Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Common Core Standards Do They Have Under Their Belt?

The year is coming to a close in my district and I have been busy rolling out our spring units that now reflect the Common Core. Many schools are having end of the year celebrations and parents are visiting classrooms to admire all the work their children have proudly created over the year. Now you are wondering how the year slammed by so fast (or not). The paperwork has gotten out of control and the kids were ready for the summer right after spring break.. right? This is a tough time for teachers and anything that brings your life under control is embraced with enthusiasm. I decided to try out something new. This is not your standard memory book because my students would struggle with all that independent writing and I would have to do all of it directed,during small group instruction. OMG another job. So how is this different?
I took some of the highlights of our CCSS journey this year and created a student book that kindergarteners can complete on their own!  Okay I lied. Many kids will be able to pull that off and then we have a few... Yup read that again to be sure. It is a reflection of the skills they have acquired and can also serve as an assessment tool for specific skills.  You can pick and choose the activities you want them to work on. Does that sound useful? Wait, there is more! In addition, this is an emergent reader that they can share with their families, once you have gone through it together! It has dots under the text for tracking and is somewhat repetitive. I love the idea that they are essentially creating a Common Core journal of their year long understandings and can share this portfolio at home. The prep for this is minimal because I am afraid to contribute to the insanity at this time of year. I've got your back! I am off to work but will put this up in my store later. What traditions do you have for your little learners? Grab a tissue and share!

I just posted this in my TpT store for you to purchase. It's only $5.00. I hope you love this product as much as I do.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

News Flash: Father's Day is Coming!

I work in an elementary school where I am rolling out the Common Core K-5. This has been a real challenge for me this year but I have been told by my upper grade teachers that older kids are just bigger and they still love cute worksheets and anything that allows them to draw. Who knew? I decided that they needed a "pick-me-up" after the state testing and made them a special newspaper for Mother's Day. This was such a huge hit across the grades that I am bringing in a similar activity for Father's Day. I wish I had taken pictures of their completed work because they were spectacular. I forced my principal to stop working ( he was crazy busy) to look at them and he started reading them. Kids really expressed their feelings and gave you a window into their lives that was so touching. One child wrote that he loved his mom because she kept him safe and another child talked about his mom always telling him to do his best on the hard tests he had to take at school. Another child wrote that her mom loves to spend time with her and they dance together while she gets dinner ready. Students often have lives where they are faced with poverty and poor living conditions but they can always write about their love for their parents. It made me stop and realize that we offer them a safe haven and bring stability to their lives. If you would like this feel free to click here to download. Leave a comment and tell me any great ideas you have for this holiday. Thanks for stopping by.
Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An Interactive Mother's Day Card For Kinders

It is time to take a break from the race to the end of the year and have your students make a special card for their moms. I think this is a keeper because the kids get to make a special cut and paste card, a little strip book goes under the cupcake honoring all the things their mom does for them, and they get to write the word "me" on each one. Quick and easy-peasy. I bet it gets them a hug and a kiss from a happy parent! Mission accomplished. You can grab it right here but please leave a comment and head for the TpT sale.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Planting More Freebies On My Blog

I know when I go on Pinterest or cruise around on other blogs I often see a brace map that is adorable and is presented as an art project that is a cut and paste activity. I love how beautifully these turn out and appreciate all the skills that go into creating them. However, (deep breath) now that we are on the Common Core train our thinking has shifted a bit and our students are being asked to think like  "scientists" and to draw the parts of a plant themselves (visual imprinting) which is a way for a young students to record their understandings and build knowledge. This can be done in large or small group settings and allows children to label each part with an appropriate word, building academic vocabulary. When doing this you want to encourage children to make the parts to match the "whole" plant on the left side. I talking about putting the pieces of a puzzle together to make the entire picture. Are you on board for this?

Cards can be used to guide student thinking and can help them learn to label these parts more easily. I love making these and using them in my Morning Message, in a pocket chart, on a word wall, or as part of a literacy station. I will post these later as a freebie in my TpT store. Leave a comment if you would like these plant materials for your classroom.  Click on any picture to take you to my freebies. Leave a comment if you can and become a follower!