New to Kindergarten

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by cdowdell, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. cdowdell

    cdowdell Companion

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    Jun 7, 2007

    This next school year will be my first year teaching and I will be in a kindergarten classroom! I am not 100% sure as to how many kids I have, what things I'm going to have or any of that. I've just accepted the position.

    I was wondering if any of you could give me some ideas, suggestions, etc. for the first days of school! Also if you have any ideas of questions to add to my list to ask...want to be sure I am thinking of everything...Anything you can give me would be great!!

    Thank you so much!!! I look fwd to being on this board often!
     
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  3. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Jun 7, 2007

    Welcome to kindergarten! You've come to the right place for help, this is a great site! I have a page designed just for new teachers or teachers new to kindergarten, it's at Vanna's Bootcamp , there you will find all sorts of help for the beginning of the year, advice for what and how to prepare for the first day, how to introduce the rules, routines, and procedures, introduction letter, center introduction procedures and much more.
    Good luck!
     
  4. cdowdell

    cdowdell Companion

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    Wow...you've done a great job w/ this site!! It's def. been added to my favorites..and I plan to go to it often! Thank you so much!!
     
  5. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Congrats and welcome!! What part of Iowa are you in? I'm just outside of Cedar Rapids. I just finished my first year teaching...It was a blast! In all honesty...just go to google and type in kindergarten themes or kindergarten materials and you'll find a ton!! Some that I enjoy are:

    www.kinderthemes.com

    www.hubbardscupboard.org-I'm working on getting the printable books off of there as additional reading resources for my classroom.

    www.kindergartentreehouse.com/Anderson.html-I just found this one...it has tons of themes and also breaks each them into subject area!!

    Seriously just search...I find new stuff everyday!! Good Luck!
     
  6. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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  7. Linda8416

    Linda8416 Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2007

    thanks for the websites!! these are great and so useful!!
     
  8. Deeena

    Deeena Cohort

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    Jun 7, 2007

    I just finished my first year teaching kindergarten. I was not as experienced with this grade, so it was definitely a learning experience. Here is a suggestion for you, which I wish I would have followed. Organize as much as possible! Figure out your management system, rewards/consequences, get the classroom organized, decide where and how you will file papers. I spent WAY too much time in the summer coming up with creative lessons and activities. I wish I would have spent more time organizing my room and implementing a stronger classroom management system. Not being organized really caused me a lot of stress. Now I have things piled everywhere and will probably spend the first part of the summer getting my classroom set up so that things can run more smoothly.
    Congrats on getting the job!! Kindergarten is a fun grade to teach.
     
  9. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    You all need to organize your ideas and activities. You won't have time to go through files on the computer or stacks of printed sheets. You will need more than what you think for K and First graders.

    File cabinet or cheap file box from Wal Mart. My first file cabinet came from a thrift shop only five dollars. It wasn't much, but I still have it in the basement for an extra.

    File folders Green=science, Red=Reading, Yellow=Spelling, Blue =Math, make sub folders and Holiday folders, Beginning of school letters to parents. Put copies of letters, Introduction, tour permits, student information, pre test (these kinds of letters you want to put in clear pocket protectors. You can see them at a glance and they will stay in perfect condition in a three hole notebook.
    You need a notebook for each student. To put the student data sheet in it, pre test, notes from parents and a copy of your response, any papers you might want to share at parent conference.

    Start a class photo album. Put it out at each parent conference and parents will enjoy looking at it if you are running behind on time. A digital camera is great to have.

    When you have a special treat leave a cupcake, or whatever for the janitor. Be sure and remember the person that cleans your room at Christmas with a gift like what you make to give to the parents.

    When you are doing something special, like putting on a skit and having a simple treat, popcorn or whatever invite the person in charge, at our school it is the principal to come. Maybe after studying about butterflies, invite the principal to come drink juice, nectar, like the butterfly, juice in a pouch with a straw stuck in. Leave a packet of juice for the janitor and tell her that the students enjoyed the juice and a baggie with some popcorn and a note telling her you appreciate her keeping your room clean. You can make a card and it will be great practice for the students to sign the card and practice writing their names in a fun way.
     
  10. devama

    devama Companion

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    all of this info is extremely helpful to me too! i am a new kindergarten teacher come this fall (i did teach a year of kindergarten at a private school, but this is my first public school job)! so thank you!!!
     
  11. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Jun 8, 2007

    The Big Kindergarten Book of ideas and activities by Mailbox has lots of great stuff right at your finger tips.
     
  12. Gwen

    Gwen Companion

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    Planning for the first week is always hard. You want to plan activities that teach rules and routines. I like the Mailbox series monthly reproducibles for Sept. Think about the routines you want to set in place and remember these kids are coming to you with a blank slate. They need to be taught everything, how to use glue, markers, what to cut/ what not to cut.
     
  13. ibmrsh

    ibmrsh Rookie

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    Jun 8, 2007

    I too am new to kindergarten and I so appreciate all these wonderful ideas! I've actually taught for 8 years, but all of my experience is 3rd and 4th grade, which is quite a jump from little 5 year olds. :)
     
  14. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Jun 9, 2007

    What great ideas! Next year will be my first official "contracted" year- and I'm nervous about the little ones! Thanks for all the info!
     
  15. SueHue

    SueHue Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Everyone elses advice is great, so definitely do those things. My favorite activity was one I found on this website to help everyone learn names. Pretend that you are a train engine. Go around the room making train noises, then stop at a child and say, "Choo, choo! Who are you?" Teach the children to respond, "My name is _____." Then the child holds onto your waist, and you both go around the room until you stop at the next child. It's like a long conga line! Keep going until everyone is on the train. I also pretend I'm going up hill, or down hill. I read "The Little Engine that Could." We also made a book called "Choo Choo." Each student got a page with the sentence, "My name is ___." on it. They filled in their names and drew a picture of themselves. The students could read this book in a center. The other thing we did a lot of was sing the alphabet as many times as we could (about 4, using various songs). Our first unit in our reading book is "School" so we read books about being in school. We toured the school. One teacher made a book that has photos of all the staff inside. It says stuff like, "This is the principal. Her name is___. This is the nurse. Her name is___. This is a Kindergarten teacher. His name is ___." Once the students learn to read, they start picking up this book to read it. It's cute.

    This was my first year teaching as well. I was hired after school already had begun, so I was always rushing to read my teacher's editions so I could plan my lessons. I didn't have anyone to plan with, so that made it more difficult. I could never get more than a week ahead at a time. When I had 2 students go on independent study this year for 3 weeks, and I had to scramble to come up with work for them to do while they were out. Also, with all the training I went to, and jury duty, and one sick day, I was gone 16 school days this year, and sub planning was a nightmare. Now that the year is almost over, I wish I had a chance to do more advanced planning before the year began. I also wish I had looked at what I needed to teach for the students to pass the required school district tests. It didn't always match the lessons scheduled by our school district pacing guide. For example, they have all year to learn their letter sounds and high frequency words, but they are supposed to be able to write a 3 sentence paragraph by the end of the year. If they haven't learned their letter sounds early enough, they will not be able to meet this goal. For next year, I am setting goals for my students before school even starts. By what date do you want your students to know all their letters? When should they know all their sounds? If I'm not making myself clear, let me give you examples. A 5th grade teacher told me she knew she had to teach states and capitals in that grade, but she didn't know when to do it. She figured out it would be best to do it at the beginning of the year, since it was incorporated in the language arts stories and almost all of the social studies work for that grade. Also, a 3rd grade teacher told me she teaches multiplication tables from day one, because the students have to know it all before they can learn to divide in the spring. You may not figure all these things out your first year, so don't get frustrated! Just do your best. Get advice from your best resource - your coworkers. Remember that it's a learning experience for you as well as for the kids. You will have so much fun watching the students grow throughout the year no matter what happens!
     
  16. cdowdell

    cdowdell Companion

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Wow!! Thank you to all of you w/ all of your great ideas and places to go! I am so thankful!!
     
  17. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jun 10, 2007

    These are some quick rules I came up with after teaching kinder. I'm moving to 5th and will take these rules with me. :D
    1. Be firm
    2. Be consistent
    3. Never give in- when you say no, you mean no
    4. Always plan for more, just in case
    5. Have a good supply of music CDs
    6. Get to know your library well so you can check out books for your theme/unit of study. It can get expensive buying books.
    7. Be patient
    8. Smile, show them that you care, but that you mean buisness
    9. Have your rules in place and practice, practice and practice them. Reward and praise students who follow your rules
    10. Have fun. Kinder is very hard and tiring, but also rewarding.
     
  18. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Wow thanks for the great ideas and links. It will be my first year teaching kinder too so I plan on doing lots of research the first part of the summer and then trying to put it all together towards the middle and then finally start to plan towards the end. I am also teaching summer school this summer so I have to plan for that. Busy busy busy is what I will be.
     
  19. Laurie13

    Laurie13 New Member

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    Jun 11, 2007

    You will love Kinder

    As already referred to you the Mailbox is really good. I also have a site to suggest http/kindercorner.com.. This lady will have all kinds of first week activities and ideas for you.,as well as for the rest of your school year. :D
     
  20. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Thanks for even more great advice!
    Sue Hue, I have one questions- what is independent study for a kindergartener? Is that like they go on vacation and need work to do while they are out? Just wondering. And I LOVE the choo choo idea- I think doing a train unit at the beginning of the year would be fun. :)
     
  21. SueHue

    SueHue Comrade

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    Jun 12, 2007

    Independent study is when a child will not be in school for a while, but he/she will be completing the work while they are gone. They can get a maximum of 3 weeks credit, but they have to complete all of the work. When they come back, they give you their work. You decide how much is done, let's say 80%, and they get credit for that much school time. I had one boy go live with his dad for a trial run. He didn't do any work, so he didn't get any credit. Another one of my students had a really bad foot injury, and the doctor would not clear her to be at school. Students aren't required to be in school legally until their 6, so you hear people saying that Kindergarten is not required. Yeah, that makes the child's life so easy, right?

    Also, about the whole train idea, we are supposed to teach about transportation, so I used that as a tie in to the unit. The kids LOVE it so much. We always did that activity when a new student joined our classroom so they could memorize the students' names. As I said before, I got the idea from someone who posted it HERE, so thanks to that person!!!!

    Good luck to you! Kinder is so much fun. The best part is watching the students grow and learn so fast.
     
  22. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jun 12, 2007

    I've never taught elementary school, let alone Kindergarten, but reading all of these posts sends me into an absolute panic! How do you do it? How do you teach brand new little ones *how* to be a student???

    I respect you guys so much. It's amazing that they'd ever put a first year teacher in a Kindergarten classroom... No offense to those of you who will be or have been in that situation. I just can't imagine that pressure! LOL!

    But I'm a wuss. That's why I teach high school! :D
     
  23. daysy_may

    daysy_may Groupie

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    I just wanted to say Congrats! Good Luck! and You'll Love It! A big part of my first couple of days of school this year was going over: routines and rules, routines and rules, routines and rules, over and over and over again. This is a great place to get advice!
     
  24. SueHue

    SueHue Comrade

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    Such sweet sentiment! One of my coworkers was saying this afternoon that so many others don't understand what we do. Some people say/complain that we have it easy because our class is only in session 4 hours a day. I don't listen to that kind of talk. If it's so easy, the person complaining would have my job, so I know they are not telling the truth. Even so, it's always so nice when others recognize you for your hard work. Thanks!!

    Most Kindergarten teachers would probably use your words about high school teachers. I know I couldn't deal with semi-adults, their raging hormones, the daily drama, the mass amount of students coming in and out of my classroom each day, and all that darn PAPERWORK. I would turn to mush if I had to deal with anyone older than 11. That said, I really admire Jr. High and High school teachers!

    Think of that saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." That's what teachers do. We take care of the student for a little while, and they eventually get passed on and passed on all the way up to high school. We're like parents that divided the responsibilities among ourselves, taking the jobs we like best. It's like dividing up household chores. I absolutely HATE taking out the trash, but I enjoy fresh laundry. Guess which job my husband has to do? With teaching, I think it's fascinating to watch a child learns to read, so I chose to teach that age. You chose your grade level for specific reasons as well. Some day, my own children will be in high school, and I'll be grateful to pass them on to someone who can handle it. We're all teachers, but we couldn't do it without each other! So, thanks for all you do, too!!!!:love: :love:
     
  25. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    It's true we have a huge responsibility as the builders of the foundation for these little learners, but it is so rewarding to see them go from not being able to count past 5 to counting to 300 or not recognizing any letters in August and at the end of the year being able to read 20 words per minute. They are also so eager to learn at this age, you will be answering questions about what flamingoes eat or where rainbows come from and it will be easy to turn those interests into lessons.

    I always start off with lessons around the book "Chrysanthemum" because they love talking about their own names. I also do a pocket chart poem of "Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar" that they can place their names into when it's their turn.

    Congratulations and good luck! I wouldn't teach any other age!
     
  26. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    Jun 17, 2007

    I LOVE Kindergarten!

    I'm new to this Forum, but I've been teaching Kinder for a while, and I agree - what is comfortable for us "Little Kid Teachers" looks daunting to the "Big Kid Teachers", and vice-versa.

    I'd like to add a couple of points to all the advice for brand-new kinder teachers posted above:

    1. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY BOOKS! Visit thrift stores and look in the book section! I have just about the biggest classroom library in my school, and most of my books (including relatively NEW hardbacks) cost under a dollar! Save the "nice" ones for read-alouds, and put the rest in a reading center for the kids.

    2. ORGANIZE THEM! Arrange your read-aloud books thematically, in alphabetical order, on the shelves. For example, I have a section divider: ANIMALS, with subsections: Arctic Animals, Bears, Birds, Cats, Dinosaurs, Dogs, etc., I do sections for well-known authors, such as Eric Carle, even though I might use their books in thematic units (like "Brown Bear, Brown Bear", which could be used in a Bear unit, or in a Five Senses unit. I use file folders for the section dividers, cardstock for the subsections. You just need to figure out what thematic sections make sense with your curriculum. I tried some other organizing strategies, but this was the only one that worked.

    Also, find an experienced (and cooperative) kindergarten teacher in your building and ask permission to pick his/her brain. When I was new, my assigned mentor-teacher was a "Big Kid Teacher", and it wasn't a good match. The first week of school, my biggest problem was trying to figure out how to deal with kids crying and trying to run out the door when mom dropped them off. Although my mentor had the best of intentions, she'd never been there and couldn't give me any ideas. (It DID get better.)

    You're taking a great first step if you're seeking help here. It proves that you're serious about being successful. And I believe that you've chosen the most rewarding and enjoyable grade to teach.

    KINDER ROCKS!:):) :)
     
  27. srh

    srh Devotee

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    I start off my first day with two important things:

    1) A "family pic" of the student and whatever family members came along (we use this later in the year for the first page of the student yearbook we do);

    2) A reading of The Kissing Hand. It is now a tradition! It can be followed up later in the week or following week by the sequel (the name of which escapes me at the moment!). I have a rubber stamp of a heart inside a hand, which I stamp on each student's hand. If you're not familiar with the story, it's all about "baby" feeling safe when he goes to school without "mama." Very sweet, and kids love it! I even had parents ask me for the title, etc. to buy for themselves!
     
  28. Kinderbug26

    Kinderbug26 Rookie

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    Jun 18, 2007

    The follow up story is called -A Pocketful full of Kisses
     
  29. pamelamar

    pamelamar New Member

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    Jun 18, 2007

    Hello everyone! I just accepted a job to teach Kindergarten after previously teaching 2nd grade for 2 years. I am freaking out about the jump! One thing that has been worrying me is the order of how to teach the alphabet. I have seen many methods (letter of the week, using children's names, etc.) and I have pretty much decided to go about it using the children's names to introduce the letters. Has anyone ever taught using this method? If so, how would you start? I plan on first introducing environmental print (signs around us, etc.) and then moving on to the alphabet. But I have stayed up countless nights trying to figure out how to introduce the alphabet using the children's names. Any help would be appreciated! :) Thanks!!!
     
  30. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Jun 18, 2007

    Well, hopefully your teacher's edition will be a big help! We use Houghton Mifflin, and it really directs which letters to use and when. Using students' names along the way is a great idea, but they won't be in alphabetic order! HM also uses "AlphaFriends," little animal friends who represent each letter name. They are extremely helpful as students begin to learn the sounds.

    I'd check into the teacher's editions you'll be using and go from there. Then you'll be able to supplement with the "fun" things you're thinking about doing! Good luck and have fun with it all. Kindergarten is THE BEST!!
     
  31. SueHue

    SueHue Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2007


    A note about stocking your classroom library:

    In my city, one teacher found out that some of the used book stores and thrift stores throw out the donated used kids books. She asked the owners to save them for her, and once a week she picks them up. She has boxes and boxes of books stored on her patio, and she invites teachers from all over to come and pick out books at her "Patio Bookstore". Each time you visit, you can get 50 books. Sometimes, the books are scribbled on or may be a little torn, which is why they are tossed out, but your classroom books will wear out fast anyway. My students didn't seem to mind they weren't pristeen. If you have the time and energy, I would recommend looking into it in your area. This woman has so many books, we are looking to find a new storage place for her because she doesn't have any more room in her home. Imagine how much trash she is saving while helping out teachers and students!

    We let our students take books home each night. We got 2.5 gallon Ziploc bags from Target and wrote the student's names on the bags. Each student picks out a book and puts it in the bag to take home. The next day, they return their bag to get a new one. If they don't bring the bag, they can't get a book. This works well, because we can only visit the library twice a month. And, if a book goes missing, we don't notice because they weren't purchased by us.
     
  32. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    What a GREAT idea!

    I teach in a Title 1 school, and a survey a couple of years ago showed that many of our early childhood students have NO children's books in their homes. I'm going to talk to the thrift shops I patronize (they know me well) to see if this might be possible.

    Thanks again, SueHue. You're a real source of ideas and inspiration!
     
  33. cdowdell

    cdowdell Companion

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    Jun 19, 2007

    I am so greatful for all of your responses! Thank you so, so much!!! The time and the effort you took to help me out with all of your ideas and suggestions has been great! Thank you again!!! I hope I can repay you all someday!!!
     
  34. Kindtchr

    Kindtchr Comrade

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    Jun 20, 2007

    Congratulations! I hope you have a wonderful year. I wish we had great teacher forums like this when I started teaching kindergarten 25 years ago. I strive to make each year better than the year before. I'm always for looking for ideas & ways to make learning fun. If you come across something wonderful, let us know. Every day is a new adventure. Kindergartners are so much fun- enjoy!
     
  35. txmariana

    txmariana Rookie

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    Jun 20, 2007

    Getting Organized

    Hi everyone,

    I too am a first year teacher who will be teaching Kindergarten in the fall. Thank you to all of you who shared ideas regarding job chart and supplies info. My next question is regarding a file system. What are your suggestions? I'm a bit confused on how to approach this since there are so many ideas out there. File cabinets vs. bins and what to do for each student? Should I arrange a folder with notebook for each student for me to keep track of notes and copies etc? Advice would be great!!!!! :)
     
  36. Mrs.Mom

    Mrs.Mom Companion

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    Jun 20, 2007

    I'm going to my 2nd year of teaching kindergarten, and have already re arranged my files for next year. I put them into order according to month. I put a large divider between them with the new month. Within the month I include the letters we will be teaching that month, the lessons in math, along with the themes we will cover during that month. This is what my partner did, and I think it will be a much easier system than what I tried last year. I also included books that I know I will use within that month. I'm still looking for other suggestions also, my biggest problem is arranging my personal books that I don't let the kids use, I need an easier way to organize these. Any suggestions on this would be great!
     
  37. txmariana

    txmariana Rookie

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    Thanks for the idea Luv2Teachk! I will get right on that.. Now, do you use plastic bins to store everything according to month? Or, a regular filing cabinet? Thank you so much this helps A TON!!!!!!!! and, congrats on surviving your first year!!!!! :)
     
  38. Mrs.Mom

    Mrs.Mom Companion

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    I use a regular filing cabinet to store my files. I like the idea of doing a seperate tub for each month, but I think they would fill up way too fast. I probably only have 1 1/2 drawers filled up, but I would anticipate that as I add I will fill the entire cabinet. For my personal books that I keep in one of my closets I use primary colored plastic tubs that I picked up at the dollar store last summer. I also need more of these. Last year I sorted them under topics. Animals, School, Feelings, Non-fiction, etc... but I'm looking for a better way. I like having them stored in tubs, because then I can just pull out the whole tub and look through it, I don't know how I should work this....
     
  39. cdowdell

    cdowdell Companion

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    Jun 20, 2007

    My cooperating teacher (kindergarten teacher) organized her books on a book shelf by Letter (books she used for A, B, C, etc) and used a file folder to seperate each section with the letter written on it. She also had a couple sections labled for blends and some books for Character Count Meetings and some sections for holiday books. I think this system would work great if you are teaching by a letter theme!
     
  40. cdowdell

    cdowdell Companion

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    Jun 20, 2007

    I think it could also be adapted to the way you teach....if you teach by themes organize them by your themes...
     
  41. txmariana

    txmariana Rookie

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    Jul 13, 2007

    treasure chest

    Hi everyone,

    Does anyone have any ideas where I can buy or how to make a cheap 'treasure chest" ??

    Thanks!
     

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