How to Prep your Kindergarten Centers

how to prep your kindergarten centers- pinterest (1)

One of the biggest things I had to figure out when I first started in kindergarten, was how to prepare and organize math and literacy centers. It’s a big undertaking and it’s a continuous project. I am always adding to my centers, improving them and revamping them. Here is my method for putting together the centers for our kindergarten classroom (this post contains affiliate links).

Pineapple Literacy Activities
Pineapple Literacy Activities

Step 1. Find the centers that you want to use. You can use Pinterest, Teachers pay Teachers or make your own. I like to focus on one strain at a time, if you cast the net too wide, you will quickly get overwhelmed. At the beginning of the school year we focus on number sense and phonics. So that’s what I have been working on getting ready. I like to create my own resources, and I upload them to my Teachers pay Teachers store.

Can you solve this?
Can you solve this? Ten frame and number line work mats

Step 2. Print out your centers. Some centers are in color, some are in black & white. Decide what you want to use:

–>if you print in black & white you can use colored paper to make your centers really pop (Astobrights paper is a great option!)

–> do you want to use cardstock to make you centers stay flat? I like to use cardstock for items that are going to be full page, and students need to use flat (work mats, play dough mats).

If you are planning to print your centers from home, you should think about getting HP Instant Ink. It’s a great program that you pay for monthly, you can choose how many pages you want to use per month, and they automatically send you ink cartridges when your printer is running low. You can get free months when you start your membership by entering:

–> 6freeink (6 months free)

–> hwGTd (1 month free for you and 1 for me!)

–> and when you buy a new printer that is compatible with the program, they give you 3 more months for free. I bought the HP Envy 5540 printer and it has worked great for my home printing.

Pineapple Number Work Mats
Pineapple Number Work Mats

Step 3. Cut out the pieces of your centers. It’s better to cut things out before you laminate in order to save space!

Pineapple Number Work Mats
Pineapple Number Work Mats

Step 4. Laminate your centers. I used these AmazonBasics laminating pouches and they worked great. They are thick and make it really easy to wipe off whiteboard marker. Laminating your centers has many advantages: they are durable, you can reuse them year after year, you can use different materials on them (like play dough, loose parts, Wikki Stix) and students can use whiteboard markers to write on them. If you don’t want to laminate, you can also use page projectors (like these Dry Erase Pockets).

instagram13

Step 5. Cut again. If your laminated pieces need to be cut out, you have to do it again. Make sure you leave a space between the paper and the edge of the plastic sheet (this way you make sure it stays sealed) and I like to make sure the edges are curved. I suggest finding a good show to watch on TV and marathon. If you have full sized paper, you won’t need to cut them out.

Step 6. Store your centers. I find it’s best to keep them in large Ziplock bags. That way you can keep all the pages and pieces together, and they are easy to keep in totes or filling cabinets.

instagram15

Now you are ready to use your new centers. Over the years, your centers will grow and you will have more to choose from! Most of our centers are used throughout the school year, we get a lot of use out of them and following these steps keeps them looking good.

How do you prep your centers? Any tips and tricks?

Follow me on Instagram

Exploring Sink & Float in Kindergarten

Exploring Sink & Float- Pinterest (1)

While learning about items that sink and float in our kindergarten classroom, we gave lots of opportunity to have hands-on experiences testing out different objects and recording their results.

instagram09

We started by setting out a bin of water and different items found around our classroom. Students tested each object and then sorted them by whether they sink or float.

sink&float

Students were encouraged to show their results by writing or drawing the item they tested on a piece of paper and placing it on our display. It was a great way to have students record their findings.

instagram08

Next, we challenged students to create a boat that would float and could carry rocks. These were the materials we gave them, and they had a great time trying to figure out how best to use them.

instagram11

Some students added sails to their boats. They were also encouraged to try different designs if their first attempt did not float. It was great to hear their reasoning for picking different materials

instagram10

We used some foam letters and had students practice sight words for some added fun!

** If you decide to have hands-on sink-float centers, I would highly recommend bringing in towels! They were a great time saver and kept the classroom from getting slippery. **

How do you teach sink/float? Any fun activities we can do next time?

Follow me on Instagram

I got to 300 followers!

Instagram post 8

I have been loving using Instagram to share my products, what’s happening in our classroom and just random things that I think are fun. I started doing it to be able to share and connect with other teachers around the world, and I never thought I would get 50 followers. Today I reached 300! That seems unbelievable to me!

Capture+_2017-07-12-00-22-19

Here are a few pictures from these past few weeks, but if you want to see more or if you want to keep up with what I’m doing to prepare for the new school year, make sure you follow me!

instagram04

I started off my summer break with a new book. I finished it in two days and it was a great start to my summer. I am trying to take some time for myself to actually take a break over the summer. Reading, yoga and spending time in the garden are ways that I am trying to relax!

instagram03

My nephew is starting kindergarten in September and his school has an awesome program where students are able to go into their classroom for an hour every day for 2 weeks. I have been taking him a few days these past two weeks and it has been so much fun! They have centers set up and students can choose where they want to go; it’s set up like their regular classroom so they can get used to being in class. So great! I wish every school had something like this.

instagram02

I am trying to build up a good collection of books for provocations this school year. I found these books that I am really excited for! This is package 1 of 3 and I can’t wait to see the next set of books I get in.

instagram01

I am creating new math and literacy loose parts for the new school year. These subitizing mushrooms and wood slice letters will be a fun addition to our centers. I have lots of ideas about what else I want to create and I’m excited to see what our students do with them!

Make sure you are following me to see what else I will be up to this summer!

Follow me on Instagram

Pineapple Literacy Activities!

pineapple literacy activities-pinterest

I am so excited about these 2 new Pineapple Literacy Centers that I made . They are super adorable and I love how they turned out. They are perfect for the beginning of the school year and can be used in so many different ways. Keep reading to find out more!

instagram07

The first activity is to help with letter recognition with different styles of letters. This is great for beginning readers to get them used to the different fonts they will encounter in texts. They have to find the matching letters to the one that is in the pineapple. For this activity, you can laminate the cards and have students use whiteboard markers to circle the matching letters, or use different loose parts to cover the matching letters. I saw some teachers that found some pineapple mini erasers at the Target dollar spot that I think would be perfect for this activity- unfortunately I live in Canada with no Target, so I am keeping my eye out for something similar!

instagram05

The next activity is an uppercase/lowercase letter matching activity. Students pick a pineapple card and cover up the matching lowercase letter. I imagine I will be using these in a sensory bin (I am thinking some green plastic grass and other fun items mixed in with the letter cards). If you don’t want to use the work mat, I’ve also included a black and white version:

instagram06

Instead of just covering up the letter, students can color in the pineapple slices that they find!

These two activities are now available in my Teachers pay Teachers store:

Pineapple Literacy Activities square preview

Follow me on Instagram

A New Look & a FREEBIE!

New Logo & Freebie- Pinterest

I have wanted to redesign my logo for some time now, but I never seemed to find the inspiration or the desire to do it. This weekend it hit me- I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like, and I went for it!

cropped-new-logo2

I love how it turned out. It’s still simple, but it’s clean and has some nice elements to it. I think I have finally managed to change everything over to the new logo- but every time I think I’m done, I open something else and realize that it still has my old logo!

I have lots of new ideas brewing in my head, so make sure you follow me (I’m on Bloglovin’, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest– however you want to do it) so you can stay up-to-date with what’s happening over here on Creative Kindergarten!

To celebrate my new logo, I am offering my newest pack as a FREEBIE! It is a writing activity to help inspire students to write creative stories. It includes two spinners (a character and a setting spinner) and 3 writing sheets (one each for character and setting, and an extra writing page). This is a great addition to your writing centers or to your writer’s workshop! Get it here:

Charactet and Setting Spinners square preview

What do you think of the new logo? Anything you would change about it?

Follow me on Instagram

Canada Art in Kindergarten

Learning about Canada- Pinterest (2)

For our school’s Canada 150 project, our class was assigned to do artwork inspired by the province Nova Scotia. Our students were so interested in learning more about our country that we decided to explore some other Canadian provinces and territories.

20170606_095752_HDR

We started off by looking at British Columbia and the artwork by Emily Carr. This inspiration to paint was perfect for students to explore the beautiful trees of B.C. Our students created some amazing pieces based on this art.

20170608_095555_HDR

Next, we visited the territories and the rich indigenous cultures that are there. We began by looking at Ted Harrison art and students had a chance to make their own interpretations of his paintings.

 

We also discussed the significance of inuksuit to the culture of Inuit people and other peoples of the Arctic regions. Students had a chance to create their own inukshuk and discuss the different types and meaning behind each one.

 

Our students were inspired outside when they found rocks in our sandbox and started to make more inuksuit! Love it when they take their learning outside.

20170612_091916_HDR

We then looked at our own province, Ontario, and our capital, Toronto. The unique skyline presented an opportunity to explore different shapes and the different sizes of the buildings. We had students try to create their own skyline art with different materials.

20170612_091902_HDR

This loose parts center allowed them to create 3D models of the CN Towel.

20170627_095843_HDR

Here is our display after we were done learning about the different provinces. Our students were starting to lose interest, so we decided to move on while we were ahead! They did such an amazing job with everything, and they learned so much in the process!

What are your favourite activities to teach students about your country?

Follow me on Instagram button

 

More Number Sense Activities

Number sense activities - pinterest (2)

I love having simple number sense math activities for the beginning of the school year. Centers that can challenge students and provide hands-on learning experiences. I put together this number sense pack with that in mind. I made it colorful and bright to be inviting and fun for our new students!

20170627_171430_HDR

The first activity is write and swipe cards to practice representing numbers in different ways. It is a great way to introduce students to using ten frames, tally marks, dot patterns and number words.

20170627_171919_HDR

Next is a matching game. There are so many different options for these cards: put them in a sensory bin and students have to find and math the cards, a memory game, or a matching game. You can also decide which cards you want students to use, for example, if you are working on tally marks and dot patterns, you could have students only use those cards.

20170627_171204_HDR

This Stack ‘Em game has students build stacks on top of the numbers represented in different ways. You can use snap cubes, wood blocks or any other manipulative that can be stacked. There are 6 different versions of this game, so students will have the opportunity to explore all the numbers with ten frames, tally marks, numbers, number words, dot patterns and finger pictures.

This fun and colorful pack is available in my Teachers pay Teachers store:

Number Activities square preview

Follow me on Instagram button

CVC Words! Literacy Activities for Kindergarten

CVC Words literacy activity - pinterest

CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) are some of the first words that beginner writers can start spelling. Some examples of a CVC word would be: cat, mop, zip, dog or bug.

20170613_082122_HDR

I was noticing that some of our Junior Kindergarten students were getting really good at identifying the beginning and ending sound of words, but they were forgetting the middle sound. That’s what inspired this product– to help them to sound out new words and to practice writing each sound that they hear in a word.

20170626_174555_HDR

The write-the-room activity has 12 picture cards (in color and B&W) and a recording sheet. Place the cards around the classroom and students must find each of the words and stretch them out to find each of the letter sounds in the CVC word. The recording sheet has boxes to help students with proper letter formation when printing the words.

20170626_174923_HDR

The next activity is write-and-swipe cards. There are 20 color cards that have a picture and spaces to stretch out each of the sounds for the word that matches the image. This also has boxes to help students print with proper letter formation. Print out the cards, laminate them and have students use whiteboard markers to write on them.

20170626_174956_HDR

The third activity includes 20 picture cards and a work mat that students can use to build the words to match the image. These can be put at a loose parts center, in a sensory bin, or can be used with white board markers.

20170613_082131_HDR

This product is available in my Teachers pay Teachers store, take a look at it here!

CVC Words Activities

How do you introduce your students to CVC words?

The Duck Life Cycle Part 5

Copy of Duck Life Cycle Part 5 (1)

If you are just joining me for this series, please take a look at my previous 4 Duck Life Cycle posts for even more information!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. We went from learning all about ducks, to actually seeing the process happen first-hand!

20170616_081742_HDR

It began with hearing some faint peeping coming from two of the eggs Thursday night, we went to turn them over before leaving school and we could hear and actually feel them moving in the egg! It was an amazing experience.

20170616_081746_HDR

Then when we got to school Friday morning we noticed some cracks in a few of the eggs. We left the incubator alone (I only opened it to add more water to bring up the humidity level) because everywhere I had read said to just leave them do their thing at this stage. We also set up the brooder at this point to make sure we were ready when they finally hatched! We were really excited to see what was happening, but unfortunately we couldn’t stay at school all weekend, so we had to wait until Monday.

20170615_162233_HDR

It was well worth the wait, because when I got to school on Monday and opened the incubator, I saw 5 sets of eyes staring up at me. I have never felt so relieved- we had managed to actually have ducks hatch! Since they had been in the incubator for a while (I think they hatched on Saturday), they were dry so they were ready to be moved to the brooder. Here are a few things that I learned with this process, that I did not see online:

20170622_130849_HDR

  1. They will be scared. Especially with all the noises that come with a kindergarten classroom, they will look scared, and they will huddle together. By the end of the first day they were quite comfortable in our classroom, but were still startled by sudden noise. It took a few days for them to be comfortable in our classroom and even then they did not like to be separated.
  2. They will look like they are not doing well. I was really worried about them that first morning. Their legs were at weird angles, they weren’t eating or drinking, they were just in a huddle not moving. I was worried- until they started to move around about half way through the day and began eating and drinking. They did this on their own- I did not have to show them where the water or food was, they figured it out. By day 2, they were running around the brooder and were very spry.
  3. Poop. Expect a lot of it. It will be green and runny at first, but it will eventually harden and turn brown. It will be everywhere. It will also start to smell pretty bad after a few days no matter how many times you clean out the brooder.

20170622_094159_HDR

On day 4 the ducklings went for their first swims and it was amazing! I can’t believe how well they could swim right away and they were diving in and out of the water. It was so cute!

20170622_094334_HDR

Our students sat in a circle around the water bin and the ducklings were walking around and letting the kids pet them. The students loved it, the ducks were having fun and it was a memorable moment in our classroom!

20170619_083253_HDR

We had a discovery center set out with the eggs that had been cracked open so students could see what it looked like once the ducklings were out of the eggs (you can find this sheet as a free download here). We had 5 out of 12 eggs hatch, which we had prepared our students for beforehand.

If you are planning to get duck eggs for your classroom, I most definitely recommend getting this Duck Life Cycle Pack. The observation journal took us through each step of the process and it matches up perfectly with the life cycle that we witnessed in the classroom. It is perfect to do every few days and really helped us focus on each step of the process.

20170620_085935_HDR

Students got a chance to name each of the ducks. They picked and voted on their favourite names and these are the ones we ended up with.

20170620_155302_HDR

The ducklings have been brought back to the zoo and now our classroom feels empty without their presence. I’m really excited to do the whole process over again, and I will have a lot more confidence in my abilities next time!

If you have any questions about the process, please leave a comment below and I will try to answer any questions you have! For now, here are some pictures of cute ducks:

20170620_085852_HDR20170620_085840_HDR20170620_085757_HDR20170620_155358_HDR