Visit to Sue Butter’s Kindergarten Class Free K Math Printable
Free K math printable — at the bottom of this post — is the result of the lessons I watched Sue teach during this visit. I recently had the pleasure of visiting a most wonderful kindergarten class and school: Great Expectations Charter School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. The school has 10 students in a grade level, four multi-age classes, and one kindergarten. The school is committed to quality education and class sizes will not be increased. The school is very comfortable, and plants were growing everywhere that the children started using seeds.
Sue Butter’s kindergarten class, the Bear Cubs, was an inspiration. One of the first things I noticed is Sue doesn’t have class rules, but “Cares” her class helps develop. She told me the entire school spends the first 6 weeks talking about and developing The Hopes and Dreams and Cares for each other (classroom rules). First, they discuss what the hopes and dreams are for the school year, and what they want to learn about. The children will say anything from learning how to read, to learning how to use the monkey bars. This then moves into the process of developing the classroom rules (how to care for each other); because rules are needed in order to achieve hopes and dreams. The children brainstorm a whole list of rules: don’t run, don’t push, and so on. Led by the teacher, all that is then reworded into positive things “to do.” It’s a wonderful process and gives the children ownership in their classroom from the get-go. This is part of Responsive Classroom. Sue says, “I love it! It feels like a lot of work upfront but pays off!”
Cares stands for cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. When Sue asked her class which cares they were working on today, they knew: self-control. After all, it was the day before spring break and they were excited about upcoming plans. However, my presence didn’t disturb the children whatsoever, even when I was snapping pictures. Impressive behavior!
I noticed the next sign in the lunchroom-whole school meeting area. This is a wonderful voice level poster. Lunches served at the school have a healthy focus.
Some of the displays in Sue’s classroom show expectations the children decided upon and carry out. This sign says: be respectful of things, be respectful with people, safety first, always do your best, and the Golden Rule. Each child signed this pledge.
Sue uses Morning Meetings (also from Responsive Classroom) for classroom community building. Sometimes the entire school has morning meeting, also! Responsive Classroom helps increase academic achievement, decrease problem behaviors, improve social skills, and leads to more high-quality instruction. Sue loves using Responsive Classroom with the entire staff at the school, including the office.
The “I Like Me Because” display is part of helping students feel valued and important in the classroom. It is basic to a functioning class… and society.
Sue has an interactive science area. She drew the science poster herself, as she is quite an artist. The day began with one gerbil in a sphere rolling around the room and another in a safe space while the cage was being cleaned. The children were eager to tell me all about their pets. I wish I could have stayed for the afternoon science experiments with PEEPS! Sounds like fun!
Sue has a para named Andi who is a musher. The schools I taught in didn’t have any mushers, much less one who would invite the class to her house to meet the dogs as Andi did. She has 48 dogs in all (counting the house dogs) and hopes for more puppies this spring. Amazing!
One child in the class invited everyone to her family’s dairy farm for a field trip. After the trip, Sue made a poster about the 5 senses, and what the children experienced that day. She added photos of children on the field trip. Grand Marais is a small town with big learning opportunities.
Other recent learning experiences included life cycles, such as the butterfly.
This class loves work on glyphs, such as this recent leprechaun project. Didn’t these turn out well? I think this is excellent work.
Sue has many original teaching ideas and the photo showing the children’s human body projects shows just one of them. Sue is able to write her own curriculum, and ahead are a few more examples. I’m sure this was a huge project!
During math centers, Sue had drawn a simple scene for the children to work on when they finish their roll-a-bunny activity. This was an excellent extension. She said she did that as the children can become bored with roll-a-bunny. Wow! Usually teachers don’t think too much about boredom on the part of children. Wouldn’t you like a teacher who could think of extensions like these?
Another center was “race to trace” and when students finished one page, Sue was ready with a little more difficult page. One child told her she was ready for a new “level!”
Another center was a shape fill-in game, where students were coloring in the sum or difference from a math sentence made by rolling dice.
The collaborative art project below was part of the kindergartner’s geometric shapes unit. The learners had to work in pairs and communicate so that they did not end up having the same colors next to one another. Sue said, “They did a great job. I was really proud of them.”
I noticed the Greenie Meanie on Sue’s wall from early in the school year. My photo isn’t as good as the idea. What Sue did was have a big green face for children to say mean things to during a circle time. Each time a “greenie meanie” thing was said, Sue tore or folded the picture a little. At the end of the time, she tried to smooth it out and tape it back together. The point of this lesson is that mean things said are never forgotten. Greenie Meanie will never be as good as new again. This is Sue’s version of a similar heart lesson, but appeals to both boys and girls.
Now, I have a secret to tell you! Although we both live in Grand Marais, MN, I met Sue through Pinterest. Sue feels Pinterest is such a help to teachers everywhere. I would say she is quite a “Pinteresting” teacher, and if you are on Pinterest, you will agree. Although she found these signs on the site, she drew them herself. Lucky she is an artist and is able to draw the ideas she sees for her own classroom.
Here is Sue’s Small Moments poster as taught in the Lucy Calkin’s Curriculum.
A Daily 5 Poster:
Components of 10!
Finally, this is Sue’s clever adaptation of the Good Listener poster!
I made this freebie for teachers who might like to try some fun math activities from Sue Butter’s classroom. The ideas are based on the centers Sue created for her students.
I hope you have enjoyed this virtual visit to Sue Butter’s Classroom at Great Expectations Charter School in Grand Marais, MN.
Thank you for reading, Carolyn