Friday, March 30, 2012

Looking to next year...

It's my Spring Break and want am I doing? I'm planning for next year, of course! We've been told that for next year we will have between 22-26 kinders and no parapros... I'm more than a tad frightened. But since it will be my second year, I'm feeling more than a bit better about what I will be doing next year. I am super excited about several of the things that I want to try differently next year. I am definitely going to be using a lot of the ideas that I found in the books that I purchased yesterday. I love the Mailbox!

Calendar Time for Little Learners (PreK-K) Year Round Themes To Grow On

I am in love with the awesome books! I can use a lot of the theme activities this year. But I've already re-planned my entire calendar set-up for next year! Have you been planning yet? What are your new plans? Leave some your ideas. I'd love to have even more inspiration for next year!!

Estimating is fun! You should break out into song!

I just wanted to share with you this adorable song that my students have been singing lately. Now, I am so not taking credit for it. This was written by a lovely lady named Bobbie Williams. She teaches at a school in the same cluster as mine. She collaborated on this book years ago. My wonderful team mates shared this with me about two weeks ago... so of course I made an anchor chart!

You sing this to the tune of B-I-N-G-O. There is also an adorable estimation jar book that I forgot to take a picture of... I really wish I could share the copy with you. But it essentially is a cover shaped like a jar and identical pages where the students record their estimation, the actual number and a drawing. I have taught my students to draw small circles (easy for everyone to draw) in groups of ten that they circle. Then they draw the ones without circling them. I am forever impressed by my student's!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How do you become a better reader?

This week my students learned all about how to become better readers.. I know, I know. Isn't that what we teach them all year long? We've focused the last two weeks on becoming fluent when reading. I did a mini lesson each day using a different nursery rhyme. I thought you might like to see what my lovelies got to do:

Monday's Mini-lesson: What's the perfect speed?

The kids thought it was great when I read it waaaay too fast and waaaaay too slow. They had fun practicing with their partners reading it the wrong way and then the right way :) 

Tuesday's Mini-lesson: Decode and Reread

Several of my higher readers had to be told to keep the secret word secret. But all in all this was a great lesson. We practiced reading at the right speed until we got to the underlined word. We decoded using our strategies. Then we discussed what the right thing to do next would be: go on, go back, skip the word. Most of my students said go on... since that's what they do. So I corrected them. Their reading has definitely been a bit better since then! I'm hoping this aides in their comprehension as well!

Wednesday's Mini-Lesson: Punctuation- What's it's job?

This lesson was great for my students to realize how important punctuation is.. not just to end a sentence in writing.. but also to allow a breathing space or pause for readers. This was one of the first times that we really have talked about commas too. Again, it was hilarious to hear them model it the wrong way and then correct themselves. This is a great strategy that I've adapted from the Daily 5.

Thursday's Mini-Lesson: Putting it all together

I'm sure you can guess what we did this day.... we did it all! The kids did a great job with it too!

Friday's Mini-lesson: Expression

On Friday, I read the book Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion.

Harry the Dirty Dog

We stopped and discussed several points in the book where the expression that a reader uses is everything. The kids were great! Here are some of my questions that I asked them:

What punctuation do you think that was?
How can you tell?
How should my voice sound when I read it?
What if I read it like this (read it in a flat boring voice)?

Each day, during Daily 5, my students had to sequence the pictures of each nursery rhyme in order. It was a great (old) sheet that the teacher before me had left copies of in her filing cabinet. I'm going to work on making a newer version during my Spring Break.

I also wrote the nursery rhymes on sentence strips and cut them apart. The students did an excellent job of putting them back in order. I am really proud because I did only the words with out any pictures!

How do you get your students to increase their fluency?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Counting down to the leprechaun day!!

Only 4 more days until the cute little boogers come! I've already been to Party City to purchase the following very important items:

Green Pot of Gold Cauldron 8inCome Halloween I think I'll invest in a black one. I'm not going to try and paint this plastic one.
Gold Coins 48ct only mine are chocolate... yummy :)))
St. Patricks Day Small Shamrock Bead Necklace 36in and who wouldn't love a necklace left by a leprechaun?!?!

I can't wait for all the great plans and activities that I have! What are you all planning for your adorable little ones?!?!?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Substitute Binder.. How do you prepare?

I have been so sick lately! Anyone else? I sure hope this post helps you out!
In the past couple of years of teaching, I have tried to make sure to be prepared for a lot of different things. When I first started teaching, I was pregnant and sick a lot from all the new germs. Several of the other teachers had Sub Tubs that they kept up with. It never really worked for me. To each their own sort of thing.

This year I was so very determined to be more organized about having to be out. (Especially with two little kids and my mom having cancer!) This is what I came up with:

The front is a very cute page that I found as a free download on-line. I love our color printer! My planning binder has a very adorable one on it as well courtesy of my printer!
 The inside of my sub binder is set up in 3 different sections: Lesson plans, Classroom Basics, and Procedures. I figured lesson plans would be the most important to any sub coming into my room. I know my first thought would be "What am I supposed to be doing today?" So far I have been able to have my plans already in this section for any time that I'm out. But I really need to get my tush in gear about typing up a set of emergency plans that could be used on any day in a bind.
 The classroom basics section really breaks down what my room looks like and who is in it. First, I have a printed copy of my class list and my class schedule. Then I include little mini-maps that are important. I have several students who should never be together  at a table so I have assigned seats for each of my pumpkins. I'm sure I'm the only one with that problem, right? ;)
I also have specific spots around the room for my math centers so I include a map for those as well. Each of my rooms maps are just a word document printed out inside a sheet protector. Then I use a sharpie to write down their names. It works so well!
The next section of my binder is for Procedures. My school has us type up the different procedures for the entire day at the beginning of the year for the substitute folders that our secretary gives each sub. I include another copy in this section as a back up.

In the back, I collect all my past substitute plans that I have used this year. This way I can look back at what I had them do, notes the sub left, and any other valuable information.
So, how do you prepare for a sub (expected or unexpected)? During this sick-season, I know we could all use a bit of advice on the easiest way to set up a system that works! I'd love to turn this into a great e-book. Please leave a bit of advice in a comment and pass along this post to share! The more the merrier :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just had to share...

I did a bit of shopping on Amazon last week and just had to share what I got in the mail today! I love coming home to a box of goodies... since it doesn't tend to happen very often!

A parent in my class used this book to teach her son to read. Considering he started Kindergarten reading on a second grade reading level... I'm definitely going to give it a try for my little guy! I love that this teachings reading AND writing!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
My cover is a slightly newer version but the same great book. Each lesson is about 20 minutes or so. I'm excited to try it this week!

I also got an awesome new book for my classroom. One of the other teachers that I teach with has this book and I love ALL the activities in it!

The Complete Phonemic Awareness Handbook (Rigby Best Teachers Press)

There are so many great ideas, activities, and games in this! There are even assessments and letters to parents. I love, love, love it!

What have you bought for your classroom lately? What about your own children at home?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So blessed! Thank you Mechele!!

I love wonderful surprises, don't you? I had one today when I checked my e-mail. I saw that not only did I have a comment on a post but it was a comment that came with a prize!!


I am a lovely blog!

Thank you so much to Mechele from Barrow's Hodgepodge!

The really great thing is that I also get to pass this award onto 15 other lovely bloggers. Below are the lovely people that I think you should totally know about!

Here are the rules for accepting this award:
1) Link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2) Pass it on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
3) Follow the person who sent it to you.

Here are the wonderful 15:

Mrs. McKown at Little Literacy Learners

Alessia  Albanese at Mrs. Albanese's Kindergarten Class

Amanda at One Extra Degree

Miss Trayers at Not Just Child's Play

Miss. S at Just teaching...

Kreative in Kinder

Kristen Young at Little Miss Glamour

Mel D at Seusstastic Classroom

Lauren Morse at Just Add Clipart 

Miss Megan at Kindergarten Teacher Tales

Heather at Kinder by Golly

Leslie at Kindergarten Works


Kathleen at Growing Kinders

Amy at First Grade Pandamonium

Go check out these amazing bloggers and make sure to leave a little love on their comment walls!!!

Dr. Seuss-mania!

Hi there long lost friends! I have been so sick and so very tired this past week. I have been thinking about you though :) I missed being able to type and tell you about my lovely pumpkins and their new adventures! I just wanted to share a quick little fun picture. I got an adorable idea from Pinterest (where else!). I just could NOT wait till next year to do it either. Here's my version:

This is one of my favorite, favorite Dr. Seuss books! I used it every year in Third grade to teach about pollution. I am going to read it to my pumpkins tomorrow since Friday just wasn't long enough for all of my planned activities plus my surprise visitors who came and read to us. I have several other great ideas that I'm going to be sharing over the next few days. I hope that you keep checking back!