Classroom #2 Tour, Organization, Team Teaching, and More!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A kindergarten position opened up this summer at my school, and I jumped at it!  I loved second grade, but I was ready for a change.  The position entailed team teaching with one of my good friends, which was something I had always wanted to try.  She and the previous teacher tried out team teaching in kindergarten the previous year and had tremendous success.  After watching them and hearing all about it, I knew I had to go for it.

We have two classrooms, one is hers and the other is mine.  We have a total of 37 students, but we divide them up into two teams: green and yellow teams.  We split for things like unpacking, lunch count, attendance, going to lunch, packing up, and math.  It also helps us at parent teacher conference, since we each meet with our own team's parents.  We do teach whole group math to our own teams.  It helps break up our morning and helps with the noise.  We do lots of group work in math, so it's just easier that way.  We each lead teach every other day to the whole group in the other subjects.  The other teacher is helping students, passing out materials, and getting things ready for the next activity.  I am telling you that I am not sure if I can ever go back to doing it by myself!  ;) I have already given you a tour of my classroom, so I want to share Holly's room with you today!

This is the green team room where we do all of our whole group.   All of the lights are on for these photos, but we usually keep the overhead lights off and only use lamps.  Holly has lots of lamps around the space so it lights it up really nicely.  We have eight students tables around the classroom and it actually doesn't feel crowded when all of the students are in the room.  

We picked up these two rugs at Ikea this summer.  One is for yellow team and the other for green team.  Twenty students can fit on each rug.  They have held up really nicely so far and do not show dirt at all! We have the small squares around the rug for friends who have a hard time staying in their own space on the carpet.

We would love to take those ugly TVs down!  Holly had the idea to cover it up with a cloud.  We also made this banner to hang above her desk.  She needed some pink in her room to go along with the color scheme for both rooms, so we made these pink apples from lanterns.  They also match all of her apple accents.

This is the green team cubby area.  I love the clouds and her apple lights that she also uses to hang student crafts.

This is the back of the classroom.  We fit two tables back here.  One table also serves as a small group meeting area, too.  The shelf there houses small group materials.  Our alphabet wall and compliment board are back here, as well.  

This is our Kindercraze inspired alphabet wall.  You can read about how it works on her blog HERE.  The font I used to make the letters is KG Shake It Off.  I printed the letters on card stock, cut them out, and pasted them to black card stock.

The alphabet line comes from Schoolgirl Style's Happy Rainbow collection.  I stuck some pictures on them to help students.  She has them hanging on a really cool wire line we picked up at Ikea.

We post our standards on this focus wall by Learning in Wonderland.

Holly posted the WBT signals on these clipboards and attached a little pennant.  You can't have too many pennants!  

I had lots of questions for her about how we were going to organize their supplies.  I think we have a great system for managing 37 little ones' things!  The shelf below holds things we use quite often.  Holly picked up these little plastic paint cups from the hardware store to hold glue sticks and each tables' scissors.  We just pass them out when we need them.  Each table also has a glue sponge they use, too.  The little red tool boxes hold counting objects for math.

Each table also has a pencil cup from the Target Dollar Spot.  We keep pencils and dry erase markers in them.  Holly hot glued pom poms to the ends for erasers.  

We use this cart to keep us organized for the week.  The current week's activities are in the tops bins.  We start planning and pulling for the next week on Wednesday and put those activities down below in those bins.  We just move everything up on Friday for the next week and we are ready to go!

Each child has a chair pocket in the whole group classroom.  They have their own crayon box, which only has crayons in it right now.  They each also have a green folder.  We use these for morning work. It is full of handwriting practice in sheet protectors.  They just use their dry erase markers each morning to practice writing their name, alphabet, shapes, colors, numbers, number words, and tracing different types of lines.  We also add in a seasonal practice page. 

This is a copy of our schedule.  It has taken some tweaking, but it's getting better since the kids have gotten into a routine.
We get lots of questions and lots of crazy looks when we tell people we teach 37 kindergarteners in one room!  Do you have any questions about it?  Do you team teach?  If so, what are some tips you may have for us?  

By the way, I am LOVING kindergarten!  Holly is one of the most amazing teachers I know, and I have learned so much from her!  We have lots of fun, too!  I do, however, miss second grade!  My heart will always be there, so I am going to continue creating activities for second grade and testing them out at my school on the second graders there.  It is so fun to create for that age group and I don't think I can ever stop!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of the weekend!

Peek At My Week {Apples and Molly Lou Melon}

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I am so excited to be linking back up again with Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten to share my plans for the week.  First, I want to share what we did last week.  I am new to the kindergarten world, so I knew I need some help from some amazing teachers in the blogosphere.  I decided to use Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills' Guiding Readers ELA Unit.  It has been amazing and such a time saver for me!  I want to incorporate a craftivity or art activity each week with the unit, and I couldn't really find one for Molly Lou Melon.  So, I came up with this simple little Molly Lou Melon craftivity.

Molly Lou Melon Craftivity

Molly Lou Melon Craftivity

Molly Lou Melon Craftivity      Molly Lou Melon Craftivity

The writing is from the Guiding Readers ELA Unit below.

The next two weeks are going to be all about APPLES!  

This upcoming week is going to be really crazy.  We have our school's fall carnival on Thursday and no school on Friday.  We had so many apple activities we wanted to incorporate that we are going to have to spread the apples out over the next two weeks.  

I only included the first half of our day's lesson plans, because after lunch, we have specials, recess, snack, and afternoon meeting only.  You can find all of the activities from the units below.



Before I left on Friday, we got everything ready to go for next week, so I snapped a few pics.  We are doing a fun little inferencing activity to introduce apples.  We are going to put apples in the bags and let students use their senses to try to conclude what is in the bags.  We really want them to practice using descriptive words this week with apples.  You can find this activity in my All About Those Apples pack.

apple inferences

Students will use this recording sheet to record their findings.  My kindergarteners would probably mostly use pictures to record their details.  We are actually going to do this part whole group.

apples main idea and details

We will read an informative book about apples and record details on the apples on the anchor chart above.  Then, we will work on labeling parts of an apple in the craftivity below.

label an apple craft

Do you have this book, Bad Apple by Edward Hemingway?  It's super cute and I just knew we had to use it!  We aren't going to have time for it this week, but I just wanted to share this craftivity incase you needed something to go along with it.  It deals with bullies and friendship, which is something we really need to hear.

apple craft

apple craft

Apple Week is one of my favorites, and I am super excited to kick it off tomorrow.  Head on over to Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten to see what everyone else is up to this week.  Have a great week!  

Making Inferences

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Inferences are my favorite!  There are so many fun ways to teach students how to infer during reading.  It requires some higher order thinking skills, so it can be difficult for students to grasp.  I have some ways and ideas to make teaching making inferences super fun and engaging!  

I like to kick of the unit with a Pixar short film.  I actually show one to kick off each day of the unit as an attention grabber.  They are super quick, fun, and get the students thinking.  They are inferring and don't even realize it yet.  This is a great one to use, but there are tons more out there that would work.

As with every new concept, I always make an anchor chart for us to refer to all throughout the unit.  I introduce inferences with this chart, and then I have the students talk about it.  I then chant the parts of how to make an inference with a motion for each part and have the students echo me.  We do this a lot! After about a week of doing that, they will know what an inference is for the rest of the year!  It's crazy how it helps them remember!  You can just randomly ask them during the year, and they can use the terminology and everything.  They're amazing!

making inferences anchor chart

That's Miss Nelson from Miss Nelson is Missing on the chart.  That is the first book I use as a read aloud for my students to practice making inferences.  Make sure they have not read it before.  If someone has heard it, tell them to keep what happens a secret!  This book is perfect for making inferences.  I use it first because there are always students who have read it before, so I like to use it for the whole group introduction.

As I am reading the book, I am completing one of these graphic organizers, modeling how to properly make an inference and record my clues and schema.  Students are filling one out with me on their clipboards at the carpet.  You could even make an anchor chart you fill out by sharing the pen, but I like to use one of these to make them familiar with the format.  I use these all throughout the unit.

We then made these scary Miss Swamp craftivities!  Even though she is super scary, you can't help but love her!

miss nelson is missing craftivity

During my inference unit, I like to incorporate lots of different books and read alouds.  These are some of my all time favorites.  Chris Van Allsburg may be my favorite author.  His books are so mysterious and amazing!  So much inferring is required!

making inferences books

The following day, I start releasing a little more independence.  We, of course, repeat over and over what it means to make an inference using whole brain strategies.  We do another story and craftivity and then they participate in a cooperative group activity.  If time is an issue for you, you could have them do this during small group instruction or even during centers.  It would also be a great early finisher activity students could easily grab and work on.

I create 3 or 4 case files like the one below and fill each with graphic organizers and a book or passage.  


Students read the book or passage inside and complete the graphic organizer together.  The first time I do this unit, I like to use all picture books.  When I do this unit again, I might vary it with other books and passages.  The great thing about my inference pack is that you can use it over and over throughout the year.  There are too many activities to fit in one week.

I like to put a question in which they have to infer in the file.  It gives them a purpose and keeps them focused.  It's the "CASE" they have to solve!

Students wear these little name badges while working.  They fit in a name badge holder or you could just paper clip them to their shirts.

I always like to incorporate craftivities into my comprehension units.  We make pigs for Piggie Pie and teddy bears for Corduroy.  

making inferences piggie pie craftivity

making inferences corduroy craftivity

When we work on inferences again and throughout the year, we make flap books, mini-booklets. and add to our interactive notebooks.  I like to add variety to the different activities that we complete.  

At the end of each lesson, I try to do some sort of exit ticket to check their understanding.  I may read a short passage or story and ask them an inferring question about it.  They write their inference on a slip of paper and clip it up. Last year, I had a board for exit tickets.  Each student had a clip for their exit ticket.  It was quick and simple.  It's also really great for observations!

exit tickets

I have actually done some of these activities for observations, and my administrators always really love it!  I have gotten great scores because of the rigor, pacing, and variety of activities and assessments.  I hope this helps you out and makes teaching inferences easier and more fun for you and your students!  If you need any of these inference activities, click the pic below.

It's been a busy but fun weekend.  Fall has definitely been in the air!

I went with some teacher friends to the Nashville GoNoodle meet-up.  It was so fun!  Mr. Catman was there, so that was really cool to sees the man behind the mask!  Go Noodle has been a lifesaver in the classroom, so it was really fun to see the people behind such an amazing site.

I also went to the Strawberry Patch Barn Sale in Hartsville, Tennessee with my mom, sister, and friend.  So many fun booths and yummy food.  It definitely made me excited for fall!