I teach K--Day 2

This day might have been the one I was most looking forward to! Not only was I getting to listen to great presenters during the day, that night we had a blogger meet-up!  More on that in the next post...

The morning started off with a session by Julie Brinkley and boy did she have some awesome ideas!!! Her session was all about implementing math work stations in Kindergarten.  I was eager to listen to her ideas since I've been reading Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller this summer! I've been nervous to start them this up coming year but I knew it had to be done.  I just felt like my kids didn't get what they really needed from my old "math center boxes" last year. Julie had some great ideas on display for us to see and I just loved how she did B.U.I.L.D in her classroom!  This is a picture of her and her sign for her students to see when they have their B.U.I.L.D time.  I especially loved how she added blue dots on the sides to let the kids know how many spots were still open for that box. (They placed a clothespin with their name on it, on the dot when they choose that box!)
One great idea she had was using milk caps in her classroom.  She said she has parents collect milk caps and send them in.  Some caps she writes numbers on and uses them with math games and other caps she saves to use with other activities such a patterning by color (genius--and free!).  But an idea I will use immediately will be using math mats.  These are simply mats with some sort of design, in her case a army tank, and using inexpensive manipulative's (army men) to add some "newness" to a math activity that the kids have done tons of time before.  The key here was to keep it "new" to the kids to keep them interested with new manipulative's! (Again---genius!) The possibilities are endless here! I'm thinking a cookie jar mat with maybe plastic little cookies or cookie erasers from the dollar store???

The next session was hosted by Kim Adsit and boy was I one happy girl! I was excited to hear what she had to say but to be in the presence of someone who had a true southern drawl made my heart smile! (Since I've lived in Kansas, everyone has made fun of my southern Georgia drawl and my "y'all" statements so I've tried to cover them up!)

Two cute sayings that I might just live by from now on were "don't spray and pray" (which means, as teachers, don't just say something and pray they get it) and "don't sit and get" (which means don't just sit and hope they get it!)  I mean really--- how great are those?!?  That's something all of us teachers need to keep in mind all the time.  We need to make sure the kids are really making true meaning out of what we are teaching!

She had many great ideas in the session too! She talked about using sticky notes when previewing a book with the kids.  Use the sticky notes to cover up the words and have them tell you what they think or know is going on in the book. Generate ideas with the class as you go through the pages. 

Also, use the thousands of stickers you have, as writing prompts! Give students a sticker of your choice and have them draw a picture around that sticker and then maybe even write about what they've drawn.  Something so simple but the kids would take total ownership of that piece of writing! And lastly, she shared the story of how a little girl in one of her classes came up with names for each of the four main coins. I just loved the names and I'm going to use them this year---pretty penny, nifty nickel, dinky dime and queeny quarter! How cute are those?!?

I just loved her cute posters too!!!

After lunch, I was blessed to see two more great presenters- Donna Whyte and LeAnna Wolkis.
Donna spoke all about the first 30 days of school.  She had many wonderful ideas about getting the kids into routines right away and being explicit about what we want the students to do. The sooner you get kids in the good habits you want them to do, the easier your life will be!  She has a great 'back to school' pack that I'm going to purchase before school starts! You should too!!

But the best idea she had was making 'expert books' for your classroom.  She explained that she makes little books of with the names and pictures of kids in your class who are experts at a particular topic and that can help their classmates when they need it.  For example, she has an expert book for kids that can tie their shoes! So that way, when kids go up to her and say "teacher, I need help" she can open the expert book and point that child in the direction of a classmate who knows how to do it! This not only helps the 'expert' child feel special but it prevents the teacher from wasting valuable teaching time or being bombarded with 25 students who need help tying shoes! What a creative idea!!!

LeAnna was a lady I met at the conference and we ended up striking up a friendship! When I found out she was a presenter, I knew that I had to see her in action! Like everyone else, she also had many neat ideas but one of her all time, coolest tricks involved using water and toothpicks to show math problems.  She set up the projector so we could see.  She laid down a piece of wax paper and made two circles with a visa-via marker.  She then took a dropper and squeezed out 4 drops of water in one circle and 3 drops in the other.  She then was able to take a toothpick and move them! It was so cool.  She showed us this while telling us a math problem where she added the dots together! It was so neat to see and all of us teachers were in awe! I KNOW my kids would love seeing this! I bet they would all want to add if they could do it with water and toothpicks!!! Man, I wish I had a picture of this but I didn't even think about it at the time! But trust me, you'll want to try it out!

Well, sorry it was another long post but the ideas were just so abundant!!! Next, I'll be posting about our blogger meet-up and days 3 and 4 of the conference.  Stay tuned!

1 comment

  1. I have seen the expert book before but it was presented as the yellow pages. The specialist go inside a binder in ABC ORDER! Then when you need a specialist you look it up like in a phone book. Helps with the ABC ORDER concept. you have inspired me to get mine going too!


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