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! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Classroom Tour 2014-15

Hey ya'll! I'm so excited to be back! I have a few changes coming up next week, but until then I'm going to leave you with a fun post! A classroom tour!
In case you can't tell from the photos, I love all things colorful and polka-dotted! =) Some of my favorite classrooms that inspired my own are....
Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten
Welcome to Room 36

I know there are plenty more that I love... these are just the few that come to mind as I type this! =)

I snapped a few pictures before I left school yesterday so I could share them with you! I am LOVING my room this year. It's organized and I got rid of a lot of junk and materials I never used.  I will post a few more pictures later next week of some things I forgot that help keep me organized! (I don't know about you, but I LOVE seeing how other teachers set up their rooms and stay organized!) 
Anywho, here are some pictures!
When you first walk in my classroom

All the tables need are name tags, school supplies and the kids! (My mom sewed all the chair pockets- isn't she talented?! She even made a clear slot for the kids name-tags! I love them!)

Just a few of the awesome reading buddies I have that go along with books we read! (The rest are all on my dividing wall that you'll see pictured behind my small group table.)

The kids' computers: they get to go to computers twice a week! (Once during reading stations and another during math stations.)
Our word wall will house all the sight words after I have taught them. The best part is- it's magnetic! So the kids can go up and grab a word if they need help spelling it in their writing then put it back when they are done. They LOVE it and do really well after some practice. The pink tubs with zoo animals are the reading center tubs and the blue ones below them are morning or wake-up tubs for when they finish their morning journal work! (And see those ABC posters on the top... you can find those on my TPT store! I made them in polka-dot and chevron!)

I finished painting my rocking chair and side table! Don't they look great!? I think next summer I'm going to paint all the shelves in my room different colors: red, orange, teal, pink and purple! I can't wait! Anywho, behind my chair is where I post our "learning target" each day. (You can find the printables for FREE on my TPT store in polka dot and chevron! But I'm actually changing these ones from last year to new Daily Objective Charts I made that give me a little more space to write.) Then on the gray board with yellow trim, I have picture icons that remind the kids what order to complete the work in (write your name, write with a pencil, color, cut, and then glue! You can find them on First Grade Factory's blog! Just click the link.), our Letter of the DAY chart and our schedule. The green board is all our calendar activities we'll do and then the blue board is some more calendar activities and our ABC chart we sing from Teaching With Love and Laughter! The green tubs on the shelf hold all our math center tubs (see the ocean animals... that's how my kids will know what their table needs to grab each day!) Then a few baskets on top to hold things I'll need daily for them! (The vowel glue bottles at the top of my wall are from The Teacher Wife.)

I love the bumble bees! (Copied from Life in First Grade.)  I've got our writing portfolio and math journals stored to the left and the colorful baskets are where the kids will get to choose books they can read after I've taught them how to read them in small groups. Then our pencil stash and the "turn-in" basket! Underneath the counter, behind my beautiful curtains I made, are all our math stuff!
A view of my small group table... (I would put the kidney-bean table I'm requesting from donors choose if I get it funded and take out the big brown table!)
The kids pictures will go in the pocket chart for our reading station rotation chart! The ocean animals are for our math tubs.

These are word attack strategies I teach the kids to help them when they get stuck on a word. (These are on my TPT store. Also in polka dot or chevron.)

The top drawers I need to label. but it will hold papers that need filed away, stickers, scholastic readers and misc. things. The bottom are labeled with cute labels I made last year.

Where the kids can grab supplies when they need them! (With my permission of course- otherwise these would be empty after a week! lol)

ABC tubs! This is where my students can CHOOSE a tub to work on anything alphabet-related! This is a FAVORITE every year b/c they have a choice. The great part is, I can leave it out the majority of the year b/c they love them so much. I will change them out as I see kids getting bored with certain activities. (I need to fill a few more tubs in at the bottom! oops!)

The top of this cart holds the famous "glue sponges" that Kindergarten Smorgasboard thankfully posted about! I can't wait to try them out this year! So much better than glue bottles and glue sticks! The cans below are for "lost crayons". If a child finds a crayon on the floor, they can put it in the matching tub for their friend who may need it later! The buckets are just sitting on the bottom b/c I don't have a use for them right now. (the usually hold pointers, but I threw all my old ones away b/c they were all broken after 5 years. lol) Gotta make new ones!

My awesome friend and coworker, Katie, who teaches 1st grade just started a blog! Check it out: Living the First Grade Dream She gave me this awesome stand her hubby made (she had an extra that she didn't need) so I'm going to make it a station for my kids on the back side and use the front facing side during small group for sorting picture cards! The purple tub currently had bingo dabbers we use for fun activities and I'll eventually put flash cards and pointers in the other sections.
This cart holds all the materials I need daily for small groups! The tubs are from Dollar tree! Love it! The two silly looking tubs on top are fun games we play to learn our letters and sight words! The kids LOVE em! You can find the adorable crodile game on Growing Kinders blog! (just click the link)

I finally got my # 0-20 charts posted that I made this summer! I love how it turned out! I think I need to add a cute little header for them though! (They are also on my TPT store in polka dot or chevron!) And all my teacher-stuff I'll need is on the shelf. Can you spot my monthly binders in the middle top shelf? You can find the covers HERE and the spines HERE!)

A close-up of the posters I made! I'm pretty proud of them! Find them on my TPT store in polka dot or chevron!)
The big, blue pocket chart is where my kids work on sentence fluency and reading sight words. Above that is the color words poster as a reference (b/c they'll use color words a lot at the beginning of the year in this center!) Then on the closet doors I have a birthday chart, a poster for the kid's bear bucks they earn (positive reinforcement for great behavior) and the clip chart is for when someone is misbehaving. They'll have to move their clip down after a warning and every time after that if the misbehaving continues.---Although I know I won't have to use that much b/c it's gonna be a GREAT year! I have FREE behavior charts (that have more colors where the kids can move their clip up) on my TPT store in polka dot or chevron.

Our specials schedule!
I'll be back with more pictures next week and a few surprises!