Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Kindergarten Calendar: Number Writing Practice

I have just put up a new product on TpT. It is a quick and easy monthly calendar that gives students number writing practice. You can pull this out at the beginning of the month, practice increasingly challenging number writing activities, and talk about the month ahead. My Kindergarten Calendars are a fun way to practice number writing skills in a meaningful way.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/My-Kindergarten-Calendars-Number-Writing-Practice-3346167

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Teaching New Part 2: Getting Settled

After my acceptance of the position as Kindergarten teacher, I met with the principal, who took me on a tour of the school. I come from California and am used to schools with outdoor hallways. Since I now live in the Pacific Northwest where rain is a constant thing, I am moving into an indoor school. (I actually think  that it's pretty cool. Reminds me of The Neverending Story, and I LOVE The Neverending Story!)

My building is called Kinder Village, since it is its own smaller building next to the main building. I think that name is pretty adorable.

After my tour, it is on to...

Step 2: Moving In

I have my keys! Yes, I can unlock the building, walk down the hallway, open the door, look inside. And when I look inside, guess what I find? A classroom full of stuff left by someone I have never met. Granted, it was very nice to have access to materials in case I didn't have any. There are a million books, lots of games, flashcards, toys, etc. The problem is that I have been teaching for 12 years and have all of MY stuff in a storage compartment somewhere, waiting to arrive. Where am I going to put it??



I have to make a game plan:
1. Go through curriculum and get rid of anything old.
2. Put all books into one area of the room.
3. Clean out and organize cabinets
4. Organize math pieces and flashcards as much as possible.
5. Move furniture around so that it looks like I did something!

So far I have completed these steps. Now, I just need to put everything in its place. I also need to be mindful of everything else I need to bring into the room. It's overwhelming, but I am making progress.

What is amazing is that I have found items that I LOVE and do not own. Also, I can get a good look at the curriculum I will be using and begin my planning process. My goal is to be done with the cleaning by the end of the week. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Teaching New Part 1: The Interview

Hi everyone! I began teaching Kindergarten in 2005 and have been teaching 12 years! (Yes, that's math...) Well, I am in a new state and starting a new school! AND, I am still teaching Kindergarten! Yay!

I thought it might be fun to document my time as a relocated teacher. Everyone fears change (especially me!) and having to start over is never easy. So, as a little reassurance to other teachers out there, and for myself, I will be walking through my steps to becoming an old teacher in a new place.

Granted, some teachers may never have to experience this craziness. Some may experience this kind of specialness a lot. But, I don't think many people have taught 12 years somewhere and then had to relocate and start over. If you have, leave a comment! I would love to hear your story. 

Here we go....

Step 1: The Interview
First of all, I was desperate for an interview. I thought it would never come! Seriously, I thought it would never come. Everyone said it was a matter of time. But, my brain was telling me otherwise. Shows what my brain knows. I got an interview 2 weeks into the move. When I finally got one (after applying at 20 different schools!) I did everything I could to make sure I stood out as a highly-qualified teacher.

Of course, I bought a new outfit. Obviously...

I applied for the Oregon Teaching License. You can't expect your old credential to get you noticed. 

Then I started to get my teaching portfolio together. Here are some pics:
 Colorful cover


 Table of Contents

 Introduction Letter

 PowerPoint Presentation I gave at the interview

Student Samples


Many teachers already have a portfolio, and mine is by no means the best way to do it. This is just a small example.

What I think DID set my interview apart was my presentation. Usually you go to an interview and the committee asks you questions and you answer them as best you can. Instead of that standard process, I did a PowerPoint presentation that actually included a video of me teaching a lesson. Not only did my presentation answer a lot of the committee's questions ahead of time, but they were impressed with the example of actual teaching. Many principals have never had a candidate bring video of practice before. I included it in the Methods portion of my presentation as a YouTube link.

The interview went very well, and I felt very relaxed answering the questions they did have for me. I was offered the position the next day! Yay!

Next up, I will share my war with setting up a new classroom while most of my stuff is still in storage and all I have is what is left over from the previous teacher. Should be interesting...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Counting in Kindergarten

Learning how to count is something we all do. But, how do we do it? I think those who are not teachers can take for granted the process that children have to go through to learn how to count. And there is a difference between learning how to count and how to apply strategies to counting. Everyone has a friend who can look at a group of objects and count it in their head while you are stuck counting it slowly and inaccurately. As a Kindergarten teacher, giving students the skills at an early age to organize their thinking and apply these strategies to different situations is what teaching is all about!

I LOVE to use manipulatives when I teach counting. Dumping a bunch of seashells on a table and asking the kids to count them is so fun for them and so helpful for me. It is a quick insight into their ability to rote count. Without rote counting skills, nothing can be done in the world of math. Building from there, having them use the number line, use ten frames, base 10 units, etc., is all branching off the ability of rote counting.

Each year I use my Kindergarten Counting Unit to have students apply strategies and think about their numbers through out the year. Students work through number 0-30 and do everything from one-to-one correspondence, to base 10, to number order. Take a look:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Counting-1869424

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Counting-1869424

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Counting-1869424

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Counting-1869424

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Counting-1869424


In addition to my counting unit, I LOVE Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills' Guiding Kinders Math Units. I actually use these more than the school curriculum (shhhhh.......). They are organized into monthly units and really hit everything that Kinders need in a math curriculum.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Math-COMPLETE-BUNDLE-ALL-ELEVEN-UNITS-1195697


And, just for fun, I thought I would throw out one of my favorite resources in young children's math research. Megan Franke is an author/researcher/genius who really looks at how young children learn and what makes learning fun and engaging. I have seen her speak and always leave so inspired. If you get a chance read any one of her books. They are amazing!
https://www.amazon.com/Young-Childrens-Mathematics-Cognitively-Instruction/dp/0325078122

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