Sunday, September 3, 2017

An Intentional Design

For the past two school years we have taken a deeper dive into a Reggio inspired approach in the classroom. As we have learned more about how to incorporate different things into our daily practice and also how to follow the students' interest during investigations... We have also been more intentional in our classroom setup.

In a Reggio inspired classroom the environment is the third teacher. My goal when setting up our room is that it will be functional, child created and "home like" so that it has a cozy and natural feel.

In addition to creating a Reggio inspired environment we also have to set up for a double class size. Ms. West and I have been co-teaching for 4 years now and we love it. Since we both have a full class size we also have to be very intentional about how we utilize our space.

Because we had a very limited amount of time to prepare our classroom we set up our center spaces but for the first time we did not put the items in the centers yet. Although it looks bare right now I actually prefer it because it is giving us a chance to learn about our students and their interest before I set out materials. We won't actually start centers for a few more weeks until we build classroom community.

Check out our setup for the 2017-18 school year.

This is where we write our daily standards. It is also where we hang some of the students' art and this year for our parent wishes we made a wishing tree. Each parent wrote a wish for their child on the back of a tag and hung it on the tree where it will stay all school year.
This is our whole group desk area. There is another set of tables to the right. There are enough desks for 50 students. We have a connected room so you can see the door that leads to the other side in the back left corner.
 This is our whole group carpet area. Once we begin centers it will also be our math area.
 This year Ms. West made us this beautiful calendar. I was not a fan of the blue pocket chart so this makes my heart so happy!
 Over the summer I went through photos of our past investigations and made them into collages. They are hanging up in the room so we can look back and remember all the cool stuff we've gotten to do with the kids. This is also a picture of our classroom rules.
This space will be our science area. We have been learning about colors so I have also been hanging our color words there.
 Over the summer my dad built us this beautiful counter top. I wanted a space in the room for loose parts but we didn't have much room so I bought two end tables and repainted them then we put the counter on top. Now it will be our loose parts, fine motor and possibly tinkering area.
 This space will be our Literacy area where students can work on their reading and writing skills. We used to have a separate reading and writing space but this year we have merged them together.
 We are starting to implement zones of regulation this year. It is totally new for us but we are learning! This is our new quiet space for students to chill out when needed.
 Instead of combining the light table with our science area which is what we normally do we have a separate light and shadow area this year. We have 1 overhead projector and 2 light tables. We always put it in the back corner where it's cozy and I use black sheer curtains to darken it up.
 This is our art space where students can. Paint and draw. After we learn about colors we will put red, blue, yellow, black and white here and allow students to do some mixing!
 This year we have added a Maker's Space to our centers. Once we put out materials students will get to make their own creations here.
 We have another whole group carpet area for when we level students and split up. This is in our other side of the room. It also doubles as our building area.
 This table will be our clay play space. We know we need to build finger muscles this year so I'm sure one of our first activities will incorporate a lot of pinching.
 This is our sensory table... We always keep it close to the sink for obvious reasons!
 We have large tables in our other side of the room for when we are working with groups both on academics and projects.
 The home living area is always one of my favorite spots. I feel like it's so beautiful this year. I tried to swag the sheer curtains to make it look like a roof!
We have also added a small world play area this year. I have been inspired by small world play for the past couple years so I can't wait to make some cool sceneries for the kids to explore.

I am really pleased with the way the room turned out this year. I can't wait to be part of all the exploration that will happen in 1508 this year!

Our First Full Week in Kindergarten

It was officially our first full week in kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year. This week we started to transition a little better and began some very important learning.

We learned about the colors red and blue and how to mix them to make purple. We used Q-Tips to paint with red and blue and practice our pincer grip.

For math we learned about lines as a prior learning skill before we start learning about shapes next week. We learned about horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines which will also help us when we begin making letters. We also learned about different line designs. We practiced making lines using dry erase boards. We practiced tracing lines using loose parts and today the students drew lines for a watercolor art project.

For reading we read alphabet stories. We read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and went on a letter hunt. We also explored coconuts with our 5 senses. We observed the outside and inside and used adjectives to describe it. We also taste tested one and made a class graph to determine how many people liked it and did not like it.

We also read Alphabet Adventure. We glued the letters in our name in order and counted how many letters were in our name.

Ms. West also worked with everyone on whole body listening. The students learned how to sit so they can listen with their whole body and even used Mr. Potato Head to model what whole body listening looks like.

It was a busy week in kindergarten! Next week we will begin learning our phonics dance, learn about basic shapes and continue to learn about colors. We will also work on self control and kindness in our classroom community.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Our Superhero Investigation Part 2

We had a great time learning about superheroes and working in our centers. The biggest job for us to do with our learning was to apply it o our recognition program theme and prepare for the show!

We started practicing our song and script in April. We practiced everyday! During our center rotations Ms. West and I worked with the students on two different things. She helped them create personal superhero logos for their capes and I worked with them on the set design.

Cape Logos
You can't be a superhero without a logo! As part of their costume for the program we ordered capes for them to wear. Ms. West created a list of basic symbols for the students to choose from and each student made a sketch of the logo they wanted. She then used foam sheets to have them cut apart their pieces. Once they were assembled we traced them with puffy paint and they were placed on the child's cape.

Set Design
We always feel that it's important to have the children be part of the process of making decorations. For our stage the students made action bubbles by using black paint and Q-Tips to make the pop art look then painted the letters. They also painted our superhero training headquarters sign and drew superhero logos. They made clouds using white paint and glue and we used their art work from centers to decorate the walls.

In addition to prepping costumes and the stage we also took superhero pictures to give to the parents. Here are a few cuties!

I had a great t-shirt designer in California named Lindsay Cochran who has an Etsy shop at
They said Knowledge is Power because that was one of our songs!

It's become a tradition that our kinders also cross over our special bridge into first grade. With the help of my dads I had the bridge that was built for last year's show and awesome cardboard buildings.

Our big day came and the kids were ready! I never get to take many pictures because we are so busy running the program but we got a few shots of the kids in their outfits. This turned out to be a great investigation and led to a great program! After the show we bid farewell to this class and they celebrated with their families. We are looking forward to seeing what super things they  do in the future and can't wait to see what our new group will want to investigate next year!