Friday, January 13, 2017

Stories For Their/Your Soul

This week I am joining my Kinder Friends to share about stories that we think are good for your soul.

I love reading. It is my favorite subject. I had a very hard time deciding on just one book that I love, so I am sharing 2.

1. A book for your teacher soul:
I have to tell you about this book that I read, researched, and continue to go back to while I am planning for differentiation in my classroom. It is UHHH-Mazing. It is called The Common Core Companion. This book goes through EVERY K-2 Informational and Literature Reading, Writing, and Listening/Speaking standard. It will take one standard then show you the K level of it, the first grade level of it, and the second grade level of the standard. Then it will give you examples of what the student could be doing, questions to ask, and examples of how to expand or remediate EACH standard. The Common Core Companion is a wonderful tool that can ease your soul when planning for whole group, small group, or individual lessons. I highly recommend you get it and use it! You can get it on Amazon for about $28.00

2. A story for the Classroom Soul:
One of my ALL time favorite stories to read is called A Frog Thing by Eric Drachman.  This story is about a little frog named Frank. Frank is determined to fly. But flying is NOT a frog thing!  Frank sets his mind to it even though others laugh at him and tell him he can’t.  This story is so much fun to read with the students in your class.  It teaches so many great lessons and will really warm the kiddo’s souls. The students learn (above everything else) that if you just be you and try, anything is possible. If you don’t have the book but would love to try it, you can get it on Amazon here OR watch and listen to it on You Tube here.

After using this text with your class you can always connect it to Science by learning all about frogs and their life cycle.  I use this Frogs Can Grow Too life cycle reader and activity set to work with my kiddos.  
This product will be for sale in my store until January 22, 2017. You can get it by clicking the link above or by searching #kinderfriendswinter on TPT.

Your next stop is my good pal Elaine over at Kitty Kitty Kindergarten.
She has a fabulous and uplifting story about empowering a class to share with you!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and an Apple Watch Giveaway!

Happy birthday Jesus and Merry Christmas to all!
This Christmas break is a time that I love spending with my family.  One of our favorite things to do is to experience new places and events.  This year we took three of our kiddos, the other one didn't deserve to go (JUST KIDDING!! He had to work!!) to see a walk through show called Ice in Orlando, FL.  It was amazing, super cold at 9 degrees, but still amazing.  Everything in the show is made completely of Ice. There are even ice slides! If you ever get a chance to see it I suggest you do.  Here are a few of the pics:
Heading in!
 The show told the story of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

 The slides were a HUGE hit!

 The reason for the season! Happy birthday Jesus!

Tis the season of giving, soooooo, I am participating in another FABULOUS giveaway.I believe teachers are some of the hardest working people in the world. In order to honor all of the effort, time, money, and love that you spend giving back to YOUR classroom, I am teaming up with some of my I Teach K-2 teacher friends to giveaway a rose gold Apple Watch!!!

In order to win, all you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter located on our Facebook page. Just click the link below!  Good luck!

Link to Facebook rafflecopter:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holidays Around The World Giveaway

During the Christmas holidays, I love to teach the different holiday traditions that happen around the world. I created a packet a few years ago in order to have a fun interactive way for the kiddos to learn about these different traditions.  We learn about Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, St. Lucia, Chinese New Year, Las Posadas, and Christmas in Australia. This packet includes a reader with key words for each country that the students can trace and a passport to represent each country. It also has book suggestions, activities and games, and holiday crafts for each country we visit. You can get this packet by clicking Holiday Traditions Around The World.

I use this unit during our Science and Social Studies time about 2-3 weeks prior to Christmas break.  For my Reading Workshop time I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read and compare all of the different Gingerbread Man Stories.  There are so many of them out there and I have loved everyone that I can get my hands on.  Each day the students and I read a new book and complete a story map (which is a FREE download at the end of this post).  At the end of the 2-3 week time period that this takes, we compare all of the stories to each other.  Then we complete a Gingerbread Man Reader's Theater and decorate our very own Gingerbread Man cookies.

This is an extension of all our Gingerbread fun that gives some rhyming practice. It is an interactive reader, a rhyming center, and a sort activity.

This week I am joining my Kinder Friends with a fabulous giveaway.  We are giving away $25 gift certificate to TpT. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! There are also a few holidays items in each store for sale. Just search #kinderfriends in order to get 20% off!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now hop on over to my pal Pamela at Pocket Full of Centers for another FREEBIE and chance to win!

Monday, December 5, 2016

6 Tips for Holiday Success In Your Classroom

The holidays are in the air. Sure it is a time for kindness, family, and celebrations. However as a classroom teacher you know (and sometimes dread) that last week before a holiday break.  Just face it, the kiddos seem to loose their minds over night.  If you have seen this happen in your classroom, then this post is perfect for you.  Below I will share 6 tried and true tips to help you navigate that last week (and perhaps the weeks leading up) to a holiday break:

Tip 1: Keep your students busy with engaging time on task.  Make sure you have a several no-prep holiday learning games and activities on hand.  With all the excitement blooming around the students outside of school, why not bring it inside the classroom also.  keep in mind that you don't want the activities to just be "fluff".  They should be engaging review lessons (and possible new skills) that the kiddos can complete independently or with a partner.  This can even be done by playing games like Scoot, Quiz Quiz Trade, or Mix Pair Share but changing your normal classroom music to holiday songs.  A super fun activity to do that can reinforce shapes and bigger than/less than is to give each kiddo a piece of large construction paper and create a snowman.  All you need is shaving cream, Elmer glue, and glitter. Kiddos have to draw circles on their paper that are in order from bigger to smaller. Then they paint their circles and create a snowman.

Tip 2: Try to stick to your normal routines and schedules as best as possible.  Even with all the extra excitement going on the littles need their routines to be successful.  Also, upon coming back from a holiday break, you should take the first one to two weeks reviewing all of your classroom procedures and routines before diving right back in.

Tip 3: IF you do a gift exchange with your class, try doing one with books only.  Send a short and sweet letter home to parents asking everyone to bring in a new book that is $5.00 or less in value.  They should bring the book in wrapped with a label.  On the label, instruct the parents to leave the "To:" part blank and to allow their child to write his or her name in the "From:" space.  On one of the last days before break gather all the kiddos around your carpet area and play a little white elephant gift exchange game.  Each kiddo choose a gift (one at a time) and unwraps it. I always do a boy group and a girl group.  We all watch and admire the new books that we each get to take home. Its also a great idea to get your husband, dad, brother-in-law, or someone (that has had all the proper background checks required) to come in and play Santa.  Let Santa read a book to your class and hand out those small candy canes.

Tip 4: Give your class a gift.  I always give my class a book to take home over break.  I purchase them from the scholastic website for about $1-$2 a piece around mid November to ensure that they arrive on time.  Inside the cover of each book I write a sweet personalized note. Then I wrap each book so they each can open a present from me that will encourage them to read over the break.

Tip 5: One of my favorite events is my Polar Express P.J. Day.  I am not going to lie, this takes some prepping so if you are looking for last minute ideas it may/may not work for you.  First, I buy bell necklaces for each child in my class.  I put them inside a small box that is also filled with iridescent packing paper. I use a water bottle to lightly spray each bell with water. Then I wrap the box in brown parchment paper, attach a huge red bow on top, and then write our school address and Santa's North Pole address in the appropriate spots on the box. About 2 weeks before I plan on giving the students the fake package from Santa, I take the box into our cafeteria. I take it to the deep, deep freezer and leave it there. (You may need to get permission from your cafeteria manager to do that part.) Then I prearrange for someone in the office to bring the box from the freezer to my classroom at a certain day and time.  I send a note home for all of the kiddos to wear their P.J.'s to school on the day that I prearranged with the office to deliver our package.  We start the day by making hot chocolate. (Super easy way is to pour a gallon of chocolate milk into a crock pot first thing in the morning. Turn it on high and it will be ready in 2 hours.) I then read them the Polar express and make sure that I finish the story by the prearranged time that I had set with the office.  As soon as the story ends, in walks one of our lovely secretaries holding this FREEZING box from the cafeteria. The students eyes get so big as I make such a huge deal over how cold it is. Then we slowly read the address, predict where it came from and what we think is inside, and then open the package.  Each kiddo then gets a small bell necklace that has frozen crystals on it (from the water I sprayed 2 weeks ago) from Santa. This activity goes miles on getting them to behave and listen! Then of course we enjoy our hot chocolate.

Tip 6: Last but not least, engage your kiddos in a countdown to the holidays. This can be done with daily minute to win it games, creating a chain link count down, using a different random act of kindness a day, or by having them earn a special something each day.  For example, the last week before break I always give each kiddo a book (from above) but I also give them a little goody bag full of treats like a pencil, erasers, tatoos, etc.  Eventually I got smart and thought, why not make them earn the gifts.  Every year I purchase a holiday goodie bag of some sort, whether it be regular themed bags, small red stockings, or even Santa hats. Then I purchase five different class sets of small prizes from the dollar spot at Walmart, Target, or Dollar Tree. Everyday I show the kiddos the treat and tell them that they have to earn it throughout the day by following classroom rules and procedures and being kind to one another. Then at the end of the day I give each student the small trinket that they earned to place in their bag.  By the end of the week they all have a goody bag filled with gifts from me.

Well, I hope you received a few good tips from this post and are able to use them in your class this year.  Happy holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Treats for Teachers Giveaway

I love October. This month I am participating in a little Treats For Teachers Blog Hop and Giveaway!

With all of the anticipation for Halloween and Trick or treating, it is a great time to talk about characters and character traits. We go through a series of stories (like the ones below) learning about a character's physical traits and about their behavior traits. Then we end by the week of Halloween. The kiddos get to wear a costume based on a favorite story and then they can describe their costume's character traits (using the freebie below).  It is so much fun. The kiddos love actually becoming their characters by taking on the traits they believe they would have.
To begin this unit, I love to introduce character traits using the book Shelia Rae The Brave by Kevin Henkes.
Shelia has so many wonderful traits that are easily spotted in this book. It makes for great book talk and modeling opportunities with the kiddos.

I continue this unit using my ALL TIME FAVORITE Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Williems.
These books are excellent because the kiddos can actually connect to these characters on a personal level. The students can see how Gerald and Piggie have almost the same traits in each book.  These books also make it simple for students to be able to compare characters to each other. I only read about 6 of these books to begin with (even though I own We work through describing the physical and behavior traits together and then comparing Gerald and Piggie to each other. Finally, I read Waiting Is Not Easy by Mo Williems. This book is so very interesting because the characters behaviors actually switch places.  It is so fun to watch my students little light bulbs come on and wonder how that can happen!
If you would like to see more of my Character Trait activites you can click here.
(UGH! That cover is so ugly! One of my first TpT products in need of an update....coming soon!)

By this time we are closer to Halloween.  Students are able to come to school in a Character costume. We spend some time early in the day analyzing and describing their costume's character traits using everything we learned. Then the students must act like their character all day. They actually become their characters. They love, love this part!  You can click here to download this Halloween Character Mapping FREEBIE from my TpT store!

I am joining some Kinder friends in an incredible blog hop where treats are never ending!

At each stop you will be able to enter a giveaway to win FREE stuff for you and/or your classroom! Since the theme of this hop is "Treats For Teachers" I am giving away your CHOICE of any item from my store along with a $20 gift card to TpT. All you have to do is enter to win below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

To continue on the blog hop, just click here to head on over to my pal Elaine from Kitty Kitty Kindergarten and see what treats she has up her sleeves for you!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Back In The Swing Of Things: Homework Version

So how long have you been in school? We have been in for about 23 days now and things are just now starting to settle down!  My tip for this blog hop is all about Homework.  As a busy mom of 4 I really don't like when teachers pile "it" on.  As a teacher,  I believe it has its advantages when done correctly.....I am not going to go into the battle of to homework vs. no homework right now. For now I am just going to suggest a few tips to help you along your on journey.
1.  Be extremely explanatory to the parents.  Especially as a K/1 teacher. Some of your students may have never been to school or ever had homework so being able to explain what is expected of the students, the parents, and of your self well ahead of time can save you from answering MILLIONS of questions and feeling overwhelmed.  (True story!! Be's tough if your not!)

2.  With the younger kiddos, I strongly believe in keeping it light and fun.  Don't assign 4 different subjects in one night unless each subject takes only about 5 minutes for them to complete. The things you do assign should be things they have already done in class so that they have experience with the task that is at hand.

3. Keep the assignments engaging.  The last thing a busy parent wants is to have a kiddo who pitches a fit EVERY time they have to do their homework. (True story again...and I have 4 of them pitching fits! Can you imagine the talk going on??? "But I don't know how to.." or "Why do I have to do this..." I am sure you have heard a few of those types of statements also. The last thing you want to do is have homework cause grief in the relationships between the parents/guardians and the child.

4. Plan the homework "basics" before school starts.  Make sure you already have in mind: when you will send it home, when it will be due, when/how you will grade it, how much you will give, and relay those plans to parents immediately. (hence #1)

5. Like anything in my class, I like for my homework to be differentiated.  For example, if one of your kiddos is struggling with the Doubles Plus One math strategy, by all means send home an extra practice activity for that PARTICULAR CHILD.  If the others already have that concept down why make them do it again and again???

6.  ALWAYS expect reading to happen.  If nothing else get books in your students hands and have them read to someone or have someone read to them.  To support them at home, you should also send home a handy little "How You Can Help At Home" note that describes the strategies you use in class for decoding and for comprehension.  Parents sometimes have no idea what you mean when you say "Use Chunky Monkey". (hence tip #1) AND it helps extremely if the K/1 kiddos are hearing the same language at home that they hear at school.

If you like where I am going with these tips, you should check out my Homework Resources option pack on TPT.  It has many different homework options, manipulatives, menus, and a new homework game I call the "Homework Roll". You can check it out here:

I hope my little tips encourage you to think about the many sides of homework!
To continue getting in the swing of things, hop on over to my pal Pamela from Pocketful of Centers.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...