Back To School Tips for the Kindergarten Classroom

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Well as much as I’m enjoying my summer, it’s going to be time to go back in less than a month.

This is the time of year I start to get excited! I start finding myself driving to the Target dollar spot, Wal-Mart, and Office Depot almost every other day to get all the deals and spend way too much money!

I am a total Periscope addict now and I consider myself an expert Periscope lurker. I am still too shy to go in front of the camera, but I will someday.

Because of this new addiction, I have gotten so many more tips about hidden gems like the stationery section at TJ Max. I have now added that to my list of many stores to stop at and stock up. I am an office supplies addict!

Anyway in thinking about what to teach that first week back I have decided to really zone in on what personal space is, what independent work is, and what partner work is and looks like.

I have always taught it in the past, but now that I am doing Daily 5 in kinder, it makes it even more important to make sure that the expectations are really there all year. If not, Daily 5 can be very unproductive in the kinder room.

personal space bubble

I am going to talk a lot about personal space bubbles and how the students all have them. I have created an anchor chart that has these pictures.

no personal space bubble

We will talk about how we find our personal space bubble around the room and we don’t invade others personal space bubbles. It was such an issue with my kinders last year!

personal work space

We will talk about working together is ok, but we still need to respect personal space bubbles. I will use these pictures as an example. I will also have the students model with me what to do, and what not to do so they know the difference.

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The final anchor chart to display in the room will look like this.

We will then go on to talk about independent work versus partner/buddy work. A lot of times in my classroom last year the buddy work would get a little bit out of control. I feel I need to get WAY more specific and visual this school year about what buddy work is.

partner work

I created these pictures to go with the buddy work anchor chart. We will talk a lot about how we don’t intermingle with others also doing buddy work. I don’t want it to be mistaken for play time or recess time which I had a problem with last year.

I also want get very specific about independent work at centers and just in general throughout out the day.

independent work

I created this visuals to hopefully get the message across to my adorable five-year olds coming in this year.

what is independent work

The final anchor charts for display will look like this.

I will definitely use the first week of school to zone on this expectation, and we will build these anchor charts together and discuss.


There is a little sorting practice page to do at the end of the week for extra practice.

I am very determined to get these kids ready for their Daily 5 centers by week 8! If you want a copy of any of this here is the link to Ms. Murray’s TPT store.

Check out my friend and next door teacher neighbor Abbie’s  blog for great books to read in the beginning of the school year.

Quiz Quiz Trade

I shouldn’t be working on my summer vacation, but I just can’t stop these ideas from flowing!!!!!!

I just made this game that I love to play with my students. It’s called Quiz Quiz Trade. It is a Kagan strategy that is very engaging for my kindergarten kiddos. This one that I just made is for alphabet recognition. It’s great to use in the beginning of the year, and you can use them for your intervention small groups throughout the entire school year. preview for quiz quiz trade flash cards

You just print, cut, and laminate and they are ready to go. Give each student a card, and as the students partner up, they ask each other the beginning sound of the picture on their card. For example, ” What does mouse begin with?” or ” What does nail begin with?” Once both students have answered they then trade cards and find new partners. Very simple yet very engaging.


I also made zap it  cards and smiley face cards to play with small groups. Basically students draw a card and say the beginning sound. If they get it right then they keep the card. If the student gets a zap it card… OH NO!! YOU HAVE TO PUT YOUR CARDS BACK IN THE PILE! I usually make a funny sound because let’s face it, its Kindergarten and that’s what we do to keep those kiddos entertained and learning (and so they don’t cry). I must admit, making funny sounds and singing keeps me entertained too. That’s why I teach this grade level.

Quiz Quiz Trade Cards

Sweet Sight Words! A sight word program for the kinder classroom

I have created a sight word program that I will be using in the 2015-2016 school year. My district uses the Fry’s common word lists, and the order was designed by the kinder teachers at my current school. I use colored lifesavers as a motivator when a student passes each of the sight word lists. It is one lifesaver, but its like gold every Friday during my sight word assessments! They are so proud of themselves when they meet their goals.

Picture1preview sweet sight words

Every time one of my students pass a sight word list he/she gets a colored life saver. Preferably the color of the list, but that doesn’t always work out. Once the student passes 50 sight words he/she receives a whole pack of lifesavers and an invitation to the ice cream social at the end of the year.

The student then moves on to the next 50 sight words. Once the student reaches 100, he/she will receive another pack of lifesavers, and an invitation to the pizza party at the end of the school year. The students track themselves on the goal chart below.

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I have a large word wall that has the lists in the color and the order I introduce them.

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Each student starts out on the red list and works at their own pace. I track each student, but each student tracks their own data as well.


This is a great motivator and goal tracker for the students! It keeps the families involved, and it differentiates the curriculum for your students.

Click here for some Sweet Sight Words!

Classroom Literacy Center Management

center icons pic

In my kindergarten classroom I do a mix of Daily Five centers and the more traditional centers. I decided to make new center icons this summer to keep my students more organized during centers. I want to give them choices because choice=engagement, so I made a lot of different center signs to use in my rotations this coming school year.


Just print these center signs and cut them out. There are big and small center signs. I use the big ones to place in the actual center, and the small ones will be on a pocket chart with students pictures. I give some choice, but not too much choice. I still am not ready to let it be completely free choice on a daily basis.


After you print and cut out just laminate and they are ready for your pocket chart. You can also put them on magnets or even use tape. I like rotating my small center pictures daily so a pocket chart words best for me.


You can find these center icons here in my TPT store

Hello and Welcome!


I am Ms. Murray. I am a kindergarten teacher. I started a blog called kindergarten hodgepodge and happiness, but I am now moving it to this site: I tried the cutesy name, but it’s just not me. I am pretty direct and to the point personality wise, so my blog should be the same.

Anyway…… I am a kindergarten teacher in Las Vegas, and I enjoy coming up with things that my students can use and sharing them with fellow teachers. So a blog is born to do just that. Enjoy!

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