Monday, 12 February 2018

Morning Circle Routine and a Freebie

Can you believe it’s already February?! I started working at a new kindergarten and with all the new things happening I lost track of time. I’m excited to share with you some photos of our morning circle area and a new freebie I have in my store.

I have a mixed group at the moment: only seven children, but with different language skills, ages, and interests. I’m trying to find fun things to do for our morning routines. So far, songs, dances, and movement games seem to maintain all of them engaged.

We have already learned a couple of songs that we sing often during morning circle:
The next step is to make a song bag with all these songs. If you want to learn how to make that, click on the photo.

Apart from these, the kids loved playing the Mystery Box. I finally got a cute box that we can use for the game. Before we used a textile bag from IKEA.

I’m also planning on introducing “Question of the Day”. For those who don’t speak English, I will print the flashcards out, while with the others I will have additional questions.

If you want to get more ideas for morning circle, read these blog posts:
Oh, almost forgot. Here’s the freebie that I promised.

There are other resources in my TPT store that could be useful when planning your morning routine with the kids.

Have a wonderful week!


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Where Is Robin? - USA

I want to tell you about a book from a wonderful series of books by Robin Barone: it’s entitled “Where Is Robin? - USA” and it’s a cute book that could be used for geography or history lessons for children in primary school and even younger!

The main character, Robin, is a curious, enthusiastic little bird who travels through USA and teaches us about what historic landmarks, landforms, and tourist attractions are there. In this book, children will discover what the States have to offer, by following Robin around from Philadelphia to New York. Among others, the book mentions the Declaration of Independence, the White House, the Wright Brothers, President Lincoln, Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.

Robin is a bird of many talents: a musician (the book tells us that she launched a country song in Nashville), a referee for a football game that takes place in Texas, and maybe one day even an actress (as she dreams of acting in a movie).

Little Robin has a thirst for knowledge, especially when it comes to American history. The amount of information about each landmark is just right to get kids curious. Every page presents a different place and explains its importance. After a long trip, she returns home to Momma, but promises to go again and travel the world.

The map at the end of the book is a wonderful tool to use while reading the story: it has brightly coloured illustrations and it traces Robin’s adventures from beginning to end. Unfortunately not all states were mentioned, but probably the reason for this is that the book would have been too long.

The book introduces new vocabulary related to politics, history, and landforms through rhyming text. The wonderful illustrations make that easier for parents or teachers to explain these notions. The book is recommended for 4 – 8 year old readers.

It sure spurs anyone’s interest and leaves you curious about the places Robin will visit next. I’d love it if Robin took a trip to Europe next!

Other books in the series: Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco

Author: Robin Barone
Illustrator: Robyn Mitchell
Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Disclosure: I have received this book for free in order to write the book review, but the views in this blog post are my own.
This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Morning Routine Checklist - Freebie

Are you having trouble getting the kids to leave the house in the morning? Here's a checklist for them to use.

Print it, then laminate it, and then let the kids tick the things they have done with a dry-erase marker. The flashcards and the checklist illustrate the same actions as in the song entitled “This is the Way” from Super Simple Learning. I suggest teaching that to your kids to make things more entertaining!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Monthly Newsletters and Feedback for Parents

Monthly newsletters for the parents of the kids in your group can help create a positive relation with them, while also providing useful information about what their child has learned at kindergarten and how he/she has improved.

In addition, finding something special to write about each child in the group every month can help you appreciate their progress better. I use these ideas to help me write something more particular about what the child enjoyed doing or practiced. For example, “S. enjoys sharing her musical talent with the class. This month she modified the lyrics to a well-known song in a very creative way.”

The parents might also start appreciating a growth mindset and a positive attitude towards learning more. Sometimes they are too focused on their children learning letters, shapes, and rote skills, instead of what is really important.

Background by Harper Finch, font from Graphics from the Pond

The structure of my newsletter usually consists of information about the goals and activities we did that month (the most important ones), then a short description about how the month went, what trips we took, and what the kids practiced. I end by saying something particular about every child, so I send the newsletter via email to each parent separately, for privacy reasons.

I have created this list to make it easier when writing the newsletters and I thought of sharing it with you. These could also be useful when having discussions with the parents on their kids’ evolution.

General positive things about the child/Strengths

· has had great progress in ________
· has done a wonderful job with ______
· continues to improve _______
· enjoys learning and playing with others
· adapts easily to new situations
· cooperates with colleagues and teachers
· remains focused on the activity at hand
· is eager to grasp new concepts and ideas
· is kind and helpful
· is trustworthy
· is a self-motivated student
· is a responsible and considerate classmate
· takes pride in her work
· is a conscientious, hard-working student
· works independently and rarely asks for help
· often impresses the teacher with the quality of their work
· is able to stay on task with little supervision
· is often willing to help a classmate
· values what others have to say
· takes the thoughts and feeling of others into account
· expresses ideas clearly
· is an active listener and always takes part in group discussions
· follows directions well
· has a developed sense of humor
· makes friends easily and enjoys spending time with friends.
· has varied interests and is curious in learning activities
· is an enthusiastic learner
· loves sharing stories and information about likes, dislikes, and experiences
· provides knowledgeable facts about topics of particular interest
· has an impressive understanding about numbers/songs/science
· frequently asks questions and seeks additional information about topics we discuss
· enjoys singing and entertaining the other
· is talented at drawing/tracing/…
· enjoys listening to stories and seeks additional information when she/he doesn’t understand something
· enjoys sharing her/his musical talent with the class
· has a growth mindset
· tackles new challenges with a positive attitude
· doesn’t get discouraged easily
· puts effort into his work and tries to achieve the best results
· has a joyful attitude and can cheer others up
· adapts easily to new situations
· shows initiative and looks for new ways to get involved
· knows basic math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)
· has a joyful attitude and can cheer others up
· adapts easily to new situations
· follows classroom rules
· transitions easily between classroom activities without distraction
· shows good manners in the classroom
· has good fine-motor skills and can trace and write well
· plays board games and team games fairly, even though sometimes that means losing
· has a well-developed vocabulary and makes good use of new words he/she learns
· has a vibrant imagination and excels in creating stories
· listens to the ideas of others without interrupting
· knows basic math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)
· uses various strategies to solve various problems
· identifies mathematical patterns


· consistently does his/her best. She/he has improves a lot in this respect.
· applies what she/he has learnt in new situations. He/she uses higher level thinking strategies.
· shows more perseverance on challenging assignments than at the beginning of the school year
· _______’s attitude is improving and she/he is much more open to sing and participate in large group discussions
· is learning how to be a better listener
· has matured nicely this year, especially socially
· is learning to be cooperative when working in small groups
· is developing more positive ways to resolve conflicts
· Any of the other skills and abilities rephrased as improvements

Suggestions and things to work on/Goals

· sometimes talks at inappropriate times. We are trying to avoid this by …
· has some trouble adapting to new situations. We could work on a morning routine to make it easier for him/her.
· sometimes finds it difficult to follow classroom rules. We have been discussing them and the reasons behind them. It might help to discuss them at home as well.
· has good fine-motor skills and can trace and write well
· rarely asks for clarification, even when she/he seems not to have understood the instructions. She/He still needs positive reinforcement.
· needs guidance cooperating and interacting with peers. What we have been reinforcing at school is …
· is often distracted when she/he should listen attentively to the responses of others. What would help is …
· lacks self-confidence in her/his own work. She/he needs …
· needs constant external motivation. We should work together in helping her/him become self-motivated
· an area for improvement is …
· needs to be encouraged to work more carefully and meticulously
· although there has been great improvement in _____, he/she still has difficulty with...

Monday, 4 December 2017


Winter is here: it's cold, dark, and wet outside. We're still waiting for snow here in Helsinki, can you believe that?! The kids keep complaining about going outside, so we had to find other activities to do indoors in the morning. We still go to the park every afternoon.

We set up a hot cocoa stand. It's great for kids who are learning English, because they get to practice asking for what they want politely. They get to use money, work on counting and subtraction, and review food vocabulary.

You just need a small table and a chair. Print the posters and use them when you take the kids' order. They need to ask for what they want: marshmallows, vanilla sauce, chocolate chips, etc. We also used a cash register, plastic coins, some empty containers, paper cups, spoons, and packing peanuts.

Click on the image to download this flash freebie. But hurry up! It's only going to be free for a week!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Giveaway time!

I’ve created this math card game that’s very easy to use: the kids can work independently or in small groups and match all the flashcards that represent the same number. It will help those who don’t recognize numbers yet, or those who need to work on counting. I’ve added flashcards related to all four seasons, so you can change the centre according to the month you’re using it.

To enter a chance to win this game, leave a comment here or on the Grumpy Dumpling FB page saying why you would like to have it. Three winners will be announced next Sunday, November 26.