Sunday, September 22, 2013

12 Days of Kindergarten

   Now that we've been in school for a few weeks, we're all settling in nicely.  The kids are doing a great job learning routines and expectations, and I'm doing a pretty good job of getting out of bed at 5 am. (Ugg!)

   We had our 12th day of kindergarten this week, and it made me think of the fantastic book, The Twelve Days of Kindergarten by Deborah Lee Rose. If you've read it before, you know that it's a super cute school version of the 12 Days of Christmas and the kids love it.  It's great to use when you're working on double digit numbers and it also has incredibly funny and detailed pictures that are great for teaching how to look for picture clues.

     The book inspired to me show you some of the things we've been up to, "12 Days" style. (You can click on some of the pictures for links or freebies.) On the 12th day of kindergarten my teacher gave to me . . .

12 Leveled Book Bins
I love these new baskets from the Dollar Tree - they match the stools at my reading table.

11 Hanging Portraits
We did this great freebie from Lauren Morse for Open House.

10 Marshmallow Toes
We read an emergent reader about Marshmallow Toes and made this cute craftivity.

9 Numbered Dots
I found this adorable rug for my math center at Ikea.

8 Word Wall Pictures

7 School Buses
The kids loved making these buses from Deanna Jump's Fun with Names unit.

6 Alphabet Emergent Readers
We've been using these easy to read letter books - they work great with our new Word Study program.

5 Classroom Rules
The kid friendly, relevant graphics on these posters are great visual reminders for the kids.

4 New Table Signs
Cute Table Signs from Peace, Love and Learning - Freebie
Grab a free set of these cute signs to put in these awesome $1.00 Ikea frames.

3 Open House Frames
The kids painted and decorated cute frames for their parents for Open House.

2 Ikea Leaves

1 Freebie from Me to You!
Cute number sequencing activity from Peace, Love and Learning
Click here for this cute sequencing activity.

I hope your year is off to a great start, too!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Kindergarten Trifecta

   Tears, Tantrums and Tinkle. They're what my friend Cindy calls the "Kindergarten Trifecta" and it's hard to have a first week without them. We just finished our first week and I had my fair share of all three! It's funny how much you block out from year to year, how much you don't remember. How exhausting the first day is, how much teaching and reteaching we need for routines and expectations, how hard it is to get the kids to "Not talk on top of my words . . . Please!"
   But let's not forget all the exciting, happy things that come rushing back, too. The smell of new pencils, a fresh, empty lesson plan book just waiting to be filled, labeling everything in the classroom (alphabetically and in color order of course), the joy of eager kindergartners and the trust of wistful parents handing their little ones over to you on the first day.  My friend Sandra summed it up perfectly after dismissal on the first day as she revised the song, "There's Nothing Like A Dame" and sang out in a Broadway-worthy voice, "There's Nothing Like the First Day in Kindergarten." So very true Ms, M! But I wouldn't trade it for the world. Even with the Trifecta.
     I know a lot of you are starting school tomorrow and are gearing up for your first week. Here's a little freebie that will hopefully make things a little easier. It's so nice to send home a little newsletter after the first week to let the parents know what you've been up to, but by the time you get to Friday you're bound to be exhausted. Here's a cute, little newsletter that you can use to share the basics of your week. (Why reinvent the wheel, right?)
     I hope you all have (or have had) a great first week.  I wish you very few tears, tantrums or tinkle. (Especially any of the three coming from you, 'cause that happens during the first week sometimes, too!)

First Week Newsletter Freebie from Peace, Love & Learning