Sunday, August 21, 2016

Top 3 and a Giveaway!

I've been busy getting my room ready for the start of school but want take a break to share a few things with you.
Look at my adorable sign for the First Day of School photo!  

I am seriously in love with it and can't wait to use it!  I bought the frame from Target in the Dollar Spot and had local teacher do the lettering and design.  She is amazing!  If you're interested, check out her store, Signs by Sarah!

I am officially a GoNoodle Ambassador!
I am so excited to share everything awesome about GoNoodle this year!  Stay tuned for some Champ-tastic fun!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a BONUS sale tomorrow!
I'm giving away a $10 TPT giftcard to celebrate!

Click on the link to enter.  It's going to be a quick one since the sale it tomorrow!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Book Review-"Passing the Bone: America's next POTUS"

I don't know about you but I sometimes struggle with talking about a presidential election with kindergartners.  I can talk about the process but it never fails that a child or two shares negative comments about the candidates that I imagine come from their parents.  I try to stay as neutral as possible and share about the importance of voting and taking part in the political process. 

This year I have a book that does a great job of sharing the role of the president without taking sides and is fun to read.  I was lucky enough to be contacted to review the cutest book, "Passing the Bone: America's next POTUS."  Passing the Bone is told from the point of view of Bo Obama.  Bo is talking to the next pet of the President of the United States.  The illustrations are adorable and so is the story.

Bo walks the next pet though a day in the life of being the First Pet.  It talks about Camp David, Air Force One, rules of the White House and the importance of acting presidential when meeting celebrities and dignitaries.  It even shows Bo sitting with Jimmy Fallon (my fave!).

Passing the Bone: America's Next POTUS was written by a teacher named Heather Patterson.  If you visit her website, she offers some great resources for teachers and their classrooms.  I especially love the vocab list she offers to explain some of the places and things in the book.  I plan on keeping the vocab list by my reading area when I read this book to my kinders.  She also offers a lesson plan with a list of lesson extension ideas.  FABULOUS!!

You can purchase her book on Amazon or through her website.

Do you have any tried and true books that you read to talk about the President and his or her job?  I'd love to hear about them if you do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How 100% of my class met the sight word goal

This year was a year of more.  More expectations, more rigor (blech!) and more curriculum.  The biggest change of all is that we will have to use a packaged curriculum for both reading and math for the first time in years and years.  With fidelity.  All of it.  I've tried to stay positive but it is so hard knowing that my students leave kindergarten happy readers, happy mathematicians,  and lovers of school but that may change.  My students meet standards AND have a fun kindergarten experience.  I've been so overwhelmed that I've neglected this blog and haven't done a lot of Pinteresting because I know I can't use much of it. 

One big positive this year is my group of students.  I had 21 of the coolest, sweetest, and hardest working students.  We started the year with zero readers and now they are rocking it!  Part of becoming good readers is knowing a healthy amount of sight words.  I needed a differentiated tool that would motive students to learn more and more words. 

Enter Word Wallets!  

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Wallet-Journeys-Edition-WITH-Editable-version-2595820

They work like this...
Students each get a Wallet and List 1 of words.  They also take a list home to their families to practice.  My kiddos practiced those words during Word Work at school.  I checked in with them a few times a month to see what words they have mastered.  I highlighted the known words and the kids continued to practice the unknown words until the entire list was mastered and they graduate to the next list. 

It worked like a charm!  My class was super motivated to learn words and to speed through the lists.  By the end of the year, I had kids who had learned over 600 words!  100% of my class learned the required 40 words set by my district. 



Next year, we'll be using Journeys 2017 and my students will have to learn 88 words (yikes!).  I adapted the Word Wallets to work the same way.  If you want to check out Word Wallets and try them for yourself, click here

I included the Kindergarten Journeys Words, the First Grade Journeys Words (for kids who are ready for a challenge), a Teacher Check Sheet (a master list of what words each student knows), a Take Home Letter and labels to make your own Word Wallets. 





Monday, December 7, 2015

A+ Images T-shirts

I have always wanted to get T-shirts for my class.  I would love to have my kids wear them on field trips and special days during the school year. When I was looking around for shirts, I heard a lot of good things about A+ Images.
A+ Images  has lot of options for ordering shirts for yourself or your class.  I am absolutely in love with the Classroom Faces option.  Each child draws themselves in either a template or free form.  The class is then screen printed on the shirts.  So cute!  They also offer lots of cute teacher shirts.  I have this one:
I love the colors and the glitter!

A+ Images is so kind to teachers!  They let me design a shirt for free earlier this fall.  I was able to download my own image and pick my own text.  It was so easy to do.  This is what I ended up with:



Thanks A+ Images!

Make sure you follow them over on instagram @aplusimages or Facebook.

There is still time to enter my giveaway to win the Rhyme to Read app!  Comment on Sunday's post with how you would use the app.  Don't forget to include your e-mail address! I'll pick a winner on Wednesday.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Rhyme to Read App Giveaway!

I have two iPads in my classroom and they are used ALL.THE.TIME.  I wish I had more but I really try to make the two I have work for everyone.  I also think carefully about what apps I put on my tablets.  I have arranged my apps into three folders.  One is Daily 5, one is Math Daily 3 and one is for Free Choice.

During Daily 5 kids can pick from a variety of apps where they practice sight words, letter/sound correspondence and most importantly listen to and/or read good books.  I had a hard time finding books at the kindergarten level that didn't involve a membership and a hefty price tag.  That's why when I found this app, I fell in love!
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/rhyme-to-read-complete-set/id829641544?mt=8
The Rhyme to Read app comes with 20 easy to decode books.  Each book focuses on word families and sight words that get progressively harder.  If a student gets stuck, they can simply touch the word and the app helps them out.  The stories are simple but engaging for all students.

I tell my kinders that they need to read a book in Rhyme to Read and then they can pick another app in the Daily 5 folder.  Often times, my students end up picking another story because they feel great pride in being able to read!

You can download the first book for FREE on iTunes but right now the entire Rhyme to Read app is on sale for only $4.99!  That's only $.25/book.  Would you like to win this app?  Comment below with how you would use this app.  I'll choose a winner on Wednesday, December 9.  Don't forget to leaver your e-mail!

Monday, October 26, 2015

P-U-R-P-L-E

I've been using my Classroom Friendly Supplies pencil sharper for a couple of years now.  I love watching and listening to my students when they get a pencil back after I've sharpened it.  Their eyes bug out and I usually hear a "Whoa!!"  The sharpener is so easy and fast, I have said good-bye to my electric sharpener.

Now it is my turn to say, "Whoa!!" and for my eyes to bug out!  There is a brand new color and it is beautiful!  P-U-R-P-L-E!  


Isn't it gorgeous?!?  It comes with the handy-dandy table clamp, too.  This helps hold it in place but to be honest, I find it just as easy to hold the top with my fingertips.


The purple sharpener works just as easy as the other colors that Class Friendly Supplies offer.  

What I like best is the automatic stop feature!  When I used to use an electric pencil sharper, I would take the pencil out every couple of seconds to check to see if it was sharp enough.  Often, when I took it out, it would be uneven or sometimes the tip was broken and I'd have to start over.  I never have to second guess with this sharpener.  It stops when the tip is sharp.  End of story!  It takes only about 10 seconds per pencil, which is such a time saver!

Classroom Friendly Supplies is a great company to support!  How awesome is that?!?


To get your brand new pencil sharpener of your own, click on the graphic below.

http://www.classroomfriendlysupplies.com/


You won't be sorry!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Making Word Work count with Word Wallets

Sight word knowledge and practice are key to becoming fluent readers.  Some words simply cannot be decoded and kids need practice to remember how to read/spell those tricky words.  I give my students practice time during Word Work as part of The Daily 5.  I love providing fun ways to practice words like paint in a bag and watercolors. 

I USED to put a ring of sight words in the basket along with the activity.  Students would flip through the ring, find a word and practice it.  I noticed some kids spent a LOT of time flipping through the rings and others simply practiced whatever word was on top...regardless if they knew the word already or not.  These rings weren't the most efficient way of providing the practice my kids needed.

NOW I use a Word Wallet!  Each student starts with list one.  They practice those words during Word Work.  Every couple of weeks I check in and test students on the words.  If they show mastery of a word, I highlight the word on their list and they know to practice the unknown words.  If all the words on a list are mastered, they graduate to the next list.  Some kids move quickly through the lists and others move slowly. 


If you want to use Word Wallets, here are some tips:
1.  Keep a master teacher list for each child!  When I highlight a word on the student list, I also record it on my teacher list.  It makes guided reading lesson planning a breeze!

2.  Quickly write the student's name on the back of the list.  If a list is left in a Word Work bin, the owner can be found quickly.

3.  Send a SECOND copy of the list home so kids can practice the words at home with their family.

4.  Prepare all the lists for the year before the year starts.


5.  Buy extra folders when they are cheap!  I make plenty of extra folders in case I get any move in kids during the year. 

6.  Get a consistent parent volunteer to help you check in with kids.  When mine came I would just hand her my basket and she was ready to roll!  OR, set a consistent schedule and test a few kids each day.

Ready to try it? 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/EDITABLE-Word-Wallet-1932921


The cool thing is that I made it editable!  You can program in what words your kiddos need to know!  Or, use my lists which are based on Jan Richardson's The Next Step in Guided Reading.  The color words are also included along with the label templates to make your folder labels and a schedule template for testing kids.  You can grab it for yourself here.

Using Word Wallets really paid off for my students.  100% of my students met grade level expectation for sight words at the end of the year.