Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ready or Not, Here They Come!

I'm ready, I promise!
At least I better starts tomorrow!
After meeting many of my adorable new students at a really wonderful "Meet the Teacher" on Friday, it was time to get ready for the first day.  Setting up my room was tougher than usual this year, since I moved from a much larger classroom where I taught Transitional Kindergarten last year.  It was an adjustment, but I was able to fit all the spaces in that I wanted in a functional way.  Here are some snapshots of my room:

The front door, student computers, and literacy center rotation charts

The Writing and Art Center.  ALSO where parents will be picking up nametags on the first day of school :).

Our rug and calendar area

 Teeny, tiny classroom library.  Because the space is so small, I will be rotating the books frequently.

Student work area

My excited to be reunited with a document camera!  I don't know how I lived without one last year.

The Home Center and Birthday Board

This is outside our front door.  The red duck tape is to help train the kiddos to stand in a line.  

And of course, the magic play dough is ready to go...with some help from the husband!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oriental Trading Finds and Essentials!

I just received my first order of the school year from Oriental Trading Company.  Oriental Trading is usually my automatic "go to" for fun teaching necessities.  Here are some of my purchases and how I plan on incorporating them into my kindergarten classroom.

1.  Star Dry Erase Clings (set of 3)
My plan is to put these up in highly visible locations in my classroom with the sight word(s) of the week written on each one.  One spot will be on our main classroom door, so I can quiz kids on the "passcode" as they enter/exit.  I also put one on the white board.  Third location...TBD.

2.  Dry Erase Sleeves
I am really excited about these.  They come in a set of 12.  I am envisioning a lot of use out of these in my writing center.  Great way to cut down on copies!

3.  "WOW" Stickers
For the first time this year I am giving students an opportunity to move "up" from green on the behavior chart. Purple is the next step up, at the very top of the chart.  Students can move to purple on the behavior chart by demonstrating "WOW" behavior, which I will explain as going above and beyond to help someone else.  When a student ends the day on purple, they will be allowed to visit the "WOW" box at dismissal.  Inside the "WOW" box they will find these fancy wiggly-eyed animal stickers.  I am going to be very selective about asking students to move up from green.  I always emphasize that being on green means you are being a wonderful student, which is something to be very proud of.  Purple will be reserved for displays of wonderful citizenship.


3.  "Everyday" Stickers
These stickers are my "everyday" (not to be confused with WOW ;)) stickers.  The kids love them!  I use these to reinforce general good behavior.  For example, if the group is slow to come to the rug after I ring the bell, I might ask Jack and Jill to go get a sticker from the sticker basket for already being on the rug.  This not only reinforces their good behavior, but more importantly, gets the attention of the rest of the group to follow in their lead.  The key is to always use your loud teacher voice when offering up stickers- you want everyone in the room to know what you're rewarding!

4.  Googly eyes
I can never have enough!  I incorporate these into projects any chance I get :).

5.  Play Dough...just to have on hand!

5.  Bubbles
I am using these as a second "Meet the Teacher" gift. 
I got this idea/found these labels on Pinterest via First Grade with a Cherry on Top

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Preparing for "Meet the Teacher" FUN

"Meet the Teacher" (or, "Sneak Peak", as it's called at our school) is a chance for the incoming kindergarten kiddos to find out who their new teacher will be, meet their new teacher, and explore their new classroom with their parents by their side.  This relieves some first day anxiety for the students, parents...and teacher, too :).
I've been preparing for my upcoming "Meet the Teacher" event, and wanted to share some of the ways I'm hoping to make it a fun experience for my new crop of kinders.  Our "Meet the Teacher" is an hour long and super informal for the most part.  Parents and students are encouraged to walk around at their leisure to explore, participate in the activities I planned for them, and introduce themselves. I do, however, give a very short 5 minute speech to the parents so they know what to expect on the first day of school.  I also encourage parents to talk to me about any concerns they have. Many families also drop off  their beginning of the school year supplies on this day, too.

Photo Booth and Props:
For the first time this year, I'm having a photo booth for my new students.  I am going to have my classroom camera out and ask parents to please take pictures with my camera in addition to the ones they snap on their phones.  The backdrop (aka the backside of a bookshelf) is where I am going to display classroom pictures as the year progresses.  As for the props...I found the "Hello My Name Is" board in the Target Dollar Spot.  Everything else was crafted with simple materials from Michaels (wooden pieces, black paint, a white paint marker, and a glue gun).  To see how I made my "K" , click on the link: K is for Kindergarten.
I got my inspiration for my photo booth from Mrs. Patton's Patch.  Check out her photo booth and props- so cute!

The Giving Tree:
 Also new this year...parents who would like to donate "wish list" items to our classroom can take an apple.  Each apple is labeled with a different item.  I have fun supplies on the apples like alphabet stickers, watercolor paper, googly eyes, etc.  Parents will be in and out of the classroom a lot during the first weeks of school, so its inside location will be perfect.

Scavenger Hunt and Prizes:
I started doing this a few years ago, and it's always such a hit.  When students enter the classroom they pick up a clipboard and scavenger hunt list.  Their job is to find the following items in their new classroom:  Clifford stuffed animal, calendar, desks, classroom rug, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree, home center, Alphafriends poster, and the bathrooms (which are actually outside our classroom).  At the bottom it says that when they are done, they are to see me for a prize.

Their Prize:
The first picture is of the front label, the second picture is of the back.  Special thanks to my mom for helping me put these together!!  You can find the labels I used on Sliding into First!


Last but not least, I found these super cute nametags at Lakeshore.  They will be at the sign-in table at my "Meet the Teacher".

Does your school have a "Meet the Teacher"?