Bundle Up and Snowmen Fun!

Here are the centers that my kiddos were working on last week! 


One-to-one counting with teen numbers and tally marks.


Counting tallies by 5s.


Sequencing numbers


Counting and adding




Literacy Centers:


The cards were inserted into my favorite foam dice, they rolled and wrote the beginning blend, along the way they “gathered” pieces to build their snowman!


Reading CVC words and building snowmen.


Sorting snowmen and CVC words.


Constructing sentences with snowflakes.


Sequencing the alphabet.

I wish I had more classroom pictures for you, but obviously, I am not there to take them!  I had lots of fun projects planned, but not sure if my sub was able to get to all of them! It makes me realize how much of a routine we get into and how fast we move during the day.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it when I go back!

Groundhog’s Fun!

So that was fun, wasn’t it?!

Here are the answers to my questions:

Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really HIBERNATE.

Groundhogs WHISTLE when they are courting.

A baby groundhog is called a KIT or a CUB.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  (seriously!) 700 POUNDS

So many of you took me up on my little challenge, I love it and I love all of you!!

So, I decided to make you ALL something!


I love making these little non-fiction books.  There are a couple of extras at the end too, I just couldn’t help myself.  I probably could have worked all night, but sometimes a girl just has to stop, right?!  So, as a thank-you click on the picture to download!

If you were one of the first 5 with the answers that I have above, expect an e-mail very soon!

Mrs. Plum….I need your e-mail! You were one of the winners!


Karyn….kideducator e-mail – it bounced back! Do you have another e-mail!

Hope to hear from both of you soon!

It’s a little late for this year, but maybe next year! Groundhog Flip Flops anyone?


February Calendar Song and a little Groundhog giveaway


I have 2 new groundhog game packs for you too!

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I’m going to give both of these games away to the first 5 people that correctly answer all of these questions!  I’m moderating the comments so there will be no cheating Winking smile  Although, I know you would never do that!

Here we go:

Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really _________.

Groundhogs ____________ when they are courting.

A baby groundhog is called a ____________.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  (seriously!)

(A groundhog and a woodchuck are different names for the same animal: Marmota monax)

Good Luck!

Remember to leave me your e-mail address!

A little Q & A

The question I get the most often is where to get the soft foam dice that I use ALL the time!  I have 2 sets of these buggers because I love them so much!  I purchased mine (and got one as a gift!) from our local teacher’s store.  But, I have found them at Amazon.com


Here is another language arts version:


I’ve seen them in packs of three too.  I just file the cards that come with them away and pull them out as I need them.


When you make the centers for your child to use at the tables do you make more than one center or do they share?

It depends on the center.  USUALLY, I just make one.  I teach them how to pass them around and take turns at the beginning of the year.  My children sit at tables (some round, some rectangle), and I think it’s a super important skill for them to learn.  As we know, many children come to school not ever having played a board game at home, so there is a learning curve for some!

How you incorporate the centers into your daily schedule? Do the kiddos work well independently? Do you collect their work for assessing? Do they pretty much all understand the material presented in the center?

I have a separate time for math centers and literacy centers.  The time and length changes as the year goes on.  In the beginning of the year, they are exploring with manipulatives, learning how to work quietly, how to read the pocket chart for their assigned center, and so on.  I slowly add one or 2 “paper and pencil” centers as they are ready.  I think it’s important for kindergarten kids to be writing during center time – they need to build up their hand strength, and practice writing letters.  Again, as you know, many kiddos come in not knowing how to even hold a pencil let a lone write a word!

Right now, my literacy centers are scheduled right after recess – the kids come in hang up their coats, and go to their center.  They have learned to just grab the “drawer” that the activity is housed in.  Math centers are after we come back from specials in the afternoon.  I usually do a quick mini-lesson or play a game and sing a song and then the children to their math centers.  When they are finished, they are allowed to do “bonus math.”  They love this!  I’ll make a separate post on that later!


This is the pocket chart for Math – the red chart that you see just above the blue one is for literacy centers.  Math centers use the numbers 123…, literacy centers use the ABC…  They children go to one center each day, and at the end of centers, I rotate the numbers.  The yellow transparency shows who is table captain – that is the person that is responsible for getting the center and putting it away.

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These are the drawers that I put the center activities in.

The children start to understand pretty quickly how to do each center, the basic ideas for centers stay the same throughout the year, the skills just change.  I always introduce the centers at the beginning of the week.  Sometimes I do it at the carpet, sometimes I do it at my guided reading table.  Just depends on my mood!

The children do become pretty independent after they have gotten the hang of it! There are always the ones that struggle that need my help and guidance.  I walk around during centers and help those that really need it.  Right now, I am not pulling any groups, but that will change after I go back.

I DO look at every child’s work – it might be AS they are working or it might be at the end.  If they have mistakes, I make them go and fix them.  I look at it right when they’re done.  If I collect them to look at them later, I know I will never get to it, and it will become a mountain of paper!  If kids don’t finish, their work (usually because they are messing around!), they have to finish it during play time! NO FUN!

Literacy centers and math centers are my favorite times of the day – they get to practice the skills that were presented to them.  The kids have so much fun, and I LOVE being creative and coming up with new centers that I know they will enjoy!

How do use organize your centers? Do your kiddos rotate every 15 min. or so or choose a center?

I use the drawers pictures above.  They go to one math center and one literacy center a day.

I'm very interested in doing the calendar books but I'm wondering where you got the pages for the smartboard.

I have a Promethean board in my classroom, and although it is the same as a Smartboard (both interactive white boards), the software is different.  I create all of the pages for my Promethean board.  I learned a lot on my own through trial and error and my district offered a class on how to create pages.  I HIGHLY recommend taking a class if your district can get you to one.  I thought I knew a lot, but after taking the class, I learned that there are easier ways to do it, then how I was doing it! I love easier!

So, every month, I create my new pages as well as other pages to use with lessons.  I can’t share these however, since I use a lot of clipart, and sharing clipart is a no-no.

Most of the pages that I use for calendar books are from Kim Adsit and Shari Sloane’s calendar packet.  Shari also has a lot of pages on her website. If there is a skill that I want to practice that they don’t have, I create it myself.  I try to post some monthly skill pages that I have created for each month (you may need to look back at last year to find these).  I’ll be working on the new February song and it will be posted soon!

If you have more questions, post them below, and I’ll try to answer them if I can!

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!

Hot Chocolate!

So, last week I had surgery.  It was supposed to be a somewhat small surgery, but turned into a pretty big surgery. I have been home on sick leave for about a week now, and am still not feeling very great.  I think I have about 3 weeks to go. ugh.  That means 2 more weeks of sub plans I need to write! I have a long road of healing in front of me. 

I’ve been trying to finish up my penguin unit today, I only had a couple of things left to do before I had my surgery, and I’ve been trying for the last couple of days to do tiny bits of it, so I could get it out.  I’m going to try to post it in the next few minutes, before I fall asleep Smile

The week after break, we did our hot chocolate unit.  Now, I can only hope that my sub finished it for me!  I only got a few pictures snapped of our math centers since I was only in school for 2 days.

The kiddos LOVED this center!  I had a bag of very stale marshmallows – it’s better if they’re hard!  They scooped some out, counted them, and tallied the number.  SO fun!


This was super fun too!  The children rolled the die, and colored in the corresponding number of pennies.  When they rolled a total of 10 pennies, they colored in a dime.  The first one to get to the last dime was the winner.  They were sure competitive!


We’re still practicing counting 1:1, counting up to the teens and remembering what that tricky teen looks like!


And of course, practicing patterns!


I don’t think I have any pictures of our literacy centers, if I find them on my camera, I’ll post them too!

Ugh, I think I need to go lay down now!

January Calendar

Here you go!


and the calendar pages – click on the first image to download.