Saturday, July 30, 2011

Look What I Found: Shoes for Pete!!!


Like many of my blogging friends, I am head over heels in love with Pete the Cat.  Because of my love for him, I decided to make Pete my class mascot this year (sigh - that means my next purchase will have to be a stuffed Pete!!!!)  If you haven't met Pete yet, you really should.  Click here to find Pete on Amazon.

Since Pete is now my class mascot, that means I need SHOES!  Lots and lots of shoes.  So yesterday I went into Dollar Tree determined to find shoes - and I did!

SET #1    30 shoes per pack!!!   (The white paper in the background is 8 1/2"  X 11").

SET #2    15 shoes per pack

... and my fav: a banner with REALLY large red shoes! (... sorry cat not included!  But obviously this banner has the very important feline approval.)  The banner says "Put Your Best Foot Forward!"  At first I was going to just cut out the red shoes and toss the rest of the banner, but now I am thinking I will use the whole banner.  Hmmm .... Put your best foot forward just like Pete the Cat!  Sounds good!

Now I have to figure out exactly how to use all of these shoes!  But first, I have a date with my scissors because yesterday I laminated many of my gifts from my blogging friends!  

It's all good!  (or so says the very wise Pete and I choose to believe him!)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Birthday Bags

A few years ago I was observing in a first grade class and saw the most adorable idea: birthday bags!  I just had to make these the following year and I LOVE them.  Special thanks to Annie in Littleton, Colorado for this great idea!

Here's the scoop:  Ahead of time the teacher makes a birthday bag for each child in her class.  The bag is filled with little odds and ends.  Each bag is labeled with a name and a birth date.  The bags are all posted on a bulletin board and are a great decoration.  (I put mine in that narrow space above the whiteboard. Cute!!)  When a child walks into class on his birthday, his birthday bag is waiting on his desk (or that's the plan).  My kiddos LOVE these bags. They all know exactly where their own bag is at and it is the point of many conversations with me.  (Will I really get the bag on my birthday?  Yes. You won't forget will you?  Of course not.  (I hope!)  Can I look in my bag today?  No, you have to wait until your birthday.  Etc.

This is one of my birthday bags.  I don't have my class list yet, but once I do I will type the child's name and birthdate on a large label and stick it to the bag.  (It is much easier to FIRST put the label on the bag and THEN fill it, but I made this bag for all of you.)  Then I add cute birthday stickers to the bag.)

Here is what I am putting in the bag this year.  I bet you recognize some of my Target and Dollar Tree finds!  The items are:  a sticker for the child to wear, a stretchy bracelet (Do you recognize the Cat in the Hat?), a pencil, a bookmark,  a set of birthday stickers, a notepad, 2 erasers, and a small bouncy ball.

One of the reasons I love this idea is that it insures I am prepared and consistent for each birthday.  Even when I forget a birthday, a bag is waiting for that child.  Children with summer birthdays get their bags on their half birthdays.  Hope this idea is helpful to some of you.

Love to all of my bloggets,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Do I Sqworl Away?

Question from a follower (Gosh, "a follower", that is pretty humbling to me!!!):
Camille, what websites do you put on Sqworl for your kindergartners?

Well, last year was my first year to teach kindergarten and I had a K/1 combination so I am NOT an expert on the best websites out there for kindergartners.  I know some of you have better ideas, which I hope you will share via a comment.  But, here are the online sites I used:

1)  Starfall - free and fun -
My students loved this website.  My one concern is that a few of the games were not very academically oriented and those were the ones that my students were most attracted to.  Since this was my first year with Starfall (and kindergartners), I learned as I went.

2) RAZ - Kids  $80 /year per class (If ten classes sign up together, it's $60 /year per class.)
I love this site because it is so easy for the children (and the teacher) to use.  I can choose the level of books for each child to read online or I can open up the entire library to them.

3)  Sylva Dell Books - Free
This company will give schools free access to their online books if you apply.  These books are much, much harder, but I liked giving my students another option for reading online (... and remember I also had first graders in my class and some of them needed a challenge.)

4)  Oxford Owl - Free
I just recently discovered this site and have not used it with a class yet.  Students choose books to listen to online.  This site is based in England so the narrators have an English accent.

5)  IXL - $199/ year per class
I was very frustrated last year in my quest to find a math program for my students to use online.  In the Spring I found IXL, and although it was pricey, it somewhat fit my needs.  I only used it for about 2 months with my class, so the jury is still out.  However, my students seemed to really enjoy it.  A plus is that all the standards are covered.  A minus is that it is mostly drill and practice; however, if you miss a problem you can ask to see an explanation and the explanations are good (completely visual, no voice).  But how many kinders would ask for an explanation?  I think zero.  Another minus for me, is that I couldn't figure out a way to control which standards my students were working on.  The entire year's worth of standards is given as a choice (actually all standards from K-6 are given as a choice).  Whew!  That's a lot of choices!  So I am not 100% sold and am continuing to look.

I also used these two math programs and cannot recommend them for kindergarten, but they might be your cup of tea.  Here's the scoop:
1)  XtraMath - Free
This a great drill program for mastering the basic math facts.  I can't recommend it for kinder because I don't believe kindergartners should be spending their time memorizing math facts.  (My two cents.)

2)  Study Island - Math - $121/ year per class  (It's another $121 for language arts for K or 1st.)
The upper grade teachers RAVED about this program, so I gave it a try.  For kinder and first grade, Study Island uses the same standards nationwide, but it was a close enough match for me.  The first year I used it, I taught first grade and it went over well with my students.  I like being able to stipulate which concepts students worked on.  But things changed in the Fall, when my district created usernames and passwords for Study Island that were impossible to remember and impossible for some of my students to type in (periods, random numbers and random letters).  I think this was a district thing, not a Study Island issue; but for whatever reason, I can't use a program that my students cannot access.  (Luckily my subscription ran out right when this happened so I didn't have to pay for a program I wasn't using.)

Whew, that was a long post!!  If anyone is still reading and has ideas for great websites for kinders and firsties, PLEASE let us know in a comment.  Thanks!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sqworl It Away!

Yep.  Today you are going to learn how to "Sqworl It Away".  (It's time for a tech tip from a tech loving teacher.)

Sqworl is one of my very favorite web tools for my classroom.  It's easy, it's useful and I just love the weird name!

Sqworl is like a mini-webpage that displays all of your links along with a picture of the opening screen for each link.

So, here is how it works:  My students click on an acorn icon on the desktop.  (Get it?  Sqworl = acorn.  But this is only on a pc.  You Mac users will get a regular Mac icon.)  Once they click on the acorn in my class, the screen shown in the photo below opens up.  ALL my student links are listed there.  Yep, ALL. (If you look closely, you can see RAZ Kids, Star and a few math websites.)   Students then choose the link they want, click on the picture and that site opens up.  No more hunting around the desktop for each link!  No more missing links!  No more non-readers struggling to find the correct link.  These all have pictures!!  Oh, I heart Sqworl!  Oh, I forgot to tell you that it is free.  Yep, F.R.E.E., FREE!  Oh, and I am not even to the best part yet.  Keep reading ....

I just hate finding new websites for my kiddos and then running around the room to each computer to create a link on the desktop.  Well, I never, ever have to do that again!!!!  (Unless I get a new computer or switch rooms.)  Now whenever I want to add a new website that I want my students to use, I just sit calmly at my own computer and go into the edit mode of my Sqworl and add that link.  Then like magic, the new link appears whenever the acorn is pressed.  No more running around the room adding icons to the desktop.  Oh, I soooo heart Sqworl.  Oh, and there is more.  In the past, whenever I taught the children how to use a new website, I would send home the url to parents.  No more!  Instead, I just send home the Sqworl url at the beginning of the year and students automatically have access at home to any links I add to my Sqworl.  Plus, you can have more than one Sqworl page.  I am thinking of creating a Sqworl page for science next year.  Your Sqworl pages are all linked so again, just one url is needed to have access to ALL of your student links.

Okay, there need to be some issues, right?  Well, there are.  Sqworl just recently starting putting one advertisement on each page.  But the ads are all educational type things so that is fine with me.  (That is why Sqworl is free so I can accept that.)  Another thing to be aware of, is that the Sqworls are public.  This is not the place to add a link to photos of your students or anything else you want kept very private. (When I say "public", I mean it is just like anything else on the web that is not behind a "wall".) 

Now, I strongly encourage you to check out Sqworl!!!!!  It is really easy to use, but email me if you need any help.  There are even short videos Sqworl to help you get started.

Love to all of my followers,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Picnic

What do you do to build community?  I would love to hear ideas from you all!

I am always trying to build community both among my students and among my parents.  Last year I had a kinder / first grade combination class so it was especially important to blend the two sets of parents.     One activity that I did after two weeks of school was to host a Family Picnic on a Saturday.  All of my students and their families were invited.  It was very simple and very low key.  We held it at school on one of the playgrounds from 11:00-1:00.  I asked everyone to bring their own lunch.  I planned ahead and got a key to the nearby bathroom.  (One year I forgot - never again!!!)

For the photo, I had to delete a few heads so no faces would show up so this photo makes me laugh!  Hmmm ... I wonder if you can find the three people that are missing heads.  I'm the lady (with my head still attached) on the far right.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Paper Plate Frisbees

Jodi over at Fun in First is having a linky party.  Now normally I am NOT a party kind of girl.  But this party is all about activities for the beginning of the year so I am soooo in!!  Jodi posted a super cute version of a gingerbread man hunt.  Plus other activities are being added even as you read this!

Here is my addition to the party.  Oh, it's super simple, because I am a super simple girl.  But it's tons of fun for the kiddos, because I LOVE having fun with my kids!!

Paper Plate Frisbee
Students will each get to decorate and then fly a frisbee.

Ahead of time I buy two paper plates per child. (This year I purchased 60 plates just in case we really and truly have 30 students next year.  Ouch!  Ouch!  Ouch!)  The thin white picnic ones won't work, but anything just a tad sturdier will.  This year I got mine from the dollar store.

The next step is to cut a hole out of the middle of HALF of the plates.  (Leave half of the plates whole.) The diameter of the hole is about five inches.  (The exact measurement is NOT important.  Many plates have an inner circle and I just cut on that.)  Then staple a whole plate to a plate with a cut circle.  For example, if you purchased blue plates (my favorite color) face the blue part of the whole plate to the blue part of the "holed" plate and staple about four times around the edge of the plate.  You now have one frisbee.  : ) Repeat this until you have enough frisbees for each student.

Hurrah!  Teacher prep is done!!!

Note:  I have kinders and firsties so do this prep for them.  With older students, you might have them do the prep.

Now for the fun:
Students decorate the plates using crayons or markers or ????  I have them write their names BIG on the frisbee.  Then we take them out and fly them.  Great fun!  These frisbees work great and the students run around having a blast (once they get the hang of throwing them.)  It is a great way to begin to build community because the students are all running all over the field interacting with each other.  Did I already say it was great fun?

I let the students take the frisbees home that day so that they can have fun with them at home.

Update: August 31, 2012:  I remembered to take photos this year.  This time I wrote the names on the frisbees.  This lovely girl has just started decorating her frisbee.

Here is the other side of her frisbee.  The plates were red this year.  But since I staple the two plates towards each other, the frisbees are white on the outside.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

FREEBIE!!! (But not from me : )

Woohoo!  I just scored a FREE unit!  Thanks to Laura at Kinder Kraziness I now have a lots of fun activities that my kiddos can do with the story Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten.

Hmmm ... are you wishing you could get the same deal?  Well, wonderful Laura is offering this unit FREE to every teacher that becomes her follower.  Just go on over to Kinder Kraziness and sign up.  Laura has lots of other freebies, too so you WILL want to follow her!


Student Led Safaris - oops - Conferences

Last night I spent time with my bestie Andrea.  She told me about a cool way to do student led conferences even in kindergarten.  I thought I would write about it here so I don't forget the details.

Who:  my students
What:  lead their own conferences
When:  March (at the November conferences we will meet to set goals; but the March conferences will be student led)
Where:  all around the classroom
Why:  for students to take ownership of their learning and for parents to get insight into their child's learning
How:  The set up will be similar to a safari.   Stations will be set up around the room that match the standards.  Students will lead their parents around the room from station to station following footprints on the floor.  Students may even wear "binoculars" made from paper towel tubes.  Stations will be numbered so that students advance in order.  Each station will be based on a standard and will involve a student activity.  For example, the standard may be to count to 30 (kinder) and the task is for students to count orally as high as they can.  Students will be scheduled to come in about 6 at a time each hour.  The teacher will be the park ranger and will be available at the end of the safari for students and parents to check in with if desired.

My thoughts:  Since I plan to have my class set up like a forest, instead of a safari, I can have my students lead their parents on a hike though the forest.  (Subtle difference, I know!  But I like to pay attention to details.)

February 3, 2012
Tammy at LiveLoveLaugh just posted a great description of her student lead conferences in kindergarten.
Read all about it here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Ocean in the Classroom!

In the spring my class was studying fish (as part of our WONDERFUL science program: FOSS - love, love, love it!).  So I had my kiddos help me turn our class into an ocean.  Great fun!  The sign was placed outside our door.  We are in room five so I refer to my class as Team Five.  Here are some of our ocean activities:

1)  Fish Quilt:  With inspiration from TLC's Quilt book, I created a fish quilt square.  (Note: This square is NOT from their book - I made it up.  But there are many great squares in the book!) The students started with a variety of squares and had to cut them, and layer them to create this fish.  There is a bookcase in the way so the angle of this photo isn't great., but here is our finished "quilt":

2) Directed Art Fish: Using the ideas from "Directed Drawing Volume 4: Sealife" from ABC Schoolhouse on TPT, the students created sealife for our ocean.  Each child got to pick any color of construction paper (the pieces were about 9" X 11"), and then followed my directed drawing directions using a black crayon to create several different fish.  We did just one a day.  The students cut each fish out and I taped them to our ocean.

Our fish!
Another view

3)  Individual Oceans:  After making the directed drawing fish, each child got to create their own smaller ocean animals.  They drew them in black crayon and then used watercolors to paint them.  Next they cut each animal out.  Using construction paper, they created their own background (ocean, seaweed, ...) and then glued on each animal.  Lots of steps (over several days), but they turned out adorable!  (Okay, in all honesty, I am not sure I would do this with a straight kinder class; but since I had only 10 kinders and 15 first graders, it went really well.  However, faced with 25, or possibly 30, kinders this project might be a bit much.)

4)  Writing Board:  Our displayed writing was about ... fish.  (You would think my class would be sick, sick, sick of fish, but of course they weren't!!)  Students did a directed drawing of a fish bowl.  (Can you tell that I just love doing directed drawings?!?  I do!!!)  Then I gave each student a fish sticker.  They placed it in their fishbowl and wrote about their "pet" fish.

5)  Door Display:  For Open House we decorated the door.  Most of this was done by me (usually I like to just have student work, but I was making this up as I went along, so I did it).  I took a photo of each child against a blue background (just a blue piece of butcher paper that I taped temporarily to a wall).  Then I cut fish bowl shapes out of folded paper (so that the fish bowls could open up).  Inside the fishbowl I taped student writing about kindergarten or first grade.  (Since it was Open House, I had the students sum up the year.)  Then on the outside I glued blue paper in the shape of waves and then glued their photos on top of that.  My district does not allow student photos to be displayed on the web so I chose a photo that is very unclear on purpose.  Sorry about that!

6)  Last, but definitely not, least:  Our Fish!  What would an ocean theme be without real fish?  Here are our poor babies that we studied during our FOSS module.  There are goldfish and minnows.  I am maybe the worst fish mommy in the world, but somehow they survived!  (.. and they continue to thrive!)

Whew!  That was my longest post yet!  Time for me to get some work done!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Secret ...

Many teachers are beginning to post about creating bulletin boards for the new school year.  (Sigh ... didn't summer just start?????)  So I decided to post my beautiful, wonderful, amazing secret.  Here it is:  I paint my bulletin boards.  That's it!  Simple, but oh so amazing!  Think of all the beautiful colors that are available at paint stores - any of those colors could be on your bulletin board!  Yes, it takes time to paint the boards the first year, but unlike paper, paint it doesn't fade and unlike fabric you don't have to wash it.  I use regular old latex paint - any type of finish will work, I used eggshell, but you can use flat paint or get a shinier finish if you want.  My boards are all a beautiful shade of blue.  I love the blue because it can be a backdrop for so many different things - a garden, a forest, an ocean, the list goes on and one.  Paint your boards once and you never have to paint them again (unless you get bored with the color, so choose wisely!!!)

P.S.  You can check out the beauty of my blue boards by looking at my photos in previous posts.  All that pretty blue is painted on.  : )

Day One: The Kissing Hand

Here is one of my favorite activities for the first day of school.  (It even leads to a cute bulletin board!):

First I read aloud The Kissing Hand.  Then we discuss the book and how each of us felt about coming to school today.  I take quick notes as to what each child says.  (I use the prompt "I felt ______" to get them started if they need help.)  Then during station time, I have each child create two handprints.  (I use those great large round ink pads from Lakeshore.  So easy!!!)  One handprint is used for a bulletin board display and the other becomes a puzzle.

Bulletin board:  I make the bulletin board display after school by typing up each each child's response to how they felt on the first day of school.  (Example: Diana felt excited because she was coming to school!)  Then I post each child's handprint and typed response on a bulletin board.  I post the handprints in the shape on a heart.  (Hard to tell in the photo because I used a font that was too big last year.)  If I remember, I even place a heart sticker on each handprint or on the typed response.  Sometimes I like this board so much that I leave it up all year!  (It is so fun for the children to look back on later in the year and laugh about how scared they felt on the first day.)

Hand Puzzle:  During lunch, I quickly cut each handprint into about six pieces.  It goes home on the first day in an envelope with a poem on front that tells parents to sit with their favorite first grade child and put together the puzzle inside the envelope.  I love that it becomes a handprint that parents get to keep as a reminder of their first day of first grade!  To make this easier for me, I have the envelopes prepped ahead of time labeled with the child's name and with the poem already glued on.  That way I only have to cut out the handprints and put them in the correct envelopes at lunch.  I cannot post the poem because I didn't write it myself, but found it on someone else's site (and I can't remember whose site it was.  Sorry!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Day Name Puzzles

One of my teammates came up with this great idea for the first day that we now have been doing for years!  On each child's desk, we have a puzzle waiting.  But not just any puzzle, a puzzle that uses their very own name.  Just imagine being a nervous first grade entering the classroom for the first time and finding a puzzle on your desk.  You put the puzzle together and it spells your name.  What fun!

The details:
Each puzzle takes a half piece of card stock (or you can cut up manila folders) about 8 1/2" by 5 1/2".  Write a child's name on the card stock - make it really fancy : ).  Add fancy squiggles and swirls using a variety of colored markers.  Stamp a few stamps using different colors of ink pads.  Once you have the paper fancy enough, cut it into about six pieces (the number of pieces depends on the age of your students).  Then place the puzzle pieces in an envelope with the child's name on it. (Yes, you can make the name on the envelope fancy, also - we first grade teachers LOVE cute!!!)  Prior to day one, place the envelopes on each child's desk.  This can be their first activity.

Special thanks to my teammate Marlene for this great idea!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Welcome Letter

First Grade Frame of Mind is asking for help composing a welcome letter for first graders.  Well, here is the letter I sent last year.  Short, sweet, with a hint of fun that will happen in first grade.  To make this letter a little fancier, I copy it onto really fun paper.  (Check out the $1 packages of BEAUTIFUL paper at Dollar Tree!!!)  I place the letter in envelopes that I have stamped with cute stamps (bears, hearts, or something matching my theme.)

My letter:

    Hi!  My name is Mrs. Johnson and I will be your first grade teacher.  I am excited that you will be in my class.  I have many fun things planned for this year!
    When I see you on Monday, I will tell you more about the wonderful things we will be doing in Room Five.  I hope you are as excited as I am!

                            Mrs. Johnson

P.S.  School starts at 8:12 and ends at 2:15 on Monday, August 23.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mathematicians at Work?!?

Yesterday I blogged about my writing bulletin board on which a monthly writing sample is displayed for each student.  It is actually like a portfolio, but on a bulletin board.  I would like to do the same thing for math.  Here is what I am thinking:  I could focus on problem solving.  Each month I would collect a sample from a student and display it on the board.  Last  year I started to work with my students on explaining their thinking during math talks.  Then we progressed to having them write their explanations down.  Hmmm .... I am thinking that this would make for a great way for my students to see their progress in problem solving.  Then at the end of the year, each child could put their samples together in a booklet and take it home as a math portfolio.  Hmmmm .... more thinking on this needs to be done!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Writers at Work

"Writers at Work" is the title of a bulletin board in my room.  Every student has a designated space on the board.  Each month a new writing sample is placed on the board on top of the previous samples.  That way students and parents can look through the child's posted samples to see the amazing progress that has been made in writing.  Then at the end of the year, all of the writing for each child is bound together in a writing sampler.  This is given to the families as a reminder of growth in kindergarten / first grade.  (Special thanks to Marlene for this GREAT idea!)
The writing samplers begin with a note to the child and then a poem introducing the book to parents.  I have created links for my cover, poem and a sample note.  Unfortunately, I could not get my adorable graphics to copy into Google Docs so you'll just have to take my word for it:  the graphics were totally adorable!!!

In the photo of the bulletin board some of the students were kinders and some were first graders.  This writing was done in April when we were studying fish.  The artwork is a directed drawing that we did together and then I gave each student a fish sticker to add to the picture.  Then the first graders had to write a descriptive paragraph about "their" fish.  The kinders had to write two sentences.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Mystery Bulbs

A few days ago I noticed the circle around the tree on my front lawn was full of weeds.  But being me, I decided that rather than just weeding, I would also remove all of the old bulbs that were crammed into the small space.  So that is what I have been doing.  It took me about six hours but I did it.  There were a whole lot of bulbs so, being me, I decided to count them ... 240 bulbs!  That's right... 240 bulbs!  That's a whole lot of bulbs in a very small space.  As I was digging them out, I started to think of them as my "mystery bulbs".  I knew there were a few daffodils, a few tulips, a few irises, and lots of gladiolas - all of them 5 to 15 years old. So now that I had them out, I had to decide what to do with my mystery bulbs.

My idea:  take the mystery bulbs to school in October.  Have the students examine and compare the huge variety of bulbs.  They can compare them by size, share, and color.  Then the students could each plant a few.  (Hey - I have enough for every student at my grade level!!!)  Then we wait and see what happens.  Will a flower grow from the bulb?  If so, what type of flower?

This idea reminds me of something we did each year when I taught first grade.  This idea is from my very creative teaching partner, Terry.  In October we collected used one gallon plant pots from parents.  We purchased enough daffodil bulbs for each child to plant four bulbs, along with a large bag of soil.  On October 31, as part of our Halloween "party" each child was given a pot and three bulbs to plant.  These pots went home that day with a letter giving parents directions.  Each child also planted one bulb at school (either in a pot or in the ground depending on where each first grade class was located).  As spring neared we would watch the progress of our daffodils at school.  Students also watched and reported on the progress at home.  Blooming daffodils are one of the first signs that spring is coming.  Great fun!

Daffodil Letter to parents

Friday, July 8, 2011

Classroom Door

Here is the welcome door that I did last year for my K / 1 classroom.

The title is:
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
Look who's in this room!

Each child's name is written on a rectangle.  I put the kinders' names up in the tree (those monkeys!!) and the first graders were climbing the trunk.  I used blue, orange, green and black butcher paper.  The other colors are all construction paper.  I liked it so much that I may do it again, unless I have some of the same students.   Camille

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Supplies! Supplies! Supplies!

One of the perks of being a teacher is that you get to buy school supplies every year.  Such fun!  Normally I don't like shopping, but I LOVE shopping for school!  To get you started, I have attached my annual lists.  Of course, these lists don't include all of those wonderful items that suddenly appear at Dollar Store or Target that I just HAVE to have for my classroom.

Supplies to Start the Year


Monday, July 4, 2011

Welcoming New Kindergartners

Last year I had a kindergarten / first grade combination class.  Since I had never taught kinder before, EVERYTHING related to kindergarten was new to me.  The first thing I had to deal with was our kindergarten "Meet and Greet".  The other kindergarten teachers gave me ideas (THANK YOU!!) and I was able to come up with a plan.  Our wonderful secretary sent out invitations to parents about two weeks prior to this event.  School started on Monday so on the previous Friday we had our Meet and Greet where incoming kinders (and their parents) got to meet me.  I posted a sign on the board that stated the following:

Meet and Greet
1:00-1:30     Student Time
Goal:  to help the children feel comfortable and very, very excited about starting kindergarten in Room Five

1:30-2:00   Parent Time
Goal:  to help the parents feel comfortable and very, very excited about having their children start kindergarten in Room Five

The other kinders had their Meet and Greet from 1:00-1:30, but since I was teaching a K/1 combo, I felt it was important to spend time with parents answering questions and addressing concerns about the combination so I added on the 1:30-2:00 parent component.  My wonderful principal took my kinders on a school tour and then let them play on the playground while I talked to their parents.

Here is my lesson plan for the Meet and Greet:
Cam's Meet and Greet Lesson Plan

Here is a copy of the treasure hunt paper AND the packet that I gave to parents:
Cam's Meet and Greet Packet

My hope is that this will help other kinder teachers plan their "Meet and Greet".  Enjoy!

In the beginning

My name is Camille and I am addicted to reading blogs.  Not just any blogs; blogs about teaching.  I have received many ideas and gotten to know many wonderful teachers who have truly inspired me.  Now I have taken the next step and am creating my own blog.  My hope is that I can, in turn, help another teacher.  Whether it be to offer a new idea, answer a question, offer encouragement or lend a shoulder to cry on ... my door is open.  In the past, many teachers kept their classroom doors closed.  My goal is to keep my door wide open and to invite all of you in.  Welcome to my classroom!