Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Centers

    Ok... so I haven't been as great at keeping my posts up to date as I had originally planned. Oops. I'm blaming it on the lack of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I never feel like I have enough class time to fit everything in before the break. That being said... I'm already gearing up my Christmas centers and I thought I would let you take a look at what my kinders have been up to this week!

Listening Center

Big Books Center (with jumbo Christmas pencils as pointers)

       And now for my math stations.... I'm really focusing on math right now because I always feel like my babies are behind in this area. I think most of my frustration comes from being stuck with the Abeka curriculum while my students are being assessed with the common core standards.  When I need to be teaching subtraction my curriculum has me teaching time to the half hour, numbers to 100, etc. Bridging the gap is especially difficult since I only get a couple hundred copies a year. These usually go toward the required weekly homework assignment sheets and behavior reports, not leaving much room, if any, for copies that incorporate the common core practice my babies need.
Right now, I have created a few centers to help my students master these standards: CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.4 For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record the answer with a drawing or equation.
CCSS.Math.Content.K.NBT.A.1 Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (such as 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.

These centers have been a hit and are definitely good for mastery! Click the titles for a link to the product on TPT!

How Many More to Make Ten? (I've actually revamped this one with some clipart on tpt!)

Well, thats all I've got for you so far, but here is a sneak peek at my SW as in Sweater mini-unit! No, I haven't seen anything cuter! ;)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


    Check out this assessment freebie in my TPT store! I use it to assess my kinders at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year! :) Hopefully you will find it just as helpful!

     As time allows, I call individual students to my desk and assess them on one of the skills in this pack. I highlight all that the student knows and make it as positive as possible. (The students are really excited to see how much more they know now that we are half way into the school year!) When I am finished assessing each skill,  I make a copy for the parents and sometimes attach ideas for hands on practice or practice pages. I sent several home just before Thanksgiving break and plan on sending some more home before Christmas break. Just click here to get this 2 page assessment freebie! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Greater Things

   Its 2:00 in the afternoon and I'm starting Social Studies. I'm tired, my babies are tired, if you teach K you already know what I mean. We're listening to a "Social Studies mix tape" and sitting in a rectangle around the mat when "God of This City" by Chris Tomlin comes on, a song we've never listened to before. Suddenly no one is pushing, no one is arguing, no one is being silly, no one is too tired to participate. My students all throw their arms around one another and sway back and forth. I can't hear the music anymore, just their voices joyfully proclaiming, "there is no one like our God." I wish I could show you what that looks like, I wish you could be there to feel that, the Holy Spirit moving in a room full of five year olds. This is why I teach. This is why I do what I do. To fully understand you have to recognize that I don't teach at your typical private school. These students parents aren't paying their  full tuition. My babies are predominately African refugees and all of them are living in a low income area of Memphis. Several of my students are from Muslim families. Guess who sings the loudest? When the song is over one of my girls says, "I like that song, but its sad." Richard corrects her, "Its not sad, its about God being King because he created everything."
   This morning we are going around the room saying one thing that we are thankful for. "My teacher," "my mom," "my friends," until we get to Lewis who says, "I'm thankful that Jesus died on the cross and paid for my sins," then Johnell, "I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit," then Akuel, "I'm thankful for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." It's things like this that fill me with hope for the future. It has nothing to do with who is elected or what bill passes. Today I am thankful that God has given me sixteen reasons for hope, sixteen reasons to believe that greater things are still to be done in this city.

Read more about my school at 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pterodactyls aren't dinosaurs... who knew?

     I learn knew things everyday in K, but thanks to a traveling suite case from the Pink Palace Museum, my knowledge of dinos has expanded vastly. When I reserved the suitcase this summer I had no idea what I was getting myself into... a 2 ton suit case filled with more dino stuff than I could ever handle... including REAL fossils. I couldn't carry it up my apartment stairs so the weekend I got it, I sat in the trunk of my car going through the awesome materials. If you teach around Memphis it is definitely worth it to reserve one of these suite cases... and the best part is... its totally FREE! I combined the suite case with some of the ideas from Deanna Jump's and Babbling Abby's dino units and my little ones had a blast!

Here is a glimpse at what we did....

      I started off with this awesome idea from Deanna Jump. I created a paper mache egg and then had the students make inferences regarding what the egg contained. The kids got really into this. My favorite inference of all is a tie between caterpillar and walrus. The day before the egg hatched Jordan was just convinced that it was going to be a baby walrus! When the egg finally hatched I decorated our entire classroom with items provided by the Pink Palace Museum and a few odds and ends that I had myself. 

      I do both work stations and "play" centers in my classroom. For this unit all of my play centers had a dino theme. My regular blocks center became a dinosaur puzzle center...

    Home living was converted to an area for toy dinos and a few dino books...

 Dino rubbing plates were placed in the art center...

       Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of my other centers :( Students played a dinosaur bingo game to practice shapes and colors in games center, listened to How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? in listening center, explored dinosaur themed fiction and nonfiction books in reading center, and watched Dino Dan shows in computer center. 


     The suite case I received included models of over 50 kinds of prehistoric animals, with fact cards for each. Each day we learned facts about a different dinosaur and we also learned how to distinguish a dinosaur from another prehistoric animals.  Later, students participated in sorting activity, seperating dinos and nondinos.  NEWS FLASH... dinosaurs DO NOT fly or swim! I had no idea! We wrapped our unit up with the adorable marshmallow bar idea from Babbling Abby. I had a parent donate the marshmallows... Did you know they even make Marshmallow confetti!?!?! The confetti worked really well for this project, so I definitely recommend buying some if you plan to do this activity in your classroom! 


Welcome Aboard!

      Deanna Jump has been my inspiration for the past few years. As embarassing as it is to admit, I actually started drinking Sonic Coke because I convinced myself that there was something in it that would make me a better teacher! LOL... Now that I'm a bit more established as a teacher, and unfortunately I can't thank Sonic Coke for that, I decided it was about time for me to start my own blog. I absolutely adore classroom pictures so I figured I would start by showing my before and after pics! 

Here is my classroom on my first day at TNS....

And here is my classroom before my very first day of school at TNS... 

Thanks to Anne Whitney and Seaborn for this awesome pirate hat and tons of other toys they donated to my class. Did you see those yucky ones earlier?!?!? EWWWW... Thanks to these kids, my babies had CLEAN toys on the first day of school! 

Huge thanks to my amazing big sister, brother in law, and nephew who drove all the way from Knoxville to make this happen! Could have never done it without them! What could you do in life without a big sister?