Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fine Motor Morning Work Bins!!

Most of my kindergarten students come into school without knowing how to use scissors.  I've come to expect it, and always teach lessons on cutting in September.  

This year I was pretty surprised to see that many of my kids couldn't hold a pencil.  Or lacked the finger grip strength to control the pencil to make legible letters.  

I knew I needed to do something.  

I have already changed my morning routine by adding the new power point sign in (check it out HERE!).  We used to do pencil and paper morning work, but that wasn't engaging for my kiddos.  I did some research and found some fine motor stations to use every day in the morning!  

Here are the 5 stations I have made (so far!).  Click each picture to find a link to where I purchased each material.   I am not affiliated with any of these retailers, just passing on where I found them!

Pop Beads

These pop beads bring me back to my childhood.  They take a lot of dexterity to pop them together and then pull them apart!  My students try to make the longest chain they can, or they make bracelets.  

Fancy Scissors

The bright paper takes this fancy scissors station from meh to WOW.  And the smaller the paper gets, the more precision they need to cut!  

Fun Shaped Hole Punches

This set of hole punches is awesome.  They have to use a strong grip to punch the hearts, stars, etc.  The bright paper makes it super fun.  You can even save the shapes for later!

Nuts and Bolts

These nuts and bolts are so simple, but they love them!  They work to twist the nut onto the bolt. My students like to see how many nuts they can twist on and then take them all off!  So easy.  

Squeeze Tweezers

These squeeze tweezers are SOOOOO worth the price  They pinch the tweezers to pick up and drop the puff balls into the cups.  They work to fill the cups as quickly as they can.  

I store my stations in these snap and lock bins.  I ordered them from amazon, but they sell them all over.  I like that they stack and don't take up too much space!  

This year I have a number of students who need a routine to be comfortable in the classroom.  So instead of allowing my students to choose an activity, I rotate them between my 5 tables daily.  We are on week 2 and my students love it.  I can already see their grip strength improving!

I have plans to add more stations (pipe cleaners and pony beads, scissors and straws, therapy putty, etc.) --- but $$ is an issue so I'll be holding off for a while.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

$25 TPT Gift Card Giveaway!!!

Pretty much every teacher I know has a wish list filled with gems on TPT.  You are waiting for a sale, or for payday, before you buy those awesome items.  Well, you may be able to buy some of those resources sooner than later!!

I'm working with a great group of teachers to offer a TPT gift card giveaway!  It is super easy to enter, go check it out HERE!


 Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

 Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy  

 Co-hosts:   An Apple for the TeacherThe Chocolate TeacherAmanda KristoffersonJackie CrewsKamp KindergartenCrystal Clear TeachingKari Hall, and Kindergarten Is Crazy.

  Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 10/29/16 and is open worldwide.

 Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!

Check out the giveaway HERE

Good Luck!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall is here!!

It is finally cooler here in Virginia.

The leaves are changing colors.  I've pulled out my sweaters and found all my scarves.  So good.

I love teaching about fall.  Apples, pumpkins, leaves, squirrels .... it is all so fun.

I also love incorporating Fall themes into Reading and Writing.  Right now we are working on recognizing and writing our names.  So these Fall Name Poems are a perfect tie in with all things Autumn.

I love to read them whole group and substitute each student's name in the blanks.  By the time I've read it 24 times they all know the words!  After they finish we add it to their poetry folder so they can read it later!

Click any picture below to check them out!  Or click HERE.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

200th Follower Freebie

My TPT store has reached 200 Followers!

To celebrate  I am offering a freebie!

CLICK HERE to grab this freebie!

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Back to School: All About Me QR Code Videos with Seesaw!

Every year we make our All About Me posters.  They are a great hallway decoration before Back To School Night.  This year I added a few elements of technology to jazz them up.

Students first use a pre-cut circle to make their face.  We gently encourage our friends to choose a skin color that matches our own - it doesn't always work.  HA.  They make their eyes, nose, mouth, etc.  You get to see right away who hasn't had opportunities to draw and color.  We are going to be working on fine motor A LOT this year.

Students decorate a t-shirt, like this one, with things they love.  I modeled drawing the things that make me happy like flowers, elephants, and books.  I saw a lot of flowers, elephants and books on their t-shirts.  Oh well!

My assistant and I glued the t-shirts and faces onto large paper so that students can add hair and arms and backgrounds.

While they are working I take them out in the hallway to take a video using Seesaw.  If you haven't heard of Seesaw, it is my favorite app of all time.

My parents LOVED seeing the videos.  Often I would have comments on seesaw within minutes of posting the videos.

A new, and awesome feature of Seesaw is the QR code generator.  Click on any entry (picture, video, etc.) and you can make it into a QR code.  I glued the QR code onto their posters and voila! So easy.

If you haven't already signed up for Seesaw, you really need to.  It will change your life.

Click Here to Learn More

Go Fund Me: Fine motor skills in Kindergarten!

My name is Kristen, Mrs. Wabuge to my kids. I teach Kindergarten in Springfield, Virginia. My students are a diverse group of learners with a variety of cultures, languages, socioeconomic levels, and previous school experiences. One area most of my students struggle with is Fine Motor (using their hands and fingers to manipulate small objects and write/draw).
In this technologically rich time, children spend less time playing with toys like Lego. Less time coloring. Less time playing with puzzles. Which all means they are spenidng less time building those vital fine motor skills.

In order to help my students improve their fine motor ability, I am requesting $125 to purchase fun items from Amazon for my new Fine Motor morning activities. These items include pop beads, nuts and bolts, hole punches, and a variety of tweezers and chopsticks. All of these resources will allow the students to practice using those important muscles in a really fun and engaging way.

As a teacher, I spend hundreds of dollars on my students and my classroom. It is September 16th and I have spent $300 getting things ready for the new school year. Having these Fine Motor activities funded would be so wonderful, and would impact Kindergarten students for years afterwards.  

Thank you for your support!

Please Donate or Share

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Reasons why September is the WORST

We are finishing up day 7 and I am so DONE.  

Day 7.  SEVEN.  Why do I do this to myself every year?? Kindergarten teachers should get hazard pay for September.  

24 wiggly, wild kids who act like they haven't ever been inside a school before.  OH RIGHT, they haven't!!  

So far in the last 7 days I have taught them how to...




hold their hand up




use the bathroom

drink water

lay down

walk (again and again and again)



glue (again)

I have come home hoarse and unable to talk.  Exhausted and unable to cook dinner to get off the couch.  

whhyyyyyyy do I do this???  I have decided I block September out of my mind, just like I did with childbirth.  It is the only explanation for why I have come back the last 10 years.  

After every September I ask myself why...

and every October I see how much they have grown in that month, and I see their endless potential and I know why I come back.  

I'll still take that hazard pay though. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

My NEW Kindergarten Classroom Tour

The Old room

This was my classroom last year.  It was fine.  Old, but fine.  Old furniture, old carpet, old faded paint, old AC that didn't work half the time.  I think you get the point.  It was past time for a makeover.

So we have been dealing with a whole school renovation since then.  It wasn't fun, but it was worth it.  Check out my NEW ROOM!

Big, new, beautiful room!

New construction means new problems, but my only real problem is the large rug that has not been delivered yet.  I'll take new pictures when it comes!  BUT look at how bright and clean it is??  I love it.

Communication station, big book easel, and interactive white board!

Here is my entrance.  In that large white space should be a rug.  So it looks a bit cold and white.  But I love  how everything turned out.  I set up my communication station near the door, with my big book easel and calendar flanking the new interactive whiteboard.  It is mounted from above, so no more cords or weird shadows.  It even projects wirelessly!! Amazing.

The Blue table and my rainbow guided reading table!

We had a small snafu with furniture.  They ordered the wrong sized tables.  So instead of 4 tables that can seat up to 30 students we have 4 (or in my case - 3!) tables that seat 20.  So we had to get creative.  The Blue table is supposed to be a teacher work table.  But desperate times!

I love how my guided reading table has a rainbow of chairs, so cute!

Built in cubbies, no more coat closet!

I'm super happy with all of that storage.  Now I have a place to store all my literacy and math station supplies!! And the students have a great place to keep their things.  Win, Win!

Yellow, Green, and *new* Rainbow table

Here is the new rainbow table.  I wasn't anticipating 5 tables, and my table with blue trim (should be the blue table!) never arrived.  So another teacher work table has been turned into a student table.  I didn't have a 5th color, so this table is now a rainbow!  We are being flexible here, people!

Communication Station

I love this bookshelf.  I bought it at Ikea for $35 and the bins at Dollar General or Target.  I will have students drop off paperwork into the baskets and their snack in the bins above.  Notice the Rainbow Snack bin.  I need to add some washi tape to make that a legit rainbow :).

Reading Area

Here is my crowning glory.  So many people commented on it today at open house.  I bought the rug at Ikea. The bookshelf/bench can be found, HERE.  And then I had a genius idea - instead of a  cushion I could do chair pads to make seats!  That way each student knows where their space is.  Check out these cool Ikea chair pads, HERE.

Cars and Lego Rug

I have never had a dedicated shelf/space for cars/lego/etc.  Now I do!  I bought an inexpensive play rug at Ikea for $15.  Check it out HERE.

Guided Reading table all set up for Open House

This was a big hit today!  First I made and put out fridge magnets with my contact info on it.  I found them HERE from Teaching with Heart.  Then I found these adorable welcome tags, and the colors and theme fit so well!  They are found HERE from Primarily Speaking.  

The last item we call, "Can you give me a hand?" where we put labels of extra supplies on our table  for parents to pick up.  It saves me from having to purchase 1000000 things to start off the year.  

I hope you enjoyed my brief tour!  Once the rug comes in I'll take more pictures, but I am so happy with how it looks now!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

TPT SALE!! Today ONLY!!!

Save up to 28% on everything in my store!!  Check it out HERE!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Meet the Teacher/Open House Parent Information using a Google Form

One of the most important parts of Open House (or meet the teacher day) is getting the vital parent info.  In the past I've had paper the parents sit and fill out.  Then I type their names, emails, phone numbers, etc. into my own spreadsheet.  SO. MUCH. TIME.

Then I wondered, how can I let a computer do this work for me?  (Isn't that the reason we have technology? lol) Then I made a Google Form.  It is so easy.

But you won't have to do that, you can just use mine!

Here is the link:  Click Here.

Step 1:  click the crayon/pencil in the upper corner to edit the form.


Step 2: click the 3 dots in the corner and click Make a Copy.  VERY IMPORTANT!! This creates a copy of the form onto your google drive.  You don't want parents filling out information on my form, you want it to go to you.

Step 3: Go to your google drive and find the copy of the form.  Rename it.  Then click into the form to start making your changes.  The form is editable, from the titles to the descriptions and the types of questions.  Do what works for you!  Google saves it as you work, so no worries about that.

FYI- If you don't like the flowers, you'll need to change the theme.  Click the small Question Mark in the bottom right corner to return to the Old google forms.  There is a button clearly marked, "Change Theme" at the top.  

Step 4: Time to make the spreadsheet.  Click the Responses tab.  

Then create a new spreadsheet.  All of the parent responses will be sent to the spreadsheet automatically!  Afterwards, you can easily find the parent contact info you need.  

Step 5:  Now to share the form.  Click SEND.  Copy the link and go to your favorite QR code generator.  Paste the link and download the QR code.  

I like to put a note with the QR code at all the tables so parents can use the class iPads (or their iPhone) to scan the code.  Find my QR note HERE.  To make it easier for you, download the word document and right click on the QR code to change picture to your QR code.  You may want to test it out to make sure you are linking to the right form!!

I hope this makes your open house a little easier!  I loved getting the spreadsheet afterwards so I could quickly send mass emails to all the parents.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It is that time of year....

WHY?!  What have I done to deserve this??? 

Seriously, we have all had that kid.  Usually in Kinder we don't know much about them coming in.  But, every so often, we get a sibling we have heard ALLLLL about.  

Pray for me.  It is going to be an interesting year.