Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to School Freebies and a Giveaway!

Is summer really almost over??  I can hardly believe it!  I know, I know... some of you have already been back in full swing.  I start back August 22nd.  I've been working in my room to get it ready but I still have a lot to do!  

I'm joining some friends at I Teach K-2 to offer a great Back to School Giveaway AND we have a lot of freebies for you as well!  First off, we are offering 3 $50 TPT Gift Certificates.  You can enter the Rafflecopter below to win!

Back to School Giveaway!  3 $50 TPT Gift Certificates are up for grabs!

But first, I have a couple of quick FREEBIES for you!  I've had both of these offered for awhile now BUT I have recently updated both of them.

First up- Open House PowerPoint
I use this PowerPoint and let it continually run during Open House.  It gives parents important information at a glance.  You can edit the PowerPoint with your own information.  


Editable Open House PowerPoint to run continuously during your Open House!


I also have an RTI (Response to Intervention) Documentation freebie!  It has 3 pages that allows you to document any specific interventions you are giving students.  This can help serve as your documentation if you need it to place students in the future.

Use these RTI papers to help you keep track of your interventions with your students.


Use these RTI papers to help you keep track of your interventions with your students.

I hope everyone has a great Back to School experience!!  Follow the links below for some more great freebies and don't forget the enter the Rafflecopter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway








Friday, August 5, 2016

3 Literacy Tips Related to Guided Reading


Guided Reading is tough... I always feel like I should be doing more no matter how much I am doing!  Sometimes I think we need to just remember that we ARE doing enough as long as we are always trying to improve.  I'm hoping to help make some of your Guided Reading a little easier to manage by giving some tips today!

Calling all K-2 teachers!  Get 3 Literacy Tips related to Guided Reading and a free Guided Reading Binder!

1. Grouping for Guided Reading

Calling all K-2 teachers!  Get 3 Literacy Tips related to Guided Reading and a free Guided Reading Binder!

I often hear, "How do I group my kids?"  Don't beat yourself up about this.  You can always change what isn't working.  Every year I set my groups and I haven't gotten it right yet.  I always end up changing a few kids around and moving them.  Once I have my kiddos "trained" to do Literacy Centers, then I worry about the Guided Reading part.  It takes a good 6-8 weeks to get the kiddos independently working so that I can meet with groups.  This is KEY!  Then, I look at last years Guided Reading Benchmarks.  Yep- last year- I don't have the time and the kiddos aren't independent enough for me to reassess at the beginning of the year.  So, I look at last years benchmarks and go from there.  Once I start my groups, I can get a good feel if the levels are right for that child.  If the books are too easy, I move them up a level or two.  If it's too hard, I move them down.  Here is a little video that shows how I use my Reading Benchmarks to form groups.  I use these throughout the year when I do assess after each trimester.



2. Setting Routines

Calling all K-2 teachers!  Get 3 Literacy Tips related to Guided Reading and a free Guided Reading Binder!

After getting the Literacy Center routines down.  The first thing that I do when I meet with each group is show them what they will do when I call them to the table to read with me.  First, I have them bring their "book box" to the table with them.  They put it next to their seat.  I then give them the book that we read together the last time we met.  They read it independently as I listen in and do a running record on one of the students.  If they finish before I am finished, they can read another book from their "book box".  They then keep the book that they just read and add it to their box.  I keep this routine for every lesson.  This eliminates the "What should I do?" question when they come to the table.  I saw this Anchor Chart and thought it was great- make sure the kids know that they cannot interrupt you when you are working with a group.


I couldn't find who originally made this chart- if you know please send me a message so that I can give you credit!

3.  Organizing Materials

Calling all K-2 teachers!  Get 3 Literacy Tips related to Guided Reading and a free Guided Reading Binder!

I keep all of my Guided Reading paperwork in a binder.  I have a FREEBIE binder to share with you today.  It has forms for tracking groups.  I use velcro for the student names so that I can easily change my groups around as needed.  Click {HERE} to get the Guided Reading Binder.


Head on over and get many other literacy tips and freebies from my friends at The Reading Crew!

Now, I know you want to win this!  Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance!!

Pin for later:

Calling all K-2 teachers!  Get 3 Literacy Tips related to Guided Reading and a free Guided Reading Binder!








Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Quick and Easy Management Tips to Start the School Year!

Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!

I almost did it!  I ALMOST stayed away from my classroom until August.  But then, my boys (Tyler-almost the dreaded 16 and Trever- 12) decided to get themselves grounded...  I won't go into that but no, they aren't always perfect angels... Lol!
So, when we have those days where they are at your beck and call, we might as well take advantage of it!
So, off to school we went.  Unfortunately, neither of my boys enjoy helping me at school.  I never got that little girl that would have wanted to go to school with mom and "help" like I did with my grandmother.
Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!
Here they are, spray painting my book shelf.  This shelf has seen better days BUT it's still pretty sturdy!

Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!
Here it is finished but I didn't put stuff back on it yet.

I just realized I forgot what I wanted to say- why did I start talking about August?
GOT IT!
Since I did go in (a little early) I am now in the mode.
You know what I'm talking about...
I can't seem to shut it off!
I'm sure many of you are getting in the mode too!  I've seen a lot of people who are starting back very soon- like next week!  Sorry folks- but I'm glad I'm not there yet!

So to help get you ready for another year I thought I would offer you some SIMPLE and EASY management tips that I use and couldn't do without!

Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!

Seriously, I did this for the first time last year!  Kids are ALWAYS coming and going and to be honest, I don't have a clue who needs to leave and when half the time!  I set an alarm for all of my reading, math, speech, special ed., and LEP kiddos when they need to leave.  Title I teachers and speech teachers would be calling me 10 minutes after the kids were supposed to be there because I forgot to send them.
NOT ANY MORE!
I set my phone alarm for about 2 or 3 minutes before they are supposed to be there.  The kids learn and just know who goes and when- it is a BEAUTIFUL thing!

Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!

Here is a new one that I am going to try this year- I bought 4 small garbage cans from The Dollar Tree.  I can stack them inside one another and keep them on one of the bookshelves.  When we cut things, I am going to have my teacher helper get the cans and give one to each table.  When they cut, they can throw their scrap paper into the trash can instead of 20 kids constantly heading to the regular trash can.  Gonna give it a shot!
3. 
Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!

Do you use Hand Signals??  I just started this a couple of years ago and will NEVER not use them again.  I know... never say never... but I'm fairly certain.
I started out with 5 hand signals and honestly, the kids would do one and then I wouldn't remember what it was so I would have to look at the chart and it was really annoying.  I had too many- it didn't work for me.  So, I went down to 3.  Simple and easy- I have them for free in my store if you want them.
4.
Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!

Again, for the first time last year I let the kids refill their own supplies!  I realized that I was the glue stick, dry erase marker, and eraser queen!  NO ONE was allowed to get into my supplies except for me.  I'm not really sure why I was like that- it's so much easier just giving them the responsibility of taking care of it themselves!  If their dry-erase marker runs out, throw it away and get a new one.  If  you need an eraser, just go and get it!  Brilliant, right??  **In this picture on the right I have 4 small crates.  They are for dry-erase markers, erasers, glue sticks, and scissors.  Yes, scissors, because even though they SHOULD have a pair in their desk it seems that they always magically disappear!
5.
Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!

Last one- seriously how many times do kids ask for a band-aid.  In the past I had tried two different things:  1.  Basically nobody gets a band-aid UNLESS there is actual blood- paper cuts don't count.
2.  Bandaids seem to make "things feel better" so just give it to them.
I really didn't like either method... so now they are RESPONSIBLE for the Band-Aids and I've made myself have the attitude of not really caring about it.  We have a talk at the beginning of the year about it.  Basically, I tell them the purpose of a Band-Aid (LOL) and then I leave it up to them.  If they think they need one, they just go and get it.  Problem SOLVED!  They just go to my Teacher Toolbox (from Erica Bohrer's EdVentures) and get one!

I also have some other great news to share!  I was just featured on the TPT Blog!  Go and check it out if you haven't seen it- just click on the picture!

Here are 5 quick and easy tips that you can use in your elementary classroom!  These classroom management tips will help your day run smoothly!

I wish everyone a great school year!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Differentiated Read the Room during Literacy Centers


Are you happy with how your Literacy Centers went last year?  Are there areas that you would like to improve?  I can honestly say that each year I feel like I am improving my Literacy Centers.  I have tried hundreds of different ideas for centers.  
Let's face it... some work and some don't.
I do a mixture of Daily 5 and "other" centers.  I don't fully do Daily 5 because some of the centers  just aren't right for me- and that's okay in my book!  
Every year, I change things up.  I keep what's working well and I change things that aren't working so well.  Last year I decided to implement a Read the Room Literacy Center.  I tried a few that I bought on TPT and they were good but it seemed that the kids weren't "engaged" as much as I had hoped.  So, I decided to make my own.  
Each week throughout the year, I made a new Differentiated Read the Room.  I made them to go along with our spelling skill.  I really wanted to make sure that each student was getting the most out of the skills we were learning.  Here is what I came up with...
I made 3 different levels (A, B, and C)- pretty clever I know...
I put the letter on the center rotation cards next to their name.  So, if Adelynn was one of my top students, I put a C next to her name and she knew that she would get a paper from the C tray.  
The activities change a little bit depending on the phonics skill but the format is basically the same so the kids know exactly what to do.  We all know what that means... when they know what to do- they don't try to bother you!
Here is what Level A looks like for Short a.
Students have to write the words by filling in the missing vowel.  Then, on the back, they choose 6 different pictures to draw and color.


Here is Level B.  Students have to write the words into the sentence and read it to a friend.  They then choose 6 different words to draw and color.


Here is Level C.  Students have to write the words into the sentence and read it to a friend.  Then, on the back, they write 4 of their own sentences using the words.


There are 31 different Read the Room activities in the bundle.  They actually go along with my Spelling Through the Year (first grade).  If you are interested in the bundle, it is 40% off if you purchase separately!  As the skills get more difficult, so do the activities.  For instance, many of the sentences the kids have to use context clues to figure out where the word goes- there are no numbers.  I LOVE when I can hear kids reading the sentences together and trying to figure out which word belongs where.  I makes my heart melt!

Here is a link to the bundle!  In the description, it shows all of the skills that are in the product.


Here is the link to try Short A for FREE!


Want to pin it for later??


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Monday, May 2, 2016

End of the Year Countdown

It’s hard to believe it’s almost the end of the school year- in fact, I only have 17 student days left.  I’ve had a great group of students this year so it’s going to be a bittersweet ending to this school year! 

I wanted to share one of my end of the year FREEBIES!  I love doing a little end of the year countdown!  I actually do it for all of the First Grade Teachers in my school.  I put the “rewards” in an envelope and seal them so the teachers don’t even know what the reward is for the day!  It keeps them on their toes!







Have fun the last few weeks of school!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mother's Day Ideas

It’s hard to believe that Mother’s Day is right around the corner!  We are starting to get our projects going this year.  So, I thought I would share with you what we are planning.  Two of the things we have done the past couple of years.  The third is something new we are trying.  So, here they are!


 1.  Spa Mom-  I cannot say enough how much I LOVE this project!  I think it’s just so original and the kids absolutely love making it for mom.  This project was made by Fluttering Through First Grade.  Click on their name or the picture to take you to their blog post about this project.



2.  The World Needs Moms-  This is a book that I made for the kids to make for their mom.  There are different questions for the kids to answer about their mother.  It’s great to see what they come up with!  Included in the product, there are also pages for Grandma in case you have any kiddos that don’t have a mom to make it for.  Some sample questions are:  What kind of little girl was your mom?  Who’s the boss at your house?  What does your mom like to clean?  What does your mom do in her spare time?  I usually choose 8 different questions to put into the book.


3.  Word Cloud- This is something new we are trying this year.  The kids are going to make a word cloud about their mom.  We are using the Word Cloud on ABCya.com.  If you type in the word mom several times, it will make it bigger than the other words.  There are different layouts you can choose and different color schemes.  I have made a simple planning page for the kids to use to come up with their words.  You can download it HERE for free.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

French Lick Blogger Retreat


Sometimes I feel like there aren’t other people that share my same CRAZY passion about teaching and making products for my students… and then I go to the French Lick Blogger Retreat and I’m in a room filled with a ton of them.  This is my second year going to this meet-up hosted by Holly from Ehle’s Kindergarten.  She has a great team of teachers that help her prepare for this amazing weekend.


My teaching partner Kelly and I took a half-day off of school to head to French Lick, Indiana.  We had about a 5 hour drive and arrived Friday evening.  We met a few people and had somewhat of a late night at the casino.  Let’s just say it’s a good thing we didn’t start the next day until 11:30.

The next day, was our “conference”.  We got to be inspired, eat lunch together, and go to a few round table discussions.  We had a little gift exchange among grade levels where I received a box with a poem written by Christina DeCarbo.  The box is used to put student creations (letters/pictures) etc.  or parent letters or anything that will brighten my day when things are a little overwhelming. 

 Amy and Nicole from TPT came to our retreat too!!!

This years theme:  Take your Passion and Make it Happen!

We had a little “auction” with some really AMAZING prizes from our Teacher Sponsors!  I even won a class set of seat sacks! 




Everyone got a TON of freebies from many different sponsors!


The best part of the weekend was the 80’s party!  Here are some fun pictures! 



 Richard Simmons (A.K.A. Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasbord) 
I can't even explain how much fun this weekend was!  I was able to connect with so many people and get a little "recharge" going into the end of the school year!
Saying good-bye was hard to do!

Kelly, Jonelle (A Place Called Kindergarten), and Me!

Here is a Rafflecopter where you can enter to win an awesome package from our sponsors!  A big thanks to Erin Condren, Go Noodle, Teachers Pay Teachers, Creative Clips, ESGI, Kwik Stix, OSMO, Udderly Smooth, Vera Bradley, Creative Teaching Press, Digi by Amy, Astrobrights, Better Life Bags and The Pencil Grip for their donations for our swag bags!


a Rafflecopter giveaway









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