Thursday, August 23, 2012

Teaching Colors


We begin the year with exploring and teaching colors.  Although, we wish all of our students knew this, many come in with limited knowledge, so we do our best to fill in those gaps quickly.

Their first homework assignment is to bring objects or pictures  that focus on the color.  We will use these items to help create our anchor charts.

Literature is embedded throughout the mini-unit.



I like to include books that they may be familiar with from preschool as well as some new or funny stories along the way.  I always include books that are easy enough for everyone to read and have these available during Book Buddy reading time.


Centers help students foster independence and working with others.

Even a game like CandyLand includes accountable talk.  Students must tell their partner what color they have.   I make sure to include variety and "fun" tools like these paint dots, foam dice and food.  Center time is short; 10 to 15 minutes depending on stamina.  In the beginning, we all may be working on these activities together.  Later,  I will transition them into Math Work Stations.

Would you like to use these in your classroom? Click on the links to get yours.  The pattern strips can be found here from Fran at Kindergarten Crayons.  I created the Brown Bear Roll A Color Sheet and the Gummy Bear Color Sort and Graph.

Need more ideas? Follow my Pinterest Color Board.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hip, Hip Hooray!

My blog got a new look today!

Kristen from
gave my blog a customized look.  Don't you love it? It includes a lot of personal touches; colors, polka dots, tagline and even a picture of me from my five year old.  There are also links to my Facebook page and Pinterest boards.  

Kristen was so patient with me throughout this process.  I feel  so lucky to have a design by her. I have admired her blog designs since the very beginning.  

Thank you, Kristen for making my blog unique! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Planning for my Classroom

Summer is winding down. Usually, that means heading into the classroom getting my room ready. This year, it means waiting for my room to be repaired, painted, and cleaned. Right now, all of my teaching wordily possessions are in storage. I am trying not get stressed about it; but I am stressed about it all.

So, instead, I have been working on a few classroom projects at home.

I made a classroom wreath from these items. Most can be found at your local craft store. All, I did was wrap the burlap ribbon around and used florist greening pins to hold the flowers in place. I hope to change the flowers out seasonally.


Here is how it looks now.



I made these adorable postcards to send home to my students. I love the owl's expression.
Click on image for yours.
I've also been creating items to use in my classroom. I am trying to use less ink so I am getting creative with scrapbook paper to add a pop of color. You can find these at my Teacher's Notebook shop. Most items are on sale for around $1.

School doesn't officially start until the last week of August. Until then, I will be mentally planning my classroom's layout and preparing for the new year at home. I really can't wait until I can start unpacking and decorating. Then, it will really feel like Back To School; the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Writing Through My Son's Eyes


This summer I have spent a lot of time learning from my five year old who is about to begin kindergarten.  As a teacher, I have witnessed how children learn, but it is so different as a mother.  When I see him at work, I look at it through two lenses; the proud momma and the teacher who is thinking, "Oh. Interesting."


Nothing has amazed me more as to see him discover writing.  We spent a lot of time on the road this summer.  With nothing more than a notebook and a mechanical pencil, he would spend some of that time writing; actually drawing pictures but I never called it that.

I was the subject of many of his drawings.  

Then, he began adding "text" to his drawing.  
Here is a sample.  
He began by drawing the jellyfish and then, drew the eye.  I wondered, why an eye.  He asked me for help to draw the heart.  Then, he read his story.  My heart melted.  My baby had independently written his first story.

This led me to wonder.  Do I allow enough time for my students to draw into writing?   Probably, not.  My team and I are usually focused at getting words on the paper and sentences.  Then, at one point of the year, we complain about how our kids can't draw.  Duh!  We didn't really allow time for this.  So, this school year, I hope to step back a little.  I will spend more time teaching my students how to draw and how to use those drawings to tell a story.

In the meantime, I have my copy of In Pictures and In Words and the wonderful book study hosted by Mrs. Wills for more ideas and book recommendations.
How do you teach writing in kindergarten?






Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blog Birthday and Giveaway


My blog turns two today! 


To celebrate, I have joined Facebook.  I hope you'll Like my page and join me there.  I hope to share teacher tidbits, my favorite blogs, finds and a little bit more about me.

I am also hosting a small giveaway as a token of appreciation for following my blog.
To enter:
Simply Follow my blog and leave a comment with your email address.  Be quick.  Contest ends tomorrow night, August 6th at 11:59 p.m. PST.  I will randomly select a winner and announce it on Tuesday.

Lastly, thank you to the wonderful guest bloggers who were featured here these past few weeks while I was on vacation.  I'm off to catch up on Blog news; 1000+ and watch a bit of the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Guest Blogger - First Grade Blue Skies

Hi everyone! I am Jennifer from First Grade Blue SKies!
I am so happy to be guest blogging today for Mrs Parker!
As we head into another school year, we are all busy planning things for those first few days of school.  I have blogged about this book before, but I cannot stress to you how much I love it and how much my students do, too!
Anyways, it is a hilarious book about a naughty little brother, Sam, who adds (gross) "things" to the sandwich he is "kindly" making his sister, Samantha. This is one of a series of funny books, and they are styled so that the kids have to guess what he has put in there by the rhyme, and then you fold it out- and there it is!  At the end it makes a big sandwich!  There is a rhythm to the book and the kids *love* it!  I heard it for the first time from my college reading teacher (she'd bring a children's book each time we met for class) I've read it so many times, I know it by heart (I have read it the first day of every year I have taught..)  It sort of breaks the ice and lets the kids know they shouldn't be scared and that I can be fun =)  They remember it all year, repeatedly beg to hear it again and again--no matter what the age!   Just in case you get or have the book, I decided to revise an old freebie and do a bit more with it...hope you love it!
Click here or on the picture to get your freebie!
(graphics are by Melonheadz and Graphics Factory)

 Here is a door display I did one year, where the kids wrote what "special" ingredient they would add to the sandwich!  
SO much fun when I then added plastic bugs to complete the decor!!


Thank you so much, Mrs. Parker, for letting me guest post here!
Please click over and follow my blog if you don't already!



Thanks, Jennifer for sharing this story, freebie and bulletin board display with us. I purchased this book last time she blogged about it and my son loved it. It is must have in your book collection.