Monday, July 18, 2011

Kindergarten Conference in Vegas! IT'S ALL GOOD!!!

What a “ROCKIN’” great time at the Kindergarten Conference in Vegas (day & night)!  I love to share what I do in my classroom, and I learned some new ideas that made me dance the night away.  I will share with you one amazing idea from each session that I cannot wait to use in my classroom.  Check out the “Rock Star” teachers websites for more ideas. 

I wish I had pictures to share because I am a visual person, but here I go…   

Shari Sloane - Building Math & Literacy Skills with Calendar Time
Along with her freebies on her website for calendar time, Shari, is selling a Student Calendar Book Packet that she made with Kim Adsit.  Check it out!

Rockin’ Idea: At the end of the month when Shari is taking down the old calendar numbers she will call on students to help her.  For example… raise your hand if you can find an odd number to take down for me, raise your hand if you can find a number between 11-18, raiser your hand if you can find a number that has 2 of the same number, etc.   I can’t wait to do this in my classroom! 

Melissa Leach - Differentiate Literacy Learning with Centers
(sorry I do not know if she has a website)
This is the first that I heard of Melissa and I am sooooo happy I have had the chance to see her present.  We are both Michigan natives! 

Rockin’ Idea: Blow up a word search to fill a sheet of copy paper.  Have the students grab 5 or 6 different colored magnetic letters.  The student will place the letters above the copied word search.  Then he/she will color for example….all the p’s red, all the r’s blue, all the e’s yellow, etc on the sheet.  

Heidi Butkus – Developmentally Appropriate Ways to Get Your Kindergartners Writing
Rockin’ Idea: Have you ever heard of….Guided Drawing? – I used her No David Character Guided Drawing during my summer school class.  Check it out on my website and I believe it can be downloaded at her website, too! 
Melissa Leach - Over the Rainbow with Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, & Letters

Rockin’ Ideas:
Phonemic Awareness can be done with EYES CLOSED or in the dark!
Stir the Soup…In a pot fill about ½ way full with a bunch of magnetic letters.  Have the students use a ladle to scoop out some letters.  You can do so many variations with this activity/center for example…say the letter and/or the sound it makes, is this letter in a friends name, say a word that begins or ends with this letter sound, put the letters in order of the alphabet, etc. 

Kathy Griffin - Starting the Year Off Right in Literacy:  Building Procedures & Routines
Google her name and it will bring you to her website.

Rockin’ Idea: She shared the story, Pete the Cat, by Eric Litwin.
I HAVE TO HAVE THIS BOOK before school starts!  I ALSO HAVE TO HAVE “KINDERGARTEN CRAYONS” Unit on Pete the Cat.  You will find it on her TPT site.  I am sure you will not be sorry!   Fran from Kindergarten Crayons…what can I say but I cannot wait to get to know this women better (as a friend and teacher).  I am going to learn so much from her!!!

Kim Adsit - Differentiate: It’s as Easy as Pie!

Rockin’ Idea:  I like to make classroom-made books for my students to read in the classroom.  Kim makes a book called, Who is in the club?  She will have a page labeled with a task that the students need to learn.  For example…I can tie my shoes club.  When a student completes the task he/she will sign the page in the book.  I love this…it makes the students feel special when they accomplish a new task and I do not have enough room on my walls to display it all.     

Kimberly Jordano - Phonemic Awareness & Phonics Fun

Rockin’ Idea:  Take an empty water bottle and fill it a quarter full with sand/glitter/salt (whatever you wish).  Cut out each of your student’s heads and put inside the bottle.  Make a record sheet and have the students write down their friends name when they see his/her head. 

If you have any questions about the Rockin’ Ideas, please ask me!  I have a question for you…Have you ever used hot glue to put things on your wall!!!  I think I almost fell on the floor when I heard this and I am not sure if I am willing to try it! 


I know this is a lot to take in but….IT’S ALL GOOD!


  1. I have a classroom with brick walls. I use hot glue all the time to put things up. When it is time to bring it down it comes right off. Love it!

  2. Thanks for sharing all of the great ideas!

  3. thanks for sharing all the ideas you were able to learn at the conference with those of us who could not go :)

  4. Girl, hot glue is my best friend! I have cinderblock walls, and I hot glue EVERYTHING! Just use a paint scraper to pop it right off at the end of the year.

    Aren't conferences wonderful? :) I'm jealous you got to go to such a big one- and in VEGAS! Sounds like fun!

    Teaching Happily Ever After

  5. Hello there Amber! Are you my Yooper friend? :) Thanks for posting about me on your BLOG! I do not have a website for teachers, but my training website is
    Hope to see you in Vegas again next year....
    Melissa Leach

  6. Melissa Marie...Yes - I am the PROUD YOOPER who was lucky enough to be able to see you present. I hope that it is okay that I posted one of my favorites from you. You are an amazing presenter and any child would lucky to have you as their kindergarten teacher. You need to get a blog! I wish I could tell more educators about you!!!

  7. I am heading to 5K after 25 years in 5th grade. I was lucky enough to attend the Vegas conference with Amber. I have to say that I was very impressed by the presenters, the exhibits, and the enthusiastic 5K teachers. I was a bit overwhelmed and couldn't take in nearly as much as I would have liked to, but I did get lots of ideas. 5K is a whole "new world" for me, but luckily I have Amber as my mentor. Lucky ME!


Code line 7 9 is for loading jQuery library. Remove this line if you’ve already loaded it somewhere else in your blog. Hint: If your blog has an image slider, carousel or something with fading effect running, chances are it is powered by jQuery. If this widget doesn’t work, the first thing you want to do is comment out or remove this line. To use your own button, replace the URL in line 3 with the direct link URL to the image. Make sure to keep the quotes. To reposition the button, replace