Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finally Finished!!!!

I have just written a new blog post about my classroom.  I finished setting it up just in time for our Ice Cream Social / Meet the Teacher Night.  Please come for a visit and see my classroom at A Rainbow of Teaching.

Student Info Cards (freebie)

I just posted up some cards that I made for my parents to fill out.  You can grab them for free on my blog by clicking my button below.

Thanks for checking it out!

Junior Scientists!

I don’t know about you, but I love me some Science. Drop by to see how I introduce science. Let the exploring begin!

Kreative in Kinder

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Week Fun!

Teaching tidbits and pictures of my first week posted. Forget survival, we had FUN!!
Kreative in Kinder

Monday, August 29, 2011

100 Free Tools to Make Teaching More Entertaining!

Not sure how I stumbled across 100 Free Tools to Make Your Teaching More Entertaining, but I did.  Check it out... has come amazing resources you may not have seen yet!  My favorite... Kidpedia!  Kids love it!  Lots of twitter applications, interactive websites, and other professional resources.  Hop on over to see!
Empowering Little Learners!

Welcoming My New Students!

Hi everyone!  I just finished preparing a welcome gift for my students!  I got this idea and printable tags from Mrs. Miner's awesome blog!

Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business

Stop by my blog to see where I got my bouncy balls!

Well Hello!!

I am so excited to be a new author of Me and MY Kindergarten Gang! My name is Crystal and I teach Kindergarten (well duh!) in Temple, TX. It’s going to be a great year and I can’t wait to learn with and from each of you. Come by my blog, Kreative In Kinder, say hi and I will send you a freebie. J

Kreative in Kinder

Ever Just Need a New Look?

Do you want to see my blog makeover?
Come on over and see my Blog Makeover.
Find out who designed it AND get a
promo code for a discount so you can
get a blog makeover at a great price!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Do You Still Have a Crier?

Do you still have one of these?  

Best advice is to just keep calm and try to make your room as POSITIVE and INVITING as you can!  

Stop by to see other tips and tricks to get your crier to become more like this....

So this week we have started our color unit!  That's right people, not all kindergarteners come to school knowing their colors!  (Said with love of course, but we early childhood teachers often have to justify why we teach color.  Especially now that it is not a explicitly a part of the Common Core.)  So we are considering colors vocabulary, adjectives, as well as the precursor for sorting which is still a standard.  Stop by to get 2 freebies to help you teach colors!  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Would You Like to Win Heidi Songs Newest Product?

Do you know Heidi and her songs?  Well, Heidi is my co-teacher...well, okay, not really.....I just feel like she is with me all of the time because I use her music non-stop throughout the entire indergarten year to teach my children concepts in ways that some of them would never get (at 5 years old!) if it weren't for Heidi.  So, essentially, I feel like Heidi is teaching my students right along with me!  She is a kindergarten teacher who knew what her students needed to learn and now, lucky for us, has decided to share her immense knowledge and efforts with the entire kindergarten world by selling the products she creates to use in her own classroom.  Heidi, in a sense, is willing to be anyones co-teacher! ;)
Heidi also has a line of digital products to print and use in the classroom.  I could go on and on about all of those that I use to teach with, but I will just introduce you to her newest ingenious product.  Heidi has mentioned on her blog a few times now that she needed a book about teaching rules and here it is in all its glory and (yup, you guessed it) it is written in her usual incredible style:
This is a simple book, written specifically with young children in mind, to assist in teaching children the rules by using a dog who has trouble following rules at first.  Heidi says,
"My students are just LOVING the book! I have a big, fuzzy Melissa and Doug dog puppet that I bought a few years ago, and I have been having the dog act out the story as I read it, and talking to the dog about the rules. The children love chiming in with the repetitive text, and laughing at the silly dog, who forgets the rules each and every day. Every single day so far we have read the book and enjoyed it to the fullest. The children don’t realize it, but this is how we have been learning the rules in our classroom. We actually haven’t done any other formal lessons as far as school rules are concerned, and the kids are generally doing very well so far in following them, so I think it must be working!"
And I believe it is because that is just how Heidi's products work.  If you still aren't convinced, check out this video
Watching this video encouraged me to instantly purchase this product.  I love ANY book that incorporates the children and instantly becomes interactive, especially one as cute as this.  Everyone will just love Wiggles, the naughty puppy turned good, once he gets introduced...
The book includes a Wiggles puppet pattern and a
 smaller take home version of the book for students.

So, wouldn't you love to have this packet to begin your year?  Heidi has donated one of her new Wiggles book sets to be given away to one of my lucky followers. 
Come on over to Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business to find out how you can win her newest set!

Scott Foresman Reading Street Freebie

The SF Reading Street program (Kindergarten) introduces 40 high frequency words. I call them STAR WORDS! Well, this is the order that the words are introduced. We sing it to the tune of....wait for it....Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!

Star Word Song

Hello Everyone

I'm so excited to be here as one of the authors of Me and My Kindergarten Gang.  My name is Amanda Myers and I'm the author of A Special Kind of Class.  I have been teaching a special education class for children with severe physical and/or speech disabilities for 20 years.  I hope that you will visit me over at my  blog.  I hope to provide you with a glimpse into a special class and offer up adaptations for ordinary activities.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who Loves a Little Pete the Cat?

I enjoy Pete the Cat  on so many levels.  I love the simplicity of the book for my kindergarten students learning colors and loving a blue cat singing a predictable song.  Yet, I also love the complexity of it from an adult's point of view:  If we could all be so calm and relaxed in our little worlds (like Pete the Cat) when life throws us curve balls, our entire society would benefit.  I am hoping that, as the year goes on, and I continuously refer back to our friend, Pete, during sticky situations, the children will begin to grasp the greater concept hidden in one of their all-time favorite books.
Here are our Deanna Jump inspired Petes!
I began the school year with this book during KinderKamp and, since the students loved it so much, I decided I would continue when the new year begins with them next week.  I created an activity kit for that purpose that is jam packed with differentiated activities that can be used in a variety of ways for students of all ages.
One of my favorite things to do with children is directed drawings, so what better activity to create than a directed drawing Step By Step Guide on how to draw Pete the Cat.  Once you start doing directed drawings with your students, you won't be able to stop.  There are so many benefits of doing it in a whole group lesson, even beyond the basic listening skills and the transfer of the "learning to draw" skills.  Of course, I couldn't stop there, I went on to make materials for a retelling center and a reading center. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sure Fire Ways to Win Over Your Parents!

Having parents on your side is probably the most important part to building a positive learning community with your kids!  Here's some easy tips to help you get the year started off right with your families.

1.)  Always smile and make small talk!  

2.)  Always have your kids blow kisses and wave to parents you may see on campus.  "Wave to Sara's Mommy."

3.)  Take the time and do something extra for your families the first day of school.  This year I sent home bags of popcorn that said "Celebrate ___'s first day in kindergarten."  Cost me $5 for a classroom set of microwave popcorn.  Head on over to my TpT to see the certificate!

4.)  Make a big deal about sending supplies in.  Parents spend their hard earned money buying crayons and pencils, so let them know you appreciate their donation even though you may not need any more crayons!  I send home thank you notes that I have pre-made where I just have to write the student's name.  

5.)  Also make a big deal about the first time the parent does something nice for you.  Just yesterday I had a parent come in 15 minutes before school was out and I had her stuff my backpacks.  Did she have to do that, no... she could have spent time with her own child.  But instead, she helped me!  I really do appreciate that and I want her to know that!

6.)  ALWAYS make the first conversation you have with a parent a positive one!  Even if the child was bouncing off the walls or whatever.  Chances are, that if that child is having issues, they may just know know how to act in school.  Find something positive to share with the parent.  (By all means, don't tell them they were prefect, but tell them they really listened during a story or really did good writing their name.) 

7.) Always make the parent feel as if you are on their side.  Stand up for what they believe in even though you may have to go to bat with whoever.  Parents are should be considered one of our customers and it is our job to provided them the best experience with the school as possible.  In order to foster that trust, you have to make the parents feel as if you are 100% on their side.  (You can explain to them school policies etc, but never make parents feel as if they don't have a choice, because they do!)  

8.)  I am a firm believer in COLLABORATION!  Parents need to feel as if they are a part of the team and you have the power to foster this relationship!  Do whatever it takes to make them feel included.

A fellow teacher recently told me that it is the parents' job to get involved not our to involve them.  I could not disagree any less than 100%.  

Bottom line is... every parent does the best they can with the cards they have been dealt and WHY NOT help them along if they need it?  In the long run it's only going to help the student be more successful in life!  And I don't know about you... but I won't participate in anyone holding anyone else back in life!

Hope everyone is having a great school year so far!  Things are settling down for me so I should be a little more present!

Have a great day!

College?! In kindergarten?!

Hey gang!  Today I was making some copies for my college station and any of you guys talk about college with your kinders?  Several years ago, my school started taking every single child on a college tour.  They start out visiting the community college in kindergarten and work their way up to the University of Kentucky in fifth grade.  It is so amazing to watch them on a college campus and to hear them tell me, "I'm going to go here!!!"  I hope they do!
Last year we decided to take it a step further and do college stations in our classrooms.  Here, our kids learn about the admissions process, campus life, degree requirements, etc.  It's hard to fit it in all the time, but the kids love it when I make time for it!  Here's something I made for kindergarteners to learn about the college admissions process {it's way simplified, of course}.  It had to tie into math, so when we do this we also talk about patterns.

You can download it here and read more about college station.  Do any of you guys have resources for talking about college with little ones?  I'm always looking for ideas!

Want to Be an Author on MMG?

MMG still has spots available to those of you wonderful teachers who would like to join our gang. We have no requirements regarding how often you post, it is completely up to you.  Feel free to ask questions, please use our Facebook page or put your questions in a post, we want this to be a place where you can go to find resources. We are really excited about all the wonderful teachers who are apart of MMG, y'all make this website what it is!

If you are interested in becoming an author please contact us at .

What Is a M.O.N.K.E.Y. Book?

I just took for granted that everyone knew what a M.O.N.K.E.Y. Book (M.O.O.S.E. Book, S.T.A.R. Book, B.E.E. Book, etc..) was.  I had read about them for years online and didn't completely buy into them until my neighbor, Mrs. S, moved in and showed me the way with her M.O.O.S.E. Books and I was sold.  Since I started my blog and have mentioned this book, I have had several questions from bloggers, so I thought, now that I finally have my books together (thanks to my wonderful mom!), I thought I would share the answers and pictures with everyone.

What exactly is a M.O.N.K.E.Y. Book?
They are the best means of communication and organization I have ever utilized as a teacher.  It is a 1" binder that includes note paper for notes to and from home and a folder to hold work and items that need to be returned.  It also houses the specials schedule, contact information and a monthly calendar that includes special days and due dates.  The children learn responsibility to bring their book back and forth from school to home EVERY day.  It is a rare occasion that a child doesn't have their binder with them as they line up at the door in the morning and they never lose them.  I am not completely sure why, but my experience has proven that the families and children take better care and pay closer attention to the binder than they ever did when I had daily folders.

Come on over to Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business to find the answers to the following questions that readers have had:

  • How are the books put together?
  • Where do you store them?
  • How do you make sure you see everything you need to see each day?
  • When do you find the time to pack them for the children each day?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Can Do Kinders... My Room is finished!

Hi Gang Members!   I did it!  I am finished and right in time for 25 kinders to come on Thursday.  I have an all day workshop tomorrow and so today was the last day I had in my room.  Nothing like coming down to the wire for a photo finish!
I hope ya'll come on over to see some of my favorite things!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Are You the Best Teacher You Can Be?

I ran smack into the article 10 Questions to Ask Yourself over at What Ed Said's Blog and it reminded me of what I feel is the most important thing you can do as a teacher to be the best you can be and to constantly improve: 
self reflection.
What better time to start this process than the week I will meet my new students?

I started hosting student teachers from the local university several years ago.  I initially agreed to it because I wanted to give back the great experiences I had as a student teacher (thank you Kim O. and Clayton H.!), but I have since learned that it is so much more than that.  I have always been hard on myself which automatically produces (maybe even an unhealthy amount) of self reflection. 
 How could I have said that different? 
How will I get better responses from the students? 
Why is that happening? etc..
 This reflection would go on in my head and, from time to time, spark discussions with some of the best whom I have taught next to (TD, DK, APR, SS) and learned so much from.
However, when you have a trained professional in your classroom like a student teacher, it has the possibility of bringing your teaching to an entirely new level--if you dare to allow it to happen.
I always teach my student teachers (and thanks to Dr. MEL, I have always had the best--no bias, of course), that reflection on a daily basis is the key to becoming a better educator.  Oh, and I practice what I preach, so I am continuously demonstrating self reflection out loud with my student teachers to show them that, although I have been teaching for years and APPEAR to have it all under control, that I know there are improvements I can make on a daily basis to be the best teacher I can be. 
So, head over to What Ed Said's Blog and ask yourself these 10 questions.  Are there areas you could improve or maybe even just tweak a little?  It's a new year, which means new beginnings, to be the best  teacher you can be.  Let's reflect on that!
If you are a blogger or even a blog stalker, you are likely a reflective teacher because you are seeking ideas, better ways to do things and inspiration from other teachers in the blogosphere. Come on over to Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business for your daily dose of reflection (after you go see Ed and answer all of his questions for you, of course).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hi Gang!

Hi!  My name is Holly and I am the author of Joy of Kindergarten!  I am so thrilled to be a part of Me and My Kindergarten Gang!  I am looking forward to all that we have to share with each other!  This will be my 14th year teaching and 10th year in Kindergarten!  I absolutley love my job and sharing with other teachers!
I would like to share a photo with you of my palm tree for my classroom!  I got the idea from Mrs. Jump's blog!  I used bulletin board paper for the trunk and leaves.  I also loved her idea of using a stripped umbrella as the frame for the leaves.  Please excuse the "stuff" in the background!
I would love for you to stop by my blog, Joy of Kindergarten and visit!  I have a post on the first day in my room as well as a pinterest creation that I blogged about.  So, please stop by and take a look around!  I would love if you would become a follower!  I have another giveaway coming soon!

Easy Schmeasy Lemon Squeezy Back to School Giveaway

Mrs.Miner's Monkey Business
Come on over to my blog to enter my "easy, schmeasy, lemon squeezy" giveaway and get over $50 worth of TpT products from some great blog authors!

A Call for Help

I am very excited to be a part of such a wonderful group of kinder bloggers!  This is my first post to the Kinder Gang blog, so I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and send out a plea for help!  My name is Tammi Lee and I teach in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  This is my 5th year teaching and I have spent three teaching first and the rest teaching kindergarten.  This year will be my first year acting as our kindergarten grade level chair and wowza it has already been full of challenges. 

Last Tuesday one of our four teachers put in her resignation and we found out the VIF teacher coming from Jamaica was a week behind getting her visa approved and would not be here for the start of school.  Our principal has been interviewing like crazy this week and we have been working together to get the other two rooms set up.  Luckily we have two teaching assistants who have been a wonderful help!  We are not really sure how we are going to work out the logistics.  My principal has mentioned teaching AM in our own classes and then possibly swapping with the sub and teaching PM to the other class.  I am worried about these little kinders and what will be best for them as they try to figure out what school is all about.  Will switching faces half way through the day be too much for them?  I am also a little worried about planning the first seven days for a sub....  The activities I usually do for the first couple weeks are based on developing routines and rules, something that really depends a lot on teacher preference.  The plans I use also include a lot of prep and materials, and I am worried about the time and expense to prepare this for 3 classes!  Has anyone experienced a similar situation at the beginning of the year?  I would greatly appreciate any advice or suggestions!  Thanks!

Classroom Management

Many teachers have complimented my class for the good behavior displayed by my students year after year.  Even my student's parents are amazed at their child's behavior at school compared to how they behave at home.  Pre-K and Kindergarten students are very young and need a lot of structure, consistency and patience.

If you need some ideas for rules and procedures, come visit me at Kinder Latino.  See the secret to  classrooms that truly work and are complimented by school administrators and district supervisors.

Hello Gang and New Teamies!

HELLO!! I am so excited about writing for this blog. My name is Tammy and I blog at Live Love Laugh Everyday In Kindergarten! I just started blogging this Summer. I am so impressed with all of the great blogs out there. We teachers are pretty darn creative...if I do say so myself!
Live Love Laugh

Like most of you, these last few weeks I have been so busy! I haven't hardly had time to blog or create many new things. I am feeling like I am getting in the groove of my new school year...whew! It is pretty exhausting, isn't it?!

I do have a freebie for you! These are posters that I created for my CAFE menu.
CAFE Posters Freebie

Hey Gang!

Hey guys!  So excited to be part of the Kindergarten Gang!  I love all of the great ideas shared on all of your amazing blogs.

Thought I would take a minute to introduce myself--I'm Caitlin from Ms. Preppy's Adventures in Primary and Polka Dots.  I teach primary math (K, 1, and 2), so pretty much everything on my blog is math related.  I love me some numbers...  I just got a marvelous makeover from Mckenna at Project 3 Designs, the Teamies recommended her and she was just as wonderful as they claimed!

The beginning of the year in kindergarten math is filled with numeral writing fun!  I recently created a magnet of sorts to send home for parents to keep so they can help their child sing our numeral song (by Dr. Jean, of course!).  Head on over to my blog to grab them for your kinderfriends.
Hope you guys have an amazing week!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sign Up For Mrs. Miner's Classrom Monkey Business Newsletter

Please subscribe to my newsletter for even more creative ideas for classrooms PLUS a monthly freebie for subscribers only!  The newsletter will be delivered to your email address!
Click here to EASILY sign up for my NEW monthly newsletter and the freebie will come directly to your inbox at the end of most months!
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