Sunday, October 26, 2014

What Children Really Need Most...

As parents and teachers, we get so caught up with time.  During my school day, I am constantly racing against the clock to fit in my whole group reading lesson and then trying to meet with all my small groups for their guided reading instruction.  After that, I need to make sure I get in my whole group mini writing lesson followed by meeting with my small groups for their writing instruction.  Finally, I breathe for a moment during lunch, but that lasts for as long as I am in the bathroom (the first time and probably only time I will use until my students leave for the day).  I rush back to my classroom, set up my math lesson and all of its corresponding manipulatives or station materials which is followed by prep time which then I prep my room again for science.  

The race with the clock is what makes my day fly on by, but some days I wonder...Did I remember to ask Joey about his pet hamster that passed away the day before or did I see how Olivia did at her soccer game that she has been talking about all week.  

There is so much pressure to get all of our academic instruction in that we forget about What Children Need Most.  I have this printed out (just a small copy) in a place in my room that I know I will look every morning before I start my day.  It reminds me that children need love and respect.  They need to be listened to and to have fun.  They need affection, smiles, and hugs.

Every morning I look at this and it helps me.  Children won't remember that they learned to read or do math when they were in your classroom.  They will remember how you made them feel when they were with you...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Parent Involvement

The National Education Association (NEA) reported in 2009 that high parent involvement results in higher student achievement than students receiving low parent involvement. 

Stay involved in your child’s education. 
  • Play games when you are at home. 
  • Go on a letter or word hunt
  • Read stories together
  • Count items in your house
  • When you and your child are driving in the car, have your child tell you the letters, numbers or words he or she sees. 
  • In the car you can play addition games.  Give you child a math story.  For example, “I bought 3 red apples at the store and then I bought one more.  How many apples did I buy?”  Your child can use fingers to figure it out. 
  • Include your child in cooking dinner and use math to help
  • At sporting events, go on a number hunt.  Ask your child, "What numbers do you see on the players' jerseys?" or "What is the score of the game?"
  • Use money to count and skip count.  Children love money because they can see how it directly relates to real life experiences!
Stay involved!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drop and Count - Math Game

Last week we played ‘Drop and Count.’  Play this game at home with your child or play with your students in your kindergarten classroom.  The game works on one-to-one correspondence and number sense.  The variations of the game work on addition and subtraction concepts.  See pictures of the children below!


  • Hard small items (pennies, beans, legos)
  • A tray (baking sheet, cooking pan)
  • Two people

Directions: One person closes their eyes and they must count the items being dropped.  The other person drops the items one at a time.  Once all the items are dropped, ask “How many?”  The partner with their eyes closed now knows they can open their eyes and give the answer.

Variations:  Integrate addition and subtraction problems to challenge your child.  After the items are dropped and counted the partner who dropped the items can ask addition/subtraction problems.  “How many pennies would be left if I took away one?”  or “How many legos would there be all together if I add two?”


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Teaching Vocabulary

When teaching vocabulary consider...
  • Repeated encounters
  • Rich oral language experiences
  • Incorporating movement or acting vocabulary out
  • Pre-teaching
  • Explicit Instruction
  • Root analysis
  • Word Maps - synonyms and antonyms
  • Associating pictures/videos to words
  • Word selections
  • Comprehension


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Talk! Talk! Talk!

The more talkative you are with your child, the more language he or she will be exposed to.  The average four year old has heard 30 million words addressed to them.  The average four year old from talkative parents has heard 48 million words! Talk! Talk! Talk!Ask your child questions that get them thinking and avoid yes and no questions.  Ask them, "Why do you think that?" or "How do you think that will happen?" Talk! Talk! Talk!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Letter Sound Identification

Hi all,
I hope the first few weeks of kindergarten are going well!  We (teachers and students) are working through the transition of a new school year.  As you begin your phonological and phonemic awareness instruction think about fluency. 

Letter Sound Recognition and Identification is a product on TPT.  The children can practice identifying letters and their corresponding sounds.  There are 19 pages included!

The product has helped my students increase their letter-sound identification fluency.  I hope it helps your students!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kindergarten Common Core Checklist

The Kindergarten Common Core Checklist - ELA contains standards from the  Common Core State Standards Initiative.  The English Language Arts (ELA) standards can be found on their website. 

You can use this checklist to see how your students are meeting the Common Core State Standards.  Many states have aligned their state standards to the Common Core.

71 ELA Standards:
Foundational Skills
Reading Informational Text
Reading Literature
Writing - Informational/Explorative
Writing - Narrative
Writing - Opinion/Argumentative
Writing - Production
Speaking and Listening

Checkout my Kindergarten Common Core Checklist - ELA Standards at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to School SALE!!!!

Visit my store and receive up to 28% off of ALL products. 
Use the promo code below at checkout!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kindergarten Summer Letter

Do you send a letter home to your new kindergarteners over the summer?  Every year I send a letter home to my new kinders.  The letter is sent home in July and it is a chance for me to communicate with the children and with parents at the same time.

The letter is one step in helping with the transition to kindergarten.  I explain different activities that we will do together and a few skills they will learn in the beginning of the year.  I discuss learning letters, sounds, and numbers through play, games, singing, and dancing!

You can find an example of my Kindergarten Summer Letter on TeachersPayTeachers for FREE!  The product is a Word Document for you to edit it as you wish!

I print a borderless letter on fun creative pre-bought paper.  I have included a borderless letter in this product.  I have also included an example of my letter with different creative borders just in case your don't have pre-bought paper to print it on.

Download this FREE product, edit, print, and send home to your new kindergarteners this summer! : )

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Welcome to Kindergarten

I teach full day kindergarten, however the first day is only 1 1/2 hours.  The children visit with their parents.  They go on a scavenger hunt with their parents around the classroom.  They find all of our centers (ABC, Library, Math123, Browsing Bins, Computers/Ipads, Writing, etc), where they keep their personal belogings, bathrooms, water fountains, etc. The scavenger hunt supports the children with their transisiton to kindergarten and gives me a time to observe, chat with the children, and meet the parents!

 I have a few creations on TPT that I use for the first day of kindergarten. 

The Kindergarten Scavenger Hunt is FREE on TPT.  The parents read the scavenger hunt and travel around the room.  The product is a Word Document which allows you to edit as you please to make it your own! : )

Another FREE creation on TPT is  My Name is...  The children can complete this activity with their parents at the writing center.  They have an opportunity to write their name and draw a picture.  You can modify this activity by requesting parents to bring in a family photo (in your letter you send home during the summer) and pasting it on the sheet.  After the families leave the first day, you can hang the pages to decorate your room with something familiar.

 I download O-Fish-ALLY in Kindergarten, a FREE product, from Once Upon a Creative Classroom. I send these home home on the first full day of kindergarten. Check out this product and this store!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Hi! My name is Amanda Burns and I am a new blogger!  I have created the blog Miss Kindergarten Smarties to offer creative and inspiring ideas for teaching young, developing kinders!  I love teaching kindergarten and have learned so much over past few years.  Enjoy my blog!