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About Me

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I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K Back to School
Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Phonics Games

Phonics Games
Phonics Games
Image Map
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Graphics by: MareeTrueLove.
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Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year

Small Group Instruction

Small Group Instruction is by far my favorite time of the day in pre-k!  It is time to teach specific language arts and math skills in a fun, play based way to engage my littles. We have 4 rotations that last 12 minutes each for our classes.  I have 19 students in my morning session and 12 in the afternoon.  I have names and post its on the board to help my para professional and I keep track of the kids and where they belong.  I know I want it to look much cuter...  So please do not throw rotten tomatoes... **This has been on my list of things to do all year.**

My sweet para, Becky, and I rotate daily between Literacy and Math.  Let's just say that Becky is my right arm in the classroom and I am truly blessed!  In between the literacy and math centers are the library/listening center and the computer center. 

We have tried to incorporate all things reading in the library area.  Read-a-loud books that I have shared over the course of the weeks are left on the front ledge and on the easel. 
Large poems from our poetry notebook are available to read with pointers.  The listening center changes every other day as this gives all the children in the group a chance to hear the story. 
Alphabet puzzles are put out occasionally for a quick review of alphabet letters and sounds as well as Alphabet Flip Books.  Our library is stocked with board books of our favorite predictable stories like Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and The Napping House. 

Our math group is one of our four rotations that is guided my Becky or I.  We have a scope and sequence of skills that need to be taught during each quarter of school.  We work on number recognition, counting, measurement, ordinal numbers and patterns.  
We use LOTS of hands on manipulatives, play dough and games galore.  The CRASH game is part of our Farm Unit and a favorite for sure!
What's Under the Cup is another fun game we play in the classroom.The teacher hides the bear under one of the cups.  We were practicing ordinal numbers so the students had to use an ordinal number when guessing which cup the bear was under.  You can put any skill on the outside of the cup- shapes, letters, numbers...the sky is the limit!

We are lucky enough to be able to use computers as a rotation in out room.  I have 3 student
computers, 1 computer attached to my Smart Board and on teacher computer on my desk.  We use all 5 during morning small group time.  We started the year with Starfall and the letters taught to date were on the top of the computer for easy reference.  
I later learned that teachers can get a free membership on ABC Mouse.  We tried it during small group time, but the students often wandered off into the land of ABC Mouse so we now save this for Center Time later in the day.  
In January, our school asked us if we would pilot a computer program called Imagine Learning.  So now each student is working on his/her own levelin phonological awareness and phonics. 

Small Group Literacy is a blend of phonological awareness, phonics and writing.  We practice building letters and words with play dough to work on fine motor development.  The lock and key matching game is from Lakeshore Learning
The Interactive Alphabet Activities cards are used over and over in so many ways.I added magnets to the back of the small cards to match to the large alphabet letter.  The larger picture cards are used as we build our circle maps, in counting syllables and also in the salt trays to practice letter formation.
We also started writing journals in January.  Some students are working on verbally forming sentences, while others are labeling pictures and then yes, a few are using sound spelling to stretch out words by sounding them out.

The key to making small group time work is to keep the rotation time short (10-15 minutes) while keeling children engaged in hands on activities.  The activity can can stay the same while just changing the novelty with manipulatives and work mats.  Be sure to model procedures and expectations.  Children love this time of the day and don't even know they are learning!
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Mrs. Wathen
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St. Patrick's Day and Five for Friday

I love celebrating holidays with my Pre-K friends.  
Most of my littles have not been in school before so what they experience 
in my room is a first, and that is exciting!
So on Saint Patrick's Day, we had a visit from Lucky the Leprechaun.
Let;s just say their excitement could not be contained...
Our rainbow windsocks took several days to complete, 
but were well worth the effort! 
I love how the colors compliment out alphabet too!
We painted every other color the first day,
so the colors wouldn't bleed together.
After all rainbows were painted and dried,
we worked on measuring and cutting the party streamers which was
the perfect addition to our measurement focus in math this week.
Windsock idea was found on Pinterest HERE.
CRASH! is one of our favorite games!
It is a matching game and can be played with any concept. 
We are working on number recognition from 1-20 
and I was able to differentiate the numerals worked 
during small group instruction.  
If the numbers match you keep them, if they don't match
you return them and CRASH! makes you return all your cards to the pile!
This edition of CRASH! can be found in my Farm Unit for pre-k and kinder.
With our teacher work day on Friday and spring break next week, 
we had to sneak in a few Easter activities this week.
Easter grass, Easter eggs, large tweezers and buckets were a hit!
I ordered the large tweezers from Amazon,
 but have also seen some at the Dollar Store recently!
Our class was invited to watch Scott Humston on Tuesday and his Pro Kids Show
 Can I just share with you that this is the BEST character ed show
that I have seen in my twenty years of teaching!
I saw the Pro Kids show five years ago at the elementary school 
that I taught at and when my youngest son attended.  
Scott Humston used comedy, magic, puppets and music 
to teach character ed in a way that CONNECTS with students!
So much, in fact, that my now middle schooler wanted to go watch 
the evening show at my current school for parents and students!
I LOVE his saying:
I am linking up today with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Five For Friday.
Be sure to head over to see what everyone has been up to!
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Mrs. Wathen
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Five for Friday {March 4}

Happy Friday Friends!
I am joining with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  

Truth be told, I am tired this week!
I have been resourceful with lots of activities, not so much creative.
And I am ok with that!

 We loved this "Seuss like" story this week! 
 This super cute craftivity was found on Pinterest HERE.
We switched out the tissue paper for construction paper
and large plates for smaller ones.

Did you say Seuss inspired STEM activity?
Yes, please!! Did I say I was tired this week?
Look-NO prep here:)  Check out the pin HERE!

As we wrapped up our farm unit, our county scope and sequence has letter formation listed for March.  We have been consistently working on this with play dough, salt trays and yes, writing instruments.. So my pre-k friends labeled their farm animals today in a little book they made.

My oldest son is in ninth grade this year and I have high school drop off for carpool duty.  We leave the house at 6:30 as school starts at 7:00am.  No need to wipe your eyes to double check the time!  Its CRAZY EARLY.  That being said, I have come to LOVE the sun rises somewhere between when I leave my driveway, drop off at high school and drive myself into work!

This is a little off topic, but I am super proud of my hubby's promotion and second stripe.  That being said, teaching is somewhat like police work -under-appreciated and underpaid!This week a police officer was shot and killed on her FIRST day on the job in Maryland and another officer was shot and killed in Texas.  It makes my heart so sad.  Not only is it too close to home, but the blatent disrespect for the law and police officers sickens me!  #pleasepray

Be sure to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching 
and check out the Five for Friday Link Up 
to see what other sweet teachers are up to!

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Mrs. Wathen
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