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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Teacher Meet up---Orlando, Flordia

Our Teacher Meet-Up is moving to....

Sunny Orlando, Florida! July 13th at 6pm. #2016orlandomeetup

This will be our 5th annual teacher blogger meet up. If you've ever joined us before, you know there will be lots of fun, lots of laughing, and lots of prizes to give away! Thanks to our main sponsor TeachersPayTeachers

Here's a shot of some of the fabulous teachers who came out last year!
{Check out more pictures from our 2012 and 2013 and 2014 meet ups!}

At last year's meet up we gave away hundreds of prizes and this year will be no exception! We have lots of surprises in store for this meet up, so PLEASE join us!

(A peek at last year's prizes. All donated by our awesome sponsors!)
We had so many other sponsors that helped donate over $55,000 worth of swag, prizes, and goodies!  Can you believe that?!  I don't know about you, but to us... that's a whole lotta love for teachers!  

What you need to know:

*All teachers are invited to this meet-up! You do not need to have a blog to attend this special event!

*You can RSVP on our official Facebook event page: HERE! If you do not have a Facebook account, you can RSVP by commenting on this post.

*Please don't be shy! Every year we have people who are worried about not knowing anyone. This is a great opportunity to say hi to some of your favorite teacher-bloggers, as well as meet new friends and connect with teachers from all over!

*Please download the nametag template HERE.

*The meet up will be held at The Swan and Dolphin Resort, but the actual conference room number will be posted closer to the meet up. Follow our Facebook event page to get updates on the exact location.

We are super excited for our trip this year and know that this Teacher Meet Up will be the best one yet!!
Here are the meet-up organizers from last year!

Can't wait to see ya'll in sunny Orlando!
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Get Your Teach On!

So excited to be joining my friends Hope and Deanna in Orlando later this year! Read on to see where else they will be....

Need a teacher pick-me-up? Looking for some of the most current research based strategies that will light your classroom on fire? Join us in 2016 for Get Your Teach On – a one-of-a-kind experience for K-3 teachers.  You will spend a day with Deanna Jump, Hope King and their special guests, as they share their passion and enthusiasm for education and give you their tips, tricks, best practices, and teacher secrets to building a successful and engaging classroom. You will leave feeling empowered, motivated, and prepared to create dynamic lessons that will challenge your students and leave them hungry for more. Get Your Teach On is sure to be unlike any other educators’ conference that you will attend. Pack your favorite teacher bag, get ready for some educational magic, and join us in 2016-2017 as you prepare to Get Your Teach On!
MSNBC Coverage: 

Who will be joining us this year? 

Session Topics? Click on each link below to find out all of the details of this 2-day workshop! 



Click below on any location to register! We can't wait to see y'all! XOXO! 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Earth Day: Teacing Children to Love the Earth

Earth Day is just around the corner.  Spring is my favorite time of the year! I love everything outdoors, and after a long, cold winter it is great to get outside and enjoy our Earth. On many days, I find myself looking for excuses to get my kids outdoors, and Earth Day is a perfect excuse.  We have  full day of Earth Day fun! Here are some of the things that we have done in the past and will be doing this year with Megan's kids!
Planting flowers is an easy fit! We give our kids two different choices of seeds to plant. Once the seeds are planted the kids work in groups  to create a graph to show what we planted.
We also make pinecone bird feeders. After making the feeders, they cut and sequence the pictures to create a flow map. Using the flow map, the children write a "how to" piece. (Love that face!)
We created story problems for worms!
Using blue and green markers, the children color a coffee filter. Then, we spray it with a water bottle.  After drying the kids glue it down with their handprints. They write their Earth Day pledge and draw a self portrait.

We use different food items to represent various items that are easily composted. (It is like a trail mix.) I put each item in a paper bag. Then, using a food scoop, the children scoop a little from each bag to place in their individual paper bags. We carry this along when we take our Earth Day walk in the afternoon.  The kids write their recipe.
The kids use patterns to create flowers for their flower part books. Then, on the inside they sequence the pictures for "How to Grow a Flower". They use the cut apart sentences to match each picture.
We used this Earth Day song to  the tune of "Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush", to teach what plants need.
We created paper towel roll trees to store our Earth Day poems.
We used recycled materials to measure our Carbon Footprints.
We did a spin energy graph and a transportation survey graph. All of these activities are from our Earth Day unit. We recently updated the unit to include new layouts and clip art. We also added patterns for the flower pots and sequencing pictures for the bird feeder. If you already have this unit, you can get the updated version in your "My Purchases" section on tpt.
This year we are adding something new...a nonfiction book we wrote about Earth Day. This book follows the same format as our Guided Reading Monthly units. After doing the research and finding the photographs we write the text at 3 different levels. the goal is to be able to provide them with a text they can read and to create a text that I can use to teach the information.
We also provide pages for word work, phonemic practice (th at the beginning or end of the word), vocabulary (adding re- to words), nonfiction feature practice (index), and a writing activity (tree map and writing paper).

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Your Questions Answered! ABC's, Readers Theater, Organization, and More!

Last week I did a webinar, Literacy al' a carte, for Frog Street Press. If you missed it,  it's not too late. You can see the webinar here. Oops! I don't have the link yet, check back later and I will add it!

As part of the webinar, teachers were invited to submit questions. There is no way to answer all of them in this blog post, so I have picked a few. I will pick a few more questions for other posts in the future.

Here are some of the questions:

What do you do about kids who have trouble learning the alphabet?

I love Reading Recovery. When I was a young teacher we had a Reading Recovery teacher at our school. About once a month, she would come to our grade level meeting and share some strategies that she used as part of the program.  Now, let me say...Reading Recovery is a one on one program. So we have to do some tweaking to the strategies if we are going to make them work in the classroom setting.  Here is how I adjusted the ABC Book:
1. Test all of the children in your room.  At the beginning of a kindergarten year, children who know around 18 capital and 16 lower case, will be fine! You don't need an intervention. They will get the letters just by singing and playing games. Those children who know ZERO are not ready! They need time to come to school and be surrounded by literacy. These are kids that probably have limited exposure to text in their homes.  It is the children in the middle that will benefit the most!

2.  Using the cover above and the abc pages, make each child a book. You will want to first do this with just a few children. Trying to do this with a large number of children can become overwhelming.(There is a link for this free resource at the end of this question.)
3. Cut the pictures apart and...
put them in a baggie.

4.  Using the assessment, invite the children to glue in the picture for each letter that they knew. They can know JUST the capital or JUST the lower case! Still give them the picture. The letters that they do not know will not have a picture glued in. Now, give them 3 new letters that they do not know. Invite them to glue the pictures on those three letters. Mark these 3 pages with a sticky note.
4. Now it is time to read the book. If there is no picture, just skip the page. When they get to a page with a picture they point to the capital letter and say the letter, point to the lower case letter and say the letter, point to the picture and name it. If they are able to name one of the letters on the page with a sticky note, remove the sticky note.  Put the sticky note on another page without a picture.
You can get the directions and the abc book pages here as a free download. 

I want to know how you would suggest integrating readers theater in the lower grades.

1. Readers Theater is a fun way to practice working as a team.  It is a great way to develop prosody.
When I write my reader's theater scripts, I make the different characters each have a different level of text. This allows me to make teams that work well together! It also puts some of your leaders in each group. And most importantly, all kids feel proud and successful!
2. We print the scripts black and white using the booklet option in the print menu. Print a booklet for each character. Use a highlighter to highlight his parts. 
3. Depending on your printer, it might print back and front without you doing anything! Some printers will tell you to flip your papers to print the other side.
4. For the kids who aren't quite ready for a script, I use these character cards. The kids hold the cards as they role play the story. It is like an oral "readers theater"! 
You can find my Reader's Theater Bundle here.

How do you organize all of your props that you use throughout the year?

Organization is something we are all always working on. One organization tip for the classroom is my Panic Shelf.  This shelf holds everything I need during the day. It will have the things I use all year such as my calendar supplies, but it also hold puppets and items that I will use that day. I also keep a sets of puppets, like the Five Little Ducks, on the shelf to use during transitions.
 I tend to store my things at home in our garage--sorry kids park in the driveway! Each of the stacks represents about a month of teaching. Once a month I load things in my car and take it to the school to swap things out. The brain is constantly seeking novelty. We need a way to rotate materials so that things are always new! These tubs store center props, class d├ęcor, teaching resources, puppets, etc.
My husband made me these bags to hold the large anchor charts/posters, etc. It holds the things that are too large for the tubs.  I hate rolling or folding the charts! You can also use the XXXL Ziploc Bags. I pick them up at Target.

I follow your blog and love your resources. I have rearranged my room to have different zones. I was wondering what your schedule looks like.

I love your Simply Science units. Will there be more?

Yes! I started off thinking I could keep up with these! These require tons of research and thought. It's not something I can do when I'm tired or when the grandkids are around. I have to use all of my brain power. I'm hoping to have some more ready to go for next year! I have already written three units--The Scientific Method and Science Tools, The Sun and Other Stars, and The Moon.

What are your favorite free resources?

  • There are sooooo many free resources available. There are free things all over social media--on blogs, pinterest, facebook, tpt.
  • If you go to kindergals on facebook and click on the "like" button, you will be able to see a "fan freebee" folder. Click on the folder. There are lots of free things there.
  • Click here to go to my free folder on tpt!

Will you post the link to the resources in today's webinar?

Here are the resources I used to plan the webinar. You can click on the ima

These are the books that I used in the presentation. You can click on the title and it will take you to amazon.

If you didn't see your question, put it in the comments and it will get bumped to the top of the list for the next post!

Be sure and check out Frog Street Splash! Watch this video! You won't want to miss this fabulous and fun conference!
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