American Indian Day at Kindergarten

American Indian Day is celebrated on the fourth Friday of each September.
We are lucky to have an Indian Reservation within our school district's boundaries.
 Today we celebrated the Native American Culture in style!

First we used dyed salad macaroni to make our very own beaded necklace!
(To dye, add food coloring and rubbing alcohol to salad macaroni.
Spread out on parchment sheets and dry overnight.)
Next, we created fanciful Indian Dancers from Tangrams and 1" Blocks.
Pattern and scripted lesson for this activity
can be found in our Thanksgiving Unit.

We were then entertained by the Indian Dancers
who shared their rich culture of dance with us!
And of course we cheered for our classmate that was among the dancers!

Featured Shop on Teachers Notebook!

We are so excited! We are the featured shop this week at...
Please visit their amazing site and celebrate with us!

Happy First Day of Fall!

The first day of fall is here, and here in Utah the weather has been a lovely 80 degrees all week long. I must admit that this is my very favorite season and I was so excited to get out my Harvest Unit. Here are some of the things I'm putting together.

Fall Harvest vegetables at the Science Center. For now I will be letting the children make observations about what they see on the outside. Later, I will cut them open so that the children can make observations about the insides.

Feed Corn at the sensory center.

Painting apples trees at the art center. The trunk was made by painting each child's arm up to the palm, the leaves were finger painted, and the apples were made with thumbs.For more harvest ideas, visit our store.

Free for Friday

In this Level A Guided Reading Book, children celebrate their individuality.  This book contains the high frequency word "my" and is in black and white so that students can color and personalize.

To make, print page one front only and cut in half to make cover and page 5. Print the next two pages front and back, cut in half, collate and staple at the edges.  This book makes a great first guided reader and can be easily used to reinforce important beginning reading strategies. ENJOY!

Building Visual Discrimination, Geometric Knowledge, & Nurturing Young Artists!

A great way to empower students to become independent artist, improve visual discrimination skills, and increase geometric knowledge is to make shape people! Yesterday we reviewed geometric shapes and drew people using those shapes in students' Math and Science Journals.

The Instructions: 

Draw a circle head, square body, rectangle arms, rectangle legs, oval shoes, circle hands, circle eyes, oval nose, oval ears, draw a mouth, and add hair!

Today we transferred that knowledge to a life-size model of ourselves.

The Instructions: 

Remember the people we made yesterday using shapes? Well today we are going to make us using shapes! (Have most of the shapes pre-cut adding with the visualization opportunities of putting pieces together.) I Had everything precut except for the hands. I taught them how to cut off the corners of a square to make a circle. The hair was torn into  small shapes to build hand muscle strength.

Dramatic Play

When I moved from 1st grade to kindergarten I was shocked at the lack of dramatic play in kindergartens here in Utah. When I asked a teacher why they didn't include it, she said, "with our curriculum and only half a day, I simply don't have time for it". While I can see the concern there, I maintain that I don't have time to leave out dramatic play. Play has so many benefits for young children and it is becoming a lost art of childhood. I can't imagine my program without it!

I just changed my dramatic play area to the 3 Bears Cottage. Today the children acted out the story in their own creative ways. One group had three daddy bears and one Goldilocks. It was wonderful to see the way they worked out their own problems to satisfy everyone's wants and needs.

Here are more benefits of play:

Stimulates Thinking:
Dramatic play will stimulate children's minds and promote advanced intellectual development! It also is a great way for children to expand experiences through reenacting events. These reenactments allow experiences to make more sense and have more meaning, paving the way for future academic success.

Define Social Roles:
Dramatic play helps children learn social roles and rules, and offers time to practice such social morays as sharing, taking turn, communicating to inform or persuade, and resolving conflicts, and cooperation.

Creativity and Imagination:
When children are engaged in dramatic play, they can be anyone that they want to be and can even do the impossible! This type of play encourages children to use their imagination and to be creative, as there are no limits. This creative ability will aide students throughout their lives as they become creative and learn to solve problems.

Builds Emotional Strength:
Young children have a hard time understanding and controlling feelings. By engaging in creative play, children can learn to manage and understand certain feelings by re-enacting episodes. Dramatic play can also enhance children's ability to empathize with other people.

Develops Language:
Dramatic play encourages expressive language. Children are motivated to convey their wishes to others and speak from the perspective of their pretend roles. In fact, it is often through dramatic play that shy or withdrawn children first begin to express themselves through language.

For more information on the subject. Check this out:
NPR on play
Miami University on play
Scientific American on play

Common Core Assessments English/Language Arts for Kindergarten


Visit our TPT store to download a full preview of this all inclusive assessment packet for the English/Language Arts Common Core Standards: Kindergarten!

Kindergarten & the Half Day Marathon

Yes! We teach 1/2 Day Kindergarten. 
(Lyndsey in Utah has 30 students per session)
(Kathy & Kathleen in Idaho have 22-23 students per session)

**We have the same standards as states with full day schedules, and only 3 hours a day to compact our curriculum.

We have found that proper usage of ourselves, available aides and parent volunteers must be strategic. That is why we use scripted lessons (See units & activities at our TPT store). These lessons have clearly stated objectives, are fast paced, fun, and based on brain, reading, and early childhood research. 

Here is a peek at our daily schedules:

Kathy’s Schedule
8:20-8:30 and 11:55-12:10
Come in and Read (Short Literacy Activities/Name Tickets) (M/Tu/TH)
8:20-8:40 Specials: LIBRARY (W) PE (F) 
          -Opening and Math are cut to 15 minutes on these days
8:30-8:55 and 12:10-12:30
Opening Activities
Morning Message
Singlish Activity
8:55-9:15 and 12:30-12:50
Shared Reading
9:15-9:25 and 12:50-1:00
-----------Yes, we do our own recess.
9:25-9:50 and 1:00-1:20
9:50- 11:10 and 1:25-2:45
Learning Centers
1- Guided Reading (T/TH) Guided Writing (W/F)
2- Phonics Lesson/ Phonemic Awareness Lesson (Title 1 Aide #1 (Tu/W/Th)
3- Phonics Lesson/ Phonemic Awareness Lesson (Title 1 Aide #2 (Tu/W/F)
4- Math Lesson (Parent Volunteer Tu/Th) Rotational Choice from below (W/F)
5- Rotates between: Art/Dramatic Play/Listening Center/Sensory/Science Journals/ Writing/Alphabet Manipulatives/Toys/ Leap    Pads/Handwriting/Puzzles/Reading Room/Writing Room/Math/MORE!
6- SNACK /Computer

My Centers Today...

Recording informations from nonfiction books at the Science Center

Starfall at the Computer Center

Digging for Alphabet Letters at the Sensory Table

Playing Bug a Boo at the Math Center

Painting a Bug at the Art Center

Building Letters with the Title 1 Aide

Lyndsey’s Schedule
9:00-9:30 and 12:40-1:10
Opening Procedures
9:30-9:50 and 1:10-1:30
Shared Reading
9:50-10:15 and 1:45-2:00
10:15-10:30 and 1:30 -1:45
10:30-12:00 and 2:00-3:30
Learning Centers (Particulars Same as Kathy's)

I Have A New Center This Year

The Building Center

Last year this area of my room was just a general toy center. However, this summer my brilliant technological and engineering minded husband gave me a great idea. Why not give the children a challenge and rename the center the "Building Center". I tried it out for the first time this week. The challenge I gave the children was to build a "castle" and they all did really well. They worked together better and their playing was more directed. I loved it! Now I just have to figure out what challenge I should give them next week.

Bring Kindergarten Home!

Extend The School Day!

Consider our early learning homework packets. Parents and students alike love the game-based, fun, child-friendly activities.
We will be adding packets until we have several options for pK, K and 1st grade. So far we have posted: 
Dinosaur Themed Homework Packet (Suited for Late K or Early 1st grade, Intervention or ELL), 
Safari Themed Homework Packed (Suited for Late K or Early 1st grade , Intervention or ELL), 
Summer Homework Packet (End of K year , Intervention or ELL), 
Welcome/Back to School (Suited for pre-K or K , Intervention or ELL), 
Football Themed Homework Packet (Early Fall K, Intervention or ELL), 
Fall Themed Homework Packet- Halloween (Early K, Intervention or ELL). 
Many other packets are in the works and are soon to be posted. Watch for them.
Oh, by the way, the Dinosaur Packet is FREE! Be sure to download it today!

Ladybugs at the Science Center

9000 Ladies in Red 

The students love looking at the red crawling creatures up close and personal as they can study, observe, hypothesize and record about ladybugs. These bugs can be ordered from 
I have ordered from many other companies with less than desired results. This one is great! Ladybugs arrive very healthy!

(Oh, by the way... soak raisins in hot water for a few hours and lay on the bottom of the container upon a damp paper towel to feed the hungry creatures. Spray the towel daily to keep towel damp-not wet.)
The best thing about these bugs is that You can put out as many ladybugs at a time as you wish and place the others in your refrigerator to hibernate until you are ready for them! So right now I have 4500 in the center. Next weekend I will put those bugs in my garden and get out the next 4500 to observe. This really extends the life of the science center. 

Recording information in our "Math and Science Journals."

Hum! That's how it looks to a bug!

Extension at the art center. 
Glue 3 strips across the back with sides hanging over a black oval,
turn over and voila, three legs on each side! 
Next cut a red oval in half, spread to make the wings. 
Add eyes and antennae!

Like Bugs? We have a cure for that!