My students absolutely LOVE to have responsibility. They’re always asking what they can do or if they can help, which is why I love my classroom jobs. Each week, students get a new classroom job where they can be responsible for a certain part of our class. Some jobs have a lot to do and others get little action.
Classroom Jobs: An Overview
Each year, I try to come up with a job for every student to do each week. I like when everyone has a job, even if the job is “substitute” or “on vacation” because it makes it easier to switch and manage the jobs. My jobs are hung on a ribbon that hangs near the front of my classroom. I clip a clothes pin with each student’s name on each of the jobs to keep track of who is responsible for what job for the week. When it’s time to switch jobs, I simply rotate the clips around the job display.
This year, my jobs include:
Hand Sanitizer Monitor
King or Queen of the Jungle (which is our jungle equivalent to Star of the Week)
Items you might want for your classroom job system…
I’ve organized this list into jobs that have a lot of activity (busy jobs) and jobs that are more low key (slow jobs).
Teacher’s Assistant: This person helps out whenever I need some extra help. I have them do things like turn on my SmartBoard, help the paper passer and anything else that might come up where I need to pick a student to do a special job.
Star of the Week: Self explanatory, they are the star all week! Check out my star of the week Jungle resource here.
Line Leader: Front of the line.
Caboose: Back of the line.
Hand Sanitizer: This person gives each student a small squirt of hand sanitizer before snack and lunch.
Librarian: The librarian puts books away. I have two purple bins that students put their books in when they are done with them. Each book has a sticker color that correlates with a color on a bin in the library. The librarian matches the book sticker to the bin sticker and places the book inside the bin.
Lights Monitor: Turns the lights on and off.
Paper Passer: Self-explanatory
Table Wiper: Helps wipe the tables off at the end of the day. No germs in my class!
On Vacation: This person gets to take a break for the week: no job!
Board Eraser: The board eraser gets to erase the board or SmartBoard after a lesson.
Messenger: This person delivers any messages or items to other classrooms or the office. Also, if a student needs help going to the office, they can bring them there.
Lunch Monitor: Checks to see if all lunch boxes are put away after lunch and before we go home.
Substitute (depends on if a lot of students are absent that week): This person does a job if a student is absent.
The other jobs are specific jobs to circle time so they are relatively busy since they have a job to do each morning, but their job is done once circle is over. Read about my circle time routine here.
Check out my bright chevron classroom jobs resource here. Of if you have a jungle theme like me, check out the jungle jobs here!
Has your school adopted the new NGSS science standards? Mine has and this year, we are creating our own curriculum to fit with these new standards. My team has come up with ways we can best teach these standards in a fun and engaging way, without breaking the bank. We’ve combined a few different resources and come up with some of our own ideas to create a unique curriculum to teach our students.
What are the new standards?
Motion and Stability
Weather and Climate
You can check out the all the NGSS standards through this website.
Teaching the Standards
I’ve pulled together a few resources to help in my transition to NGSS standards without spending too much money. The two main resources I’ll be using this year are Better Lesson and an interactive notebook that my team and I found on TpT.
Better Lesson – This website is amazing because it has a TON of free lessons and resources. In searching this website, I found a teacher whose lesson plans I will mainly stick with this year. Her name is Joyce Baumann and she has 10 kindergarten science units all packed with experiments and activities. Check out her page here!
Interactive Notebook – I’ll be using this interactive notebook as an additional component to the experiments and activities I found through Better Lesson. This resource is from The Barefoot Teacher and comes with 6 units that go along with the new standards.
I’m using a mix between these two resources along with some creations I’ve made to make this transition as smooth as possible. I love teaching science and I am thrilled with the change in standards!
Another free resource I will incorporate is Mystery Science. This website also has many interactive activities and experiments.
Check out my plans for my first unit in science! This freebie includes my overall plans, bullet points for each lesson, and interactive notebook pages that coincide with the experiments in Better Lesson.
Do you feel like you’re constantly picking up after your students in order to keep your room tidy? Why don’t you get the students to help?! My kinder students LOVE to have responsibilities. It makes them feel like they’re adults and they love being helpful. I organize my room and supplies so students can independently keep things clean. That way, when I give them responsibilities during clean up time, they put things away to my satisfaction, eliminating the need for me to clean up after them.
My first tip is to spend some time in the beginning of the year showing students where things belong in your room. I set my room up in sections. I have a writing center, listening center, word work area, math area and of course a free play section. Having sections in your room make it easier for students to know what things belong where and where they can go when they need a certain material. Check out my classroom reveal to see exactly what my room looks like!
In the beginning of the year, I give a classroom tour. During my tour, I show students what they can find in each area of the classroom.
Writing Center: paper, markers, extra crayons and colored pencils and our sharp/dull bins
Listening Center: iPads, passwords, headphones
Word Work: word work center materials, extra whiteboard pens/erasers, whiteboards, magnets, cookie sheets
Math: math manipulatives, puzzles, any math centers we’re using
Free Play: toys, the kitchen, blocks, Legos, dress up etc (this center is always the toughest to keep clean)
Within each station there is a system of how students can independently keep things clean and organized without my help.
Writing Center: I have a sharp and dull bucket. Students know when they have dull pencils or colored pencils, they put them in the dull bucket. Then, students can grab a sharp pencil or colored pencil in this area.
Listening Center: Students keep their headphones in a pocket of a shoe organizer. The pocket has their name so they know exactly where their headphones belong.
Word Work, Math and Free Play: Everything in these sections are labeled with a picture of the real classroom item. This helps students know exactly what should go where and what they can expect to find in certain spots.
My second tip goes along with the last bullet point: label, label, label (and with real pictures). It is especially important to label with pictures if you teach kindergarten because they likely can’t read yet.
I also try to put things in bins or boxes to make it easy to stack and fit as much as I can in a small amount of space.
Some things I have in my classroom that you might want to try for your storage organization:
The last tip that has saved me lots of clean up time is to give students classroom jobs that specifically help clean up certain things.
Librarian: The librarian puts books away (pretty obvious). I organize this by color coding my library. Each category of books has a color and the librarian knows where to put each book because the label on the book bin has the same color. Once students are done reading their book, they put the book in one of two purple bins. The librarian puts the books in the purple bins away whenever they have some free time.
Scrap patrol: This person is in charge of making sure all the scraps are picked up off the floor and tables. I make sure to tell this person that they do not have to be the person cleaning but they can give friendly reminders to their classmates and help out whenever they can.
Lunch monitor: We keep our lunch boxes in two blue bins. When it’s time to clean up, the lunch monitor makes sure every student has taken their lunch box. I’ve had too many students forget their lunch box in the blue bin and it stays overnight getting very yucky and stinky.
Check out my bright, chevron themed classroom job set by clicking the picture! Or click here if you’d like a jungle theme!
These tips have helped my sanity in keeping the classroom clean but also not having to clean it all myself. Kindergarten students are very capable if you give them the right tools to be successful.
Having a class travel buddy is a special part of my kindergarten class. Nellie is a small stuffed cow that I had when I was a child. Now, she lives in a red barn and loves to document all her adventures with my students!
Class Travel Buddy
Each week, one student gets to take Nellie home and spend special time with her. Some students sleep with her, introduce her to their other toys, take her on playdates, some have even taken her on vacation! After the week is up, the student writes and draws about the time they had together. When the student returns Nellie, they share what they did with her and answer some questions that the other kiddos might have about their adventure.
Benefits of a Class Travel Buddy
Students absolutely LOVE getting to take a buddy home. They feel so special when it’s their turn and the smile on their face is priceless.
This activity is VERY low maintenance. Once I set up her book and make a schedule of when each child takes Nellie home, I barely even think about her.
Families get involved in an easy way. Parents can help their child write about the fun time they had with Nellie.
You get a glimpse of each child’s family life. You can find out what’s important to them and what they like to do as an individual or as a family.
A travel buddy creates amazing memories for each child. Each student I’ve had loves Nellie so much! I’ve had some students cry when they have to give her back. Others have gone out and purchased their own “Nellie” stuffed cow. This year, one of my students asked about Nellie on the first day of school. I had his brother a couple of years ago and he remembered her and how much fun they had with her. As simple as this activity is, it is such a memorable experience to all (Nellie included)!
Back to School Night is an important night because it’s one of the only times you have all parents (or most) in one place. Although I dread talking in front of an adult crowd, I’m appreciative we have this night so we can give all information out at once and don’t have to repeat the info to each parent. Here’s how I set myself up for Back to School Night success!
Look the Part (both you and the room)
You – Wear something comfortable that makes you feel confident!
I like to dress up more than normal because Back to School Night is an important night where you get to give parents essential information about the upcoming year. It’s also one of the first times you’re meeting parents and dressing up will portray professionalism.
Room – Make sure your classroom is tidy and presentable!
The day of Back to School Night, I have my students help me clean the room by ending our free play a little sooner than normal. I tell students that they’ve magically become vacuum cleaners and their job is to clean every speck from the carpet. Students love this idea (who knows why?) and crawl around on the carpet and sometimes even make a vacuum noise (tell them they’re quiet vacuums).
Once the room is clean, get it ready with any information or work you want to display. I like to put a blank paper out for parents to write or draw something for their kids that I leave for the students to find the next day. This is nice to have out as parents walk in because it gives them something to do while you wait for all the other parents. I also put an information packet and birthday form on each child’s table spot. Parents can take this home for their reference and return the form once completed.
I prepare a Back to School Night powerpoint as a guide to what I want to cover with the parents. I start out by telling parents my background and schooling and then move into curriculum. Next, I discuss each subject and a brief overview of what students will learn in kindergarten. Other topics I include are homework, projects, field trips, star of the week and Nellie. Nellie is a stuffed cow that students will get to take home for a week during our school year.
After I give my spiel, my room parents talk about volunteer opportunities for our school and classroom.
Once this night is over, I take a big breathe of relief. It’s one of the most exhausting, long (12 hour) days but with these tips it’ll be amazing! Good luck!
Check out my Back to School Night resources by clicking the pictures below.
Welcome to my classroom reveal! I am currently going into my 4th year teaching so I’ve had a few years to figure out exactly how I want my classroom. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t and I’ve arranged and rearranged countless times. I’m at the point where I am so happy with how my room is set up and organized and I cannot wait to share it with you!
Welcome to the Jungle
When you walk in my room, I want it to feel welcoming with bright colors and obvious organization. I want my students to feel invited, like their classroom is their second home and structured so they can be successful. I chose a jungle theme because I personally love animals and it’s a very gender neutral theme. Plus, there’s a lot you can do creatively with this theme.
My students work mainly in two spots: their tables and the carpet. At their tables, they have everything they need in their chair pouch. I recommend the chair pouch because students can keep their supplies separate and they look a lot neater than the communal table caddies (personal preference).
Rug Area – Circle Time
Our rug area is where students sit for circle time, whole group lessons or introductions and read alouds. We also use this area to use the SmartBoard and Elmo. I love that my carpet has individual squares because if I notice students spreading out or getting too close to their neighbor, I tell them to “tuck into their square” and everyone can check their bodies.
My library is one of my favorite spots in my classroom! I made it a little bigger this year because as years go on I accumulate books upon books. Everyone wants to donate their old books to the kindergarten class and I can never say no to books! Doesn’t this area look so comfy?! I love the miniature couches and book buddies to read with.
The listening center is where my students take their iPads during Listen to Reading of our literacy centers. Here, students find their headphones, any passwords they might need and the listen to reading response sheet. This year, I’m organizing my students headphones in over the door shoe organizers! I just cut one in half and taped it on the wall – no more tangled mess!
My writing center holds everything students may need during writing time. They have their pencils, colored pencils, crayons and writing folders in their chair pouch but this area holds all the extras. Behind this center I display my writing posters. I got these freebie posters here! As we work on a step in the writing process, I put up the poster.
I am so fortunate to have a full time assistant teacher so when we do guided reading, two groups of students get to meet with a teacher while the rest are doing independent stations. My students meet at either my guided reading table or my assistant teachers. This summer, I DIYed some crate seats for my table! I also put together some guided reading caddies for maximum organization for our guided reading time.
The free play area is the space that I just can’t seem to get right. It is always a mess! This year, I bought new containers that fit better in the bookcase and labeled each lid. No matter what I do, students just don’t clean up the way I want… I guess that’s what I get for teaching kindergarteners! Any kindergarten teachers have a fabulous way to organize free play things?
My room used to be the library in our school so my room is the only room that does not have a full wall of amazing storage. I do have three cabinets but I’ve had to be creative with this storage space as it is pretty small. One thing I’ve changed this year is making use of the space above my cabinets. I’ve used this space in the past, but usually I just shove things above it and it looks like a hot mess. This year, I decided the organize materials by season and cleaning supplies. I love how organized it looks (at least right now)!
This is my little home in the classroom to keep all my teacher things!
Thank you for stopping by my jungle theme classroom! What’s your favorite part about your classroom?
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on or buy something from one of the links, I may receive a small income at no additional cost to you.
Recently, I asked teachers what their favorite school supplies are for the classroom. As you can imagine, many teachers had a hard time mentioning just one! I compiled a list of the top 10 teacher must haves. Does your favorite make the list?
1. Flair Pens
Teachers are ALWAYS talking and obsessing over the magical wonder of flair pens and I completely agree. These pens will actually change your life. They come in many different colors including pastels and tropical colors [major heart eyes!!] I love the way the pens write. It makes correcting (or for me, drawing stars) a much more enjoyable task!
2. Sharpies/Chart Paper Markers
Is one of your guilty pleasures creating beautiful anchor charts? Well, sharpies and chart paper markers make the list of top teacher must haves. I really like the thin tip markers by Crayola. These pens have a pointy tip for making writing and detail easy but if you hold the marker at an angle it goes on thicker. Easy to draw with! And of course what would we do without sharpies!
3. Chart Paper
Again with the guilty pleasure! Chart paper is really an essential but not just any chart paper.. my favorite is the post-it sticky kind because it is SO easy to pick up and move ANYWHERE! Sometimes I’ll teach from one of my anchor charts at the carpet and then peel it off the chart and stick it on my whiteboard so students can use it at their tables. AMAZING! This one comes in plain white, dry erase or primary lines.
4. HP Printer and Instant Ink
I am a newbie here myself but I’ve heard great things about using an HP printer so you can get instant ink. If you’re tired of buying loads and loads of ink like me, you must sign up for Instant Ink. The printer knows when you are running low on ink and ships you more BEFORE you run out! I just bought myself a new printer and signed up and already I know it’s worth it. Click here to get a month of ink free!
5. Laminator and Laminating Sheets
Laminating all the things is not only one of my favorite things but is also so worth the time it takes! I have laminated pretty much everything that I prep and it has lasted three years so far and looks like it will continue to last a long time. I like to laminate decor, games, word work, puzzles.. everything! Especially if students are going to be using it because we all know kindergarteners are not the most gentle.
Post-its made the list because duh, teachers write lists about lists! I love using the larger post its that have lines on them because my lists usually don’t fit all on the standard size. And, these bright colors make every teacher heart happy!
7. Expo markers
I recently got the multicolored large pack of expo markers on super discount on Amazon Prime Day and am obsessed! Now, these are sacred so I never let my students use them.. however the thin tip black expos are what I give students to use on their mini whiteboards. These are good for informal assessments or during word work. Tip: expo markers work on anything laminated. I laminate my word work and students use their markers to complete the work depending on what sight or spelling words we have.
Holy brightness! This pack of Astrobrights paper is aaaamazing! I like to print important flyers on this type of paper because it gets parents attention. How many times do you send home Friday Folders and you never hear back? Well, using bright colors get noticed way more and parents will respond.
9. Lesson Planner
Have you tried an Erin Condren planner? If you have, I’m sure you’re hooked. These teacher planners come with everything you could ever want and they are ADORABLE! I seriously love planning for my kinders and I think most of the enjoyment is because I get to write in my Erin Condren planner. You can even customize!! This is what my planner looks like for this upcoming year!
If you want $10 off your next Erin Condren planner, use my referral code here.
10. Teacher Toolbox
I’m new to teacher toolboxes as of this year but I am SO excited to use it for all the things and stay super organized. I purchased a couple like this off of amazon and made my own labels to fit with my jungle theme. There are also a ton of other label designs on TpT!
Often times, birthdays in the classroom are a day where students get to bring in a treat for the class and wear a fancy outfit (or free dress at my school since my students wear uniforms). I try to make birthdays more than just a day where students eat sugary snacks at recess, bounce off the walls until lunch, and then crash before dismissal.
I like to incorporate a celebration about important events that have happened in student’s lives up until this point and something they look forward to now that they have turned a year older.
Birthday Celebration Form
At back to school night, I send many forms home with parents, one of them being my birthday celebration form. On this form, parents fill out an important event or memory that has happened each year that the child has been alive. They also fill out something that they are looking forward to now that they are a year older. Find that and other components for a birthday celebration here.
Parents fill out this form and send it back to me as soon as possible so that when it’s their child’s birthday, I can use it for our class celebration.
Birthday Celebration Procedure
I set aside about five minutes before recess when we celebrate a student’s birthday.
I call students to the rug and they sit on the outside of the carpet. Then, the student whose birthday it is, gets cards that have each month of the year on them. (Each morning during morning circle we sing a months of the year song like this). We sing that song again during this celebration and as we sing each month, the birthday boy or girl puts the month cards down in a circle in the middle.
Once the song is over, I ask the student to find his or her birth month and to stand by it. Then, as I start reading a special moment or event that happened in their first year of life, they walk around the circle as if a year is passing and stop when they reach their birth month once again. I continue to read each event that has happened in the child’s years of living. Then, as I read something they look forward to, they walk around the circle one last time.
From there, the birthday student collects the month of the year cards as we sing the months of the year song. Once the student is finished picking them up, we sing happy birthday to him or her. Do any of your students like to sing the “cha cha cha, high-ya” version of the birthday song?
I like to finish this celebration with the student choosing quiet friends to go line up for snack. They love having the responsibility and take it very seriously when choosing the students who are sitting the nicest. And, of course everyone is trying to get out to snack ASAP to get their hands on the sugar!
More Than Just Treats
I like this way of celebrating a student’s birthday because it’s a way for students to get to know important events and memories that have happened in each other’s lives. It’s also a way for me to get to know students better.
Many times, as I’m reading what parents have written about their child’s life, other students will make connections out loud. I often read “Student name went to Disneyland for the first time” and I’ll hear.. “I’ve been to Disneyland!” from one of the other students. I love that this celebration brings students together and connects them in a way that they might not connect out on the playground pretending to be zombies or playing tag.
If you want to try this celebration out in your own classroom, you can purchase my birthday set in my TpT store here.
How do you like to celebrate birthdays in your classrooms? Do you have any special celebrations?
I love teaching kindergarten because students are at a magical age where they’re curious about everything, constantly soaking up the world around them and they love you unconditionally. I love that I provide their first experience to what school is about. However, teaching kindergarten is an exhausting career and the first day and even first week tends to be extra exhausting. Over my few years of teaching, I’ve figured out some tips to making the first day of kindergarten run smoothly.
1. Go on a classroom and school tour.
At some point in your day (I do this toward the beginning of the day), take your new bunch of babies on a school AND classroom tour. I’m lucky because I have an assistant teacher so we split students in half and while I’m giving a classroom tour, she gives a school tour. Then, we switch kids so all students get to tour both the school and the classroom. If you do not have an assistant you’ll just have to give both tours. You may even want to split your tours into two days.
What to do during your school tour:
1. Make sure you stop by the bathrooms. I have my assistant show students where the bathroom is and she lets students use the bathroom so they can get familiarized. Go over bathroom rules while you’re there.
2. Stop by the office and introduce your kiddos to the secretary AND principal. This is a nice treat for the secretary and principal as kindergarteners really are the cutest at school! (Shh, don’t tell the other grades.)
3. Show students where they will be eating snack and lunch. Go over snack and lunch rules during this time but also remind students of the rules right before snack and right before lunch. I found a TpT freebie about lunchtime manners that I like to read the first week before lunch.
4. Let students explore where they’ll be playing. My assistant walks students by the school play structure and also where our outside toys are at the back door of our classroom.
What to do during your classroom tour:
1. Show students where their seats are. In my classroom, I have spots for them to sit at our carpet and seats at a table. They already know their rug spots because I give the classroom tour after we’ve done circle time. It’s a good idea to practice transitioning from their rug square to their tables.
2. Point out where your daily schedule is and how you’ll tell them what the schedule is each day. Also tell them what subjects you’ll be covering in kindergarten.
3. Explain any behavior management systems. I like to only briefly discuss my whole class and table point systems because they’ll catch on as you use them. What I focus on during this part of the tour is our clip chart. I have students sit around the clip chart and explain how it works. I point out where their clips are and that each student has their own clip. Then, I give examples and have students practice moving their clips up and down. Important: when you pick a volunteer to ask to move their clip down for an example reason, make sure you preface the scenario with… “this is pretend” or “I know this would never happen..” so the student who is moving their clip down does not feel bad and is not traumatized on their first day of school. And, of course give an example of clip up behavior and have them move their clip back up.
4. Show different sections in your room. I like to show the different center stations and what types of things they might find there. I also show where our free play toys are and show them the options there. Last, I show them our library. I show this last because I have them practice taking a book from the library and find a spot to sit. We read in the library until the second group comes back from their school tour.
2. Start routines right away.
It’s important to get into your routines right away so students begin to learn the schedule and your expectations from the get go. I do circle time as the very first thing in the morning on the first day of school because that’s what we do every single morning of kindergarten. During the first week, I model all the jobs and then as the second week begins, I start having volunteers come up to practice the circle jobs.
I also start my behavior management systems right away and show them my expectations through positive reinforcement of students who are showing behavior that I am looking for. We do an activity about bucket fillers and we practice writing bucket fillers to a new friend in our class. All these routines start day one so students can get used to them and be successful right away.
3. Take a first day of kindergarten picture.
Your students are coming to you as tiny little peanuts and by the time the end of the year rolls around.. they will have blossomed into these humans who have grown and changed so much. I made a “First Day of Kindergarten” frame and a “Last Day of Kindergarten” frame in order to capture this growth. Tip: At the end of the year, I put together a memory book for my students as a keepsake and use these two pictures as the cover. Don’t forget to take a picture of yourself in the frame, this is your first day of kindergarten too!
Create your own frame with these supplies! (Affiliate Link)
4. Plan enough but not too much.
Every year, I forget just how long it takes kindergarteners at the beginning of the year than at the end to do things. Make sure you give yourself extra time for transitions especially. Kindergarteners are a little bit like lost sheep and it will take double the time for everything you ask them to do. If you find that you’ve given yourself too much transition time (highly unlikely) ask a get to know you question. Or you could play a game like Simon Says or go over school and classroom rules.
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat. (And repeat right before.)
I remember my second year teaching, I went over dismissal rules and how we need to give a high five so that I know who is leaving and can watch who they are leaving with. Well, despite tip number 4, I did not give myself enough time before dismissal to repeat dismissal rules. And, as we walked out in our best line that first day of kinders could do, I turned to look as we reached outside and saw all students start running in different directions toward their parents. This gave my teacher heart the biggest scare ever as I tried to see who went with who. It was a huge disaster! Now, I make sure I repeat the rules and procedures right before they happen. I also tell parents to stand at our kindergarten tables so this does not happen again. This is just one instance where I wish I took the extra time to repeat, repeat, repeat. Don’t make the same mistake I did! Kindergarteners need extra repetition to get things stuck in their brains. Make sure you repeat everything: rules, procedures, directions, expectations, etc!
These five tips will help you have a successful first day of kindergarten. What tips would you add to this list?