Sunday, August 28, 2016

Back to School With Procedures

I am officially back to school. We have completed 8 days and let me just say how I truly forget how the beginning of school is oh so tiring.  The days seem so long and the kids are so young.  Some days it wasn't even 8:30 and they wanted their moms or to go back to their daycare. The first few days were rough, lots of repetition of the rules and procedures. I was worried  it would be a long year, but by Friday things started falling into place.
Back to school with teaching classroom procedures.  Make the rest of your school year a breeze if you teach consistent procedures in the first few weeks.
I can't stress enough how important it is to review procedures every time you transition and enter the room.  I am once again using WBT .  You can download my classroom posters here for Free.
Free Whole Brain Teaching Posters for the Classroom
Just remember to breathe and take baby steps.  I review procedures continually from the moment I open my door, my students are greeted with "Good morning "I'm so happy to see you, put your lunch box on the cubbies, backpack on the hook, and meet me at the carpet." Next it is Rule #1-Follow Directions Quickly... Then I review Attendance-procedures "When I call a name only the person who I have called can answer- here." Procedures, procedures, procedures. We practice everything from sitting on the carpet, pushing in chairs, hanging up backpack to lining up.  Remember it is all new, so they have to learn how do it and they won't learn the very time you show them.

Our lifeskill this week is Friendship.  We discussed this a lot this week as so many of my students did not know each other.  I asked my students a few questions about friends.  They had really great answers. 

Teaching Friendship using Character traits lifeskills posters with a superhero theme
"What can you do with a friend?"
go to the park- have a sleep over- play Legos- ride bikes together. 

"What is a friend?"
someone to play with--they help you- make you laugh- when you are hurt they take you to the office.

Each week our school focusses on different lifeskills.  I try to incorporate them into my read alouds and my oral language time. Later in the week I modeled how to introduce yourself to a person and then ask that person what their name was.

Hi, I'm Mrs. Mugurussa, what is your name? 

Next, I asked the kids to stand up and walk about the carpet and introduce themselves to each other.  Before I knew it they were putting their hands out and shaking each others hands.  I even heard my Vietnamese student participating. This was one of those lessons that just came to me as I was teaching, but will be a keeper.  It helped the students to learn their classmates names and meet new friends.
These are the posters we use at our school.
Character traits lifeskills posters with a superhero theme

That's it for now.  I'll share a few more lessons later this week with a few freebies so make sure to comeback.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Back to School With ESGI

As I say goodbye to summer vacation and welcome the new school year I am very thankful to be starting the year with ESGI.

back to school with ESGI
This year we will be trying something a little different with our kindergartners. In the past, we assessed our students before school started then placed them into classes.  However, not all students would come to our assessment days so we would have to randomly place students into classes.

This year, we will be assessing students the first three days using ESGI, then we will build our class lists.  With the help of our support staff we will be able to assess all of our students rather quickly. We will assess each student on the following skills:

  • Letter ID  and Sounds
  • Number Recognition 0-20
  • Counting to 20
  • Basic Shape Recognition

While students are being assessed teachers will be working with the students. During this time the teachers will be observing their cutting and coloring skills as well as their group interactions and social skills. Once each student is assessed we will be able to print out results and do our best to make balanced classes of students.

Why use ESGI?
It's fast-It's easy to use- no papers to shuffle- no flash cards or manipulatives to carry around. Everything you need for assessment is on the screen. All questions are recorded with a yes/no format.  Either the student got the answer correct or they didn't.

If you haven't tried ESGI- Give it a try- You can sign up for a FREE 60 day trial. That is what My teammate  and I did a few years ago at the start of the school year.  Then after using it to monitor our students progress we shared it with our assistant superintendent.  She loved our enthusiasm and we had data to prove how much time we were saving.  She bought it for all kindergarten teachers in our district.  Now, it is what we all use.

I can't tell you how simple and easy it iss to use.  It comes with a ton of pre-made assessments or you can make your own.  My teammate and I are now in charge of making all of our district assessments which of course we make in ESGI.

Another fabulous feature is the parent letter.  This letter tells the parents what skills their child knows or doesn't know.  We actually print this letter out and attach it to our report cards.  We love it becasue it is available in Spanish. You can edit the letter as well.
ESGI data report parent letter from ESGI
ESGI also offers teachers the ability to print individualized flash cards for students. For example if I wanted this particular student to work on number recognition I could print out just the number flash cards they did not know.


back to school with ESGI
So what are you waiting for?  Click the ESGI icon above and sign up for your free trial use the Promo Code B928.  New trial members will also be entered into a raffle to win one of ten $50 TPT gift cards.

If you decide to purchase ESGI use the Promo Code B928 for a discount of $40.

Test it out then show your district how wonderful it is. Be sure to tell them how much time you can save on assessing students and actually spend quality time teaching if they were to purchase the program for you.  After all, in the end isn't that why you are there, to teach?

Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Back to School Tips and Freebie Day 5

Happy Friday! My summer is quickly winding down only a few days separate me from my first day back. 
Back to School Tips and Freebies, Student information card. This is the final freebie in a week of free downloads to start your school year off.

Todays Tip and Freebie is quick. This is a student information card. It is similar to the emergency cards.  However, we hand these out at Kindergarten orientation.  This gives some quick and very important information about a child that so often parents just forge too tell us.  For example, the name on their Birth certificate may be Michael Ryan Smith; however, the child has never been called Michael and doesn’t even know that Michael is his real first name.  This is something that the teacher needs to know from day 1. You could be sitting there playing guess who this child is.  Believe me I’ve been there it isn’t fun. 

It is also important to know how the child is getting home the very first day of school and then from then on.  Often on the first day the parents make special arrangements to pick-up their child, then after that day-care pick-up might kick-in. Or, the child might not have any idea of who is picking them up and the parent didn’t bother to tell the child, because this isn’t their first rodeo and they just forgot. To download just click the card.  
Student Information Card- Hand out at kindergarten orientation day.  This is great to have on the first day of school..  I keep on a ring next to my phone
I hope you have enjoyed my week of freebies.Be sure to go back and download all my other freebie from this week.  Also, I know there was an error in the Emergency Clothing Kit- I fixed the error and uploaded the new version, it is now available in my TpT store. I head back to school on Monday, so if I seem to be MIA you'll know why.

For those of you still on summer break- ENJOY!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to School Tips and Freebies Day 4


Happy Thursday, today I’m teaming up with the I Teach K-2 Blog Hop. It is also Day 4 of my week of Tips and Freebies.  I have shared this tip several times before but it is one of my favorite tips and time savers. It is worth sharing again, especially if you are a brand new teacher.
 On the first day of school have your nametags ready and placed outside your classroom door.  Don’t wait and try to put them on inside the classroom.  Let the parents do the work for you.  I place a pocket chart outside my door holding all of my nametag lanyards.  There is a note that explains exactly what to do.    This way when the students enter my classroom I am able to greet each student by their first name.  “Good morning Mary, Welcome, it’s so nice to meet you”. Being able to “know” their names also helps to calm some of their fears.
***Have extra blank nametags for last minute student enrollments

Now for my Freebie.  I've made up these nametags that will fit into the plastic lanyard badges.  You can buy these at Walmart in the office supply section.  Just click the picture below.
 Back to School Nametags Free Download & Editable
We've put together a big giveaway just in time to start the school year off!
Enter below to win one of our 3 $50 gift cards.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Back to School Tips and Freebies Day 3

Today I’m back with another back to school Tip and Freebie.  This tip and form will save you time and if you don’t already do this, you’ll wonder why didn’t I think of this- just saying… I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it comes in handy unfortunately and it saves so much time. 
Back to School Freebies Day 3: Emergency Clothing Kit
This unfortunately always happens in my room because we don’t have a bathroom in the classroom.  You know what I’m talking about.  The potty accident.  So, rather than sending kids to the office and having them call home and wait for a change of clothes, we have them keep a spare pair at school.  They are kept in a Ziploc bag in a laundry basket in my hallway, clearly labeled.  So when the accident happens, I call the office to let them know I’m sending the child up to change, and I’ll need a custodial clean up.

The Ziploc bag with the wet clothes is then placed in the child’s backpack and parents know to return another clean change of clothes.

Here is your Freebie for the day. Just click the photo to Download it from mu Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  Make sure while you are there that you follow my store to be notified when I release new freebies and products.  If you don’t already receive my newsletter, you can also sign up for that too, at the top right side of my page.  I promise I don’t send out newsletters very often, but when I do I almost always include something free.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Freebie Number 4.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Back to School Tips and Freebie Day 2

I'm back with Day 2 of My Back to School Tips and Freebies.
back to school tips and freebies: calendar numbers not just for the calendar
Today Tips is all about Calendar Numbers.  I use them for many different things in the classroom.  When I first started teaching I bought all those cute thematic numbers that needed to be changed out each month- you know the ones that had school houses or apples for September, pumpkins for October and son on.  Those were great until one went missing.

A few years ago I started making my own calendar numbers.  Soon I was using them for other things around the classroom.  Calendar numbers soon became floor markers for students to stand on. I also place them in pocket charts for students to sort the numbers in order. Another teacher at my school used my numbers in a pocket chart to identify her students lunch card ID's.  She used another set for her students numbers on their book boxes.

TIP:  I use a Large craft circle punch that I found at Michael's- Don't forget the 40% off coupon and teacher discount--- to punch out the circles.
back to school tips and freebies: calendar numbers not just for the calendar

I hope you enjoyed todays Freebie- If you have a suggestion on how to use them, please leave it in the comments below.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Back to School Tips and Freebie

Are you ready to go back to school? Maybe you are already there.  I have 1 week left before I have to officially be back so I am making the most of it.  We have a week of family vacation time planned at the Lake Tahoe.
Back to School Freebies from Time4Kindergarten.com Printable resources to start the school year.

So here is my quick tip and Freebie for you.  It is no secret that I have a HUGE classroom library. It rivals our school library on some levels.
classroom library with cushions tables and pillows making it a comfy inviting place for students to enjoy books.
My library gets a lot of use and my books are well loved. Therefor I needed a system to keep my kids from bringing me books that had torn pages, ripped covers, writing or other issues. I created a book hospital.  This is where books can go to be repaired.  Students simply place the books into the basket.  This eliminates the need for them to tell me.  I can assess the book later.  

When parent volunteers are working in the room, I have them repair the books using book tape and a special swing arm stapler.   Just click the picture below and you can download the sign from my TpT store.  

Book Hospital: Students place damaged books into the book hospital basket for repair.
I will have more tips and Freebies all week. Keep coming back!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Tips For a Successful First Day of School

The first of school can be chaotic for your kindergarteners, their parents and for you, especially if you are a brand new teacher. I have 5 tips that can help you have a successful first day of school. 
Start the first day off school of right with these 5 tips to help you have a successful year.
Different teachers have different feelings about this… Here is how we do it at our school.  Parents do not enter the classroom on the first day. We found that we couldn’t get them to leave, children started to cling to parents then it created a chain reaction one would start crying and others would think oh they are crying I should be crying too..  We tell the kids to turn and wave goodbye to their parents as they enter. We invite parents into the room at pick-up time. 

Tip # 1 Name-Tags
Place name tags outside your classroom door for parents to place on students before they enter the classroom.
Have your name-tags ready and placed outside your classroom door.  Don’t wait and try to put them on inside the classroom.  Let the parents do the work for you.  I place a pocket chart outside my door holding all of my name-tag lanyards.  There is a note that explains exactly what to do.    This way when the students enter my classroom I am able to greet each student by their first name.  “Good morning Mary, Welcome, it’s so nice to meet you”.  Being able to “know” their names also helps to calm some of their fears.
***Have extra blank name-tags for last minute student enrollments

Tip #2 Starting Your Day
Have math manipulatives on the tables first thing- this creates a welcoming environment for students who may be hesitant or afraid.
Start the day with table activities. I always start out with math manipulatives such as pattern blocks, linking cubes, bear counters and puzzles.  Students see these as fun activities and may feel more comfortable entering the classroom. 

Tip #3 Snacks
Be prepared to have extra snacks on hand for those who may not bring one the first few days of school
Have extra snacks. Believe it or not, not all parents know to send food to school with their children.  I buy a box of Ritz crackers or have Goldfish crackers already to go in ziplock baggies.  I keep them aside and them hand out once I see who needs food. 

Tip #4 Over Plan
Over plan- its better to have too much then not enough
Plan too much. It is too hard to guess how much you will need those first few days. Sometimes you have too much, but what you never want is to not have enough.  It's ok if you don't get to everything, you can just push it to the next day.  Also books, songs,  and movement activities are great time fillers. Also have all of your materials ready to go in the order you need them and easily accessible.  Kindergarteners can't wait for you to run back to your desk to grab materials.

Tip #5 Establish Rules From Day One
Begin your class rules form the first day.  Whole Brain Teaching Rules are simple and these posters are Free
Don't be afraid to establish rules and boundaries from the start.  From the moment you invite students to the carpet to sit, let them know the expectations for sitting.  They won't know unless you tell them.  I actually have a poster that I use to show my students just how I want them to sit.  Then I invite my students to see if they can sit like the students in the poster.  I try to make it a game.  1-2-3 sit  great!!! let's try again  I also use many of the techniques from Whole Brain Teaching such as Eyes and Hands.    These are really the only classroom rules I have and use.  You can grab my Free WBT posters in my TpT store. The book


Whole Brain Teaching Free Posters available for Download at Teachers Pay Teachers
Here is a poster I use. It is from my Back to School Rules set on TpT You can download the poster by clicking on it or you can purchase the entire set from my TpT store. Enjoy!!!
Rug Rules Free poster to demonstrate how to sit on the carpet
Back to School Rules create your classroom rules with this poster set

I asked the members of my Teacher Facebook Group to share their tips for New Teachers and here is what they said.  IF you would like to our group click the picture
Join the Teacher Facebook Group share ideas, ask questions and connect globally with other teachers
Jen Jarvis To make a list of things to accomplish- bathroom, lining up, sitting at the carpet, introduce yourself (I always make a PowerPoint with pictures- golf ball, book, my dogs, football, me and my husband, a tent, etc) so they can guess what I like and learn about me, let them introduce themselves, learn how to "play at recess," read a few stories, and plan a few activities- which may very well get pushed back to day 2

Rosey Aldana Krauel Don't take any routine, no matter how small it may seem to us, for granted. Some will come in with preschool experiences but for many others, this is the first time in a school setting.

Katie Griswold Cafeteria routines and procedures!! A make or break.... how to hold a tray with two hands... how to open milk... I get a tray from the cafe and set up a pretend lunch line with food from my kitchen Center and we practice.... usually I can snag a real milk and spoon pack and ketchup packets from the cafeteria for our pretend lunch line.

Sandy Johnson Procedures procedures, procedures and more procedures. Be waaaaay over planned. Expect to be exhausted beyond belief for the first month. Welcome to the BEST calling ever.

Kelli Hadley Mccarver In between learning all the procedures Etc have something memorable planned. Fun activity that they won't forget. Our teachers go on a school hunt looking for "who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?" The office, lunchroom, nurse station etc all participate as they learn the school.

Sabrina Terry BEFORE the first day talk with parent or guardian about how their child will get HOME FROM school. Have tags pre made (laminated) and put them on their backpacks and tell parents you are doing this so please DON'T remove them. On these tags (Google get home tags) put how they get home bus#--, car, walker (terrifies me), etc ALSO add their name and teachers name. This way anyone in your school knows where that child belongs after school or before school. And when you leave your room you can look at each child's backpack and know where they go. If a child has a change from that tag I tape a sticky note to it with the date on it. This lets me and anyone else in the school know what that child is doing. I am terrified of misplacing a kid because of changes. 

Marcy Pollinger Di Eduardo Take it slow... Don't plan for more than you all can handle. Your pace will be slower those first few days... Don't stress yourself out by trying to jam too much in. Have a morning and afternoon playtime.. If you're full day.  Model model model your expectations... Don't just tell them... SHOW THEM!
Oh yeah... Have fun!


Tamara Morrison Patience, parents have lots of concerns of leaving their child. Make things simple and don't expect miracles. Be stern kids need to know you have rules from day one. It's the best job in the world you will love it.


Join the Teacher Facebook Group share ideas, ask questions and connect globally with other teachers
Join the group, and share ideas, ask questions and make new friends.

Keep checking back I have several other back to school Freebies to share and tips to help get your year started off smoothly.



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