Happy Holidays!

We decorated cookies at our holiday party, of course. :)

It's a tradition to watch, "Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer," with my kinders. I am NOT a big fan of watching movies. Ever (even at home). But I left the subtitles on, so the kids could read also, while watching the movie!

I bought board games for the class for centers.

We made "Reindeer Food".

Ingredients: oatmeal and sugar sprinkles.

Then, the kinders have been making handprint calendars for the last month as a gift to their families. Silly me, I forgot to take a picture of December with Santa. Above, is the back of the calendar. The pictures are backwards. Here is the site where I got the poems from, then I copied them into Word...

I typed every student's birthday and special school events.

The front!

We wrapped them in (new) trash bags. A few student helpers actually did it for me while I tied the bows with curling ribbon.

To/From gift tags.

We also had a Rabbi come in to teach the children about Hanukkah.
They loved playing with the dreidels!

Lastly, as a center, I had the children write in "snow" (sugar) as a center on cookie sheets. One week, we used flashcards to copy the print. The next week, we sounded out winter words and wrote them in the snow.


I have been super busy, but wanted to show you, briefly, what we have been up to.
As always, we decorated cookies at our Halloween party.

We ate orange food.

And did some Halloween crafts, like bat magnets.
My kiddos have been writing up a storm, about everything!
Art instructions for pumpkin bags during centers.
I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but you can see one here.

October Center

We are decorating small pumpkins as an independent center. I wrote their names on the pumpkins earlier so they can find their pumpkin. Also I will know who is missing one, especially if someone was absent.

Our shape of the week is triangle so the kids cut out two and I pre-cut the mouths with a circle punch.

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Environmental Print Bulletin Board

The kids glued on signs and logos they can read for homework last week!

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Letter Recognition

I was recently asked, "What do you do to improve letter recognition?"

For letter recognition, I...
host Alphabet Bingo!
go to the dollar store and buy flashcards for my struggling kids and send them home to use with a note.
use cookie sheets and sugar to have them write specific letters in the "snow" (great sensory activity).
(we) sing and dance to Dr. Jean's "Alphardy".
(we) say the ABC chant every day.
use a LeapFrog DVD, "The Letter Factory".
use whiteboards and play, "Simon Says." Simon says write a G.
line my kids up by first letters of their name. "If your name starts with A line up."

That's all I can remember for now... The red activities are links to blog posts and more details.

What do YOU do to improve letter recognition? Leave a comment!


Play-Doh Letters

About twice a week, I hand out small pre-made balls of Play-Doh, so the children can make our letters, shapes, and numbers of the week.
This also prepares them for Play-Doh center. They learn how to clean up the Play-Doh, stay on task, and keep it off of the floor!


Who does this?!

Who thought it would be a good idea to give you less border in a package than a standard bulletin board amount?! :(

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Entry Tasks = Buying Some Time

Our morning routine entails "moving the children's names"and sitting down to an Entry Task. (Sigh.) I love Entry Tasks because the kids are doing something productive while I collect notes and complete lunch count.
Over the summer, I created 180 Entry Tasks in a single Word document. Each Entry Task is a half sheet of paper with a REVIEW topic. Today the kids were asked to draw their shoes (since it's only Day 6). As they come in the Entry Task is always at their seats and they are trained on what to do.
Entry Task topics I created were drawing shapes, forming letters, name practice, writing words, drawing pictures, and writing environmental print found in the room.

Centers Details

As I begin to incorporate structured centers, I thought I'd share what works best for me...

For the first two weeks of centers, I do not try to pull kids for a small group since I'm constantly getting up to assist the kiddies. I circulate the room until my feet hurt. When I finally assign centers groups by ability level, I send home a note to the parents listing their child's group, so the parents can help them remember the group name.

I have six groups of 4-5 children in each group. They are the: Yellow Suns, Red Apples, Orange Fish, Blue Cars, Green Turtles, and Purple Stars. Since moving to full-day K, I have two 40 minutes centers sessions, one are Math Centers and one are Reading Centers. During the 40 minutes, I do two centers stations for each group, so the kids visit a total of 4 centers a day.

practice finding their centers, walking to their center quietly, completing the center, and then CLEANING UP the center the way they found it. I include pictures of what the centers look like neatly organized for my visual learners.

My Math Centers include: blocks center, board games center, computer center, small group with me ("Mrs. Payne's Round Table"), whiteboards, seatwork, puzzles, manipulatives, etc.

My Reading Centers are: reading group, computers, listening center, LeapPads, whiteboards, file games, mailbox center, friend center (where they match each classmate's picture to their written name), write the room center (writing environmental print), journals, teacher center with the overhead, alphabet puzzles, art center, etc.

Here's a link to a previous year's half-day centers.