Saturday, October 26, 2013


Free Phonics Matching Cards

download here 
Download, print, back, and laminate these cards for your students.  These can be played as a matching game or used individually for practice.  My students are using them in my literacy "word work" center. 

Free Gravity Printable My Students Loved

check out at my TPT store

I love teaching Science and Social Studies, especially to kindergarteners.  They are so full of amazement about the world around them and want to understand why things are the way they are.  The concept of gravity has been a popular one for my students.  They have enjoyed exploring and doing experiments.  To introduce gravity, I had the kids color some leaves and acorns, cut them out and stand in a circle.  We all threw our leaves into the air and watched them fall.  I then had the kids collect them, lay down on the floor face up, and I let them fall as they looked up.  See the pics below... Their laughter is so contagious :)  After, we had discussions about what gravity was and read some books, my favorite is

  Check out my complete unit on gravity at my Teacher Pay Teacher page.  I have a printable with the leaves to color below, as a free download.

The students cut out and colored leaves from  my science unit on gravity.  Free download of leaves below.

Check out the rest of the unit at my TPT store 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How can Kindergarten Create Childhood Memories?

I've been working hard to bring as much fun and developmental appropriateness to my classroom while still following the Common Core Standards. To be honest there are times when I wonder if teaching ones and tens in math, or insisting on so much writing from such a young child, is missing the point regarding some of the more important things learned in kindergarten. I vividly remember my kindergarten experience with positive feelings, but the things I remember were finger-painting, having large pieces of paper continuously out to choose drawing and painting (to build fine motor skills).  Music, games, blocks, and lots of social time is what I remember the most (learning to work with others). I have been trying my best to keep the fun in learning, and allowing for social interaction as much as possible. I'm a true believer that many skills which may seem minimal are building blocks for success later in a child's life. I don't think I have gotten one comment on my blog -lol- But, if anyone is reading this and feels the same way, please comment. Anyway, recently I made changes to my "Word Work" station to make it more age appropriate, and I hope fun. One of my standards is keeping childhood memories alive in my students.
I plan to change the theme of this center each month.  This month it is our pumpkin patch.
I added some jack-0-lanterns that light up and various word activities that are inviting to try. 
These are pumpkins to pick with sight words.  There is floral foam inside so they will stand up and can be stuck in over and over again.  There are several pumpkin patches to choose from, some with higher level words.

There are plenty of word games and magnetic letters to use on the trays I attached in the area.  
 Also a pocket chart for sorting and matching, depending on the activity.  I have put pumpkin themes in many activities - some hand made.   The kids can't wait to come to this center.

My students decorated the bulletin board with many fall art projects.  They had so much fun and got plenty of fine motor practice.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Free Reading Frog Pattern and Schools in Colombia South America

Back to Blogging and School!!

Wow!  I have to hand it to all you blogger/teachers out there!  I am impressed by all the blogging even in the face of a new school year, and during the summer.  I was very busy traveling all summer.  The biggest trip was to Colombia, South America where we stayed with my daughter's birth family and had a wonderful experience!  She is 23 and found her birth mother last year, and travelled to meet her and the rest of her large birth family.  This amazing family took us in during another visit from my daughter, husband, and me this past summer.  We had the best time and felt so comfortable, cared for, and lucky to have them in our lives.  I am currently trying to create a blog with our experiences that I will share soon.  Anyway, I was able to visit some schools while there. School was not in session of course, but I got to talk with some teachers, and here are some pics.  I got the impression from the questions I asked, that the teachers taught the basics without the programs we all share (i.e.  literacy centers).  However, the teachers seemed very comitted and appeared to enjoy their jobs.
The schools are much more open air due to the temperate climate.

This is the recess/play area. The schools are protected from the streets outside.  Notice the mountains in the background. 

Children's restroom and sinks outside the door.

The children have a covered outside cafeteria.

I have moved to Kindergarten from First Grade this year, my choice.  I love Kindergarten and am very happy!!!  I love the age, and the open minded creativity the children exhibit.  It's been a job though figuring out so many new programs, and setting up a new room.  I have posted some pictures of my room and things we have done lately.  Hope I can keep up with sharing!!
This is my beginning of the year bulletin board.  I actually had my first graders draw their favorite  book cover and make the "Reading Frogs" for the kindergarteners this year.  But, I think the Kindergarteners could also do this project and it would satisfy part of the
K common core standard: 
  Below are closeup pics of the frogs and feel free to download the patterns for free here.  

My leveled reading class library.  The rug is actually a large blind from Ikea that was in the bargain bin.  I like it because it is a flexible, soft plastic and can be cleaned.

My management wheel to keep track of who has visited the literacy centers. It is a circle inside a larger circle, made of laminated poster board and a brad in the center allowing the center circle to move.  I usedVelcro for the names so pairs of student's could easily be changed.

My "Helpers" board (graphics from My Cute Graphics)