Friday, June 29, 2012

Graphics Galore

Since is was EXTREMELY hot today in TN, I stayed in and played around with my blog graphics. I wanted to create a new blog button and header. I think the button came out cute, but the header.... I don't know what happened. I can't seem to get the purple background off. HELP!!! Any ideas?

Anyways, while we're talking about graphics, Graphics from the Pond is having a SPECTACULAR deal. Check out Mel's blog. I Love all the work she does. I told my husband I have to buy this! His response, "Ya, Ya... whatever :)" You wont want to miss this!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's my address and phone number

Quick update about the craziness going on around my house. My husband and I have been very busy making my 4 year old daughter a cottage bed.

I need to add some planter boxes to the front to put her stuffed animals in, but oh so cute!!!

Beause all this house stuff going on, I thought what a great time to give you a FREEBIE. How many of your students do NOT know their address or phone number? Yep, I hear ya! So I thought what better way to get some Daily 5 writing in or Literacy writing station.

click the picture for a freebie!

Hope you like it... Leave me a comment on your thoughts! Dont forget to follow my blog :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chapter 3- Daily 5 Kindergarten Book Study

Tammy at Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten is hosting the chapter 3 Linky Party. Link up and share your thoughts and comments :)

First of all I love this quote at the begining by Kathy Collins
 "When we follow routines day after day, our students can use their energy to grow as readers and learners rather than to figure out what we expect them to do..."

This is so true, stduents loving rules and routines. Who am I kidding, we love rules and routines! Remember go over your shedule EVERY DAY! Students need to know what to expect. Now for some new stuff.

In Chapter 3 we will look at 6 concepts:

1. Establishing a gathering place for brain and body breaks
2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books
3. Create anchor charts with students
4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice
5. Calm Signals and check in procedures
6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors.

Where is your gathering place? Like most of you, mine is my rug. (See it below- I am thinking about telling my kids this year to "Swim on over to the ocean"... sounds cute huh?) It is so big and all my students can fit together for some talk time. The Sisters call this "brain and body breaks." Makes since. We all know that getting your students moving -giving them chuck of info at a time, is what keeps them focused. The begining of the year is tough since we have not built staminia yet to sit sit at the rug for long periods. So remember, as students are at the rug you need to keep them engaged. One thing I have done last year is started WBT (Whole Brain Teaching). This involves repeating information 3-4 times in different ways. It keeps the students talking, engaged and most of all learning!

How the bain and body breaks place works: Gather for instruction (your not the only one talking at this time, keep them engaged), release them to practice, and bring them back to share. Sounds easy enough.
Undersea Alphabet Adventure Rug
How many of you realized that students need to have good-fit books? The five finger rule is probably the most common method, but I LOVE how the sisters teach "good-fit" books. They compare them to a shoe selection. They bring in a bag of different shoes- tennis shoes, snow boots, golf shoes, husbands shoes, etc... and then talk about how each pair has a purpose. What shoe is for what activity, just like books have a purpose; to learn about a certain topic or to read for fun. Then they move on to interest. Then guide students into discussion of what shoes where brought in (interests) and which kinds weren't. Before going onto reading for comprehension, the Sisters compare their husbands shoes with with their showing how they are not a good fit- even have students switch shoes to demostrate a 'good-fit' book for one student may not be a good-fit book for another student. Now for comprehension, bring in a book that is like a medical dictionary. Where you can read the words but do not comprehend what it all means. Then lastly, if they know all the words.
The sisters have covered Purpose, Interest, Comprehension, Know all the words.

Do you think our students feel like this when choosing a book?

I love these, wonder if my husband can make them ;)
How many of you have book boxes for your students? I have seen these before but never used them. What was I thinking! This is a great way for students to choose books that interest them and are on their level. Plus it takes away from standing their infront of all the books for minutes beyond minutes searching for a book. Some questions I have are, when do your students get to choose these books, when do you switch them out, and how many do you allow them to put into their boxes? I was thinking maybe 4 books each and that this could be part of their morning procedures. When they came into the room they would choose 4 books for the day and put them in their box before they took tubs to their table. (tubs are things like blocks, leggos, etc..)
This was a book box I made. Click the picture for previous post.

However, if I can afford it, I would love to have these instead. 
Who doesn't love some anchor charts? I love building anchor charts together, but really... where do you hang them all?!

The sisters say "This visible learning makes up the tapestry of the year and the decorations of the classroom. Hence all work is kept and constantly referred to. Disposing of it would be throwing away a connection to prior thinking and learning."

Many of you teach through 'VAK' (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic). Anchor charts give students the visual and auditory systems children need to learn, but also having students independently practicing what is put on the anchor charts allows for Kinesthetic learning to take place. I love me some anchor charts! Search Pinterest.. so many great ideas.
Short Repeated intervals of independent practice- When we go to a teaching conference, what do you remember? Every little thing that was said? No- what things interested you, how you got up and moved to remember the information and possibly if it was repeated several times. Now think about how 5 and 6 year olds feel when we expand presented information over 10 mins (max) without getting them up and moving to practice what they just heard. I have got to get better at this! Like I said before I did start WBT at the end of the year and this helped with short repeated intervals of independent practice.

How many of you use check in procedures? Note to self: I love this idea and have to use it more frequently. After practicing a skill independently we need to have a signal (quiet song, quiet instrument, etc..) for students to come the the meeting spot and check in. At this time we would review on the I-chart (anchor chart) what we were do that was good, other things they saw that we may need to add to the chart and and overall what were they working on. I see an I can... statement being referred to here. Check in may be done sooner than later if incorrect behavior is being practiced. We do not want incorrect to be put into their muscle memory. After using the I-chart you would have a student model the correct way. This would be a good time to use that child that was doing it incorrectly to put the correct way into muscle memory.

WOW, that was a LONG post. I hope you all are very excited about Daily 5 as I am. This all makes sense to me, why didn't I think of this stuff before :)

Make sure to follow me and grab my button :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sorting Activity

It has been a LONG night at our house. My four year old daughter was crying so hard because she had two ear aches. I think it was due to all the swimming yesterday. However, my great husband went to Walmart at midnight to get her ear drops. Finally around 1:30am she was asleep.

Anyways, I'm feeling a little sluggish so house work is going to wait. I did create a fun sorting activity that you can do in your classroom with letter, sounds, or numbers. Check it out on my TPT store. I'm really working on more hands on learning and not so many worksheets this year. I am trying to cover all those learning styles.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shopping Finds and crafting

Most of you know that summer time is the BEST time to do some school shopping. I find great deals on games, manipulatives, furniture, storage tubs, etc. My rule is- NEVER buy anything that is not on sale. (I buy too much every year and would be absolutely broke if I spent more than $3 or $4 for something). First check garage sales, dollar tree, target sales, and the list goes on.

Here are some things I found at target.

I am going to use the beach balls to hang above my tables and number the beach balls. Cute huh? Then some fun beach signs and I am sure I can find some sorting activity or something to use those cute hamburger baskets. Couldn't pass up 4 for $1.

I know this isn't school related, but I have been searching for bar stools and found these at Target orignially $40 each on sale for $12 each. What a deal!!! I bought all 4 of them. I love how they look!

Here are some crafty things I made.
puffy paint color words. I got these color samples from walmart and used this glittery puffy paints to write the words. Great for tactile learners.

I also found these cute rubber molds at Target. This one is a tribel mask. My kids and I  decided to make some cute crayons.

Then we colored some noodles. This is great for sorting, graphing, patterns, etc.. Check out these super cute cards that Michelle from Inspired by Kindergarten made. Click the picture to get the cards. 

Oh, I got this cute blue chip dip platter at target too!

Last but not least, I am painting these tin bucket that I have used for my daughters candyland party last year. I know, I hear you cringing. They are super cute with the candy design, but they dont fit into my colors this year.

Stay tuned to see how they turned out and what I used them for.

What are some things you use these tin buckets for?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily 5 Rotations

First of all, I have to say... I love this DAILY 5 so far. I have been hooked on the book and reading all the blogs. As my brain is turing in a hundred different directions (Where do I start? What do I have to have ready in my classroom? Will this really work like others say?...) I started thinking about rotations. I have always used a rotation of some sort and got thinking of how I was going to rotate through D5 but allowing my students to have a choice. Oh, My! They are going to go crazy having so many students in one are (model, model, model.. is what I keep telling myself). However, I still needed to meet with each group daily. So this is what I came up with.

Click on the picture above. If you have an questions please let me know. Of course this hasn't been put into play yet, but it sure looks good on paper (and in my head) ha, ha.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kindergarten Daily 5 Book Study

So I am behind on this linky party but definitely wanted to join in. This may be life changing  the greatest relief I've had to teaching in the last 5 years.
Check out Tammy's linky party for chapter one at Live, Love, Laugh
Live Love Laugh

1. How do I teach new behaviors?
This will be my first year of teaching Kindergarten and I have been warned, ha ha... go in with no expectations. When teaching first grade the students already knew how to line up or come to the rug, etc.. so we would model, and practice for the first few weeks and then again when I noticed it needed reinforced. After reading this book I realized behavior needs to be modeled EVERYDAY throughout the year- the incorrect and correct way.
2. How do I teach expectations?
Expectations need to go hand in hand with every lesson. Before I let my kiddos go, I remind them of my expectations and they repeat back to me what my expectations are. (just incase that one little kids isnt listening ;)
Expectations need to be modeled just like new behaviors. I expect my students to give me 3 star work, but if they dont have an anchor chart or its not reviewed daily, they may forget what 3 star work is.
3. How do I monitor student behavior? whole group? small groups? individual?
I have a clip chart where students move up for desired behavior or move down for breaking class rules. I liked this because they were able to correct their behavior and move up, therefore not dwelling on a card all day. However, this year I am doing it a little different. Look for a future post when I finish it.
I did a lot of positive rewards- marbles in a jar (it can be done whole group or individual) examples: I noticed everyone was ready to work you have earned "fish food" or I noticed John walked to get in line, he has earned "fish food" for the class. We also do "gator bucks" which is just a copy of play money (you can use tickets) to reward for good behavior "Im looking for the quietest boy and girl in the hall" or when they turn in homework/important notes they can earn one. The student puts his/her name on the back and it goes into a box where I draw from at the end of the day for treasure box. At the end of the nine weeks I empty the box and we start over.
4. What do I do when a student is not exhibiting desired behavior?
Clips are moved down or seating may need to be moved. I feel that children should never lose recress. They need that time like we need the time with our peers. If the majority of the class was really noisy I add an extra lap around the track at recess.
5. Whose classroom is it?
I tell them all the time this is OUR classroom. However, I am guilty of saying mine. When a student is destroying something in the classroom my first instinct is "that is mine, why are you tearing it up?" I have gotten better at this by saying "the students next year will not be happy if they dont have all the pieces to play or if they have to sit at a messy desk that was wrote all over"
6. Locus of control?
Ok, I have to admit... I am a little bit of a control freak. This is going to be my challenge with daily five. I have realized that if they are making the choice of what to write about or what book to read, it is definitely more meaningful to them. I am so use to a rotation of statations so the student would go to every activitiy I planned because I spent so much time on them. However, I noticed that a few of the students did not like the activity that I worked so hard on. So towards the end of the year I started giving them the choice of where they wanted to go and the students were much happier. It fit their learning style.
7. Where are supplies stored?
I have tubs for all my materials that the students are able to easily access from the book shelf. I do have extra books stored that the students are not able to get into because I switch them out periodically so they seem "new". I also have extra reading and math manipulatives store that students are not able to use unless they are moved to the student suppplies shelf.

Now Check out Caitlin at Kindergarten Smiles for Chapter 2 Linky party
Kindergarten Smiles

1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way? ;)
I trust my students until they prove me wrong. Then I feel they need to earn that trust back by showing me they can follow my expectations. My goal is for them to become independent and they can not do that unless I give them that trust. Some students may have to have a buddy with them for awhile if they break that trust. You know 5, 6, and 7 year olds, they like to tattle if their friend is not doing what is expected. My goal this year is to try and stay out of their way as they are learning.
2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? (would love for you to share some examples!) Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?
I have a daily schedule and we go over every day so they know what to expect and it takes away from the what are we going to do ______. It also helps when there is a change in the schedule and allows students to plan for the change. I give them choice at their Literacy stations and when they finish work early. Something new I am going to do this year is have "choice time". I went to a training where Shari Sloane was talking about how she had choice time that allowed her students to explore their interests. She would have a craft area, blocks, etc.. I am so doing this! (well if my principal allows me to implement this into our busy schedules)
3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
You need to build community. They like to tattle on each other when someone is doing something wrong. The first thing I say to them is "did you try and work it out?" (this needs to be modeled over and over, most students dont know what to say to each other to work it out) If the student says yes, I will ask "do you need me to help you and _______ work it out?" I then bring both students to the side and let each one discuss what is bothering them and how they could work it out next time if this should occur. If it is something that could benefit the whole group, we may need to all come together. This year I am going to put these things that come up into anchor charts so they can refer to them if they need help with an issue.
4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?
At this age, I believe all children want to do what is right and please everyone. Allowing them to choice will put more emphasis on ownership.
5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals? ...
The thing I need to work on with Stamina is to NOT circulate while they are working on building their stamina. They need to see me modeling this. Some teachers (I have been guilty of this in the past) like to set a visual timer. I feel like some students are not working on stamina but trying to beat that time. So I will set goals but let students know with a signal that they have met their stamina goal. After reading, hollering out to the students that their time is done, is not an option. Maybe starting a soft song where students have to make their way to the meeting place once the song is done (1.5 mins), this will allow those children who are engaged to finish their train of thought in writing or finish that page in their book. Most of us teachers know that we need to finish writing that note to a parent, etc.. so we dont lose our train of thought. Same if for the students.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a little more about my teaching styles and continue to read from other fantastic blogs to find what works best for you.  
Here are some great Pins to get you started

Stay posted for chapter 3. I hope to have a freebie for you :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daily 5 & Pinterest

I have been blog stalking and am hooked on the Kindergarten Daily 5 Book Study going on. Therefore, I downloaded the book on my Kindle and haven't wanted to put it down.
Product Details
by Gail Boushey

Caitlin at Kindergarten Smiles

Sharing Kindergarten
Mary at Sharing Kindergarten

After reading the first two chapters I thought... I am working WAY to hard. I am constantly creating things to put into my reading stations weekly and trying to keep up with holding them accountable at stations with some form of written work. Oh, My! OVERLOAD!

My Kindergarten team doesnt know it yet, but I am going to get them on board with Daily 5. So of course I search TPT to see whats out there for my classroom and find TONS of great posters and ideas.

Then Pinterest to find ideas for book boxes. DIY book boxes with cereal boxes, how great! So I made this....

and realized that kindergarten books are bigger and wont fit, UGH!  Then I made another one but I turned it like this...

Yeah, bigger books fit!!! Of course I was going to cover them in scrapbook paper and let the students decorate to take ownership of their box. However, as I am working my husband says, "why dont you turn the box inside out and then you wont have to cover it." Really, I didnt think of that!

The finished product...
I added duct tape to the ends to keep them strong all year

Now on the first day of school students can decorate them and give me time to get stuff put away. WIN, WIN for both of us.

My last post was about the letter marbles... well today I had my daughter help me make two sets.

Finished.. notice how my son wanted me to make one with his name on it (well two) This gives me an idea for my students. All kids love things with their names on them. Thanks Mason!

What things have you started making for your classroom? Are you doing Daily 5 and what tips do you have for me?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Much needed update

Like many of you that are just getting started with Blogging, I too am learning how to manage my blog. After seeing how many of you have put all your freebies into one spot, I definitely wanted to try this. So, over the last week, I have managed to put all (most) of my freebies in one area. (Yeah, I know I am so SLOW at this blog management stuff)

Because  I haven't posted a freebie in a while, here is something I hope you can use in any grade level.

You can add a magnet to the back or leave them as is. Some ideas I use them for are:
1. any type of word works: spelling names, CVC words, spelling words, sight words
2. ABC Order
3. Letter Sound Correspondence
4. Capital Letter Lowercase Letter Match up

What are some other ways that you would use these in your classroom?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Classroom Beach Theme

How many of you have a classroom theme? I am one of those teachers that loves to teach with themes and for my classroom to have a theme look.... I know crazy! I have seen some rooms that go WAY overboard with a theme and often wonder why the students are over stimulated. Anyways, this year I am going with a beach theme. The reason being is that I have this large rug in my classroom that I just LOVE and it has an underwater theme to it. Plus the students that I teach, many have never been to the beach. I would love for them to have a little feel for it. :-)
Its not the best picture but the only one I could find at the end of the year after cleaning had started. Not even sure why my rug is in that place, must have moved it to watch a movie... However, isn't it awesome?!

Last year I did a pirate theme and it was so cute. I really wish I could show you pictures, but my external hard drive crashed and I lost all my pics from the begining of the year.

Here are some things that I plan to make for my room. Gotta Love Pinterest!!
My job chart for my beach themed classroom
Something like this for a jobs chart.

Pinned Image
I like this board for Calendar Time/ Morning Meeting

Pinned Image
a cute little pool reading nook

Pinned Image
I did this last year and have cute tin buckets from Target. However, this year I may do something like this below. I will also use chalkboard vinyl to put the students names on the fronts of the buckets.

Pinned Image

I found a super cute blog called Precious Perks. She has some super cute bucket ideas. Check them out!

I also found this from dandelions and dragonflies 

Pinned Image
 Great table organizer

I'm sure there are a few other things that I would like to do, but this gives me a starting point and as I said before... Keep It Simple. Too much is a bad thing.

What theme are you doing this year? What ideas do you have for a beach theme?