I am linking up with Leigh at The Applicious Teacher

Small Group is a HUGE part of our day and when I taught Kindergarten it was too. My small group time is centers. For my little ones (2.5-3) it is about 8 minutes per small group center and for my older ones (3-6 years old) it can be up to 20 minutes per center.

I have three centers: language/ academic (my center), fine motor center (my aides) and social or play center. The kids rotate through each center. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of my center board, but this is what it looks like, but this is the idea.

Each group consists of 3-4 students (I have 12am and 12pm). The kids love the routine and learn to look at their picture and move to their designated area. I use a timer to signal when the center is over.

At my center (academic/language) we either play a game, do an emergent reader book, or some other type of academic activity. I adjust each of the activities to each group and that means sometimes multiple activities that are similar. I also use visuals for cut, paste, trace, write, color, etc. from boardmaker.

Sometimes to get my students to the center I will use a first/ then card or use a transition object. You can get that here.

At the fine motor center they may practice their IEP fine motor goals, do an art project, or work on lacing, using tongs, etc.

The social/play center is where they can play in the rice table, kitchen, legoes, etc.

When choosing what group starts where I try to keep that the same. I also know what students need to work for the play center and that group starts the fine motor center, then me, then play. It is a big motivator. Certain students that can handle fluctuating groups may be put in a different group depending on the skills I am working on or if a group has a couple of kids missing on that day, but most of the time the groups stay the same. Early finishers at the fine motor table get to play with puzzles and magna doodles or something else that can be done at a table. My early finishers get to play in the sensory bin or I rotate different toys in and out that work on skills that coordinate with the theme or what we are learning that week.
Whew! That was a  lot of information! I am looking forward to reading what others do during small groups. They are such an integral part of the day because this is when my aid and I can really focus in on what each of my students need specifically. The work chosen is challenging, but not too hard because I don't want them getting too frustrated and upset. The activities done also coordinate with their IEP goals.

Well, I hope this provides you some new ideas to try and I am hoping to find some
new ideas myself. Happy Sunday!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. She will be  taking a break for the month of July. You can link up with Cara at The First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday!

This week was a busy one! Here are a few things we (Ethan and I) did...

1. We went up north with my family while Matt was away for work. It was a lot of fun! The weather was perfect and we got up to Mackinac Island. If you ever come to MI you must go there. There are no cars on the island and only horses and buggies or bikes.

2. I finished painting our deck. We are currently trying to freshen up the outside of our house. We got a new pergola and decided to try the Rust-o-leum deck paint instead of replacing our deck.

3. Ethan got a weird rash on his one leg and we are trying to get that under control. It is not contagious and it doesn't bother him, but it looks bad. Fortunately it is starting to heal, but this is not the first time he has gotten some weird illness or rash and I always feel bad whenever it happens because he never complains or acts differently.

4. We got to see some early 4th of July fireworks in Rochester.

5. Here is a freebie for you all! You can get it at tpt here
This is going to be a great early finisher task for my students and I may even use it whole group with my little ones. The words same and different are very challenging for them so this should help.

Freebie Fridays

Have a great weekend!

Ethan and I with my family spent some time up north and had a blast. The weather was great and Ethan was in a great mood. Last year a trip Up North was a nightmare (he didn't sleep, was spitting up everywhere, only wanted a bottle, and just screaming and crying pretty much the entire trip...very memorable), but fortunately this year was WAY better! It was enjoyable and relaxing minus the mosquitos (here is MI this year they are ravenous!).

Anyways, Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade is hosting Throwback Thursday. Make sure to check it out. :) And Happy Anniversary to her and her husband!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

name matching

To make this all you need to construction paper and Velcro. I typed up the students names in comic sans (two per page-one at the top and one at the bottom) and printed off a copy. Run it through the copier and put it onto construction paper. I then laminated the page, cut out the letters at the bottom and attached Velcro on the back. Attach Velcro underneath and you have name matching task for your kiddos.
Have a great Thursday! 

I am linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. This past week was another fun week of being crafty.

Here are a few things I made or got the opportunity to try out with Ethan.

First, this past week Ethan and I made some baked cotton balls to smash with the hammer. The original idea came from Making Boys Men blog. I just did two scoops of flour and equal 2 scoops of water, added a drop of food coloring. Mix and then drop the cotton balls into the mixture. Bake at 150 for about 35-40 minutes. Ethan had fun hitting them.


I also made Ethan a chalkboard, which he loves. We had some leftover plywood and I just painted it with Martha Stewart's chalkboard paint. I got it at Michaels last year. It worked really well. You do need to apply three coats of it.

I also added some contact paper to a shelf in our spare bedroom. It definitely looks way better with a splash of color. The contact paper was pretty easy to use. I saw lots of ideas about adding wall paper or fabric, but I found the contact paper to work well and if I want to change it out down the road it will be easily removed.

Last, but not least, something for my classroom.
I had gotten this shelf my first of year teaching at a school that was closing for $5. Originally when I started teaching kindergarten I had little furniture so this shelf held my puzzles and some blocks. However, at my new school we have LOTS of furniture in my room. However, I saw this this stand on Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds. Sheryl changes it depending on what theme they are working on and I wanted to do something similar so this shelf is going to be transformed into something similar.
I sanded and repainted it.

Then, I added Velcro to the top of it in the front.

Excuse the poor sign. I need to fix it. I am going to make signs for the different dramatic play options and laminate them, add Velcro and then you have a new dramatic play center. The other positive of using the shelf is the materials for that theme can be kept in the shelf in baskets. The kids should easily be able to put the stuff away. We will find out how easily, but I think they should be able to once I teach them how to use it.

The next task to make this successful is getting my different themes and getting the materials for the prop boxes.
Well, we are headed up north for the next few days. Have a great Monday!

I am linking up with Leigh at The Applicious Teacher for her Apple a Day linky. I enjoy reading all the tips from other teachers too as it is a nice reminder of what I need to start doing or things I need to continue doing or get back to doing.
This weeks topic is whole group instruction. Whole group instruction can be really tricky especially since class sizes are continuously growing and because of the growing diversity (special needs, ages, at-risk, ELL, etc) in classrooms.

1. Have a schedule and make sure to follow it. The students know what is coming and how much is left, which helps them to be more attentive.

2. For longer whole group time try to get songs and movement in as much as possible. My circle time for the afternoon class is almost an hour, but that includes calendar time, movement time, a whole group activity or two and story. It is a long time, but we work up to it and I try to stay on one thing for a relatively short time.

3. Make it as interactive as possible. When I taught kindergarten I gave the students white boards to write the missing letters and words in during morning message. I gave them a 100s chart and they counted along. I also have the special helper directing as many of the activities as possible. I also incorporate lots of music. This year I am going to be giving each of my students numerals 1-10 to trace for Dr. Jean's numeral song.

4. Build up to the expected time. Initially circle time starts as 30 minutes for my little ones or less depending on the day and we work up to an hour. When I did writer's workshop we started writing for only 5 minutes and build it up as the year went on. Same thing with all of my whole group instruction.

5. Lastly, if the kids are squirrely and not listening, add some movement and they still don't calm down and refocus don't be afraid to end it early. If that many of the kids are distracted and not listening they are not going to get much out of the lesson. Try again later or the next day.

A lot of this pertains more to circle time, but I think it can be applied to all whole group instruction times. A lot of it is trial and error and depends on the group of students you have from year to year. Have fun and keep it fresh because it keeps the kids on their toes and eager to see what tomorrow brings!

I am looking forward to reading others tips on this because it is definitely an area I feel like I am constantly trying to improve upon. Have a great Sunday!

I was so excited when I went to the Dollar Tree today and they had these Stretchy Snap Hands! Speech Room News had the original idea and I thought my kids would love doing this! I am going to initially try it with my summer school kids. You lay out cards on a table or the floor and the students fling the sticky hand and whatever they catch they have to tell you what it is.

I made some cards to use to play with this. You can get them on tpt.  Enjoy!

 Hand Slap Letter and Number Game Freebie

I'm linking up with Kacey for Five for Friday!

This past week was a lot of fun and I must say I feel like I am finally getting my energy back. When I left school this year I was terribly burned out, but am getting back into the groove finally!

1. Ethan got out in his pool for the first time this summer!

2. We had our first play date with a good friend of mine and her two kids. Ethan loved following her son around.

3. Saturday I went to a concert...Dawes. If you have not heard of them I definitely recommend checking them out.

4. I just completed two activity packs.

The lemonade pack you get here at tpt

5. Now for a freebie. I had made some I Can Awards previously, but after Krista came out with these cute badges I could not resist making new ones. I love all of the clip art she comes out with!

You can get it here on tpt or

Freebie Fridays

Have a great weekend!

I am linking up with The First Grade Parade for Throwback Thursday. I picked one of my most popular posts to share. After looking back at how my classroom started to what it ended as there were some changes (my visual schedule, way more visuals added, and just placement of furniture).  I also can see some more things that I would like to change for next year.  It is also hard to believe I have been blogging now for almost 2 years! Where has the time gone?!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 2- Getting Classroom Ready

Day 2 was a success! I got my bulletin boards done and completed the laminating I wanted to get done. I also was able to get some of my apple activities out. When I go into my classroom on Wednesday I will have some extra help so I can get things copied and get my assessment files completed.

I use these picture prompts at centers so my students know what to do.

Classroom rules, behavior chart, and more picture prompts.

This is the finished starting the day poster.

picture schedule. I remove each of the pictures following it being done.
Behavior chart and classroom rules.

Calendar area. It is all accessible to the kids this year because they loved being able to point to everything when they were the special helper last year.
The months and days of the week were placed at the bottom.

Birthday bulletin board. More cupcakes will go up once I get my class list and see how many kids I have. Last year I had LOTS of January birthdays.
I am going to try using circle time prompts this year. My calendar picture went MIA though. I am on the hunt for it.

We will be making school buses with pictures of us that will go up there.

Money and opposites posters.
Money and opposites posters.

Shapes, colors and ABC posters.
My desk- that is for Day 3.

Pocket chart. I use shower curtain rings that were on clearance for the rings. The number chart, center chart, abc chart and whose here chart are all on there. The rack is from IKEA.
An overall view of my classroom.

I updated my IEP data collection graph. I use this to record how the students are doing on their IEP goals and when I go to plug it in to tienet it makes it super quick and easy. It also is easy to refer to when we have child study meetings and for report cards.
IEP Data Collection

I can't wait to see everyone elses rooms and the progress they are making. More pics to come following Wednesday.

Show Off Your Space Linky Party

Have a great Thursday and I can't wait to check out everyone else's Throwback blog posts. :)

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