Saturday, August 16, 2014

Basics of a Kindergarten Classroom

You might be wondering about center rotation, data collection, guided reading, or Daily 5, but those details will come later. For now, here are the basics of setting up a kindergarten classroom.

Even after 13 years of teaching, I continue to change things up; moving a word wall, changing check-in procedures, minimizing morning routine activities, and putting new touches on traditional methods. 

Math and Weather Board
On this board, I display my Common Core math goals for the week (top left), the students' birthday chart (top right), a blank 5's frame, a set of tens-frame cards for our daily math talk (middle left), counting the days of school chart and links (center), a simplified weather display (bottom right), and a 100's chart (bottom left).

You can read more about my Tens-Frame Cards HERE.

The blue magnetic pocket will hold my supplies needed for Counting the Days of School activities, such as stickers for the colored tens frames chart,  and links to hang from the command hooks on the lower center.

The 100's poster is used for reference when we do our daily rote counting.  This year, I decided to use the 100's poster shown instead of my 100's pocket chart.  It is just too big for the board, so I hung it somewhere else. On the top right, there is a birthday chart that doubles as a reference for our months of the year song.  Last, is the weather.  I used bits and pieces from my old weather set and combined with my weather charts. 

In the past, I've had areas to post "today is, yesterday was, and tomorrow will be" cards.  Now, we talk about it, but no longer have more stuff  taking up space.  The days of the week cards are great for reference when we do our songs and chants.   If you look carefully, there is a 4 seasons poster hanging on the side of the mailboxes. We review the seasons at the start of each month. 
This calendar pocket chart came with black/white monthly headers, but I've decided to make my own polka dot set this year. :-) 

ELA Focus Board
Our weekly Common Core ELA goals are posted at the top of this board.  I created the goal posters for Math and ELA to align with our district's curriculum mapping.  They are written in "I Can" statements, and we review them before starting our lessons each day. 

Remember back in the day when we had overhead projectors?  They had pocket charts that wrapped around the projector to hold supplies. Welcome to 2014, and we no longer have overheads.  So, I slid the pockets off the strap that buckled around the projector, and use them for other things. 

The yellow 2-pocket chart will now house letter flashcards for Letters of the Week.  (We introduce/review 2 letters a week for the first half of the year) The green pocket chart will be used for sorting picture cards and/or words that begin with the letters of the week.  

During the second half of the year, I will hang our weekly CVC word family poster in place of the green pocket chart.

LOVE this pinterest find....using paint color samples with your color display.  I've had these crayons forever, and now love them all over again.  I added magnetic tape to each, so I can easily move them.

After the first couple weeks, I will use the space to the left of the board to hang anchor charts. 

Counting Goals
I purchased new number cards this year. The board is out of their reach, so I chose not to laminate the cards.  Laminating has become excessive, causes a glare, and makes it difficult to read from all areas of the classroom.

Student counting goals are posted on the right.  When I get a class list, I will add each name to the chart.  Next to their name are 4 boxes for stickers as they meet the rote counting goals...25, 50, 75, and 100! 

Counting Jar
I was introduced to the counting jar activity last year during a PD for Common Core math practices. To get started, I will place a small collection of objects in the container. Throughout the week, each student will visit the counting jar.  Their job is to find out how many are in there, and record their answer.  They can record by writing a number, or drawing a set of objects to represent how many they counted.  

I laminated post-it notes and used sticky velcro dots for "recording" cards.  Once I get a class list, their names will be at the bottom of the cards.  They locate their name, pull off the card, record their answer using a dry-erase marker, and place their card back onto the chart.  
There is a 100's chart above, and a small 0-30 number line on the bottom of the recording chart for reference.  On Friday's we will open the jar together, as a class, count, discuss, justify, and compare recorded answers.

Student Drawers
Each student will have a drawer with his/her name on it.  Based on observations and formal assessments, I will place leveled work and/or activities in them once a week. 
Skills that I address include fine motor, reading, writing, math, and social games.  Once they master their activity, they can teach a friend how to complete it.  We learn best by doing and teaching others :-)  Any time the students finished their seat work early, they knew to practice their drawer activity.  This idea worked SO WELL last year!  

Display Family Photos

At the start of the year, I send home a parent letter requesting a family photo.  As the photos come in,  I will display them on this board.  My family photo will also be displayed after I introduce myself to the class.  This is a great activity to help the kids feel comfortable speaking in front of others.  They love talking about their family, and explaining who everyone is in the photo.

Magic Erasers
Last, but not least, here is another class favorite; "magic erasers".  It's just the name I gave them to encourage the kids to take special care of them. They are micro-fiber facial pads.  I found them at the Dollar Tree (3/pack). The kids LOVE using these as erasers when working on their dry-erase boards.  

That's all for tonight.  Time to work on Open House packets :-)  I hope you enjoyed the look of some kindergarten classroom basics.  Come back tomorrow for Sunday's Linky Party. 


  1. What dollar store did you find the facial pads?

  2. Hi Melanie. I found them at the Dollar Tree :)

  3. I cannot find those erasers at any Dollar Tree near me. Lexington SC :(

    1. Ugh, Kelli...that stinks :) I haven't tried, but maybe Dollar General or Five Below carry them. Or, you could always try going to - they may have them online! Good luck!

    2. I know this is an old comment so might have given up, but my Dollar Trees don't always have them. They have them sporadically, so keep checking!!

  4. They have them at dollar tree they are make up removers

  5. These can be found and purchased on the dollar tree website ��

  6. How do you clean the facial pads? Everytime I wash them they have dry erase marker still on them

    1. The pads that the kids use for just erasing usually get pretty clean after a regular wash (I put them in a lingerie bag to keep them from getting stuck anywhere). I d o have kids who like to write on the eraser, though, and that ink doesn't come out usually.