Saturday, April 23, 2011

Random Find at Staples

I ran in Staples yesterday to drop off some empty ink cartridges (you probably know, but they give you a few dollars store credit for each one) and I had to take a peek at the bins up front that said $1.00. There were some nice office supplies, but this is what made my day...
These mini-notepads (about 3 inches) were only $1.00 for a pack of 10! I think I'll save them for the hundredth day of school next year. They would be great in a treasure box too, my kids go crazy for tiny notebooks. They had some with other designs too (motivational things like "way to go"). So run out to Staples if there's one near you and you love a bargain!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vocabulary Pack Winner

Thanks so much for your interest in the vocabulary pack I made. I really appreciate every little comment! So the winner is.....

True Random Number Generator

Result: 77
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Nicole, email me and I'll send you the vocab pack.

I love teaching vocab. this way and from the responses I've gotten I think many of you think along the same lines. I also like having as much as I can planned ahead of time so I don't have to fool with it during the school year. Can you tell how I spend my summers? I've got to decide soon what I'm going to tackle this summer. I need to work on my math files and organization.

In other news, I had a mom donate a class set of little clay pots for us to decorate for Mother's Day. We need to get to work on them next week, but I'm not sure how to decorate them. Please share any great ideas you have!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

150, WOW and THANK YOU

It's the little things in life that make you smile, like having followers! Thank you so much to everyone who stops by to look at my posts and for your sweet comments and support. I get so many ideas from other blogs and I'm amazed by the wonderful blog community I've found in the past few months. It really gives me more energy to teach when I see the fantastic things going on in other's classes.
As promised, I'm giving away my new vocabulary packet, click the picture to get the preview from TpT.

You can enter by:
1. Leaving a comment for me (I love those!)
2. Following my blog
3. Following my TpT store (there's not a whole lot there yet- I'm still getting started)
4. Posting about this give away.
5. Adding my blog to your blogroll
Leave a comment for each so I know.

Thanks for making me feel so special, I appreciate all you teachers so much. It's crazy how I feel like I know you!
I forgot to set an ending time for this, so I'll choose a winner tomorrow(4/21) evening around 5ish! Thanks so much for your encouraging responses!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kindergarten Teachers, I Need Your Help

I'm teaching ESL summer "camp" for the first time ever this year. Today we had a planning day and I found out I'm teaching upcoming kinders! Some of these little guys will still only be 4 years old, yikes! I'm used to 1st graders who already know how to use a public restroom, sip water from the fountain, and walk in a line. I'm going to have a new found respect for all you K teachers out there after this!

The theme this summer is "A Healthy Me" and we've decided to work on:
safety and hygiene (maybe a visit from the fire dept., police, lifegaurd, dentist, nurse)
sorting healthy and unhealthy foods
naming basic body parts (incorporating the 5 senses)

So if any of you fabulous teachers have some very basic ideas for teaching these please share! I need to start browsing some kinder and pre-k blogs. I'd also appreciate any ideas for simple (independent if that's possible) math and literacy "stations" for the kids to do every morning during arrival.

Also, only 2 more followers to make it to 150!! I'm eager to hit that mark since 100 somehow slipped past me. My new vocabulary packet is posted on TpT and ready to go. I'll give away a copy soon I hope!

And thanks Brenda, from Primary Inspired, for blogging about it! The support of others is so encouraging- one of the reasons I love our little blog community so much (my husband thinks I have a problem/obsession though).

Friday, April 15, 2011

What a Week and a Giveaway Soon!

My week was off to a great start when Monday morning a little sweetie showed up to school with these goodies. How thoughtful!!

And then we had a fabulous field trip on Thursday to the zoo. Have you ever seen 60 children sleep for an hour? I have, on the ride back! They were pooped I tell you. And it was precious how they were falling over on each other and doing the head bob.

Then today we had emergency early dismissal due to the crazy weather. It's always mass choas when that happens. Luckily, all my kids got home the right way and I didn't have to sit in the office and call parents. So my weekend got off to an early start! (And I love storms, so it's been nice sitting here listening to the mess outside.)

I've been working on a vocabulary packet for TpT and I'm about ready to post it. I wrote about how I do vocabulary a few weeks ago and I got some sweet comments so I thought I'd try to it out on TpT. I've gone back and included a free download on that post that will go along with the vocabulary packet. Click here to go to that post. (Send me an email if you made one of those sweet comments, I'd love to send you the packet since you inspired me to put it all together).

I also realized that I totally missed hitting 100 followers (how could I?!) and now I'm close to 150. Thanks so so much for following this little blog. I'm not a great writer and I often feel like my ideas are nothing special (but hey, they work for me) so I get really excited every time I have a new follower. I appreciate you for reading, commenting, and sharing all your wonderful blogs too!  I'd like to give away the new vocabulary pack when I get to 150. Click below to get the preview.
Ok- I got it posted on TpT now, by clicking the picture you'll go to TpT but you can still download the free preview there. Let me know what you think, I hope it's helpful!

Thanks again for being such sweet followers and have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Yard Sale Find!

One reason I love Saturdays so much is because it's yard sale day! I found a bargain today and it's going to be my first summer project. My husband said I could only have it if I promised to take it to school- he says we have no room for more chairs in our house!

I'm thinking I'll paint the wood aqua and find some black and white polka dot fabric (since that's kinda the theme in my classroom). Or do you have any suggestions to make her cute? Also does anyone have tips for recovering? I figured this wouldn't be too hard since it's a simple design. I can't wait to fix her up! Here's the very best part:
I'll post after pictures later (much much later!).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

3 Addends

I feel like I've seen someone else who made this little activity recently but I can't remember who or where. Anyway, I'm getting out the easter eggs for next week and my kids are going to work on adding with 3 addends during math stations. I knew I would use those numbers I just had to have because they were only a dollar!

I just put 3 magnetic numbers in each egg and numbered the eggs 1-12. Here's the sheet I made to record their equations.
Happy Thursday- only one more day to go!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Daily 5 Charts

A few days ago I posted about my literacy station rotation chart and I took some pictures of my Daily 5 charts (idea stolen from Mrs. Meacham). I'm so glad you liked them! I found my files at school so now I can share them.

Here are the charts where we graphed our stamina for 10 days (not 10 in a row, I probably stretched it over about 20 days- we spend the first 20 days really stressing routines). I set a goal of 15 minutes and each day they made it or went past we got an extra minute or two of recess. I also made some charts without the graph since I don't have enough materials for the whole class to participate in some of the activities at the same time, so on those charts we just listed the expectations for students and teacher(s).

And nobody asked, but here are the small cards I use in the pocket chart.
Now to lie on the couch and watch the weather - we have tornado watches tonight!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vocabulary and Drawing Conclusions

Once again, I'm linking this to Mrs. Patton- check out her great organization week (clearly I like organization- not saying I'm good at it though!).

I thought I'd quickly share how I teach vocabulary to first graders.

One summer I pulled out some of my favorite read alouds, many were seasonal. I have less and less time to read to my kids just for fun so I needed a chance to read these fun stories while tying in some skill I have to teach already.

So I looked through them for quality (Tier 2- if you know what I'm talking about) words. I chose 3 words from each book and if a book just didn't have 3 suitable words I didn't use it. Then I typed the words on cards and I found an online image of the book to print.

I've got them organized in a storage crate (in the order I will use them all year) and each week I just pull out the next book and its word card and picture card. I introduce the 3 words, give definition and examples, we discuss a little, then I read the story and they listen for the words. Then I post them on our vocabulary word wall. As a bonus, I tried to choose books that I also had on CD so I could then put the book in my listening station.

I've used this for 3 years now and the kids love it! And even better, they often use these words (correctly) in conversation and if ever see the word in another book they always say "Hey, that's one of our old vocabulary words!"

Here's our vocabulary word wall so far this year:
Click any of these photos to download the vocabulary book pictures cards that I use on my word wall. I've put the entire vocabulary packet, with word cards, the books list, words and definitions, and a few printable activities in my TpT store, click here if you are interested, and thanks!

I also wanted to share this game I made for our reading comprehension skill this week, drawing conclusions.

I made clue cards for my kids to practice listening for details and after each detail they are asked to draw a conclusion as to what the object is, the topics are foods, jobs, and animals. I made enough clue cards to play three games without repeating any. And there are different point cards if you want high values (make your kids work a little harder to figure out their score!) There's also a sheet for the kids to write their conclusions and keep up with their own score.

I designed it to be played like a jeopardy game. I've played Phonics Jeopardy with my kids and they always love it, so I made one for this skill as well.

I've uploaded the game on my TpT store if you want to check it out. It's easy to make, just print and cut.
Click either picture to go to TpT and you can download a preview. Thanks!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Literacy Station Rotation Chart

Yesterday I was in a hurry and I forgot to post pictures of my literacy station rotation chart. The Daily 5 says to eventually allow kids to choose their own stations and I've tried that but I never felt comfortable with it. I also have an inclusion class and sometimes those kids (and others too) just need more structure. So my kids have to follow this rotation chart.

We only do 4 stations a day (and they stay the same all week). The kids' names are on index cards and then they see the order in which they will do their 4 stations that day. Each week I move the index cards down a row. And I may change the station cards. For this week I don't have read to buddy as a station, so next week I may replace work on writing with read to buddy. I just try to change it every few weeks, but it involves no set up, just moving cards around.

The green, red, yellow, and blue tags above the stations show which reading group comes to my table at that time. The yellow and blue groups only come every other day. And during the 4th station I have intevention, so I just call a few kids by name to visit my table again.

This is a close up of the charts we made at the beginning of the year to learn and practice our stations and graph our "stamina". I got the idea from - an awesome site for kinder and 1st! I tweaked her charts just a little. I have the charts saved somewhere and can share if anyone wants them. (Edit: I found the charts and posted them here)

And an awesome special ed. aid made these pics to remind my kids of what is expected during stations.

This has worked for me for a few years now, but I love to see how everyone else sets their schedule up.