Monday, September 14, 2015


Our apple unit is already off to a great start! We have a ton of apple themed lessons going on. Here are a view that we are focusing on this week.

Today we started creating our schema chart about apples. Credit to Mr. Greg over at Kindergarten Smorgasboard for such a good idea! We gave it our own spin by using apple cut outs instead of post-it notes.

We will add to this chart throughout the unit. We will be using these books to help us learn as well.


One of our literacy centers this week uses my apple themed sensory bin pack. The pack includes differentiated recording sheets. We have already completed the page where students color a letter, so this week we are practicing writing the letters.

The pack also includes apple themed letter cards to place in the sensory bin. I switched it up this week with beans and letter magnets. 

I have also found some great freebies from some other awesome bloggers!

Check out Mrs. Albanese's Kindergarten Class for this bobbing for apples freebie.

 We will also be using a free interactive math book from Mrs. Kelly's Klass.

Hope you enjoyed this peek at our week! I'll be sharing more apple fun soon!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fact and Fiction Cows

In the midst of grad school homework, I am coming to you to share just a small part of our farm unit from the past two weeks. Of course we have been reading a lot of farm literature! So I thought this would be a great way to introduce the concept of fiction and non-fiction.

I decided to focus on just one animal for this activity. I chose cows because most of the students in my class had some general background information.

Our librarian helped me find a wide range of books for our unit. Here are just a few of our favorites.


After reading each book, the students had to tell me if they thought the book was fiction or non-fiction. They also had to provide reasons for their thinking.

This part was completed over the course of the unit. We recorded our thoughts on a very simple T-Chart.

As you can see from the chart, the cow theme also went along with our nursery rhyme of the week: Hey Diddle Diddle. The students did a great job!
Today we also created a graph about our favorite farm animals. I love using Post-Its for our graphs! The horse was the winner.
Next week we are on to apples!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 Classroom Reveal

Thank you to Schroeder Shenanigans and Lucky Little Learners for hosting another awesome link up! This month everyone is sharing their classroom reveal. I can't wait to see all of the awesome ideas!

Creating a classroom really is a labor of love. Being a second year teacher, my classroom is mostly made up of hand me downs and yard sale purchases. Also, keep in mind that we have already been "living" in our room for about a month. It might not be perfect, but its our home away from home.

Welcome to Ms. Harlan's Classroom! 

I kept the owl theme for this year, but I've already picked out my theme for next year!
This is our main carpet area in front of the SMART Board and calendar bulletin board. The numbers on the wall are crooked because they are attached with velcro and the students remove/replace them by themselves.

We complete part of our calendar routine on the SMART Board, but we also keep a calendar, our job chart, or growing number line, and some other odds and ends on the bulletin board.
 You can see more details about this board on my #2getherwearebetter post from last month.

One of my favorite parts of the classroom is our reading and writing area! This includes the library, listening center, and writing center. I change out the materials in this are regularly depending on what we are learning.
There are clothespins attached to the wall to easily switch out anchor charts. You can see that there is also a small clothesline for displaying student work. 
The little blue chair came from a yard sale and the cushions are actually for lawn chairs.
This area is where we keep our workstations/centers and materials for indoor recess. The easel is another yard sale purchase and the kiddos love it! It was definitely worth the 5 bucks!

Here is where I conduct small groups during literacy and math blocks. I have some more clothespins on this wall for rotating anchor charts. I keep all of our small group materials on the white bookshelves. The number posters and small easel are from Really Good Stuff.

Now you are looking at our back wall. You can see our awesome color wall! Look for an upcoming post about that project. I use this bulletin board for displaying student work throughout the whole year. Underneath it is the blue table that we use for computers.

And finally, the desk area! This area is kind of my catch all. The top owl print is from the Dollar General and I painted the bottom one myself. I keep my master copy binders on the top shelf, instructional books on the second shelf, my read alouds on the third shelf, and my snack stash on the fourth shelf (Everyone has one of those, right?) 

My favorite things in this area are the giant clipboards and the personalized candy dish my sister made for me! The clipboards came with school scrapbook kits and I am not sure that they are available any more.

It may not be much, but it is just right for us!
Thank you for stopping by my classroom!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Humpty Dumpty Experiment

After a long week of MAPS testing, we were ready for some fun! We always start the beginning of the year with nursery rhymes. This week we focused on Humpty Dumpty, so we ended the week with an egg experiment.


You can download this free recording sheet that we used from I Heart Crafty Things.
Not only was this a lot of fun, it was also a simple way to introduce my students to the scientific process of creating a question, making predictions, and conducting an experiment.

I'm pretty sure the best part was my animated facial expressions ;) I was cracking up when I saw the pictures my paraeducator took! 

We conducted our experiment by wrapping the eggs in various materials then placing them in small plastic container. The students counted down and I dropped each container on the floor.

We thought it was so exciting to unwrap the egg and see if our predictions were correct!
We ended up with two eggs that didn't crack.

Next week we will move on to Hey Diddle Diddle and farm animals!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WWW Wednesday: Managing Snack

Hello everyone and welcome to another What Went Well Wednesday!
Last year I developed an effective snack routine with my kinders and am already implementing it with my students this year.
It keeps everything running smoothly and keeps the classroom nice and clean.

We have snack time right after literacy centers and the students know that the quietest table gets their snack first. I then release students by their tables to get their snack out of their backpack. Students are responsible for bringing their own snacks, but I always keep extras on hand in case someone forgets.

My paraeducator and I ask the students to try opening their snacks to help build their independence. Then we circulate to help anyone still struggling. After the students are done eating, they are allowed to come to the carpet for brain break time. They know that they are not allowed to come until all of their snack trash is cleaned.

We use the wide variety of videos offered on the free website GoNoodle.  
It gets the students' wiggles out before specials classes and keeps them occupied while their friends are still eating.

I also have two jobs each week that are part of the "Clean-Up Crew". These students get to use my special sweepers that were purchased from the Dollar Tree. They sweep up any crumbs that happened to find their way onto the floor.

This simple routine keeps everyone busy and our classroom clean! It especially helps since students finish eating at different times. I am always a fan of getting students moving :)

Have a great Wednesday and happy snack time! :) 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Engaging Guided Math Ideas

I hope the beginning of your school year is going great! My kiddos have their morning routine down, but are so sleepy by the end of the day.

Today I am guest blogging over at Kindergarten Chaos about ideas for your guided math groups. This can really be a fun part of your day by incorporating play and relevance to your students.

Kindergarten Chaos Logo 

Make sure you head over there to read the post!

Also, there are certain materials that I always keep on hand during guided math. You can read about those materials here.

Thank you to Abigail at Kindergarten Chaos for having me!

Hope you get some great ideas for your math groups!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Five on Friday: Name Activities

What a week! We started school on Wednesday, so of course we have been very busy. 
The past three days we focused on learning our routines and working with our name. 
 Here are five different activities we did to practice our name.

1. First Letter Collage

We started with being able to recognize the first letter in our name. Students also learn how to use a glue stick properly and work on their fine motor skills by tearing the paper.

2. Name Puzzle

After writing the students' names on sentence strips, I allow them to practice their cutting skills by cutting the letters apart. We then practice putting them in order and naming each letter.

3. Rainbow Write

We use rainbow writing as a center throughout the year, so this is the perfect activity to introduce the concept. 

4. Self Portrait

This is our first piece of work that goes in the hallway. We talk about how to draw people and take our time with our art. At the bottom, students will write their name.

5. Shared Writing

We start this on the first day of school and complete it throughout the week. The students really get into it because I tell them that they can learn to read on the first day of school! Plus, they like using the smelly markers ;)

In just three days students can make considerable progress! Students who could not even recognize their name are now practicing writing the letters. 

I can't wait to see the progress they continue to make :)