Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blogger Meet Up Re-cap

I am sure by now you have heard all about the amazing teacher blogger meet up in French Lick a couple weeks ago.  We are all linking up this weekend for two reasons:  {1} to tell you all about it and {2} to give away some awesome swag!

I am going to do my post #hashtag style because I know you will be reading lots of posts about this weekend and I thought it would be fun.  Plus, who doesn’t love a good #hashtag?


#themeoftheweekend #inspiration #bestweekendever

#thegirlswhomadeitallhappen #thankyouhollyandbrittany 
#hollyhasabutton  #hostesseswithmostestess

#hollysoprahmoment 
#everyonegetsanerincondrenplanner

#helpingpassouttheswag 

#bestroommatesever #sportingourswag

#teacherswag #verabradley #lakeshore #scentos 
#teachercreatedmaterials #gonoodle #scentsy
#oragamiowl #erincondren

#readingtheleftrightstory #whatisupwithmyfaceinthispic

#teachertoolswap #somuchfun #kindergarten #thankyou

#insprininggroupofteachers #bestofthebest

#pjparty #thankyoutpt #thankyougonoodle #tptrocks
#gonoodlerocks #teachersrock


#bestphotoboothever  #lovethesegirls #somuchfun


#thankyougonoodle  #teacherslovegonoodle #popseeko #igetloose

#deannajump #nuffsaid


#lovethisgirl #shesthebest #cantwaitfornextyear

I seriously cannot wait until next year.  This is my favorite weekend of the year.  It is so nice because I couldn't make it to Vegas last year or this year because of grad school, but this is just as fun.  :)

#winyourownswag

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#checkoutotherposts




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Teacher Tool Swap Gift Exchange Linky


As you have probably heard.....I spent last weekend in French Lick, Indiana with over 100 other ah.  maz.  ing. teachers and bloggers.  It was inspiring and rejuvenating.  Basically, it was just what I needed to give me that extra push for the rest of the year.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was our Teacher Tool Swap Gift Exchange.  Each teacher brought some of their favorite "tools" and then we played a fun little left-right game.  Whatever goodie bag you ended up with was yours to keep.

Because there were so many of us, we split up into grade level groups.  Here is our kindergarten group.



I have to say that I think I really hit the jackpot with my gift.  The sweet Sierra was my gift giver.  It was like she knew the gift was going to go to me.  Here is a little peek:


Do you see that big box of flair pens?  I mean.....what teacher doesn't love flair pens?  I don't think I have met one.

One of my favorite items in the gift were the "keep eyes focused" pointers.  Sierra is a genius with these cute little pointers.


My students were so excited about using these.  They definitely helped my students stay focused.


Another item that I loved were these cute apple clips labeled "graded" and "un-graded."  I put these to work right away.  Adorable!


Thanks to Christina for hosting this fun linky.  If you want to check out all the other fun items people gave, click on the links below.  Let me tell you that some people got some pretty amazing gifts!






Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bright Idea for Small Group Word Work


Primary teachers do a lot of small group word work activities especially during guided reading time.  I was feeling stuck in a rut so I decided to mix up my word work activities.


The first activity that I do with my students is called "What's Missing?"  For this activity I use a whiteboard.  I show them our focus word (when) that I wrote on the whiteboard and then I will hide the board and erase a letter.  When I show the word to my group, they tell me which letter or letters is missing from the word.  The students get so excited about this game and I will often have to remind them that they don't need to shout.  They are only shouting though because they are excited about the word.  I love that they are learning to read and write the word and they think it's a game.

The second activity that I like to do is called "Mix & Fix."  I have letter cubes, but you could also use letter cards or even magnetic letters.


The students use the focus word for our lesson.  We mix the letters.


Then they make the word and show the teacher while reading the word.


Then they do it again.  I usually have my students do this about three times before putting the letters away.  With using these letter cubes, I tell them they have to use the lowercase letters and not the uppercase.  This helps when it comes to writing the word.

One last activity we do is called "Cover & Write."  Each student gets a whiteboard and marker.  They write the word they just mixed and fixed.


After they write it once, they cover the word with their hand and write it again.


I have my students write the word three or four times depending on how much time we have within our small group time.

I hope you enjoyed these small group word work activity ideas.  If you would like other great ideas you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook.



Don't forget to check out all these other bright ideas too.




Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Cleaning Classroom Routines Blog Hop



Hi friends, I had a great time in French Lick, IN with over 100 other amazing teachers and bloggers for an epic weekend.  I am sure by now you have heard all about the teachers taking over French Lick.  If not, you can follow everyone's posts on IG and Facebook with #springteacherbloggermeetup2015.  Yep, longest hashtag ever.  Haha!

Not only did I spend time with amazing people all weekend, but I was also lucky enough to be share a room with these fabulous ladies:



Latoya Reed (Flying Into First), Alexandria Jackson (Classroom Action with Ms. Jackson), 
CaseyJane Cooper (Wiggling Scholars), Heidi Neels (Flipping for First), and me.  :)

We know that not everyone could make it to the meet up so we wanted to share our fun with you by offering some fresh ideas, a fun blog hop, and a giveaway.  :)

I don't know about you, but during January, February, and March sometimes routines in the classroom can get a little stale.  We teach them a lot in the beginning of the year, but by this point our little sweeties might "forget" those routines or rules.  I have a couple of ways I like to keep things fresh during this long stretch.

#1  Have a variety of attention-grabbers for your students.  They always need to keep an ear or eye out for the different ways you are asking for their attention.  Some of my favorites:








#2  Re-teaching the procedures and rules.  I re-teach my procedures again in January after winter break and then again in the spring after spring break.  Just keep these fresh in their little minds.


#3  I LOVE to praise and reward my students, but I am not always into giving them a tangible item.  I found these little babies at the dollar store and bought them up right away.  When I see a student working extra hard, I sneak over grab one of these and put it on their table.  They get to keep all day long.  You would not believe how much this motivates my students.  



#4 I can't say this is my idea because it isn't.  It is my principal's, but I love it and it has really helped with behaviors in the classroom.  We give out "Caught Being Good" cards that we call Wampums.  Randomly on the back of some is this cute duck stamp.  If a student gets a card with a duck, they get to go to the principal's office and get a rubber ducky out of her duck pond.  The kiddos flip over these ducks.


I hope you can use some of these ideas in your classroom to help keep things fresh during this long stretch.  As a  thank you for being fabulous followers and to share the love a bit you can enter the giveaway to win a product of your choice from my TpT store.



Now hop on over to my friend Ms. Jackson's blog to read about some other ideas and enter her giveaway.  :)
Have a great week friends.  I know I will!

Photobucket




Sunday, March 8, 2015

Loved That Lesson: Subtraction Fun!


Don't you just love when you think of an idea for a lesson totally a whim and then your students end up totally getting into it?  I do!  That is what happened this week.

Let me explain:  We have been learning about addition and subtraction for a little while, but my students really struggle with using a part, part, whole mat.  I needed a different way to teach it.  On my way to school one day this week, a thought popped into my head and when I got to school I quickly changed my plan for math that day and I am so glad that I did.


I created a SMARTboard notebook page with a part, part, whole organizer and then a subtraction problem at the bottom.  Then I added stars to be our manipulatives.


I pulled student number sticks and had students come up to represent first the whole with stars and then writing the number on the equation.






Then another student would come up and move some of the stars to the first part box and write their number on the equation.


Lastly, a final student moved the rest of the stars into the second part box and wrote our answer on the line.




My students love any chance they get to use the SMARTboard and this really helped them grasp the concept of the part, part, whole mat.  On Monday, they will do the same lesson, but this time with a partner and their own mat and manipulatives rather than whole group.  I know that it will be much easier this time for them as they quickly grasped the concept during our SMARTboard lesson.



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!


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