Sunday, November 25, 2012

Do You Need An Elf Sitting On A Shelf Spreading Magic?

I am finally finished and ready to rock out my second packet with my elf buddy.  I love how it turned out and I am running it off right now for my teachers at school (I can feel the love). I have Part 2 completed with a focus on mathematics. Does it reflect the core? For sure! My favorite part of the packet is my "Jingle Bracelet" with a matching booklet. I think my little friends will think this is full of magic. The bell bling will probably drive their teachers nuts!  I have my book The Elf On the Shelf  in my teaching bag and I cannot wait to read this precious story to my kinder kids.. Maybe I should read this to the staff at the next meeting.
Sounds like a plan. If you are interested in this packet it is available on Teachers Notebook and TpT

Spreading Magic With A New Packet

Put away those turkeys, fall leaves and pumpkins since winter is just around the corner! 
I have been as busy as a little elf creating packets this week to bring back to my teachers to add some holiday magic to their classroom. What's more fun than having a magical character in your room? This ended up being much bigger than I expected so I broke it into literacy and math activities. I tried to make it unique and fun for teachers to use while still implementing common core standards. An elf is provided in this packet who is there to watch over the classroom, being sure students are following classroom rules and working hard on important foundational skills. Many of these activities can be done in a large group or during small group instruction. Eventually students can do this activities as independent literacy stations.It can serve as the perfect tool for intervention, with older students too. 
With many of these activities students can work with a partner which is an important part of the collaborative model being encouraged with the CCSS. If you are interested in having this packet it is in my Tpt store right here. A little bit of fun for everyone!
A math packet with an emergent reader is coming shortly too.
Have a happy Sunday.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Turkey Fun On the Run

My students loved this game and it is a great way to continue to review those kindergarten sight words that they still need to practice. When they go on break they often come back with very little memory of these crucial words. I should send a version home for parents to play and keep!
More and less is a challenging concept that is clear as mud to little ones. I made this very concrete version for students which they loved to play! Just slam a turkey or Pilgrim on a card and they are convinced it has to be fun!
The concept of more and less shows up in our math program right around this time of year and our kids struggled with this so much. So I tried to make it more concrete for them and using Thanksgiving graphics to convince them it was so much fun. This is perfect to do in collaborative groups to meet CCSS standards so I am showing this to my kinder teachers.

My BFF teachers next door to me last year showed me this idea last year and it is such a keeper. I adored it since I make headbands for everything possible. This is the best trick I have ever seen and you need to remember it! It's a real keeper!

These are my Thanksgiving retelling cards that I use in a pocket chart to build a flow map of the story. I practice it with the kids for several days and then move on to the bracelet activity that Dr. Jean taught me, right before they leave for vacation. Click here for my cards.

Please try this pumpkin activity if you have never done this. 
1. Scoop out the pumpkin but leave the seeds in the bottom.
2. Add soil to the pumpkin, filling it to the top.
3. Water it and leave it in the sun.
4. It will grow very quickly and your students can use a science journal to record 
    the results. It was a huge hit in my room. 
This is not my idea. I found it on another blog called Growing In Pre- K. You can see her fabulous version here. Can you think of a better way to teach the life cycle of a pumpkin? My teaching friends did this for the first time this year and adored this project. 

I have used the retelling bracelet that Dr. Jean created for many years now. However, I found that my English Language learners needed more support because the language of the story is so demanding. Finally, about six years ago I simplified the language a bit, created the flow map cards to practice the story whole group, and came up with a little strip book to support their learning. You can find it here.Why was this such a big hit? My kids could go home and tell the story to their parents at their own Thanksgiving table and feel so successful. A big shout out goes to my friend Dr. Jean who understands young children and their developmental needs better than anyone I know! Visit her blog if you are a kindergarten teacher and you will truly learn from her.
She has a more difficult version for first grade or for students who can handle more complex language.

Finally, these are packets I have created to support their learning at this time of the year. In Turkey Leftovers I have included an emergent reader that is a poem that you can also sing and is precious. Sparkle Readers #5 have a turkey reader about the food we eat at our Thanksgiving meal and focuses on beginning sounds. These are all at my TpT store and at Teachers Notebook. They can be used after vacation too as you get ready for your winter curriculum. Click here for T is for Turkey.
This is a card I created this year for students to make. They pick out the pictures that reflect what they are grateful for. I love the great conversations you can have around this! I think it is so important that we stop and remind each other of how grateful we are for all that we are blessed with. I have posted this before but if you still want to grab it you can find it here.
I love teaching about this holiday, making the costumes, cooking cranberries, creating pasta necklaces and all the other projects. What are some of your favorite activities to do? 

I got this idea off of Pinterest and completed the whole thing in just a couple of hours. I sent the Hubs out to find Bugles and Runts and he finally had to look on the internet for them. Wal-mart has these but ran out so he went to Walgreen's and hit it big. The man was my hero and they were so cute. I brought them to school on Friday and was super popular that day! Hint: bring treats to work to feel the love. Here is a set of these labels so you can be everyone's favorite teacher. Click here.
Leave a comment and share!
Have a wonderful holiday with your family. It is so well deserved.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Add Some Sparkle to Your November: You Need It

Add some sparkle to your November

These are back by popular demand and I think they will be great for kindergarten teachers and intervention specialists.. I worked hard on these to make them "just right" for this time of the year and then I tested them out in a variety of classrooms to make sure they were a good fit. The kids loved the topics and gave me a thumbs up! I love praise from five year olds. So here is the November set and remember that each book comes with its own sentence builders for your pocket chart. Build them and use sticky dots under the text.
All 80 pages are available in my TpT store for you to grab if this will make the crazy month of November a little easier. Gobble, Gobble  this here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Little Books Filled With Gratitude

At this time of the year it is important for our students to reflect on all that they should be thankful for. I decided to update a little book that I have used for years in my kindergarten and to offer it as a freebie. I changed it up a bit by differentiated it to allow for a student who is more independent and can write a sight word with ease. It is just a simple cut and paste foldable that provides repetitive text  and is a little cut and staple activitiy. On one set of pictures the word my is provided but on the other the student is asked to write it under each picture. Students get to select the pictures that represent what they are grateful for and this makes a nice book to send home with all your Thanksgiving activities.Grab this freebie here.

Thank you for all the amazing email I got about blog stealing. It just makes me sick that people see no wrong in this. I appreciate the kind comments, those that clearly understand how wrong this is, and followers who see the problem all over the internet. Much of this is often pointed out to me and it makes me feel so bad. Link back to a blog, ask permission to grab a photo and take care of each other. When in doubt... ask.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blog Stealing Is Back In Full Swing

This has been a rough week for me and other bloggers. Many bloggers had their materials posted on a school website and given away. Really? This teacher had no problem offering up freebies and packets she had purchased from others.  Maybe we need to remind other teachers of the hard work involved in creating materials. Is this so complicated? This teacher sells materials on TpT  too.  I am not as forgiving as other teachers and want to make it clear that this is really not okay. In my world this is stealing and  not what I would expect from other educators. Respect the efforts of others and come up with your own content. 
Always ask permission to post someone else's idea or a document and link back to their blog to give them credit. If it's not your idea do not use it.
Just because you use other graphics does not make it okay to take someone's idea and make it your own.
If someone has an idea on their blog and you have the same idea, let it go or the other blogger will think less of you. They posted it first. 
I know many of you have experienced this and feel so badly about it. I think we need to expect more from our peers. I hope this has not happened to you.
The email I received was so ridiculous that my husband laughed hysterically.  I did not find it  that funny. After assuring me of how much she loved all that I had created on my blog she wanted to copy some ideas and wanted a recommendation for where to sell them. Then she wanted to question the validity of my copyright. My attorney daughters loved this. What is her agenda? Really?  Is this what teachers are about now? She wants help stealing my work? This is more than I can take. Am I losing my mind?
Another blogger found something of mine on pinterest, copied it and gave it away. I sell it as a packet. She was fine with this. I was horrified and disgusted. 
I want to know how you feel and what norms we need to remind teachers to follow?
Okay, now I am trying to be over this and move on. Thanks for letting me vent. I am probably the oldest of all of you and I got really mad... I want to protect you from this unprofessional behavior. You are sweeter about these things than I am.  I am really struggling with these issues and feel miserable. I need a thicker skin. Maybe I need to retire... Look out for each other.
Love you,

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sounds Like A Plan

Do your kinderkids know all their sounds? If not this packet might help you to address these important foundational skills. These activities have been carefully aligned to the Common Core and allow children to
engage in meaningful activities. It can also be used to provide intervention for those children ( I have had a few) who need more support identifying letters and sounds. A cut and paste strip book has also been provided that students can do during small group time or independently. These activities have been differentiated to meet the needs of a wide range of students.

It can be purchased at my TpT store if you click here on this picture: 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Common Core is not just about standards...

As I am learning about CCSS I have discovered that it is no longer just about addressing the new standards. It is also important that students work using a collaborative model and no longer are we expecting quiet classrooms where just the teacher is talking and one student is responding. This is a huge shift for many teachers and will be difficult for them to alter. We want students talking to each other, using academic language and being purposeful, helping each other.  We know that this is how we all learn best. Why not promote this in our classrooms? In my new role I often collaborate with other teachers and find that I am at my best when I have the privilege to discuss new learning with others. It has made me much more effective and I find myself doing a lot me listening now. All of us need an opportunity to work with others at our grade level and reflect on our teaching practices even if it means laughing at how an activity "tanked" and you had to rethink your lesson! I have been there more times than I care to admit!
What does this have to do with this packet?
First, I had to be sure that the activities were purposeful and differentiated for all  kinds of learners. I also made sure that students had opportunities to work collaboratively, often with a partner. I had  to provide an opportunity for students to show me their learning with a performance based assessment.
All of these activities can be used during guided instruction for intervention purposes too. Hopefully, these will be highly engaging and fun for students to use. I hope I pulled this off. This packet addresses crucial foundational skills our kids must have to learn how to read and I find myself always looking for new ways to visit letters and sounds. I will post this in my TpT store and TN after the hubs edits it! 
What do you think? Are you on board with this?
Stay safe.