Friday, July 29, 2016

Open House Goodies

Trying to stay organized and ahead of the game is not always possible. However, I managed to get everything packed up and what not at the end of the school year with time to spare. SO I started to work on Open House copies.

I always love seeing what everyone else gives to parents on Open House. Here's what I'm going to be passing on to parents (with links) and most of these were freebies I found!

These first two are my classroom hand book and a common core math vocab sheet for parents.

The reading at home suggestions is actually 2 sided and I love them! They have simple but very effective suggestions. Here are side 1 and side 2.

The information sheet I grabbed on the fly last year when I could not find my file! I love this one better than the one I made though! 

This is my student's first homework assignment (See below for a better picture) and the parents' invitation to join Bloomz. I did almost ALL of my communication through Bloomz last year and I absolutely adore it! They have these sheets on there to print off ready to go with your specific code and instructions. Perfect!

Most of my students have access to some type of tablet or ipad. This is the best list that I have found to help guide parents. 

Here is my student's first homework assignment. I hand it out on Open House (Thursday) and ask for them to start coming back the next Monday. It's meant for parents and child to do together about the child's favorite things, people, food, etc. They get to share it during class and we all learn about each other.

It's simply the letter to parents and the letter I that I cut out from construction paper. 

What do you put in your packets to parents?

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kinder Camp: Day 2

Who loves the Pout-Pout fish?

**Raise your hand high**

I love him too! My activity for today was to read about the Pout-Pout fish and the deep, deep dark!

Since I read the book today (and our rotations are about 20 minutes) I chose a coloring sheet to go with my activity. Plus it helps to see who can write their name and who can not.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kinder Camp: Day 1

Such sweet faces at school today! We had our annual Kinder Camp for the upcoming Kindergarteners. They get to come and check out the school, meet all of the Kinder teachers, eat lunch, and have fun with different activities. Today our theme was Pete the Cat. So we had a Pete the Cat school tour, read Pete the Cat in His School Shoes, colored our school shoes, and even got to make a Pete the Cat.

Each teacher did something different. I had them make a Pete the Cat. Here is the cat that my daughter brought home today!

This project was super fast and easy to prep for 50 kids since I used my 2 inch circle punch. Way easier to prep those! I didn't have the kids cut anything at all since I only had 20 minutes with them and they are still essentially pre-k students.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Classroom Sneak Peek!

I'm going to be showing you all the nook and cranny's in a coming soon post. But I just HAD to show you a snap shot of my new room set up!

I took a panoramic while my daughter was watching The Incredibles. I love, love, love this set up! It's way better than what I had last year (isn't every year?). I can't wait to give you a detailed tour!

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Number Sense and Rekenrek Clarification

One of the most important concepts that we can teach in Kindergarten is Number Sense. It is a very, very important building block for children's math skills int he future. Because of this I built a class set of rekenreks last year:

I have also seen them created with just card stock or poster board.

This was an idea that I found on Pinterest from Kathy Griffin:

I've been asked the drill bit I used and the measurements. So, as an update I took some pictures! (I'm a total visual learner!) The drill bit that I used was 1/4" drill bit to create the hole. Here's the picture help:

They are about a thumb width apart... don't worry- an actual ruler measurement is in the next picture ;)

They are about a centimeter apart.

And about 16 centimeters apart..

Do you need more math ideas? Check out these daily math questions for interactive notebooks!

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Fitness Friday: Stick with your goals!

Earlier this month I blogged about my goals. So.. sticking with my goals, here are some amazing resources that I found to help us on our 'Fitness Friday'.

All of these (and more) can be found on my Fitness Pinterest page.

I found this just this past week and am in L-O-V-E with this idea of motivating yourself each day with a reward.

(Click on the image to be taken to the original pin to make it a bit easier to see.)

This is my motivational quote for this school year:

Every year has stress.. the trick is to find a productive outlet that is NOT eating chocolate (talking to myself on that one)!

Don't forget to check out our Fitness for Teachers page on Facebook. It is a NO AD group. You can get motivation, support, and ideas without being hit up to buy products or join programs--promise!

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

School Year Goals: What are yours?

Every school year, to me, is like New Year's. So I love to set goals each year! I thought it would be even more fun to see everyone's up on Instagram and across blogs. Check out mine and feel free to share your own!

#1- My summer book study is all about Making the Most of Small Groups with Debbie Diller. I am loving it and can NOT wait to implement all that I have learned in her book! It's my goal to really make sure to use my small groups to their full potential this year!

#2- A blogger friend of mine, Lauren, and I have started a facebook group specifically for teachers to get fit. If you'd love to join check it out here: Fitness for Teachers. It's just teachers- NO ADVERTISING allowed! It's a great place for encouragement and advice from others who really get how hard the schedule and obstacles are!

#3- Oh, man, balancing. This is the toughest one. Over the years of teaching, making my family come first has gotten easier- even with sports, dance, and gymnastics thrown in. School will always be there and you get what you can done each day. But this year, for the first time in 9 years, I'm throwing in college to get my Specialist. I can do it :) But it will be a balance!

#4- Keep sharing! I have gotten back into blogging this summer as I have really, really missed it! Now that I'm settled at my new school and back in Kindergarten, I feel like I really have more to share and feel confident in doing that. I can't wait to be able to show you all that I have planned for this year!

Now, your turn!

Right click to save/download. Add your text in any program of your choosing, save, and share! I can't wait to see what your goals are too!

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Making the Most of Small Groups- Chapter 3 & 4: Grouping and Comprehension

Welcome to week 2 of Making the Most of Small Groups!

This week we are looking at Chapters 3 & 4: Grouping and Comprehension

Let's look at chapter 3 first. When I want to group my students for small groups, how do I start?

That dreaded word.... assessment. Now, some times assessments do give us useful information for our students... it's when they duplicate the assessments and give them a new name. but I digress.... At the beginning of the year I usually do a DRA on my students to find out how my students need to be grouped. You can also group by subject/focus. 

But with Kinder-babies I start off with their DRA levels. Your first freebie is how I track these levels through out the year. Click below:

What are the students doing while I assess? 

Well, you really have 2 options.

Option #1- Give them something new to do.
- A writing and drawing activity.
-Play dough letters or sight words
-Creating art
- Independent reading

Option #2- IF you have support or your students are well trained, have them do their normal routine. I like to assess during centers because the other students don't normally focus in on what the child at my table is doing.

How do I keep up with my groupings?

There are tons of ideas out there! I have a lot of them pinned on my Guided Reading Board. One way is to have a flexible grouping sheet. I've created a pretty one for you to have all ready to go at the beginning of the school year! Just click below:

Chapter 4: Comprehension

I have to say that I L-O-V-E the chapters that Debbie Diller has on the actual focus of lessons. BUT I'd feel like a huge copy cat if I shared lots and lots of her ideas. So instead, I want to show you the most meaningful part that I got out of this chapter:

"Comprehension is understanding."


"are we teaching decoding or reading?"

Decoding = a student can sound it out or read it

Reading = a student can answer questions about the text that they just read

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Easy Prep to Save Headaches in the New Year

One of the things I have struggled with each year of my 9 years of teaching: name plates.

I have tried lots of different options:

name plates as they come
hot gluing them down
taping them down
using adhesive pockets
self adhesive name plates
laminating them and then taping them down
laminating them and then hot gluing them down
no name plates
writing names on the table/desk with sharpie
names on the chairs and not the table

So far, this is the VERY best way I have found. Now, I know that not everybody is the same... but sometimes it helps to go with a tried and proved method. Here's what I had last year:

I laminated them at school and then put them on... HOW I put them on is a BIG TIP! But first let me show you what I'm changing this year.

My name plates lasted until almost mid-May by laminating them at school. So, this year I decided to switch it up and laminate them at home.

If you don't have a laminator at home, I highly suggest it! This is only $30 and has saved me so much time over the past few years! The laminating pouches make everything nice and thick so they are very sturdy and hold up really well! The only things I have laminated at school now are larger posters.

Once I have them laminated and cut out, I will use my secret weapon. Ready to find out what it is? Voila!

Yes! Velcro dots! These are the best things E-V-E-R!


Well, what you do is place the same velcro dot on the back of your name tags like so....

And then on your tables you place the other side. This is the magic because we all know that we will have to move our kids seats eventually during the year. This way all the name plates will be able to be moved to all spots and will line up with the velcro dots there!

Here's how I make sure to get each of the dots perfectly aligned:

I put the other side of the velcro on before flipping it over and sticking it to the table.

I promise, if you try this- you will be thanking me!!

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