Wednesday, December 4, 2013

See What I Bought

I'm late posting this.  I crashed yesterday.  I crashed again today, but I woke up earlier.  Today has been CRAZY!!!  It doesn't help that this teacher and her lovely assistant were crazy too!  For example, a teacher was talking about her son moving to Nashville.  I replied something along the line of "Does he like Texas?"  Yes, Texas came out of my mouth.  Umm, where did that come from?  I should have known that when I missed the last stair this morning that it was going to be a crazy day for me.

So I took advantage of Cyber Monday and did a little shopping on TPT.  Here is what I bought:

Interactive Math Notebook for Kindergarten BUNDLE: Daily e
I bought the Interactive Math Notebook for Kindergarten Bundle from Karen Jones.  I can't wait to start using these with my math instructions.  These are aligned to the common core and fit in with what we are doing in math.  I thought I would use them as a review or an assessment.

I Can Do It Myself: Segmenting Self-Correcting, Differenti

I bought these from Marsha McGuire of A Differentiated Kindergarten.  I just love her stuff!  She makes it easy for me to differentiated activities.  I also purchased this from her.

Word Families Galore Bundle-22 Weeks of Differentiated Word Work

I have been eyeballing this bundle for a while so I decided it was the perfect time to purchase it.  I really drill cvc words.  Most of my students will be able to read all the words right away, but for those who struggle word families are a great way for them to learn a lot of words.

Let's Get Crackin'! {December Literacy & Math Centers for

I bought these from The Printable Princess.  This is one of the first items I have bought from her and I love this!  It's not too Christmasy (I think I just made a new word.) so I can use it with students who don't celebrate holidays.  I also purchased this packet from her.

A Dab {More} of Learning: Literacy Edition (Bingo Dabber A

These can be used any time in the year.

RTI & Guided Reading {Phoneme Segmentation Activities}

I purchase the Phoneme Segmentation Activities from Tara West.  This has saved me a lot of time and I can print them on my black ink only printer at school.

As you can tell, I love to shop!  I'm glad I am supporting other teachers when I buy from TPT.  I have always felt that it is important to use a variety of materials and get ideas from other places.  It makes teaching and learning better.  I don't feel that I should try and recreate the wheel so if I don't have time to make my own activities, then I search out ones that I can use.  I'm working on something new and I hope to have it finished this week.  When it is finished and posted, I will let you know because it will be 50% off for the first few days.

Oh, Spike the Elf on the Shelf is back this year in my home.  He finally made his appearance last night.  My son was excited to see him this morning.  Did I tell you my classroom has an elf?  We named him Mr. Snowflake.  My son's class also has an elf and her name just happens to be Snowflake.  Lol, I wonder if they are married.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Plans This Week

This week is about Hanukkah.  We will be reading and learning about Hanukkah.  I have a few Hanukkah books that I like to read to my class.  One is Mrs. Greenburg's Messy Hanukkah by Linda Glaser.

I also like to read The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco.

This book is long so I plan on dividing it over a couple of days.  I have a few other books that I plan on reading.  One is the Dreidel Song and the other one is Oh Hanukkah.  I'm not Jewish, but I love the Dreidel Song.  I find myself singing all the way through the book.  I once had the song as my ring tone for the month of December.  It makes me happy. :)

I also plan on reading the Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg.  It's a cute way to introduce students to letters and letter writing.  Then we will compose a letter as a class and label the parts of the letter.  If we have time, students will write a letter to someone.  I would say write one to Santa but not everyone in my class celebrates Christmas so we will write a letter to a friend or family member or even a teacher.

The rest of the month is devoted to learning about Holidays Around the World.  I would share my Holidays Around the World patterns if I could, but they are really old and I have no idea where they came from.  I inherited them from a teacher like 8 years ago.  Which reminds me that I graduated college 10 years ago in December.  Wow!  Where has the time went?

My class will meet our elf tomorrow.  I will have to let you know how it goes.

We will be learning about the letter B this week even though we already know all of our letter names and we have been working on the sounds forever.  It's just our phonics focus for the week.  We will be making a letter B Bear.  I'll post pictures after we make them which is looking like we will get to them on Friday.

The past few weeks my class has been doing calendar along with me in a calendar journal and they beg to do them.  I guess it's because we get a lot of math in with these journals.  Now, I didn't make my own journal.  I use Growing Kinders It's Calendar Time! Daily Calendar Book.  This has been perfect for my class!  I actually purchased it last school year but didn't get around to using it until this November.  We also started using an interactive journal before we went on our break.  I am going to just call it an interactive journal so we can put both reading and math in it.  I might even make a divider for reading and math.  They loved this too!

Well, if you haven't heard already, TPT is on sale tomorrow and Tuesday.  Everything in my store will be discounted 20% and if you use the TPT code CYBER, you will get an additional 10% off.  This totals to a 28% discount.  I did the math.  It really is 28%.  If you are wondering how, take 20% off of $10 and you will have $8.  Take an additional 10% off of that and it comes out to $7.20.  When you add the discount up, that was $2.80 off which is 28% of $10.  It made sense to me all of a sudden.  Lol

Happy Shopping!  Check back tomorrow to see what I bought from the sale.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving and Upcoming Sale

Happy Thanksgiving!  My husband and I cook Thanksgiving dinner for our family.  That's right.  Everyone comes to our house to eat.  I'm just glad they are willing to drive an hour to come here for dinner.

Did you know that Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale Monday and Tuesday?

300 × 250

I'm going to leave you with a song that is played on the radio this time of year.  Enjoy!  It's not Thanksgiving without hearing this song.  I listen to Coach Kidd every morning on my way to work.  Libby Jo is no longer on the air with him, because she started teaching.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tie Dye, a Freebie, and Looking Ahead

I took a small break from blogging this past week.  I had a lot going on at school and at home.  Well I'm back to tell you what we have been up to.

We did a little finger painting last week.  I put red and yellow paint on the paper and the students mixed the colors.  I gave each student a leaf to trace and cut out.  These turned out cute.  I'll have to remember to take a picture of the finished product tomorrow.

We learned about pandas and made a can, have, are chart about pandas.  The students used the chart to help them write about pandas.  We worked on writing 3 sentences about pandas.  One sentence for each section of the chart.  We also watch an online panda cam which was so cute.  We even found video that was taken of panda twins and how they changed in the first 100 days.  We loved the video so much that we watched it twice and invited the neighboring class over for the second viewing.  You can go here to check out the video.  Pandas are 100 days old before they get their name.

We made Indian Native American costumes last week.  Each student brought in a t-shirt and I took them home to tie dye brown.  I was told by the other K teachers that I did fancy tie dying.  Check out my fancy work below.

 After the shirts were dyed, we cut fringe on the bottom and the sleeves.  We added a paper and ribbon belt that the students decorated along with our headdress and our patterned bead necklace.  We worked on patterns while making the necklaces.  Last year we strung pasta, but this year we used pony beads.  I had a lot of pony beads in my cabinet so I thought we should use them.
 My new Smart Board was installed last Friday.  I am happy to have a Smart Board that works properly.  My last one had issues.  Oh, did I mention that I also got a new laptop?!  Now I don't have to worry about the virus the last one had.  Russian videos kept popping up.  At least I think they were speaking Russian.
 My wonderful principal walked in today carrying these echo mics.  I have 24 for of them now.  It so weird that he bought them for use because I was talking about them last week and how I use to have one to do my daily weather report with.  Now I just need to figure out how I am going to use 24 of them.  If you have ideas, please share them with me in a comment below.  I'm begging.
 Before I left school today, I got out my December books.  This is just a few of my books.  I actually have another tub of holiday books and more at home, but these are the ones I plan on using for the month of December.  Above you will see Hanuka.  Below you will see a stack of Christmas books.  The stack is bigger than it looks.

I only have three Kwanzaa books, but I plan on adding to this collection and my Hanuka collection too.  One more day of work and then I am off for Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow is a half day for the students.  If you are already beginning your December plans, then check out this freebie I posted last year.  Just click the picture below to get your freebie!

Oh yeah, I updated my Gingerbread Math and Literacy Centers pack and my Christmas Fun Literacy and Math Activities.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How I Get My Kids Reading.

So yesterday I said I would share my daily reading secret.  It's really not a secret if you worked in my old school, because we all used the strategy.  Every morning since the first day of school I have used a series of charts that progressively get harder through the year.  The first 6 weeks of school my focus is on letter names, letter sounds, phoneme blending, and sight words.  The chart would look like this (I would show you an actual picture of one of my charts, but they are on my school laptop):

Letter Naming and Sounds

G    h    A   L    g
H   o    p    a     O
A   l     g    G     P

When I show this chart, we go through the letter names first.  I point to the left of the letter and I count to 3 in my head for think time.  Then I tap under the letter and I use a castanet to make a click sound.  This indicates to the student that everyone is to respond for the letter name.   I go through the chart a second time, but we do letter sounds.  Everyone responds every time.  So students are seeing it, hearing it, and saying it.

My next chart has sight words.  It looks something like this:

the   a    am    little   a
she  my   the   am    she
little   the   am   she  the

This chart changes as we learn more sight words.  The chart usually has about 15-20 words to read.  I point to the left again and count slowly to 3 in my head.  Then I slide my finger under the word and click my castanet again so students know when to respond.

The next chart I have is for my eyes only.  I usually black out my Smart Board for this.  I use a green, yellow and red Unifix cube.  I tap each cube and give a sound for a three phoneme word with each cube.  Then I slide my fingers across the cubes as a cue for students to respond with the blended word.  My chart looks something like this:

/c/ /a/ /t/ = cat
/s/ /i/ /p/ = sip
/p/ /o/ /t/ = pot

There are about 10 words that we do like this every morning and it includes long vowel sounds too.  Sometimes the words will have 4 phonemes so I add an orange cube to my Unifix train.

After the first 6 weeks, we start blending cvc words.  The chart looks something like this:

top  hot  log  sit  rip
log  hog  lot  tip  hip
Tam am  ham  sip  pot

The chart has 15-20 cvc words using the letters that we have spent some time focusing on.  The first few weeks that we do this, the chart may only have 5 words, but it increases until we have 15-20 to practice.  For this chart, I point to the left of the first letter to indicate think time.  I tap under the first letter and everyone gives me the letter sound.  I repeat this for the second letter and then we go back to the beginning of the word and blend the first 2 sounds.  Then I touch to the left of the last letter for think time and I tap under the letter for everyone to tell me the sound.  Once I hear the sound, we go back to the beginning of the word and blend all three sounds together.  Then I slide my finger quickly under the entire word for everyone to read the word quickly.  This is called sound by sound blending.  After doing this for 6 weeks, I add another chart with cvc words.  The first chart we practice sound by sound blending.  The second chart I touch to the left of the word and slowly count to 3 in my head.  Students have to think in their head what the word is.  Then I slide my finger under the word and everyone reads the word.

After the first 12 weeks of school, I add another chart.  This chart is phoneme segmentation.  Students do not see this chart, but it is on my laptop to remind me which words I am having students segment.  I give the students a 2 or 3 phoneme word and they tell me the sounds that they hear in the word each time I raise a finger on my hand.  I tell the a word "sap."  They repeat the word.  Then I hold up one finger and the kids say /s/.  I hold up a second finger and they say /a/.  I hold up a third finger and they say /p/.  I do about 10 words every day like this.  I give them harder words later in the year.

Once they get the hang of doing the charts, they only take about 5 minutes.  I will say that later in the morning, I flash alphabet card for letter names and then again for sounds.  I also use flash cards to review the sight words.  In the afternoon, I use number word flash cards and numeral flash cards.  Right now we are working on number words for 1-10 and numerals 1-30.  Additionally, I review sight words at the beginning of every guided reading group and the letters and sounds at the beginning of the groups that still need this practice.

I hope this helps.  My teaching partner and my lovely assistant are amazed at how well my class is reading.  Last year, everyone in my class (except 2, but one of them had the ability, she just didn't come to school) met the end of the year DIBELS Benchmark at the middle of the year Benchmark and half my class was reading above grade level.  I don't claim that it will work for everyone, but it has been working for the majority for several years now in my class.

Do you have any strategies that are really working in your class?  I would love to hear about them.  Leave me a comment.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Freebie Friday and I am Featured!

Yay!  I was featured on Teaching Blog Addict!  Check out this week's link up to get great freebies from fellow bloggers!

Here is what we have been doing this week.

I really challenged my students this week during our guided reading time with a little rhyming cvc word bingo.  Talk about challenging!  Most of my kiddos could do this without any problems and it was more challenging for them.  I have about 3 kids out of 16 who really struggled and still need work on sounding and blending.  We will be playing this more.  This is from my Thanksgiving Small Group Reading Activities pack.  Click the picture to learn more about the pack.

We have been working on our writing.  The students dictated sentences to me about leaves.  Next week I will cut up their sentences on strips of paper and give it to them to put back together.  They will glue their sentence onto a piece of paper and illustrate.  We will use our illustrated sentences to make a class book about leaves.
We also wrote about bats.  I love some of the words they gave me for this chart!  Did you know that bats have a predator other than humans?  They are called cave crickets.  They look like a granddaddy long legs to me.  When a bat smacks against a cave wall and injures itself, the cave crickets will swarm around it and eat the bat.  Interesting?  Isn't it?  I learned that on a cave tour years ago so if you ever go spelunking, beware of the cave cricket.

My lovely assistant was absent today and I had a sub assistant.  She told me at the end of the day that she was really impressed with the reading ability of my class.  She hasn't been in a kindergarten class that is reading like mine.  It made me one proud teacher!  It made me think, what am I doing that is different from the other teachers?  I know what it is.  It's a little strategy that I use daily that I learned when I taught in a Reading First school.  I still use it the first 5 minutes of every day.  I'll share more about it tomorrow. ;)

This week, I made a new listening log.  You can get it here for free!  Just click the picture below.  Happy Friday!

Freebie Fridays

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thanksgiving I-Spy Freebie

I survived Halloween 2013!!!  It wasn't that bad, but I will say having parents and kids in costumes for a Halloween celebration can be hectic!  I wish I took pictures this week of some of the things we have been doing, but my phone camera doesn't seem to be working correctly so I dug out my "regular" camera and I will be back to snapping pictures next week.

This week we studied bats and spiders.  Did I tell you I have a student in my class who likes to bring me spiders!?  Ummm, your teacher hates spiders kid!  Bring me a puppy, kitten, snake, but please don't bring me a spider.

We made a can, have, are chart about bats and the students wrote a sentence using the chart.  I also gave them a little bat drawing lesson.  They think I should be an art teacher.  Lol!  I have also been told this week that I should be a music teacher.  That is more likely to happen than an art teacher.  I can read music and I do play a clarinet and an alto clarinet.  

Back to the bats.  My students learned some new vocabulary this week.  When we were creating our chart, I heard words like mammal, echolocation, and nocturnal.  Oh, this makes a teacher proud!  Let's hope those words stick.

I started working on this little freebie yesterday with the intention of posting it yesterday, but then I started watching television with the hubs so it didn't happen.  Here it is now!  Click the picture below to grab your freebie and thanks for stopping by.  Oh, by the way, I'm having a sale in both of my shops this weekend.  All items are 20% off through Monday.
Teachers Pay Teachers    Teachers Notebook 

What are topics are you studying this month?  Leave me a comment below and let me know!

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Word Family Spiders

I finally took a picture with my IPhone of our word family spiders.  Ever since I updated my IPhone software, the camera only works 40% of the time.  The most annoying part is that I can no longer change songs using my car radio.  How safe is it to change your song with the phone?  It still comes through the speakers and the phone part works.  Apple, if you hear me, fix this issue ASAP or I'm switching to an Android!!!

Here is a picture of our spiders.

The -ig word family.

The -at word family.

We talked about two word families this week, -ig and -at.  I let them pick the word family and the words from the ones that we listed on the board.

If you are wondering how I explain word families, I relate it to their families.  I explain that word families end with the same letters and it's like a last name.  Just like they have a last name that tells who their family is.  Then I explain that the first letters are like a first name and they are different, just like family members have different first names.  They seems to understand and recognize word families quickly.  They also realize that they rhyme.

Tomorrow is our Halloween Celebration!  I love Halloween because of the free candy that I steal from my child my gives to me.  I am the official household candy thief!  Oh, I'm sure I'm not the only parent who does this when no one is protecting looking at the candy.

If you are wondering where I got the word family spider craftivity, it came from Susan Moran Jones-TGIF.  It's a freebie from her store.  Thank you Susan!

What are your plans for Halloween tomorrow?  I'm going trick-or-treating with my family.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Madness and a Spider

This is my Monday Madness ramblings.  It seems Mondays are really busy days in my classroom.  I must over plan because I don't get everything finished.  I am hoping tomorrow, I will get to make these cute little word family spiders that I found here.

Sorry, I wish I had a picture to share.  I took this from the creators TPT store.  It's a freebie from Susan Moran Jones-TGIF and I can't wait to use it.  I'll will post one tomorrow after we make them.

My camera on my IPhone hasn't been working properly since I update it.  I don't know what the problem is but I hope they have an update soon to fix it.

I'm keeping this post short tonight as I am sleepy and going to bed.  I didn't realize how popular my Candy Corn Making Words activity was going to be so it is inspiring my next project.  More to come soon.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Freebie Friday!!!

It's Friday so you know what that means.  Friday freebie!  This week's freebie is a number the room activity.  My students had so much fun writing the room that I thought we would number the room next week.  I know many people do this as a center activity, but I did it whole class last week since I had two grades in my room at one time.  Yes, you heard that right.  I don't usually have two grades so luckily I had printed out a differentiated write the room activity from my new Write the Room CVC Words and Pictures pack.  It was a true lifesaver!  You can learn more about this pack by clicking the picture below.

Here's a look at the cards.  

Look how engaged everyone is!

I also received my Elf on the Shelf with the new Birthday book and outfit free!  I was one of the first so many (can't remember the number) of teachers to register on their website.  I can't wait to use this in my classroom throughout the month of December and for student birthdays!

Please excuse the bad pic, my flash would not cooperate and I usually use my IPhone.  I really need to find my camera and take it to school.

Thanks for stopping by.  You can grab your freebie by clicking the pic below.  I would love to hear from you.  Leave me a comment below and let me know what you would like me to blog about next.

Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Trees and a Pumpkin

Today we finished up our fall trees.  We used the same pattern as our apple trees, but use red, yellow, and orange to make fall leaves.  I call up to four kids at a time to a table to paint while the rest of the class is working and playing at traditional kindergarten centers.  This is what we do the last 30 minutes of the day and it allows time to do individual assessments and to get everyone packed up to go home.

So last week we did a class pumpkin.  Every class did one and they were auctioned off at our Fall Carnival.  Well we kind of ran out of time to really spend time on our pumpkin so I thought we should do something simple.

Presenting.... Our Pumpkin

It's "pumpkin pie."
These are the things I come up with when I am under a time crunch.  Lol!  I wonder if they were able to make money off my pumpkin.  I didn't glue anything down, so they could have carved anything they wanted.  I missed out carnival because I fell asleep and woke up the next afternoon.  No kidding.  I couldn't believe that I was that tired and my son didn't bother waking me up on a Saturday.

In other news (I always wanted to say type that.), I have had this little organizer sitting on my desk and I have been wondering what I should do with it.  Any ideas?  Leave your comments below.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday Freebie on a Saturday

I fell asleep as soon as I got home yesterday.  I can't believe I slept that long!  I'm also excited to say that I'm a dot com now!  Check it!  Just type  I think it's super cool!  I learned to follow directions and make it work too.  Well I have had a super busy week and I didn't have much to share.  Sorry about that, but next week is more promising.  Oh and my retired aide is subbing next week for my wonderful new aide.  I miss her, but she is happy in retirement land.  We still go out for dinner from time to time so it's all good. 

Today, I made a word building activity to use with my kids this week during guided reading.  I color coded each set of letter card so they are easy to sort and the kids can keep them separated easier.  I also included a work mat for them to make the words on.  This is a CVC word making activity with teacher directions.  The cards are cute little candy corn which is perfect for this time of the year.  All you have to do is print out the letter card and a work mat for each student.  Laminate and cut apart to make them last.  I like to store my letter cards sorted by color in individual baggies.  Then I put all the small baggies in a larger baggie or page protector.  I also put each of the work mats in a page protector and store everything in a 3 ring binder.  If you click the picture below, you can grab your freebie.  Before you go, leave me a comment and let me know if you would like to see more activities like this.  Thanks a bunch!

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
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