Apples! Apples! Apples! (Part 2)

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The second week of apples was just as full of explorations as the first. And, honestly, I'm ready for a different unit. I loved it. They loved it. But I'm about appled out. Pumpkins anyone?

We started off by labeling the parts of apple tree (bud, flower, fruit, etc.) and exploring the seasons of the apple tree. 

We made apple pie play dough and we weighed our apples against other objects in the room. I usually dread these kinds of activities because it seems so chaotic, but this time was BY FAR the best we've ever done. I started by putting a balance scale on each table with an apple on one side of the scale and 1-2 objects to weigh on the table. Yes, I know scientifically that the size of the apple could change whether or not the other object weighs more or less than "our apple," but the apples were all relatively the same size. And for management's sake, I didn't care. We just needed approximations. 

The kids were then given the pictures of the things they were going to measure. If the object weighed more than the apple, they were to color that picture red. If the object weighed less than the apple, they colored it blue. MOST of the kiddos understood this. We went over this procedure at least a hundred times about 10 times. The kids were also instructed NOT to remove the apple from the scale. We didn't need any run away apples. 

In the end their picture sheet looked like this:

Did I mention they did a FANTASTIC JOB of measuring and recording their results?

They look so studious, don't they? 

AFTER they colored the pictures, they cut them out and glued them into their science notebook as heavier or lighter. It was the best science lab in kinder EVER!

AND even though we someone get sick all over the carpet, we had 3 other kids out or go home early, and we had 3 friends from a substitute-less classroom come join our class for the day, the kids did an INCREDIBLE job reading quietly during Daily 5. 

It was my hallelujah moment. It lasted a whole 10 minutes. And social centers went incredibly well with additional kids, too. 

Next week: Shapes and light sources. Maybe next week will be just as "enLIGHTening" as this week was. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist.)

Classroom Rewards

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I can't believe it's already October! Where is the time going?! A fellow teacher said, "It's already October. Parent conferences are next week. Before you know it, it will be Christmas break and spring break and BOOM! The school year is gone!" I definitely felt that way last year! The school year goes by so fast and there is so much to fit into each day. 

One of the hardest parts of teaching is handling behavior. Anytime I can give recognize positive behavior, I do. One way I reward the kids for expected hallway behavior is with a Mr. Potato Head.


Yes, Mr. Potato Head. Each time the kids get a compliment for walking quietly and staying in a straight (-ish, they're kinder people) line, we add a piece to Mr. Potato Head.

When the class gets all the pieces on him, we have a reward of some kind. Our first reward was to bring a small stuffed animal to school. Our second reward has been the class favorite for years: shaving cream. 

Yes, one of my friends needs a visual for personal workspace. The tape has been replaced a time or two, but it really helps define personal ares. 

What do you do for classroom rewards?

Apples! Apples! Apples! (Part 1)

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This week, we began our study of all things apples. It was tasty to say the least. We read Ten Apples Up On Top and Apples A to Z

To go along with Ten Apples Up On Top, the kiddos traced the numbers 1-10 on paper apples and put them in order on a sentence strip. I then stapled the ends together to make them a hat with their apples. There is something about a sentence strip hat that gets the littles all excited. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that one.) 

We tried apples of different colors and graphed which ones they liked the best. 

The ones at the top were the kids that couldn't decide and liked them all.

Friday, we made applesauce in the crockpot. Apples, water, and maybe some brown sugar is all you need. 

That's my goofy son taste testing the leftovers.

When the applesauce was done, we tried an apple wedge, the applesauce, apple juice, apple cider, and dried apples to see which one we liked the best.

As you can see, the apple juice was clearly the winner.

We also made torn paper apples...

which we hung in the hallway...

and apple prints. 

It started off as red and green paint, but my little artists explored color mixing. :)

In our science notebooks, we used a couple pages from Reagan Tunstall's Apple Science Interactive Activities pack. I will get pictures of these for next week. We will use the rest of her resources to explore whether our apples sink or float, what is heavier/lighter than our apples, and life cycles of apples and apple trees. And Friday will be apple pie play dough day! I love Friday fun stuff. :)

This Friday though, the kids had to spend their precious center time talking about what are appropriate words for the classroom and what aren't. I have several that think bathroom words are HYSTERICAL! So distracting to the rest of the class. So we began an anchor chart of appropriate things to say in the classroom besides "pooted. "

I am SURE we will revisit this chart and add to it this year. I have a wonderful class of sweet and smart cookies, but the bathroom words are going to drive me bananas. 

Anyway, that was week one of apples. We will have at least one more week of apple explorations before diving into pumpkins, bats, nursery rhymes, and more. 

What are y'all studying this week?

Talk Like a Pirate Day

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Friday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and we did it up in our class. We started the day with this super cute video about how to talk like a pirate.

We read Pirates Go to School and made these adorable pirate hats. You can pick up a copy of this template here.

We read Pirates Don't Change Diapers and wrote about what we would do if we were pirates. We compiled our writing into a class book and added it to our classroom library. You can get a copy of this writing here.

For math, we played a simple roll and write game with a pirate twist, then we did a pirate ship dot to dot. You can pick up this game here.  They loved it!

For rest time, we watched Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which we NEVER do. They were so excited! Our last pirate book was Pirates Love Underpants which got them really giggly. And my favorite part of the day was when we did a basic tearing paper activity to fill up the pirate word "are" (get it here). They were totally silent for a whole 15 seconds before someone commented on how quiet they were and the chattering started back up again. But it's okay! I'll take 15 seconds of silence in the middle of the day!

The kids were so incredibly cute and excited about the day. I saved the eye patches for an end of the day treat. They were $3 for 18 patches in the halloween section of Target. Totally worth it for a little off the wall fun. 

Anyway, that was our day. What did you do for Talk Like a Pirate Day?

Week 2--Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

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Week two was soooo much better than week one! I could actually stay awake past 7 at night the 2nd week. :) Monday we were off for Labor Day (Yay for 3 day weekends and short work weeks!). Tuesday, we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and graphed the letters in our name. We talked about who had the longest name, shortest names, and who's name was twinsies with someones. 

Wednesday, we we made these cute little trees to go with our book. 

You can pick up the template for the words here, and the tree here. Then, after special areas, we had cupcakes for  a little friend's birthday. 

Thursday, we practiced our Rise and Shine notebooks from Reagan Tunsall. These babies are a life saver! I add a couple things here and there, but I don't have to worry about morning work for most of the year once they get comfortable with it. 

In Math, we read Chicka Chicka 123 and practiced one to one correspondence and number recognition with the little Chester activity we didn't get to last week. 

I only gave them 3 rows of Chesters each to contain the mess somewhat. When we get to the page with 6-10 on it, I'll give them the rest. 

We also practiced read to self and our Top Banana games from A Differentiated Kindergarten. They loved them! Then, after special areas, we had cupcakes for a little friend's birthday. 

Friday was carefree and wonderful not what I had envisioned in the lesson plan but still productive. We made our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom hats.  They were so stinkin' cute!

They even had the hats finished and on their heads in the 30 minutes I had planned for them to take before dismissal at the end of the day. :-p After our 3rd library intro for the week, and another round of hat making, we practiced Top Banana Games again and building stamina in reading to self. We made it a whole minute without someone getting squirrelly! Not bad for the kind of day we were having.  

Then, after special areas, we had cupcakes for  a little friend's birthday. Yes, that is three days of cupcakes in a row the 2nd week of school. They were flying off the walls a little wound up. But we wait until the last hour of the day to do birthday celebrations, so they got to go home and show mom and dad how much fun they had! 

Classroom Reveal!!!

It's finally (mostly) done! Soooo, I thought I'd share a few pictures with you. :) First off, I bought this set from Schoolgirl Style and I absolutely LOVE it! My family loves to travel and we take off as often as we can. PLUS, our school's theme this year is "Bulldogs Around the World," which I didn't know at the time, but it was a total bonus! Anyway...

This is the view of my classroom from the door

I will have to add some curtains to that window and desks will have name tags soon. :)

Because it's all travel stuff and my man works for the airlines, I kinda took off with the whole air industry theme. So, just above the kids' backpack area is this:

Cute huh? Their bags...baggage claim...ha ha. Okay it's a little nerdy. Whatever.... turn in their daily folders and to pick up their work to take home, I have these crates:

I got them at Target last year (I could spend a fortune there!). They have more this year, but I will be in so much trouble if I buy more just because I like the new colors better. ;)

Our word wall and number line looks like this: 

I don't have any wall my room that is just a solid wall except where the calendar is. I thought about putting the word wall there, but spacing...layout...computers and projectors in certain just worked better to do this. Gotta be resourceful to be a kinder teacher right? 

I had my own kids set up the library.

It's cute, but I'll have to do a little rearranging with some of the books. They tried hard and did great, but there were five of them working on it and their opinions differed at times. Too many cooks in the kitchen.

These cute chevron containers I got from Lowe's. I saw them, I wanted them, I had to have them. 
So I bought 3! I may have to go back and get more. 

These two are housing our dry erase boards and calendar notebooks. I just learned about the notebooks over the summer and I can't wait to try it this year. If you're interested in calendar notebooks, check out this blog post from Miss Kindergarten

This is our whole calendar wall. The background is vinyl tablecloths I found in the Target dollar section (I'm there almost daily. It's the closest store to our house and conveniently on the way home from school! We're there so much I know some of the checkers by name. That's bad right?). 

That little caterpillar head in the top left corner (I know it looks a little creepy now) is the beginning of our Wordapillar. As we learn new sight words, we will add a circle with the sight word on it to make his body get longer and longer. You can get a free copy of your own from here

That big empty pocket chart will hold our poem of the week. We are doing poetry notebooks for the first time this year and I can't wait to get started!

(That will be a whole other post!)

I saw on Pinterest a calendar with numbers you can flip. I love this idea since I don't have to waste time trying to find the right number to stick on, keep up with, etc. So I made my own. The weather chart I picked up online. I can't remember for the life of me where I found it, but if it's yours, let me know so I can give you credit!

I thought it turned out ok, but the hooks I used last year were a little smaller and fit better on the blue chart. 

One of our favorite things in the class is this guy:

Basically, when we are out of the classroom, and they get a compliment for their awesome behavior, we add a piece to Mr. Potato Head. When he is all put together, they get a class reward. We have done shaving cream on the tables, 2 minute dance party, taking our shoes get the idea. And to keep up the novelty, I like to throw in different pieces for different holidays. The bunny Potato Head is really pretty cute. 

And because I like to stay organized, I filled all my books into those cheapy book boxes from IKEA. (5 for $2 is a steal!) And of course I had to label them.

Yes, I know two are missing labels. I ran out of card stock. Don't judge. It will be fixed as soon as can get to Sam's (It's the cheapest place I've found for card stock by the way. Only $7 for a big ol' pack).

Let's not leave out my monthly units. They have to have a place, too.

There's one for each month, plus writing, math, and science. Because, sometimes you just have something that's not "theme-y."

For giving directions, I set this up on my upper cabinets.

The left one can be found here. I can't wait to use this. They always want to cut and glue before coloring and doing the work and it makes such a mess! They need order I tell you!

The right side is the beginning of my CHAMPS board. If you're not familiar with CHAMPS, it is a behavior management tool for setting expectations. The C stands for Conversation, hence the voice level chart. The card on rings is a visual of the expectation for the kids. All the different options for each letter of CHAMPS is on it's own ring below the letter. 

This is what it looks like put together:

Sorry the picture isn't great, but hopefully you get the idea. Each circle has letter. Each card beneath the letter has the expectations. Flip the cards to show the what the expectation is. Easy peasy, right?

Beneath that are our job charts. I'll have a class job for each kid everyday this year. Because we're doing the whole airline theme, each job has a "technical" name. 

The itty bitty sign in the middle says "Check-in," like check in at the airport. Get it? Ok, never mind...

Technical names..."Load Masters" make sure the chairs are stacked at the end of the day, "Pilot" is the line leader, "Co-Pilot" holds the door open, our "Provo" guys (provisions people in the airlines make sure there are enough supplies on the plane for the flight) make sure we have enough pencils, dry erase markers, etc. ready. You get the idea. I won't go on and on, but I really do like this part. :) It'll take time to teach them all the titles, but they'll be learning about careers at the same time. 

I made brag tags this summer and am so excited to get this going. I have used treasure boxes in the past and hated it. Hopefully, this will leave the treasure box in the closet for the whole year. 

The clips are Target dollar section magnets (Have I mentioned I shop at Target? I should get stock in that company.). I had several packs already. Hopefully they are strong enough to hold the necklaces when they are all filled up. 

This is our cool down area for when we just need a break to breathe. 

The flag is Australia's. We read the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" at the beginning of the year. In the book, Alexander talks about going to Australia to get away from his troubles. Soooo, this is our Australia. Time to wash your blues away. The laundry basket is just the right size to curl up in for a breather. Too bad it's not teacher sized!

Now, I saw somebody on Pinterest color coded her guided reading books by level with different colors of duck tape. Since there are a bazillion colors of duck tape out now and I hate thumbing through all my books trying to find the right spot I'm looking for, this became one of my first projects over the summer.

This should make finding what I'm looking for so much faster. The ones that look like they don't have tape are long books instead of tall books. I didn't leave any out, I swear!

And THIS is what I am MOST excited about this year. BALL WORDS! If you haven't seen them yet from Differentiated Kindergarten, you have to check it out! It was not fun to cut out, but I so think it will be worth it!

Only have the first set out right now (and the labels need to go on). As they master each list, I will put out another set of words. 

These are also for Ball Words:

Super cute, huh? Target dollar section. Can't beat it. :)

Our writing center looks like this:

It will be full this year of this set. So excited!

Isn't this header cute?

Here is our computer center:

It's nothing fancy, but it does the job. This is one of our options for Listening to Reading. I set it up on Tumblebooks, but they have a hard time staying logged in. We will work on that this year.

And these beauties came from IKEA as well. 

They are drying racks for clothes but work great for artwork, too. That is, of course, as long as the artwork isn't too drippy. This is one of my favorite things in my classroom. Why? Because fire code says things hung from the ceiling have to be secured with fishing line. My littles can't see it from way down there and are convinced Ms. Coe does magic and they're just levitating there. Isn't that precious?!?! Their idea, not mine, I swear. ;)

Well, that's the end of the tour. Thanks for sticking with me that long. Tomorrow, teachers go back to work in my district so I better fly off to bed.

Happy teaching!

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