Saturday, July 19, 2014

Guided Reading Organization Bright Idea

It's almost time to head back to school and I have started preparing for the beginning of the year.  I love getting my room ready each year.  Do you??

One of my favorite areas to organize is my guided reading area.  I am going to show you my bright idea for guided reading organization

I use one of those multi-drawer carts and keep it next to my guided reading table.

My reading groups have animal names so each drawer has a picture of an animal on it.  The animal corresponds with the groups.  On top of the cart, I have my guided reading basket.

When I call over a group, say the monkey group, I just pull out the monkey drawer and it will have everything I need for that day's lesson.

This is typical contents of my drawer.

I like to keep my student's guided reading notebooks in the group drawer because it is one less item in their cubby.  I put the book for that day, any flashcards we may need, pointers, and pencils.  Having pencils in each drawer eliminates time wasted while students go back to their crayon boxes to get a pencil.  Plus, I also know that the pencil is sharp and ready to go so no time wasted on sharpening pencils either.

I also keep a guided reading basket next to my table with extra supplies that I may need or supplies I might need for multiple groups.

I keep my guided reading lesson plan binder, whiteboards, extra flashcards, dry erase markers, pointers, question cards, etc.  I love having everything I may need right at my fingertips.

How do you organize your guided reading materials?  Would something like this work for you?

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Check out some of these other bright ideas in our link up below!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to School MUST HAVES!

I know it is only July, but I ran up to school this past weekend just to grab something real quick and ending up leaving about two hours later.

Does this happen to anyone else?  Please tell me I'm not the only one!!

Spending that time in my classroom got me thinking about back to school and I started making a list of some items I needed to pick up for the beginning of the year.

I thought it would be fun to make a list of all my Back To School Must Haves!!

1.  Clorox Wipes - I know the custodians clean the room, but I just always feel better after giving everything a good clean with some Clorox wipes.

2.  Pens - The Papermate Ink Joy pens are my favorite because I use them to color code my planner.  I also love the Papermate Flair pens though too!

3.  Labels - I create labels for all my students' notebooks (math, science & social studies, guided reading, poetry).  I also like the small labels for labeling the students' folders, planners, etc.

4.  Ticonderoga Pencils - I ask my students to bring in pencils, but most pencils now really stink to be quite honest.  I buy tons of Ticonderoga ones to use because they sharpen the best and last the longest.  I use the regular yellow ones for my students and then I always purchase some different colored ones for me.  This way I always know which pencils are mine.  :)

5.  Binders - I use binders for my lesson plan book, assessment binder, and KIDS binder.  I also like to keep my TpT products in binders as well.

6.  Post It Notes - I mean.....does this really need an explanation??  I love having a huge variety of them!

7.  Scentos Markers - I love making cute anchor charts with my favorite Scentos markers.  I can't wait for these to hit the stores so I can purchase a few more sets.  I may have a *slight* Scentos obsession and may have even bought a new Thiry-One container just to hold all these babies.  ;)

What are your back to school MUST have items?  Please sound off in the comments below!  I love hearing everyone's ideas.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July is Here

How is it already July?  This summer seems to be flying by....probably because I have been so busy.  I am not complaining though.  I have been having a blast this summer.

I am linking up with Farley again for Currently.  Head on over to her blog to link up as well!

Listening:  I am on vacation in the Ozarks and it is "rest time" meaning that we have already been swimming, skiing, and kneeboarding.  Usually after lunch we take a little nap, but today I decided to stay up and enjoy the peace and quiet (well and blog ;).

 (I got my toes in the water.....)

Loving:  I love the lake life.  In fact, I keep singing that song "I love the night life", but I keep singing it as "I Love the Lake Life".  I may be annoying my husband, but it keeps me happy.

My little princess catching fish.

Thinking:  I wish we could stay here all summer, but we have to head home in a few days.  It is always just so relaxing here.

My little man doing the zipline!

Wanting:  I want time to stand still for awhile.  I am loving this summer!

Needing:  I have a paper due on Thursday for grad school and I am just not finding the motivation to get it done.  :(

4th plans:  We always celebrate down here and actually we are celebrating tomorrow.  The WHOLE family (well pretty much) will be here so we will be setting off fireworks here at the cabin, eating lots of yummy food, and just having a great time!  I can't wait!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I am linking up with Hope from 2nd Grade Shenanigans for Throwback Thursday.  I am sharing a popular post about Math Apps I like to use in my classroom.


I recently posted about some of the literacy apps I use in my kindergarten classroom.  If you are interested in reading that, please click {here}.  After that post, I had some people ask about the math apps that I use.  I am here to tell you all about it today!

The apps I am showing you today are all free.  Some have the option to purchase the full version, but for now I am just using the free version. 

Just as I do with my literacy centers, one of my math centers is the iPad center.  I choose which app the students are doing at that time, but on Fridays for Free Choice Centers the students have the opportunity to use any app on the iPad they wish. 

These are my two favorite math apps of the moment:

Animal Math

The three free activities included in this app are math activities with counting, sequencing & patterns, and addition to 5.

When students get on the app, this is what they will see:

They will choose which animal to “play”
Bessie (cow) – Counting to 10
Ralphie (cat) – Sequences & Patterns
Albert (zebra) – Addition to 5

For each game, the students will answer a series of questions.  If they choose a wrong answer then that answer will disappear and the student will choose another answer.  If they answer correctly (no matter if they have previously answered incorrectly), the app cheers for them.  I really like this because no matter the student’s ability, they can feel successful because the app is cheering for them. 

Here are a couple screenshots from the app:
(there is quite a variety of questions so I just included a small sample)

Counting to 10

Sequences & Patterns

Addition to 5

I have been using the addition to 5 section as that is what we are working on in math right now.  My students are seriously loving this app.  I think your students will enjoy it as well. 

Turbo Math

This app has a lot to choose from.  When the students get on the app, they will need to choose their name and then pick a lesson to do.  I like using this app to differentiate so I choose which "game" I want the students to play.  

You can choose from the following categories:  Counting I, Counting II, Number Sense, Addition, Subtraction, and Time, Money, & Geometry.  (The categories are on the left hand side)

Within each category there are many different skills.  Each skill has its own "game".  For example, in the addition category, there are 20 different skills starting with addition of 1 and ending with adding 3 single digit numbers - up to 10.  (Skills are on the right hand side)

As I stated earlier, we are starting addition so I had most of my students focus on that portion of the app.  Here is what the students will see:

They need to slide the number to the sea animals.  For this example, you slide the number 7 up to the seahorses.  

Here is an example from the number sense category:

Here is an example from the subtraction games:

Example from the geometry category:

I really feel that the Turbo Math is a great choice for differentiating with your class.  There are so many FREE activities that you can choose from and many different skills being covered.  My students LOVE this app and I am sure your students will too.

Do you have a favorite math app that your primary students use?  Tell me all about it in the comments!  I am always looking for new apps in my classroom.  :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kindergarten Graduation Invitation

School has been out for a week now and I am finally getting around to sharing with you all about our kindergarten graduation.  (I have been really busy with my graduate courses)

About a month before our graduation, I was poking around on the Treat Greeting Cards website because I wanted to create a special invitation that my students' parents would LOVE!  This kindergarten graduation is a special time and something I know the parents will never forget.  The invitation had to be just as special.

This is what I came up with:

 On the front of the card, I put a picture of our whole graduating class. 

This was the inside of the card.  I left the space under the "Love," blank so that the students could personally write their name on the card for their parent.  It was a great personal touch.

The parents really liked these cards and I know as a parent it is something I would put in my own child's "treasure box".  (You know....that box that you put all the important things in)

I will back next week to tell you all about what we did for our graduation, but for now I am off to pack for our quick little getaway this weekend.  If you want to follow along with my adventures, then you will want to follow me on instagram by clicking here or clicking on the camera at the top of the page.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June Currently and Winner

It is officially summer vacation!  I am beyond thrilled.  I love sleeping in, spending time with my kiddos, and enjoying the sun outside.

Once again, I am a little late to the party, but I am linking up with the ever fabulous and hilarious Farley for this month's Currently!

Listening:  As I said it's first day of summer vacation.  My kids are still sleeping and I am sitting on the couch with my laptop enjoying my coffee and listening to the birds outside chirping.  It's the best!

Loving:  Summer!!!  Need I say more??

Thinking:  I know this shouldn't be on my mind, but it is.  I am taking two grad classes this summer.  I am hoping to still get some relaxation in, but I need to get started on my first assignments for my classes.

Wanting:  I love that my kids and I get to spend so much time together just us during the summer.  We always make a summer fun list with all the things we want to do over the summer.  We try to complete as many of them as possible.  We usually complete them all or most of the all.  I can't wait to get started on our list today!

Needing:  Now that I am done teaching for the summer I will be doing most of the cooking at our house.  Usually that is my hubby's job because he is better at it than I.  :)  Anyone have some great EASY recipes they would love to share?  I would love it!

Sumer Bucket List:
1.  I can't wait to get back here for ten days of relaxation!

2.  We love to spend time outside and I plan on doing that as much as possible.  Even if it means taking my laptop out on the deck to work on assignments for grad school.

3.  I have been participating in #3weeksnocheats and have done great about my eating.  I have even lost almost 5 pounds in two weeks, but I really need to get back to working out consistently.  Hoping to find my groove this week and get back in that habit.

And now for the winner of my Rhyme to Read app........congrats goes to Kimberly Chaiken!  Kimberly, check your email!  :)

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to link up with Farley so we can read all about your currently!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rhyme to Read App GIVEAWAY!

You all know how much I love to find and use great educational apps in my classroom especially during literacy centers.  I am so excited to share with you all a new app that I was lucky enough to "test drive".  It is called Rhyme to Read.

This app has 20 different books in the app that each focus on a particular word family.  Right now there are only short vowel word families, but each short vowel has 4 different word family stories.

Not only does this app have stories with a word family focus, but they also introduce 35 sight words. This is music to my ears.

Here is a little preview of the app:

 This is what the students will see once they get into the app.  As you can see, all the stories are there for them to choose.

Once they choose a story, this is what they will see.  This is book 1 so you can see that the text is fairly simple.

Here is a picture of book 8.  As you can see, as the number of the book gets higher, the text gets more complex.  I had my struggling readers start with book 1 and work their way through the list.  My advanced readers were allowed to choose whichever book they wanted to read.

Want to know my FAVORITE part?  Do you notice the color coding?  This helps with visual and auditory discrimination.  I also love that my students can touch a word and the app will read it to them.  Sometimes my struggling readers like to try to do stories that are just too difficult for them.  With this feature, they have a lot of support if they try a story that is difficult for them!

I was using this app during my Daily 5 time for Read to Self and Read to Someone.  One week it was for Read to Self and the next week they used the app with a partner for Read to Someone.

I have a lot of students who still struggle with rhyming.  After using this app, they were started to get the hang of rhyming words.  I wish I had found this app earlier in the year.  I can't wait to see how my students do with it next school year when they are able to start from the beginning of the year with this app.  :)

Thinking this app would be something you would like?  You have a few choices:  purchase the whole set for $9.99, buy individual books for $0.99 each, or try to win the app for FREE here on my blog!  Just enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win the whole set.  Giveaway will end on Sunday at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  I received the app for free, but the review is entirely my own opinion!