## Saturday, September 27, 2014

### Fine Motor Kinder Fun

I used to be one of those teachers who thought it wasn't necessary for kids to practice coloring in school. Boy do I think differently now! I see some of my kids who scribble and use only one color, some who hold their crayon so tight and color so dark that I think the paper will rip, and some who color lightly, staying in the lines and changing to lots of colors. I see now that coloring helps their fine motor movements which works on pencil grip, paying attention to details, and showing more effort to do their best.

To help my class practice all of these skills we not only color, but we use many tools to help our hands develop and grow more able to do their best.

I asked my parents to donate playdough to our class and my kids love to use it. I think more parents aren't using it at home and that's why it's a big hit for them to use it at school.

We have letters that we can press the clay into and then pull out to show the way the letter is formed. We also got these cool letter templates  to roll the playdough on and make the letter themselves. I picked them up from Teach With Laughter. You can grab them too. Just go to her blog and you'll see where to get them.

Another area that we practice in often is matching a number to a set of objects. Each child must count out enough objects to match that number. At this part of the year many students still don't recognize what the number says. With a lot of practice doing this I'm hoping it will help them make connections between numbers symbols and objects.
We use a variety of junk boxes to count.
You can get your own set of number cards by clicking here. I made a set for each person. Each set was a different color. So each table had 5 different colors. It made it easy to pick up and be sure that the cards were all in the right place. If you grab them, please let me know in the comment section. I love to hear what others think of my stuff so I know if I'm on the right track or not!

Lastly, this week I wanted to help those who are still not quite getting the hang of number sense. So I showed them how to lay down a certain number of Smarties. Then they lifted the last Smartie, colored in a circle inside the square and then placed the Smartie back on the plastic wrapper. (if they ate one Smartie, I said I would take away the whole pack . . . I know. . .I'm a meanie! But if they didn't eat any, when we were finished, they could eat the whole pack! So maybe I'm not so mean!)
They continued removing a Smartie and coloring where it had been until they reached back to the number on the left.
We started by doing almost half of the page together. Soon some kids said they understood how to do it and wanted to go on by themselves. I love this independence!

And finally, Yes, I did let them eat their Smarties once their page was done!

## Tuesday, September 23, 2014

### Sales and Giveaways!

Educents is having a nice sale right now, so why aren't you over there checking it out? Maybe you didn't know how to find Educents! Well turn off the GPS! I've got the link for you right here.

Just click here and you'll see some of the wonderful items on sale right now.

Have you entered any give aways lately? If not, then you're going to want to visit to see all the fun things you could get. Most of them are \$10.00 worth of goodies from many stores. That sounds like a perfect gift if you ask me!

You can click on the red link above, or on the picture above. Both will take you there.

Good luck everyone!

## Saturday, September 13, 2014

### I'm Learning A Lot!

Many of you have been back to school for over a month now. I just finished my 2nd week. Whew! I'm tired! I think I have it figured out though. We all enjoy our summer months of doing next to nothing or if we do something it's on our own time frame and we are not watching a plan book or a clock through out our days. We stay up as late as we want and we might sleep in as late as we want. We are totally unplanned.

And then BAM! BUZZ! RING! DING DING DING! That alarm goes off and life changes IMMEDIATELY! It's not gradual, it's on the spot immediate! What on earth are we doing to ourselves. . . and our kids too. No wonder we are all exhausted, dazed, and sometimes confused. And I'm talking about the teachers too! If we feel this way, then we have to acknowledge that the kids are feeling the same way.

So all that is in the past. Monday is the start of our third week. And I'm ready for a new one and a grand routine. If you have been following me in the past then you might remember that I retired from teaching 2nd grade for 36 years in June. Then my daughter-in-law had her second baby and wanted to stay home for 12 weeks. She also got a kindergarten job at the school that I worked at. To me it was a no brainer. I knew the staff, the routines, the families. I could do this. I was certain that I could do this. With the support of the other staff, I knew that there would be bumps, but I could do this.

Did I say I could do this? Yes, I did and I am. But I am also noticing my strengths and my weaknesses. Let's be postive. . . I will focus on my strengths. I do know how to love children and to get them to listen to me. Sure I can. But with Kinders, I get one area ready to listen and then the other side of the room is talking. I get them ready to listen and another part starts talking. . . oh geesh!  I really have to keep thinking that each of these children could be my grandchildren who are just learning. They are 5 or 6 and this might be their first time in a group situation.  I  repeat. . . I can do this!