Navigation Bar

Fine Motor Skills? YES Please!

As a kindergarten teacher, I have seen a wide variety of students come through my classroom doors for the last 14 years. I have had students who could read, students who did not even recognize their name, students that could add/subtract as fast as any grown up I know, students who had never used technology and students who could already program with technology!

BUT one thing I have noticed is that their fine motor skills are WEAK. They complain if we have to color in a picture that their hands hurts. They don't like to write, color or draw. 

Normally, I do lots of non-academic fine motor centers at the beginning of the year----like lacing cards, snap cubes, clothes pins sorting and manipulatives.  The last 2 years I have kept fine motor centers going ALL year. My kids love them and I love that I am building the muscles they need to be successful. 

Here are some my favorites from this year.
screws and bolts---These are CHEAP and easy to find. I am going to get some REALLLLLLY big ones soon for them because---well because WHY not!?

My students love building flower shapes. I found them on WISH. Have you ever shopped there for your classroom? I find some great things there including these mini peg boards.

My favorite new FINE motor center this year is this simple soap dish that I found at the Dollar Tree. They come in 2 sizes and my kiddos love using the glittery pony beads and tongs to cover the shape.

And now that the school year is almost 1/2 way over I wanted to add an academic twist to this center. I used Perler Beads, large Perler Bead boards and the sight word cards (you can download these for free) 

Do you want these fun sight sight word cards to use in your classroom? You can down load them here on my TPT store. I would love for you to leave feedback. What are your favorite fine motor centers----I would love some new ideas for my kinders.

Summer of 2015= Swimming with the SHARKS!!!

I am very excited to join Kindergarten Smorgasboard with this online book club!!!!!!! I am currently teaching in Kentucky in a small town after living in a bigger town in NOVA for many years SO I jumped at the chance to be part of this book club!  Thanks so much for hosting this Greg! 

This summer has been the summer of the sharks! Every time we turn on the news there is another sighting or even worse an attach! EEEEk uhmmm did I mention our beach trip is quickly approaching? 

A few weeks ago, I took my 5 year old, soon to be Kindergartner, to see the Disney movie Inside Out. This movie could have been about learning instead of emotions and it would basically be a story of this chapter. The movie talked about the core memories and how important they are. In education we call that same thing back ground knowledge!

 I can imagine what it would be like if our students had little people standing at their educational memory control panel. Instead of emotions like the movie, the characters could a scientist, historian, mathematician ...etc to help them recall the information! QUICK he wants to know who is on the PENNY.......... makes me giggle just thinking about it! 

Frank Smith says, "We can only learn from activities that are interesting and comprehensible to use; in other words, activities that are satisfying. 

Well, that seems easy...SO why  don't we just to that?!?! that I am thinking about it maybe it is not so easy. How do we get every student excited about every lesson to a level that they retain information and can apply it?

In this chapter,  it has many example of students doing the work. They are grouping the materials into displays, they are doing the research and deciding what is important, they are comparing the material, and they are choosing what books they use for the research.   Students need to be engaged at higher levels to make true connections! 

I know as I look forward to this new year,  I plan on giving my kids more opportunities to do the work...the hard stuff...the fun stuff....and I look forward to watching their files get full of new information that they have made new connections with! 

Back to School with the Cat in the Hat!

I have moved from VA to KY....we are very excited to be near family and to start our next adventures. I was not excited to set up my new room. I loved my old room. Picture this. HUGE storage closet, wall to wall built in storage and shelves, newer school and in a neighborhood 2.3 miles from my home AND my sitter was between the school and home (talk about dream commute)!

But change is great and with change comes growth... AND I am ready to grow. I am very excited to join my new team and start working at my new school too.  I was SOOOOO excited to get a job teaching kindergarten at one of the largest schools in the county!!! (really this was crazy luck and perfect timing with someone retiring)

When I went to see my classroom this is what it looked like:

 You know the look of chairs stacked and furniture pushed to the corner of the room? This is WHAT almost EVERY room in America looks like in the summer and each year teachers say HMMMM how will I ever get this put back together? And somehow with a lot of work and little magic it happens every year!

The lady that I replaced was SOOOO nice and left all of her materials. She left some pretty amazing things but it took time to look through them all! I was truly blessed with lots of materials and books by the teacher that retired. 

After a few days, my room looked like this

Then after several day and I do NOT want to know how many looks like this!!!!

This desk was looking sad...then I added my name with some vinyl and in the open spot I put a Thing 1 and Thing 2. 

I added their names to the little socks and balanced the line of socks up...oops!!! 

Once again you will see vinyl.....this is my line up number line. Each student will be assigned a number and that is where they will line up all year! No pushing no shoving and each student gets a chance to be line leader. 

This is my center shelf. I will put the items that they will grab and go with in these tubs! 

This is my ONLY storage....EEK. I have about 12 more TUBS like this at home but I only brought what I needed right away!~ 

I needed a curtain AND I need to learn to sew---- but not this summer....SO I just cut ribbon to make a curtain.

Student papers (lots of them for their parents to fill out)
Student welcome bags and parent welcome bags. 
The student welcome bags are free to download on my TPT store :)

My classroom did not have a carpet by the Promethean Board. I picked these very Dr. Seuss like carpets up at Ikea for only $14 dollars each!!!

My behavior chart!

Theme books and where my assistant will pull her groups! 

The library and what will soon become our wall of family photos.

Back of the room looking forward. 

Side of the room looking to other side

My adorable pennants clips that my friend designed for me!!! How lucky am I?  

This is my classroom....some things have already changed since I took these pictures on Thursday :) I am sure I will continue to make changes as I make this new space my new home away from home. I hope you enjoyed my little tour AND I would love to see your classroom. Please leave a link and I will check it out! 

New Year, New School, New State, New Goals

WOW!!! I really did not post at all last year. I am going to do a great job this year!!! Really, I am! Just typing it makes it a little more real.

My life has been in boxes for the last few weeks. I recently moved from VA to KY and now I will be teaching in KY. I will still be teaching kindergarten! Thank goodness! I can NOT imagine  if I had to teach another grade---I love my little ones so much!

I am excited/nervous/overwhelmed with my new job, school and COMMON CORE! I have not taught the Common Core before because VA is one of the states to opt out! is to new adventures and CURRENT, UP to DATE  post from me!

Now, I have to go unpack a few more boxes and try and find the printer's power cord!?!? Silly movers must have packed it in a different box!

Sneak Peek into my classroom....and a Freebie!

I have my first day with my little ones on Tuesday! I have spent the last few weeks getting ready for them! Here is a look at my classroom!

I love Target...I got these small cards there added some vinyl (another one of my favorite things) and this is where I will write the objective that we are covering each week! 

My teacher friend across the hall bought the cutest owl set on TPT that had months in it! I am a little bummed that we can not buy/sell Dr. Seuss things on TPT I whipped this up to use in my classroom only!

I also made the Days of the week that are hanging under the calendar! 

My little ones are always asking when is LUNCH, ENCORE, and when do we go HOME! Thanks to these adorable clocks from they know!

I also got this plate at Target added a little vinyl and my little ones can move their clips to the CLIP WALL OF FAME after 10 days of color promotions (so anything higher than green)

This is my behavior chart!

My whole team does a family wall. I loooooove this and it is one of my favorite things. Each student gets a square plate (they look like picture frames) They place a family photo inside and then we hang them here!

I wanted to show you my adorable polka dot vinyl. My students will have library cards here soon!

So excited to start BUILD  this year! I can't until these bins are filled with activities for my little ones!

Does anyone else do BUILD? Do you have any tips or tricks for me?

This will be my 3D word wall. My student each get assigned a letter and they bring in items to show and share with class. One of the items is stored here and I add the word too!

With all of the super FUN colors of tape available this year I got tape to go around each table so that they color buckets matched the edge of the table too! FYI this is a behavior tip too. My kiddos sit on the SAME color carpet square as their color. NO MORE fighting and I rotate colors every few weeks!

I am very excited to get this school year started! I can't wait to see what adventures are waiting for room 105!

NOW for the Freebie...if you would like the Dr. Seuss months and weeks...just leave me your email address and I will share them with you but just this week! :) 
Designed by A Hughes Design