Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Guess who's posting!

Oh my, it has been too long since I last posted! I made it one of my goals to try and post AT LEAST once a month. Is this pitiful that this post shows the only pictures I have taken since my last one?! I've been good about taking pics of my kids during our most memorable days: First day of K, Decorating our Gingerbread Man cookies, With their favorite book, Checking out their first library book, and our 100th day!
Here's a FEW pics of what we have been up to this January!
I introduced this fun number game (from Growing Kinders!) to my students in a small group and challenged them when they finished: "Show me the number 2, as many ways as you can." So you see the kids using tally marks, numerals, dots, ten frames, drawings, and number words. (We worked on that A TON at the beginning of the year!)
A fun idea I got from Tara at Little Minds at Work. Working on spelling sight words with magnetic letter tiles. These words were in their leveled readers, which we highlights in their paper versions to take home and keep.Ya'll- if you have not checked out her blog post on guided reading in kindergarten, you MUST!!!! It's full of genius ideas!
Anyone notice my beautiful new kidney bean table??? Thanks to donorschoose, I finally have one and got rid of the old, ginormous rectangular one. YAY! I love my small group area now!
I even got some adorable new baskets from the Dollar Tree and labeled each group to keep our leveled readers, games, etc. in. This helps keep me organized and transition from group to group easily! (I meet with every child, every day, for 15 minutes).
I got this ADORABLE retelling chart idea from Simple Second Grade.

Last week, we practiced retelling using key details with the following winter books:
(click on each picture to go to the link)

If you haven't read Diamond in the Snow, you need to find it. My mom bought it for me a long time ago, but if you click on the photo below, it will take you to the author's website. It's such cute story, and my littles totally giggled at parts and we connected it to our ice experiment when we learned all about matter the week before!
We also read a book called "Snow" from the Journey's series, but I didn't have any luck finding a picture on google.

On that Friday, I assessed my student's in a few ways. I had them practice retelling me a story we read all week (orally) and I took notes on who struggled with the skill on a checklist/grid I made with all my student's names.

Then I gave them each this quick little assessment to complete in small groups. My kids couldn't read all it, so I made sure I would read one part at a time to them. Then I'd have them place it where they thought it would go before the glued it. In kindergarten, this skill is with prompting and support- so I made note of any student who needed more help/corrections. I made sure to have them glue it on the right spot. My low babies struggled with this, so I asked them to orally tell me "Who were the characters?" (and as they named them, I would give them the piece that said that character's name.) I did the same with setting and major events. This seemed to help them be more successful! 

So I'm proud to say that WITH PROMPTING AND SUPPORT- all my babies mastered the skill of retelling! =) 

Now lets get onto some math fun. We had a blast celebrating the 100th day of school! My kids thought it was SO COOL to trade in our 10 towers of 10 for a block of 100! They literally went "OOoo! WOW!"
Hip! Hip! Hooray it's our 100th day! My kids loved trading our ten towers of 10 for a block of 100!

I used the AMAZING 100th day freebie from Cara at First Grade Parade for our 100th day centers! 

The kids loved them!

Here are just a few pics of my kids in action!
Matching Hershey Kisses (with #s 1-100 on a dot sticker on the bottom) to the 100s chart!

The coolest structure that was built! They had difficulty using all 100 marshmallows in 20 minutes or less. So I think next year I may have them work in a larger group as a team!

I provided them with 100 mini-solo cups- but the kids only got this far with them before they would crumble to the ground! It's okay though! They loved it so much they asked if they could keep them for indoor recess time! Why not?! =)

This one had me cracking up! Right as I went to take a picture of their structure, all the cups fell and her face was priceless. I had to giggle and that's when the hands came out on her hips and she grinned! Love it!
The cups were definitely the class favorite! I think I may have a group of engineers in the works!

Speaking of which! This week in science, we are exploring all the ways objects move. (straight/zigzag, up/down, back/forth, round and round, side to side, fast/slow)  It was surprisingly difficult to find some activities I could with objects around the classroom. But I found some great ideas at Little Miss Hypothesis! My favorite was the "Objects can move" predictable chart! I just noticed that she even has a whole packet on TPT... so I think I will have to purchase that next year!
But as I was researching ideas on how to work on this concept in the classroom, I remember watching Peewee's Big Adventure and being glued to the TV when his breakfast "Rube Goldberg" machine would start! Oh how my curiosity would soar! So I thought, why not show something similiar to my kids to get them excited? Well I stumbled across this amazing commercial on youtube and my kids were OBSESSED. I'm telling you- we watched it like 3 times and talked about all the different ways the objects moved. They were so excited. I told them that engineers (like my dad!) build and invent machines. Then I asked them... after watching this "Who want's be an engineer?!" And I tell you- EVERY. SINGLE. HAND. WAS UP!!!! I need to get me these "Goldieblox" for my classroom AND my nieces! (I bet my dad's already on it though! He tried to get me to be an engineer, but my heart just wasn't in it.)

So during indoor recess, we got out he blocks and those kids WENT TO TOWN! It was so exciting to see them psyched up about something we were learning! I love it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Literacy Centers

Ya'll won't believe it! I actually remembered to snap a few pics for the blog this week! I have to apologize, this school year has had a CRAZY start, but things are starting to settle down a little finally! I was inspired by one of my good friends and co-worker, Katie from Living the First Grade Dream to share how we do literacy centers in our room! I have to give a big thank you to Deedee Wills because I use a ton of her ideas and creations in my room! I love that the centers are 'predictable' in the sense that I don't have to think too hard about what centers I'm going to do each week and that the kids can do them independently without instruction after a few weeks! It's changed the whole atmosphere of my stations since I started using her stuff! (I was not asked to promote her creations... I just truly love it that much!!!) THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU DEEDEE!!!!

Some of you may remember my post over a year ago about my literacy station rotation. I had a TON of emails and comments asking if I would share the rotation cards and chart, but I did not have the license to do so from ThistleGirlDesigns so I could not. But I recently changed my cards to the the free rotation cards that Deedee made! So you can go here and download her awesome freebie!

Here's my station rotation chart. (kids faces/names are blurred) At the end of each day I rotate the stations on the left down once. The kids' pictures don't ever move unless I switch them from another group based on abilities. The numbers to the right are what table they work at for their seat work station (to prevent them from crowding around the same table and chit-chatting. Props to Mrs. McDonough for that idea! Hi Candy!!!) =)

 Here's a close up of the rotation schedule. During seat work, my kids have been working on sight words. I use the RTI Sight word pack because it has all of our sight words for the year, and then I supplement the color words and number words. (Click links to head to see what I'm using!) You'll see that I meet with EVERY student, EVERY day for 15 minutes. Now I'm not going to lie, a lot of times, I'm not finished with centers until 10:50-11, because of transitions, my reading lesson went a little long, someone was running out in the hall, etc. (I'm telling you, this has been a CRAZY year.) But it's getting better!!!

Onto the stations...

The first center I started to introduce to my kiddos was this sorting station. I like to start off with our sound tubs (from Lakeshore) b/c the kids love it and are really engaged. Eventually I'll move into sorting picture cards because I have ones for not only sorting beginning sounds, but also ending sounds, middle sounds, blends and rhyming words! So we'll transition through them all throughout the year!

The recording sheet I use is a freebie from Deedee, but I can't seem to find the link so maybe she took it down. But all you need is a t-chart! =) The first few weeks, I had A LOT of scribbling. So I took some extra time on Mondays to model how to see the shapes in each objects, using the same colors to match the actual object, etc. so Ms. G can tell what you drew! Since then, they have been so much better! No more scribbling! If they scribble, it goes in the trash and they start over. (I know, I'm so mean. hehe)

The next center is our listening center. Pretty simple. The kids listen to the story and draw and write about their favorite part. The recording sheet is a freebie from Deedee also! However, I'm really wanting to check out her new listening center packets that go with certain stories! They look so good!

The pocket chart center is something I was inspired by many other teachers in the blog world. I used to have the sentences up on the pocket chart, but I was using so many sentence strips and had to change them every year because our district keeps changing our sight words (erg! lol). So for now, they get a recording sheet and clipboard, fill in the missing color words and color the picture at the end of each sentence to match. The use the die cuts to help them spell the color words.

The next center is the stamping center. This is a purchase from Deedee's TPT store that was worth every penny! The kids LOVE this station and it's wonderful practice for them with sight words and sounding out CVC words and reviewing our word family from the week prior! The first few weeks, I wanted to pull my hair out after seeing the ink everywhere, but NOW... even my little rascals are able to use the stamps without making a big mess! Clearly, my table could use a little cleaning though! Haha! But honestly, it just took some practice and encouragement for them to keep the ink off their hands and arms! They always aim to please- I just love kindergarteners! =)

My last station is the writing station. Currently, I've been doing a Read- Trace- Write- Draw sentence paper to get my kids used to writing a sentence. But....I am introducing Deedee's October writing station next week. I've had Deedee's writing station units for the entire year for over 2 years and just now got it set up on a bulletin board! I stayed late last night getting some twine hung up on the board and clipping the pictures up! I"ll post some pictures next week! I can't wait to start using them and my kids came in this morning and were SO excited to see all the fun pictures and words they can write about now!

If my kids finish their station or seat work early... they look up at the board to find out what they can do next. (the picture cards are from What the Teacher Wants!)

The ABC tubs are numbered and filled with several different activities that they kids have all used independently from the first two months of school! 

That's it. I have LOVED this station rotation and since starting it, I've had glowing remarks on my stations and small groups from administrators! 

Okay.... so you'll be so proud of me. I actually am starting to write down some blogging ideas so I can share what we are doing in my room more often! I know there are some AMAZING teachers out there, way more creative than me... but I love seeing different teachers' ideas, so maybe my posts will help some of you! I hope so! I remember starting this blog back in 2011 and was so excited to post pictures and create freebies. It's amazing to see how the blogging world has exploded for teachers! Such a great resource! How did teachers teach before TPT, blogs and pinterest??? Seriously... I'd love to know! =)

My upcoming posts will be on:
Our 50th day celebration (tomorrow!!!), our morning routines, RTI and what we've been up to in reading, writing and math!

Hope to see you back here! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School Night, Organization & First Week of School!

Hey all! It's been a busy and fun week in my classroom! I've been coming home late and zonking out every night this week! I wanted to share a few things I did for our Back to School Night. 

My classroom ready for the kiddos and families.
My adorable hallway display. Got the bird templates and idea from one of my FAVORITES: Life in First Grade!
And I had this cute little tour made by Katie over at Little Warriors for the kids to get familiar to our room. It was a hit!

I found this ADORABLE freebie on Crazy for First Grade and had to use it! All the goodies listed were inside the bag and each kiddo got to take one home. They loved it!
Ever year, on first 1/2 day I go over a powerpoint presentation with the families and talk about the kindergarten/school expectatations. I gave the ppt a new look and LOVE how it turned out!

Last week I promised that I would post a few more organizational things I do in my classroom....

My bestie/next door neighbor at school had this great idea of using scrapbook paper to "pretty-up" my drawers! These help keep me organized and sit right next to my teacher station.

Updated the backgrounds for how I post my standards. (Frames are from the Dollar Tree)

My version of the teacher toolbox! I LOVE it! I made a smaller one for my office and made it pink. =)

And finally, here a few ADORABLE crafts we made during our first week of school! We did these during our small group/guided reading time since they need a lot of assistance. All of these crafts can be found in Deanna Jump's Literacy and Math Fun with Names unit.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peek at my Week: First Week of Kindergarten '14

Today I am linking up with Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten to share my plans for our first full week of school! You'll notice that I have weekly skills that I post in my classroom. This is required by my school. So we decide what we want our kids to be able to do independently (having "the end in mind") and create our lesson plans/activities to help them get there for the week. I do question the kids on several different skills (even though I'm assessing them on author/illustrator, I will still ask questions as we read on key details, discuss unknown words, etc.)  I'm not fancy and have all the fun clipart, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

I will try and post pictures later this week of the activities we are doing! Most of the name activities are from Deanna Jump's unit: Math & Literacy Fun with Names. Also, I should note that we will not start RTI in kindergarten until middle of September, which is why I have some fun name activities in it's place for now!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

New school year, new degree, new hair, new blog design

Hey y'all! Im so excited! I am officially done with grad school and can spend more time on school... For now anyways. ;) I've been missing this ol blog and trying to catch up on all that I have missed. So with a fresh new start I wanted to have a new blog design. I just love it! If you're looking for a good designer, go check out Megan at:
A Bird in Hand Designs

I was so glad to find her! She totally read my mind for what I wanted. 

Onto school stuff... My k team and I had our first day with all our kiddos yesterday. So we had to take our annual first day of school pic! One of my teammates' best friend works at her family's local sporting goods store and they've made a few shirts we wanted. These ones are my fav! Our initials are on the front and formed into the shape of an apple. So cute and so soft! 
(Side note: I'm a brunette now! It's not the best pic but you can def tell how dark it is now! I'm still getting used to it.)
On the back we have our school initials and grade level.  We're dorks and made muscle arms to show we were ready for the kinders!

I had to show you these cute activities my classroom neighbor, Bethany did....

Aren't they precious? She made a smaller version of the No David craft. It's too cute!

I believe she found this idea on a blog through Pinterest. I'm totally doing this next week in small groups when we're working on names.

Last week we read The Kissing Hand and made their handprints to go with the story.

The poem I used was found in a oldie from First Grade Blue Skies. I tried to look it up, but I think  she's updated the packet to make it even better and sells it on TPT now!


Later I got out a mystery bag filled with school supplies and introduced them one by one. As I pulled each item out of the bag we would go over the rules of what to do and not to do with them. Then I'd model how to use them with the activity page below. We did it step by step and I gave them about 10 minutes to do each and they were so engaged. They did a great job too! 

You can find the activity page on kindertrips' blog under her freebies called "back to school worksheets".

I wrote out the morning message so we could practice echo reading as I tracked the words.

And we wrote our first predictable chart out.

Everything else I did was teach them rules and procedures! It was a great first week and am excited for all the fun activities planned next week. We'll be working on our names, the sight words I & am, identifying the author and illustrator of a story and naming the roles of each, and more rules and procedures!