Sunday, July 31, 2011


At my school this past year we were learning about Singapore Math and Math Solutions. One of the tools they use in Math Solutions is called a rekenrek.  A rekenrek is a counting tool.  Some of you probably already know what these are but I had never heard of them until last year. Click on this link to find out more about rekenreks. To purchase rekenreks for each child in my class would cost way too much so I decided to make my own.  A very resourceful teacher at my school made her own, and they are great, so I wanted to make some for my room.  So a friend and I went to Lowe's and bought a sheet of panel board (it is dark brown and smooth) and we had them cut it for us.  We decided to make two different kinds of rekenreks; one for the beginning of the year with only one line of ten beads and one for the second half of the year with two lines of ten beads. So some of the rekenreks are 3" x 12" and some are 6" x 15".  Lowe's would only cut the board into one foot sections so my dad cut them smaller for me (so nice!!).  He also drilled the holes where the plastic lacing goes. I then went to Michael's and got a large roll of clear plastic lacing and a bag of red pony beads and a bag of white pony beads.  Yesterday I sat and put together 25 small boards and 5 large boards.  My fingers were killing me, I guess from tying all the laces, so I had to stop.  Here is what they look like finished.

There are several online resources with ideas on how to use the rekenreks in your classroom.  Here are a few:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Apple Counting

I have been going through my smartboard files and trying to clean things up a bit.  I found this very simple apple counting activity where the children roll the dice and put that many apples on the tree.   We do our apple unit in the fall and the children are working on one to one correspondence and the numbers 0-10 at that time.  I posted this in my TpT store and I will be posting more apple activities as I clean them up and create more.  I love using Dr. Seuss' book Ten Apples Up on Top so I am creating a page to go with this book as well.

Giveaway at A Teeny Tiny Teacher

A Teeny Tiny Teacher is having a great giveaway! All you have to do is follow her (that's easy), put her blog or button on your sidebar (easy again), and blog about her giveaway (easy, easy).  After you do all of those things comment on her blog and you may win a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble.  And while you are there check out all of her awesome ideas!!
Friday, July 29, 2011

More Frog Ideas and A Great Link

Today in summer school I read a Little Critter book called Where is My Frog?. This is a really cute, simple book just right for beginning kinders.  A colleague of mine found it at the library and let me borrow it.  I had never seen this book and I thought it was really cute!  After I read the book I made up a quick game to go with it.  In the story Little Critter looses his frog and looks for him everywhere so I put 12 letter cards in the pocket chart and hid a cut out frog behind one of the letter cards (when the kids were not looking).  Then I asked a child to say a letter and lift the card to see if the frog was behind it.  I kept calling on students until we found the frog.  They loved playing this game and wanted to do it over and over!

Also, I found a great emergent reader about frogs and colors and it is a counting book too!.  It is on the site The Virtual Vine.  If you have never been to this site you should definitely check it out!  There are so many great ideas and printables! Click here to find the book.  It is almost half way down on the page and it is called, "How Many Frogs".  There are two different versions, one with the numerals and one with the number words.  There are also many other great frog ideas!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer School

Summer School is going so much better than I anticipated!  I only have 10 students in my class...can you believe it!  I am so lucky because they are very cute, sweet children and they are eager to do everything I have planned so far.  I have used the song "Five Little Speckled Frogs" as a theme for my activities but I have also used some other great frog books as well.  Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel and Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kalan are great books!  In Frog and Toad Are Friends there is a chapter called The Lost Button and I used that chapter to help introduce sorting buttons (which my class loved).  Jump, Frog, Jump has a repetitive text and the children joined in with me saying, "jump, frog, jump!".  I also found retelling pieces for that story at (great site). I created a frog counting smartboard file to help reinforce the numbers 1-5.  I posted it at my TpT store for free:) Check it out!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jump Start Summer School

I am starting Jump Start Summer School on Monday and I feel so unprepared!  I thought this time summer school would be so great because we are doing it the two weeks before school starts instead of right when school is out in May, but now I am feeling overwhelmed!  I was so caught up in "summer mode" that I am not ready to go back and I cannot get my summer brain to work!  We had time on Friday to get our rooms ready and I spent most of my time dusting everything and wandering around.  I am so not ready for Monday!  We have decided to base our instruction on math literature and we have chosen "Five Little Speckled Frogs" as the book/song to help introduce the numbers 0-5.  This is our first year to do Jump Start Summer School and our first year to have incoming kinders coming to summer school.  It will be interesting to see these students, and what they can do, before school actually starts!  If anyone has any great activities for "Five Little Speckled Frogs" or the number 0-5 please send them my way, I can use all the help I can get!!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brown Bear Smartboard Lessons

I finally finished creating the Brown Bear smartboard lessons and put them on sale at my TpT store.  We do a unit on bears at the beginning of the school year and of course we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle.  The smartboard lessons I created are based on some of the beginning of the year skills that we are working on (color sorting, rhyming, beginning sounds, characters in a story).  I hope some of you can use this with your students too! 
Monday, July 18, 2011

Some of my Favorite Smartboard Sites

Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher had a great idea for us to share some of our favorite smartboard resources.  If you go to her site you will see there are already dozens of great resources!  I have had my smartboard now for a year and a half and I love it!  There are so many great websites out there!!  Here are some of my favorite sites for kinders:
Another great site I always go to is Smartboard Resources by Mrs. Sears.  Mrs Sears has so many wonderful notebook pages that you can download for free!!  I love that!

You can also visit my TpT store and download my Brown Bear Color Sort (it is also free).  Hopefully I will add more of my pages soon.  Thanks!
Saturday, July 16, 2011

Music Linky Party

Miss Kindergarten is hosting a linky party and she wants you to share songs that you sing with your students in your classroom.  I feel like I sing all day long!  I am always making up songs!  The kids don't care they just love singing (even though I cannot sing).  There are some songs that stand out in my head that I find myself singing a lot during clean up or transition times.  The first one is a clean up song. They love hearing their names in this song and others start cleaning up so I will sing their name too.

(Sung to the tune of London Bridges)
I see _________ cleaning up, cleaning up, cleaning up.
I see __________ cleaning up.
Just like ____________.

This song is a name song too but I use it during transitions to quiet the students down.

(Sung to the tune of Brother John)
B is for Brooke (I sing, then students echo for each line)
/B/, /B/, /B/
Brooke starts with B
/B/, /B/, /B/

The last one is a transition song,

Everybody eyes on me, eyes on me, eyes on me.
Everybody eyes on me
Time to listen!

Friday, July 15, 2011

No Calendar?? Say it isn't so!!

With the new common core standards being put in place next year our administrators have told us that we will not have calendar time in our classrooms anymore! I can't quite wrap my brain around this yet!  I have been teaching for 11 years and every day we begin with our good morning song and then go right in to calendar.  So I have been trying to figure out what the morning routine will look like without calendar time.  I was wondering if anyone else has been told not to do calendar anymore and if so what are your thoughts on this.  I was told that the days of the week and months of the year are not in the standards and we do not need to spend the time on it.  I do think that I will keep the following activities...but include them in my math time:
  • Number line - how many days we have been in school
  • Place value straws - hundreds, tens and ones (again how many days we have been in school)
  • Weather graph - maybe only during our unit on weather??
  • Birthdays and Lost a Tooth charts
I would love to hear other ideas on what to do instead of calendar or what you would keep.  Thanks!!
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Linky Party

This is my first Linky Party and I am so excited! Yearn to Learn is hosting this Linky Party. Here are the things you need to find:

1.  A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"
(Let's say someone who has blogged 2 months or less and has less than 200 followers)

2.  Post a blogger in your same grade level

3.  Post a blogger in a different grade level

4.  It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

The New Kid on the Blog that I found is Little Life Coaches, I love the name of her blog!
The blog at my grade level is Growing Kinders, I love this site and it is one of the reasons I started blogging!
The blog I chose from a different grade level is Curls and a Smile, her site is great and full of good ideas!!
And the cutest button I found is Mrs. Jump's Class but unfortunately I am still new to this and I do not know how to add a button here:( Maybe someone could help me with that!

Nursery Rhyme Big Books

Really Good Stuff 
I just got my order from Really Good Stuff and I love the big books designed by Debbie Diller!  They are not too big, which is nice because they are easier for the children to handle, and they have great illustrations.  I ordered three of them; Hickory, Dickory Dock, One, Two Buckle My Shoe and Little Miss Muffet.  They are in the outlet section right now and they were only $2.99 each!  Also, there are retelling pieces that you can also purchase that go with each book (only $1.49).  I am so excited that I found such a good deal!  These are perfect for the big book station I will be using during Literacy Work Stations!!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Great Website!

I love finding great websites to use at the computer center and especially on my smartboard.  I came across a website called and I love it!  This website not only has great phonics games it also has nursery rhymes with comprehension questions.  You have to register to use this site but it is free (as of now).  I really like the games on this site!  They are child friendly and they are ad-free games.  There is also a convenient list of skills that tells you which games cover certain skills.  Check out this great site!!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smartboard Freebie

In honor of starting my new blog I decided to share a smart notebook page that I created.  At the beginning of the school year we read Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? and we focus on the characters in the story and on colors.  This notebook page is a very simple color sorting activity.  At the beginning of the year I find that the children are very excited to use the smartboard and they need simple activities to help introduce the rules of using the smartboard and basic procedures too.  I hope that you like this activity.  This is my first time sharing on TPT so please let me know what you think and if there are any problems. Click on the link below to go to my TPT store.

 Brown Bear Color Sort

New Blogger

This is my very first blog!  I love teaching kindergarten and cannot wait to learn from and share with other kindergarten teachers!!
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