Monday, May 16, 2011

Sending you into summer with some great blogs...

As I wrap the school year up, I would like to give you some great teacher blogs to bookmark. Click on the name below the image to visit the site. Have a great and relaxing summer! See you in August!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kindergarten Book Club

Since it is the last week and a half of school, we are doing a lot of reviewing and have more time for centers. I pulled out two bins of books that we have used with past reading curriculums. I had no idea it would really interest my boys. I was so pleasantly surprised when they took to them immediately. They independently got into book groups, which they refer to as "book club", and started reading to each other. It was not only precious but it made me so proud of them. That has become their favorite thing to do whenever we have free time this week. As I send them on to first grade, am so proud of the progress they have made this year and I hope they always have the same love of reading that they have right now as kindergardeners.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Greetings from Snack Time!

After a long week of rain and flooding in Memphis, we are so thankful to see some blue skies! Today we enjoyed snack on the patio so I thought I would share some pics of the boys.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Martin Institute Summer Conference in Memphis,TN

Looking for a great professional development opportunity this summer? Want to visit the home of Elvis, BBQ and Rock & Roll? Well, you can combine both by attending the Martin Institute Summer Conference in Memphis, TN. The conference offers world-class professional development for teachers and administrators at public and private schools. Thanks to significant philanthropic support, the institute offers its outstanding conferences and programs at heavily subsidized rates.

Topics will include: higher-order thinking skills, assessment, evaluation, life skills, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, learning environments, and more. In addition to the many general education sessions, there will also be two special strands focusing on literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

If you join us in Memphis this summer, I would be happy to help you find a great part of town to stay in and lots of great things to do, just post a comment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Additions to our Kindergarten Class!

We have 12 new additions to our classroom this week and some very proud dads! Next up, butterflies. Will keep you all posted...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Do you Tweet?

Are you a "tweeter"? If not, I highly suggest it. This is a great quick, easy, and fun way to connect with fellow educators. Here are some ways I use Twitter:
-Share ideas
-Ask fellow teachers all over the world classroom, resource or professional development questions
-Find classroom and curriculum ideas about anything and everything
-Follow leaders in education for inspiration
-Keep up to date on the latest education/classroom trends
-Help fellow educators by sharing (re-tweeting) their posts
-Develop your PLN (Personal Learning Network)

Twitter is so easy to join. Check it out here:

-Sign up for Tweet Deck. You can post easily and look at other tweets. You can have it on your desktop for easy viewing. This way you won't have to log into your Twitter account to view new information.
-Make your tweets easier for others to find. At then end of your tweets, add tags like #kinderchat, #educat, #elemchat, etc, to maker your tweet easier for others to find. I frequently tag my tweets with #kinderchat.
-Follow lots of people to ensure your tweets are followed. Twitter will give you suggestions. You can also look at others follow list for ideas.

Great "Tweeters" to follow:
cpkindergarten (that's me!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Time Means Kindergarten Chicks

Every Spring we are lucky enough to break out the incubator and grow some chicks. Some years we only have a few hatch and some years we have almost all of them hatch. We have 18 eggs so we will hopefully have some precious little chicks in 15 days. I will keep you all posted!

Here are some great resources if you are (or are interested in) teaching this unit in your classroom:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Job Week in Sr-K

This is Jj week in Kindergarten and you know what that means...Job Week! We have had a Judge speak with the classes and later this week we will have a fireman and a bug exterminator. I am going to highlight today's visitors because it was very different and extremely interesting. We are lucky enough, here in Memphis, to be the home of the National Ornamental Metal Museum. The Metal Museum is the only institution in the United States devoted exclusively to the advancement of the art and craft of fine metalwork. The boys found it fascinating and I thought it was every educational. Here are some pics from their visit. You can find out more about the National Ornamental Metal Museum HERE.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

World Maths Day

On March 1st, our school was lucky enough to participate in World Maths Day. I am proud to say that 2 of our classes placed in the top 20 in the world. Although, we didn't participate online in our Sr-Kindergarten class, we focused our day around math activities. One thing that the students loved was math game rotation. Each class visited all 4 classrooms for different math activities. The activities were all so much fun the the students think it is "cool" to visit their friends classrooms. Each teacher's activity was different and the one I chose to use was a web site named Toy Theatre. I put the site on the SmartBoard and the boys were able to work in teams to to solve the problems. If you haven't checked out Toy Theatre, it is a must. There are wonderful games for many subject areas. We use it frequently! If you aren't signed up to do World Maths Day, check it out. It is a great learning experience and all your students will be so excited to compete with their peers from all over the world!

Helpful Links:

Monday, February 14, 2011

StartWrite and the SmartBoard

This might be old news to some but I have just discovered that you can use StartWrite paper on your SmartBoard to practice handwriting. How it took me years to figure this out, I do not know. I am so excited about it, though! All you need to do it open your StartWrite and then start using your SmartBoard "pens". Make sure that your Smart Board tools are on and go from there. I love working with handwriting but it can get a little dull sometimes for me and for the boys. This is a great way to make handwriting more interactive and exciting for the students.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Smart Tables

Last week the Smart company dropped off a Smart Table for us to use for a couple of weeks. It was so easy to use and the boys loved it. One of the keys to using the Smart Table is that you have to work in groups of 2, 3, or 4 on a lot of the games and activities. I think it is quite an investment for any school but the students seemed to love it and there are a plethora of games and activities that you can load. It was so easy to use, just plug and play!

Monday, January 31, 2011

We made it to the 100th day!

Tomorrow will be the 100th day of school in Mrs. Perry & Mrs. Lindsey's kindergarten class. What an exciting time! I don't remember celebrating the 100th day when I was in school so this has all be so much fun for me to experience. We do all the traditional 100th day activities but I would love to hear what you do in your class. We are always looking for new ideas! Here are some of the great books we read to the class, a cute BrainPop, Jr. video, and a fun activity my co-teacher found in the Really Good Stuff catalogue.

This is a fun activity (it is a poster) from Really Good Stuff. We work on it all week!
BrainPop, Jr. has a cute video to show the class with a quiz at the end.

Last but not least, we all (the teachers) wear 100th day T-shirts! (yay, dress down day!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Great Professional Development Opportunity

Teaching for Tomorrow:
2011 Martin Institute Spring Feast

February 3-4, 2011
Presbyterian Day School, Memphis, TN

This would be a great professional development opportunity for educators! To get more information and a schedule check here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A lot of work but well worth it!

(Image from via Google images.)

I love seeing what public and independent schools are doing to improve who they are. I came across an article in Chicago magazine, this month, about a school that has been transformed in the past decade. Nettelhorst Elementary has a great group of parents, faculty, administrators and community members that have put in a lot (to say the least) of hours to turn the school around. From grants to annual funds, from cold calls to sheer begging, the community within this school took a challenge and ran with it. The urban neighborhood school is not a thing of the past and these folks made theirs shine! If you are in an urban school district and want some fresh ideas or if you are just an educator that gets motivated by people doing good for children, check out this great article.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Great Idea for Centers

I will begin this post by saying that this was not my idea. This great idea was that of my co-teacher, Holly's. We have center time every day from 11:30-12:00. Holly mans the Art Center and I man the Writing and Listening center. The boys are independent in the rest of the centers. We rotate every day so each boy gets a chance to visit each center once a week. The games and puzzles are changed out about once a month and the manipulatives are changed out on an as needed basis. The art center goes along with the letter or theme of the week. During the first semester the writing and listening center was broken up by 15 minutes with a book & and CD in the listening center and then 15 minutes doing handwriting with me. I would work with 2 boys while the other 2 had a book and then switched. This semester I switched it up a bit. I alternate weeks and work with the whole group all at once. One week we will work on handwriting the entire 30 minutes. The next week we will read, round robin style, as a small group. It breaks it up for me and the boys so we don't get burned out on one thing or the other. This center system has been a great addition to the classroom and I highly recommend it to all teachers! Please let me know if you have any questions about this great idea.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

PS 22 Makes Me Want to Dance!

(Image used is from Google Images via
I was on at Twitter tonight when a fellow teacher posted a video of the chorus at PS22 in Station Island, NY. As I watched the video, I watched the students as well as the teacher. The students were excited and involved and the teacher's joy for what he does almost cam through the screen. I find motivation in many things and seeing teachers with a genuine love for what they do always lights a fire under me. I love what I do and witnessing people demonstrate their passion for teaching in different ways give me a whole other level of motivation.

Here is a link to PS22 singing Just Dance:

This video reminds me of a few things:
1) How lucky we are to call ourselves teachers.
2) How great it is to work with children on a daily basis. Children have a joy and sincerity that adults sometimes loose in their daily lives. Their joy and innocence is amazing to witness daily.
3) Even if you do not teach a chorus or music class, you can use music in your classroom any time. Music is such a great medium for learning. I can still sing you the Declaration of Independence from Mrs. Jackson's class circa 1988!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Teaching Resolutions

Many people don't like New Year's Resolutions but I always look forward to setting goals for myself. I have some easy personal resolutions like quit picking at my fingernails and the always present lose weight but I have never made teaching resolutions. As I was thinking about this blog over the Christmas break I came up with a few goals/resolutions I wanted to make for the new year.

Here are some of my teaching goals for the new year:
1 - Maintain my blog and Twitter accounts. I need to post more frequently!
2 - Explore different schools. (No, I don't mean change jobs. I love where I teach.) I would like to look at the way kindergarten is "done" all over the world. What are some new ideas and resources I could find in other areas and at different schools?
3 - Don't get flustered! Have you had one of those days where the lesson didn't go well, the kids are bananas and you are internalizing all of it? I think we all have! I am going to approach those days with a calm attitude because getting flustered doesn't help anyone.

I would love to hear some of your teaching goals for the new year.
Please share with me if you like!

Happy New Year to you all! We have one semester under our belts.
Good luck with the Spring semester!