Feels like Fall in Kindergarten

apple crisp

This week when I was coming up with a recipe for Friday Fun, I was inspired by the book The Apple Pie Tree, that the students listened to during Literacy Workstations. Since we have an abundance of apples on our apple trees at home, I thought the students would enjoy making apple cobbler. I sliced and peeled the apples and gathered the ingredients (brown sugar, nutmeg, flour, steel oats, and cinnamon). We were ready! The students’ job was to cut the apple slices into small pieces using pumpkin carving tools that I find to be much safer than even a butter knife.

crisp 3

After all the groups sliced the apples, the third group had a chance to measure and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Did the kitchen smell wonderful!


The last group measured and added the rest of the ingredients and then we waited.  After 30 long minutes, the students had a chance to enjoy the delicious apple cobbler.

crisp 2

In the other Friday Fun station, the students created fall leaves using liquid watercolor and diffusing paper.


The results are stunning!


Brave Taste Testers

Yesterday, the kindergarteners were introduced to the sense of taste. Did you know our tongue has 100,00 taste buds?!

Today, we used some of those taste buds to do a blind taste test. The students were told ahead of time that they would be tasting something sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. Ohhhh, you should have seen the excitement in their faces! Some were apprehensive about tasting the sour and spicy items, so I promised I would put the food into individual cups and they could spit it out if they wanted.

We started with a sour piece of lemon. No one was too grossed out by that! The students immediately guessed the taste. Next we moved on to a salty Cheez-It. Lots of thumbs up for that taste. Third, the students were given a teeny slice of a pepperoncini.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of the students tasting that!

fiona tasteevie taste


After a quick water break, the students had a chance to taste something sweet….a chocolate chip! No one spit that item out!

nahum taste

Yes, something sweet!

Since we were performing an experiment, we had to record our notes in our Five Senses Notebook. Most students’ favorite item was the chocolate chip. Their least favorite item, was, you guessed it, the pepperoncini.


 At the end of the experiment, I applauded the students for giving each of the items a try and trusting me with their taste buds. They were such great sports.

Next week, we will explore the sense of hearing and smell. Just wait and see what I have in store for the kindergarteners!

Blending Sounds

As we move along, learning a new sound each day, I thought today would be the perfect day for students to begin playing with the concept of blending two sounds together. I put together a magnetic white board and six of the letters we have learned, including a vowel, for each student. We first talked about how every word has to have a vowel, because vowels give words a voice. Vowels also make more than one sound. There are five standard vowels in our alphabet, a, e, i, o, and u.

hayden blending

Next, I made the sound that each letter makes and had the students move that magnetic letter up to the middle of their individual white board. Then I asked students to make the word /a/ /m/. We practiced touching each letter as we made the sounds and then we dragged our finger under the letters as we blended the sounds together to say the word am. Ding!  This is reading! We continued to play with the sounds and make new words. It is excited to see the beginning stages of reading come to life in Kindergarten!

jamie blending

Friday FUN!

Today we enjoyed another round of Friday Fun activities. My group focused on the sense of sight. Each student received a “camera” and was asked to take “pictures” of things they saw around the classroom. They then returned to my workstation and wrote and illustrated what they “captured”. The students had such a great time snapping pictures.


Miss Creel’s station explored the mathematical term, symmetry. In order to illustrate that our bodies are symmetrical, she took a piece of blue tape and used it to divide each students’ bodies visually in half. Then, students created a symmetrical painting, by painting on just half a piece of paper and then folding it in half and pressing it together. The results were a masterpiece that was the same on both sides!

symmetry1 symmetry symmetry2

The final Friday Fun center was play dough. Students strengthened their fine motor skills by rolling out the play dough and then sharpened their reading skills by using letter stamps to spell Heart Words. Of course, the soft play dough made it irresistible to not play with, so of course there was some ball rolling and pizza making to accompany the activity.


Storytelling vs. Writing Stories

Michael Katz wows the kindergarteners and first graders.

Michael Katz wows the kindergarteners and first graders.

We were lucky to have the fantastic Michael Katz on campus today. Mr. Katz is an unbelievable storyteller. Without using any props, he engages students in several stories over a period of 45 minutes. Mr. Katz usually retells stories that use repetition and always includes the children. They are given certain body movements to use with story, which allows the children to move around while remaining focused. I was impressed with the students’ ability to remain engaged while Mr. Katz told three, hilarious stories.

Mr. Katz tells a story about talking eggs.

Mr. Katz tells a story about talking eggs.

Later, we discussed Mr. Katz’s job as a storyteller. Then I posed the question, “What does an author do?” Here is what the students said:

what is a writer

Next, I read a book called, What Authors Do. The book outlined all the different parts to writing a book, from brainstorming ideas, to editing, to publishing. I then guided the students through the process using my own summer experience as an example. I modeled how to use “best guess” spelling and reminded the students that all they need to do is try their best at listening to the sounds.

what is a writer 2

Here is my example.

Students returned to their desks and got to work. Our first Writer’s Workshop was a success!

ww haydenww fiona








Tricky Teens

We have been exploring teen numbers. The teens often trick five year olds when they try to write them.  For example, when a young child hears sixteen, they like to write it 61, (six and one for the teen) following the usual pattern of two digit numbers. (For twenty-one, it makes sense that the number is written 21.) Tricky, right!? So we have spent two days exploring these Tricky Teen numbers. Today we focused on teen numbers being ten plus the other digit. I posed the question, “How can you show the number eleven using your fingers?” The children were paired up and encouraged to explore an answer to this question. One group showed one finger on each hand and exclaimed, “This looks like 11!” Another group showed me ten fingers quickly, put them down, and then one finger. skyla evie teen

This team worked together to show the number 11 using ten fingers plus one finger.

Once we figured out a way to build teen numbers working as a team, we built five more teen numbers. The children enjoyed working with their neighbors.

Next, I gave directions for an activity. Students chose a teen number and built a chain demonstrating the concept of “ten plus ___.” We decided that the tens would be demonstrated with a green paper chain and the second digit would be created using purple paper to create a purple chain.

hayden teenA student makes the number 16, or ten plus six.

We will continue working on this tricky concept, but for now, the students have a good foundation! (and they had a chance to strengthen their fine motor skills as well!)

tricky teems

Here is the final product! The students can reference their work daily!

Literacy Workstations

We began our Literacy Workstations this week! The students participated in eight different literacy activities (and one math activity) over a period of three days. On day one, the children enjoyed a rhyming activity, where they had to match pictures that rhymed and draw these images on a corresponding worksheet. (see picture below.)

lit centers

Students also began work on their Kindergarten Portfolio. They will work on this portfolio monthly and by June, you will be amazed at their progress.  This year I plan to add photos, in addition to students’ drawings.

 k portfolio

Another Literacy Workstation that the children enjoyed was the Listening Center. As they listen to a book on cd, students are exposed to new vocabulary. They practice following along in their own copy of the book and they identify words with which they are familiar. Students also work on comprehension

 lsitening center

Today is Friday, so that means Friday Fun Day! Students worked in the kitchen to make a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coconut tree, complete with the letters of the alphabet running up and down! Not only was this a healthy recipe to follow, but the children enjoyed eating it as well!

chicka 2 chicka

We included a math activity in our Friday Fun rotations! Since the children are learning about “Tricky Teens,” I decided to have them make a mobile filled with Tricky Teens. Students chose a teen number and then added the same number of beads to a string that hangs from the mobile. We ran out of time today and will definitely continue this counting activity next week.

teen beading

Next week, we will be in class full day, from 8:15-3:00. That means we’ll have time for P.E. every day! The students will also enjoy Choice Time, a time when they choose their activity and use their imaginations while interacting with their peers.


We are excited to be in our second week of school! The kindergarteners still attend school just until noon through the end of this week. They have the routines down, unpacking their backpacks when they first arrive and moving their apple with their name into a basket.

By now, the children have met all of the Specialist teachers! In Spanish, they are learning colors. It is so much fun to hear them repeating, “Rojo, rojo, rojo,” as another child searches the classroom for something red. Today we went to Library class. Mrs. Brace, our energetic librarian, read A Place Called Kindergarten. The children even got to check out a book to take home!

The children were eagerly anticipating music class The children learned how to hold a mallet in order to gently play the glockenspiels. I was delighted by the sounds when I entered the music room.


Here the students are playing the “Visitor” game, where the blindfolded child identifies the drum player just by hearing his/her voice.

Science class was exciting, as the children made their science notebooks.

A student gets started with the decorating.

A student gets started with the decorating.

These notebooks will chronicle what the children are learning and exploring during each class. They were thrilled to personalize the notebooks.

A students' finished masterpiece!

A students’ finished masterpiece!

There was lots of painting in art class, as the children began their Eric Carle caterpillars. The project began with the students painting pieces of white paper green and red. They will continue this project Friday.

We will have our second Technology class on Thursday. Last week the children practiced mouse skills and built a sily alien. They eagerly await Thursdays class when Ms. Remick promised another fun-filled lesson.

Finally, the children have had P.E. twice so far this year. Beginning next week, the children will enjoy “Rainbow Tag”, “Mr. Fox,” and “Capture the Flag” on a daily basis. P.E. with Mr. Robitaille is always a favorite time in the kindergarteners’ day.

Tomorrow we will start Literacy Workstations. Stay tuned for that important event!


We made it!


Our first day in Kindergarten was an absolute delight! The children arrived and I quickly snapped a photo of each of them to use during the school year for various projects. Once the bell rang, we headed to the Pavillion for our first Tecolote Tuesday assembly. Mr. Surber outlined his goals for these weekly assemblies and encouraged parents to attend. Students who celebrated birthdays were surprised with an all-school rendition of “Happy Birthday” and Mr. Surber gave us a special tip of the week.

Next, we went back to our classroom and I read the story The Night Before Kindergarten. We played a “getting to know you game” that the children enjoyed and discussed all the things the children did to get ready for their big day. Their answers ranged from “brushed my teeth” to “went to bed early.”

Here is what one student did last night to get ready for school

Here is what one student did last night to get ready for school.

Next, the children listened to the book Chrysanthemum, a sweet story about the specialness of our names. Following the read aloud, the children traced the letters of their name in glue and then sprinkled Jello powder over the glue. They were surprised to see the Jello powder changed colors! We graphed the number of letters that each child has in his/her name. And this was all before recess.

The magic of jello!

The magic of jello!

After recess, the students created a self portrait and worked with me in the kitchen to make play dough. I have included this amazing recipe below. Play dough is a great tool for children to use to build fine motor strength, while practicing academic skills. Stay tuned for some fun and educational play dough activities.

Recipe: -4 cups of flour -2 cups of salt -2 tablespoons of Cream of Tartar -4 cups of water 1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil -Food coloring Mix dry ingredients first. Place dry ingredients in a pan on low heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until it becomes the consistency of play dough. Remove from heat and knead any lumps. Keep in a sealed container.

-4 cups of flour
-2 cups of salt
-2 tablespoons of Cream of Tartar
-4 cups of water
-1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil
-Food coloring
Mix dry ingredients first. Place dry ingredients in a pan on low heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until it becomes the consistency of play dough. Remove from heat and knead any lumps. Keep in a sealed container.

We ended the day by singing our goodbye song on the way to car line. The children were happy to see their parents, but disappointed they didn’t have a second chance to play on the play ground….that will have to wait until tomorrow!

Here's a sweet gift we made for the parents to celebrate the first day of Kindergarten.

Here’s a sweet gift we made for the parents to celebrate the first day of Kindergarten.

Welcome Kindergarteners!

A student familiarizes herself with the SMART Board.

A student familiarizes herself with the SMART Board.

Today my new class stopped by for a quick hour to get oriented with our classroom. I decided to send the kiddos on a scavenger hunt! (Thanks for the idea, Mr. Surber.) The children giggled with glee, as they pulled their parents around the classroom, discovering the child friendly bathroom, moving their name on the SMART Board, and even meeting Miss Creel’s cat! (a photo, of course!) After we wrapped things up in the classroom, the children moved on to meet the Specialist teachers in their classrooms. I feel so fortunate to have true specialists teaching art, science, P.E., technology, music, Spanish, and library skills. They are a remarkable group of teachers. I’d say the scavenger hunt was a huge success on all fronts!

Tomorrow is the even bigger day, when my Kinders come from 8:15 to noon. I have so many fun things planned. Doing the scavenger hunt today frees up a lot of time for me tomorrow where we can play fun, “getting to know you” games, compare the letters in our names, listen to two stories, and make homemade play dough! (I’ll post the incredible recipe tomorrow.) I won’t have to give the students a tour of the classroom or campus because they did it themselves today! And that means less talking by me! (Last year I had a student ask me on the first day, “Do you always talk this much?” in his sweet Kindergarten voice. YAY!  With the scavenger hunt, now I won’t have to talk a lot!!)

First day, HOORAY!