Wednesday, October 1, 2014
When I entered Ripley Elementary their school theme was clear! ANTS! Before I retired I set my classroom up using a picnic theme so I felt right at home!
The art teacher is painting ant tunnels on the hallway wall. The kids can earn ants for demonstrating ANT behavior.
One teacher, Denise, had this displayed outside of her room. When I asked her where she found the idea, she saw it on a blog, but wasn’t sure which one. So I did a little digging and guess what? It’s a freebee. You can get it here from my good friend Erica!
Cheryl was doing a unit on Apples, and I knew right off where that labeling activity came from! It is all over pinterest! So where did it come from? From Rachelle, over at What the Teacher Wants! She is soooo smart! You can get it here. Loved Cheryl’s season trees and the bubble map. Before she started her apple unit, she put an apple in the bag and stapled it shut. The kids passed it around the circle to see if they could guess what it was! Such a fun idea.
Cheryl shared this book with me, as a matter of fact, she GAVE it to me!!!! It is a great little story about generating ideas for writing and how to create a story. Loved the pencil idea so I asked, “Where did you get that, Cheryl?” After she told me where, I asked “that person” if they had it on their blog. She told me it wasn’t hers but she knew who it did belong to….Lindsey, over at The Teacher’s Wife. You can get it here! It’s a freebee, too!
Don’t you just love that quilt? In the spring Cheryl’s class makes a quilt. They picked their fabric, sewed it on the machine and enter it into a quilt show. They won a blue ribbon!
Loved the environmental print alphabet in Denise’s room and the scientific process charts in Cheryl’s room. Denise made her abc chart. Cheryl found the charts online, once again from a blogger, Deanna! You can get it here, free!
Loved these cards that Cheryl uses for her daily Math Talks.
I don’t know how many of you saw Dr. Jean’s post, “Be Wary” http://drjeanandfriends.blogspot.com/2014/09/be-wary.html but it is a must read! It is a good reminder of what kindergarten is all about and that they are many ways to teach children. You have to read it! So when I saw this display in Cheryl’s room, my heart melted. Her class from last year planted sunflowers and the kids in her room this year enjoyed learning all about them! There was an entire wall with non-fiction information, photographs, and art work to show their learning. LOVE IT!
As I close this post, I just wanted to say thank you to all of those wonderful bloggers that I have met over the last few years. They are truly a group of amazing women who take time away from their family to share ideas with other teachers and give us all a little glimpse into their classrooms. Many of them have become “life” friends. They have taught me so many things about teaching, friendship, life, and technology! Love you guys! Feel free to shout out some of your favorite bloggers in the comment section!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Week 8? Really? Fall Break is almost here!
This week finds us on our last week of unit 2 in Reader’s Workshop. All week we will be working on retelling using The 3 Bears as our text.
Writer’s Workshop has us reviewing all the things that good writers do.
Foundational skills: vowel sounds, poetry, how to writing, blending phonemes and sight words!
They loved this sight word soup pot game! Megan took our large soup pot to use to play the game.
Now how about printing? I know, I know, color ink. Here’s what we do…
- We print everything using “multiple” in the print menu.
- We are able to choose how many pages we want to print on each page.
- For this game, we printed two pages on one piece of paper.
- This cuts ink, cardstock, and laminating in half! Plus, now it is ready for next year!
We are finishing up our food unit this week.
This is actually one of our centers from last week. They are doing well at the “cut a sentence” books. These books are great practice for sight words, for sentence structure (Does it sound right?), for reminding readers to look at the pictures, and for reminding them to look at the first letter in the word.
Last week we played the grocery store beginning sound sort during our foundational skills time. This week they are doing the cut and paste version as one of the centers. Looking for a little more of a challenge? Have the kids stretch out the words.
Our “can do” centers are the same as last week---no changes.
We have moved Math Attack to one of the Have To areas. They did great with this last week and are ready for more independence. The kids are loving the games in our DI Math Small Group activities. So simple….so fun! Our “can do’s” are the same as last week. No need to change these every week. Remember I only have my kids visit each of the five areas one time a week. So, keeping the same “can do” centers for a few weeks works well for both me and them!
They loved this game from our food unit. Here’s how you play.
- Roll the dice. So let’s say it lands on 5.
- Put 5 pieces of pepperoni on your pizza.
- Now, roll again. Let’s say it lands on 3.
- What do you have to do so that now you have 3 pieces of pepperoni? Do you need to take some off or put some on? (Take off 2) How do you know?
- Roll again……
- Keep playing until time runs out.
Friday, September 26, 2014
It is always frustrating to try and find leveled books that are the right fit for my kids and teach the science and non-fiction concepts that all children need. So…here’s what we did. I took 5 popular October topics-Apples, Pumpkins, Leaves, Clothing for Fall, and Scarecrows.
Then for each of the topics I wrote 3 versions of the same text. Each text uses the same non fiction feature! So now, I can have my groups each read a book that is “readable” text, but can work on the same science standard and the same non-fiction feature.
Here is the set for Apples. For each of the 5 sets here is what you will find:
- The text at 3 levels-intervention, on target and challenge.
- Phonics/Phonemic Awareness Work-beginning sound, ending sound, vowels
- Non-fiction features: bold text, labels, cut-a-ways, colored text, diagrams
- Writing non-fiction text activities
- Sight Word Work: an editable version is included
- Science concepts in each book
And here is the set for Pumpkins.
The other 3 units are similar in their layout. It is on sale (here) through tomorrow on tpt!
Thursday, September 25, 2014
I had a great week of training in Ripley, WVA with a group of teachers that I just love! They are so eager to learn and to share ideas with me! Cheryl, one of the teachers, was excited to show me the newest project in their town…Little Free Libraries! Have you heard of them? I hadn’t, so I thought I would share all about it.
So here’s how they started… “In the beginning—2009–Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it. He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS.”
This is the one at the school. Cheryl and her teaching partners already have it stocked and ready to go. She has seen many parents sitting at the picnic table reading to their preschoolers. The first graders visit it during recess! Books are flying off of the shelf and new ones are appearing!
So what about the rest of the town? Well, Cheryl took me to see a few that were just erected this week. These Little Free Libraries are going to be operational after their “dedication” and delivery of a starter set of books.
This is the one at the bank.
And this is one at a church. Remember the Sunday School rhyme, “Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the door and see all the people.”? Well, that was the inspiration for how the church decided to decorate their Little Free Library. We actually saw 2-3 more the next morning on our way to school!
If you want to know more about how to get this project started in your town you can go (here).
Any of you already have them in your town?
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Maybe not the best unit for 2 girls who are trying to lose weight! I mean really…talking about food all day can make you hungry even when you aren’t! That said, we are having a blast with this new unit!
So here’s what’s happening…
In reader’s workshop we have finally built up enough stamina to start calling guided reading groups. While during centers we work with all of the children, during reader’s workshop it is a little different. In the fall, we work with those kids who truly are ready to read. We have found that this push at the front end of the year really pays off. One reason…by January we are only meeting with these kids one time a week. Now, those kids who needed a little extra time are ready and we can meet with them more often! It seem to pay off in the end!
In writer’s workshop this week Megan set up a conferencing schedule. This way she was sure to check in with all of her little writers.
During our literacy centers we played this fun little game for segmenting sounds.
Last week I talked about how we have moved the Sound Off as a have to center for the beginning sound sorts and that during the foundational time we are working on those vowel sounds.
We are loving our Non Fiction study on food with our little leveled readers! We will snag some of those pictures next week.
We’ve started moving some of the things we have introduced into our “can do” centers. This week we introduced the playdough letters. They are a freebee in my fan freebee folder on facebook. You can get them (here).
We also introduced Deedee’s Overhead Center. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Overhead-Station-for-1st-Qtr-266424
If you are wondering “What is an overhead?”, you are REALLY young!
We introduced our Math Attack this week! I love this activity. It is so easy to DI! Each kid can work right in their “sweet spot” of learning. You can read more about them (here) and (here). The picture you see shows the game in color. But, if you don’t have a color printer or the $$$ for the ink, we made the games in b/w, too!
The big news is we finished our Geometry Unit. We are now starting our counting unit. Now that might seem too easy…but…here’s my thinking…We want our kids to not only be accurate with their work, we also want them to be AUTOMATIC! What is automaticity? It is getting it right without even having to think about it! The only way to develop this fluency is through repeated meaningful practice!
So now, hop on over to my friend Deedee’s blog to see a peek at the week of some other bloggers.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
October is a “get your feet wet” presenting month. The schedule is light and just starting up for the big fall season of conferences, seminars, and customized training.
How excited am I that I am going to present in CA? And…with my good friends Deanna, Heidi and Shannon! And how about the fact that Jim Grant, the founder of SDE will be there too! So here’s a little sneak peek into what I will be presenting. You can see the full brochure (here).
Here’s a little about some of the sessions.
Games and More for the Common Core
This session is just a variety of games that can teach the different standards. I love Roll, Say, Keep. Now this one has the ABC’s but, it is so easy to play this same game all year, just change the cards..sight words, numerals, sets, shapes, etc.
To play the game, put a card in each of the 6 boxes with the dice faces. Now a child rolls a dice. If the dice lands on 6 dots, then they have to read what is on the card that is in the box with the “6” dice face. If they can, then they get to take that card off and add another card from the stack in the empty space! Easy Peasy! Lemon Squeezy!
DI Easy as Pie
In this session I share a variety of ways to do formative assessments, how to group kids and deliver instruction so that everyone gets just what they need.
One of the big ideas is how I form families. These are groups that stay the same all year. They have a variety of levels, personalities, and needs. They are ones that can “get along”. They are not necessarily friends, but when it is work time, they WORK! These are the children they go to math and literacy centers with. These are the children they do all group work with.
THEN, when they are working, I can pull a few from each of the families based on a common need. After I work with them, I send them back to their family and pull another group! These groups that I pull from the families are constantly changing!
Phonemic Fun for Everyone
This session has lots of activities to teach those phonemic awareness skills. One of my favorite songs is Shari Sloane’s Vowel Bat song! I just love it! I made a little book to go with her song (with her permission). You can get Shari’s music on her website, www.kidscount1234.com. Click on the book icon to find it in my tpt store.
All Eyes on You
As I have worked with beginning teachers, and sometimes not so new teachers, classroom management can be a concern. To tell you the truth, when I first started teaching I was terrible at it! I would find myself trying to yell over them and losing control. I love this little non verbal reminder. Just put a few magnets on a cookie sheet along with the “rule” you are working on. While you are teaching your class, if someone yells out, instead of stopping and verbally correcting, just pull down on the the magnets! No words needed! It is a great way for children to have a visual reminder!
Who doesn’t love to get organized? In this session I share ideas on classroom organization and other tips that will improve your instruction. One thing that I always get asked about are my carpet bags! In this session, I take the time to go through the items stored there and how we use each of them. You can read more about carpet bags (here).
Is That a Fact? Non Fiction Writing
I love to talk about writing! In this session I share ideas on how to get your children writing procedural, all about, and research pieces! I also share how this easy anchor chart is something we use all year…it is the writing process!
On October 18 I will be in Mountainside, NJ for an event sponsored by NJAKE. I’ve worked with these teachers before, so I am super excited to be able to make a return trip. Not to mention, I plan to catch a show and a few other fun things in the NYC! You can register (here).
So here are the three sessions that I am doing in NJ. Two of them are the same as I did in CA.
In this session I am going to share lots of center ideas. But, the biggest “aha” moments come when we talk about organizing, managing, and running the centers. This slide shows how we organize our classroom into zones with each zone having reading, writing, word work, and a library. The kids visit one zone a day, by the end of the week they will have been to all 5 zones. You can read more about how we do that (here).
So to round off the month, I am doing 3 customized training events. I love doing these! Here’s how it works, a district or school contacts me and tells me what they would like to see happen. We talk about how to make it work and what training I will do to help them reach their goals! This will be my second trip to both Ripley and Verona so I am excited to see those teachers again as well as meet some new teachers in San Antonio!
Hope to see some of ya’ll this fall!!!