendars are in pdf form and are not editable. You can have your students write the numbers in at the beginning of the month! Great number practice and you don't have to do it yourself, double score!

 The fonts I used are from DJ Inkers and Lettering Delights.

I also got some really great ideas from Mrs. Bainbridge's blog.
When a student clips up to role model, they get a little certificate. {I realized that I should have copied it on purple after I made all the copies on pink...haha}

And just in case someone has to clip all the way down to red, they fill out a behavior reflection that is sent home and signed by parents.

I also sent a note home to parents explaining the new chart and the calendar that goes home everyday. If you would like to use the note, you can download it below. It is in word format so that you can edit it for your classroom needs. PLEASE don't copy this and sell it or give it away as your own on your blog or in your store. I work hard on the things for my class and to share with you.

So far I've gotten a lot of positive praise from the parents!
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Go link up with Farley if you want to play along!!

P.S. My digital sticky notes have grown exponentially since this post! There's never any time...why is there never any time!?!

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Just a Thought...


A "wheelie" cute Valentine's Day card! Ready, go!

P.S. Does anybody have a cookie stamp that they no longer want/use?? Okay...apparently I need to be more clear! A rubber stamp that has the shape of a cookie. So that when I use it as a stamp, a cookie picture shows. Make more sense?? Anyway, I am am dire need and I can't find one anywhere. Email me if you have one, I will pay you!!

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Do You Use Sticky Notes?

Hi, I'm Hadar, and I'm addicted to Sticky Notes.
{Similar to my addiction to fonts haha!}

I love writing myself lists. I have been known to write the same list 3 times in 3 different places. I also used to have 3 calendars until I went to see "someone" about anxiety and was instructed to get rid of 2 calendars ;) Anyway, I learned about sticky notes a few months ago and it has changed my life! Image having your lists in constant view, never losing a note, keeping your desk clean and organizing your lists all at the same time! Amazing!
Sticky Notes let's you save post-its right on your desktop! You can change the color of your post-its to organize them. You can change the size of your post-its so everything fits clearly. You can also use bullet points and cross things out when you've done them!!! Click {here} to learn how.
{Clearly, I did not meet any of my Winter Break goals!}
This feature is available for Windows 7 or higher. Not sure if it's availbe on a Mac. {Ladybug? Lemons? I would ask Erica but she's pretending like she's not tech-savvy ;)}

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Teen Number Math Centers

Well, I did it! I barely survived my first week in 1st grade! After about 20 minutes in, I realized I never knew what I was missing! How fun and capable are first graders!? Don't worry, I still have a special place in my heart for kindergarten :)
Anyway, here's a quick peek at what we did because let's face it, I'm exhausted! The last thing I want to do right now is think about school, but I wanted to let you all know that I'm alive and kicking!

Yesterday, I introduced math centers to my class. WOW. Forgot what "beginning of the year" centers are like! After several, several, several lessons about what "good centers" look like and even ending centers early {because we were scheduled for the guidance counselor to come in and do a lesson but whoops, I forgot about that...so I just used it as a lesson to teach my students what happens when they are too loud in centers ;)} I think they finally get it. Don't worry, we did a continuation today so the kids were able to participate in all the centers. Anyway, enough babbling.

In the first center, the kiddos used "how to draw a snowman" and drew their snowman families from my Snow Packet. They absolutely loved this. {I'm really vain and asked them what they thought to boost my ego a little lol}.

{I love the hats on this one!}
You can find My Snowman Family {here}!

The next center was teen story problems. Most of them did a great job with the tens stick concept, but some of them still drew 16 circles in the "how you know box". We'll get there!
For the kiddos that finished early, I had them make up their own story problem on the back. I about died when I saw this kid used "Ham" as his person. Haha! Too cute.
Click {here} to download a free copy.
Fonts by DJ Inkers

Their favorite center {based on the squeals and shouts that instigated a lot of "THIS IS NOT WHAT CENTERS SOUND LIKE!!!"} was from the fabulous Cara. They played Build it, Break it, Make it and loved it! Thanks Cara!

Lastly, we worked a little more with tens sticks using my Pine Tree Place Value activity. I printed it Wednesday night and had it prepared in minutes. I didn't laminate it quite yet, so I was a little over protective...hahha. Anyway, as I was printing I realized that I didn't include a recording sheet in my freebie. WHOOPS! Sorry everyone who downloaded it! It's up now, so go re-download!
Favorite quote of the day: "Look! 17 is the same as 1 ten and 7 ones!" light bulb moment!!!!!!!
{Sorry, I took them upside down and they just looked weird if I flipped the picture!}

I'll be back this weekend sharing my new clip chart!
Happy Friday Buddies!!!

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