Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kindergarten Progress Reports

In our district, we have conferences in the fall and the spring.

In the fall, we have the conferences at the end of the first quarter and present parent's with their child's first quarter report card.

In the spring, conferences are held about half-way through our third quarter.  This gives us plenty of time to address concerns before the end of the year.  Since we don't have report cards to give, I like to give out a progress report.  I made this one and then decided that it would be great to give to the parents in the middle of each quarter.

I list the third quarter expectation even though we aren't finished with third quarter so that parents understand where we need their child to be.

If you would like to grab this freebie, click on the image below.  I hope you find it as useful as I have.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

FarFaria App Review & Giveaway

Have you ever wanted your students to have access to hundreds of books at their fingertips?

I know I do.  That's why I think the FarFaria app is so amazing.  It is a digital library with over 800 books and 5 new books are added each week.

I am lucky enough to have 6 iPads in my classroom plus my "teacher" iPad.  My students use the iPads for a variety activities throughout the day, but one of their favorites is for our "Listen to Reading" center during our guided reading time.  FarFaria was perfect for this center.  Let me show you why.

When you access the app, the home screen will show you recently added books, your recently read books, and some thematic books.  For example, right now there is a category of "Books for Black History Month."

Students can choose books here or click on Explore and explore the different FarFaria worlds.  These include Mt. Make Believe, Preschool Playground, Adventure Island, and many others.  This is my students' favorite.  They get to choose stories from their favorite worlds.  

One of the many features I love is that the books are aligned to my students' reading levels.  I can easily choose books for my students to read based on reading level.

Another feature that makes me swoon:  the app has the option for students to either read the story to themselves or have it read to them.  I usually have my students listen to the story first and then if the story is at the correct reading level I have the students also read it to themselves.  

When they choose the read to me option, the story highlights the words as they are being said.  I can't imagine a teacher who wouldn't love that option.  

In addition to using this at center time, I have started using this when my "high flyers" finish early.  I am able to give them an iPad and they are so engaged in the stories that it makes it hard for me to tell them to put them away!  

This app has helped my students get even more excited about reading.  I can't say that I blame them......I am so excited about this app myself.  We even downloaded it on our home iPad so my son and daughter can use.  My kids read every night and sometimes we run out of books before we have a chance to get back to the library.  FarFaria saves the day!  We have so many books at our fingertips it makes our nightly reading even more engaging and FUN!

There are many more amazing features.  We can save our favorite books to My Favorites.  There is also a book club where you can interact with others about the books you are reading.

Are you thinking that this amazing app would be the perfect addition to your classroom?  Well, you are in luck.  Zach from FarFaria has agreed to give away a subscription.  If you don't win, that's ok, they have a free version, but I highly recommend the subscription.  It is totally worth it!

This giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, March 1st.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 6, 2015

Five for Friday {100th Day Style}

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

I am going to share my 5 favorite moments from our 100th Day celebration today.

We dressed up like we were 100 years old!  These are just a couple of my favorite outfits.

We, of course, made hats and fruit loop necklaces.  My room continued to smell like fruit loops all day long!

{Another one of my favorite outfits of the day!}

We did a center rotation with the other kindergarten class.  We spread them out to 6 different activities.  Here are a few.

Our friend Zero the Hero brought us a yummy treat.  I just melt white chocolate and then add a pretzel stick and two m&m's so it looks like a 100.  Simple and easy.

At the end of the day we made this fun craft.  I am not sure where it is from.  If you do, let me know in the comments below so I can give that person a shout out!

Needless to say, now this teacher is EXHAUSTED!  Therefore, I am heading to lay down with a good book and a warm blanket.

How do you celebrate 100th day in your classroom?  I would love to hear!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Let's Play a Sight Word Game

I recently created a couple of new sight word game packs that are based off of the sight word game "Crash."  As a result, I have had quite a few emails asking how to play this game.  This post should explain it and clear up any questions you may have!

I am using the version that my students are currently using (Winter).  You can find my year long packs here.

 Start with all the cards of your chosen theme placed face down.  I just let my students put them in a pile like this or you could have them stack them up.  This is just easier and faster.  :)

You can play with at least two students, but I wouldn't play with more than four at a time.  I make multiple "decks" if I am having more than four students play.

First student chooses a card and reads the sight word on the card.  If they can read the word, they get to keep it.  If they cannot read the word, the card goes back into the pile.

Then the next student takes a turn and follows the same steps.

If a student draws a "crash" card, (in this case a snowflake card) the student puts all their word cards back in the pile, but keeps the "crash" card.

Continue to play the game until all the cards have been played.  I usually just call that the end of the game and let the students play again, but you can let the students count their cards and whoever has the most can be the winner.  I don't particularly like letting them count to find a winner because it creates some unwanted drama with my kiddos.  ;)

I have created a pre-primer and a primer version of this game.  Each set includes 14 different themed versions of this game.  I teach my students how to play the game and then I can easily switch it out with different themes and different sight words as they progress throughout the year.

I use this as a center or as an activity for early finishers.  The students know exactly what to do and how to play.  I absolutely love this game!

If you have any other questions, please comment below and I will answer them for all to see.  Someone else may have the same question as you!  :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

GoNoodle Sanity Savers

I am linking up with my sweet friend Elizabeth over at Kickin' It In Kindergarten for some sanity savers.

It's that time of year we were are forced to stay inside at recess time because it is just too darn cold out.  Our district's rule is we can go outside if the wind-chill is 10 or above.  All I can say is thank goodness for GoNoodle!  It is a lifesaver especially with the new indoor recess mixes.  They are the perfect length to keep my students up and moving during our entire recess time.

I love that GoNoodle saved me some time by creating these mixes so I can just press play and then we can have fun for recess!  My students are so much more focused after doing these.

My Happy Place is my house, probably more importantly my couch.  I love stretching out and relaxing after a long day of work, meetings, and running kiddos to sporting events.

My current guilty pleasure is binge watching Netflix.  I don't think I am the only one either since a week or so ago there was a little linky going on over on Instagram all about it.

Keep calm and eat chocolate!  I mean......does it even need an explanation?  I keep Dove Dark Chocolate Promises in my room just as a little pick me up when needed.  So yummy!

Head on over to Elizabeth's blog and link up with her for a chance to win some fun GoNoodle gear!

Peek at My Week: Arctic Animals

It is Sunday again which means I am busy finishing to prepare for our first week of Arctic Animals.

Right now, my class is really needing some work with sight words and CVC words so that is the biggest part of my literacy centers this week.

We will be focusing our literacy and science time this week on arctic animals.  The first part of the week will be penguins and then we will learn about walruses and possibly polar bears too if time allows.

For writing, we are using Lucy Calkin's Units of Study program.  We are taking two days for each lesson because, well, that is what my students need.

In Math, I am using Deanna and Deedee's awesome Math Units.  I am loving the flow of these and my students are learning so much!

Without further ado, here are my plans.

My students were struggling with sight words so I created a year's worth of sight word games.  The best part???  It's the same game (based on the "Crash" game), but with 14 different themes.  I teach the students the game and then they are able to play all year long.  Once they master a set of sight words, I just switch out the words with new ones.  I love how it creates a sense of independence because they can play it by themselves, but the best part.....they love the game and it helps encourage them to learn their sight words.

If you are interested in any of these products, just click on the image.  I hope you have an amazing week.  I am just hoping we get to have school all five days.  Last week, we had one day that school was cancelled and all the other days I had about 1/4 of my class gone each day due to the weather.

I am ready to get back into a normal routine as I know my students are too.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Storage & Organization

This year our students were asked to bring in either headphones or earbuds as part of their supplies for school.  Since our computer lab already has headphones that the students can use, my students keep their headphones in the classroom to use with our iPads.

I like to be organized and keep my classroom neat so finding a place to store these headphones while keeping them easily accessible to the students was a challenge at first, but then I had a light bulb moment.

I needed small containers that had a lid that was easy for my students get on and off.  I found these containers at the Dollar Tree.  The lids don't completely come off, but instead just open up.  They fit perfectly on top of my vent without covering the vent.  This is an easily accessible area for the students to grab their headphones.

I have the headphones sorted by their reading group so it is easy for them to know where they go.  The students can just grab the basket and take it to their spot to use the iPads.  It works like a charm.

Do your students bring in headphones?  How do you store them?  I would love to hear about it.

Hope your new year is off to a great start!