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Austin, TX
Kindergarten Super-Teacher
Interests: I love being a Teacher! I also love reading mindless chick-lit, watching movies with happy endings, scrapbooking and other papercrafts, Diet Coke, and chocolate! (I am such a girl!)
Recent Activity
Like many of you, I am about to start teaching kindergarten--VIRTUALLY. And it's hard! How do I engage these little learners, many of whom have never been in school? How do I provide them with rigorous, inquiry-based, hands-on and FUN activities through a computer screen? How do I help them become independent learners? How do I make them love school? These are the questions I've been struggling with. I am determined to make this happen! So I have created these Kindergarten Distance-Learning Science Videos and Discussions. These lessons are designed for distance learning--whether you are completely virtual (synchronous or asynchronous), or using a hybrid model where children come to school on some days and learn from home on others. Each unit comes with 8 short, but highly engaging video mini-lessons (most are 3-5 minutes long). The videos start with a guiding question and end by prompting children to complete a simple but meaningful activity (either a science notebook entry or a hands-on investigation). The activities are meant to get kids off the computer and exploring science in the real world. The videos are followed up by teacher-led discussions to deepen your students' learning, help clear up any misconceptions and even... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2020 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
I made a little video about FLEXIBLE SEATING in my classroom! I actually filmed most of this two years ago, but did not edit it. Because I am a slacker. But better late than never, right? I have been doing flexible seating for two years now. At first, it was terrifying. Especially the first few weeks. There were little bodies everywhere in my classroom, and it just seemed chaotic. But it really WASN’T. When I looked around, kids were actually engaged and happy and learning! I was just used to them sitting up nice and straight in chairs at tables. But that was good for ME—not necessarily for THEM. And guess what—Year 2 was a BREEZE! It was second nature to me, so I did not even realize the “chaos”. Flexible seating is not about the furniture. You do not have to have expensive wobble stools or fancy exercise balls. It’s about letting kids choose where and how they work. And that means having lots of choices for them. I think it is important to have at least some tables and chairs where they can sit if they want to. Unfortunately, I have found that many of the things I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2018 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Here is a quick idea for helping your students take ownership of their writing Goals. It's a sheet of basic kindergarten goals that can be cut out and glued (one at a time) to a sheet kids keep in their writing folders and refer to every day. Here's how it works... I keep the masters (see below). I can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if I put kids in charge of cutting and gluing their own goals. I set the goals with the kids during a writing conference. We decide, together, what they need to work on to make their writing better. We cut out that goal and glue it down to the chart they keep in their folder. The kids generally only get one new goal at a time. I remind the kids every day when we begin Writing Workshop to check their writing goal. When I conference with kids, I ask them how they're doing on their goal. We look through their writing to see if they are consistently meeting that goal, or if they still need to work on it. If they have met it (for example, if their goal was to leave spaces between... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2017 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
@Jasmine Clair I think the buckets you are talking about are actually bright red, not maroon buckets. I do not have any maroon buckets. But you might try Really Good Stuff. They have a lot of different colors, and I think they might have an earth tones collection…
Do you Periscope? If not, you should! If you don't know, Periscope is an app that allows for live video streaming. It's a fantastic way to connect with people all over the world! So I am going to be brave and do my very first Periscope Broadcast on Wednesday, July 6 at 4:00 pm CST. It's going to be on one of my FAVORITE THINGS...Kindergarten Math Problem Solving! I will tell you what it is, how I do it, why I love it and will, of course, answer your questions. So if you haven't already, download the app to your phone or tablet and get ready for some fun. I hope to see you then! Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Here are a couple of slideshows that I use with my Physical Characteristics of Animals unit. They are super simple--meant to show kids the variety of animals in the world. I show these slideshows to the kids AFTER they have explored and come up with a list of characteristics on their own--kind of a wrap up. The slideshows are Google Presentations--you just have to click on the links to view. Enjoy! ANIMAL BODY COVERINGS Pictures of animals with fur, feathers, scales, shells and skin. ANIMAL RAINBOW Pictures of animals in all different colors. Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
I'm so excited! I have FINALLY finished my Kindergarten Math Problem Solving prompts for the whole year! I believe so strongly in teaching math through problem solving. I've been doing it for 8 years now, and I am amazed every day by the things my kids accomplish. Here's why I love Math Problem Solving: It’s inquiry-based. Instead of standing at the front of the room and teaching my kids how to do math---step by boring step—I pose a problem. The kids work together and use their own strategies to solve that problem. It allows students to make sense of math and to build upon what they already know. It’s student-centered. The students do the work. I only help them when they need help—and even then, I help “just enough”. It’s engaging. Kids love a challenge! And they learn best when they are challenged to do tasks that are just a little bit hard. It empowers students. It teaches them how to persevere when faced with difficult tasks and it builds their confidence when they succeed. It teaches kids how to work together and communicate their ideas. Kids learn much better from each other than they do from us. It’s fun!... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
I've always struggled with my Animals unit in Science. I pride myself in creating hands-on, engaging lessons--but it's kind of hard to make animals "hands-on." I mean I have a few feathers, a turtle shell and a snake-skin. But my unit was still just a lot of reading books and watching videos. This year, I decided to shake things up a little--by creating a Kindergarten Zoo! Whenever I plan a unit, I start by looking at the standards for that unit and planning my learning objectives. The standards for "Animals" in Texas are fairly simple: (A) sort animals into groups based on physical characteristics such as color, size, or body covering. (B) identify parts of animals such as head, eyes, and limbs. That's it! I don't have to teach about adaptations or habitats or food chains. I don't have to teach kids the difference between reptiles and amphibians. My job is simple. And rather than spinning my wheels trying to teach my kids material that is (possibly) developmentally inappropriate and (possibly) causing them to develop misconceptions, I make darn sure they develop a thorough and sound understanding of the concepts I am responsible for. And I make sure we have... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Hi Teacher Friends! I hope you're enjoying your summer! Today I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made it to make these cute Tooth Fairy Envelopes. If you teach kinder...or first...or probably deal with bloody little baby teeth all the time. I have found a nifty little way to make a big deal out of them without ever actually having to touch the tooth! I have the kid drop the tooth into a tissue. I fold the tissue up and shove it inside one of these little envelopes, close it with a little piece of washi (in case the parent wants to actually see the tooth) and DONE! To make them, simply print the label sheet available for free from my TPT store! Cut the labels out and glue them onto 3.125 x 3.125" square envelopes. I get mine at Hobby Lobby. They come in kraft brown and white. They are $4.99 for 25--BUT--they go on sale for 50% off ALL THE TIME. Do NOT pay full price! So that makes them $2.49, or about 10 cents a piece. I can afford that! As kinder teachers we have to deal with poopy pants, snotty noses, skinned knees and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
A video tour of a kindergarten classroom, including small group area, art center, math center, classroom library, calendar area and science center. Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Hello again! I know it's been a while since I've actually blogged, but I really have been doing some fun and exciting things in my classroom. One of the favorite things I've been doing is Interactive Science Word Walls. I LOVE them! But I can't take credit for them. They are the brainchild of Dr. Julie Jackson, an associate professor at Texas State University. I've been lucky enough to work with Dr. Jackson for the past couple of years (and also lucky enough to have her grandsons in my class!) So what are Interactive Science Word Walls? They are SO MUCH MORE than traditional word walls. Simply put--they are giant, colorful, engaging, hands-on, student-created graphic organizers! They help students develop a deep understanding of key science vocabulary. Here are a few pictures of some of the word walls my kids and I have created. Over the coming months, I will detail some of the lessons that go with these walls. But in the meantime, here are a few important tips: The word walls are not "front-loaded". In other words, I do not pre-make the word walls ahead of time and put them up at the beginning of my unit. They... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Hello Friends! Once again, I have completely neglected my poor little blog, but I've missed it and you so much! I have big plans to start blogging again, so stay tuned. But in the meantime, I'm excited to announce... I have been obsessed with Instagram for a while now, so I thought I'd start a Kindergarten Kindergarten account. I snap pictures literally all day long, so it will be so easy to share them. So hop on over to Instagram and follow me @kindergartenkindergarten. If you don't already have an account, you MUST sign up--it's super easy! And full of such wonderful stuff. I hope to see you there soon! Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2016 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Today I thought I would show you my desk area. It will never be this clean and organized enjoy! I spend more time at work during the school year than I do at home, so I need my space to be comfy and cozy with a few personal touches. Things that make me photos, quotes from Pinterest, and more of that silly garland that I made. Here's a close-up of my shelf with my favorite teacher books, office supplies, etc. Now imagine it with piles and piles of papers that I know I shouldn't throw away but don't really know what to do with either...that's reality! Here's one thing I could never live with out-- my Raskog cart from Ikea. It's my portable teacher desk. I wheel it to my teacher table when I work with small groups; I wheel it to the kids' tables when I conference; I wheel it to my easel when I'm teaching whole group. It has everything I need, so I don't have to waste time running around the room trying to find things. The top shelf has pens, pencils, stapler, date stamp, scissors, etc. The middle shelf has teaching and assessment aides--magnetic... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Happy Friday! I'm still working away in my room. I had a meeting all day long, so I didn't accomplish much. But I'm not freaking out...not at all! So as promised, here is the entryway to my room. The kids' cubbies are right inside the door. I covered the bulletin board in the same burlap that I used outside and added an owl that I made a few years ago. I'm going to put our class pledge up there so that it's the first thing people see when they come in the room. I will write the pledge with the kids on the first day of school. The little banner is for our gold stars. Our school hands out gold stars as a whole-class reward for walking quietly in the hall or doing a great job in the cafeteria, library, etc. (They come from other teachers and adults in the school--not me.) When we get 10, we get a treat, like lunch in the classroom or pajama day. Every time we get a star, I clip it to the banner. The numbers help the kids quickly see how many more stars we need to get our prize. Bonus--it really helps... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Hello! I'm back... I cannot believe it has almost been a full year since my last post. Last year was a crazy year for me, personally and professionally. Some good, some bad, mostly just super busy. But I never forget about my little blog. I'm always snapping pictures and jotting down ideas in the hopes of posting again. I've been setting up my room this week and decided it was time to stop planning and start doing. So I thought I would take a few pictures every day and show you what I've been up to. The first thing I did this year, before I even unpacked one box, was decorate the bulletin board outside my classroom. I'm going with a burlap and brown kraft paper theme this year. And yarn...I'm digging yarn right now. I don't know why. I'm weird like that. I covered the bulletin board with the burlap ($3.99/yard. Cheap. Even cheaper with a 40% off coupon!). I used a plain black border left over from previous years and crumpled up brown kraft paper strips for a "ruffled" look. I cut the K from a cardboard box and wrapped it in colored yarn. I cut the "frames"... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
It was CRAZY! Why do I always forget that they don't know how to do anything? We have to teach them how to line up, walk in the hall, hold a pencil, use scissors, sit on the carpet and listen to a story, wash their hands... I see the first graders walking through the hall, and I want to tell their teachers... "You're welcome!" I'm exhausted. But it will be worth it in the end. And they are pretty cute. So Today...Rinse and Repeat. But before I go, here are just a few pics from my first day... No David Puppets...a classic... Our First Day of School Self-Portarits... Lots of empty shelves...I don't put out anything until they've learned the expectations for using it... Poor kiddos don't even get books, yet... And they only have crayons and scissors in their buckets, because we had lessons on them... A couple of anchor charts I have ready for today... This is for the book Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen. I'm going to mark a tally everytime they interrupt or blurt out and we're going to see if we can get better as the week progresses... If I make it through the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2013 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
And so it begins once again... The smell of fresh wax. Freshly painted walls. All of my furniture stacked in the middle of the room. I don't think most civilians understand that we have to pack everything up at the end of each year only to unpack it a few months later. Doesn't it feel like we JUST did this? I do love having a fresh start, though. I mix things up just a little each year. So armed with the necessities... I've started in. I'm not even close to being done...but I thought I'd share a few sneak peeks. I never posted pictures of my new classroom last year, so this will be all new to you! Can you tell my favorite color is aqua blue? And lucky me--that's the color of my cabinets! So it was meant to be that I move to this school. As soon as I'm done, I'll post the finished pics...I promise! But for now...sleep. PS...I just saw this post (kind of) goes along with Blog Hoppin's Teacher week I linked up! Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2013 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Yee-Haw! The Texas Version of my Problem-Solving Prompts for the First Nine Weeks is finally uploaded to TPT. I wrote these prompts to align to the new TEKS. Although the new TEKS are not being officially implemented until 2014, I wanted to be pro-active. All of the prompts still work with the current TEKS. Kindergarten Problem Solving Prompts First Nine Weeks: Texas Version If you read the new TEKS closely, you'll see that the Mathematical process Standards are woven through every other strand! (As they are in the STAAR Test!) Here are the Mathematical Process Standards: (1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to: (A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace; (B) use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution; (C) select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems; (D) communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2013 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
So I start staff development this week. I don't know about you, but I LOVE every minute! I really, REALLY do! But it's going to be even better this year, because I made this BINGO game for my team and I to play. The rules are simple...when you hear one of the words, mark that spot. Whoever gets 5 in-a-row in any direction wins! Here are some tips for playing... DO listen closely and carefully to all of the presenters. They are telling you relevent and important information that I'm sure you've never heard before. don't want to miss any words. DON'T use an actual BINGO dobber. That might look a tad bit unprofessional. DO be inconspicuous. Hide the BINGO card under your data binder. When you hear a word on your card, nod your head in agreement and thoughtfully highlight that word as if it's very important for you to remember later. Your principal will be very impressed. DON'T bring a troll doll and rub it's belly for good luck. DO make a plan for the winner. Perhaps a cold Sonic drink (or adult beverage) later. DON'T, under any circumstances, jump up and scream BINGO!! while your principal... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2013 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
I finally finished my first Teachers Pay Teachers packet of Kindergarten Math Problem-Solving Prompts! Click Here! If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you know that I am just a little passionate about math problem-solving. OK, so I'm a big nerd! But since I started using a problem-solving model in my classroom several years ago, I have seen amazing growth in my students' math skills. Kindergartners can do so much more than I ever imagined! Problem-Solving is here to stay! If you follow the Common Core, the Mathematical Practices are all about Problem-Solving! 1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. 2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively. 3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. 4. Model with mathematics. 5. Use appropriate tools strategically. 6. Attend to precision. 7. Look for and make use of structure. 8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. And if you're in Texas, like me, the new TEKS stress the "process standards" and explicitly state that children will use a problem-solving model: Students will use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2013 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Hi Traci! Calendar concepts have been removed from the Math TEKS, although it can still be used as a "tool." The concept of yesterday, today, and tomorrow still appears in the social studies TEKS. I will still be doing a short calendar routine as part of our morning meeting. I think rituals like that are super important to building a strong classroom community. However, it is no longer considered part of math instruction--so I'll have to take those minutes from another part of my day.
Did you hear? We have new Math TEKS! (If you don't live in Texas...I'm sorry! And also, you might not know that we do not follow the Common Core. But come on...we threaten to secede every few years. Why would we follow the common core?) Anyhoo...there are BIG changes coming. The new TEKS do not oficially begin until the 2014-2015 school year. But many districts, including mine, started rolling them out last year. So are you ready for the big shockers? No more sorting by attributes. So that awesome sorting balls lesson I have? Gone! (Except you could do it in science). Kids will still sort geometric shapes by their attributes (but not by color, size, pattern, etc). No more patterns. No more red, yellow, blue, blue. Gone! No more fair shares. So no more excuses to eat graham crackers and Hershey Bars in class. (Although I can still probably find a reason). No more calendar. (Not in math, studies still has some). No more ordinal numbers. (Although my district is keeping this as a local TEK.) No more surface area or duration of time in measuring. So what are we going to be doing? Lots and lots of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2013 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
I just put another packet in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Click here to see it! You know those times (in the first days of school) when you have those super-engaging, hands-on science lessons planned and you get a few minutes into the lesson and a couple of your precious angels have decided to use their science tools for some less than rigorous scientific exploration? Like maybe using the dropper to squirt water up their friends' noses? (True story.) The activities in this mini-unit are fun enough to engage kids but simple enough to allow you to teach specific expectations for using those science tools. (Like, I don't know, maybe DO NOT put the dropper in your nose). There are 6 activities, complete with recording sheets, including: How Many Drops of Water Fit on a Penny (dropper) How Many Scoops Fit in Your Cup? (measuring cups) Using a Hand Lens to Match Tiny and Big Pictures Using a Balance to Compare Weights Making Kool-Aid "Fizz" Science Tool or Toy Sort So head on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to check it out! I also made this freebie for you... Download Science Tools Card Sort Have fun with your... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2013 at Kindergarten Kindergarten
Thanks for the tip, Olga. I tried to upload ot as a presentation for people that don't have PowerPoint, but clearly that was an epic fail. I will try to fix it tomorrow!
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2013 on Subitze at Kindergarten Kindergarten