Transitioning to Kindergarten

The end of the year is filled with so many emotions for me. Thinking of my kinder babies leaving me is so bittersweet. I am sad to see them leave me although I am looking forward to my summer. At the same time I am enjoying those last few weeks with my class, my mind is also on my incoming kindergartners. Our school has always been great at doing transition activities to make it easier on our new kindergarten kids. We want them to feel comfortable with us so that 1st day of school is happy and very few tears are shed. We also want to get to know the kiddos so we can make class lists that are a good mix of all kiddos.
Each year we hold an ABC/123 Night for our kindergartners who just registered at our school. We hold it after school for 3 hours and ask parents to bring their child in for a few games with the kindergarten teachers and get a few fun prizes! We have 3 different stations set up where they play "games" with us as we assess what they know. Here is the assessment we use: (click on the image to grab the freebie)
The first station is the ABC station. 

I have alphabet bean bags in which I hold up one at a time and ask if they know the letter and sound. After each letter they toss it into the bucket. I also have them sing their ABCs and note this on the form. 

When they are finished at my station, they get a prize (cookie sheet and magnetic letters).

Then they move to the next station...colors and shapes. 

Once finished at this station we give them a book and our first set of sight words we learn in kindergarten.

The last station is the 123 station in which they hop on numbers as they name them for us and then count to 20. 

At this station they get 123 flashcards to add to their loot.

They finish up with a cookie as our principal goes over their assessment with the parent and shows them the PATT mat and what they can work on over the summer.

We try to make sure parents stay back (you do better without them right there saying "You know that. Yes you do!") We have a slideshow on the large screen for parents giving them information they may need such as a daily schedule, what their child will learn, lunch prices, upcoming dates, etc.

It only take about 20 minutes per child. We usually have about an 85-95% turnout..which is great! We will also see the kiddos again at our Home Visit Blitz and at the Back to School Ice Cream Social we have right before school starts. I really enjoy making these connections early. I truly feel it helps make the transition to kindergarten easier and more exciting. Do you do anything like a Jumpstart or any transition activities? I would love to hear your ideas!!

My Favorite App

It has been awhile since I posted, but we are going full steam on our 1:1 ipads in the classroom! They LOVE them and so do I! I thought I would begin with my favorite app and it's a freebie!!!! The app that has really changed our classroom is.... SHOWBIE! 

It is a great app for going paperless in your classroom. (Our upper grades are using Google Drive/Google Classroom but there are some restrictions for primary using it, so I had to find another way to achieve this goal). Now....I have to state my feelings toward a totally paperless classroom. I'm not a fan. I think it is SUPER important that students still have paper and pencil...especially in writing. There are so activities or assignments that are too hard to do on an ipad without an actual pencil and paper! We are doing a lot in this app! 

Weekly I assign 2-3 assignments through Showbie - at least 1 reading and 1 math. So when they visit that center throughout the week, they know to get their stylus and ipad to record their answers. When they log in, they will see this in Showbie. 

They simply choose the center they are currently in, like "Word Play". They chose a card and recorded the correct word to complete the sentence. 

 When they are finished they hit "Done" and that's it! I can then leave feedback (which shows as red). 

 We have done A LOT of practicing zooming in to make their writing neater. The first few assignments looked a lot like this: 

This app is SUPER easy and it really cuts down on paper/copy costs! When I log on here is what I see:

It shows me how many students have submitted assignments. If I click on the assignment it will show my class list and who has submitted (but I can't show that for privacy reasons!). I can leave feedback in red and/or type in a comment. Every Friday we have "Feedback Friday" where they check their assignments in their ipads to see how they did and what comments I made. This helps them know what to work on next week. 

This is how we started out in Showbie. We are continuing this for 2-3 centers a week...sometimes more, sometimes less. We have done SO much more incorporating other apps with Showbie that I can't wait to show you! 

Again....this is ALL FREE. There are definitely perks for a paid subscription, but I am thrilled with what we are doing with it for free!

Blogger Retreat Recap

Last week I attended the French Lick Blogger Retreat. Y'all. Words can't even explain how great this trip was! I am so excited to recap my weekend with you!

I am so fortunate that French Lick is only 1 1/2 hours away from my town. I left on Saturday morning and was there in no time! I have never been to French Lick and it is an adorable little town. (Once you get there...a little sketchy on the drive in...not gonna lie.) I'm gonna be honest. I was seriously star struck. I'm about as talkative as they get...but I clammed up something crazy when I saw some of these bloggers/sellers. Look at this crowd!!!

We began the day with 5 tickets to enter the sponsor giveaways. You could choose to place you tickets in whichever giveaway you wanted. It was SUPER hard to pick just 5.  These were all of the sponsors of our retreat:

The following sponsors LOVE to support educators!

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I entered to win:

$100 giftcard to Tieks

And an entry to win registration to the I Teach K conference in Vegas. (I REALLY wanted that one!)
Sadly, I didn't win any of these but you HAVE to check out what we got in our swag bags. These sponsors are unreal!! 

***You can win a swag bag! Keep reading!!!

Then sweet Holly from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten gave the sweetest speech on why she began this retreat. Y'all...they don't make them much sweeter than Holly. I feel so overwhelmed 90% of the time and I cannot even imagine planning something this huge. I know she is way busier than me (she has more kids than I do and is a big TPT seller) and she managed with her friends to pull off this amazing weekend!!!

The decorations were adorable! We played a little icebreaker game where we were given a letter and had to write all of our names on it and our tables letter. We were given K and we were all kindergarten teachers. I'll let you guess our word! We then presented our letters and look what we spelled:

That was our weekend theme!!! So fun!

After lunch we did our teacher tool swap! So fun! The Kindergarten group was HUGE!!!! I got this cute gift. (I forgot to take a picture once it was unwrapped.) It was FULL of awesome art supplies! We've already used them in the classroom!!!

I sadly didn't take a picture of what I gave but Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard received it!

One of my favorite parts of the retreat were the round table discussions. We got to choose 4 tables to visit and learn more about what pertained to us. I wanted to go to 15 but had to pick 4!!! 

That night was our 80's party. If you know know I LOVE me some 80's. Eek! I was so excited. Here is me and my roomie Breanna from A Pinch of Primary. Super sweet girl!!!

It's so funny to talk with Kindergarten Teachers from other schools/states and how different they are. Like how she doesn't have an assistant. Y'all. I can't even. 

Here I am with Elizabeth from Kickin' It in Kindergarten. I met Elizabeth and Greg at the I Teach K in Nashville a few years ago. I was so excited to see her again. Let me tell you about the adorableness of her little girl. I mean. Seriously? Look at those legwarmers and headband. #idie

And the outfits. The BEST. Look at Greg. I mean. HELLO??? Too funny!

And check out the shoes from Chad at Male Kindergarten Teacher. The suit?? Yup. That was a whole suit!

The next morning we all gathered from breakfast in our FABULOUS t-shirts with our theme! 

I had so so so much fun! It was so amazing and refreshing. It made me want to be a better teacher and blogger. If you have the opportunity to go next year, you should!!! Thank you so much Holly (and friends) for organizing this. I truly appreciate it!

Do you want to win a swag bag? You can! Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to read more about our retreat? Check out below!