Monday, October 8, 2012

First Field Trip - Fontenelle Forest

Well I have to apologize for the lack of post the past few weeks. Time is going by to fast and there's so much to do. I thought I would do a quick update on what we have been doing in the classroom. We have been busy working on our letters, numbers, words and writing! The class went on their first field trip last week to Fontenelle Forest. It was such a beautiful day. Here are some pictures to share with you:

Also, this year our class was part of an Letter Exchange, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with other bloggers. We have enjoyed getting a letter or 2 in the mail the past month. They will soon be coming to an end but it's been exciting to see the wonderful creativity of others. Now, we are getting ready to be part of a postcard exchange. We will be receiving a postcard from each state. We are looking forward to this as well. Again more mail and it's great to learn about the United States! I bought our postcards this weekend. Now, I just have sit my students down and ask them what they think we should write. 

Well I hope everybody's school year is off to a great start. We have conferences next week so it's hard to believe that 1st Quarter will be in the books. I am looking to this week talking about Fire Prevention and our annual trip to Offutt Fire Station. That's my favorite! ;) Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

Have you heard of this book?  I saw it floating in the blogging world a few weeks ago and had to check it out and you can too!

This AWESOME 600 page Kindergarten Common Core  resource is dedicated to helping you meet the common core standards in your classroom!  The workbook includes worksheets, center activities and posters that are broken up by each standard for Language Arts and Math. Not only are there TONS of activities but the graphics are adorable!  I downloaded the preview and was quite impressed by what I saw. I loved the story element posters.  This will be great to review and anxious to introduce it to my students.  If you’re a Kindergarten teacher who has just started using common core standards or will be seeing them in your classroom soon, then this is a MUST HAVE! It’s currently $39.99 and well worth the money!  Jump over to their Kindergarten Common Core workbook page to check it out! Better yet, if you’re a blogger and you blog about this book, you can get one for FREE until tonight. Go here to read the details……..sooooo worth it!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kindergarten & The Daily 5

I am exciting to share with you that my students are in full swing with the Daily 5. They have learned Read to Self and Work on Writing and are doing an AWESOME job. They are up to 15-20 minutes of each Daily 5. They were excited to learn what it was all about and they are very proud that they could read/write for that long. I have been doing Daily 5 in my classroom for 4 years now and I love it! Last year, my class was the exception so Daily 5 wasn't in full swing, but it's great to have it back and looking like it should be.

 Read to Self
She was acting like a teacher and reading to her students :)

 Work on Writing
I was a little worried about these 3 sitting together but they were quiet the WHOLE time doing what they needed to do! AMAZING!

 While students are doing The Daily 5, our Reading Teacher, my classroom para and I pull groups to work on reading skills. Here are the two in action, since I'm taking the pictures. :)

I can't wait to see what the ret of the year will bring with the The Daily 5. I know the kids are just excited to be part of this. I'll keep you all posted on how it all goes. We are off to a great start!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reading Curriculum

Next year, our school district will be implementing Scott Foresman's Reading Street. I have heard a little about it and am anxious to see the Kindergarten curriculum and what it all has to offer for my students. I have been able to look at the 1st grade version and it looks awesome but there is so much! As of right now, Nebraska, has not adopted the Common Core standards but I know in a few short years we will be teaching them. I have enjoyed the many activities that I have gotten from other teachers are already aligned to the CC standards and will make the transition smoother. It's going to be a lot and so my hope is to see if someone out there can share what they do. So, here is my shout out to all of you...I want to know if you use Reading Street and please share me your thoughts about the curriculum. I would love to hear about it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I survived the first week!

Well, the week has come to an end and I can officially say that I survived the first week of school. I started with 20 students on Tuesday and it looks like it's going to be a great year! Now, I'm not quite back in my routine of things and a schedule but I'm hoping that will come as each new day passes. I will have to spend some time at school this weekend to get things ready for next week. Our school opted to do Curriculum Night this coming Tuesday instead of a Back-to-School night, so I have to get things ready for that. Still a lot to do and get organized but again, that will come. I hope all of you had a great start to your school year. I know some of you are still on summer vacation and I hope your enjoying every minute of it. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day of School Tomorrow!!

Well Kindergarten friends, it will my first day of school tomorrow with my new kiddos.  I'm looking forward to a new year but also not prepared for the new year ahead.  This year I will have only 21 students, between the ages 5 & 6, to start the school year.  That is low compared to the 25-27 students I usually have.  Nebraska raised the cut off date this year and I believe that has affected some of my numbers.  The old date was October 15th but now it's July 31st.  What a difference it will make not having any 4 year olds in my class.  I was fortunate also to have most of my new students during summer school.  So I'm looking forward to working with them again.  When do all of your kiddos start?  I hope all of you have  a great school year.  Wish me luck...:)

Monday, August 6, 2012

In Pictures and In Words - Chapter 11: Layout and Design

For the last chapter in this book Katie Wood Ray talks about the layout and design of the pictures within the book as well as the illustration on the front and back covers.

I have enjoyed reading other bloggers who are part of this book study and their books selections.  A lot of you have mentioned some of the ones that I was thinking about when reading this chapter.  Check out our hostesses this week, KinderGals, to see all the other bloggers who have posted.  Thank you ladies for hosting this week!

Here is a book that would include more then one technique, What Do You Do With A Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

Some of the featured techniques would be:
Technique 40: Designing the Placement of Words and Pictures
Technique 41: Using Word Layout to Convey Meaning
Technique 44: Designing a Cover
Technique 50: Using Graphic Features to Show Information

This is a fun book to read with the students and can be a great learning tool.  What class doesn't like to play a guessing game and learn new facts about animals that they are not familiar with.

I have really enjoyed being part of this book study this summer.  I have learned a lot by reading the chapters but I have also learned from others in the blogging world and building up a wonderful library of information and books.  Thank you DeeDee Wills for setting this all up and your hard work in keeping a book log and guiding us.  I hope everyone has a great school year and thanks for sharing all your thoughts and ideas!

Friday, August 3, 2012

My room is done!!!

It has been a very busy and long week. I started my classroom on Monday morning and my goal was to be finished by Friday afternoon. I reached my goal and I am ready to crash! This week has been very busy with working in my room and evening activities that my head is spinning. I was very blessed yesterday to have my mom help me in my room. She took the day off to spend with me and we got some things accomplished. She helped with the birthday board. :) My goal every year is to have my room ready by the time teachers have to report back so at that time and I work on schedules and other paper work that is necessary. Thanks for stopping by and I hope all of you are getting your rooms ready or at least thinking about how your room is going to look.
My birthday board!
The Word Wall
Colors and the Alphabet - purchased from Live, Love, Laugh Kindergarten's TPT store. Love the colors and all the materials she created with the same theme/decor. The Word Wall letters were also from this TPT store
Class Library

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 1 of Room Setup

Today was Day 1 of my room setup. When I arrived to school, nothing was in it's place so with a little help from Nick, the custodian, I got the room arrangement done. The next thing to do was the unpacking of the closet which then turned into rearranging the closet, which was not on the To-Do list today. It got done and know I can start in one corner and go around the room putting up things. Here are some pictures of what my classroom looks like now. Stayed tuned throughout the week as I work to get my classroom done by Friday. That is the goal!

Friday, July 27, 2012

In Pictures and In Words - Chapter 10: Tone

This week's topic of Tone, had a little bit of a twist to it.  When, like many of use, think of the word tone, we often think about the 'tone of our voice'.  It was interesting to see how tone can be played into illustrations and the meaning that it can give it's readers.  If tone is used right, it does set the tone for the book to be enjoyed by the readers.  
Many different techniques were shared in this book.  In trying to think about the different books that I have shared with my classes in the past 10+ years, two techniques stood out for books that are classroom favorites. 

Technique 33: Shifting Tone by Shifting Color
Tone can be all about the colors of the books.  Color is what gets the readers attention and often portrays the mood of the characters/plot of the book.  One book that comes to mind about the shifting of colors is We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
The book is illustrated by using watercolors/colored pencils to portray a soft contrast but then at different parts of the book, the illustrations are black and white.  Showing the different parts of the story from the stanza of the story to the different actions that the family is doing through their hunting adventure.  The kids love listening to this book and they also like to act it out.

Technique 35: Crafting Tone with Size
I am not to familiar with this book, but it came to mind as soon as I began how the size can set the tone for the book.  Hey, Little Ant by Phillip & Hannah Hoose
Just by looking at the cover, you can feel the set of the tone of the book by seeing the size different of the boy to the ant.  And if I remember right, in the book the role is reversed and the ant at one time is the larger object and the boy is ant size.  It's been awhile since I really looked at this book.  

I have enjoyed being part of this book study and finding different ways to look at writing in a different way in which I can teach my students to look at writing differently as well.  I've enjoyed reading all of your book selections and thoughts about the different chapters.  Thank you Deanna Jump for hosting this week. Hop on over to her blog to see what others are saying about Tone. I look forward to sharing with you next week!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In Pictures and In Words - Chapter 9: Wholeness of Text

After having a week off of reading the book, it was hard to get back into the reading routine and wrap my brain about writing and books. This chapter was interesting to read and was short for the concept that was studied.
Chapter 9 was about how an author and illustrator has the important job of keeping the reading interested and how they go about to keep that reader interested throughout the whole book instead of just one paragraph or page. Making sure you have detail was mentioned many times and having it throughout the book is important. "A detail mentioned early that shows up later can provide a deeply satisfying resolution to any piece of writing..." I find this to be very true and the students do pick up on all the different details throughout the book and are usually the first ones to pick them out.

 Here are the techniques that were explained:
#23 - Keeping Static Details Consistent
#24 - Making Seemingly Insignificant Details Reappear
 #25 - Building Meaning from One Idea to the Next
#26 - Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead
#27 - Crafting Artful Repetition
#28 - Crafting an Ending That Pulls Multiple Text Elements Together
#29 - Repeating Details of Landscape
#30 - Using Details of Light to Show the Passage of Time
#31 - Using Details of Weather to Show the Passage of Time

Coming up with some picture books for this chapter has been a little more difficult because I am drawing a blank on some books that some of these techniques can be shown. I know I have mentioned this before but it's hard not to have my whole classroom library in front of me to help find some good examples. Some of the books that I will be mentioning my not be true to the technique but it's the best I could do.

Technique #25: Building Meaning from One Idea to the Next
Jan Brett's books remind me of this technique. In her illustrations and story, the concept builds and it keeps the reader interested. One of my favorite stories of her's is The Mitten.

Technique #26: Crafting an Ending That Returns to the Lead
After reading the details to this technique and reading the title, my brain automatically went the If You Give A...series of books.  The all time favorite is If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff

This book and the many others like it have different details and events that lead to one thing and so on.  Then at the end of the story it goes back to the beginning elements and repeats the first line.  The students love them and they are great for sequencing too.

I know once I complete this post, I will come up with some other books, but I think between the heat that we are experiencing, high of 101 today, and a lil lack of motivation, my brain is just not working.  So I apologize for the short book list.  I hope to be back in full mode for next week.

Thank you Growing Kinders for hosting last week and to Primary Graffiti for hosting this week.  Please stop by to see what other book study participates are saying about what they learned and their book selections.  Until next time, stay cool and happy reading. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


After doing many 5K events through the years, I will have to say that is was by far the most fun 5K I have ever done. The Color Run came to Omaha this morning and it was an experience! It's amazing how we all started out with white shirts, which is required, and at the end we were all colorized from head to toe! Even after a long shower, I still am blue, pink & purple! I am so doing it next year and I hope I can talk some friends into doing it also. If it's going to be in a city near you, I would highly suggest it. What a way to do something fun in the summer and in the 101 degree Nebraska weather! Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In Pictures and In Words - Chapter 8: Precision and Detail

I am so glad that I decided to become part of this wonderful book study because I am learning so much!
 It has opened my eyes to many different things that I wouldn't of thought about in the process of writing and with my students. Thank you DeeDee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for hosting the first two sections of the study. Kathleen over at Growing Kinders is this weeks host and shares her thoughts and book picks for precision and detail. Chapter 8 was enjoyable and held a lot of information in how a reader and writer looks at the precision and detail in the pictures.

Here are the techniques that were explained:
13. Crafting Details of Expression and Gesture
14. Crafting Physical Details of Characters
15. Revealing Character with Background Details
16. Crafting Details from the World of Nature
17. Showing the Effects of Weather on a Scene
18. Crafting Details from the World of People
19. Using Authentic, Object-Specific Details
20. Creating the Illusion of Motion with Detail
21. Creating the Illusion of Sound with Details
22. Using Details as an Element of Surprise

 As I did with the techniques from Chapter 7, as I was reading through the techniques, I was trying to think of some picture books that I use with my students or that are in my classroom library that would be great to teach precision and details. I will have to apologize that my book choices are just pictures of the cover because all my classroom books are packed and I am not able to get into my classroom because they are cleaning. So bare with me as I try to think of some books off the top of my head.

Technique 13: Crafting Details of Expression and Gesture One of my favorite books that I read to my students that is part of our reading curriculum is Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
Everybody knows the famous Ruby and Max! This story is about how Max is trying to help Ruby make a cake for Grandma's birthday. During the story, Max tries to help out but keeps getting into trouble. I love the expressions on the characters face because Max has so many and when I read this story to my students, I make sure we talk about how Max is feeling after each attempt of going to the store and getting what he wants. This book comes to my mind when thinking about expression.

Technique 16: Crafting Details from the World of Nature Throughout our reading curriculum, we share many information books. One of the books that we share is Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser
This may not be the best book for this technique but I remember it having lots of detail that can relate to nature and the different details that are in the book to show the students how things go on above ground as well as underground and seeing how it can be so real.

Technique 22: Using Details as an Element of Surprise
After reading about this technique, I was trying to think of the different books that I have noticed a "surprise" in the story and I thought that was very clever of the author and illustrator to add that in there book.  Working with Kindergarten students they are very observant where some catch the surprise and then their are some that still don't understand or realize.  I may have the wrong book connection, but If You Take A Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff, I believe,  has a part in the book where the mouse is reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie also written by Laura Numeroff.  I enjoy reading these books to my students, so again I apologize if it's not the correct book.

I am interested in reading the next chapter about the wholeness of text.  Until next week, I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming week.  I am jealous that many of you are attending the I Teach K conference in Vegas.  I hope you have a fun and can't wait to hear all the stories and maybe some of you will share some of the great things that you learned.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In Pictures and In Words: Chapter 7: Ideas and Content

In the second part of this book, Katie Wood Ray shares 50 illustration techniques and some qualities of some good writing.

The illustration techniques in the book are broken down into these sections:
1. Ideas and Content
2. Precision and Detail
3. Wholeness of Text
4. Tone
5. Layout and Design

Mrs. Wills explains and share with us how each technique is explained and how it works as a lesson that can be used in the writing study

In Chapter 7, Ideas & Content, Katie Wood Ray says that idea work is something children will need to understand to become proficient writers. It's important to see the illustrations and the thinking about the idea work behind it(pg. 95).

Here are the techniques that were shared:
1. Crafting with Distance Perspective
2. Crafting with Positioning Perspective
3. Crafting the Background
4. Showing Two Sides of Physical Space
5. Using Scenes to Show Different Actions
6. Using Scenes to Capture the Passage of Time
7. Using Scenes to Show Movement Through Different Places
8. Using Scenes as a List
9. Showing, Not Telling
10. Crafting a "Backstory"
11. Manipulating Point of View for Effect
12. Seeing Through the Eyes of a Narrator

As I was reading through each of the techniques, I was thinking about the picture books that we use in our reading curriculum that would be an excellent resource and change up the learning of how to look at the book differently. Here are some I would like to share.

Technique 1: Crafting with Distance Perspective
The book, Look Closer by Brian Wildsmith comes to mind.
In this book, the illustrations go from a large scenery picture of where the author is walking with a very small hidden picture of an insect of what he sees as he is walking by to the following page where the small hidden picture, which is an insect, is now the focus and the background is the place where the author has walked. I love using this book with my students to show them perspective of the two pictures and we even do a class book where they create the different places and insects that they might see.

Technique 9: Showing, Not Telling
A book that I thought about for this technique was, Alphbatics by Suse MacDonald.
This book shows how the letter of the alphabet can be transformed into something that begins with that sound. The illustrations show the students how by adding different details to the letter, it can look different without text to read.

Technique 12: Seeing throughout the Eyes of a Narrator
As I was thinking about what book I could use for this, Dear Juno by Soyung Pak, pops in my head.
The main character, Juno, tells us the story about how he receives a letter from his grandmother and the events for writing her back and then receiving another letter. This book could also be paired up with some other techniques.

I sure leaned a lot from this chapter. I can't wait to really dive into my books and gather that pile to really teach the techniques. I'm looking forward to next week, Chapter 8: Precision and Detail. Have a great week everyone!

Monday, June 25, 2012

In Pictures and In Words Book Study

This summer, I decided to join my fellow bloggers and do a book study. After reading what the book was about, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to improve on how I teach writing and what I could do to make writing look different in my classroom. Mrs. Wills Kindergarten is kicking off this book study so I hope you can join us and to be able to share your ideas.

Here is my reflection from the first 6 chapters using the guided questions that have been given.

How might you explain to students that illustrating is composing?
Pictures provide so much information and can tell all readers what is going on in a picture or story. Pictures are also a guide to what might be happening next. I would share with my students that doing a 'picture sketch' would help them get their creative minds flowing and being able to create ideas with pictures in mind. Sometimes illustrations can be more of a idea creator then trying to come up with words.

How might your attitude towards writing affect your students' willingness to writing?
My attitude affects everything I teach. If I don't show excitement in my teaching then how do I expect my students to be excited to learn. I like to teach Kindergarteners to write but there are times when I get a in rut and feel like I'm running out of techniques to meet all my learners without it being the same ol' thing. Focusing on a different concept of writing has me already excited to what writing will look like that I'm hoping my students will also be excited to see writing in a different light.

How might you help students build stamina in their writing?
I use Daily 5 in my classroom, so I am very familiar with building students stamina. To build students stamina in writing, I would approach in the same manner I would do when we introduce Work on Writing. It would look a little different as to what time of day I would have for writing and also they would have blank made up books to work with instead of the notebooks they use for Daily 5. Students would also be familiar with the vocabulary and will have a good sense of what stamina is and be able to make those connections.

What language might you use with your students to talk about reading like a writer, bother as a writer of words and pictures?
When I talk about writing to my students, I already use the terms authors and illustrators and explain to them that they need to be good illustrators and authors. One way I would change this would be to say "now we talked about Eric Carle and how he does wonderful illustrations. I would like to see you do your best illustrations just like Eric Carle did in the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar." I would make more references to certain authors after we have talked about them by looking at their illustrations. I would also use the writing terms of planning and revision for my students to understand the vocabulary that will become familiar to them as they grow older.

Name several books (not perviously mentioned in this text) you would gather for your classroom's units of student on illustration.
I wish I was able to be in my classroom library right now so I could make a stack and be able to look through some books. Here are a few that I'm thinking off the top of my head.
Eric Carle books
The Crayon Box That Talked
Jan Brett books
If You Give A... series of books
Tops and Bottoms
*I know it's not the best list, but my mind is drawing a blank to some that I'm going to kick myself for not remembering.

Next on the agenda is Chapter 7, Ideas and Content. Can't wait to see what I can learn and read others thoughts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

School's Out for Summer

Well the end of the school year finally came to an end.  It was a rough year and I apologize for not keeping up on my blog.  There was a lot of things going on that blogging was not in the cards.  Thank you for all of those who visited and checked out some of the activities that we did this year.  Currently, we are in our last week of summer school and then my summer can officially begin.  One of my goals this summer is to do some blogging 'overhaul'.  KinderSpot will be getting a new look and new posts on a regular basis.  I hope all of you are having a good summer so far and thanks again for stopping by.  Stop in again in a few weeks to see all the new changes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Objects in the Sky

We just finished up our Objects in the Sky unit for science. The students LOVED learning about the sun, moon, planets and stars. This is one of my favorite units to teach because the students get into the learning. On Tuesday, we had Star Lab come visit us. They gave us a little lesson about the planets and stars and then we got to go into the dome to view the stars and their constellations. The students enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about what is in our sky. Now it's time to take a little break from science and do some social studies. Our next big unit in Science will be plants.