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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reading Street Kindergarten "Plaidypus Lost" Week

Happy Sunday, all!  As I'm thinking ahead to this week's theme, I'm also thinking about last week's theme, one of my favorites - Plaidypus Lost.  It's about a little girl, whose grandma sews her a "plaidypus" out of her grandpa's plaid shirt.  Throughout the course of the book, she loses the plaidypus, and then finds it.  It's a great book for teaching about what a poem is, and there is a lot of repetition.  Your kids will be reciting the whole book by the end of the week!
Let me show you what I did in my centers for this week!

(I took in Aidan's special quilt from his grandma, that has squares from his daddy's shirt.)

1. Literacy Center:
I found this free Literacy Center worksheet at  It's simple, which is great, because then the kids can do it on their own, but it reinforces the letters we're working on.

I made a word family game, using paint chips.  I wrote the ending on a white rectangle with a window, and the beginning letter on the paint chip, with the idea that they can slide it up or down to read CVC words.  I drew a colored dot in the corner of the white rectangle, to add one more element of matching the colors.  The kids really enjoyed it!

Our reading curriculum also comes with these great sequencing cards for each story.  The kids had fun putting them together!

2. Math Center
This week we are learning about patterns, which works out perfectly for the idea of "plaid".  I found two different "plaidypus" cliparts, which I printed out, and made a pattern chart for.  I differentiated it for on-level students, and below-level students.  For on level, the instructions just say "make an AB pattern".  For the below-level students, each box says "A" or "B", to help them out a little.

I also found a good adding worksheet that was platypus themed.  My kids haven't learned adding yet, so I wrote in 1+1, 2+1, 3+1, etc.  I also gave them manipulatives to help them.  This was my above-level activity.

3. Science center
I love when the theme leaves room for science, which is actually pretty regularly.  This week I had a platypus coloring sheet here, that showed their natural habitat.

4. Listening Center/Media
As I explained last week, I combined all the audio for the week into a playlist, which the kids then listen to.  We also watched the Octonauts episode that featured platypus.  It's on Netflix, or you can find it on Youtube.

5. Craft.  So, this wasn't a center, but we made a pretty cute craft this week.  I drew the outline of the Plaidypus, which the kids cut out.  Then, I gave them each a few squares of scrapbook paper with different patterns on them (tying back into the math unit).  They glued them on, cut back down around them, glued on button eyes and a beak, and voila!

We had a really fun week, and hopefully the kiddos learned something along the way!

See you next week, for Miss Kindergarten Takes a Field Trip!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Reading Street Kindergarten "We Are So Proud" Week

For the second week of school, our unit was called "We Are So Proud".  The book of the same title is about a class working together to create a float for a patriotic parade.  The Amazing Words are: proud, cooperation, float, guide, preparation and creation.  This unit just happened to fall on the week after Labor Day, and this year Remembrance Day (9/11) fell on the same week too.  While I did not discuss Remembrance Day with my kindergarteners, I decided to take the opportunity to do a patriotic-themed week!  Let me share with you a few of the things we did.

1. I found this great free math game on  It's a cube game, with a few variations.  Since my kids haven't learned graphing yet, we did it together first, with each student taking a turn to roll the "dice", call it out, and color it in together.  Once they mastered the concept, I felt comfortable putting it in the center.

Tip: To make the cube, I color-printed it, and cut it out.  I wanted it to last (we all know how rough kids can be on anything made out of paper), but I also knew laminating would be too strong.  So, I covered the paper in packing tape, and then used the tape also to seal the edges.  It worked out very well!

2. For the Library, I always have a box labeled "Topic Books".  I update and change that box weekly, and put books that have to do with our unit in there.  When we have centers, the kids are supposed to read the books from that box.  Here are a few of the books from this week.

I read the Keeping Quilt aloud to them.  It's one of my all-time favorite books.  I told them at the beginning that our Amazing Words weren't in the book, but the idea of many of them were in it. So we talked about how the ladies used "cooperation" to make a new "creation" out the things they already had.  We also talked about how they were "proud" of their heritage, but also of their new home.  (Also, one of the illustrations has the Statue of Liberty, which was one of the pictures in our cube game - so there! :))

3. At the beginning of the year, I uploaded all the audio for the reading curriculum (read-alouds, songs, etc.) into iTunes, and then onto an old iPod I have.  I sorted it all by unit and then by week.  During centers, I just play the file for the week in my listening center.  It has been a HUGE success, and my kiddos always feel like they're getting away with something when they're in the listening center.

4. I found a couple free worksheets about Labor Day (what do you want to be when you grow up), and our flag which worked well for morning work or center work.  One in particular was a flag coloring page, which I modified into a letter recognition coloring game.  I wrote the key in the bottom (what color to use for which letter), and then wrote the letters in the coloring page.  This was a great reinforcement for some of my weaker students!


5. One of my student's dad is an engineer in the Navy.  So on Friday, I asked him to visit the class.  The kids had a wonderful time!  It was great!  He talked about how he has to cooperate with his fellow sailors, how it's important to prepare for what he has to do each day (using our Amazing Words), he asked each student what they wanted to be when they grow up, we got to thank him for his service, and talk about how proud we are of the men and women in our armed forces.  If there's anyway you could do something like this in your classroom, I highly recommend it!  It was a wonderful experience for the kids, and really brought home the concepts we were learning about this week!

We all had great fun in Mrs. Blair's Kindergarten Class this week!  Hope you enjoyed some of the little tid-bits from our "We Are So Proud" week.  Join us next time for "Plaidypus Lost"!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Reading Street The Little School Bus Kindergarten Sequencing

I really love the Pearson Scott Foresman reading curriculum!
It's very extensive, and has everything a person could ask for, as far as literacy goes.
I do really like having math center activities that match, so I made a couple things, and thought I'd share them with you.

The Amazing Words for the week are first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth.  Perfect for learning sequencing!
I made 3 different activities.

1. Little School Bus Sequencing Practice
In our story for the week, the little school bus picks up their passengers, while practicing our amazing words.  I found a cute clipart of a school bus, and one of some kids, added the amazing words, laminated the pieces, glued the little people to clothes pins... and ta-da.

It was a great hit, and best of all, does not take a lot of instruction, and the kids can do it on their own.

2. One of the complementary books I like to read for this week is 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle.  To go along with the book, I made a rubber duck sequencing game.  I bought little rubber ducks at the party store.  Cut the back of a thin plastic folder to look like a pond, cut circles out of labels, and wrote the ordinal number on them.  Then, I wrote 1st-10th on rubber duckies, and the game was done!


3. I also found this free story sequencing worksheet at  It was a great large group activity, as well as some student-led teaching, when the students went over the story sequence with their friends, and helped them out.

This was a really fun week, and a good introduction for the students to our reading curriculum!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Book Love Affair Continues

So, it's about time for my yearly outburst of love for books.
Two year ago, I showed you all some of my favorite books from when I was growing up in A Life-Long Love Affair With Children's Books.  Last year I let you in on our new family tradition in A Book A Day....
This year I want to introduce you to some of my NEW favorite children's books.  As a kindergarten teacher, of course I read more children's books than your average 25 year-old.  But I really do think I would read them, regardless. :)  So, sit back, relax, and check out these adorable titles!

1. What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada

This inspiring book is about a boy who has an idea.  At first he's not sure what to do with it; he's worried people will make fun of it; he ignores it.  But then, he decides to care for it, and it grows and grows, eventually bursting, and becoming even more than he could've imagined.  This is a wonderful book to encourage imagination and dreams - especially if you have a particularly artistic child.  You can find it here.

2. The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

This book is HILARIOUS!  It's about a bunch of crayons who write their boys letters about why they are or aren't happy.  Your child will get a huge kick out of the crayons' attitude.  "Blue" is being used too much.  "Yellow" and "Orange" are arguing over who is the true color of the sun, and "Beige" is tired of being called "light brown".  It's a great book for teaching perspective, and a good laugh!  You can find it here.

3. The Boy and the Ocean by Max Lucado

I love Max Lucado.  I have a hard time reading any of his books without getting choked up.  Aidan was given this book as a baby gift.  I love this book for many different reasons.  The illustrations are breath-taking, and the refrain about God's love is very moving.  I also like it for personal reasons - the little blonde boy looks like Aidan, and we all love the ocean.  If you want to affirm God's love for them, accompanied by stunning images, this is the book for you!  You can find it here.

4. S is for Sea Glass by Richard Michelson

I found this book at my favorite little book shop at the beach.  It's a beach themed alphabet book, but instead of just saying "S is for Sea Glass" or "N is for Nautilus", there is a poem for each one.  And not little kid poems - haikus, free verses and odes!  It will make you feel like you're a way superior parent (I mean, you're reading your toddler a haiku), and the illustrations really make you feel like you're at the beach.  You can find it here.

5. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems

Really, you can't go wrong with any of the "Pigeon" books!  I use these books in my lessons all the time!  The general idea in each book, is that the pigeon is upset about something random and off-the-wall (like he wants to drive a bus, or wants a puppy), has a meltdown, and then brings it back down at the end.  It's very helpful for teaching anger- or frustration-management.  It's also fun, because it teaches speech bubbles.  You can find it here.

 6. God's Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This is a beautiful book about how it's God's dream that we all love and respect each other.  With the climate of our world today, I feel like this is a great book to read to your child or class.  It shows children from all across the world, all walks of life, and religions.  It shows that we should have love and respect for one another, and kindness.  You can find it here.

I hope you check these books out, and that they soon become your favorites too!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Kissing Hand Kindergarten Welcome Week

Welcome back to school!
Going back to school, especially for kindergarten-age children can be very scary, and can cause separation anxiety.  That's why I like to spend the first week of school on the Kissing Hand books, and talking about emotions.
In case you aren't familiar with the book, it's about a young raccoon who is anxious about going to school, until his mother shows him a secret.  She opens his hand, gives him a kiss in his palm, and tells him, that whenever he's missing her, he can press it against his cheek, and he'll know that, "Mama loves you, mama loves you!"
It's the perfect way to introduce a child to a new, and seemingly scary situation.
We read the story, and then I asked each child how they felt today.  Then, I had each of them draw a picture of how they felt, and helped them place it on a chart.

Their very first graph!

There are a couple other books in the series, none of them quite as good as the first, but still worth a read.

I found this great, FREE packet on teacherspayteachers.  It has a couple math center activities, a few literacy center activities (upper/lower case matching, missing letter, letter sound bingo, etc.) - any of which can be modified for small group or large group activities.  Yay!

I printed out the flashcards in color and laminated them for my center, and also printed them out in black and white to send home for at-home reinforcement.

It was wonderful to see the kids working together as a team, and having fun while learning.

Although it may seem simple, one of the best items in this packet is a "Color Book".  Each page has a picture of Chester (the raccoon), and the name of a color below it.  The kids then have to color the raccoon the correct color.  This is wonderful for teaching them to follow directions!  It's simple, but they have to be listening, and paying attention.


On the first day, we also made the parents a little something.  I printed out this cute poem I found:

I traced each of their hands on brown paper, had them cut it out, and then had them glue a heart in the middle of it.  It turned out very cute!

Finally, on the end of the last day, I also gave each child a Hershey kiss to take home.  In retrospect, I should've just let them eat it in class, as we live in Florida, and chocolate melts.  But regardless, it was a hit!

Yay for back-to-school!