Mrs. Haisten's Blog

Oh the thinking you can think…

Butterfly Hats

I just couldn’t NOT post this picture of our class in their butterfly hats…they were just too cute!!

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So I realize that since I’ve been back from maternity leave (which has been almost exactly 2 months), I’ve been seriously lacking on my blog posts and I’m so sorry! My husband’s and mine “free-time” at home is filled with coloring, reading books, playing dress-up, singing, diaper changes, and lots of laughter 🙂 I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I am sorry my blog posts have decreased. We ARE busy at work during the day at school, I just haven’t gotten around to show you pictures of all that hard work your precious children are doing!

So, with that said, here are a few pictures of our Spring/Plants unit. We studied plants for 2 weeks. We learned about:

  • the lifecycle of a flower
  • what plants need to grow
  • the parts of a plant
  • parts of a plant that we eat
  • fruits/vegetables that we eat and what part of the plant they are
  • which fruits/vegetables grow on top of the ground and which ones grow under the ground

On top of that, we wanted the kids to experience the growth process of plants, so we planted grass seeds. The kids got to watch, with amazement, their grass grow over the course of 2 weeks. It was a fun unit and now we begin another fun science unit on Insects!

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Here are a few pictures of some fun Easter/Spring crafts we did 🙂

  1. Life cycle of a Chicken


2. Easter Bunny Writing…isn’t that too cute?!?

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Dr. Seuss

We had a blast celebrating Dr. Seuss this week! Enjoy the pictures below (I’ll be sending home prints soon!)

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Nocturnal Animals/Halloween Fun

I’m SO sorry I haven’t been better about   updating the blog. I noticed my last blog post was a month ago and that was way too long! October is an incredibly busy month at school and I guess I just let the time get away from me. So…here we go!

We ended October with our Nocturnal Animals science unit. It seemed appropriate to study bats and owls right before Halloween 🙂

We read 2 different nonfiction books about both animals. We compared the information we learned, found which information was listed in both books, and discussed the connection between the 2 texts. Our comprehension standard was being able to make connections between texts, ideas, or events. So the students were able to learn lots of information about each nocturnal animal while making connections between the 2 different texts…they did great!


To show their learning, the students created a fun bat/owl craft and wrote 1 fact they learned about each!

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(translation: “Bats eat fish.”)


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(Translation: “Owl nests are called roosts.” “Owls use their wings to fly quietly for food.” )

Don’t you just LOVE kindergarten phonetic spelling!!!! It really shows their knowledge of letters, sounds, and word and sound segmentation. They’re learning so much!

At the end of the week, we created a venn diagram to compare bats and owls. The students were given a partner to work with and 1 statement about the nocturnal animals. The partners had to work together to figure out if their fact was just for owls, just for bats, or applied to both.


For a “just for fun” activity, we read the story “Little Boo.” It’s a cute story that talks about a seed that wanted to be scary, but had to wait until it grew into a pumpkin that got carved into a jack ‘o’ lantern. We discussed the problem and the solution of the story and then the students created their own jack ‘o’ lantern using torn construction paper.



Friday the 30th was a fun-filled day! We started the day with one of our wonderful room moms organizing a fun Halloween craft! The kids got to decorate their own foam pumpkin. They used buttons, google-eyes, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, and yarn to create their own friendly pumpkins!

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We also made “Monster Mash” or “Halloween Trail Mix.” We played a guessing game where the kids try to guess the Halloween name for each snack inside the trail mix…their answers were hilarious!


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And one last fun picture for you…since it was dress-up day (like a book character), the teachers went in on the fun!! Here’s our wonderful Kindergarten crew of teachers!



(left to right: Olivia the Pig, Llama Llama Red Pajama, Fancy Nancy, the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly)


I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!



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Inventory Bags and Apple Tasting

Today we began our inventory bags! This is a great, interactive counting activity for the students. The students were divided into groups of 3 and they were each given a bag filled with objects. Their goal was to use counting strategies we’d been learning in class to count the items and then record their findings on their recording sheet. They had to write the number and draw a picture of all the items in the bag. While this activity is hands-on and incredibly interactive, it’s also a great way to work on one-to-one correspondence counting, number writing, number recognition, and representation of numbers.

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We ended our day with some Apple tasting! The students tasted various forms of apples including apple slices, Apple juice, Apple butter, Apple sauce, and Apple cereal. They had so much fun tasting the items! Thank you for sending in items!

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Apples Apples! Week 1

So we just concluded our first week of Apple learning! We had so much fun incorporating apples into all areas of our day…from reading, daily data, math centers, math journals, counting, and science, our class was immersed in apples. Take a look below to see all the learning that has happened this week…and we still have another week of Apple fun to go!!


We started our mornings learning this cute apple poem! We talked about describing words and circled the words that described apples. On Friday the kids got their own apple poem to put in their poetry binders.

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We read “How Do Apples Grow” by Betsy Maestro and learned about the life cycle of an apple tree. The kids made these cute apples to show their learning and decorate our bulletin board



We tasted three different apples and the kids got to vote for their favorite. We collected our data and analyzed it. We also took our data from our original chart and made it into a bar graph. This is a great way for them to see numbers/data represented in different ways.



During our science time we read “Amazing Apples” by Jeff Bauer. We learned the different parts of an apple and talked about labels and how they’re important in non-fiction books. They made their own apples and labeled them as well!

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We we did some ordering practice in math where they had to put picture of apples in order from biggest to smallest. We glued them on sentence strips and colored them!



One of their favorite activities this week was our “Apple” sorting and counting sheet because instead of sorting actual apples…they sorted green, red, and yellow skittles! They sorted their skittles by color, drew that many apples on their apple trees, and then wrote the corresponding number. When they were done, they got to enjoy their little treats!

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I can’t wait for our second week of Apple learning. I’ll post again at the end of next week with our Apple adventures! (I forgot to get pictures of the kids playing their Apple-themed math centers this week so I’ll make sure to do that next week!)

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Learning Our Way Around School

As an incoming Kindergarten, the school can be very intimidating! Not only is it much bigger than what they may be used to, but everything is so spread out and all the hallways look way too similar. In order to help our Kindergarteners feel more at ease, we wanted to take them on a tour of the school to teach them where all the “big” places were. But in Kindergarten, you don’t just go on a tour, you go on an adventure.

We started our morning by reading “Gingerbread Man Loose in the School” by Laura Murray. It just so happens that our class has a little gingerbread man friend as well. After reading the book, we went into the hallway to eat our snack. When we returned to our classroom, we found our gingerbread man was missing! Well, we just had to go out and find him! We made gingerbread boy/girl hats and started on our journey. We searched the school high and low asking other teachers and faculty members for help on the way. With no luck, we returned to our classroom and we were amazed to find our gingerbread man had wondered back to the classroom and even left us a treat to say he was sorry for running away (a chocolate cake in the shape of a gingerbread man!) The kids LOVED celebrating his return and I hope our adventure made them feel a little more comfortable in their big, new school!

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On Friday, we read a story a story called “David Goes to School” by David Shannon. David Shannon is a favorite author amongst children…well, actually, adults too! This one in particular is a great one to read at the beginning of school. The whole book consists of David learning the rules at school…the hard way. We read the book as a class and then discussed what makes a good student. I recorded the students’ answers on an anchor chart. Then, each student got to create their own David. They each chose their favorite rule and I typed it and placed it at the bottom of their David art piece. Our David anchor chart and their creations now decorate the hallway outside our room!

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Meet the Teacher

Thank you SO much to all the parents who were able to make it to our Meet the Teacher Day! I was so excited to meet you all and I hope you feel a little more at ease with sending your precious child off to school! Just a few reminders:

  • Please make sure you read over ALL the information that was on the right side of the yellow folder. Email me with ANY questions or concerns…I want to help!
  • If you haven’t already brought your child’s school supplies to the school, I encourage you to drop those off at the school either tomorrow (Friday 8/8) or next Monday and Tuesday before school starts (8/10 or 8/11). It will be hard for your child to lug all those supplies on the first day and it will help me tremendously to have their things labeled and organized before they arrive. You can leave the supplies at the front office and they will make sure I get them 🙂
  • I’m asking all parents to send in one 1″ binder for their child. We use these for our “poetry binders.” Throughout the year your child will receive poems that reinforce academic topics that have been learned. All these poems will be kept in this binder for them to read during their independent reading time. At the end of the year, each child gets to take their binder home as a keepsake. ANY kind of 1″ binder will do…I do not care about the brand or the color 🙂

If you were not able to make it to Meet the Teacher today, I will need you to write down their transportation (to go home) ASAP on Wednesday morning. This is of UPMOST importance!

I am so excited about starting this year with a great group of Kindergarteners! Again, contact me with any questions or concerns.

Have a great night!!

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My “New” Classroom

So I don’t have a new classroom exactly, but I did do a lot of rearranging from last year. I was also able to expand on my “color” scheme and I’m really excited about the way it turned out! I hope the following pictures and descriptions make you feel more apart of our classroom!

Our first set of pictures will take you around the classroom full-circle, starting with the view from the front door.

As you come in the front door, you can see our “carpet” area where we will do all our whole group learning. The smart board and the teacher easel are set up in front for easy teaching access!



You can see the back wall has the computer station and in the corner is our listening center which then backs into my “personal” area (i.e. teacher desk and files).



Next to my “teacher space” I have my small group table set up. This is where I will pull students for differentiated small group instruction during reading and math. Behind that table I have 2 white shelves with books I use during my small group time. Also underneath the round table, I have 2 plastic drawer organizers where I keep other materials for reading and math instruction. Above the white board I have resources posted for easy viewing (numbers and shapes).



You can start to see our classroom library in the next picture underneath the 2nd white board. I was able to get brand new baskets last year that coordinated with my color scheme and made new labels of each basket. The back cubby with the green baskets are my leveled books.



Here you can see student tables and our second white board along with resources on the wall above (colors and letters).



Back around to the front door, you can see the writing center.



Now let’s look at each area of the classroom up close!

This is our writing center. Students can choose to come to this center during our reading block. On the bulletin board, I have an alphabet chart, digraph chart, and a miscellaneous resource chart that lists colors, shapes, days of the week, etc. I also list our “I Can” statements for writing. In the blank space at the bottom of the bulletin board, I will add words that go along with our science unit. Students can then write about their science learning.


This is a new addition this year. Usually my writing table gets crowded with their writing materials so I set up a separate desk to hold these. The black pull out drawers will have 3 different writing activities for the students that they can choose from. I’ll change these out during the year as they progress in their writing. This way the students can choose something that interests them. The smaller white pull-out drawers are labeled with writing supplies (pencils, erasers, dry-erase markers, and marker erasers). Crayons and colored pencils are in the small green tubs on top of the black writing table.



Below you’ll see a “student view” of our teaching area (as well as my daughter-2 years old-erasing the board) 🙂 We do most of our learning through the smart board (LOVE my smart board)!! I also got a new teacher easel that I’ll use to create anchor charts and display work. The technology cart next to the smart board also has an ELMO. This allows me to display student work or teacher examples that aren’t on the computer. It’s a great way to show student work as examples for others!



As we turn the corner, we come to the back of the classroom (not pictured is the “closet” area where the kids hang their backpacks and where I have extra cabinets for storage).

Students will get to go to the computers during our reading and math block. We have wonderful educational games that teach to each skill.

On the wall, I have outlined 4 areas to hold anchor charts. I will change out the anchor charts throughout the year. I used this wall for the first time last year to display anchor charts and loved it. This year, I wanted to make it more visible for the students so I put up a large piece of black butcher paper and then outlined it with my bright border. I definitely think it makes the room pop!



Here we have the students’ book boxes. This is where they’ll keep books on their reading levels and they can choose books from here during their Independent Reading time. Right behind this shelf you can see a small blue box with mini “mailboxes.” This is where students put their finished work. I send home all work on Fridays. Each slot is labeled with a number and each student is assigned a number. This way all their work stays organized.



Now in the corner, we have our listening center and our supply shelf. All the blue baskets are labeled with a supply picture. As students run out of supplies during the year, with permission, they can replenish what they need from these baskets.




My “teacher space.” Just my desk and behind the grey and white chevron curtain are cubbies filled with binders, folders, and computer paper 🙂 On top of the grey cubby, I have pull-out drawers to organize my “teacher” supplies as well as work for the week. The first set of black drawers are labeled Monday-Friday. As I make copies for the upcoming week, I place the copies in their respective drawer. Then I can just pull out that day’s materials when needed.



Now onto our white boards. My first section is for our Math Rotations. I will divide students into groups and write their names on the white cards. During math centers, they’ll rotate through the games according to the schedule listed below their group.






We make A LOT of anchor charts throughout the year. So this year, I wanted to set aside space for each subject. Here you’ll see a space for writing and reading. I can use this space for anchor charts or student work.

The farthest right area is where I’ll write the objectives for the week in an “I Can” statement.



Here is my small group table up close. Each student chair has a chair pocket that holds materials all students would need to use (white board, dry-erase marker, pencil, reading binder, 100s chart, math binder, etc). You can see the 2 white shelves behind my table that holds my small group reading books…easy access for me!



This is my center shelf. I bought new baskets this year (dollar store!!) and got 2 different colors so the students can easily differentiate between reading games and math games. Each basket is (and will) be labeled so the students know where to put them. The pink baskets will hold reading games the students can choose from during our reading block and the green baskets will hold our math games for our math rotations.These games are continuously changed to match the skill we’re learning!



This is my leveled book cubby. Each basket is labeled with a reading level. Each week the students take home a “reading briefcase” that contains several resources to practice letter and sound identification, sight words, handwriting, and reading. The students will get to choose a book from their reading level. This way, I know they’re practicing on their level at home and THEY will be excited because the book they read is THEIR choice!



I realized I didn’t take an “up-close” picture of this wall so let me explain what’s there.

The white board is divided into 3 sections. The first is our “Word Wall.” This is where our sight words will be posted as we learn them. The students will be able to reference them here for any and all work. The middle space is reserved for our Science unit (anchor chart, students, work, etc). The last space is “Daily Data.” Each week the students will answer a question and we’ll examine the data throughout the week. Each student has a magnetic strip with their name on it. I write the question on the board along with the answer possibilities, and they place their name accordingly. They also graph the results in their math journals.

Underneath the white board is our classroom library. Each bin contains different “themed” books. Each basket has an inventory sticker with a letter on it. Each book also has a sticker with a letter. This way, as students pull out books to use, they won’t have to remember which basket they got it from. They just use the inventory stickers to keep them organized.



I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of our classroom and I hope you feel a little more apart of the learning that happens inside these 4 walls. Now…let’s bring on the students!

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