Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almost Friday & iPod Love

What. A. Week.
For being a 4 day work week, it sure is long! Yesterday, was our Buddy Day! We had all the incoming kindergarteners come and meet our current kindergarteners, take a tour of the campus & classroom from our kindergarten tour guides. My kiddos were beyond excited about finally being a "big buddy." It was so cute, so fun and SO exhausting! Our sunny California is really letting us have it with it's 90 degree weather! Today, I began taking apart my classroom but not before snapping a few more pictures to share with all of you. Look at my Classroom Pictures page to see. Tomorrow, report cards, yay! It's all good though because next week is my birthday AND the last week of school, both of which bring me anxiety and major excitement.

I want to share some more things that I use my iPod for...

1. Keeping time...
I cannot tell you how easily I lose track of time, especially when I'm tackled by kindergarteners all day. I use an app called KiddieCountdownTimer during my centers, my free choice time, everything! I put it under my ELMO and now everyone can see how much time we have left. What I especially like about it is that it gives you a warning sound (or not, if you don't want that). I use the warning a the cue to clean up and when time is up, we are ready to switch or move on. The kids do a great job of looking up and saying, "2 more minutes!" It is really cool when they are all sitting, ready to switch counting down with the timer. Awww, I'm really going to miss this class!
 2. Playing Music
C'mon I teach Kindergarten! You know this bad boy is full of Dr.Jean, Charlotte Diamond, HeidiSongs & more. I use it to play songs during transitions, for a much needed wiggle break and as a clean up song. Just look at my iTunes! Now that I'm looking at it, I need more songs!
3. Daily 5 Listening Center
The snapshot above is a view of the stories I have for listening center. I made sure to upload all of the covers of each story that way the kids can find the story themselves. I'm all about giving them as much independence as I can. Of course, we talked explicitly about rules, safety and all that jazz before putting our grubby little hands on them. I have all of my songs & stories organized so that I can find them all as quickly as I can. I know that I've stumbled many times trying to find a song and trying to keep those kindergarteners from bouncing off the walls! Man I hate rainy days! (flashbacks, sorry)
Sometimes, I sit in meetings and "look for resources" for my students. Hey, it's hard to sit through meetings that do not pertain to kindergarten at all! Looking at blogs is considered research, right? (wink, wink)

Happy Almost Friday!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I love my iPods!

Are you a lucky teacher who gets to use iPods or iPads in your classroom? I am! I wrote a grant last year to get these babies and I actually won! I never win anything! There were over 500 applicants and I was awarded with 8 iPods to use in my classroom. I LOOOOVE them. I use them for so many different things but I will share all of their uses over time... right now I have to focus!
The first way (and the easiest for me) I have used them was as a small group activity. We all have the "morning meeting" or morning routine that gets build into our daily schedules, right? I use this time as an opportunity for the kids to play some games and learn! I started the "App Store" as soon as I felt they had the morning routine down.

First, I created this schedule...
Each iPod is numbered and each student has a different day to play. You can see that William plays on iPod number 1 on Mondays and so on.

Next, I downloaded some games. I work in an inclusive classroom so I have students with varying abilities. I make sure to get games that will benefit all students and specific students. I explain to students that they get to play 1 or 2 different games that will be fun and work best for them to learn. That's when this comes in...
I have lots of different games that will work and meet each students' needs. I chose 2 games for them and they get to choose to play 1 or both of the games with the time that they have, which is generally 15-20 minutes.
Then, I place their choices on the chart next to their name. I have to do this each day but it takes just 2 minutes and makes all the difference!
Now you can see that William plays on Mondays and he has his 2 choices next to his name & number.

This is a part of our morning meeting each day and practically runs itself. My only job is to change the games each day to meet the students' needs and make sure the iPods are charged (my goodness, this a disaster when they lose battery!).

Here is a list of my favorite apps to use. If you have some that you use and love, PLEASE let me know, I am always looking for more.

What to do for next time?
I am going to delete the games that I don't want to students playing quite yet. Too many pages of apps is very confusing! If you delete an app from the iPod/iPad you can always download it again through the AppStore, just don't delete it from your iTunes... then you're in trouble!

What to do for inclusion?
This lends itself nicely for all students. I make sure that there are an equal amount of games for all students to use and since they each have their own in such a small group, each has a different game to play based on their skills and needs. All students loooooooooooooooooooove to use the technology, no matter what it is.

Don't have iPods? I imagine something like this working with computers as well. My favorite sites are and Check out my Computer Groups Post to see how my computer groups are organized. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gotta have it!

Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten is hosting a Linky Party...actually it has been going strong for quite some time but I just stumbled upon it during this morning's blog stalking session so here I go, my first! (eeek!)

To play along just copy the picture below (right click) and paste into Word or PowerPoint then add a text box over the picture to write your response.Save it as a picture and upload it to your blog. Then go to Kristin's blog here with the link and add it!

Don't have a blog? Leave a comment with your 5 "Gotta have its"


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Toy!

Look at what I snagged at the local Costco... A PAPER CUTTER! Not just any paper cutter a FABULOUS paper cutter! Look at what it can do...

The box

What comes in the box

Some of the different lines it can cut

Straight cut

I couldn't help myself! I found scrap paper and started cutting

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gearing up for next year!

I cannot wait for another 2 weeks! In 2 weeks, I can begin to pack up my classroom and continue my checklist of all the things that need re-vamping before next year.
One thing? My money posters, I posted them just last night and 100 people have downloaded them already! Get yours too!
 There are also poems to go with them...

I have many more things to share over the summer... stay tuned! I have the longest but shortest summer ever! That makes sense in my head!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Computer Groups? NO PROBLEM!

I recently got 3 desktop computers in my classroom. And while they are a little old and dusty, they are new to me and my students and we are having so much fun with them! Once I found out I was getting the computers, I got straight to work trying to figure out how was going to incorporate daily use in my already well oiled machine of a day. hmmm...
I came up with this! I separated my daily center groups into T/Th and W/F subgroups. This way everyone gets 2 opportunities a week to play on iStation (a computer based reading program that my school just got). After I separated the subgroups, I typed them up on Powerpoint, made them cute, and saved it as a JPEG. Now I have a computer desktop background and the students know which computer to use and when! No wall spaces to take up, no paper to be printed on. The kiddos added this to the machine and VOILA! A new routine was born.

What to do for next time?
Nothing I can think of yet... I'm sure there might be something...

What to do for inclusion?
Students with special needs (actually, most students) are most successful when clear expectations & routines are set. All students know when and where computer time will be, all students are able to use them and computer games are easy-peesy to differentiate.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daily 5- Part tres

Phew! It has been one of those days!
I think maybe my kiddos are sensing that the end is near so all of the wonderful rules & routines are slowly being put to the back of their minds and summer is right in front! Or maybe that is just me? Whatever the case, I woke up late, I forgot to prep the materials for the day, the kids were extra talkative and I was excited to post some classroom pictures today BUT I left the camera cord sitting on my desk. UGH!
Anyway, I wanted to be sure to add something else today SO I'm handing over my Daily 5 check in sheet. I figured out quickly that I needed a way to track what the kiddos are choosing each day and I can't hold kindergarteners responsible for keeping track (or can I?) so out came the check in sheet. Take it if you need it!
I have to say, the Daily 5 has been very exciting for me and my students, I'm trying to get everyone I know on board with doing it in their classrooms.
Do you do Daily 5? Pros? Cons? I'm intrigued to see how others are incorporating it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily 5- Part 2

My kiddos are really excited and motivated by the Daily 5. All students with all needs are enjoying this part of the day and it gives me ample opportunity to work with students and their goals. One student is reading Charlotte's Web and another is reading Bob Books; does it matter? Goodness, no! (Thanks Pete the cat) One of the ways I got my students to be involved and hold themselves accountable is by creating their I Chart with them on my computer. I have never heard the classroom so quiet than when I am typing a student's response. I created the posters on Powerpoint first then just filled them in with their answers. My original idea was to add in some clip art as they were giving me their answers but the time got the best of me. Still, the kids were very excited to see their name typed and projected. Our conversation went something like...
"What should the kids be doing during Read to Self time?"
"They should be quiet."
"Ooooo, great idea! Let me type that on our I Chart. She said 'We should be quiet.' Wait, who said that answer? Oh, Natalie, let me write her name next to her idea so we don't forget."
After the first response, EVERY hand went up in the classroom to offer an idea about what students and teachers should be doing. Make a connection? check! Make it meaningful? check! Repeat & practice? check! Now all I have to say is, "What was Natalie's idea about Read to Self time?" "We should be quiet," says the class.

What would I change for next time? 
* I would definitely try to incorporate some clip art for my kindergarteners. Probably clip art that can be consistent among all the I Charts like a finger over lips, a child sitting, a person working next to a timer, you know all those cute things! 

What to do for inclusion?
Dependent on the student and their needs,
* Make a separate chart ahead of time with clip art and pictures to outline the expectations for the student(s).
* Have children choose the names of those to be called on. This way, all students are participating in the chart making process. 

Make your I Charts or anchor charts with your students using a laptop and projector! Integrate technology and create a chart!
If you would like the template for the posters, just leave a comment & I will be happy to email you one.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Daily 5- Part 1

Hello All!
I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what the best first post would be but there are so many ideas that I can't choose one! Can you tell I'm excited to join the blogging world? I decided on... DAILY 5. I have just started the Daily 5 with my kinder kiddos a mere 3 weeks ago. I started it at this time because I wasn't sure if my kindergarten team and I would be using it for next year so I used my current kiddos as guinea pigs. I AM THRILLED! I love it, my kids love it, the parents love it, who could ask for more? I didn't follow the book's recommendations on how to begin the process because I had 1 week open to teach my kids how to do it before beginning so we just jumped right in.
I started by organizing their choices board...
Students make their Daily 5 choices by moving the magnet under their name.
We only have time for 2 rotations. We are all doing Read to Self first then moving to their own choice for the 2nd rotation. When we build our Read to Self stamina to 15 minutes... we get to choose white and yellow! Oh so exciting!
I Charts & Choices board
 Here are some action shots...

Stay tuned... I am going to try to figure out how to upload my posters and magnets to make them available to anyone who wants them. Let's see if this works...

Building our Stamina Poster      Daily 5 Magnets & Images (Clip art from

I was thinking about what I could use my blog for and how it can help and I think I have figured it out. I work at a fabulous school whose philosophy revolves around full inclusion. This means all students of all abilities are in a classroom working and learning together. Students that have special needs, students who are gifted and students who are typically developing are working together to make our school as amazing as it is. Sooooo.... I am going to try to add tidbits of advice and reflection to my blog I go!

What would I change for next time?
*I am going to change my building our stamina tracker to a clock with just the minute hand. I have a feeling that will help the kiddos with time.
*I will make sure that the iPods have all of the books that I need on them BEFORE I give the iPod to the students! Avoid that headache! 

What to do for inclusion?
*With Daily 5 all of the students have their own book boxes with leveled readers in them. Pairing students for read to someone will ensure that everyone is participating at their ability level.

What did you think of my first post? Long right? Any thoughts or questions?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hello World!

Hello World! I am starting my blogging adventure... at the end of the school year! Why? Because I'm crazy and excited to share my adventures. I have spent the past 3 months blog stalking thanks to my wonderful student teacher and my addiction to Pinterest because of her. I'm going to start my blog with a TON of pictures so stay with me.