Saturday, March 29, 2014

Talking Sticks with Laura Candler

Have you ever need a new strategy? Just something a tiny bit different that would make a HUGE impact? This is what you were looking for!

Talking Sticks Book Discussion (Kindergarten CCSS Aligned)

The creator, Laura Candler, let me try this out in my classroom and it is fabulous! My students were excited, motivated to speak and share, and were engaged the entire time.

Here's how I used it this week:

I simply printed out the already made and categorized questions. Passed out the magic talking sticks and began our discussion. My students are used to retelling the stories using a 'retelling hand' but the questions that Laura created are more out of the box and fun. Since we were using this with a newly introduced book, A House for Hermit Crab, I really wanted them to think about the book outside of the characters and setting and think about the book in a new way.

Since I focused on really getting them to think about the book in a new and fun way, Laura's Personal Response Questions were the best with this fiction book.They loved the 'Do you think this would make a good movie?' and 'If you could have been one of the characters, which one would you be?' They were by far the favorites!

I wish I could show you a picture of my adorable students. They were in a circle and stayed circled up for 20-25 minutes (yes Kindergarteners!!) engaged the ENTIRE time discussing, taking turns, and participating. It was AH-mazing! I made sure to ask enough questions that everyone would have some type of input and everyone was able to use their magic talking sticks.

This is my new favorite way to talk about a book afterwards! Laura even has projectable questions that you can purchase to make it even easier for your higher learners.

CCSS Reading Discussion Prompts (Kindergarten)

AND if you are like me and love to have everything match, she includes blank templates for you to create and add your own questions to the mix. You can also get the entire set with printable and projectable by clicking here.

I wish I had had this resource earlier this year! Make sure to take a moment and click on the images in this post to check out this resource (available for every grade level)!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Cleaning... a happy thing!

Piles. I have piles of stuff. It's seriously a horrible case of piles! That's in my house... stuff here and there and EVERYWHERE! I'm counting down to Spring Break to be able to clean it all up. Until then, I'm going to be productive in other 'cleaning' ways... cleaning up my TPT wishlist and cart! You can too!

Today through Monday, I'm a part of the Spring Cleaning Sale. My entire sale is available to you for 20% off! There are over 99 other TPT stores that will be doing this same sale. You. Do. Not. Want. To. Miss. This!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Y'all I am so excited about my new adventure! I 'met' a new online friend who happens to be in charge of an AWESOME resource for teachers online: Educator's Room. After talking and 'hanging out' online with her a bit, I am now adding my two cents in for other teachers online as well. I hope you'll take a moment to pop on over and read my very first published article:

5 Tips from a Veteran Teacher: Surviving Your First Year

I'll be sharing two more articles by this weekend and I can not wait! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Snowy Saturday Work Day

Yesterday I got to work in my room which was awesome... I totally didn't have a plan since I had my two kiddos with me to entertain as well. With all the snow that 'Hot'lanta saw this winter, teachers missed 2 days of Professional Learning... hence Saturday workdays. I did 1/2 a day yesterday and did manage to get 1 great project done.

I moved my word wall! It was on the bulletin board but I moved it to the front of my room and now the words are all magnetic. Very cool! I'm very excite about it. My plan for the fall is to add the letter of the day as we learn about it. That way at the end of 26 days, we have all the letters on our word wall and can start adding up the sight words.

I always love moving around my furniture so yesterday I did just that a filling cabinet here, a desk there, a bookshelf from one wall to another. Nothing super big but it always helps to 'defunk' my brain every now and then. Now I can spend a rainy day making the activities I just planned out in the car:

Don't forget that you can follow me on Instagram to get snapshots of daily life!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quickie Sight Word Game

So, I've really, really been wanting my students to write their sight words correctly ALL year... we're still working on it. lol

Anyways, I started this little review game this week and they love it!

It's the same idea as my math review game from earlier this week. All you needs is student whiteboards, markers, and a stack of sight words.

I simply told them what word to write and when they were done we checked it. I helped my lower babies sound it out a couple of times. My higher readers got the harder and trickier words (digraphs and such) to work on.

Each person gets a point for the ones they get right. The first person to 10 wins!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What to do with all those adorable ten frames....

This was one of those spur of the moment ah-has that came to me today and my group of kiddos loved! I had a couple of fast finishers today with math. So I pulled out these great ten frame cards, white boards, and markers. We were set!!

They counted (very obvious who has the counting on concept) and wrote the number (writing numerals)

Then they had to compare: Who has the greatest? Who has the least? What order would they go in?

It was great and my kiddos loved it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband! In his honor, my store is 20% off until tomorrow night! Yay! Please come by and help us celebrate!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pinterest Fail to St. Patty's Day AWESOME!

Wow oh wow! What a crazy day! Did y'all have a wonderful time with your little leprechauns? I sure did! I tried to keep the day as normal as possible! After our leprechauns snuck in while we were at lunch... we did this wonderful writing prompt.

They turned out so, so cute!

Here's my Pinterest fail... I found these really cute cookies: 
Click pic for 50 St Patricks Day Crafts for Kids - Leprachaun Hat Treats | Easy Crafts for Kids

How cute right?!?!?! I even found the perfect 'tiny' cups to make them. I thought I was doing great buying 3 bags of M&M's so that I would have enough. Then I got home.... HA! 3 bags is a joke.. you will ALWAYS be short the two colors you need. What to do... let the leprechauns leave a 'decorate yourself' treat!

The kids had a blast with decorating theirs!

Remember my 'real classroom' link up last year? Yeah.. here's my table at the end of the day. Yikes!

To make the night easier, I had my home made marinara in the crock pot. It was SO nice to come in and just cook the noodles. It always makes a ton so to use it wisely, I decided to make stuffed shells for the rest of the week. Yummy!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 14, 2014

5 on Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for:

The top item of my week is this awesome chart that I made. It was SO easy and has made a HUGE improvement in the organization of my work stations since having two charts was NOT working. You can see the WHOLE post by clicking on the picture below.

Fairy Tale FUN! I love reading fairy tales with my kiddos. They get SOOO into them! This week they have been learning about Three Billy Goats Gruff. Last week was Little Red. Tons of fun :)

This week we are reading this book and it's AWESOME! The kids love how silly it is :)

I'm planning for Monday.. What is your favorite St. Patrick's Day idea? I found this great pack from Live Laugh Love Kindergarten. I can't wait to get it ready! My printer is going... which means my yipper is yipping...
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover Literacy Pack

I'm beginning to eye my book study for this summer. I'm thinking of this one:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fairy Tales and Characters

The past two weeks we've spent our Reading Workshop reading, retelling, and comparing Little Red Riding Hood and Lon Po Po.. these are such awesome books!

These are the books that I used:

My favorite activity was our character traits lesson. I have some high thinkers this year so some of our skills have been on the tad easy side. Character traits are more than a tad challenging for older kids! I loved getting my kiddos to use new vocabulary to describe the characters. Here's our chart:

They did such an awesome job with discussing and adding to it. This week we are working on Three Billy Goats Gruff. I'm hoping that they'll be able to remember and reuse those great new words!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas: Get Your Washi On!

I'm participating in the Bright Ideas Blog Hop today! I am so excited to be participating again this week.

Thank you Sarah for such an awesome idea! I hope some of y'all found me through her since her idea is fabulous!!

This month I want to share with you this great little brain surge of being able to re use and remake posters. I'm always changing my mind but hardly ever with the time to laminate lots of new posters. So, I thought up how to use this adorable washi tape that I bought waaaay  back at the beginning of the year. Check it out:

Laminate the poster first:
  Then begin making your sections with the Washi Tape.

 Add extra pieces that you can write on...

I added names to the left hand side boxes (1 from each student table) so that I can check off which table did which center. It's perfect!

Next up on the blog hop is Erin from Home Literacy Blueprint. Erin has another great post for you! Just click on the button below to check it out!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Guest Blogger!!

Check out my guest blog post over at Create, Teach, and Share! I am so excited!!

Inspiring and Lifting

Need some inspiration? A lift? Make sure to check back on Sunday to grab a bright idea or two with the Bright Idea Blog Hop! You can check out my idea from last month by clicking here!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dr. Seuss Sweets and Treats!

Dr. Seuss and Candy... yep. My parents are thanking me tonight! I just had to share this great little idea I did today. This is an activity that another teacher showed me several years ago.

You need the following for each child:

-1 oreo
-white frosting
-4 gummie Life Savers

I loved the oohs and ahhs when I pulled out containers of frosting. It's always hilarious!

Spread the yummy icing...


Then just layer the gummies and frosting... voila! How cute is this little hat?

What's better than an afternoon treat? A story to go with it! 

Do you make any treats during this week?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What's up, Doc?

Craziness abounds this week! We all know why- Dr. Seuss! Which is why my picture tonight is brought to you by Dr. Seuss:

Can you guess what I'm making tomorrow? 

Want to see more crazy pictures from my class and my life? Make sure to follow me on Instagram!

If you are the first to leave a comment (with e-mail) of what I'm making you can have a copy of my newest creation: