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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
Blog Design by:
Graphics by: MareeTrueLove.
Widget by:Gabby Barba

Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year
Kindness Matters

Kindness Matters

Kindness can be characterized by a concern towards others and a pleasant disposition.  It seems simple and yet we are witnesses in a broken world full of self absorbed, hurtful  people in the midst of the "rest" of us. It is up to US to make a difference in the LIVES of our CHILDREN!

What then, my friends, can we do to make a difference?  Look around and listen... I mean really listen to conversations, social media posts and yes, even to our youngest students as they play.  Then ask yourself, "What can I do to promote kindness in my classroom and in my school?"

First and foremost, we NEED to make connections with our students and we need to provide opportunities for them to make connections with each other. From the minute they walk into the door this needs to happen.

Greetings are a great way to connect with your students.  It can be a simple "Good Morning", a high five or a fun handshake.  My students LOVE that they have a choice how they want to be greeted!  If I get busy in the morning, my students will come and greet me!  It is something they look forward to and NEED.  They know I am there for them.

I make connections when I put their blanket on each one of them at nap time. Yes, they could put it up themselves, but it lets them know I care.

I encourage connections with my students during story time, centers, recess and any other time the opportunity arises.  We sing greeting songs that use their names, incorporate "Turn and Talk" for the students to engage with a partner, and plan class games during recess all while building relationships.

Children role play all the time.  This is a great way to have students take a active role in providing examples and non-examples.  We use this strategy a LOT at the beginning of the year when introducing class and school rules.   It is a powerful strategy to use to help children work through problem solving strategies throughout the year.

In pre-k, I love to hang out in the dramatic play center with them as role playing is an everyday occurrence.  This provides the opportunity to role play WITH them.  Its a win-win!

Children NEED problem solving strategies and sometimes just KIND words that do not always come natural to them.  Perhaps someone pushes in line.  Instead of yelling to the teacher, "HE PUSHED ME" in their loudest voice, we MODEL ways to problem solve.  "I feel _____ when you ____." and then offer a solution.  " If you _____, then I ______."   For example, I feel SAD, when you PUSH ME.  If you BACK UP, then I will have my space." We use this frame for a visual reminder to help us identify the problem and to offer a solution.

We also model manners throughout the day.  It is more than please and thank you.  It is also learning how to compliment our classmates, even when they may not be our best friend.  We need to model these conversations so they will become hopefully become part of our students conversations.

There are amazing children's books that provide storylines about showing kindness, having good manners, emotions and about making a difference. I am including some of my favorite books below and have attached Amazon links for you as sometimes it is difficult to find the book you are looking for.  (These are affiliate links.)

The Feeling Book by Todd Parr is hands down one of our favorites.  
His colorful illustrations and simple text is perfect for my pre-kindergarteners.

So many children come do not know how to express that they feel.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that often comes out in tantrums with little ones.  
They can certainly relate to Sophie in When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry
and it can lead to great discussions in class.

Our children want to have friends and get along.  This book, Talk and Work it Out  is amazing as it showcases situations our students can relate to.There is a whole series of these books called, Learning to Get Along.

There are so many great books to choose from on this topic.  Be sure to check out your local library and book store too!

Children notice everything! Let's work hard at being the role model they deserve.  That includes leaving our personal lives at home, being PRESENT in the classroom ALL DAY and making an effort to show KINDNESS to students, teachers and staff at the school. 

After nap one day, one of my students said, "Here comes the trash man." as the custodian was unlocking the door to come into our room at the end of the day. After he left, we talked about how his job title is "custodian" and he is so important at the school.  He keeps our classroom nice and clean and without him, we would be sitting in a room full of trash unable to learn or play.  It hit home for them.  So next week, I have a little gift for our custodian and I am encouraging my kids to draw a picture or finish the sentence, I am thankful for you because _______"  to show him how thankful we are for him.
In the spirit of spreading kindness, I am sharing these KINDNESS MATTERS printables as my gift to you! Just head on over to my TpT store and you can grab these for FREE!

You can also pin this post so you for easy reference!

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Mrs. Wathen
Hands On Sight Word Practice For Beginning Readers

Hands On Sight Word Practice For Beginning Readers

Sight Words can be a hot topic for  pre-kindergarten teachers.  In my pre-k experience, I have found that some children are really ready for sight words and for others, it will be exposure.

That being said, I teach pre-kindergarten in a public school and we are required to teach 15 predetermined sight words.  So, what's a good teacher to do? I do what I always do...I introduce sight words in several ways and always try to keep it fun and engaging.

The sight words are imbedded in our morning message each day.  My little detectives LOVE finding their sight words there.Then for good measure (insert wink!), we use a little gross motor and chant our sight words!

Disclaimer:  Most of our children are identifying all their letters and sounds.  We have been working with blending and segmenting words.  

Monthly Poems with Rebus Pictures are integrated into our story time. We look for sight words in our large poems during that time andthen again in our poetry notebooks on Fridays.

The students' poetry notebooks provide review and are a terrific home connection that gives the children a time to share what they have learned.

Later in the morning, we work on reading our sight words through play based activities. Children love novelty so we try and keep our games the same while changing out seasonal or thematic pieces.

Sight word mats with play-dough or seasonal mini erasers from Target or Amazon are always a hit!

Salt trays provide tactile practice.  We keep it fresh by changing out the salt or rice as well as the word cards.

Balloons provide INSTANT engagement for sight words.  Note: Be sure to use a permanent marker with close supervision!


Sight word mats are color coded and include three words per page.  Letter cards and bottle cap letter included and are color coded to match each page.  Bottle cap letters are a great way to recycle water bottle caps as you provide a tactile letter manipulative for little hands.


Seasonal sight word cards are perfect for write the room and include matching picture icons on the recording sheets.  These cards can also be used for letter matching with other letter manipulatives.

Cookie letters are fun and provide additional interest in our winter themed cards.

Magnetic letters are great for alphabet practice, name building and sight word review.

A set or two of my Super Reader in Pre-K flash cards are added to our library bins.  These include our 15 sight words and 11 color words.  You can download a set of these for FREE in my TpT store!
I cut them apart and add a metal ring to them for easy organization.  My pre-kinders LOVE reading these words and have pride in becoming a reader.

These include our 15 sight words and 11 color words.  You can download a set of these for FREE in my TpT store!

Check out these other sight word resources for Pre-K at The Resourceful Apple.


You can also pin this post for future reference or follow me on Pinterest HERE!

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Mrs. Wathen
Small Group Math Activities in Pre-K

Small Group Math Activities in Pre-K

                                                If you are new to The Resourceful Apple...
Let me introduce myself!

I am a pre-k teacher in a Florida public school.  We have a FREE, voluntary program open to four and five year olds. I have taught both full and half day programs depending on the funding.  Being a public pre-k, we are given a scope and sequence to follow. This means the order of standards are preset in all academic areas.

Small group is the perfect time to work on standards. We have five rotations that include math, literacy, technology, exploration and listening and library. Each small group rotation lasts from 8-10 minutes.My para and I rotate teaching math and literacy each day.This post contains affiliate links to support this blog.

Bubble gum tens frames and bottle cap counters from Pre-K Math Unit 1:  Counting to 10 are a must have as they can be used year round for a variety of activities. 

Apple counting with red pom poms add novelty to the concept of counting from Pre-K Math Unit 1:  Counting to 10.  Bottle cap apple templates are also included.  Numeral cards can ne added for differentiation for those students who have mastered counting to ten.

One to one correspondence can be introduced using recycled marker caps and Colored Pom Poms. I introduce this activity during small group and then move it over to our sensory table during centers.
Fine motor muscles along with hang/eye coordination also benefit from this activity.

The Dollar Tree always has fun seasonal ice cube trays and mini erasers.  Novelty is key and this concept can be changed during any time of the year with new seasonal materials so your students will be excited and think it is a new activity!

Identifying numerals is often goes along with counting during small group time.  Numeral cards (taped on cups) and beans are easy to set up and add fine motor practice as well.

Lakeshore Peg Number Boards are great for little fingers as children identify the number and then count that many pegs as they put them in the holes.  It is self checking and for those who are learning to identify numerals, they can count the peg holes first in order to identify the numeral!  Early Literacy and Math Skillsprovide tens frames up to 20 and again contain the templates for farm animal bottle caps.  These are a good resource for when you start comparing numbers with greater and less than.  In addition, the tens frames come blank as shown and a second set comes with matching animals in the tens frame to work on one to one correspondence.  

Tangrams and Tangram Mats are an ideal activity as children explores shapes. Vocabulary such as turn and flip can also be introduced in context while children play.  

Kinetic Sand and Shape Cookie Cutters are a favorite and can be changed out with numbers, shapes and seasonal cookie cutters.  It also provides a sensory activity with very little mess!

Fall Table Scatter and Light Table  along with a clear transparency provided a new activity for the light table after we worked on patterning during the week and after the children were allowed to play independently with the table scatter on the light table.  We introduced the concept of patter unit (pre-k standard) during our math small group and then left it at the light table during centers.

Candy Corn and Pumpkins are not only a manipulative, but a delicious treat and incentive to follow along during small group math!  This can be done throughout the year with candy, goldfish crackers, or even fruit during our unit on nutrition!

Seriation is a new standard in pre-k and involved ordering objects by size.  Snap Cubes were given I  a bowl and students were asked to snap together like colors and then put the towers in order from smallest to largest. This took modeling for some and others saw the pattern right away!  To foster independence, child received a bowl where the towers were different from their other friends.  For example, one student had two yellow cubes and the other had two red cubes.  

We also sorted our Frog Street Press Frog Counters by small, medium and large frogs.  This activity also lent itself to sorting bear counters on another day that week.  

We introduced the balance during small group math so the students could hypothesize and problem solve which pumpkin or gourd was the heaviest and which was the lightest.  One they understood how it worked, this was moved to the science center for exploration during the week.

We then added teddy bear counters so the students could compare the size and weight of the bears.  
Yes, sometimes they just dumped them in, but that was a teachable moment and we soon realized
that having a teacher sit with them to follow up to guide the conversations was key.

Larger graphs where students use actual objects are great to make in small group and then discuss during circle time.  We leave them up for a few weeks and refer to them as the situation arises.  You can grab FREE Graph Titles for bulletin boards and read more about class graphs  HERE.

After we have worked on several class graphs, children are given the opportunity to make an individual graph.  Using concrete objects is key as most four year old children are not able to  think abstractly.

I use Lakeshore Magnetic Numbers and Counters  as I provide each child with a cookie sheet, addition problem and a bowl of magnetic counters to work out an addition problem.  This activity comes after a great deal of modeling and guided practice.  

For those students who are ready, dry erase boards, Expo markers and seasonal erasers or manipulatives and used during small group math.  We work with a variety of erasers and create word problems to help tell the story that goes along with the number sentence.  

10 Little Rubber Ducks Books is our go to book when introducing ordinal numbers.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is read to introduce the concept of sorting by size,  We provide an opportunity for children to act out the story with props and then compare the bowls, chairs and beds.  A sorting  activity in Pre-K Math Unit 2: Sorting unit is a great way for me to assess the children.

Reading and comparing fairy tales was part of our scope and sequence.  You can compare any books, have the students illustrate their favorite store and then graph the results.

You can read more about how I run  small group time HERE

Make sure to pin this post for easy reference for planning small group math activities!

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Mrs. Wathen

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