Weekly Round-Up: December 29th, 2017

I'm so excited that we have had so much fun the last week of school. This is a late reflection of it but it was so much fun I had to write a blog post about it.

It's been busy. One holiday concert for the whole school and two for our community. We had a PJ day and kid made ugly sweater day on Friday. Plus, all the hustle and bustle of the end of the year prepping to send everything home made for a busy week.

1. Measurement

Snap cubes have been a hit in our classroom all year long.

Last week we explored measurement using gingerkids which were taped to the wall (see this in my last blog post here). To extend our students understanding of non-standard measurement we added some holiday-themed activities to let them practice measuring! If you want to grab your own copy, click here or on the image below.

To ensure that a number of measuring cubes would be used I printed these pages on 11"*18" paper. I was shocked that almost every child independently chose to visit this activity without prompting and all were able to accurately measure using the snap cubes!

I love simple activities like this as it provides meaningful activities for young children to write numbers.

2. Painting

Our paint table was quite busy with interest with live poinsettia flowers as a provocation. I'm always amazed how engaged students are at representing the world around them when they are inspired by real-life objects!

3. Dramatic Play

On Tuesday the kids decided that they wanted to create a train station in our dramatic play area.

They lined up chairs to make a train, created tickets, money and served each other on the train or took turns driving the train as an engineer. We found a box and some of them wanted to paint it as the engine of our train. They worked hard to create this masterpiece and enjoyed playing with it!

4. Sensory

We added some sensory items to our water table this week. Cut up oranges, cranberries and cinnamon sticks became a hit! We added a few spoons and small cups and the children enjoyed counting how much they could fit into the different cups. There was lots of exploring of movement and gravity!

5. Number Sense

By simply adding a string to our fence outside we were able to enjoy creating a number line. We used shirt board to create our numbers for the number line.

We played games, guess the missing number, created a number line and explored numbers with this fun activity. I will admit, this game would be easier to play without the snow and mittens!

Check out my other Round-Ups here or  Follow me on Bloglovin' to see more ideas for learning activities in kindergarten!

How to Customize Your Desktop Images on a Mac

Have you ever wanted to customize your folder images on your MAC? 

I just learned how to do it this week and I am super excited to share it with you! 

It is super easy to do!

First of all I create my images in powerpoint. 

The image size I use is 5" * 5".  I made a shape, filled it in with a background that I wanted and then added my text.

Next you need to highlight everything that you want to include in your image. 

Double click on the border surrounding it and click on "Group" and then "Group" again.  The image will look like the one below without showing the lines for the text. It is now one image. 

Right click on this image and copy it (command C) or click file and copy.

Double click on the file that you want to pick and click on "Get Info."

Now you must click on the blue "folder" at the top left of the Info that appears on your screen. As soon as you have done that press copy by either clicking on "File" and then "Paste" or using the Command V shortcut to paste it to replace that blue image! 

Instantly the image at the bottom and top will be replaced and it will look like the image below and your done!

Have fun making your customized desktop!

Number Sense: One-to-One Correspondence

Developing Number Sense: Principles of Counting

All concepts of number sense need to be actively taught.

The one-to-one correspondence principle ensures we accurately count objects one at a time.

One-to-One Correspondence Principle

When children first learn to count a set of objects they often will randomly touch the objects in any order and will count the same object more than once or even multiple times.

When students understand the concept of one-to-one correspondence, they understand that each object is counted only once and that each object represents one number.


Touch counting helps students develop this skill and it usually has to be modelled for students to learn how to do it properly.

We can either simply touch an item or move it away from the group being counted in order to ensure that we have counted all of the objects in the set. Moving objects away is a skill for children to learn at the beginning of understanding this concept. When a child has a stronger working memory they do not need to rely on this skill.

Math Journals in Kindergarten

We use journals as a part of small group instruction in our classroom. Specifically, to cover problem-solving in math. There are many ways to demonstrate problem-solving but one way I love is to use math journals.

Math journals can be used as a diagnostic, formative or summative assessment. Journals are simple, easy, and kids can represent their ideas with pictures, numbers, and words. And if they cannot do that I can scribe for them!

Whenever possible, I always try to provide hands-on manipulatives for students to hold and manipulate while writing journals. This allows their learning experiences to be more meaningful and students can draw what they know afterward. Not all students choose to use them, but offering manipulatives is extremely important to learning math concepts!

Number Sense
Mental math, representing numbers, ten frames, printing numbers, and even math talk concepts can all be represented through journals! Addition, subtraction and even word problems are perfect concepts to be used as a journal as it allows students to represent what they know in a way that they can show it!

Graphing & Patterning
I use journals for engaging graphing activities, especially for students who need visual prompts to keep them focused and for students who cannot draw or write!  They still can engage in meaningful graphing activities but do not need to be stressed by their limited fine motor skills. Students often can create their own patterns. Many young children cannot manipulate writing materials enough to feel successful. By providing real-life objects for them to color, students can quickly demonstrate their knowledge!

Sizes & Shapes
Cut and paste activities allow students to demonstrate their understanding of big and small while also supporting their fine motor development! Students can tally and/or color the number of shapes presented to them to show their answers. It is so simple and easy to differentiate!

If you're interested in checking out the journal prompts that I use, click here or on the image below. I love this set as it does not use a lot of ink and I can quickly run off a class set without using a lot of paper for my classroom!


Number Sense: Abstraction Principle

Developing Number Sense: Principles of Counting

All concepts of number sense need to be actively taught.

The conservation principle is one of the first few principles children learn when developing their understanding of number sense.

Abstraction Principle

Is the ability to understand that the number of objects in a group remains set regardless of the composition of the sizes of the objects in the group.

So five large blocks are five.

Three large blocks and two small blocks are also five.

One small, two medium and two large blocks are five.


We practice this on a regular basis throughout our normal play activity. When we get balls out for outdoor learning we might ask the children how many are out when there are a variety of different sizes presented.

Block play provides an easy opportunity to practice this skills. Sometimes we challenge students to build a structure using a certain amount of blocks. Other times we challenge our students with counting the blocks used and/or drawing a representation of their building.

We love to bring a real life connection to building and to expand their knowledge of the world around them. We often use this building activity to get students to represent their ideas the quantity of blocks used and to represent their creations in writing.


Weekly Round-Up: December 1st, 2017

This week has been a busy one! 

Black Friday has officially come and gone and this week. Hope you had a great weekend with family and were able to get some good deals before the holidays arrives!

This week, you will see, there has been a heavy focus on math. Our class has a rhythm and students have been problem-solving on their own during learning centers. This has given us a lot more freedom to be able to focus on small group instruction and see how kids represent their understanding while in play!

1. Language

Having students share their personal life is huge.

We love posting about our students' real lives throughout the classroom. Students take home this "All About Me" poster at the beginning of the year and share it with their friends.

Kids love knowing that you actually know about their lives and are interested and invested in them. Knowing simple information about their favorite color, food and books help students share their lives!

Click here to get your own copy! These have turned out amazingly well. I wish I could show you a filled out version, from my class, but I cannot due to privacy issues.

2. Math: Patterning

We started to focus our learning on patterning this week.

It is not the first time we have explored patterns. We have done them physically in transitions (claps & taps etc), as we dance and during music!

I usually start with a template for my youngest learners. I let students pick the colors that they want to make an AB pattern and they copy it. If they have practiced several times I try to see if they can extend the pattern.

After they created their pattern, I asked them to color their pattern on paper. Many were able to do it but those who could not are quickly identified for targeting for small group instruction.

3. Math: Measurement

Our first measurement activity was inspired by another class at our school!

We added ginger kids to our wall and students stood beside the wall and their friends measured them.

We added a huge paper and markers for writing and students recorded their name and they printed their own number of ginger kids beside their name.

4. Math: Number Sense

Roll, write and build!

A simple number sense game that is engaging, simple and effective.

5. Building

Block building allows students to demonstrate their understanding of their world.

This is a simple bedroom. There is a bed, dresser, lamp, toy box and more! Watching, listening and playing with children lets you understand their thinking and get to know them more!

Check out my other Round-Ups here or  Follow me on Bloglovin' to see more ideas for learning activities in kindergarten!

Holiday Posters

Have you ever felt you need a splash of holiday cheer?

I love these posters for at home in a frame or at school to decorate my classroom.

Placing children's art throughout the room is often how I decorate my classroom. I love adding a splash of posters throughout the classroom to add some Christmas cheer.

If you want to check out the various posters I use in different grades, click on the images below:

Junior-Senior Posters

I have used these posters as writing prompts for students. They are great for journal reflections or simply being thoughtful about what these songs mean to them.

Primary Posters

I love how simple this poster set is.

Young children can easily make meaning about what the posters represent even if they are not readers.

I especially love letting children color to represent their learning. I often set out the black and white version of this and see how they represent their ideas of the songs!


Digital Holiday Concert Planning for Busy Teachers

Do you ever forget what songs your students have performed at school concerts?

Ever changed schools and wondered what has been presented by classes in years prior to you being at the new school?

I've had this happen to me multiple times throughout my career. I will admit that although my teaching partners have been fabulous at keeping me in the loop, when switching new schools, sometimes it is handy just having all the information all in one place.

This led me to do some brainstorming and I came up with a digital product for Google Sheets. 

How Do We Collaborate?

One slide allows for all teachers to input their song or poem selection that they will be using. Teachers can easily and quickly input their ideas during a staff/planning meeting. You can also send this out to staff through an email and have them fill it in by a predetermined deadline. 

This allows everyone to instantly see if there are duplications for songs. Having all the songs in one place for everyone to see for years to come allows for greater collaboration and a wider understanding of the culture of the community you are teaching in!

I decided instead of everyone reinventing the wheel I'd share it with you already put together.

Additional Benefits:

Another slide is provided with 96 examples, at the time of this blog post but will be growing, of different songs and poems for primary grades. A variety of themes are included! 

This sheet is not limited to any grade. It could easily be adapted for older students and anyone in your staff can make additions to this as long as you ensure you share the file so that others can edit it! If you want to check it out, click on the image below. There are a variety of other "features" included in this file. Check it out if you want more details!

I hope that you find this to be as useful as I have found. It really has helped our team be more collaborative. We are definately planning more effectively, less energy and time put into organizing compared to previous years!

Weekly Round-Up: November 26, 2017

It is truly hard to believe that we are in the last week of November!

This year has flown by. 

I hope that you are feeling like you are ready to tackle the last few months before the holiday break!

I was hoping to post this last week but was unable. As a result, this post is a quick reflection on last weeks learning centers in our classroom. 

1. Math

We have been focusing a lot on sorting this past week. I used to store the straws and connectors in the classroom in one large bin.

We decided that we wanted to encourage proper use of these materials and my ECE teaching partner had a wonderful idea to place them in separate containers.

To be honest, this idea was absolutely brilliant!

Students can easily find the connectors and automatically are sorting while cleaning up. We discuss that we are sorting as they work, "What is your sorting rule?" and all of the children can answer. These buckets also take half the space on our shelves to store so if storage space is limited this is an added bonus!

2. Writing

I posted this week our writing continuum. We will be referencing this throughout the school year for students to be able to self assess their own work and see throughout the year where their writing started and how it has progressed!

This week we searched for specific examples from children in our classroom for each of the writing goals. Most of them are posted but not all. Once they are we will discuss this together with the class and learn together how we learn how to write!

We recently changed the layout of our classroom and now we have a writing area of our classroom where we can display all of our writing tools permanently close to students individual writing bins. It has been easier for students to reference their personalized writing resources by doing this which we are grateful for.

If you want to see the labels that I used, you can check them out by clicking here or on the second image below this text. 

3. Writing

We reused the game boards from Rumikub to play Go Fish with simple sight words! A binder was placed between students to prevent cheating! The children loved playing this game and even the non-readers asked to play along!

4. Building

Building with Lincoln Logs isn't always the easiest for young children.

I am always amazed how students use materials differently when presented with additional objects to their play.

Here we added a few wood slices to the table with the Lincoln Logs. Many children ignored them but one student in particular found them to be a challenge! They created a "wall" all around the outside of the wood and then added a roof, using another wooden slice, to their building! At clean up time, he wondered how many of the small pieces needed to be removed for the wooden slice to fall down and collapse the building. We used long sticks to do this to prevent pinched fingers! It was a great inquiry!

5. Outdoor Learning

It is amazing how children are easily entertained by fake representations of what their parents use.

One of our team went to a local phone company and asked for their old, obsolete phones that they do not sell anymore. This is a great way to add to your outdoor learning collection without having to spend any money while making an addition to your dramatic play outdoors!

Check out my other Round-Ups here or  Follow me on Bloglovin' to see more ideas for learning activities in kindergarten!

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