Monday, September 29, 2014

Markdown Monday!

We made it through Monday!!!  Woot-woot!!  I don't know about you all, but Monday has always been the hardest day of the week for me!

Tonight I am linking up with Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations for their Markdown Monday linky party.  I am going to mark down two of the products my team and I will be using in the upcoming weeks. Each product will be marked down $1.00 for the entire week.

First up is the packet we will be using to introduce the concept of character and setting with our kinders.  This packet is full of activities that will help us determine if the kiddos understand the importance of matching up the character to the setting and vice versa.

Second is the packet of activities that will help us understand if our kinders can differentiate between the job of an author and an illustrator.  They will be doing various activities, including sorting the tools each would use, as well as drawing and labeling the tools an author/illustrator would use and writing about how they would use them.

For this week only, each activity packet is marked down $1.00, so make sure to grab a set before the price goes back up!!

Make sure to head on over to Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten Kreations to see who else has linked up for Markdown Monday.  Teachers from all grades and special areas link up, so you'll most likely find something that can work for you!

My kinders got to meet their 5th Grade Buddies for the first time today!  We will pair up with them throughout the year to do different activities, and our first was Reading on the Green, where we went outside with our Buddies and sat on our towels and blankets and got a chance to read to our Buddies and have them read to us.  It was so much fun, even if there was a very slight drizzle happening...we were rained out last week, so today was our Rain Date!!  :-)  Do your littles pair up with an older grade, or if you teach an older grade do they pair up with a younger grade?  I would LOVE to hear the different types of activities you do together!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Peek at My Week (Week 5)

Hello again all!!  First let me say I'm very sorry for not posting in so long...dealing with family stuff as well as the craziness that is the beginning of the year in kindergarten left me plum tuckered out!! I'm going to be trying a lot harder to get regular posts up!!

I know it's getting a bit late, so I won't keep you long.  I am linking up with Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten for her Peek at My Week linky!  This is a really awesome linky where teachers get to link up and share their plans for the week, as well as links to any activities they might be using.  Make sure to go back over to Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten to see who else linked up!!

Here are my plans for the week.  The first picture is the morning, and the second picture is the afternoon. I teach all day kindergarten, so we do all things ELA in the morning and all things Math and Science/Social Studies in the afternoon.

This is what we are planning to do for ELA and Daily 5 this week.  My kinders are working on rhyming words and beginning sounds, and so far this year we have introduced the letters p, b, t, d, k, g.

In Math, we have been focusing on gaining a deeper understanding of the numbers 0-10 as well as how to use a ten-frame and rekenreks.

During Math we are learning how to follow the Daily 3, where we do Math with Self, Math with Someone Else, or Centers.  This week during Math with Self and Math with Someone, my kinders are going to be working on activities from my newest product.  It is a BUNDLE of beginning of the year math activities that focus on the numbers 0-10 as well as color words.  Click on the picture to go check it out in my TPT store!

Don't forget to go over to Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten to see who else has linked up for her Peek at My Week linky!

This week I'm looking forward to getting our first Scholastic Order in!!  My kinders ROCKED it this month and ordered $94 worth of books!!  Woot-woot, love those Bonus Points!!  What is something you are looking forward to this week?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peek at My Week (Week 4)

Hello everyone?  How many of you have been doing schoolwork while watching your favorite team play?  I don't know about you all, but I am so very glad football is back.  My team doesn't play today, so I've been catching up on a TV show I've been very curious about.  You may have heard of it, it's called 'The Blacklist'?  Anywho, I remember one of my team mates talking about it last year and have seen a lot of talk about it this year, so I've decided to give it a try.  I told myself that I can start watching Season 1 as soon as I finish this blog post, and that I also must cut out my laminating while I do so.  Not a bad compromise for a Sunday, right?  :-)

Here are my plans for the week.  The first page is what we have planned for the morning and the second page is what we have planned for the afternoon.

During ELA we focus on a lot of skills.  We will ask and answer questions about key details in a text, and this week we will be using non-fiction texts about character traits, such as respect and responsibility.  Our school subscribes to an AWESOME online digital resource library, which is Captstone Digital's PebbleGo databases.  Click <here> to go read more about this awesome program, including pricing and availability.  The non-fiction online books that we can access through this program are wonderful.  Not only will the program read the text to the students but they can learn more by clicking on highlighted words and various text features.  Since the text is read by the computer, students can use headphones at the computer center during Listen to Reading portion of Daly 5!!

For Word Study we are focusing on the letters/sounds of /d/ and /t/, as well as continuing to work on our ability to identify and create rhyming words.  We use a lot of nursery rhymes for these activities, and I am always AMAZED at how many of my dragons have never ever heard any of these rhymes.  It always makes us, as a team, want to find as many examples out there as we can to introduce to our littles!!

During all of our small group times this week we will be administering portions of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) and the Emerging Literacy Survey (ELS), so the majority of our instruction from now until we finish will be held during Whole Group, which is when we meet together on the carpet in front of the SMART Board.

In Math this week we will be focusing on the numbers 1-5 during Number Talks and Math with Self and Math with Someone Else time, and we will also continue working on our Number of the Day activities.  Monday marks Day 13 with our kindergarteners, so during NotD this week we will focus on #13-17.

Remember that our team teaches Social Studies for two days and Science for two days.  The elementary school students in our district have early dismissal every Wednesday at 2:00.  The teachers remain at school for professional development trainings, school/staff meetings, and team planning sessions.

For Social Studies this week, we will be finishing up our Monster School Rules books.  This is an idea from

The last page we need to make is 'Helping Hands', and then we are going to practice reading them to each other and modeling the rules.  For the first few months of kindergarten, we spend A LOT of time working on our rules, so I love this book because they can keep it in their book bins and read it again and again!!

During Science we are going to continue our study of trees by focusing on leaves.  We will discuss the different shapes of leaves and how those shapes are adapted to help the trees survive in their environment.  We are going to read Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber and then head outside to find as many different types of leaves as we can.  When we come back inside we will try to sort them based on their shapes!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my week!  Please click on the image below to go to Mrs. Wills' page where she is hosting her Peek at My Week linky party!!  I really love to see all the different ways teachers set up their plans and deliver instruction during the week.  I'm really glad she is hosting this linky, how fun right??!!

What are you going to be focusing on this week?  I'd like to throw in some name recognition and writing practice, plus introduce Word Work and Listen to Reading for Daily 5, and Math with Self and Math with Someone for the Daily 3.  I'm hoping I can find the time!!!  :-)  I hope that all of you have an incredibly wonderful week!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finally Friday

TGIF = Teacher's Grateful It's Friday!!  I saw that on Facebook, and thought it was so cute!!  Here's something else I found on Facebook today!!

This is the first full five-day week I've had with my Dragons, though it is Day 12 of kindergarten.  I can definitely relate to this today!!  I'm just SO DRAINED by the time Friday finally makes an appearance.  There were days this week where I was truly afraid of falling asleep on the drive home!!!  CRAZY!!

How was your week?  Can you relate to the picture, too?  :-)  I hope you have an incredibly wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Thankfuls

Hi there friends!!  I am sorry about not being more on schedule with my blogging since school started, but I forgot how crazy busy/exhausting the first few weeks of kindergarten are!!  I have only been with my kinders for 11 days now, but I feel they are getting to the point where they are comfortable with their daily routines.  They are now walking down to the classroom on their own once they get off the bus, they are choosing their own breakfast/lunch items, and are getting much better at sitting on the rug.  Are we still working on all of those things?  Of course!  Those and many, many more!!  :-)  However, I am starting to relax my constant vigilance of their every movement. They are able sit for longer periods of time before needing a GoNoodle Break (we take LOTS of 'Brain Breaks' using GoNoodle...we're on our third champ and have only been in school for eleven days....) and they are getting better at remembering Daily 5/3 and center rules.  I am loving this awesome group of tiny people, and am enjoying seeing them grow!!

I know that I have a lot of things in the works, both blogging and creating, but I wanted to take a moment today and share some things I'm thankful for.  On a day where we lost so many (including my cousin, who was a fire fighter that lost his life as one of the first responders that day 13 years ago), I am still aware that there are people who are thankful to have survived (like the woman my cousin brought down to ground level before he went back for another and never returned).  I wanted to share a few things from my week that I am thankful for.  Don't worry, this will be quick-ish!!  :-)

If you have ever searched for super-adorable clip art to help you complete a project or activity, chances are you have come across Krista Wallden.  If you, seriously, where have you been??  Just kidding, but really if you have not heard of her awesomeness please click on the link or picture and head over to her TPT store!!  Not only does she have a little bit of everything, but she uses the same shades of colors in all of creations.  This means that while they are fabulous on their own, they become simply marvelous when you pair them with some of her backgrounds/borders/other clip art because all of the colors match!!  Well, as you may have guessed, I am a huge fan of her clip art.  I own many of her sets, and have many more on my Wish List.  Now, I don't know about you, but whenever I purchase something from TPT I make sure to take the time to rate and leave feedback.  I try very hard to leave feedback that is meaningful to the product as well as being a resource for potential buyers.  I understand how busy TPT sellers can be and that many of them simply don't have to time to respond to the feedback left on their activities.  I know that sometimes it has been days after a comment was posted on one of my products before I was able to respond, and I can't even imagine how many comments those Top Sellers get!!  Imagine my complete surprise when Krista Wallden took the time out of her busy day to respond to one of my comments!!  I was so thankful for that I simply had to share!!

AAHH!!!  How AWESOME is that??  I was totally floored, and her thoughtfulness definitely put a smile on my face!!  Thank you so much, Krista!!  :-)

I am so INCREDIBLY thankful to have two such AMAZING administrators!!  Our school's principal and vice principal make such a great team, and they are always supportive of their staff and students.  Our elementary school has over 600 students, but our administration makes time each day to make a connection with each student, even if it's just walking through their classroom and giving them a smile.  They are both completely approachable and have always worked so hard to help us with whatever issues or concerns we have.  They always 'have our backs' when dealing with those not associated with our staff.  They are wonderful at spear-heading different initiatives, which has led us to be a PBIS Gold Medal School, a Maryland Green School, and a Baywise School.  They have helped to create an environment where not only the students feel safe and respected, but so do the teachers and every other staff member.  They make sure to let us know how appreciated we are, and it really makes a difference in morale.  Since I knew I could approach them with any idea and they would hear me out, I asked them if they would help us kick off our Super Friends Awards.  
Yes, that is our principal and vice principal dressed as super heroes.  Let me take you back to the beginning of last year, when early one morning two super-hero capes and masks showed up on their desks.  Now, we have many crafty ladies at our school.  Knitters, quilters, and alpaca farmers that dye and spin their own wool, to name a few.  No one knows who made these or how they got to the desks of the principals.  The ones who do know have done an incredibly excellent job of keeping it a secret, because to this day we still don't know.  It's a mystery.....  Well, since their arrival last year, our administrators have donned their super hero costumes and periodically traveled up and down the halls, high-fiving every student in the school (since we all get to go stand in the hallway while they 'fly' around the school.  This year, I had this idea....would they dress up as their 'alter-personas' and help us introduce the Super Friends?  I wasn't sure if they would be down for it, but I was TOTALLY wrong!!  They got so excited to help, and they did such an AMAZING job!!  They helped our kinders understand what it is to be a Super Friend and encouraged them to join Captain Kindness and the Fab Friends.
I created this outline for them to follow as they introduced each of the Super Friends as well as how the kinders could become Super Friends.

Let's just say our kinder were enthralled!!  They were excited to meet Captain Kindness and his trusty sidekick Sergeant...

as well as the rest of the Fab Friends and their sidekicks.

Our kinders learned that when they become a Super Friend, they can earn certificates,


and badges!

Best of all, they get a BOOK!
For your Super Boys...

and your Super Girls!  The entire class writes about what makes him or her a Super Friend!

You can get all the awards, bracelets, badges, and class book by purchasing my Super Friends Awards Pack in my TPT store.

Soon I'll be updating this pack with the presentation my administrators used to kick this off for us, as well as some more styles of award certificates and bracelets.  Get it now before the price goes up!!  As soon as it's ready for relaunch, I'll be blogging all about exactly how I use this in my classroom!!  Teaser: It involves capes.

What is something you are thankful for today or this week or just in general?  Have a wonderful rest of your week!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Sunday Scoop Linky Party

Hello again!!  I stumbled upon a SUPER-CUTE linky party being hosted by the Teaching Trio called The Sunday Scoop.  This is just a quick little form, based on the ever-popular 3-2-1 organizers so many educators use.  It's a way to quickly share 3 things you HAVE to do this week, 2 things you HOPE to do, and 1 thing you are HAPPY to do.  Here's my Sunday Scoop, enjoy!!

Don't forget to hop over to the Teaching Trio's blog to see who else has linked up with this linky!

Peek at My Week (Week 3): Lesson Plans and Activities

Tomorrow is Monday...the weekend is over.  <sad face>  I start my third week of teaching tomorrow, but it is my first five-day week of the year.  Tomorrow marks Day 8 of kindergarten for us, and I have to admit that things are going REALLY WELL so far!!!  <knock on wood!!>  I'm excited to link up with the ever-amazing Deedee Wills for her Peek at My Week linky party.  It's so much fun to see what other educators and bloggers are doing with their lesson plans and how they spend their week!  Make sure to click on the picture at the end of my post to hop on over to see who else has linked up!!

This is the third week of linking up with Peek at My Week, but it is the first week I've been able to share lesson plans.  At my school there are 4 kindergarten teachers, and we all split up the workload. I am SO VERY GRATEFUL to be able to do this!!  We take turns typing up the weekly plans and creating the daily SMART Board routines.  Isn't it just fabulous to be part of a team??  I haven't been able to watch DeeDee's fabulous video tutorial on how to display one's plans with links to activities, so I'm just going to have to settle for showing you a screen shot of the plans and then providing links to any activities that were used.

This first page shows our morning plans for the week.  During the morning is when we work on calendar and ELA activities, including word study, whole group reading, and guided reading.  As per our contract, our plans must include a daily objective taken from the Common Core, an activity, and how we are going to assess that activity.  The style/format we use is up to us.  My team types them up in a Word template.  We have used the same one for many years, and it works just fine for us!!  :-)

The second page of our weekly plans shows what we do for math, including whole group, guided math groups, number of the day, and number talks.  During the afternoon is also when we attend special and when we have our science/social studies block.  We do two days of science and two days of social studies, since every Wednesday is 2:00 dismissal for all elementary schools in our county.  The students leave at 2, but teachers remain until the end of their duty day.  We use this time for professional development, staff meetings, team meetings, and working in our rooms.  Every Wednesday of the month is designated for something different.

Here are the activities I'm using this week that can be found on TPT.
This activity pack created by Caitlin Clabby of Kindergarten Smiles is AMAZING!!!  We have already used several of the many, many activities provided!  This week we will be working on creating the 'Monster School Rules' book.  Last week we worked on coloring the cover and assembling the pages for the rules of 'Whispering Mouths' and 'Walking Feet'.  This week we will work on the rules 'Listening Ears' and 'Boss of ME!'  That last one is, hands-down, my favorite go-to rule for the entire year.  Whenever one of my kinders runs up to me to tell me what so and so just did/said/etc, I say 'Who are you the boss of?  That's right, you are the boss of YOU and no one else."  Love.

All these week during ELA guided reading groups, we will be working with this little easy reader I made.  It focuses on VERY SIMPLE shapes, color words, number words (for the number of sides of the shapes discussed), and some simple sight words.  We are going to work on reading this book all week, as well as identifying the shapes by their name and number of sides and understanding that a shape's name doesn't change regardless of it's size or orientation on the page.  If you'd like to use it, click on the picture above to download the reader FOR FREE!!!!!

On Friday during our guided math groups we will be teaching our kinders how to play this simple game I created for the partners of five (some folks call them combinations or fact families).  Our kinders will work in pairs and use a cup of 5 double-sided counters to spill out and sort onto five-frames.  They will then search for that number sentence on their game board and color in the square.  When all the squares are colored in, they count up their color to see who had the most.  Oh year, this one is FREE TOO!!!!  I'm just feeling generous this weekend.  ;-)

This week we will also be reading MANY wonderful stories, including David Goes to School by David Shannon and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, just to name a few.  We are also going to be working on rhyming skills as well as introducing the letters 'P' and 'B'.  In our district we follow Linda Almarode's LiPS program.  We will also be having lots of number talks for the numbers 3,4, & 5.  It's going to be a super busy week in Room 130!!!

I hope everyone has a fabulous week.  Don't forget to hop on over and see who else has linked up for Peek at My Week linky party!!

Oh, quick question!!  How do you introduce the letters of the alphabet to your littles?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Five for Friday, Late Again

What would Saturday be without my Five for Friday post!!  I'm linking up, late, with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party.  Here are 5 things from my week!!

These fabulous numbers are a creation of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs!!

One of the ways I am trying to handle supplies this year is to have my kinders keep their crayons inside these little plastic snack containers.  I found them three for a dollar at The Dollar Tree, and they fit a 24 box of crayons perfectly.  My kinders who had a 16 count box are also able to keep their glue sticks inside.  I wasn't sure how individual supplies were going to work, but so far so good!!

I'm having them keep all of their supplies in these pouches I picked up at The Dollar Tree.  As long as my kinders are gentle with them, they seem to hold up okay.  I labeled each one to match their locker number, since they are keeping these pouches inside their lockers when they are not using them.

Besides the crayon box pictured above, I have them keep several other supplies inside as well.

Each of them have a pair of scissors, a pencil, a glue stick, and their crayon box in the largest part of the pouch.

In the smaller part of the pouch, they are keeping a dry erase marker and a felt scrap that we use as an eraser for our white boards.  I have a class set of student-sized white boards, but those all stay on a shelf in my closet until we need them.

I am still working on getting this mess organized.  Don't judge.  ;-)

I don't know about you all, but music is my Happy Place.  Whenever I'm listening to music I can let my mind fly far, far away!!  I love to slip on a pair of headphones and decompress from a long day by listening to my favorite songs.  Well, recently I decided to treat myself to  a new stereo system.
This little cutie is my new best friend!  I got a beats by Dre Pill, which is a Bluetooth music player that can play music from my phone and other electronic devices.  The speaker itself sits inside the little guy's mouth, and the sound is AMAZING!!!  I'm loving being able to listen to music that is so crisp and clear.  LOVE!!!

This upcoming week our kindergarten team is going to be focusing on some of the basic 2D shapes that we need to cover this year.  We decided to start out SLOWLY and then work up towards those tricky multi-sided shapes.  This week we are going to introduce the circle, oval, triangle, square, rectangle, and MAYBE rhombus.  We will focus on identifying the shapes by the number of sides they have, as well as learning that their shape remains the same no matter what size it is or how you turn it around.  One of the resources we're going to use during our small group reading rotations is an EZ Reader I created that focuses on those simple shapes as well as color words, number words, and some very basic sight words.  I've decided to offer this little book, as well as the assessment sheet I made to go with it, as a FREEBIE in my TPT store!!  Please come grab a copy for yourself if you are going to be teaching these shapes any time soon!!

Click on the image above to head over to my TPT store to grab a copy for yourself!!  Please remember to rate it and leave me some feedback, I'd love to hear how you use it in your classroom!!

Don't forget to head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to see who else has linked up with her Five for Friday linky party!!