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20 Basics a Kindergarten Classroom
First, and foremost, don’t stress yourself out. I promise even if your classroom isn’t perfect on the first day of school, the kids can still have fun learning with these basics of a kindergarten classroom.
Setting Up a Kindergarten Classroom
When teaching, these were the items that remained in my kindergarten classroom from year to year. Although I would change out the theme and layout, the overall concepts of the items remained the same. Here are the teacher basics to help you set up your kindergarten classroom.
To help save you time and money, there is an offer for a Kindergarten Classroom Bundle at the end of this blog post. Enjoy!
Kindergarten Classroom Setup
20. Calendar Time
Calendar time, usually held during morning meetings, is the foundation for the entire day. This time gives the kids an understanding of time – constantly going over the date, day of the week, month of the year, yesterday/today/tomorrow.
Use this time to integrate your daily schedule, as well. When the kids have a clear visual of the daily schedule, they are not surprised at transitional time, which will lead to less disruptions and melt downs. My friend, Allie, from Allie the Gypsy Teacher, is amazing at building classroom communities. You can read her post, here.
There are tons of cute calendar displays for you to choose from, or you can create your own. This superhero calendar set was one of my students favorites!
Get the Superhero Decor, here.
19. Counting the Days of School
Also during morning meetings, we count the days of school. Celebrating the 100th day of school is a BIG deal in kindergarten, and you have to be ready for it!
There are several ways you can count the days of school with the kiddos. For example, use straws, plastic links, a number line, pom poms in containers, or keep with simple with stickers. Kids LOVE stickers!
After years of using the traditional counting straws to count the days of school, I decided to add a tens-frame chart using small stickers. If found this very helpful for my visual learners. Each tens-frame will have a different set of stickers. If you don’t want to worry about keeping stickers nearby, you can laminate this chart, and mark each day with a dry-erase or vis-a-viv marker.
Get your Counting the Days of School Tens-Frame chart, HERE.
18. Weather Charts and Weather Graphs
As you’re talking to the kiddos about the calendar, this is the perfect time to integrate kindergarten science standards about weather. The kiddos should have opportunities to observe the weather from a classroom window, and describe to their classmates what they see. For example: “The weather is cold and snowy.”
I loved calling upon one the students to be the meteorologist for the day! This student would observe, report, and record their findings on the weather chart.
17. Counting Jar
I was introduced to the counting jar activity during a PD for Common Core math practices. To get started, place a small collection of objects in a clear container. Throughout the week, each student will visit the counting jar. They will count how many are in the jar, then record their answer.
I laminated name cards for each student (they are post-it-notes), and put a velcro dot on the back of each card. The name cards are where they will write record by writing a number, or drawing a set of objects to represent how many they counted. The same set of objects would remain in the jar throughout the week.
On Fridays, either during morning meeting or math talk time, we would bring the jar to the carpet area and count aloud how many objects were in the jar. The kids would them compare their answer they recorded on the laminated post-it notes. A classroom helper would be responsible for erasing the answers, and replacing the cards into the velcro dots.
On Mondays, before school started, I would refill the jar with a different set of counting objects such as:
16. Daily Number Talks
This is it, friends…this is one of my favorite Kindergarten must-haves!
Daily number talks will build mental math, computation, and student discourse. With these Daily Math Talk Cards, you will present open-ended questions, tasks, problems, and questions that the kids will LOVE!
You can watch my friend, Beth, use my daily math talk cards, with her kindergarten kiddos below. The best thing about open-ended questions is they lead to varied responses from the kids. The goal is to have the kids talk about their math thoughts, and not limit them to one correct answer.
If you want to get started with math talks, you can snag these open ended Daily Math Talk cards, HERE.
15. 100’s chart:
Everyday, you will be counting aloud with the kiddos. Rote counting is an important kindergarten math standard, and can be easily implemented in your daily routine.
Get your printable 100’s charts here.
Along with recording their rote counting skills, I did daily activities using the 100’s pocket chart. I definitely recommend the pocket chart version. This way, the kids can manipulate the numbers, play number games, find number patterns, etc. In my kindergarten classroom, I had 2 100’s pocket charts. One was kept on my front math wall, and the other was used for the counting jar activity.
14. Question of the Day:
This, along with Build a Poems and Math Talks, is my FAVORITE must-have for a kindergarten classroom.
The question of the day activity builds expressive and receptive language skills, serves as kindergarten journal writing prompts, and can be easily integrated into a math lesson.
Get Question of the Day, here.
Every morning, the kids would come into the classroom, hang up their coats and bookbags, then stop at the Question of the Day area. My classroom helper (usually the kiddo who completed morning work in .2 seconds and constantly disrupted others) was kept busy standing at the chart, reading the question to each student. The kiddos then put their name card in the spot to answer the yes and no questions for kindergarten.
13. I Can Statements
There are many learning expectations in kindergarten. Be sure the standards are kid friendly, and the parents clearly understand what is expected of them.
12. Alphabet Letter Posters:
When setting up a kindergarten classroom, you will want both alphabet and number posters. I like to change my theme year to year, but these Superhero alphabet posters are always a hit! If printed in full size, each letter poster is 8.5 x 11″. However, I also like to print them 2 to a page to cut the sizing down in half.
Get your Superhero Alphabet and Number Posters, HERE.
Hope V. said: “Super cute design. Love it for my superhero theme this year.”
Eric S. said: “Excellent Resource!”
11. Alphabet and Number Flashcards:
Flashcards are not the same as the alphabet cards show above. The cards shown above serve as posters; whereas, alphabet and number flashcards are meant for hands-on activities.
There are endless opportunities to use alphabet cards in a kindergarten classroom.
- letter identification
- letter and sound assessments
- writing centers
- building sight words
- making words
- name building activities
- matching lowercase to uppercase
- filling in a 100’s chart
- sequential order
- missing number
- beginning sounds activities
Number flashcards are great for number identification, number assessments, counting sets and matching numbers, ordering or sequencing numbers, missing number games on a pocket chart, a number line, 100’s chart, in a math center, or to put on a small binder ring and keep on the board for parent volunteers to review with the kids.
10. Sensory Bins
When setting up your kindergarten classroom, be sure to designate an area for sensory bins!
My friend, Amanda, from Sparkling in Primary, has created the Ultimate Sensory Box to save you time and money! The Ultimate Sensory Box is the complete sensory bin toolkit that helps preschool, kindergarten teachers teach state standards while remaining developmentally appropriate and adding more opportunities to learn through play. Check out these Sensory subscription boxes, HERE.
9. CVC Word Family Resources
CVC word families, also known as phonograms, are groups of words that share the same rime, but have different onsets.
As a kindergarten teacher, I focused heavily on cvc words, phoneme segmentation, and word families during second half of the school year. I created CVC word family printable resources, and CVC word games, as a supplemental to our weekly word family instruction and assessments.
Get your FREE CVC worksheets and activities, HERE.
8. Color Words:
I found a paint sample color display on pinterest, and had to try it out! I’ve had these color word crayons forever, and now love them all over again. I used magnetic tape so I can easily move them on my magnetic dry-erase boards.
Magnetic tape is a necessity for all teachers. It makes life so much easier when it comes time to move your classroom décor around. Combine color posters, word words, and color games for kids to build exposure to these basic learning skills in a kindergarten classroom.
Color words are a basic of a kindergarten classroom
7. Anchor Charts
As much as you would love to think the kids will have their eyes on you while teaching…they won’t. They are 5 years old, and their little minds and eyes wonder all over the place.
As they drift off, it’s important to have visuals around the room to help them connect the learning. This is why I love having anchor charts, of all sizes, hung around the room.
I created these story element posters as a visual support for early reading skills.
The posters include problem and solution, author and illustrator, characters and setting, and fiction and non-fiction.
|Get your kindergarten classroom anchor charts, HERE|
6. Number Posters: 0-20:
You will want to display number cards to 20, as well as a 100’s pocket chart or number line. Every couple of years, I switch up my number poster display to go along with my classroom theme.
I have created math bulletin board number cards that display the numeral, number word, and a tens-frame to represent the set of objects.
These Superhero Number Posters are a class favorite! I love them because I can hang the full 8.5×11 posters all across the top of my white board, or I can print them half size to put on a smaller math bulletin board.
5. Dry-Erase Boards and Magic Erasers:
These “magic erasers” for dry-erase boards are micro-fiber facial pads. The different colors help with classroom transitions.
For example, I would say ” if you have a purple magic eraser, meet me at the carpet for a mini-lesson.” Or, when cleaning up, I would call on one color at a time to return the supplies.
4. Kindergarten Mailboxes:
Definitely be thinking about student bins or mailboxes for your kindergarten classroom. You’ll need an area where each student has a place to keep their work and/or papers that will need to be sent home.
I used these bins to keep activities for students to work on when they complete their seatwork, center work, etc. This was my favorite way to differentiate student work. Thankfully, our district provided these amazing storage carts to each kindergarten classroom. However, there are many other storage solutions for individualized work. For example, magazine boxes, tote bins, or a couple sets of the colorful storage drawers.
3. Book Bins:
Use in a class library, as student book boxes, or in centers as a place to collect work. My students would keep their poetry notebook binder, and ziploc bag of leveled readers in their book bins.
2. Family Photo Display:
At the start of the year, I send home a parent letter requesting a family photo. Photos trickle in over the following week, and I quickly have an adorable family photo display for the classroom.
The kids love talking about their family, and explaining who everyone is in the photo. In the years past, I’ve also sent home a letter requesting a FRAMED family photo. I would then display the collection of framed photos on top of a bookshelf.
1. Poetry Notebooks
I saved the best for last! Nursery Rhymes and poems for kids lay the foundation to early language and reading skills.
Children who are frequently read and sang to early on, are much more likely to develop strong reading skills. As I mentioned above, Build a Poems and Poetry notebooks are my favorite kindergarten activities – along with daily math talks and question of the day.
As technology began to be a prominent component of the kids’ lifestyles, I started noticing the kids have less of an interest in learning to read. They simply wanted to watch videos on tablets, and have everything read to them.
To solve this problem, I began using using nursery rhymes and poetry to get kids excited to read! It was like magic!
My excitement and passion for poetry clearly effected the kids’ perspective on reading. Watch below as the girls demonstrate how to use poetry to build reading skills!
Get a FREE Guide to using poetry in the classroom, HERE.
Kindergarten Classroom Bundle
Here’s a review of the 20 Basics of a Kindergarten Classroom
- Counting the days of school
- Counting Jar
- Number Talks
- 100’s Chart
- Question of the Day
- I Can statements
- Alphabet posters
- Alphabet and number flashcards
- Sensory bins
- CVC word family resources
- Color words
- Anchor charts
- Number posters
- Dry-erase boards
- Student bins or mailboxes
- Book bins
- Family photo display
- Poem of the Day
Before you go, here are a few blog posts you may enjoy: