Monday, April 21, 2014

Earth Day, Kinder Registration, DIBELS & Freebies!

Here's what's happening now in my little world!  Wheh… there has been so much the last week or two but I have even more fun stuff coming in the next few weeks!  SO excited!  Anyways.

I did a post last year about what we do in my class for Earth Day and we are doing those (click here to see) and doing a few new things!

Love me some Harry Kinderdarten!  Here's a fun little video about the 3 r's!  Catchy tune of course the kids will love!  I have to say I love how all these videos are being redone!  (Yes I was a little frustrated at first but we teachers are creatures of habit and so after the freaking subsided I am a happy follower again!)

I also created this fun little writing book!
It's a craft for the cover and is loaded with interactive activities to go inside that are great for kinder through second grades!

Basic and simple activities to learn about the Earth.

 Ways to care for the Earth like conserving water.  
And all about the 3 r's:  reduce, reuse, and recycle.  

I often get asked by my friends who teach older grades to adapt my work for them.  So I am trying to do that as well from now on.  Picture above shows one of many writing prompts that will guide your lessons about the Earth and provide a place to document them.  

It is also loaded with writing pages so you can customize this book:  a journal to record facts, a story about the Earth, or really anything you want!

It of course has a freebie in the preview!  

A few other things going on lately…  Kindergarten registration!  Check out this fun bulletin board I made for the families!  There is no better family than a family gearing up for kinder!  So enthusiastic and eager to meet you and be there!  No other grade is this fun!  

It was really difficult to pick out which border to go with this great little set!  After fumbling with many I went with a Creative Teaching Press Stars pattern!  I just love it and don't want to take it down!

So… I added the word FUTURE to my Welcome to Kinder Bulletin Board Set.  So if you already own and want this fun board, go back and download it!  Otherwise.. with your purchase you will get all sorts of options for back to school AND now LAST DAY OF and FUTURE as well!  

Last… we are gearing up for testing!  Not sure if it's a sigh of relief we are so close or a sigh because I am anxious and nervous.  

Have you downloaded my DIBEL's freebies for letter naming and nonsense word fluency?   These are great resources to use to get the kids practicing and practicing.  Here's how I use them:
We of course read them by ourselves.
 We read them with partners… "one person points, the other person reads."

And we read them with sand timers for speed.

Click the above for the nonsense practice and below for letter naming!

We read the same passage again and again.  Here's my thought… when we ride a bike we don't learn to ride the bike we own by practicing riding on other peoples bikes.  But.. when we are FLUENT in riding our own bike, we are then able to jump on any bike and go!  This is why we do it again and again.. so we get the feel of what FLUENT feels like so they can attain on their own with a piece of unseen text.

Now, I always like to give a word of warning when using my DIBELS stuff.  Some people feel as if it's teaching to the test.  I personally don't but there are some who do.  This is no different than the lists of real words I give my students each week to practice reading and writing with a sand timer and for fluency.  Uhm… some call it word work or spelling!  The difference is I am using nonsense words.  In my opinion, it is not teaching to the test because reading theory shows that if you want to truly see how a student can decode, you give them a list of nonsense words.  This is not a theory that DIBELS invented and therefore reading nonsense words should not done exclusively as an assessment.

As a matter of fact, those of you who follow me on my fan page would know that we are struggling getting my first grader to read.  We had him identified as being dyslexic and have him going to an Orton-Gillingham tutor (during school hours off campus and at our cost mind you) and guess what he is doing now… NONSENSE WORDS!  Orton-Gillingham reading programs were around MANY more years than DIBELS!  Oh.. and guess what… after only 3 session.. HE'S READING!  Isn't that crazy?  There is more to come on this, I promise, because it's good stuff we can all do with our students!

So.. that's a glimpse at what's going on now!  Lots more to come!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fun with Peeps!

We had so much fun this week working with Peeps!  

Hubs thought I was crazy when I told him to stop and buy be 100 Peeps on the way home!  LOL.  

We filled our week with science experiments.  

We started by doing some internet research on Peeps and looking at the boxes.  There is a quiz on the website that has a TON of crazy facts about Peeps!  

Then we explored with our senses.  {Which you can download in the preview from TpT for free.}  We touched them and listened to them and smelled them AND ate them! 
  One student said the sugar on the outside tasted like sand so it really brought up some great conversations about the senses!

We mixed the colors to see what would happen!

We heated them up and cooled them down to see what happened!

We mixed it with baking soda and vinegar!  This was so fun to give the students the opportunity to see!  And I let one person from each table pour it into the cups too so they thought they were super special!  Generated great discussion about predictions and the possibility of what could really happen in science!

We soaked them in 4 different kinds of liquids to see how they reacted!

We did these all along with my new fun new Peeps Science Mini journals.  Included in this download is 7 experiments (one blank experiment page so you can create countless versions of your own), a class survey, notes pages, Peeps research, and a senses activity which is free!  Just print these pages, get yourself some Peeps and go!  

We also did a fun writing creativity with our Peeps experiences!  

This download includes several different graphic organizers to prepare your writing with 2 different ways to make your crafitivity (1 with just a story page like shown above and another where you can staple a little book to the belly of the Peeps!)  So you can really make this activity fit what you are teaching right now in writing!

This also has a free download in the preview you will want to go grab!

 We did this during our state mandated testing in grades 2-6!  So it was the perfect lesson for our very long recess free, special free, extended day!  Testing days are long for us too right?!?!  (I am fortunate we don't have any testing but I have been at many schools that do so I give all you who do mad props!)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

D and B Reversals - Bright Ideas Hop

It's Bright Ideas time again!  So here's an easy idea to help kiddos with the common error of switching d's and b's!

I actually have 3 doors in my small room!  Two of those doors we use every day.  So we now have a d door and a b door!  (We used to just have a d for door but now I made it a little harder for the kids!)

So I have to admit… taping a letter around your door knob is not the easiest thing!  You measure and think you cut correct and it just does not work.  So here's a couple tips.  

It's easiest to lay it around the know and cut little snips.  SO here… I rounded the edge of one side just to see, placed it not eh door to see, and then snipped right where the purple arrow is.  Then I took the tape back off and cut a new curve where that snip was.  

Once you have the letter figured out.. if you are doing a second door I would suggest just peeling off that tape and copying it!  SO here I just layer that same measured piece from above and cut one more piece exactly the same!  {Another tip would be putting the tape onto a table or shelf just while you are working with it.  Applying that pressure makes it much easier to cut!}

You could of course just use masking tape and wrap it around - duct tape is not as forgiving when you curve it!  I like to use the duct tape because it comes in all the cool designs that you can switch out with the season.  Not to mention that when you change the tape you have again drawn attention to the letters on the doors!

Be sure to check out the other Bright Ideas from over 150 inspirational educators!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Freebies for a Great Cause!

Spring is in full bloom where I live!  Is it where you are?

My post today is for a very important reason… meet my friend Tori and her new baby Mason!  

 I want to share with you a special fundraiser that I am a part of: Tori’s Tiny Miracles Fundraiser! Tori is a teacher, blogger (Tori’s Teacher Tips), Teachers Pay Teachers seller, and most importantly a mom of 2 little miracles. Both of Tori’s children were born premature: Michael, born at 28 weeks and weighing only 2 pounds, 6 ounces, and most recently, baby Mason, born at 28 weeks and weighing 2 pounds, 8 ounces. Michael is now a happy and healthy six year old! Baby Mason is only 2 months old and has just undergone surgery but is a fighter!!

Aside from all the emotional ups and downs of having a NICU baby, Tori's family is facing some very large hospital expenses. Together, almost 50 TPT creators/bloggers came together to show our support for our friend! We put together FIVE affordable bundles with a spring, summer, or end of the year theme: Kindergarten, First, Second & Third {Spring}, Second & Third {End of the Year}, and Clipart. The proceeds from these bundles listed in this store will go directly to Tori’s family to help offset the medical bills and living expenses they have while they are caring for their newest miracle. Check out each bundle below:

This bundle has 13 products to get you from now to the end of the year!

This product includes ten packets to enhance your teaching this spring!

As a thank you for supporting her family, Tori has also put a freebie in the fundraiser store. Please make sure you download it while you're visiting.

To do these fun poems we made a list of words for each letter for the word spring.  {This was 100% a guided activity!}
Some did one word like above… but many did multiple words! 
{I spoke of commas and so you will see all sorts of marks on their papers because they were not really ready for it.  Someone suggested doing a couple and they all ran with it!}

Thank you so much for your support!  Click here for your freebies!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Easter Plastic Egg Wreath DIY

I usually don't get crafty in my real life… I just don't typically have time.  But I have a lot going on right now and needed to channel some of that energy in a therapeutic way!  

This Easter Egg Plastic Wreath was so easy to make I thought I would share it with you all!

 Items needed:  
  • one wreath frame (I used a wire one from Walmart that was $2.33), 
  • about 75 plastic eggs (I bought 100 just in case, but it really depends on the size of your wreath)
  • 2 packs of Easter grass
  • hot glue gun with about 10 glue sticks

I started by glueing a little bit of grass all the way around the wire frame.  It was like dot of hot glue on top bottom and middle of wire frame and then stretch the grass across.  

My wreath has 2 layers.  I started in one spot and did the bottom 2 eggs and then the next bottom 2 eggs.  Then I put the top layer egg right in the middle of all 4 eggs.  To glue that top egg, I placed it where I wanted it and eye-balled where the glue would go (most of the time it worked out.) 

I continued by doing 2 eggs on bottom and then the 1 egg on top.  (I purposefully did not do all of the bottom row first and then the top row because if colors touched it would really bother me.  =)  

Next step it to add the extra grass between the two layers of eggs.  I put dabs of glue along the outside circle of that top row and stretched the grass along.  Then I did the inside circle all the way around.  

Lastly I went through and trimmed the grass.  This was messy.. but working with Easter grass in my opinion is not the easiest thing to do.  It's very all over the place and since there is so much of it would be impossible to attach it all!  So I just went around the wreath and trim, trim, trimmed until it was just the way I liked it!  

Here it is hanging on my front door!  Isn't it pretty?  

It took about an hour to make and cost under $12!  I have gotten away from crafting around the home… raising kids is time consuming.  Who would have thought… you all make it look so easy.  =)  

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Peek in my Poetry Rack!

It's poetry month!  So I thought it would be fun to give you a peek into my poetry rack!  

My rack is a clothing rack from IKEA.  I have had it for about 8 years and it has moved with me about 4 times.  It's one of those pieces in your classroom that you have to tighten with an allen wrench every few month, but overall it has survived and will surely give me many more years!!

First things first… poems! I have poems for the entire year on my poetry rack.  This is a poem I picked up somewhere along the way about spring that students can read now. 

My poetry rack stores many of my daily routines.  Here's a few of my favorites:

(The picture below is one of my favorite poems!  This is a picture of me and my husband when we wed in Hawaii many years ago.  We talk about how I don't come to school to socialize and be fun, I come to work because it's my job. I of course explain I love my job… but I want the kids to understand from day one I am a person too!)

I house many fluency practice items here including letter, number, and sentence charts!  We do these together and they do them independently in centers!

I have many vocabulary charts!

I always try to include as many real pictures as I can! I want the kids to relate to them!  
My charts are interactive!  We write on them with Vis-A-Vi pens and pile them on with sticky notes!

My charts have organizers that are ready to go at any moment!

As you can tell.. my charts are WELL LOVED and made about 6-8 years ago so they are lacking the cute handwriting and graphics of today.  But they are real and what is being used to teach and so I love them!

I organize them with pants hangers!  When I first started my poetry rack I would ask every store I went in to keep the hangers and take any they had laying around.  It took no time at all… many stores were glad to get rid of them!  I did hot glue them on and I double sided them so I could get more on my rack!

And I keep a binder ring on my easel to hang my charts and poems on when I need them.  

So it's a part of our daily routine and the kids LOVE having these!  


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