Language Arts:

During this last month of school, we will spend our time reviewing the concepts we have learned throughout the year as I spend a little extra time with students who are in need of additional support before moving on to first grade.  We will also complete our end of the year testing, which is always an exciting time to witness the growth that the students have made from the beginning to the end of the year.  Additionally, we will place a great emphasis on writing complete sentences before entering the next grade.

May Books:

Read along with theses books on video:

Eric Carle tells the story behind his book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

Language Arts Centers:

ABC Center:

Letter-Sound Ladybugs:  Students who are still working to learn their letters and sounds will put together ladybug puzzles from Lakeshore:

They will first match upper and lowercase letters...

...and then will flip the puzzle onto the backside to read the picture and emphasize the first sound as they do so:

Ending Sounds:  Keeping in line with this month's picnic theme, the students will match pictures of objects on potato chip bags to clips with a clip with the matching ending sound (I used a math idea from Tunstall's Teaching and tweeked it for Language Arts):

CVC Word Butterflies:  Students will practice blending and recognizing consonant-vowel-consonant words this month by matching a butterfly wing with the word to the butterfly with the picture.  This is another great activity taken from Kelly's Kindergarten:

Rhyming Frogs on Logs:  Also from Kelly's Kindergarten, the students will match frogs to logs with matching rhyming pictures on them: 

Digraphs:  Using another idea adapted from Tunstall's Teaching, students will sort words on hot dogs into groups with the condiment bottle that has the appropriate digraph written on the front of it.  After they have completed sorting the weenies, the students will write the appropriate digraph in the blank on the hot dogs and can pretend to dress their dog with the topping.  They will also record the words they have created in their journal:  

Syllables:  Using pails with numbers 1, 2, and 3 on them, students will sort seashells with pictures pasted on the front of them into the pail with the number that represents the number of syllables in the word depicted by the picture.

Pictures of the appropriate sorts will be placed at the center for students to check their work:

Blending Chunks to Make Words:  Students will grab a sandwich bag with a number on it and will practice putting it back together to form a word.  The sandwich pieces came from the Dollar Tree- they're actually coasters!

When the sandwiches are complete, the students will place them on a plate and will record the word they made on a recording sheet:

Hopping Sight Words:  Students will review their sight words this month by rolling the dice and hopping down the indicated number of lilypads   If they can read the word on the lilypad they land on, they are able to stay on the spot.  If not, they will hop on back to where they started.  The first 'frog' to make it out of the pond is the winner!

Building words:  The students always enjoy making their own word soup when using onsets, rimes, digraphs, and word 'chunks' at the ABC center this month.

Students begin by scooping out one spoonful of 'soup':

The students will then overturn an hourglass timer and will build words using the letters/chunks on the beans until the time runs out.  These are examples of the letters, digraphs, etc. that are written on the beans:

As students find words, they record them on the Scholastic sheet below.  The player with the most words wins!

Building Sentences:  This month as students practice making sentences, they will literally 'build sentences'!  I place a variety of sight words and other words that have spelling patterns that the students are familiar with on our building blocks:

Shorter words are placed on smaller blocks, longer words on longer blocks, and punctuation on the narrowest blocks:

Students will explore the different sentences they can make by arranging and rearranging the blocks:

As students create their sentences, they will record them on a recording sheet:

Pocket Chart Poem:  Students will put to use all of their knowledge re: how a plant grows this month by putting back together the 'Green Leaf' poem.  The poem is color coded with a dot under each word to support students with this task and with one to one correspondence.

For students who need an extra challenge, they will put together the same poem but word by word instead of line by line.  The lines are color coded and have numbers on the back to help support students with this task while allowing them to self check their work.

Interactive Poem:  After reading the 'Forget Me Not' poem...

...the students will answer the questions on the big easel while using the poem:

Upon finishing, the students can check their work by lifting the post-its on the easel:  

Write the Room:  Students will apply their knowledge of word patterns this month by writing the names of insects shown on cards that will be placed around the room (this is an activity which I adapted for our classroom from:  Of Primary Importance):

The students will find the corresponding number for each bug on their 'Write the Room' sheet and will use the  letter sized boxes to help support them in interpreting the correct 'chunk(s)' that are in the words.  For certain letters that are not easily decoded and for those which we have not yet studied the rules for, I write these in for the students ahead of time.

I also keep an answer sheet at the center for students to use to check their work with when they are finished:

Writing Center:  Students will use the May word wall to create Mother's Day cards, Memorial Day cards for soldiers, and any other type of writing they desire...

I also keep story starter cards at the center that students can use to create their own book or poem with:

Since students have now had plenty of experience creating their own poems, I also keep the poetry organizers students have been working with at the center and construction paper to organize their lines with:

Last but not least, students have a variety of stencils to choose from to add words and labels to their writing while strengthening their fine motor skills:

Library Center Beach Reading:  At our library center this month, students will choose a pair of sunglasses, grab a good book, and spend some time either in the pool or on a beach towel! 

They can also read a good book to a sea animal that they cuddle up with (they have a great selection at the Dollar Tree!):

Retelling Center:  After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar together, the students will have the opportunity to retell the story while using a stuffed caterpillar:

Students will create a caterpillar by ordering picture cards in the appropriate sequence to orally retell the story (these awesome cards can be found at:  The Speech Room News). 

Students may also choose to retell the story on a magnetic board by creating a story arc with these cards from Kelly's Kindergarten:

Listening Center:  At the listening center in May, the students will practice uncovering story elements again by creating a story map for the stories the hear and read:

Housekeeping/Dramatic Play:  Students will have a chance to bring to life the community helpers that they have spent so much time researching during the past few months by acting out their jobs using the props/tools at our Housekeeping/Dramatic Play center this month:

They can also practice reading the National Geographic poem and acting out the exchange of goods and services with the attached story board:

At the center, students can also put into practice what we learned last month re: healthy food choices by first, sorting food into 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' choices, and then feeding the healthy food to the caterpillar from The Very Hungry Caterpillar book.  This activity can be found at:  Kelly's Kindergarten.


Mother's Day Bags:  At our art center this month, students will create a special gift for their mommies!  They will start by choosing a piece of patterned paper as their mother's bedspread: 

They will then follow picture directions to draw their mom sleeping inside of the covers.

Next, they will paste a "Breakfast in Bed" poem on the back of their bag and will stuff it with a granola, napkin, and tea bag.

Mother's Day Cards:  The students will also make a special card to place in their Mother's Day bags:

Bumble Bees:  When Mother's Day has passed and the end of the school year inches even closer, the students will be busy following picture directions to create a Bumble Bee with instructions from Kelly's Kindergarten:

Students will first drench a marble or small super-ball in black paint...

...and will then roll the ball around in a tissue box on top of a construction paper bumble bee body:

The end results are sure to please our little artists and their recipients:


This month in math, we will review all of the concepts throughout the year as I begin to pull students for end of the year testing.  Students who still need extra work in certain areas will meet in small groups with me while the remainder of the class works in centers.

Counting  With the end of the year quickly approaching, this is a great time to review counting to 100 with your Kindergartner.  This is a very important skill for our students to have acquired before entering first grade; helping your child count orally with you will better ensure their smooth transition next year.  We count by 1's, 2's, 5's, 10's, and even backwards!  We will be using the video below this month to help us do this:


Estimation Jar:  This month, students will be estimating the number of 'May flowers' (Juju Beads) in our estimation jar.

Math Centers:

Ice Cream Sundae Addition:  Students will explore different combinations to make numbers 1-10 this month by creating sundaes with play-doh.  First, they will choose a bowl with a number inside and find this corresponding number (sum) on their recording sheet.  

Students will then explore different ways to reach the sum in the bottom of the bowl by combining scoops of different colored play-doh.  

They will keep track of their equations by writing them on their recording sheet as they go along.

Flower Addition:  Another way students will sharpen their addition skills this month is by creating flowers with bingo markers.  Students will roll a dice and will write the number they roll under their first flower pot.  Next, they will use a bingo marker to create this number of flowers in the first flower pot and will repeat the process for the second pot.  They will then count all of their flowers and write the sum in the last box.  This 'Blooming Addition' activity can be found on the Kindergarten Crayons blog.  

Bowling Subtraction:  The students love taking their hand at rolling a strike to subtract bowling pins.  They set up the six pins...

...and record their bowling score by creating a subtraction equation.  They will practice creating a subtraction sentence with word and, then on the back, with symbols:

Graphs:  Students will be responsible for creating their own graphs this month.  They will choose between 4 different types of graphs to construct:  How You Go Home Graph, Favorite Food Graph, Eye Color Graph, Favorite Center Graph, and Favorite Writing Utensil Graph.  After choosing which graph they'll make, the students will begin by interviewing their classmates and keeping track of the results on a recording sheet using tally marks.

Once students have gathered their information, they will choose the bag of category cards that correspond with their graph.

They will then display the results of their graph by using a giant graph mat.  They will use unifix cubes to chart the results of the eye graph, die-cuts for the transportation graph, actual writing utensils for the writing tool graph, center manipulatives for the center graph, and play food items for the food graph.

Watermelon Seed Sets:  As the Kindergartners continue toward first grade readiness, they will arrange watermelon slices in order from numbers 1-20, and will make sets for each number by placing the corresponding number of watermelon seeds on each slice. 

Measuring Height:  Students will practice reading picture directions, counting, number sense, and measuring height with non-standard units at this center.  I created the sheet below for students to use as a guide for this activity I adapted from Mrs.'s Wood's Kindergarten

In a nut shell, students will use finger paint to create 5 different sized flowers.  They will then use unifix cubes to measure each flower and will write the number of cubes used beside each one.  Last but not least, they will draw a bumblebee over their tallest flower, and a hummingbird over their shortest flower.

Comparing Towers:  Students will also compare numbers at this tower building center.  Students will use a 10 second timer to build a tower out of bottle caps and, when it goes off, they will compare their towers to see who used more and who used less bottle caps to build their structure.    

In order to compare the numbers efficiently and to more clearly see whose tower had more and whose had less, the players will line up the caps with wiki stix:

After comparing the number of bottle caps, the players will spin the more/less spinner to see how the winner for that round will be determined.  

Players will keep track of the points they earn by stacking unifix cubes as the game continues.

Also, after each round, students will record their number comparison sentences on the sheet below:

Froggy Counting and Ordering Numbers:  Another way students will be reviewing numbers 1-20 this month is by ordering and arranging froggy number cards.  For students who are still developing their number sense, the dots on the cards give these students support in counting and associating a specific, concrete quantity with the written number symbol.

Color Word Matching:  This month's color word station is another great activity taken from Kelly's Kindergarten.  Students will pair frogs with the lily pad that describes their color pattern (green and yellow, blue and red, etc.):

Caterpillar Patterns:  After reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar, students are eager to create their own little fuzzy friends!  Students count out 10 pom-poms of any color(s) they wish and create a caterpillar with a unique pattern.  They will name their caterpillar, color their background, and describe their pattern with letters. 

Area Picnic:  As the students are busy beginning their summer activity plans with their families, we jump start them inside our classroom too!  Students will take a picnic basket with them for this month's area center (this activity was adapted from the Tunstall's Teaching Blog):

The basket is full of different sized tablecloths that they will be charged with measuring:

First, students will look for the letter on the back of each tablecloth and will find the corresponding letter on their recording sheet.

Next, students will work together to cover the area of the tablecloths with paper squares:

Finally, students will record the number of paper squares it took to cover the area of each tablecloth:

Area Animals:  As we review area this month, to correlate with our Science animals unit, the students will create their favorite animal on 1 inch graph paper.  

We will then cut the animals out and will count the number of squares that each animal covers.  Next, we compare our animals from greatest to least area by lining them up on butcher paper and creating an area zoo:

Number Sense Dominoes:  Students will continue to develop their number sense using these awesome dominoes from Of Primary Importance.  These dominoes help students to recognize numbers when represented with tally marks, ten frames, dominoes, numerals, sets of objects, coins, and addition and subtraction equations.  One of the most essential math abilities for students to have before entering first grade is the ability to recognize, write, and know the concrete quantities of numbers 1-20.  This activity is perfect for students who need extra practice in these areas.

Number Sense Fishing:  Students will also reinforce their number sense by fishing for numbers 1-20.  The numbers are represented with 10 frames, tally marks, sets of objects, and equations.  Students will use the magnetic fishing poles to swing into our classroom pool.    The template for the fish was taken from  Rita Mitchell.

When they hook a fish, they look on their recording sheet for the number vocabulary word that matches their fish.  For instance, a student who pulled out a fish with the equation '5-3', would look for the word 'two' on their recording sheet.  They will then write the equation beside the number word 'two'.  The first student to find a match for #'s 1-20 is the winner. 

Blocks:  With summer just around the corner, students can practice building some of their favorite vacation pastimes and other structures related to our current Science and Social Studies units.


Living and Nonliving:  This month we will review the properties and characteristics of living/nonliving things in the following ways:

After reviewing the attributes of living/nonliving things, the students will watch the following video and will use the 'living/nonliving test' (does it breathe, grow and change, reproduce, eat and drink, and move on its own) to determine whether or not the objects from the video were living or non-living.

Teachers' Domain: Is It Alive?

I will pause the video after each item and will give students an opportunity to record the characteristics on their graphic organizer.

When the video is complete, we will share out/compare our predictions on a giant chart together:

We will then head outdoors with an opportunity to apply our knowledge and put into practice our 'living/nonliving test'.  To do this, we will head out on a scavenger hunt for living and non-living things which we will record on a graphic organizer.  We will then come back inside to share out/compare what we discovered.

As a precursor to the animal adaptations the students will be learning about in the older grades, we will learn that animals have physical characteristics developed to meet their needs, and that certain body parts help them survive in their environment.

Teachers' Domain: Animals Making a Living

Animal Movements:  After watching the video, we will discuss how the different animals moved to get their food and will create an interactive chart to show what we learned:

Sounds:  We will also listen to the different sounds animals make and we will make predictions re: what we think the purpose of the animal making that sound is (to warn of danger, to communicate that they found food, etc.):

The students love listening to animal sounds on Switchzoo and trying to determine which animal the sound is coming from:

Senses:  We also watch a video from BBC to learn how different animals use their senses:

After watching the video, the students will work in groups each researching a particular animal.  The students will work together to make a poster showing how that animal uses their senses.  Before beginning, I will pass each member of the group a card with one of the 5 senses depicted on the front.  They will be responsible for researching and representing that sense.

Animal Coverings:  In the Science and Social Studies center this month, the students will extend their learning of animal characteristics by sorting animal pictures according to the type of covering they have.  They will then discuss the similarities of the animals in that group by writing in their Science journals.

Once we have learned about the different physical characteristics of animals and what they are used for, students get a kick out of reading the Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing book.  We discover that animals don't need clothes in the way that humans do- they already have the adaptations that are specifically suited to their needs and environment.

Riddles:  After learning about how different animals' bodies are suited for their environments, the students will work in groups listening to the following videos and will try to determine which is being described:

Our class also spends time learning how different animals and their physical characteristics are suited for their environments by researching the following sites:

Once students are well versed in how animals use their physical characteristics to meet their needs, they have an opportunity to create their own animal.  I give the students a variety of materials to choose from, and they can create a conventional animal or can invent a brand new animal.

After creating their animal, the students will come up with an environment for their critter and will explain why that particular environment is appropriate for their animal and what physical characteristics it has that will help them meet their needs there.  Students can do this by creating a video or in writing.

I also give students the following rubric to help them make sure they have all of the components in their animal/description as they go along:

When students are finished with the above tasks, they will take turns presenting their animals to the class.  As they present, the audience will hold themselves accountable by writing down the name of the animal presented and checking off if the presenter communicated the food they eat, their environment, and their adaptations.  They will also check off whether or not they were a respectful audience member by sitting criss cross, keeping their eyes on the speaker, listening to the presenter, and staying nice and quiet.

Students can continue to explore Switchzoo at the Science center too:

Social Studies:

Community Helpers:  This month we will continue our study of community helpers to learn how members of our community develop systems that help them exchange goods and services.  We will invite parents and other members of our community in to our classroom either in person or via Skype and they will share with us how they prepared for their career, what they do every day, and what tools they use to carry out their work.

Some of the visitors that we have had are an architect and a nutritionist.  We learned from the architect that his most important tool was his computer.  He showed us some of the 3-D drawings he has made of various structures, including Burger King, and we even go to go on a virtual tour inside one of the buildings!

He also showed us a program called Google Sketchup, that he uses to create some of his drawings.  The students got to try their hand at this program too:

He also shared a program that, although it is an advanced tool used by video game developers, architects, interior designers, and engineers, it is easily maneuverable by children.  You can visit their website and explore the software for free by clicking on the picture below:

We compared how an architect's job is similar to what we do to plan out our structures at the Blocks Center.  An architect makes models of their work before the builder builds it.  The students were very surprised to learn that most architects do not build their own structures themselves!    

The architect also shared with us his diplomas and graduation photos and explained to us that if we are interested in being architects, we will need to study at a college and take a lot of tests!

Our nutrition specialist helped us to make healthy meal choices to take care of our bodies.  We thought it was pretty need that she works at a children hospital helping boys and girls just like us everyday!  She had helpful cards that she shared with us to plan our own healthy meals:

After each visitor shares with our class, we use what we have been learning in Language Arts to show what we have learned from each community member.  We do this by creating a nonfiction book, creating a table of contents, subtitles, pictures, and even captions.  The students have to determine what they believe was the most important information they heard from the guest speaker if they were going to share what they learned with someone else (the students have already had plenty of practice determining what the most important information while reading fiction and non.  They then communicate this information by recording it in their book.  I model this first for the students on a giant book page.  I color coded my sentences so they could see that I wrote one sentence re: how the community worker prepared for their job, one sentence listing the skills they will need to have for that position, one sentence describing their responsibilities at their job, and the last sentence communicating the tools that they will need to do their work.

Students will also learn that every member of a community participates in some way in its economy.

Later, at the Science and Social Studies center. the students will apply what they have learned about community helpers by sorting the tools they need to do their job with the helper they are associated with:

Junior Achievement Day:  Spring Branch is unique in that we dedicate several weeks of instruction to financial literacy.  We believe that helping children learn at a young age the purpose and value of money, how it is earned, and how to manage it will give the opportunity to develop critical life skills as they grow older.  In order to help our students reach this goal, every year at our campus we invite the Junior Achievement organization to come into our classes and teach hands-on lesson to the students that give them concrete, tangible experiences with money management and starting a business.  To learn more about the philosophy and mission of their program, please visit their website by clicking on the picture below:

They even have a game on their site that you can play with your little one that teaches them how to budget, save, invest, and spend responsibly:

End of the Year Activities:

Memory Books:  As we wrap up our year in Kindergarten, we make sure we take time to record all of the wonderful memories we have shared together.  During the last few weeks of school, we will use our writing time to create a memory book from Enchanted Learning that I have supplemented with a few extra pages tailored specifically for our class:

During the last week of school, we will sign each other's books and will paste in the pictures of our best moments from the year:

Field Day:  By far one of students' favorite days of the year, Field Day is here before you know it!  The students are divided into teams and will rotate among centers including...

The Limbo:

Soccer Relay:

Egg Relay:

Water Balloon Toss;

Face Painting:

Disco Dancing (with the Wii and our ActivBoards!):

Water Bucket Relay:

Basketball Relay:

Hula Hoop Endurance Race:

Noodle Relay:

Making Ice Cream:  After a long, sweaty field day, our class cools off by illustrating an ice cream reader from DLTK, and then making our own ice cream!

Our homemade ice cream in a bag recipe can be found at:

Take Home Gifts:

The Very Hungry Kindergartner:  After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle that coincides with our current Science unit, the students will create their very own The Very Hungry Kindergartner book:

Students will recap what they learned throughout the year by recording it on a page for each month of the school year:

This year, I changed the words a little bit and, next year, I'm going to try having the students do one page at a month throughout the year and take a picture of how they grow each month:

Later on the last day, we play a game to experience being caterpillars and butterflies again!   Partners will take turns racing to be the first to wrap their paper in a toilet paper cocoon.  We then burst through the cocoons as new butterflies!

Staying True to the Heart:  At the end of the school year, I will remind students how special they are to me with a special poem and a snapshot of a photo we took together:

I've also just added this poem to the back of the students' memory books:

Students will also get to take home a candy bar to remind them of the 'sweet success' they've had this year (these candy bar wrappers can be found at:

Outdoor Fun:  During the last week of school, the students will show off what they learned throughout the year while having a little extra fun- they will practice writing their names, numbers, sight words, sentences, and letters with sidewalk chalk!

Some students even get really creative and create their own hopscotch boards with numbers, letters, and words!

Bubbles:  Students 'bubble' with joy as we venture outside to blow bubbles to our hearts' content during our last week of school.  Everyone can use a 'bubble break' every now and then- even teachers :)

Sight Words:  Students also have a blast writing their sight words in shaving cream!  It is so adorable to see their faces when I spray it all over our tables!!

Graduation:  With the end of the year upon us, what a better way to celebrate than with a Kindergarten graduation!  And who better to celebrate with than our music teacher, Mrs. Hebard!  Mrs. Hebard puts on amazing production with our Kindergartners, and I send them off with these suiting graduation caps from the Dollar Tree:

Last Day:   During our last day of school, I read our class one of my favorite books:

We then say our goodbyes (which are often very teary!), and I send them off as first graders in their summer leis!  

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