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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sight Word Write-the-Room!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Saturday.  We are completely iced-in here in Dallas, so I finally had the time to get this Write-the-Room file finished up!

 Write-the-Room is one of my most favorite literacy stations, because it gets the kids excited to read and write!  It's easy to change-up each week and differentiate.  I provide the students with clipboards and lots of different glasses to wear (thank you Dollar Stores)!

This file is great, because it contains 78 sight words!  You can use it for the entire year.  Once the kiddos understand the procedures, you don't have to re-explain it every week!  The sight words are linked to kid-friendly symbols.  Just print, cut, laminate the cards, and post them around the room.
 There are 5 different recording pages that you can use with all of the words.  This will help you easily differentiate the same Write-the-Room activity to meet a variety of student skill levels.

 If you are a follower, leave me a comment!  First 3 to comment will get this Sight Word pack emailed to ya for free!  ;-)  [Make sure to include your email address in the comment.]

Stay warm!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

3, 2, 1 Helpful [& fun!] Behavior Managment Hints for the Linky Party

Researchers (and just about any teacher I know) will tell you the hardest part of teaching is classroom management.  I wanted to share 6 of my helpful and fun lil' hints that help make behavior management novel and exciting.  I don't have 1 set "system" for behavior management (clips, colored cards, clothespins, etc...).  Instead, I utilize lots of different reward ideas and motivators throughout the year.  Changing it up is KEY!  Kids get bored of the same things and they lose their "pizzazz" over time.   So let's count down my 6 fave behavior hints...
Mr. Potato Head: This fabulous idea came from my amazing colleague Jessica Bolejack.  I don't have any kids at home, so I had to buy one of these, but many of you may already have one around the house!  Mr. Potato Head sits on a shelf near the front entrance of our classroom.  He starts out "naked."  Every time we line-up, if everyone gets in line correctly and quietly, without pushing or whining, I choose 1 student to add 1 piece to Mr. Potato Head.  When he's complete, we have a potato head party!  That's when Mr. Potato Head gets to pick a type of party to have.  ;-)  He whispers his choice to me, of course.

Backward Character Hats: I throw these on from time-to-time as we walk through the hallway.  Goofy and Angry Bird watch the line for me!  They whisper in my ear when we reach our destination to choose a student to earn some type of reward for nice hallway behavior.

LipSmacker "Smellies":  Another gem from Jessica...  No, we don't put these on the students' lips, don't worry.  ;-)  Carry a smelly with you occasionally as you walk through the hallway.  (I always let a kid who is lined-up nicely choose the flavor before we begin the trek.)  When you get where you're going, students who walked nicely get a smelly on their hand.  They just raise their hands up and you rub a swipe of the LipSmacker on them.  The kids FLIP for these!
Clean-Up Song: I cannot live without my clean-up song!  I use "We Will Rock You" - the instrumental version.  It's about 2 minutes long and a perfect pace.  Peppy to get the kids moving, but not too fast that they get revved up and wild.  I train the kids the first week of school to start the song independently so all it takes is telling a student to go turn it on.

Fuzzy Jar: If the students clean the entire room by the end of the song, they earn a fuzzy in the jar!  When the jar is full, we get a fuzzy party!  A fuzzy party can be any type of party we decide on when the jar is empty and we are ready to start earning again (popcorn party, glow-stick party, slipper party).  We can also earn fuzzies for other whole-class successes but it is consistently used for clean-up time.
 Class Dojo: Such an amazing FREE website!  If you haven't heard of it, please go there NOW!  [www.classdojo.com] You enter your students' names, they can choose "monster" avatars for themselves, and then start giving them points!  I use only the positive points.  The built-in categories are Helping Others, On Task, Participating, Teamwork, and Working Hard.  You can also add your own.  You could also plug in groups (such as table groups) rather than single children.  It makes a nice dinging sound when I award a point, so without saying a word, I can excite the kids ("Who just got the point!?!") and subtly remind them to stay on task.

I hope you enjoy these hints!  Make sure to hop on over to the linky to see lots more

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fluency warm-up cards - first three get 'em free!

Happy fall my Kindergarten blog friends! :) I do love this time of year, especially in the Kindergarten classroom. Pumpkins, turkeys, colorful leaves, cool recess weather... the kids love it all! I've been MIA on the blog, mostly due to the time spent on a technology presentation I helped plan, create, and give to our school board. I plan to post on what I shared in the presentation later this week.

I've been thinking a lot this year about fluency. In particular, how do we build fluency in students who are still at the emergent reading phase? This year, I have a class filled almost exclusively with beginning readers. Which is great! But it is different than the wider range of readers I have typically had in years past - including students who enter Kindergarten reading on a 2nd grade level! Fluency can (and should) still be taught with our newbie readers - it just looks different than it does when working with established readers.
I wanted some handy, easy to grab-and-go, fluency warm-up cards or pages for the students to use at the beginning of Guided Reading. I printed them 2-sided on cardstock and laminated them. They live in the chair pockets on the chairs at teacher table, so students can get them out quickly, grab a fun reading finger, and get busy! I can lean in and listen to students one-at-time and assess/assist as necessary.
There are 8 pages... Letter Names & Sounds (in random order), High Frequency Words, 2-letter VC Words, CVC Words, CVCe Words, Words with Blends, Words with Digraphs, and Words with Bonus Letters (twin consonants). You will be able to use these cards every year with all levels of readers! They would be great for 1st grade readers, too! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Primary-Fluency-Warm-Up-Cards-969660
My students love these because they can challenge themselves to read the WHOLE page! You can also time students and have them set goals for improving. I also like using these to pre-teach word patterns that appear in the books we will read during guided reading that day. And of course, what else do you need to make fluency FUN!?? Reading fingers!!  
I collect more and more of these each year. So motivating for the students - and most are pretty cheap, too. My 3 favorites are available on Amazon.  (Click on the finger titles to see them for sale on Amazon!)
(Surprisingly cheap - $8.76 for 48 of 'em) 

If you'd like these Fluency Warm-Up Cards, they are $1.75 and for sale here at TPT.  If you follow my blog, leave a comment below!  The first 3 followers to comment will get these cards for FREE!  Make sure to leave your email address in the comment, and I'll send them over asap!  :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

If These Walls Could Talk... It's a LInky Party!

 I, like most of you all, am obsessed with anchor charts!  I have seen a previous Linky Party that encouraged bloggers to post their all-time favorite anchor charts.  SO much fun, but I think we need a chance to display what's currently hanging on our walls on more of a day-to-day basis throughout the year.  So, without further ado, what would your walls say right now if they could talk, meaning read what's on them!

Here are the anchor charts currently gracing the walls (and err, cabinets) of my classroom!
This is our IDEAS (6+1 Trait) poster hanging on the Writing Wall.  I love how this poster turns out so differently every year depending on my students' interests.  This is a great reference when little writers claim they have nothing to write about.  They also use this poster to spell words.

Another one on the Writing Wall - I refer to this one ALL.YEAR.LONG.

After introducing the concept of setting, we made a quick web of the settings from stories we have read this year together.

Part of our Social Studies lessons on jobs at school and learning the names of staff members - oh so important, but tricky for the kids to memorize!

LOVING the Climb Inside a Poem lessons I blogged about here.   "Just Like Grandpa" is a precious poem included in the big book.  It provided a great introduction to action words.

Little scientists made lots of observations about these 3 liquids before we predicted what would happen when they were all mixed together!  Of course, we recorded our predictions and then the results of our experiment.

My students blew me away with their deep answers to this question!  This lesson also came from Climb Inside a Poem.  I can't resist showing you a few of their individual response pages...

I hope you all will link up with pictures of your classroom walls right now and the charts hanging on them!  I'll host this party at the end of each month!  Please be sure to grab the Linky Party image from above and link back to this page.  :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The superkid rubric

I love teaching my Kinder kids about rubrics.  Just hearing them say that word is beautiful.  Okay, okay, maybe I'm being a tad over-dramatic, but I seriously love rubrics!  I think it's incredibly powerful to teach children how to be self-evaluators.  Even at their young age, they know when they do their best and when they don't.  I have a large "SuperKid Rubric" poster in my classroom.
The faces make the rating system super easy for the kids to understand - it really doesn't even need an explanation.  We use the levels to evaluate our own work and behavior.  I can often be heard saying phrases such as "Where is my Level 3 line?  Are we being Level 3 Listeners?  Who is sitting Level 3 on the carpet?"  I don't ever rate the students or their work, I have them do it instead.

At the beginning of the year, I ask the students what they think makes a piece of work Level 3.  We discuss and make a checklist that I hang near where students turn-in completed work.

Last year's checklist:

This year's version:

Do you share my love of rubrics?  Do you help students learn to self-evaluate?  I'd love some comments!  :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Like Animals Emergent reader freebie

What to do when you can't find the perfect book for your "Making Books Station" this week... make your own!  ;-)

What to do when you're feeling generous this lovely Sunday evening... share the book as a FREEBIE on TPT!

My students still need lots of practice with our sight words the and like, and what Kindergartener doesn't love some precious zoo animals!?  I'd love if you rated the product or left me some feedback if you download.  Hope you had a great weekend... here comes Week 4 of the year!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Roll & Tally Freebie

2 weeks down, whew!  I am loving my class, and they are catching onto our routines and procedures so quickly - yahoo!  One of the major routines we have been practicing is our system for math rotations.  For my math block, we start altogether for a 15 minute whole-class math "warm-up."  After that, the students rotate through 3 stations: teacher table, computer, and workshops.  I use a PowerPoint that automatically advances to tell students when to switch and where to go. 

For their workshops, students play differentiated math games.  I will be spending this whole week teaching them loads of these games when they come to their teacher table rotation.  The students get a new game everyday, so they don't get bored, so I need them to learn A LOT of them up front right now.  As their skill levels progress, I will introduce and teach new games here and there throughout the year.

Here's a freebie game that the students love and is very easy to teach and requires only the student handout, dice, and pencils.  Nothing to laminate!  ;)
Click here to download it for free from TPT.  Hope you and your students enjoy!  :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Welcome to my Room!

So I only made 1 post during Teacher Week... per my usual.  Despite my best intentions, the week before school starts just overwhelms me.  But I'm back and super excited for the 1st day of school tomorrow.  I met my new students on Friday evening, and oh my word - they are beyond precious!!  And now for a tour of my classroom... welcome!

 Here's the back of the cubby shelf that serves as a partial wall to create a small entryway.  The top of the shelf holds our folder buckets and turn-in tray.  I just hung these pockets from Ikea on the back.  They hold line-up chants and songs, as well as some hallway friends.

Miss Mouse joins us in the hall when we need to practice being quiet, Fly-Straight Fred helps us when we need to stay straight in a line, and Kiki Kangaroo helps us practice walking, rather than jumping or running.  ;) 

 My Goofy and Angry Bird hats are here by the doorway so I can grab them to wear in the hall as well.  I wear them backwards and they watch my line for me, of course!  :)

My Math and Science Word Walls are to the right once you enter my classroom.  They are bare now of course, but we will start adding words during the first week of school.  By the end of the year, they will be full.

Here's our little SuperKid Library.  I add thematic books to the triangular shelf, and the students' book boxes are in the cubbies.  Their book boxes hold their published books (from Writer's Workshop) and readers on their independent levels.

Literacy Station tubs are on this shelf, with our scrap buckets on top.

We are so lucky to have 7 student computers!

Our Reading Wall, Reading Tent & Reading Buddies, Treasure Box, and "back door."

 Here's the view the children have when sitting on the learning rug.  More Literacy Station tubs are on the counter with the Word Wall behind.

I used napkins to add the fun pom-poms this year.

Our Calendar area!

These shelves act as a divider for the room.  Normally there are more math games on the top of the middle shelf, but I had the table tubs there for Meet the Teacher night to make room for the folders on their tables.

Ikea cardboard magazine files make the perfect holders for math games!  I have about 40 more games stashed under the student computers, and I change them out throughout the year.

 The SuperKid rubric and "Kid Word Wall."  I used mounting tape to adhere washers to the fabric.  We add high frequency word cards with magnets to the wall throughout the year.  The students can remove the words and take them to their seats.

More about this interactive word wall here.

Our blank Writing Wall.  I can't wait to fill it up with all of our wonderful anchor charts!  Below is my shelf where I keep all of my Guided Reading goodies.

My desk and teacher table, where I had signs out for carpool and photo-taking on Meet the Teacher night.

My desk!  I love pictures.  :)

And out in the hall, we hang fantastic "Level 3" student work (usually from Literacy Stations) on these clothespins.  It's hard to tell in this picture, but we glitter-fied them this year Pinterest style.  :)

My class bulletin board:

I hope you enjoyed my classroom!  I can't wait until it's full of my SuperKids tomorrow!!  :)