Loose Parts Play in Kindergarten

6/23/2017 / Leave a Comment

Out of all the new things I implemented this past year, loose parts play is my favorite. I have been interested in incorporating into my classroom for years. Especially after watching my Kindergarten students do it naturally with all of our resources in math centers.
This year I purchased two sets: Fall and Spring. Next year I will be incorporating a Winter set as well.

Fall

I purchased these adjustable drawers from Amazon and they are perfect, because you can stack them all together when you are done!
For this set, I purchased: dowels, wooden doll people, wooden clothespins, pheasant quills, sticks, lotus pods, pine cones, painted wooden buttons, unfinished wood slices and polished stones
Of course, being in New Hampshire has its perks, I was also able to add some beautiful maple and oak leaves as they began to change.
This became one of our arrival activities each week. I loved seeing the different creations they would make!
Loose parts play can get messy! But thanks to the drawers, they were able to clean it quickly and efficiently each time we used them!
 
I think this was one of my most favorite creations. He used a lotus pod as the top for the tent and sticks, feathers and dowels for supports. It became a campground!
To store it, I just placed everything into Ziploc sandwich bags and then put them altogether in a two gallon Ziploc bag. Now it is ready to go for next fall!
Spring

For this set, I purchased: cool toned felt balls, feathersbright toned felt balls, bright toned faux pearls, acrylic gems, silk plumeria flowers,  assorted bright buttons, colorful lollipop sticks and I included the wooden people from the Fall set.
I put this one out in March, I could not resist. We were at the end of another long dreary, gray winter!
 They were so excited by all of the colors and textures!
They even found ways to connect the felt balls to the popsicle sticks. A few even included flowers in the mix, but I missed the picture of those!
This set definitely added a bit of fun to our Monday morning arrival time!
These last two sets are not exactly loose parts, but they are two collections my class adores.

One is all the buttons I have collected over the years from making jewelry.
Some even came from my old necklaces and bracelets. I spent a rainy Saturday taking them apart.
They love sorting them and asking me all about where I got the beads and what kind of jewelry they belonged too.
Last up is our button bin! Some are from my own collection and some were donated from my amazing sister, Ladybug's Teacher Files!

They have used them on our 120's chart. But most often, they use them for sorting.
 I have a few students who like to see how they change when they put them on our light table!
 Do you use loose parts in your class?
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Kindergarten Handwriting Practice

2/13/2017 / Leave a Comment

When I started teaching Kindergarten, I knew I wanted to  have my student's track their growth like my 5th graders did in their data binders.

This was very easy to do in math with our monthly 100's chart book. Each month they complete a new 100's chart to track how far they are able to record their numbers that month. Tracking handwriting was a bit harder for me and to be honest, not a huge focus of mine in the beginning.

This year, improving handwriting is one of my goals. I decided the easiest way to do this would be with daily practice!


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Controlling the Volume in the Classroom

12/01/2016 / Leave a Comment
I am not a silent person, pretty much ever. I have always been a bit of a chatterbox, and that is probably the reason why I do not mind a chatty classroom. I could not make it through the day without talking to the people in my life, and I certainly do not expect them to be silent throughout the majority of the day.


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Kindergarten Morning Routine

11/06/2016 / Leave a Comment
Our mornings, like most classrooms, is a bit hectic! Our kids arrive between 8:15-8:45, depending on how they are dropped off in the morning. I like to change up our morning routine each day, just to keep it interesting for everyone - including myself!

One staple in our routine is the Would You Rather questions.
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No Work Weekends Planning Schedule

10/09/2016 / 2 comments

It took about a year to figure my system out, but I now have a planning schedule that allows me to take each weekend off from school completely.

While I adore teaching and my class, the amount of time I used to work everyday was overwhelming. After my first full year of teaching I already felt burnt out. I knew something needed to change, but I did not want to sacrifice what was best for my class. I had to try out a lot of different methods, but I finally made a schedule for myself.

When I stick to it, I am done working by 8 pm each school night and I never work on weekends!
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Using a TV in the Classroom - ELA and Math

8/11/2016 / Leave a Comment

Having a TV in your classroom can seem overwhelming at first, but it really is an amazing way to increase learning. Click here to read about how I incorporate it into our morning meeting.

While I love how it enhances our morning meeting, I think what it does for my teaching in ELA and Math is what causes me to love it the most!


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Building Number Sense in Kindergarten

8/02/2016 / Leave a Comment
Number sense and mastering the 100's chart are such important skills. When I taught 5th grade, I was amazed by how many of my students were unable to jump ahead 10 or 20 without using a 100's chart. I knew I wanted to make understanding the patterns of the 100's chart a focus as a Kindergarten teacher.

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Teaching Sight Words in Kindergarten

7/29/2016 / Leave a Comment
Our Kindergarten students are required to learn 50 sight words. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to incorporate them in my routine. I knew I wanted a sight word of the day. However, my first year I went overboard!

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An Unconventional Kindergarten Word Wall

7/28/2016 / Leave a Comment

When I found out 3 years ago that I was headed to Kindergarten I had an idea. I knew that I wanted my students to have access to all the words that would help them to decode and write with ease.

I also wanted these signs to be in one central area where they could gather during reading and writing times. I didn't want them to have to wander the room in order to find the sign that they needed.

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Using Contact Paper in the Classroom

7/22/2016 / Leave a Comment
I love my classroom, but my tables are horrible. I have 3 white circular tables that are so old, any pencil, crayon or marker stains it. Stains it so much that even Magic Eraser can't remove it!

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