Welcome to The Very Busy Kindergarten Classroom Blog. My name is Sue and I am a first grade teacher. I started to teach first grade and then switched schools to teach kindergarten. I started this blog in 2011 as a place to document the ideas that I was doing in my classroom and share with other teachers. A lot of the ideas I share on my blog come from the books, workshops, and blogs I read.
I am a little bit late with this post however I know that it is always good to share. Teachers are great at filing away ideas for next year. I was able to purchase this 5 foot Cat in the Hat from Really Good Stuff so it saved me a lot of time organizing. The rest of the words I typed up and cut out. The colorful letters I cut out and laminated together so that it would be easier to hang up.
Then I found this adorable door decoration idea on Pinterest. My room is on the left and the library is on the right. This is the perfect decoration for the reading rooms at our school. I was able to project the face and numbers on the smartboard and traced them. Then we purchased the blue tissue paper(1 package per door) and put them up with double-stick tape.
The children at school just love the doors. The kindergarteners are beside themselves. They smile and laugh as they come down into the reading corner.
This is my door decoration for the winter months. I have such a short time with my little kiddos and we spend our time reading and playing academic games that there is no time to do student art work.
So I had to be a bit creative with my door decoration. My kids love taking their pictures so it was fun. I just enlarged some clipart from Graphics from the Pond and added their sweet pictures.
This is a easy idea but I cannot tell you how much joy the kiddos have finding their picture each time they come down to my room. They enjoy showing their friends where they are and talking about the different book characters the children are holding.
Here is the wall outside my reading room. I wanted to do something that would encourage the children to read and incorporate winter and Valentine's Day. This is an idea similar to what I found on Pinterest. It was very simple to make.
Olaf was made by Grace, a former kindergarten/first grade student of mine who is now in fifth grade. I had some book jackets that fit perfect for this purpose. Then I cut out some simple hearts and the librarian at my school cut out some snowflakes. I wrote out the words "I love warm hugs and books." in fancy letters.
That's it!! The kiddos just love it. I love that it is bright and cheerful and it reflects my love for reading.
I haven't shared much this school year because I have been logging in a lot of books in the reading resource room. I have NO prep time so the little bit of free time I do have I am logging and shelving books. I really didn't think it would take me this long to log in books.
I was a bit inspired by Instagram with the Christmas book decorating. I only have a short amount of time with my reading groups so I didn't have time for my students to create something. Therefore, I put together something quick and simple for my reading classroom door. As you can tell from my lack of blogging my time and focus right now is divided between family and school. So this door had to be simple. I cut out stars with the paper cutter at school and used some old dust jackets from some books. I added some ribbon and there you go, so simple Christmas door.
I did take some "me time" to do a project I wanted to do for some time. I had this idea in my head and it took me a while to pull it together. However once the pieces fell in place it came together so easily. I traced book characters on Shrink-E-Dink material using Sharpies. Before I put the characters in the oven I punched a hole on the top so I could place a ribbon through each one.
Now these adorable characters are hanging up in my reading classroom. I enjoy watching the children come into the room each morning to look at the characters on the tree. The younger students seem to be surprised each time as if new characters are added.
What!!! I can't believe my last post was October!!! Time is going to fast right now. Life is going to fast right now! I have a couple things I want to share with you in December that have been working well for me these past couple months.
I am using Skip Bo cards to teach number awareness to the little four year olds. They think they are playing cards with me and that's even better. But these little guys need to learn to recognize their numbers to 10 by Christmas.
On this day we are working on our number awareness to 8. As we draw a card we put the cards in number order. Then each time a student pulls a multiple number they just lay it on top. If they can not recognize the number, they just count down the row of cards until they can match the cards.
The game is simple however, it is great practice and review. They kids love the game and I have noticed improvement each week in their number awareness.
I found this cute container at Michael's and I purchased it without a plan. It took me some time to come up with an idea however I did finally decide to organize my sight words by levels. I created flashcards and a stick bang game for each level.
I coordinated each box with matching fruit graphics. For example, the red container has an apple, all the level one words have apples on them as well. This makes it easy for clean up when the levels get mixed together.
On the stick bang game, I put color coordinated washi tape on each stick to keep the sticks organized as well.
So far the response from my students has been positive. I work with many children at lots of different levels and they love the cute graphics and the fun colors. Several of the students who have moved levels are very excited to go to the new colors.
The best part of the box is that it fits perfectly between my teaching binders and the shelf above.
If you would like the covers and flashcards I made you can pick them up at my TPT store.
**Note: I did receive some classroom decorations from Oriental Trading Learn 365 in exchange for this post. However how I used the materials in my classroom were up to me and all thoughts about the products are my opinions.
I decided to pick items from the Eric Carle Theme for my classroom because my classroom is the reading resource room and I the that that theme went perfect with the room. The first thing I picked was this adorable Welcome Banner.
It was a bit wide for my door, I have a narrow door, so I cut it apart(sorry about that) and put it together with some other bulletin board cut outs that I owned to create a door decoration. I really like how cheery my door is. I had several compliments on it from parents and teachers at the open house.
I am by no means finished in my room. When you have a new room it takes a long time to get all the little finishing touches done. However, I have what I need to get the school year started in place.
You will see throughout the room some colorful and inspirational Eric Carle posters. I love that O.T. used the book characters and added some quotes about learning and being yourself to them. The posters I did not use in my classroom I am going to donate to the school library. We have a new librarian and I am sure she will welcome the posters.
This is the best I could do to give you a full view of the room I will be working in this year.
Most of the room is taken up with the guided reading materials for the primary grades. I am responsible for keeping the books in order.
The previous resource teacher, my friend, had a great system in place and I plan to continue her system.
This is sort of my teacher station. I some of my resource books here, organization drawers with all supplies, a file drawer with activities and a mini refrigerator with water. I used some of the magnetic pieces from the Very Hungry Caterpillar Retelling pack I received to decorate the front of the refrigerator. Two students were so excited to see them there during the open house. (I could not find it on their site to link it for you.)
This is going to be my reference wall. I hope to hang up more anchor charts for the children to look at when they struggle with a concept as the year goes on.
The big open wall space here I am planning on hanging a large pocket chart. This back shelf is for student supplies and easy to grab learning supplies.
These upper storage shelves is where I will keep all my learning games. I hope to add more games throughout the year.
Thanks for visiting my classroom and many thanks to Oriental Trading for the wonderful decorations.
This fall I start my new position at my same school as the Primary Resource Teacher. Basically I am doing the same thing as last year however I now have a little room to work in, instead of the hallway or the principal's conference room. He was very patience and kind to share his space, however sometimes my little four years would get a bit loud when they were excited about learning the alphabet.
I am now responsible for keeping track of all the guided reading materials as well.
The room is nothing exciting. It is down in the basement next to the library. I'm sure it was the library storage room at one time but our school is so strapped for space that in recent years this is where our resource teacher carved out a place for herself.
There are no windows and the light seems a bit limited. However I am just happy to have a space because when there were a lot of meetings and speech going on in the school, I had to work in the hallways or cafeteria. Generally not a problem but I always needed to carry everything I needed around with me. I felt like a bag person.
I am excited to make this my new home. I hope I will be here for a long time so I want to make this space as pleasant as possible. Also I want the children to be excited to come to this space to learn.
I know I can not buy everything right away, however I have a must have list for this year:
carpet for floor
two or three lamps
Computer to log books/modernize a checkout system for teachers
I cannot start at my school until Thursday because I have so many cute grand-babies to babysit for so I am trying to do little projects at home.
One of the things I received in my back to school box from Oriental Trading was some Eric Carle stickers. The theme for my resource room is going to be Eric Carle. Anyways I took these colorful square stickers I found in the Target $1 section and the Eric Carle stickers from O.T. and labeled my teacher carousel.
I am very excited to share the Eric Carle bookmarks and pencils that came in the box as well. I go through so many bookmarks throughout the year. I think the kids say they need them and then share with their other friends in the classroom. I don't care....if it keeps them excited about reading....great!
Pencils are always a problem when I work with kids. They always come out to me with unsharpen, broken, and worse yet...half eaten pencils. Sharing a new pencil with them is like giving them a mini reward. Bookmarks, pencils and erasers are the types of things I reward children with so I am thankful to Oriental Trading for providing me with those wonderful gifts.
First I want to start this post letting you know I received all the materials for this project free from Oriental Trading in exchange for this post. I want to Thank Katie from OT for the wonderful gift of supplies. As a teacher I appreciate every little gift that helps make the school year run smoothly.
Each year I make little gifts for the primary teachers on our staff. I find my ideas on Pinterest and put them together the best I can. This year I came across the opportunity to partner with Oriental Trading to create these gifts. I saw something similar to this on Pinterest and I thought cute idea I can do this.
Boys and girls just love Robert Munsch books they are extremely humorous. Robert's books are excellent examples of story telling. I love to use his stories for a variety of reading and writing lessons. I am not going to pretend to reinvent the wheel when it comes to these lessons. There are some excellent lessons on Pinterest. I put some links on my teaching website with some suggestions.
This year I plan on printing out the book covers and QR codes and will hang them up on the back of the classroom door. That way the students can walk up to the door and scan the codes and begin the listening to the stories. The book covers, codes and reading response sheets are free at my TPT store.