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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Scissor Practice Made Simple!

So here is a simple activity we are doing with our ELL's tomorrow to allow them to have more practice with scissors. We have a rigorous curriculum to teach and need to get as much accomplished as the kids can handle.
Our children need to work with scissors and just cut straight lines under supervision. We want our students to be able to identify these school supplies and use the linguistic pattern you see here. This will help to build their fluency. For the beginner, labeling the object is a starting place. The other pattern that goes with this is "_______ are in my my backpack." Pick and choose what will be useful for your students.I like running the backpack on colored paper and having the kids just color the school supplies. It looks cute to run them on a variety of colors and to make this an easy board for the beginning of the year. We have 31 kids and this really makes it challenging to come up with easy projects they can do with some independence. I will try to post this later if you want it! Have a great day of teaching. 
Thanks for your patience today. I post early in the morning and now I can give you that freebie just because you are my friends. Grab it and use it with your little ones tomorrow. These graphics are done by my friend Makda and naturally they are fabulous.You can leave her a comment right here if you LOVE them cause I love her!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Rules of School

We have just started back to school and are going over behaviors and procedures with our new classes. Most of our little ones have never been to school and are in a state of shock. Therefore, it is really important to go over expectations to build community and so children can understand what you want them to do. I am a big believer in taking pictures to anchor their understanding since many of our students are ELL's. It is difficult to know their language level when they first come into the room so this is an effective way to communicate. It is nothing new, just a reminder that in kindergarten I think super simple is best. Pick and choose what you want to hammer on!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shape Up Please!

I made this little book for my grade level to use next week to review shapes. I am hoping this is a review but we can also practice concepts of print. The new sight words are here and is and I am providing addition practice with the word the. The little books are a big hit in the room and I have the kids highlight the sight words with their yellow crayon to keep them engaged. I love when one little book covers many different standards. Now I need a Big Book to match this. Do you want a copy? Grab it and shape up! These graphics were designed by and can be purchased.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Name Game

Most kindergarten teachers start the year off working on letter recognition. Often our students come with limited knowledge so we start with their name, like so many others who work with young children. Here is a sample of how I make mine. The photo goes in the left corner of the card and then I type in the student's name. The vowels are in red and we will work on these special helping letters a bit later. You know the drill but for those of you who may not here are a few simple activities you can do:
1. Have students identify the first letter of their name
2. Sort students who have the same first letter
3. Have students count the letters in their name
4. Clap out the syllables in each student's name and sort them this way
5. Build community by having entire class identify the student on the card
6. Put all the names together on a ring so students can use the names of their friends in their writing.
7. Sort boys and girls in a pocket chart
8. Have students take their name card to their seat when they are ready to practice writing their name

Why put the photo on the card? Many children in our program cannot recognize their name and need this scaffold to feel successful.

Later we give them cards with just their name and the photograph on the back. Obviously this is much more challenging for them.

Tell me what activities you like to do with their name.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All Little Books Need A Mommy Version

I am getting ready for our new students and my partner loves this emergent reader. Yesterday she asked me to make it a big book to use with the children before handing them an emergent reader. Smart lady! So I had very little time and this is my quick and easy version for the children to use for practice. Maybe we will build the labels in a pocket chart the next day. Not bad for an easy peasy book. How do you make yours?

All you need to do:
1. Enlarge your images on the computer or a copier
2. You can print them in color or do them in black outline and fill in
3. Bump up your text and use a thick font so the kids have good visibility
4. Separate the words with a few spaces so young children "see" the spaces between words.
5. Frame the text so they can make a connection between the words and the picture
6. Count the words to build concepts of print
These graphics are from DJInkers and from Scrappin Doodles. All I did was purchase them and enlarge them for my classroom.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Students Flip Over These Books

My kids love these little flip books and they are easy to make and can be used for lots of concepts. This one is for matching sight words, one is lower case and they have to find the matching uppercase partner. I usually provide a recording sheet with this to make it a bit more interactive and to hold them accountable. However,you can have different expectations for different times of the year.

I am selling this in my TpT store for only $2.00! If you are interested in purchasing it you can grab it here.
There are twenty sight words presented and this packet is 22 pages. I hope you like it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Those Beginning Days of School...

School starts next week and this is a standard activity in my classroom that I open up with. I try not to get a little crazy when I see the results. We have many kids that cannot write their name at all or proudly show it to me in all caps (you know exactly what I am talking about) and I spend lots of time undoing that. Their drawings can give you a ton of information about their developmental stage and often the little girl with cute ponytails and a zigzag part has been to preschool and her person will have clothes, facial details like eye lashes and lots of details. So lets see how they look this year... Save these to show the kids at the end of the year. Some of them are horrified by their poor fine motor and it is cute to watch their faces!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Cat With A Positive Attitude

At the beginning of the year it needs to be simple and just plain fun for kinders when they first come to school. These can be folded ahead of time and a label can be used for each student's name. My kids might like taking this home with their Pete headband on . I will have to have my camera ready to go! This book is available right here. let me know how your class likes it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I know that many of you liked these name tags or told me some great ways you are using them in your classroom. So many of you are so creative. So, if you need a set and cannot stand the thought of making them,
I took the names off of mine and want you to have a set to start the year. If you already have name tags you can use them for sight words, letters, numbers, whatever. Click here.

Please don't eat your name tag!

Are you still using name tags with soft yarn? I did this for years until I figured out this system. These badge holders are super expensive in office supply stores but not in Walmart. You can use them year after year and when I have a sub I leave these for her to use. Easy-peasy tags that the kids love to wear. I put them in a pocket chart outside on the first day so the parent can help their child. I also make an extra set of cards with icons in case a new child comes and I need to write in their name quickly. I keep extra badge holders on hand. When students are wearing these we can play name games easily. So, if your kinders tend to eat their name tag or twist it around their neck until they turn blue, this might be your solution! Try it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pete the Cat Came Back

I just finished a little reader for the new Pete the Cat packet and I will be adding on other activities as soon as my friend Makda finishes the graphics. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with. The language in this book is too difficult at the beginning of the year (unless you have first graders) so it will be a "shared reader" to help the children to be successful. If I made this into a Big Book I would take photographs of places at my school so the children would recognize them. That would be so much fun for them. The pointer is just a special extra and their name could go right on the stick with a label. It won't be long before I am rocking in my school shoes!

I am obsessed with the ultimate hw folder...

I have changed my homework folder more times than I care to admit. This is the latest and greatest version. I use legal size colored folders and do the boys in one color and the girls in another color. Sometimes notes are just for girls and this makes it easier. Once my class list is stable I laminate these folders completely open, fold them again, and staple them on the short sides. Then I take colored duct tape and enclose each side to cover the staples and make the folder sturdier. The folder reflects many of our big standards that I want parents (in a perfect world) to practice on a daily basis. Does this make sense? What do you create for your students? Wait... don't tell me or I might change them A*G*A*I*N! 
Here is a download of a few of my ideas and I hope you can use them. Click here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

This Rubric Cannot Get Lost !

Writing in kindergarten can be a real challenge especially when you work with young students who have limited English. I have tried lots of different strategies and this is one that has been fairly successful. I call it "The 5 Finger Rubric" and right before I release the kids to write we review each "finger" and talk about what good writers do.
Does it work? Not always but the kids love having the rubric on a stick (you can send one home) and it is a great reminder for them of what we are focusing on. I introduce this after we have been in school for a few months and I have modeled good writing through lots of mini lessons. I thought you might like to see this. I think kids need a rubric so they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kindergarten Count Down...10,9.8

School is around the corner now and I am busy making homework folders and name tags so the reality is beginning to sink in. How about you? I am still working on my room (oh dear) and am hoping to put all the stuff away. So here is what I am thinking... We all get a little anxious about starting all over with the new kinders and we need some fresh things to boost our confidence, right? So I want to offer up some fun freebies to brighten your day. If you have someone new to kindergarten run some things off from this blog, put it in a fancy bag with a ribbon, and have it ready for the first day! Let's all pay it forward as we approach our new year of teaching.
I am offering the little strip book of patterns.

Grab it, use it, and enjoy it. Have a happy year with lots of learning! Click here to print this little book.
Leave a comment if you want and check out my TpT store if you need some fun stuff to open up the year!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have become paranoid about showing all my work since blog stealer is lurking around. However, I am forcing myself to share because my friends are confused about this alphabet packet and I wanted to show you a finished product. Students cut off the bottom of the paper, find the letter being focused on, and glue it in a chart provided. It helps to expose them to a variety of fonts which preps them for the text all over my room! I hope this helps clarify things. This packet is at my TpT store for just $5.00 if you want to purchase it!

Patterning With A Passion

So we all use patterns using our classroom calendars and we might use manipulatives along with this but why not record these in strip books so the children can take them home and "read" them to their families? You can do ABAB forever and just use different images to keep it interesting. This book would be for the kids that understand this concept and need more of a challenge. I love the cut and paste aspect too. I will be selling strip style books in my TpT store if you love this and want them. My partner cannot get enough of these (seriously).We start out patterning the kids and using hand motions which our students really enjoy. I think this year I will have a new pattern every day that we can build in a pocket chart. Remember you can use dot markers at the very beginning and have them work with 2 colors (KISS).I have it as a free download in a much earlier post. What do you use for patterning?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kids Love Tiny Stuff

I really can't explain this to you. My kinder kids love these teeny tiny books so much. I make them all the time with the sight words we are working on and they love to color them, highlight the "star" word with their yellow crayon, and put them in their pocket to take home and read to their parents. Who knew this would be so popular. Do you want this? Click here.

Cut and Paste If You Dare!

Whose has real courage at the beginning of the year? If you do than this is the perfect alphabet book for you to buy. Students trace each letter, color in a picture that begins with the sound of that letter, and cut and paste various fonts using that letter into a chart. Finally, it can be made into a student book or class books can be created. Take a deep breath... We have to give them scissors-right? Maybe I can wait a few weeks or maybe not.

This is perfect for kindergarten and can be used for first grade as an independent literacy activity. I hope you like it. If you want to purchase it click here to go to my TpT store. Please let me know if you like it! Leave a comment.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Believe In You!

We all want to start the year with a positive attitude and this book will help to build community in your classroom like no other book written. This author is wonderful and I have given my own children books by her. Her use of language is just magical and will leave you in tears. I will read this throughout the year because of the message it sends to all of us-
"I want you to remember, I'm hear to watch the ride. I believe in one amazing you with all my love and pride." 
This message is for each of my blogging friends as you embark on a new year.

We all have our heroes and I just met mine...

I have been out of town this entire week spending time with my curriculum specialist and (BFF) in Salt Lake City, Utah. What an amazing way to end my summer. She was invited to the 2011 Summit featuring my mentors,
Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. When I reflect back on my teaching career these are two educators who deeply influenced my thinking and make me look at guiding reading in a systematic way. I had the honor of gaining an invitation to this event through my friend and it was an experience I will reflecting on for a long time.
The room was filled with administrators, coaches, and curriculum specialists from across this country. I was the only classroom teacher! Canada was also well represented. We worked together for several days and had rich conversations about teachers, balanced literacy, and best teaching practices. I learned so much and loved meeting so many educators who were working to make importance changes to improve the lives of our children.The Heinemann people worked hard to bring us together in the most beautiful setting they could find, providing fabulous food (better work on that weight) and entertainment. We had informal discussions in wooded areas with wildflowers and the sounds of nature surrounding us. It all ended too quickly with hugs and promises to stay in touch and this event changed me in so many ways.
Thank you Gay Su for making this so meaningful. You are a warm and loving individual who never complained when asked to take a picture, sign a book, or listen to another story we needed to tell you. You connected with everyone in the room and I feel blessed to have met you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Cindy!

Okay so today is Cindy's actual birthday but I am in Utah at the Fountas and Pinnell Sumit. Yes, you read that correctly and I am so excited I don't know where to put myself. It should be amazing and I will tell you about it when I get back. Please go to Cindy's site for some birthday surprises and to check out this super wonderful friend of mine... Right now I have to give you another present because we all love a party!

      I hope you like this birthday game.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The dog ate my homework!

This book will have your kids screaming with laughter if homework is a part of your daily routine. Brace yourself if you have never read it. What happens when your dog really eats your homework because you dropped peanut butter and jelly on it. What happens when your mom washes your jeans and your homework is in the pocket? What happens when your little sister takes your backpack to preschool by mistake? Martin finds out that the substitute teacher does not put up with any of his excuses and he has to suffer the consequences of not having his work at school. This is the perfect book to use when introducing homework expectations to your class. It is such a great read! Hurry and buy it. You will never regret it! I promise.

Help! What Just Exploded From My Computer?

This is the best piece of work I have ever created and I hope it makes my team do a "Happy Dance" when I bring it in to start the year. It grew into an enormous packet with tons of activities for students to build independent skills through well established routines. I have also included blank templates for teachers who need to add other words. I hope you love it as much as I do. Head over to my TpT store if this looks like a winner to you and now I need to pack for my trip to Utah. Click here to start shopping.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Digital Party for Cindy

Cindy is the owner of  a wonderful blog that is my "go to" place when I need a bit of tech help (she's not even a geek)  and for other great classroom ideas. Her birthday is this week so I had to grab some ingredients and cook up some great ideas. I am still focused on the beginning of the year so I am offering this little reader that is a class favorite. The kids never, ever get tired of it. Simple text, simple graphics, and it provides an opportunity to practice name writing which EVERYONE needs help with ( unless you went to private preschool and you are almost six). When they show me their name proudly  in all capitals, I have to bite my tongue (ouch) and just accept the fact that it might be a long year! LOL. Click on her picture to check out her blog. You'll thank me.

Another oldie but goodie is to put the birthday song in a pocket chart, substituting different names of students in the class. Every five year old loves a party! What traditions do you have in your classroom? Leave a comment if you are in a party mood. Happy Birthday Cindy! Grab your gift Grab your gift right here and eat a cupcake in Cindy's honor. I fixed this link and it should work. I am so sorry.