Penguins, and a little pity party

I don’t have many pictures for you, since I am home on sick leave. But I do have pictures of the centers that I prepared for my sub plans when I’m gone.  I’m a bit controlling when it comes to my classroom (yes, I will admit it), I do like things a certain way, and it’s really hard for me to let go of that control when I’m gone.  I feel such a responsibility to these kids, and I want to give them 110% of me. I would want my child’s teacher to do that. We are in charge of their education, and I want them to get every thing out of kindergarten that they need and deserve. I feel like I am not giving them what they deserve if I don’t teach to my ability. 

So, it’s very difficult for me to be gone, and when my principal tells me that I need to be gone for 6 weeks (ahhhh!!!), I start to have a mini-panic attack.  No, not mini, a big stress attack.  I know that I need to take care of myself, I had a pretty major surgery, but in my mind I had only prepared to be gone for 2 weeks.  (Since that major surgery should have been a minor surgery).  Now, I need to think about how to release that control, and hope that my sub can get all the skills taught that need to be taught now.  I always said, “it’s only 2 weeks, they’ll be fine…”, but now its, “Oh man, 6 weeks…are they going to learn what they need to learn???”

I know my GF friends are probably laughing at me, and saying, Kathleen, go back and lay down, they’ll be fine!  But, if you are my friend, you also know I’m a worrier.  I worry about everything.  Yep, everything.  I’m trying not to worry, and just let go, but it’s really, really hard.  There has to be a 12 step program out there for worrying, isn’t there?

Okay, enough of the pity party, on to the pics.  Here is what my kids were doing (I hope!) for math and literacy centers this week:

Literacy Centers:

The kids went fishing for ending sounds! They are using the little lakeshore fishing poles for this activity (LOVE these!)


We’re working hard on those tricky vowel sounds!  Here they are spinning the spinner and finding a word with that medial sound, and stamping it in the correct spot.


This is a simple roll and write for beginning sounds.  Most of my kiddos have all of their beginning sounds now, but it is good practice for them, as well as handwriting practice!


Blends are brand new for us! Here they spin the spinner and write the blend in the correct column.IMG_2808

This is a write the room activity.  The words are mixed up, they can use the word bank for help, unscramble the word and write it in the box.


Math Centers:

Still working on those number words!  This time they don’t have the extra support of having the word on the dice. Scaffolding, right?! They can always peek up at the number line if they can’t remember the number word.


Working on addition


1:1 and counting and writing teen numbers.


Here’s a new twist on patterning:  first, they decide what their “core” pattern will look like for each row.  Then they spin the spinner to decide which core they will color next.


And the very beginning stages of subtraction.  Roll the die, color in that many fish, and write how many are left.


So, if you have any suggestions on how to let go, please, please tell me!  I’m trying to finish up my snowman and mitten unit, so please bear with me!


  1. Not sure how to let go, other than to keep busy! Your centers look great!
    First Grade Blue SKies

  2. So cute! Take care of yourself! I know how you feel about your kiddos,but you can't give110% if you don't heal correctly!

    Thanks for such awesome center activities! I am trying to be more frugal, but these are too cute!

  3. Love all of these ideas! Are they available on TPT?
    ~ Angela

  4. Yes! These are in my newest penguin unit. Just click on the newest tab at tpt to find it. You can get to tptby clicking on the tab on the left!

  5. They all look great! Just know that your kiddos are in good hands! They will learn what they need to know :)

  6. I would feel the exact same way as you! Just try to relax & let yourself heal. Staying busy would help me. As always, I LOVE your unit. I'm trying to limit myself these days, but I think I'm going to have to get this one! :)

  7. Your activities look great....I just purchased them on TPT...I am very excited to get them organized for the little ones. They will be perfect for what we are learning.
    i hope you feel better!

    Sue :)

  8. Your centers look great! Take care of yourself first, and the kids will be in great hands. Relax~

  9. Cute centers! So sorry to hear your minor surgery turned major. Hope you are back in action soon.
    Finally in First

  10. Letting go is always hard, but I'm sure your kiddos will be in good hands. Best of luck on your recovery.

    LOVE these centers :)

    Color Me Kinder

  11. Kathleen, wow! I am exactly the same way about leaving my kids with a sub. I go crazy just being out for a doctor's appointment for an afternoon. My para thinks I'm crazy when I call her the minute school ends. Please know that you're not weird or strange, that there are other people out there who feel the same as you. I thought you might enjoy looking at a video by Jack Hartmann on his web site (, where he does the CUTEST penguin dance. I had to buy this CD because I am addicted to using music in the classroom. If you're feeling up to it, come and look at my blog - I have a lot of freebies and a contest to enter.

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT

  12. Where do I find these "Penguin" work sheets!!!

    1. You can find them at my TpT store - click on the link on the left!

  13. I purchased your unit last night and "WOW"! Love it!

    I too have a difficult time "letting go". 3 years ago I mentored taught in Hong Kong for nearly a month and micro-managed my classroom to the point I had daily plans that were nearly 20 pages long. My sub loved it, but it was a great deal of work. I had 2 large tubs filled with plans, centers, manipulatives, books, etc... I t was a crazy. I believe all truly dedicated teachers are like this!! :)

    1. So glad you like it! My sub plans were a little ridiculous, but I know if I were a sub, I would want to run the class as similar to the classroom teacher as I can! Oh well, I do what I can, and whatever happens, happens. Right?!

  14. Wow!! These centers look fantastic! As soon as I saw them, I bought them. These activities are sure to put a smile on your Kinders faces while you are gone.

  15. Oh Honey. I am soo sorry!! My students also are LOVING these activities!! You create the most creative, amazing things!! When I grow up I want to be JUST LIKE YOU!! lol. Hugs! I hope that you are feeling better ....SOON!

    Sarah H

  16. These look great! I own many of your units and LOVE them. I am going to get this one today!

    I would feel the same way you do in this situation. It is hard to be away from the kiddos. You just have to have faith that things will go well when you are not there and focus on getting better!

    Growing Up Teaching

  17. I totally understand how you feel since I had to be gone for 6 weeks a couple of years ago. It was hard but my sub did a god job with a very difficult class. They were sooo happy when I came back though. I hope you take care of yourself and are feeling better soon.

  18. Where did you purchase the dice that you used with your beg. sound activity? Thank you, Kim

  19. Hang in there and know that all of your great activities and plans are going to help the sub tremendously. Then pray to let go!

  20. Prayers to you Kathleen! I understand and am a control freak myself...I have only missed 3 days in the past 9 years.

    Your activities are great and I hope you have a speedy recovery!

    I would love for you to come visit my blog! I have TONS and TONS of *freebies* that you can grab!

    My activities for August and September might be just right for some of your K kiddos right now! I also just shared a penguin short vowel sort! =)

    Hang in there!

    Heather's Heart

  21. I love your penguin stuff! Did you create it all? Where can I get it?

    1. Hi Jen - you can find it at my TpT store - click on the link on the left side of my blog!

  22. Such cute centers! Can ou tell me where you got the colorful dice/block from? I would love to get one or my classroom.

  23. Kathleen I hope you are feeling better soon. It is always hard to give up control of our classrooms, a little like letting go of our own children. We know it is necessary, but have a very hard time doing it. I love your creations. I wish I was this talented. Thank you to you and all the great bloggers who share.

  24. Hi- I am your newest member. I love your activities. I think it is great you did not leave "busy work" for your sub. Hope you get better really fast. I just started a new blog. Hope you will check it out.

  25. Kathleen,
    Where can I find your vowels and blends ws? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ashlen - they are in my Penguins! Math and Literacy unit available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store - click on the TpT button on the left to go there!

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