Monday, September 30, 2013

A 'Smorgasboard' of Math Centers

One of my good blogging buddies is Greg over at Kindergarten Smorgasboard. I even got to meet him this summer at the Georgia Blogger Meet Up!


He's the awesome one in the front in his own personalized t-shirt... who am I kidding.. he's the only guy in the picture ;) Any who, I'm super duper excited about starting math centers this week AND I'm using one of his amazing sets. Check it out:

Blockbuster Numbers!  A Common Core Aligned Number Pack!

Look at some of these awesome goodies that are packed into the set:

The perfect preassessment piece for ten frame numbers. I can NOT wait to see how my kiddos did on this!



Building 10 frames on cards and on paper. My students are insanely stoked about the Star Wars characters!


Even more Star Wars plus Dorthy and her best friends! I can NOT wait to use them! I highly suggest this pack to you if you are looking for great math numeracy activities.


A Treat to Welcome Our New Followers!

Welcome to everyone who is new to my blog! I am so, so excited for you to be here!! To celebrate, I have a great little surprise for you-- a sale in YOUR honor!


I hope you find something to brighten your day, week, and classroom!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Balance is Key

We always hear about how we should balance our home life and work life. It's hard. Stupendously hard actually! But, it always helps to have some positive reinforcement. So, I'm here to show you that yes, it can be done!

Here's how we spent our 'balanced' weekend so far:


How cute are my littles? We went to the local county fair AND to a local Outdoor Adventure Day. It was so much fun! For FREE at the OAD, we got to fish, try out archery (my kiddos were even awarded an awesome bow and arrow set from Traditional Archery!), and learned how to tie a fishing fly. They loved the fair. The Ferris wheel is completely and totally their favorite!! Plus the petting zoo let them pet bunnies, baby chicks, a pony, and goats! 

Now to balance it all out, tomorrow I will be planning and cleaning after church. It's good to have fun AND be productive.

Make sure you become a Facebook fan so you don't miss out on any fun! I have a giveaway going on right now that's only for Facebook fans! See you there!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What a FABULOUS day!

I am so excited! This summer I was lucky enough to submit an idea to Angela Watson of The Cornerstone for Teachers and she accepted it! Today she will be featuring my article that I wrote all about getting rid of my teacher desk in order to make room for my students. Please take a moment to stop by and read!




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Work Station Wednesday: Pulling it all together!

This summer I spent a TON of time reading about work stations from Debbie Diller's AH-mazing book!




Literacy Work Stations are a HUGE hit in my classroom this year! I've really taken the time to think through each of the stations for what the students should be doing. It has worked so, so well that I wanted to share with y'all!



Computer Center: This center is pretty much the same as last year. It is definitely supported by Debbie Diller :) I use the website Pebble Go. It's all non-fiction and the kids love it! It reads to the students, plays sounds, and plays video clips about animals, science, and social studies. It's wonderful! I've been more vigilant about the whole explore and learn concept. The students last year really loved the games.. we are avoiding it this year for now.

Word Study: Last year I was always totally stumped about what this could look like, yet be similar each week, and how to make it fun. I found my answer! I made two different types of clip art this year. I taught my students how to cut out letters to glue sight words. I also taught them to stamp their letters for sight words. They love these and I have seen a huge improvement in sight word learning this year!


This is an up close shot of how you can make your sheets.All you have to do is put the clipart in as pictures. Each line is one entire image so it's super easy!!


Listening Center: I simplified this center for the beginning of the year. Several groups have already learned how to turn the CD player on and off in order to start and stop. After their story, they simply draw about their favorite part. My higher learners also write sentences about their favorite part.


Writing Center: Right now our writing center is made up of our Pictionary folders. So far we have done our A page and our B page. The students are loving it! These will be used later when this center turns into a free writing center.


Letter Study: This awesome center is a LOT of fun. I used my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom letter cards for my students to put in order and match upper to lower case. They are having a ball with it ever since we did it as a class.


I know that there has been a TON of Daily 5 for the last few years as well. Don't forget that 2 of my centers are Read to Self and Buddy Read. 

I made sure to really, truly take the time to teach each activity before the students do it independently. In the past two years (in comparison) I have obviously only "thought" that I taught it. 


What do you do for centers?

P.S.- Check out Greg's Center Wednesday-- you might check out some familiar sound mats!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Student? What do you do?

There are tons of posts out there about new students and how to be prepared for them when they come knocking on your door. This is one of my favorites:



Ladybug's is one of the best that I've seen. There are several others out there that help you get your ducks in a row.. However, my ducks weren't even ready to be seen today.. let alone being in a row. But, I got a new friend today.

Here's where my post has different advice: My sweet friend comes from a rough school and I do believe was a bit more on edge than need be.

My prayers are with him as he adjusts to a new school. So my advice? Over load them with kindness. I know, not original but something tells me that this sweet friend will be a bit of a challenge. So, while you are keeping in mind how to get all the "things" ready, think about how you will also approach the sweet one and take care of them in the new scary school.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Make You Tube Safe for Your Kiddos!

Just wanted to take a second to share an awesome tip! Last year, our school's technology people (don't know what I'd do with out them!!) found this crazy amazing site.



All you do is visit the site (click on the image) and you insert the web address for the You Tube video that you would like to show. When you do, it'll look like this:


All you have to do is click 'Take me to the safe view" and it'll open a new screen that looks like this:


No ads, no videos, no commercials. ONLY the video that you would like to use for instruction!

How about that for a safe and easy way? I sure hope you are able to use this at your school. It saves me for so many frustrations!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sight Words: Stick with them AND Stamp them out!

Sight words are our new adventure in my classroom. After sharing my new management tool (see yesterday's post here) that also helps them learn their sight words, I'm really excited to share this with you!

One of our fellow teachers had an activity that she calls Build, Mix, Fix. You build the sight word from mixed up letters. It's so much fun!

I took a different route with it this year and ended up creating a set of HUGE set of clip art set of sight words. It includes 75 words: the Kindergarten Fry words, colors, and numbers 1-10. It is perfect for my kiddos AND yours because you can create your own sheet so that it matches your classroom needs.


All you have to do is add them in like a regular picture. I created two sets:


You can have your kiddos stamp the sight words...


or they can cut letters and build the words!

Just click on the covers to check out these awesome products!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday Made It! .... On a Tuesday ;)


This little beauty is my favorite little item! It's made up of a 12' wooden dowel, a post topper, and a clothes pin. Glue it together with some awesome hot glue and it's wonderful!

I got this idea from a fellow co-worker. She's used these for years to tell different tables apart. You can change out skills through out the year. I started off with colors and moved to shapes. Now, each table is a different sight word. My kids are learning them so fast! I let the word stay at a table one or two days. Then it switches. So great!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wish list Must Sees!

Whoever invented the concept of a wish list is a GENIUS! I have been slowly making my wishlist for Christmas/Birthday/It's-a-happy-day shopping for awhile now. I thought some of you might be interested in it as well. Some of these cool things, I never knew the existed until recently!

(Please feel free to click through to purchase... you'd be supporting my little blog (at no cost to you) as well!)


My B-I-G ticket item:




Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4540 All-in-One Printer


This printer does it all! Some of my bloggy friends (Common Core and So Much More and Erica Boeher) have the same one and swear by it! The cartridges are a bit on the high side BUT they last for THOUSANDS of COLOR pages... Seriously awesome!

Next up:


I would love, love to be able to bring things home, cut them out, AND laminate them here at home. This would let me do that! I have so little time at school that's free (who does really?) and none of it ever gets spent on going to the laminator!!

You know there had to be books on my list!



Plus these great ones too!



A fellow (and veteran Kindergarten) teacher has this book and swears by it! Every page is made of gold. I've borrowed her book so many times that I just need to get my own!



This is an adorable book that is perfect for Kinders. I need it! It's all about if saying 'Sorry' is enough. Does it really mean that you are sorry.




To expand my listening centers this year, I really, really want about 4-5 of these to make a nice set up! You can see my link here to see how I make my own story CDs.

What's on your wish list? 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ship Shapes with Building

Can y'all tell that I am ALLLL about the food when it comes to learning... and life really! We've spent the last two weeks working on learning our 3-D shapes. This was a fun project that really gets the kids thinking about the shape and how it's put together. Definitely a challenge!



They even filled out this cute little sheet my grade level found as a freebie from here.

My kids have gotten so into their shapes that I even created this great pack for them. It's PRINTER FRIENDLY too! So, no color printer needed. How awesome right?


It has sorting sheets:


And adorable cards that you can use for grouping, sorting, discussing: So many options!!!





Friday, September 13, 2013

Common Core Success!

Do you remember back in the summer when I went to Math Institute and saw those AWESOME math journaling ideas? Well, I took that idea and ran with it for this year.


I am in L-O-V-E with how my kiddos are showing me their math skills so far this year!


This is the question that I showed my students the other morning. The picture is the most important part for you to see :) The question asks the student to draw the shapes that they can find in the picture. There are several basic 2-D shapes that they can find and draw: squares, rectangle, oval, circle, etc.

The kiddos had a FABULOUS time being the cool mathematicians that they are. Each question has a small paper that I cut and they paste into their math journal. This way, when I look back at their progress, I remember what they were supposed to be doing!


I have made questions for each of the domains. If you've been reading for awhile, you might recognize the product. Check it out in my store! You can grab it by domain or altogether (available in K and 1)!



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sight Words On The Way!

It tends to be a debate of "when" to start sight words in kindergarten. Of course it's also a debate about how long to teach or focus on a letter. We spend one day on each letter in our grade level. This is our last week of letters.. down to only 2 more to go! We talk about the letter, sing about it, find it, write it, and color a book to take home about it.

But this year, I started introducing sight words by over lapping this last week. I introduced our first 5 words: one, red, at, look, I. I'm really excited about my newest word wall cards. Look at these cuties:


They are from my bloggy buddy: Laura Loves to Teach!

You can grab your own set from her store by clicking the picture. I love that you could say things like " Our sight words are the core of our reading." Corny? You know it's cute!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Take 2!

So, I completely fell in love with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities this year... so much so that I'm doing another week with ALL new activities! Check it out:

We reviewed all the letters that we have learned so far (23 of 26!!!)


I displayed them up on the screen using my Elmo (document projector). Then the students would come up with a pointer to the board and I would tell them a letter to look for.

 It worked perfectly! I had them all mixed together. For my kiddos who had trouble, I would give them 4 to choose from ('Which one of these four is the letter A?") I really, really wanted them to have success with this. I still have 2-3 who are really, really struggling with their letters still!



Today we broke out our GIANT pocket chart.

insert **AWWW** ** WOW** **COOOOOOL**



The students "led me" in putting the upper case letters in order from A - Z. Then we practice with the first 7 lowercase letters from my stack (26-7= 19 students ;) ). They did SO, SO well!


Above is an up close of the difference between the upper and lower case letters.


Each child had their own card and when I (gently) tapped them on the head with my lady bug pointer, they got to come up and place theirs. I told them the lady bug would tap them when she "spotted" them knowing their letter match with a thumbs up. You could tell them ones that got the "spotted" reference. Too cute!


Afterwards, it's always fun to hear the kiddos "read" the book along with the music and what not:



(I love the little smiley faces from Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah!) 


I'm super excited about how much my kiddos have enjoyed these activities so far! Don't miss out on the rest of these great activities that I'll share as the week goes on. If you want to join in on the fun, grab my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom pack:



Hope to see your kiddos joining in the fun, too!