Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard of Learning Centers!

Happy Thursday!  One more day in this crazy week!!  I really hope the monsters settle down soon.  LAWZY!    Spring is 2 weeks away!   YIPPEE!!

Today I am sharing some pictures from our learning centers this week and last!  Check out the monsters hard at work!

Froggy counting!  I have a ton of these shape pads in my classroom.  Guess what I will be doing this summer?  Yep, making more of these centers.  

This is a super easy and CHEAP  math center.  You program paper plates with numbers and the corresponding number of dots.  Then you cut the plate apart like a puzzle.  (You can also do this with uppercase and lowercase letters!)  Um, CHEAP CENTER ALERT!

Dino-Mite addition puzzles.  The monsters have gone gaga (I love Lady Gaga and am a little bitter her concert was cancelled.  Now where can I wear my unicorn hat?!  Geez.)

Compound word puzzles!  

I love that she is working like this.  Every center she works at is like this!  

These common core aligned centers are available by clicking on these pictures.  (PS  Can I just say that I LOVE creating these resources and seeing them in use in my classroom...and I love when ya'll use them.  Seriously, thank you for the amazing support!  No really.  Ya'll make me feel so amazing and loved and...oh my...there are no words...)  However, the highlight of this process is when I start printing something at school and there is a mad dash (yeah, who needs safe walking feet!) to the printer to see the new centers.  They are convinced that everything coming from the printer is a new center.  And when they see my name on the copyright, well, I'm more famous than Hello Kitty.  Nuff said.

We are preparing for a visit from our friend, Debbie Clement tomorrow.  My monsters LOVE her song Tall Giraffe!  So today we made torn paper TALL GIRAFFES!  (They are poster board sized!)  Can you say HUGE mess!  But super fun and super cute!  

This week we are not celebrating Dr. He Who Shall Not Be Named.  We're celebrating fairy tales with the theme Once Upon A Time.  Today was dressing like what you wanted to be when you grow up.  I want to be a teacher so that's no fun.  Well, a local high school drama club loaned us costumers so I am your knight in shining armor!  (Sequins= over-sized glitter.  Over-sized glitter= over-sized happy Mr. Greg.  Glitter=Mr. Greg's armor!)

And finally, I have to share this.  This just shows you how really crazy we are at the kindergarten smorgasboard!  

So, I have a monster who we will call "Forrest Gump" who is sneaky sneaky sneaky.  So I have my on this one.  Today I noticed her going from her backpack to  another cubbie.  Many times.  I questioned her and she insisted she wasn't bothering any backpacks.  She finally pointed to the hallway door (you know, pointing, the language of kindergarten.  Words optional.)  I looked behind the door.  And BAM here is today's discovery.  Life is like a box of chocolates....except in kindergarten we chew that chocolate up and spit it out in the hallway.  Yep people, that was my day.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard HALL PASS!

Howdy.  My pink, crusty, oozy eye says hello.  Another week.  Another germ from the monsters.  I have missed more school due to illness this year than in all my years teaching.  It's starting to annoy me.  I never get sick.  And this year...BAM!  Teachers should get hazmat pay just for the sheer number of germs we encounter!

Yep.  I did it.  What you can see is the pain and the hazy vision!  Fun days!  My pretty hazel eyes are surrounded by a lovely shade of pink!

Today I am linking up with Reagan at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits for this super fun linky party!  Who doesn't need a hall pass?!


My favorite product (s) as of now (seriously thought people, every time I finish one of my creations, it's my favorite...I really love them all...except those from early on...those are just embarrassing...I have big plans to fix those things up!) are my ten frame cards!  Something about the simplicity of them really makes me happy.  And the fact that the monsters LOVE them.  During math centers, I look around and see all of these ten frame cards everywhere and monsters working on them!  Makes a teacher happy!    And seriously, look at that GLITTER!!!!!!


The favorite area in my classroom is the storage area where I can hide from monsters and grown ups alike  classroom library!!  It's such a fun, cozy, happy place!  Pink carpet!  Palm tree!  Tons of animals and puppets!  Fish hats!  and 10,000 thousand books.  What's not to love!  The monsters love hanging out and reading in the library!  They love the puppets and the hats and books!!  

But I really do love my whole classroom!!!!  It's so eccentric and chaotic and fun....umm like me!  Next year...all glitter and mustaches people!


Ah, one of my signatures.  I am known for this.  My signal is a $10 techological revolution.  

It's a wireless doorbell!!!!  True story.  It plugs into an outlet and you carrry the button with you.  When the bell rings, the monsters stop what they're doing, put their bubbles in, their hands go in their lap and they look at me.  (OK, so that's what I see in my mind...)  The best thing about this signal is that they can hear it even when they're extremely loud.  (Have I mentioned that they won't stop talking?!)  And it's a peaceful sound!!  


At work?!?!  Is there such a thing?!  I will be a sappy one...when my door is closed and it's just me and the monsters doing what we do.  That's my sanity.  No politics, no meetings, no paperwork, no administration, no co-workers.  Just me and 17 monsters being monsters.  Singing, dancing, being artists, laughing, loving and learning (all common core aligned of course!).  That is my sanity during the day!  

And a Route 44 Coke (with light ice) from Sonic always helps too!

Here is the latest and greatest Kindergarten Smorgasboard Common Core aligned creation!

I have been using the word worm in my classroom for 4 years and LOVE IT!  It's a great way to engage and excite the monsters about sight words!  Check it out!

Don't forget to enter this giveaway!  4 amazing products.  4 amazing bloggers (myself included...i'm tooting my own horn for once!) and 4 chances to win!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Day In The Life...

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great Monday!  I had the day off!!!!  We had the inspection on our new home today!!  It went GREAT!  I will share one picture with you so I don't ruin the House Hunters episode when we are featured on the show!

I love these floors!

This is the view from our master bedroom balcony!!!  I forsee lots of blogging and creating from this spot!

Alright, enough about the new house....onto what you came to read!  Something useful and beneficial for your students!  

I am going to start answering my most frequently answer question..."Mr. Greg, can I have a specific rundown of your day and what it looks like?"  

Well, I am here to help and oblige!  I am going to break this down into several posts so I don't bore you with details!  Today I am starting with my morning meeting and morning routine.

7:45-8:00 am  Students arrive, put their things in their cubbies which are located in the hall.  They must also read the password (sight word) to enter.  They place their folders in the box which is located just inside the door.  Then they get their breakfast (yes, we do breakfast in the classroom and no I do not like it.) and eat.  Breakfast ends promptly at 8:00 a.m.  This is the school policy but we tend to be fluid on those policies but I am a stickler for the 8:00 cut off.  When the 8:00 bell rings breakfast is OVER.  DONE.  FINISHED.  I immediately put the breakfast into the hallway and the monsters dispose of all trash.  This includes everyone.  Even if you arrived at 7:59.  I know it's harsh and not fair, but it keeps things consistent and keeps everyone on schedule.  And we don't spend all morning nibbling on food!  (Now, you all know me well enough to know that if a monster is late, I will give them some gummies or peanuts or a little snack so they're not starving....but I do remind them to come on time and I will remind their parents!)

Yes, THE GREAT MJ helps us with our sight words every morning!

8:00-8:10 students write in their journals.  They must write their name, the date, and draw a picture.  They must also write a sentence about their picture.

When they finish their journal, I check it and we have a little conference on writing skills (punctuation, capitalization, etc).  If they finish before 8:10, they read in the library or from their book bags.  Believe it or not, this is a motivator for my monsters   They want to do a good job in their journal and finish so they can read!!!  YAY!  We love our books!

8:10 The cleanup music starts.  This year, our clean up song is The Monster Mash.  As they clean up, students come to our circle carpet ("The Monster Pit") for our morning meeting.

On the carpet, we sit cris-cross applesauce with our hands in our lap and bubbles in our mouth.  Morning meeting follows a pattern:

Greeting, sharing, activity, message.

Each morning we greet each other using a variety of greetings.  The key to greeting is that everyone is greeted, we can hear you greeting each other and you're looking at your friend's eyes.  

Monday, everyone shares 1 thing about their weekend.  I ask 1 question about what each child shares. And I share about my weekend.

The rest of the week I choose 4 student's to share.  After they share, the other monsters ask 
questions about what was shared.  This helps us build our questioning skills.  I can tell you that the quality of questions from a few months ago until now is amazing!  They are asking questions to get more details, not just yes or no questions!!  We also do a "thumbs up" if you've done the same thing as your friend shared.  This eliminates copy cats!  

We do a short activity every day.  There are a variety of activities we do from simple I Have Who Has games to movement games.  And some days, we crank up Gangnam Style and DANCE!  There are several I Have Who Has games on my freebies page!

Here is a freebie! Several of our favorite greetings and activities!


The message always follows a pattern and schedule.  

It is written on chart paper and reads:

"Good morning Mr. Greg's Little Monsters!"
"Today is (day of the week), (month, date, year)"

Today, we will....(I give them a preview of the day!)

"Love, Mr. Greg"

Early in the year, the message is written by me.  Now, the monsters are writing the date and the Love, Mr. Greg closing.  

We read the morning message together.  The part of the message that is a preview of the day is written in two colors!  The words in RED are what the monsters read (sight words, words we see daily and know, etc) and the words in BLACK are words I read.  

The message also includes an interactive portion so students are engaged in the message.  This also follows a schedule:
Monday:  we write the letter for the week (not that focus on a letter because that's bad!  No.  Bad.  No.  Bad.)
Tuesday-word web of words that begin with that dreaded and forbidden sound of the week.
Wednesday-Math skill
Thursday-Math Skill or sight words (locate sight words in the message and circle)

And that concludes our morning meeting!  We move immediately into our reading blog.  The morning meeting starts at 8:10 and is over by 8:30-8:40.

I have used these books to help me with morning meeting!

The next question to answer today is this:  "Mr. Greg, how do you everything you do?"

Well, at school, we have an extended day.  We are in school for 8 hours!  7:45-3:45 so that gives me an extra hour to do a lot!  We stay BUSY with very little downtime!  

As far as blogging and creating and all of that fun stuff, I am very lucky to have a supportive Mister who is OK with me working on my laptop while we watch TV or hang out!  This is my hobby.  I love to blog and I love creating resources for my class!  And I don't sleep a lot!  That helps too!  I just stay busy all of the time!   Who needs sleep?!  

So, here is my new profile picture for Facebook and TPT!  Thoughts?

And check out my newest common core aligned creation!  I hope to have this creepy crawly finished tonight!

Don't forget to enter this awesome giveaway!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Schedulin' Sunday!

Can I just say that it feels good knowing I don't have to work tomorrow!?!  True story.  I took the day off for the inspection on the new house!  Ah, three day weekend.  SHHHH I also have training on Wednesday that we're conducting off site so that's another day off.  Yeah.  3 day week.  Sadly, it is our reading celebration week so I am missing out on the fun!

Speaking of reading week, I am going to be honest with you.  I love my friends (I don't consider you followers, I consider you my friends!)  so here's the deal.  (You can throw things at me and not like me anymore...I will be hurt but I will understand.)  My class is not celebrating the big fancy reading week across the nation this year.  Nor are we celebrating a certain physician who writes books about a feline in a fedora.  Nope.  Ain't happening.  Here's why:  the above "he who shall not be named" corporation is extremely hostile towards teachers and classrooms.  Did you know that if you or your school uses the slogan for this week (the read around the nation theme slogan) that you're in violation of the "physician's" copyright?  True story.  The company was a marketing GENIUS by copyrighting that slogan and the logos.  Then they got teachers and schools and companies and celebrities to all jump on the bandwagon.  BAM!  Hello money!  But guess what?!  They don't like teachers.  They don't like teachers using anything even resembling their stuff in our classrooms or creations.  They will come after you.  Sad sad sad day.  I understand protecting their brand and making a profit, but without teachers and students, there would be no brand.  So, no feline in a fedora for us.  Thoughts?!

Our hallway was chosen to do the Three Little Pigs, so this week our focus is the three little pigs (I am going to continue fairy tales next week...).  Our door is decorated.  But it will not be seen in public because it did not turn out great.  The kids DID awesome but my design was junk.  Sad day.  The monsters love it though!!!!!!

Instead we are celebrating fairy tales!  So..."Once Upon A Time..." here is (although short!) Schedulin Sunday!

click to download my weekly plans!

Monday doesn't count because I have a sub!  WOOHOO!!


We will review yesterday's book (which I hope the sub read!) "The True Story of The Three Little Pigs!"  and then Mr. Greg will read "The Three Little Pigs!"  After discussing the story, we will create a double bubble thinking map to compare and contrast the stories.

We will write about the big bad wolf using a predictable chart.  "The big bad wolf is ..... if you see him, RUN!"

We are learning the "Wh" sound this week so we will of course be making a WHALE of a silly hat!  We will also be working on ending sounds.  I adapted my middle sounds smart board activity to focus on ending sounds.  Let's see how they do.  Middle sounds was a struggle...and Mr. Greg did loose some hair over those sounds...hopefully I won't lose more with ending sounds!

In math we will start working on decomposing numbers.  Today we are going to use DOGGIES!  True story.  No felines in our room people.  We're dog lovers!  We will be using my Doggie Decomposing creation to introduce decomposing numbers.  Students will have a work mat (dog paws of course) and St. Bernard (oh how I miss my Saint, Abercrombie!)  counters.  I will give them a number and they will place that many counters in the big box on the work mat.  Then we will talk about decomposing the number (yes, I use the big word!) into smaller pieces.  They will move the counters into the 2 smaller groups.  I will record their answers on our chart.  And we will be having some doggone fun while meeting common core standards!!

Our craftivity today will be piggies!  Of course!

I found this adorable piggie craft on Rainbows Within Reach which is my friend Debbie Clement's blog!  Um....guess who will be visiting my classroom FRIDAY!!!!!!!?????????????  True story.  DEBBIE IS COMING!  DEBBIE IS COMING!  She had some big announcement today about a keynote at the Kindergarten conference in Vegas...but we all know nothing is better than coming to the land of kindergarten smorgasboard!  

Wednesday!  SUB AGAIN!


Today we are dressing up as what we want to be when we grow up.  Well, our hallway decided to play into the fairy tale theme and we have costumes.  I won't reveal the secret but today's silly hat is going to be awesome!  

Today we will read Three Fish and The Bad Shark.  After we read and discuss the story, we will do a double bubble map to compare and contrast this story to The Three Little Pigs.  We will publish our wolf writing and work on our ending sounds with a picture sort!  

In math, we will continue our decomposing number fun!  I found some great ideas to use at my friend Maria at Kinder-Craze has a super blog post about this skill.  So I am borrowing from her!  We will start with cubes and practice making 5.  After we master 5, we will practice with 4.  After we master the blocks, we will switch to 1" paper squares.  We will be using Maria's Decomposing numbers packs to help us with our work.  Be sure to check them out! 

We will be preparing for our visit by Debbie Clement by embarking on two projects.  One is top secret.  Sorry Debbie.  It's a surprise!  

The other project we are going to be working on is a torn paper project.  My monsters are loving Debbie's song, Tall Giraffe.  So each pair of monsters will get a posterboard sized TALL giraffe!  They will use torn paper to decorate their giraffe!  I can't wait to see how they turn out!


It's here.  I have waited for this day since I first met Debbie on Facebook.  You have no idea how excited I am about this visit.  OMG!  There just isn't enough glitter.  We will celebrate Debbie's visit with a TALL GIRAFFE silly hat!!!  Of course!  I cannot wait to sing and dance with Debbie and have her meet the famous monsters!

The kids are so excited that the person singing on the iPod is coming to their classroom!!!!!  Vegas Schmegas.  Excited monsters is where it's at!

Today is pajama day also!  And Friday so we will be enjoying Foodie Fun Friday with pigs in a blanket!  

We will also be doing our word study, picture sorts, calendar time and centers.  I have tons of pictures to show you of some fun new centers the monsters are loving!  Stay tuned!  

We will also be reading this book as part of our 3 pigs week!

And since you made it through the madness, here are some freebies!  Visit the freebies page to get yours!

Check out this give away!  You can visit all four blogs and enter so you have more chances to win!!!!  These are some of my favorite ladies so be sure to visit them!

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I am linked up with my good friend, DeeDee Wills for a lesson plan linky!  Check out her blog for amazing ideas!!!

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