Rules & Routines: Lining Up



During the first few weeks of Kindergarten, it is SO essential to establish rules and routines for the kiddos in your classroom.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting about some of the rules and routines that I teach my kiddos. 

One of the hardest things (I think) to teach Kinders is lining up and walking in the hallway.  For those that have never been in a school setting, it could be a new experience – especially doing it independently! Usually they’re with mom and dad while waiting in a line, right?

I use a drive through analogy with them.

Most have been through a drive through, right?! We talk about how cars can’t pass each other, and they have to wait patiently for the car in front of them to move.

My smarties made a connection to the line at the gate to the base.  They have driven through the gate SO many times, and know that cars can’t pass each other.  SO SMART.

This year, I also incorporated THE MOST AMAZING new product into our lining up routine.

Introducing…..Sit Spots!


I first saw these at the I Teach K conference this summer in Las Vegas.  They were created by a teacher! Joyce is the owner and has been a teacher and principal for 25 years! She knows her stuff and she is absolutely the sweetest person!

These colorful shapes (she has them in all sorts of colors and shapes – check them out on her website) Joyce uses them as a classroom “rug” in her classroom (one for each kiddo to sit on), but since I already had a rug, I immediately thought about using them for lining up.


They are a hook and loop type product and they’ll stick great to industrial carpet (low pile).  Here is the most awesome part – they can be vacuumed right over!!! No mad custodians!!  Once they’re down, they are stuck – kids can’t peel them up!  At then end of the year, you can pull them up – put them away for next year, and your custodians can clean your carpet like usual.  Joyce even lets you order a sample so you can try it out to see if it will work on your carpet. (Psst….  They’re only $1 each!!)

Okay, back to lining up – here’s what I did with them….

Since I want to incorporate learning whenever I can, I numbered one row (1-13) and wrote the letters A-M on the other set. It’s still a little tricky for kids to remember their number/letter when we are OUT of the classroom, but they line up so quickly when we are in the classroom – and there are NO arguments about where kids are in line.


I have personally found that it is easier for ME to walk in one very LOOONNNGG line.  Two lines were confusing for my kiddos.  So, I’ve trained the letter A walker to watch for the number 13 walker, and follow him when we leave the classroom. (I picked a very responsible kiddo!).


Lining up and walking in line is ALWAYS a work in progress – with a large class it takes a while to get this mastered :) 

I also use some fun songs and chants to help kiddos get ready for the hall.  Check out What the Teacher Wants for this collection of line up chants/songs.

Here are some more fun chants from First Grade Owls – LOVE the shimmy shimmy coconut one!

I also adore this idea for lining up:

From Mrs. Kopacz at Artistic Geniuses: At the end of the class a student from the helper table puts up the tables (named after shapes this year) that are clean and quiet first, this is the order we line up in. Boy do they clean up fast and you can hear a pin drop!

Here is another fun idea for walking in the hall from What Happens in First Grade.  She labels these poker chip type pieces with students names, grabs one as she walks out the door.  If that person is doing the right thing in the hall, he/she gets a little prize/treat!

This is super similar to my Mystery Person idea that I blogged about waaaay back in 2011!  I use the sticks from my lucky duck can, but I like having a dedicated “mystery walker” can!


Of course when we’re in the hall, we either have a “bubble” or a “marshmallow” in our mouths! 

So, What are your best tips and tricks for lining up and/or walking in the hall.  Please share! We can all add a few ideas to our bag of tricks!

A Classroom Tour–Finally!

Sorry friends – it’s taken me forever and a day to get this up! My life has been absolutely insane! Between getting my girls ready for school, shuttling them back and forth to dance, getting my classroom ready, I’ve been planning a 50th anniversary party for my parents! I have not had a moment’s rest!

The beginning of the school year has been hectic – we’ve been battling the heat -  with no air conditioning in our buildings.  My classroom was about 86 degrees when I left it today.  We are actually closing school early for the next two days because of the heat.  Unfortunately, teachers still have to work in their sweltering classrooms after kids leave.  Bummer. 

So, here is my classroom.  Some things are still a work in progress, but it’s a start.  I like to keep things pretty simple in my room!

This is from the front of my room.  The door is behind me.  We spend a lot of time in this area!


Here is a view from the carpet to the back of the room where our tables are.  My room isn’t very big – so I have to be creative in my arrangement! I have 6 student tables now and 25 kiddos.  It’s a tight squeeze, but we’re making it work.


Here is “my spot.”  I keep my computer on the wooden drawers in the left of the picture – that’s how I hook up the IWB.  The big white thing is a oil drip pan – I spray painted that white and we use that as a magnet center.


Here is my classroom library and part of the word wall.  This is just on the other side of the carpet.  This is where the listening center is as well.  I keep theme books on the left and leveled books in the blue baskets.


Here is our writing center – not set up yet!


This is our word wall.  I moved this from the back of the room to the front of the room this year.  I didn’t like having it so far away from our learning/teaching space.


Because we have bigger classes this year, I’ve had to rethink how I’m doing my math and literacy centers.  I plan to have 10-12 centers over 2 weeks.  I’ll post more on this later.


This is my small group teaching area.  It’s kind of a mess right now because I’ve shoved a bit! ;)


This is our art center and our science center is on the left. (These centers still both need to be stocked!)


Here is our dramatic play area.  This will change themes over the year.  The kids LOVE playing here!


Don’t judge me, please.  This area is SO messy!  This is the pile up area.  I just put a desk in last May – I have back issues, so I needed a place to sit up properly when I’m working during my planning times!  (Although, I’m usually running around a thousand miles a minute during planning!)


These were my math and literacy center bins for last year.  This year I will just use them just for math centers.  I still need to change the labeling on them!


This is another view from the door.


This is more in the doorway….to the left is our coat area.


Those colorful shapes on the floor are my Sit Spots. I LOVE THEM. I use them for lining up.  I will blog again about them and how I use them in another post.


Mailboxes are right to the left when you walk in.


This is my coat/backpack area.  I normally store the children’s rest time bins in the cubbies, but because I have a larger class this year, it gets a bit crowded, so I’m storing them in the empty room next door (shhhh!).  The red baskets contain all of our school supplies.  The adorable labels are from Katie Mense.


This is where the children make their lunch choice.


Phew – did I get everything?! Did I forget anything? Anything else you want to see? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Back to School Sale!!

Click {here} to head over to my store!

I can’t wait to start shopping! My cart is over flowing!

My classroom is *almost* done.  I *hope* to finish it tomorrow!

Change is on the horizon for this year!

Prepping Alphabet Fun!

I’ve been super busy in my classroom all week trying to get everything ready for my *24* kiddos coming next week! This may seem like a normal (or even small) number for many of you, but for me – it’s HUGE.  As, I’ve been getting ready, I’ve been pulling games and activities out of storage to get ready for these little sweeties!

Here are some of the things I’m getting ready: 

1. Letter Muncher

This lovely lady is my alphabet muncher.  I made her a few years ago.  She’s seen better days.  I found these little mini trash cans at the Target dollar spot.  I added some hair, googly eyes and some stickers.  (PS – Don’t use doll hair – it’s really hard to manage!). 

Here’s how I play this game:

Pass out letter cards or magnetic letters to the kiddos.  Let Mrs. Muncher “whisper in your ear” (be VERY dramatic) the letter/sound she is hungry for.  The child with that letter gets to feed Mrs. Muncher and you and the class get to make all sorts of dramatic noises (specifically the name of the letter and the sound).  Super fun, and easy to have on hand.  There are all sorts of different letter munchers out their on the WWW, just Google it and you’ll find lots of ideas!


2. Pocket Chart games

This pocket chart game is a phonemic awareness activity that you can find in my Backpack Boogie pack.  It simply involves listening for the target letter that is on the wheel and deciding if it comes at the beginning or end of the word.


Find the hidden…..these games are my favorite time filler! We LOVE them.  We practice all sorts of skills with this game.  This friendly blue cat game and more like it can be found {here}.


3. Dramatic Play – I LOVE my dramatic play center.  The children do to!  They play there all year long. But, I do understand the pressure of academics too.  I’ve made some fun little activities to put into my dramatic play centers.  I always start the year off with the kitchen!


4.  Literacy Center games

Since I have such an increase in kiddos this year, I’m having to re-work the way I do literacy centers.  I usually do 5 groups of 4 kids, but this year, the children will be working in partners.  So, I’m getting games ready for them to play the first few weeks.  Alphabump is a fun game that I created this summer.  I can’t wait for the kiddos to play it!  You can find it {here}.


5. I Have Who Has games.  I LOVE these games! We play them all year long!  There are great because I can change out the skills and the kids still know the rules! I love having these handy for a sub!  We’ll start out the year with this letter I Have Who Has game.  This game is also in my Backpack Boogie pack!


What activities are you preparing for your little sweeties the first few weeks of school?

Teacher Week ‘13–Sneak Peek in my Room!

Nope, you don’t get a full tour yet! My room won’t be ready until the minutes before open house!!  We officially start next Wednesday, and I do feel like I am (dare I say)…ahead of the game.  Now, I might feel differently if you ask me next week!

So, for now, I’m giving you a few sneak peeks until my room is completely finished!  The pics are pretty simple, but it will give you a tiny glimpse!

At this point, I don’t even have all of my tables in my room yet, and the finishing touches are definitely not done!










I’ll post more pictures next week when it’s all done!!

Be sure to check back at Blog Hoppin’ for more pictures of fantastic rooms!

Teacher Week ‘13–10 Things about Me!

I can’t believe that it’s already time for Teacher Week.  That means if you haven’t started school yet, you will be starting soon! I don’t want my summer to end!
So, this week will look a little like this:
Every day, there will be a new linky on Blog Hoppin’ and you can follow along or join in!
Today, is all about me Monday!

So, here goes, 10 things you may or may not know about me!
1.  I am married to my high school sweetheart.  He came to the US from Norway as a high school exchange student.  We’ve been married for 14 years and together for eighteen.  Time flies when you’re having fun!
kim and me
2. I speak fluent Norwegian.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Norwegian, and studied in Norway for a semester!  It was one of the best times in my life!
norway winter
We usually travel to Norway once a year to visit my husband’s family.  This photo was taken during our Christmas trip last year.
3. I’m left handed – which means I always have marker smudges on my hand at the end of the day.
4. I don’t like to cook.  Well, maybe that’s not entirely true.  I don’t mind cooking.  I just don’t like cleaning up the dishes.  I do enjoy baking, but I don’t do it very often because I like to eat what I make! 
5. I love to travel.  Especially in Europe.  I have flown to Europe probably 20 times.  I’ve travelled through most of northern Europe.  I’ve been to London 3 times, and can’t wait to go again!  I LOVE it there!

6.  Speaking of London, when I studied in Norway, we went there for an end of semester trip, and I got my nose pierced.  I was 20 and having a blast! It didn’t last long though, I took it out when I got married that summer. (I was a young bride – 21!)
7. I love to knit and crochet.  I would be so happy just sitting on my bum watching reality tv knitting and crocheting all day long.  I have a pin board of all the things I want to make!  My grandma taught me how to crochet when I was a little girl, and I have wonderful memories of sitting next to her making granny squares.  I still cuddle with the afghan she made me when I graduated from high school.  It’s one of my favorite things.  My grandma passed away almost 2 years ago, and I miss her dearly.
8.  I am the youngest of three.  I have 2 older brothers. My *big* brother is 13 years older than me!
9.  I am a homebody.  I love being at home.  Just hanging out.  Doing nothing.  I’ve never been a social butterfly. I’m very quiet when you first meet me.  I’m cautious to open up to people until I really get to know them.
10.  I started this blog as a project for my master’s degree.  I was going to blog about how I teach reading and writing for a year.  My advisor didn’t approve the project, but since I had already developed a large number of readers, I kept at it.  This little blog has been around for 3 years now!  Thanks for sticking with me all these years!!
Now, hop on over to Blog Hoppin’ and meet some other teachers!

Stop back tomorrow and I’ll give you a sneak peek of my room.  I don’t start for another week, and I’m not quite done yet, but I think I can scrounge up a few pictures!