June 25, 2012

Aligning With the Common Core

This week the kindergarten teachers at my school will get together to work on summer curriculum in an effort to align the kindergarten curriculum with the Common Core Standards. This is something that we have been working on for the past several months, but now we need to work more seriously on it and get it more complete for September.
One of the more challenging areas we have found is to take our many themes and to try to condense them into more in-depth, meaningful themes. Right now we have many themes that last for 1-week or 2-week durations. Now we will look to dig deeper and extend our themes into 4-week themes.

I would love to hear from anyone who is working through the same process as we are, or if you have completed it already, please share any advice and/or suggestions! What are your themes? Have you condensed them for the Common Core? What kind of shift has it made to your curriculum?


June 22, 2012

End of the Year - Pinterest Favorites

June 18, 2012

Last Day and Getting Ready for Screening - How Does Your School Handle Screening?

Friday was the last day of school for my students. I always have really mixed emotions this time of year. Although I am excited about summer and the thought of spending more time with my own children, even excitement about summer school, I for some reason never get the "count down" excitement that I feel like I should have this time of year. Instead, I often feel more anxious about the year ending. With feelings like "I need more time" "Did I cover everything" "Are they ready for first grade?" As I wrap up my 13th year of teaching, I can't help but wonder, "what am I missing"?  Where is my "whoot-whoot" summer countdown? Maybe next year...

I along with my co-teachers did receive a precious gift this year that I thought I would share. I thought it was priceless.

No matter how many times I rotate these - they are still sideways...ugh!!

Today was kindergarten celebration for our students.  Even though there is still one full week of school left, the kindergarten students are finished. Our school ends school for the kindergarten students one week before the other grades so that we can conduct our kindergarten screening. We have tried having screening at several different times of the year, but have found this to be the best that works for our school. This works best for us because we often have a difficult time getting enough substitute teachers to cover all of the kindergarten teachers and others that participate in the screening process. This way we do not have to worry about our classrooms having coverage and can focus on the screening process.

June 6, 2012

Under the Sea!!

     We just completed a wonderful three week unit on oceans and ocean animals. My co-teacher, Sue, is an Ocean nut! She travels to Florida every winter with her mother and comes back with a every shell imaginable and know everything possible about each shell. As part of our ocean unit, every day Sue gives each of the students a new shell and teaches them several interesting facts about that shell. They get to place it in their shell bag. At the end of our unit, they are able to take these shells home.

     We also have students complete a special ocean animal project. As a culminating activity to our ocean unit, we have a ocean presentation day where we invite parents to the classroom to hear all of the ocean animal presentations the students have brought in to share. Of course there are always a few that need to be completed at school because they are not done at home. That is to be expected.
    Here are some pictures of our classroom - it has turned into an ocean!

An ocean mural

     Years ago, Sue put together this wonderfully age-appropriate research project for our kindergarten students to work on at home. I have uploaded a copy of this to Scribd. At our ocean animal presentations, the students shared their reports as well as the projects they made. They were welcome to invite their parents to help them share their presentations.
Sharing projects

Here is a link to the project I uploaded at Scribd.  Ocean Project