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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting Ready . . .

Every year we like to try something new to improve our teaching, organization, etc.

This year we are going to make GLUE SPONGES!

It always seems that a few months into the school year, the glue bottles start clogging, the glue sticks are falling apart . . .

Our students collage almost everyday. LOTS of cutting and gluing. Their independent work while we are in groups is book making. We work on a page a day and the books support what we are learning in class. 
Here is an example of our All About Me Book:

So you know why having glue that works is so important to us! This can also be used to glue copy paper for those cut and glue worksheets so it eliminates the need to use glue sticks . . . hooray!


Snap Lid Containers (We found them at The Dollar Tree/1 container per 2 students)
Sponges (Ocelo sponges are the perfect size)
1 School Size Bottle of Glue per container


Watch this video by The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

Who else wants to try?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Don't Use Power Point . . . use PREZI!

It seems that more and more classrooms are integrating the use of technology to present lessons and teach students. At our school we have been using interactive "smart" boards, document cameras and laptops for a while now. We love that there are so many resources right at our fingertips and we are able to incorporate videos, music, visuals, interactive websites, apps, etc. into our lessons.  

PREZI is a presentation software that is similar to Power Point but much easier to use and visually more "fun" and pleasing to work with.  We use PREZI to help us deliver our lessons seamlessly with all of our music, visuals, videos imbedded. 

Here are some screen shots of a lesson on globes we created with PREZI.  

To find out more about PREZI watch this video and then go to
Educators get a free account with 4GB of storage.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Texting Parents Using Remind

A couple years ago we took our students on a field trip to the farm. It was about an hour away, our bus was full so we asked parent volunteers to meet us there. On the way, not only did the bus driver get lost but the off-ramp was closed and she had to take a detour. We knew we were going to be really late and didn't want all those parents waiting at the farm to be worried. So we proceeded to call all the parents up one by one on our cell phones. This was time-consuming and now all those parents had our personal cell phone numbers, which we usually do not give out.

This last year we discovered Remind!
When you sign up (free), you are able to text/chat with your entire class using your cell phone. All you have to do is download the instructions and hand them to the parents in your class. We added the instructions to our Back to School Night packets at the beginning of the school year. The instructions give parents a code they text to join and receive texts from the teacher.

Here is what the parent instructions look like:

We have used this as a means to send a friendly reminder of upcoming events and activities. It can be used on field trips, and be used during emergencies. You can text a person or the entire class at once.

Here is what the Remind site looks like when accessed on the computer:

What a great resource for teachers!
We hope you check it out!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Teacher Planning Calendar Blank Template

We have used this calendar to help us with our long range lesson planning. It has enough space to write what themes are going to be taught, important dates/meeting to remember, birthdays, etc. We keep it in the very front of our lesson planning binders. The best part is, it is free from Kindergarten Works and you can download it from her Kindergarten Works TPT store.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cute Fonts for the New School Year!

Just found this site with super cute free fonts!
These will be great for sprucing up your newsletters, lesson plans, worksheets, etc.

Here are some examples of the fonts you can find at

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Our Kindergarten Schedule

We like to compare different kindergarten schedules to our own. Each classroom/teacher is so unique in how they approach things and you can get great ideas from how their day is structured. Here is an example of our First Week of School. Our day starts at 8:00am and ends at 12:30pm. 

We like to take things slower in the beginning and really focus on rules and routines. We've learned that when that is established well, the year runs more smoothly. You will notice that we don't jump into heavy "academics" right away. Our student population is generally a mix of students coming from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. About 1/3-1/2 of them are English Language Learners. 

You will notice that during our day, some of the lessons follow a direct instruction format. We were trained by RISE Educational Services on effective lesson design based on brain research. During the first few weeks we use a modified direct instruction approach. Along with the direct instruction lessons, we try to balance the day with hands-on activities, music and fun read-alouds. This schedule is constantly evolving based on the students needs and academics introduces. 
It is a constant work in progress!

Stay tuned for week 2!

RA: Read Aloud, SB: Smart Board, Owl: Optimal Window of Learning (movement activity to get the blood flowing again)
BI: Big Idea, MS: Model Sandwich, GP: Group Practice, ID: Independent Practice, MM: Making Meaning, YT: YouTube Videos

Saturday, July 18, 2015

This is a great article from KPCC. It talks about how kids who "play nice" may actually be more successful adults rather than kids who can read and write but lack social skills.