Friday, September 6, 2013

Holding Hands and Sticking Together

Kindergarten EXCELLENCE at PreK+K Sharing!

Hi everyone!  My name is Carolyn Kisloski, from Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together. This is my 10th year teaching Kindergarten in Upstate NY.  I stayed home to raise my children in between my teaching stints. I taught for four years, and this is my sixth back the second time around. (That just seemed like some sort of  Common Core Math word problem! YIKES!)  I look forward to posting here on the 6th of the month.  This month I would like to tell you a little about myself, so you can get to know me a little better.
Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

Here are a few of my favorite things...

The minute I typed that sentence, I knew what had to be first, because it sort of incorporates two of my favorites right there- this song and Prezis! This is my "My Favorite Things" Prezi. We click through the arrows at the bottom as we sing the song (at our own speed) to show pictures that go along with the words.  If you scroll out, you will find many versions of the song sung and played by different artists. 

I love teaching my children to sing My Favorite Things, and then sharing and writing about our favorite things. She wrote about her favorite animal named 'Seaweed.' 
The children love listening to the different versions of the song.  I posted about this here. I also made a "My Favorite Things" Lotion- which is a version of Dr. Jean's Self Control lotion.  If a child needs a few minutes to think, I give him or her some of the special "My Favorite Things" lotion to rub and rub and rub into those little hands.   It has worked like a charm! 

I  also love is making and using Prezis in my classroom.  I am NOT a techy person at. all.  So much so, that the only thing I was worried about when I started teaching this second time around was entering attendance on the computer. HA!   That background info is just to let you know that if I can make and use Prezis- ANYBODY can!  I made a tutorial post about making and using Prezis in the classroom. Prezi does a great job breaking it down right on their home page.  Actually, that is how I got started. I was checking out different media sites and on Prezi it said, "Go ahead. Make a Prezi!"  And I did...   I usually make zooming poster style Prezis- but there are so many features you can try.
Making a Sight Word Prezi with your students' pictures is an easy and fun way to start if you want to try one!  Once you make it, the Prezi is a great way to review sight words each day. The kids feel pretty darn famous when their faces flash up on that Smartboard! You know each child will at least be determined to know his or her own two words- so that's a start. :) Here is my Prezi from last year for you to get an idea. It is simple - but so much fun for the kids (plus easy and quick to make!) This is a slide show type Prezi.  You just click through the arrows at the bottom. It's nice because you can take as much time as the children need to read the words.  The kids loved the fact that we got faster and faster!

Another favorite of mine is hands-on learning! Any chance I get, my favorite way to teach and learn is hands-on.  Here was a fun little Chunky Monkey hands-on activity we did in class. I cut one Cars movie scene into eight strips and the other into 3 bigger "chunks."  I put magnets on the back so I could use it on my dry erase board.
I asked the children which puzzle they thought would be easiest to put together, and they guessed correctly. (YAY!)  I mixed up the eight pieces and had one boy try to put it together as we counted to ten. He tried hard, but didn't make it.  Then, we tried mixing up the three pieces and he did it before we got to six! This helped the children see that it is faster to chunk words into parts than trying to sound out each individual letter of a word. 

We also love to "be the words" we chunk!

This  Chunky Monkey Prezi is free to download at my TPT store if you'd like to use it.
It is part of my Kindergarten Beginning Reading Prezi, and has some fun links to games that help reinforce this concept.

Something else I love incorporating into my teaching day is LOTS of movement and physical activity. This  is such an important piece of the teaching puzzle that is sometimes forgotten.  We had a great professional development with our school's OT discussing the book Teaching The Moving Child.I posted about that here. (And of course I made a Shake Break- Get Up and Move Prezi, too! :)
This book has lots of great ideas.  One I tried right away was having the children write in prone position, which helps them get their wrists in the correct position. Look how it actually worked!

(This picture was taken on Wednesday, my first day with my new class- so... I think some of the ideas in the book MAY just come in handy...  :)

We like to take a little movement breaks, and push the wall at the end of our hall.  It's great for my OT kids who need it, great for my non-OT kids, who still need it- and great for ME, who, on some days, REALLY needs it!

The last thing I will share with you today that I love to do is making classroom books with my kids- and BOY OH BOY they are favorites.  Here are some of the different books I make with my class.  We are now in the process of making our Colorful Class and Crazy Colorful Class books as we begin our Color Weeks.   We always review the colors the first two weeks of school, wearing a different color each day and making books when we are done.

A new idea I tried this year was having my class in June make a book for my new incoming class.
We read it today, and my new class thought it was very COOL that first graders made a book just for them!  It was a great conversation starter about the things we will do this year.

We have LOTS of fun on our rug!  Look how much this picture looks like our real rug! :)

My Feelings book and Opposites book are always some of my very favorites that we make.


 I also made our Sight Word Prezi into a book that I sent home with each child.

I would like to thank Debbie from the bottom of my heart for inviting me to post on this blog.  I have had such fun getting to know Debbie and discover the scary number of things we have in common!

This was sort of a random sampling of 'favorites' - which is where I feel like  my head is this first week of school.  Just when I think I MUST be completely organized, ten other things  pop into my head that I want to do.

I can't wait for my next post. I have lots more to share. Here is one last thing before I go.  I would like to share my Fun in the Fall Prezi that you can download free at my TPT store this week. It is full of fall links and activities.  Next week, we are going to focus on the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, which I have lots of links to if you zoom in on the flag! 

This is the United States version, but I also made a Canadian version that you can find here, for my Canadian friends- with "Oh, Canada" and some fun videos about Canada. I EVEN spelled 'colours' correctly on that version, with some help from one of my Canadian friends.  :)

Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your day!



  1. Completely wonderful and packed full of fantastic ideas! The "push the wall" activity just really makes me laugh - I will definitely be using that one this year!!

    Whimsy Workshop Teaching

  2. I need to learn more about these Prezi's, they seem really useful.

    Terri Izatt


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