Sunday, October 11, 2015

Back to School in Kindergarten!

Photo Credit: Meirlaen

Truthfully, it is Back to School for me, and the very beginning of the educational journey for most of my kindergarten students!  It is also the first year for full day kindergarten in Oregon.  I have been waiting for this day for many years and was looking forward to the start of our year and having my students stay all day.  It is great, but WOW is it ever tiring!  I was so excited I had to post a photo on my Instagram account, and Teachers Pay Teachers actually featured this picture in their "TpT Loves Back to School Selfies" on their blog using the hashtag #tptbtsselfie.  I was thrilled to be featured and I had to share it on my blog as well!

The beginning of kindergarten is amazing and random and funny and tiring, and ultimately unpredictable!  It takes a lot of love, patience, and sleep to get through this time successfully.  Teachers constantly talk about rules, and then remind them of the rules, and then talk about them again, and then practice them over and over and.............well, you get the picture!  Kindergarten children love to learn and make new friends, but they need structure, repetition and reminders to make the day go smoothly.  Sometimes it seems like all we did was read stories to review rules, but putting in this time at the beginning of the year is so important and will pay off later on so don't hesitate to take this time to get your classroom routines down.

We just finished our 21st day of school!  Can you believe it?  I know some of you have been in school much longer than us.  School started the week before Labor Day this year, but my students started a week after that.  During that week, my new students and families came to school and we were able to chat and do a little testing.

Once school started, we have been having so much fun.  I truly have a wonderful group this year and so enjoy going to work to spend the day with my little kiddos!

Are you ready for a LOT of pictures?  Hope so!

I saw a few pics on Instagram (with a play on IG) and knew I wanted to do that with my kiddos as well, so I got to work.  I do remember seeing it on Kindergarten Smorgasboard's IG page but when I looked back to link it in this post, I couldn't find it. Our "IG" board turned out so gosh darn cute!  I can't stand it!  I took pictures with them holding a big decorated K, added scrapbook paper, cut out the letters on my Silhouette Cameo and made the IG sign with construction paper.

Scissor practice is so important in kindergarten!  They need explicit instruction and practice - lots of it.  Before we do any art projects, we just practice using scissors for the sake of using scissors.  This page is a part of my Snip, Snip..........Scissor Practice packet from my TpT store.

Holding pencils and penmanship is also something that needs explicit instruction and lots of practice. Here we are tracing our numbers 1-10 and then writing them on our own. This is a freebie in my TpT store called Number Tracing and Writing Freebie!

We read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and then worked on this cute page from First Grade Blue Skies Chrysanthemum freebie packet.  My school uses Tribes and so after we filled out our picture of what it looks like to be a good friend, and to not be a good friend, we partnered up using "Milling to Music" and then shared our responses.

My class has grown so fond of Go Noodle!  They love it!!!!  One of the times we use it is at the end of the day after we have cleaned up and have our backpacks on.  We are really digging Koo Koo Kangaroo and "Roller Coaster."

We started literacy 9 days after school started.  My school transitions for native language literacy.  Some students are in English literacy with me, and some are in Spanish literacy with one of my colleagues.  I am thankful to have those 8 homeroom days so we can build a bond and establish some routines because once literacy starts, I only have my homeroom for about an hour and a half a day total (except for Wednesday which is a homeroom day - my favorite!).  We loved using this sound practice from Miss Kindergarten.  We picked an apple and said the letter name and sound.

We also had fun using these clip cards from The Kindergarten Connection!  Not only are my kiddos practicing beginning sounds and matching upper and lowercase letters, they are also pinching clothespins which is good fine motor skills practice.  And, this is a growing bundle so we will have educational and seasonal activities to go along with our learning all year.  Woohoo!

We have started using math journals as well.  I want my students to be able to identify numbers in many ways.  Here is an example of one student representing the number 2.  To be clear, at the beginning of the year, we do a lot of work together so they understand the expectation.  As the year progresses, and they have a better understanding of numbers, they are able to come up with their own ideas.

My school uses ST Math and we have completed our password training and then are able to log in and start learning some mathematical skills.  This is a program my students really enjoy and will often go to it when they have free iPad time during activity time.

The children have also had a little time to explore foam blocks with friends.

My students have also been enjoying looking at books in the library.

We are so lucky to have a very sweet community member volunteer his time and come into my classroom and read.  He is a retired librarian and he will sing songs, play music CD's and dance with the children, and read them several books.  They absolutley love his visits.  He is so awesome!!!!  I believe this is his third year coming into my classroom now and I feel so fortunate.

I have also had some children pick flowers for me.  Love the little bouquet :)

Like many of you, we also talked a lot about apples and Johnny Appleseed.  We started off by reading a story and then painting apples.  It made for a very cute hallway bulletin board display.

You can't talk about apples without tasting them though!  I stuck with the three basic apples for our taste test - Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.  Mmmmmm!  I also cut an apple in half to show them the star you get.  Have you ever seen that?  You don't cut down the core vertically, but instead cut it horizontally through the middle.  It is pretty fascinating.

After eating the apples we colored our favorite flavor and practiced using scissors to cut them out.

We sat around the carpet and graphed our results.  We interpreted our graph as well.  My students did such a good job with this!

We used this Apple Taste test page from Khrys Bosland's apple packet to record the results of our graph and it is a freebie in her store.  It was so great sitting on our carpet learning together.  I look forward to more activities like this in the future.

After we ate the apples, I asked my class to use adjectives to describe the apples.  I thought they came up with a pretty impressive list!

We continued our apple learning by using my free SMARTBoard product in my TpT store Apples, Apples, Apples.  They had fun taking turns and putting Ten Apples Up on Top of the children's heads.

Last, we put Ten Apples Up on Top of each of our heads.  Again, more scissor practice and number sequencing.  This is so old.  I have had it for years and don't remember where it came from or even when I started doing it.  I know the boy/girl clip art is from DJ Inkers, but other than that, go figure!  It is such a fun activity though!

Well, that is a good overview of what we have been doing in kindergarten in Oregon.  Monday will be our 22nd day of school.  Woohoo!  

Hope you are having a lovely autumn.  Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I love having a peek at what you are up to in your classroom! We have been in school for about the same amount of time here in WA. I agree, full day kinder is great but the beginning is tiring for sure! (for teachers and kids alike!) What fun things your kids are up to! I love how you have a community member come in - I would love to get something like that going for my students too!
    Can't wait to see what you are up to next with your class! :)


  2. It is a good learning. When I show the car came out.