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A Montessori Monday Post- Nouns and Verbs
13 Feb, 2017. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I was asked by several people to start a weekly series on Montessori materials/lessons/activities that I use in my classroom. As an aside,…
“Follow The Child” — A Simple Valentine’s Day Activity
11 Feb, 2017. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This past week my students have been non-stop talking about Valentine's Day. To be honest, I wasn't planning on doing anything big for…
A Reggio-inspired inquiry on Lunar New Year and Chinese culture
28 Jan, 2017. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This past week we celebrated the Lunar New Year in my classroom and explored Chinese culture and traditions. It was such a fun-filled…
Studying the human body with kindergarteners
7 Jan, 2017. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This year, my students were very interested in learning about the ways their bodies worked. We spent about three weeks learning about our five…
Polar Express Day 2016
20 Dec, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This past Friday was our annual Polar Express Day. This is by far one of my favorite traditions. This year it ended up…
6 easy steps for effective guided reading lessons
10 Nov, 2016. 11 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I know I say this often and about many things, but guided reading is one of my favorite times during our day. During…
STEM activities in November
5 Nov, 2016. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I love that STEM education is getting so much attention these days. Incorporating STEM activities in your classroom helps your students develop problem…
Exploring Owls With Kindergarteners
23 Oct, 2016. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Hello Friends! We just finished a really fun week of learning all about owls. My students this year are very intrigued by birds.…
Our kindergarten apple orchard!
23 Sep, 2016. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Happy Fall! In Texas it definitely does NOT feel like the season has changed but I have high hopes that sweatshirt and boot…
The first part of our kindergarten bird inquiry
4 Sep, 2016. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The other day, one of my students brought in two bird nests that her family had found on their property. She proudly shared…
Kindergarten Activities To Go Along With “The Little Red Hen”
27 Aug, 2016. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This past Friday marked our 9th day of school and I am happy to say, we are having an absolute blast. This particular…
What goes on during the first week in our kindergarten classroom?
20 Aug, 2016. 8 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The first week of kindergarten is in the books. We had a lot of fun getting to know one another and discovering new…
Classroom Reveal 2016-2017
13 Aug, 2016. 26 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Hello everyone! I hope that you had a fabulous week! For those of you who already have a few days of the school…
Tutorial: How to dye beans for your sensory table
6 Aug, 2016. 10 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Hello everyone! This morning I was dying beans for my new group of kindergarteners and thought I would write a quick tutorial on…
Getting Ready For A New Year
4 Aug, 2016. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Hello everyone! I hope that you are enjoying your last few days of summer. For us here in Texas, the first day of…
Beginning Of The Year Literacy Centers And Activities
28 Jul, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
 The beginning of kindergarten is such a fun time. Ok, honestly, if I wrote this post at the end of May when our…
5 Tried And True Morning Meeting Activities (for kindergarteners)
15 Jul, 2016. 8 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I absolutely love using a morning meeting to begin our day.  In the book it says, "morning meetings help to create a climate…
Incorporating Reggio methods in a “traditional” school setting
3 Jun, 2016. 22 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The Reggio-style of teaching has truly captivated my heart. Over the past year I have tried to implement many  "Reggio" methods into my…
Engaging lessons on tide pools
7 May, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This week we began a new unit on tide pools. As some of my students have never visited the ocean, the first day we…
Following my students’ interests to DINOSAURS
1 May, 2016. 6 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
We have had an absolute BLAST studying dinosaurs these last two weeks. My students are SO into them and I am ashamed to…
It’s SPRING! Take this science activity outside!
27 Apr, 2016. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I don't know about where you live, but here in Texas, we are experiencing a BEAUTIFUL spring!! Each day we are finding new…
Using informational texts during guided reading in kindergarten
24 Apr, 2016. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
We have been working so very hard during guided reading these last few months. My students are doing such a great job at…
Hands-on activities when studying storms
9 Apr, 2016. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
In Science, our objective this past week was,  "students will observe, describe, and illustrate objects in the sky such as the clouds and Sun."…
Turning a picture book into a play to review the sequence of events
6 Apr, 2016. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The last few weeks we have really been working on retelling the sequence of events in a story. We have done this a…
Stone Soup
4 Apr, 2016. 4 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
One of the literary "big ideas" that we have been focusing on during our read alouds is that we can retell the sequence of events…
Using a rainy day to inspire writing
20 Mar, 2016. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
In Texas, we don't often get a rainy day that we can enjoy. However, last week, we got to enjoy not one, but…
Exploring rocks and minerals with young learners (part two)
13 Mar, 2016. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
(As this post is fairly long, I have broken it up into multiple pages, as a quick reference, at the bottom of each…
Part One: A Student-Led Inquiry About Rocks And Geodes
5 Mar, 2016. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
About a month ago, while we were on the playground, our students became fascinated with collecting rocks. Day by day, students would run up…
American Symbols
20 Feb, 2016. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Part of our Social Studies standards require that we teach our kindergarten students about American symbols and famous presidents. This is not one…
Using Provocations In Your Kindergarten Classroom
5 Feb, 2016. 6 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I have been using a lot of Reggio-inspired practices this year in my classroom and am so very happy with the results that…
A Kindergarten Unit on Castles
3 Feb, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The past three weeks we have been learning all about Medieval Times in our kindergarten classroom. My students had shown a huge interest…
Exploring Sound With Kindergarteners
30 Jan, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
We just finished a unit exploring light and sound. If you would like to read about the light inquiry, you can do so here. Today,…
Exploring Capacity With Kindergarteners
27 Jan, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Capacity: the maximum amount something can contain. In order to teach my students this term, I purchased four new sensory tubs from Amazon.com.…
Exploring Three Dimensional Shapes In Kindergarten
24 Jan, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
For the last 2 weeks my kindergarten students have been really digging deep to recognize, name, and define three dimensional shapes. To do…
Exploring Light In Kindergarten
9 Jan, 2016. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
{This blog post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.} This past week my kindergarteners explored light. They enjoyed our unit SO…
Adding PLAY To Your Guided Reading Groups
1 Jan, 2016. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
As a teacher we want our students to LOVE to read. We want our students to devour good books and to become amazing little readers.…
Simple activities to make your Arctic unit come to life!
27 Dec, 2015. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I love teaching because every year, every month, and every day I get to learn something new. I get to see the joy…
Polar Express Day 2015
23 Dec, 2015. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
First of all, Merry, Merry Christmas from all of mine (minus those who were sick with strep throat this past week) to all of…
A few of our favorite things
18 Dec, 2015. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Two years ago I switched grades from first to kindergarten. I was excited to make the change since I had previously taught kindergarten for…
A Quick Game To Practice Sight Words
14 Dec, 2015. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Hi Friends! Today I wanted to share a SUPER quick and easy game that we play often in my classroom. To practice ANY…
Teaching Kindergarteners to “Make 5”
12 Dec, 2015. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The past week during guided math we have been diligently working on "making 5." To do this, we have played many games. The…
Hands-on Ways To Practice Patterns In December
8 Dec, 2015. 8 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
One of the math skills that we are currently working on in my classroom is reviewing patterns. We have already mastered repeating patterns…
Why teaching handwork is still important (and a giveaway!!)
22 Nov, 2015. 4 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
As many of you know, the afternoons in my kindergarten classroom are a very special time for us. During what we call "Exploratory…
An Easy Way To Increase Engagement: Rally Coach
11 Nov, 2015. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
One of my favorite ways to increase engagement is to use Kagan structures. I was beyond blessed that when I was in college…
Following My Students’ Interests… To Africa
9 Nov, 2015. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
My students are obsessed with endangered animals. I honestly have never seen a group of kids so INTO a topic. While learning about…
What Goes On During Our Math Block?
7 Nov, 2015. 7 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Many people often ask me what my classroom looks like during our math block. I thought today I'd give you a brief tour…
Making Magic Potions
3 Nov, 2015. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
For our Friday experiment last week, my students entered our classroom to find, silver platters set out with intriguing science tools. They "oooohhhed…
Using pumpkins to teach math
1 Nov, 2015. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The week before Halloween, my school enjoys "Spirit Week." Every day has its own theme and the kids (and teachers!) come dressed accordingly.…
Activities During Our Forest Inquiry
24 Sep, 2015. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
We currently are knee-deep in our forest inquiry. Throughout the week, my students came up with some great wonders! Here are a few things…
Letting go and watching them soar
19 Sep, 2015. 14 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
We are currently on our 22nd day of school. For the past few weeks, we have been hard at work learning routines, procedures,…
Getting Your Guided Math Groups Started In Kindergarten
23 Aug, 2015. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Guided Math is such an important part of our day in kindergarten. This is where my young mathematicians get the small group attention that…
Bringing Inquiry Into Your Classroom
3 Aug, 2015. 7 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This summer I have done a lot of research on bringing inquiry and exploration into my classroom. I have been reading books, articles,…
Setting the Tone The First Week of School
14 Jul, 2015. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I don't know about you, but I am starting to feel the pressure of heading back to school. This upcoming week I am…
Fostering Independence At Centers
21 Jun, 2015. 8 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
It's no surprise that small group instruction is essential when trying to meet the needs of all of the learners in your classroom. However,…
How to: Guided Math
2 Jun, 2015. 16 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Each year, at the close of the school year, I like to reflect back on things that worked in the previous year. This…
Oceans, Islands, and Waves OH MY!
14 May, 2015. 4 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This week we are learning all about the Ocean and BOY OH BOY are we having a blast!! I am so glad that…
What have we been up to?
8 May, 2015. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The last few weeks have been SUPER hectic. You know how it goes. However, I just HAVE to share some of the FUN…
Math In May
6 May, 2015. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Can you believe it is already May?! Where has the time gone?? At one point today I stopped to take in the quiet…
Hands-On Subtraction Lesson/Center
21 Apr, 2015. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I love making lessons hands-on and engaging for my students. To truly drive home the concept of subtraction, I went with a Montessori-inspired…
Plant and Earth Day Activities
19 Apr, 2015. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
If you read my last blog post, I promised to tell y'all about the rest of our Earth Day and plant unit activities.…
Earth Day Activities
17 Apr, 2015. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This past week we have been gearing up for Earth Day. We have been learning all about plants and our world. To make…
Hands-on lessons for young students about rocks!
5 Apr, 2015. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The past week we have continued our study on the Earth. This week we focused on the "land." Throughout the week, my students…
Peter Rabbit helps with teen numbers!
30 Mar, 2015. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
If you are anything like me, there are certain picture books that stand out as your absolute favorite childhood stories. I distinctly remember…
Gearing up for Earth Day!
28 Mar, 2015. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
The past two weeks, my class has been gearing up for Earth Day. We have been having a blast each afternoon as we learn…
St. Patrick’s Day Fun!
13 Mar, 2015. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This week we have had so much fun learning about St. Patrick's Day! My students have LOVED all of our activities to fit…
Teaching Students to Read
6 Mar, 2015. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Teaching students to read is such a JOY. Helping my students LOVE to read (instead of DREAD to read) is one of my…
Cause and Effect
25 Feb, 2015. 4 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Cause and effect is not always the easiest concept for students to grasp.  However, I was determined this year to make it tangible…
Exploring 100
22 Feb, 2015. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Children are naturally inquisitive. As they grow, they, without prompting, seek out learning. As many of my friends who have toddlers would attest…
The Kindness Helpers
7 Dec, 2014. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I don't know about you but I love the Christmas season. I love the twinkle lights, the music, the food, the smell of…
December: Lessons, Guided Reading, Math, and more!
2 Dec, 2014. 4 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Ok. Let me be 100% honest. Moving down from first grade this year was a little difficult. At the end of last year,…
Hands On Activities For Young Learners
11 Nov, 2014. 2 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I don't think I've ever mentioned this on my blog; however, when I was in college, I was blessed to have an absolutely…
Hello, November!
6 Nov, 2014. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I simply CAN'T believe that it is November already. Where oh where has the time gone? I find myself having to warm up…
Wrapping up October, in comes November
5 Nov, 2014. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Can you believe that it is already November? I certainly can't! Last week we were fully immersed in all things PUMPKIN! We had so…
A day in my classroom
4 Oct, 2014. 0 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
One thing that I love about reading blogs is getting to read and see a glimpse into classrooms all across the world. Since…
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…
Centers with a Montessori flair
30 Aug, 2014. 3 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
After I graduated college, my first teaching job was at a Montessori school. The school was very quaint and took children aged 2.9-6.2…
How to LOVE teaching Math — making the most out of your Math block
27 Jul, 2014. 10 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
A few years ago, I did not love teaching Math. Math seemed hard to teach. I couldn't figure it out. I felt like…
Volcanoes! {best day ever!!!}
5 Apr, 2014. 12 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Today was "volcano day" in my classroom. It was SUCH a great way to end our study of landforms!  Oh my goodness, I…
So Happy {guided math bliss}
2 Apr, 2014. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I don't know about you, but around here, testing season is upon us. Next week, our entire school will be in "testing mode."…
Frog Week- summaries, writing, and an art “experiment”
30 Mar, 2014. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
In Texas, the weather is currently beautiful. Spring is in the air (and allergies are on overdrive)! To capitalize on what is going…
Guided Reading After Spring Break {freebie}
24 Mar, 2014. 19 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
For the next few weeks, I am pushing a few things in my guided reading groups. I currently am meeting with 6 different…
Our new favorite SPRING Science experiment {on matter!}
22 Mar, 2014. 1 Comment. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This week we revisited what matter is. In December, I introduced this concept with a fun science activity. {you can read about that…
Fun with force and motion!
1 Mar, 2014. 9 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Oh my goodness. This past week was SO MUCH FUN. When we shared what our favorite part of the week was on Friday…
A glimpse into our day!
27 Feb, 2014. 13 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I thought it might be fun to show you a glimpse into a 'normal' day in our first grade classroom. As many of…
“Best Week Ever!”
15 Feb, 2014. 13 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I have a student who has been asking me since August, "Miss Smith, WHEN are we going to study about the DINOSAURS?!" Well,…
Blast Off To The Moon
1 Feb, 2014. 15 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
This week has been an absolute blast. (pun intended!) We started our unit on the moon and space and my students could not…
Having fun in the winter! {Freebie!!}
11 Jan, 2014. 11 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Weather in Texas is so crazy. One day this week it was 29* when I woke up. The next day, my students were…
Winter is Here!!
9 Jan, 2014. 5 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Winter has definitely hit my classroom. While we are NOT experiencing all the snow and cold that y'all are having, we did get…
Getting ready for a new year!
1 Jan, 2014. 4 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Happy New Year!! I hope that you are all doing well and are still enjoying your last few days off.  I have been…
“Life saving” winter crafts!
22 Dec, 2013. 8 Comments. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Hooray!!! It's Winter break!! We made it-- congratulations and job well done! I don't know about you, but our past week was filled…