What is working in my classroom?
21 Sep, 2014. 1 Comment. . Posted By: Kristen Smith

Changing grade levels is never an easy thing– even if you’ve already taught the grade before! This year, as you know, I moved from teaching first grade to teaching kindergarten. I had to rethink the way that I do everything! One of the biggest things that I thought through was center time. I’m so glad that I took the time to think through the little things because it’s making a BIG difference in my classroom.

In my classroom, I relate “center time” to “work.” One morning, I started our center time by telling my students that just like their parents go to work each day, that we too have work to do. I explained to them that when adults are at work, they have to stay focused and finish their tasks. I then told them that center time is just like that. When they go to a center, that’s their work. We then went over what center time should look like, sound like, and feel like. As I dismiss them to their centers I have them say, “time to go to work!” This analogy really resonated with my students and they have been doing a great job at staying focused and on task during their centers.

Another thing that really has been helping is using work mats. Work mats are a great way for students to have their own space to work in the classroom. It allows them to organize their work in meaningful ways and for them to have a neutral color to work against. In my classroom, we use work mats during center time and also for a physical representation of personal space during read to self.

Math Manipulatives
This week we have been working on recognizing the numbers 1-9 and being able to match a quantity to those numbers. For an independent center, my students worked with my wooden numbers and counters to show me what they know. Their task was to roll out their work mat and to get started right away. They learned how to put their numbers down the left hand side of their rug from 1-10 and then to add the correct number of counters.

I wanted to show you the picture above so you know that my kindergarteners are still working on these skills. As you can notice, the number 6 is upside down. Kindergarten is a time where we try, try, and then try again. This precious student worked so hard on her task. When I went over to conference with her, she told me all of the numbers and then counted the counters to make sure that she was correct. When we got to the number 6, I asked her if it looked right to her. She was not sure. I then showed her how the number six goes and used this as a teachable moment for her.


Next week we will continue to practice this skill. Through hands-on practice and specific instruction, she will get it soon enough which is quite possibly the beauty of teaching kindergarten.

Here is another picture of a student working on the same task. This student is using rods to represent his numbers.

PSS Week 1-26

Another skill that we have been working on is sorting objects from the smallest object to the largest object. As a working assessment, my students completed an interactive notebook page which had them cut out block towers and paste them in their notebook correctly.

interactive math notebooks

My students LOVED this activity. They took such pride in their work carefully cutting out their towers and then gluing them in correctly. I love using interactive math notebooks because it allows students to show what they know and it also is a great way to quickly look at the progress your student’s are making. interactive math notebooks

Another thing that is working is creating enthusiasm of learning through the use of real life objects. Last week, we learned all about worms. My students LOVED exploring them. However, more than just loving looking, touching, and exploring worms, my students loved reading stories about worms and writing about worms.


During our exploratory centers I was able to have such wonderful conversations with my students about worms and the world that we live in. Through exploring these creatures, my students learned many facts and are now interested in learning about many more topics!

Next week is APPLE WEEK! I can’t wait to teach my students all about apples and Johnny Appleseed. Tomorrow we will be making apple juice in class! If you would like to see how to do it, you can read my blog post about it from last year {click here}! My kinders are VERY excited to make it in class. I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

If you would like to try interactive notebooks with your kindergarten students, you can purchase my pack at my shop. {Click Here}



One Comment
  1. Ali Wilks -

    Love your stuff! I am homeschooling my daughter and refer to your pictures and info to generate my own ideas!! thanks so much for your hard work!

    Ali & Hanna Wilks (Alberta, Canada)

1 Comment

  • Ali Wilks -

    Love your stuff! I am homeschooling my daughter and refer to your pictures and info to generate my own ideas!! thanks so much for your hard work!

    Ali & Hanna Wilks (Alberta, Canada)

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