Saturday, October 25, 2014

Early Finishers at Center Time???

Here's a little post that I wrote over at Blog Hoppin'. I thought I'd share it here as well. Early finishers can be a major problem for the "flow" of your center time. You don't want those kids to "take over" the room!!! Be prepared instead!! Need some help with organizing this??? Keep reading.....

It's so, so important to have a good centers system for them to run smoothly. You need a good management system and ALL materials ready (or readily available in case of an emergency (lost or broken item :) for your students at all times.

But, what happens when your students are all done at different times?? Oh, and it WILL happen!!! You will have little Suzy, who is done and finished with her center in PERFECT handwriting in five minutes flat. Then, you might have little Johnny who is still working on his second problem 20 minutes later :) That's just how it goes, that's life. Everyone is different, works at their own pace and learns at their own pace. Instead of ripping your hair prepared!!!

Here's what I do for my early finishers. Some may think it's a little much, or that I'm a little anal. But, I LOVE this system and it has worked wonders for me!!!!

This little system will help you avoid unnecessary chaos and prevent children from picking the same activity day after day, after day! It just helps keep things a little more organized AND the kids love it!! They love it because THEY get to CHOOSE the activity that they want to do, BUT, it is set up so that they have to pick a different activity every day!

I use activity cards to display the activities that the students can choose from that week. I hang the activity cards on mats that I have labeled 1-6 (or A-F if we are talking about Literacy centers). There are also a row of command hooks hanging across the bottom of the mats.

Each student has a laminated menu. The menu has numbers 1-6 (or letters a-h for Lit centers) on it. On the back of the menu is the students picture. Each menu has a binder clip on the top. When the student picks the Can-do center he wants to go to for that day, he uses a dry erase marker to X it out. Then, tomorrow he won't be able to go to the Xed out center again. He will have to choose a new one to go to.
As you can see, on the menu below, the student had picked can-do 5 on the previous day. It is marked out. So, today she is picking number one. she will mark out number one and hang it on one of the hooks with her picture showing so we can easily see who is in that center.

Here is what the can-do corner looks like. The orange side is Literacy and the black side is math. While we are doing Lit centers, we have the Literacy menus out. The math menus are tucked away on a shelf to avoid confusion...

Seem like a lot to handle and keep track of?? That's why I DON'T do it!!! We have a class job for that :) The "Center Patrol" Takes the tags down after every center time and switches the boxes out for us. At the end of the week, they also erase all of the X's off of the menus too :)

Do I switch the can-dos out EVERY week???? Yes and No. Some I keep the same, some I totally change and some I just change the graphics on the paper to make it "new" ;) Here are some of my favorites!!!!.....

Deedee's Writing Stations
Deedee's Super Sentences for your pocket charts
Growing Kinders' It's Calendar Time!
Growing Kinders' Fun in the Kitchen

My Can-do system has 50 different activity cards for you to choose from :) You can check it out HERE!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

REVISED BEAR Math and Literacy Centers

Hey friends!!!!
To anyone that bought my bear centers waaaaay back in 2011-they have finally been REVISED!!!!! I have so many units that I want to update....but, there are also soooo many new things that I want to create!!!! I have sooooo many projects under construction right now!!!! But, just NOT. ENOUGH. TIME. in the day!!!! Especially with these three knuckle heads:

Who could resist those faces??? Oh well, ANYWAY- back to the bear centers!!! ;)

This pack is common core aligned and all of the centers come with an "I can" statement direction card like this:

Most of the centers have ways that you can differentiate as well.

Here are the revised centers in action:

I know, some people say "patterns aren't common core, so I'm not teaching them". I couldn't disagree more. Patterns ARE in the common core!!! There isn't a specific goal for it, but when you're teaching things like one more-you're teaching patterns in numbers. When you're teaching word families, you're teaching patterns in words. Patterns are EVERYWHERE and I think they are so important for students to understand!!!!!!

This shows a good example of differentiation. For my approaching level students, I give them labeled bear cards that have "A", "B" and "C" on the bears' bellies. My beyond level students have colors on their tummies, but, no labels.

For this center, students find the 2 matching cards. Count the bees on the pots, write the numbers and circle the greater number.

Fill in the missing number.

Ways to make 5.

Clap the syllables.

Constructing sentences.

Beginning sounds.

Capital and lowercase match up.

Click on any of the pictures above to go check them out for yourself!!


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Teaching Labeling+A FREEBIE for you!

We have finished up our name cheers....FINALLY!!!!!!! We had been picking a name every day and learning to write their names and draw their portraits. I think this activity helps so much with reinforcing letter recognition and formation and really helps with body awareness and with creating drawings that make sense!! :) But, this takes a while to get through when you have 2 dozen kiddos in your class!!! Ha! I'm glad it's over. We're READY to move on!!!

Last week we learned all about labeling! I LOVE Julie Lee's lesson on labeling! The kids LOVED labeling me! It was so much fun and sooooo meaningful for them!

We also did the anchor charts and the labeling the apple, and looking at nonfiction books to see how labels are used.

But, what I really wanted to share with you was this TINY little idea that I had that made a HUGE difference!!!!

I love starting out our first couple of weeks of writer's workshop with labeling! First we do a step by step, teacher lead drawing. I think doing these step-by-step drawings really do wonders for their illustrating skills!!!

One thing that I've noticed that seems to give kiddos trouble with this is lacking that left to right print concept.  They always want to start their label with the first letter next to the "part", which many times results in the word being written backwards. For example, if you look at the word "stinger" above, many students would begin by writing the "s" next to the stinger so that the word would be written from right to left.

To help with teaching this left to right print concept, I made this little pre-made labeling sheet. Instead of giving them a blank piece of paper, like I have in the past, this time I gave them this:

Remember that TINY little idea that I was talking about??? See those little smiley faces at the beginning of the lines? They worked wonders!! We always talk about how words are written from left to right, but adding those little faces sure did the trick.

Now our labeling papers looked like this:

Love it!! You can grab a copy of this labeling paper by clicking on any of the images above :)

Now, I'm sure that I'm not the only person on the planet who has ever thought of this!! Ha! BUT, you know, sometimes it's those TINY little things that you do that can make a HUGE difference ;)

Happy Labeling!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Find your Treasure!!!!

Ahoy, me Hearties!

Today is 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day'! To celebrate, I have joined with some friends to give you the chance to find lots of pirate booty!

Each blog will have some different treasure for you to find!

I want to share with you some FREE pirate photo nametags!!! Hurry!!! They are only Free for today and tomorrow!! :)

You can find it by clicking on the image below and going to my TPT store!

Don't forget to pillage some other bloggers buccaneer's posts for more great teaching treasures!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rhyme to Read App-A PROGRAM for Beginning Readers on your iPad

Hi everyone!!!
I was lucky enough this year to get FIVE new iPads for my classroom!!! I'm still trying to figure everything out and find all the good apps for my Kinders to use. Well, I found one!!! Check out this amazing little app I stumbled across to help my Kinders learn to read!!! It's called Rhyme to Read!!

This amazing little app was created by two TEACHERS!!!! This app is NOT a game!!! It is a PROGRAM. There are a collection of 20 books. The books are cumulative. They build perfectly from one to the next.

Obviously, these two ladies know what they're doing!! Take one look at this app and you'll be hooked!! There are soooo many cool little features! They thought of everything! Just PERFECT for my little ones!! Let me show you what I mean...

This program includes 20 cumulative books. The first book in the program starts out simple and they gradually build on one another to become more complex.

Check out all the cool little features in these readers that make them second to none!!! Again, the authors of this app are TEACHERS! They know what we need!!! :)

Cool Feature #1- O.K. First of all, I LOVE how each new page begins with a list of the new word family words listed in a column. Students can touch these words before they begin reading the page to hear the word sounded out and blended together!!!

Cool Feature #2- Look in the top corner of each page!!! There are the featured sight words!!! Students can click on those words before reading the page to hear them read to them. Auditory discrimination at it's finest!! :)

Cool Feature #3- Students can click on ANY word in the text while they are reading. If they get stuck on a word, they can just touch it and the word is read to them!!

Cool Feature #4- Rhyme to Read is taught through word families. Word families help students find predictable patterns in words. Instead of sounding out each sound, they look for the familiar word family name or "chunk", as we like to call them :) and attach that first sound to the familiar chunk.
THE BEST part is, all the word families are color coded!!!!! Just another way to help those visual learners...another prompt or "trigger" to help them recognize those familiar word parts!! And, the color-coding continues throughout all of the books. (I told you they thought of everything!!! :)

I also love that at the end of each book, there is a list of all of the sight words that have been focused on in each book. There is also a review list of color coded word family words!!

Talk about building confident, independent readers!!!!!! This app is PERFECT for letting your students read independently!!! What a way to build up their confidence as little readers!!!!!

I put together this short little clip, just so you could see this awesome app in action :)

You can get the first book for FREEEEEEE!!!!! Go check it out NOW!!!! Books 2-20 are available for individual purchase of .99 cents each. But, seriously...why wouldn't you just by the whole set for ONLY $9.99!!!! That's only .50 cents a book!!!!!!!!! They are worth EVERY penny!!!!

Click HERE to learn more!! Be sure to go to your iTunes app store and get the first free book to try it out!!!! :)

Happy apping....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

FIRST EVER Peek At My Week-Pete the Cat Style!!

Hi everyone! I'm linking up with Deedee at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for Peek at my Week. (A little late....shhhhhhh!) :) It's my FIRST ever!! So, bear with me....I'm NO Deedee Wills!!! But, I'm trying :)

Here goes.....Just click on the plans below to download them complete with hyperlinks (most of the images on the plans are links)

For the first couple of weeks of school, I LOVE using Play-doh for our morning work!!! The kids are excited to play with it when they come in, which also eliminates many tears :) AND, it keeps them busy...but, by week 3, it's time to ween them off :) This week I'm throwing in some of Deedee's morning pages. Next week....NO playdoh. Dundunduuuuuun!

Anyway, these plans are a work in progress!!! I'm still figuring out how to put it all together on the digital plans for you :) There are also several things that I am progressively working on that are not posted yet-so, it's kind of hard to add them into my plans!! Ha!

For example, I LOVE Tara West's Kinderphonics!!!!!!!!!!!! It's like EXACTLY what I've been brainstorming about-but, she beat me to it and did a MUCH better job than I could have ever done!! I'm OBSESSED!!! She aligned her phonics with the LeapFrog Letter Factory movie-which I LOVE!!! AND, all of the letters have a motion or action to teach the sound with!! That's a BIGGIE for me!!!  I have ALWAYS taught Phonics with motion. Seriously, go check Kinderphonics out NOW!!! :)

Anyway-my point was, that I have also been incorporating my "How to Write Letters" pack....except, the pack doesn't exist yet, because I'm still working :) But, it's coming together and will be coming to you's a little preview :)

This kind of goes along with my "How to Draw Shapes" unit that I have also been using here and there, but don't know where to stick it in my plans :) But, this one IS available :)

One other thing that is a MAJOR work in progress that I've been using and working on is a calendar pack to use with Active Inspire software :) I'm learning how to use all of that....getting there!!!

And lastly, as it states in my plans, I should have a fun little Shoe Selfie Project up for you to check out by the end of the week!!! And, I will also let you know how all of our Pete activities went in a follow-up post :)

Go Check out more awesome teacher plans at Deedee's link up!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

First Day Of Kindergarten with The Kissing Hand

 Like so many teachers everywhere, I LOVE to start the first day of Kindergarten with The Kissing Hand!!!! I mean, what a PERFECT story!!! Yes, I had a couple of "Chesters" this year...but, luckily, they calmed down and warmed up pretty quickly :)

Here we are on we are on our very first day....all 26 of us :) Reading the greatest first day book!!

After we all talk about how we felt before coming to school today, we go on a school tour. This is the best activity to kick off a Kindergarten year!! Chester the raccoon leaves his little clues all around school and we go from room to room to find out where everything is and meet all of our teachers! That puts everyone a little bit more at ease and makes them feel a little bit safer :)
Our first stop....the Potty, of course!!! You know on that first day EVERYONE is asking to go to the bathroom before you even get started on things :) So, that's where we head first. We find Chester's clue out by the water fountains. He went somewhere else...but, I tell the kids that before we go look for him, we all have to use the bathroom. AND, remember to stay REALLY quiet so you don't scare him away! LOL!! Works like a charm! :)

Here we are searching for Chester's clues and becoming acquainted with all of the new places and faces in our school....

At the end of the hunt, we found our last note from Chester back in our classroom! He had left us bags full of hugs and kisses to take home!! <3

Want to see the rest of the clues??? You can check out the School Tour pack by clicking on the image below!!

We always make these Chesters On the First day of school....YES, the FIRST day! LOL! I don't remember where I got this original pattern from many years ago...but, I've been doing them for years!! All it is, is different sized rectangles, squares and triangles that are pre-cut. The kids just have to follow directions and glue them in the correct spot. It is THE PERFECT first day of school art project for Kinders!!!! They really do turn out cute!!

If you'd like to grab this little title page to hang with your Chester art-you can snag it here! :) Just click, save and print! :)

Have a great year!!!!!!!!!