Monday, September 29, 2014

I see new ideas looking at me.

You knew which book I'd be referencing before you even clicked on this link, right?  You good teacher, you.  ;)

I've always thought of Brown Bear as a pre-K or early kindergarten story because of it's simplicity.  But I used it with my K-1 class this year and the simplicity and repetition lead to some awesome skill mastery and understanding.

I see {sequencing} looking at me.

One of my goals this year is to work in more fine motor activities using scissors and glue...which will in turn work in creativity & art!  So for our retell activity, my students colored pictures, cut them out & glued them in order to sequence the story.  If they finished early, they labeled the different animals.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of any of my dolls wearing their crowns but this is how they looked.

I don't know where our pictures came from - I've had them for years - but you can get an ever cuter coloring page from 2care2teach4kids:

I see {writing} looking at me.

I. love. these. books!  Teacher to the Core must've created these just for me because there's a kindergarten version and a 1st grade version!  My 1st graders created their own circle stories, writing their name on the first page then continuing the story by carrying over whatever they saw to the next page.  The number of pages depended on fast they worked but each student started with 3 and added from there.

My kindergarteners created a group book together.  We used the kindergartener page each time to minimize the sounding out frustration and only asking them to sound out one word per page.

He saw a coconut tree.  Hmmm...can you guess which book we used last week?!  ;)

I see {math} looking at me.

I chose this math activity because it takes the typical graphing activity to the next level.  I gave my students M&Ms to represent the colors of six of the animals.  {The white horse & black sheep are missing but no one seemed to mind since they were working with candy.}  The students sorted their M&Ms by color and graphed.

But then Happy Teacher, Happy Kids extended the math practice with this addition sheet that was amaze balls!

{can I say amazeballs??  I hope so because I just did...twice.}

This activity is actually 4 pages in total with a sorting page, graphing page, recording page and the addition page.  Best news: it's a free download.  Actually, everything in this post is a free download! Just click the pictures or linked text to go to the original store or blog to grab your copy.

Don't stay away too long...I see apples looking at me next!!  ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Don't get caught on Pinterest.

Not that I have anything against Pinterest.  In fact, I love it.  I have a lot of school boards and about a-bazillion pins for every fun thing I find.  {You might want to follow me, I'm just saying.}  But you probably shouldn't be on Pinterest at school.

While your kids are in the room.

And your principal comes in for an observation.

Thaaaaat's right.  That was my afternoon.  But wait - let me explain!!!  You know how you pre-pre-prepare everything to be organized and productive?  Right, I did that.  I introduced Homework Notebooks to my students today but instead of passing them out one at a time, I put them in my kids' communication binders myself this morning.  All 19 of them.  The plan was for them to pull out their binders {like every day at dismissal} and they would flip to the back to see their Homework Notebooks, be thrilled that I had secretly already added them and we would move on without taking up too much time.

But did that happen?!  Nooooo.  Instead, my students pulled out their binders and every. single. homework. notebook. went. flying.


There were notebooks all over the floor.  "Whose is this?!"  "Where's my journal?"  "I don't want this color!"  "I want that one!"  "That's mine!"  "You're stepping on it!!"  And then some.  In the words of Pete the Cat...did the teacher cry?  Goodness no!  I had it under control!!  I was a little frustrated but I sent them to their tables to work on our usual packing up procedure while I took a deep breath & tried to calm my frazzled nerves.  {Did I mention this was the end of a day where my kids don't go to specials?  ie. I had no break.}

So I went to the computer.  I knew if I googled Homework Notebook or Homework Journal or Homework Binder that something would pop up.  And it did!  The problem took a few minutes {read: 90 seconds} to find.  And in that 90 seconds, what happened?  You got it.  Enter the principal.

Did the teacher cry?  Almost.  Goodness no!

I turned red & sputtered an explanation of what was going on.  Luckily she moved on and said she'd come back later, but still.  It happened.  And it was not fun.  Why am I telling you?  Because I don't want the same thing to happen to you.  Here are some links to some of the FREE journal covers that I use.  Download them now & be ready!

The dreaded Homework Notebook covers {lol} from First Grade Schoolhouse.

Our Science & Social studies Notebooks from Adventures in Teaching.

Our Poetry Notebook covers from Mrs. Woolwine

If you don't use binders you can just glue these to the front of a notebook.  I recommend doing this even if you don't think you need it.  Reference the story above and take my word for it!  ;)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Let's not lose them.

I think all teachers would agree that transportation is the number one biggest concern at the beginning of the school year.  Especially with kindergarteners.  Even though I check and double check and quadruple check how they're going home, there are always a few parents that I just can't reach or an 8 that could be a 3 when they write their child's bus number.

For the first day {okay, the 1st week} I hold my breath anytime there's an announcement after school.  Please don't say my name, please don't say my name, please don't say my name...whew!  Why am I sweating?!  But I've noticed a pattern - it's after those first few weeks that we start to relax and that's when simple mistakes can happen, regardless of how cute and Pinteresting your transportation chart is.

Enter good old fashioned masking tape.

How brilliant is that?!  When your kids put their backpacks on, you can see all of their numbers in one quick glance down the line.  We teach kids their bus slots (where they park on the lot) because sometimes busses break down & they have to send a replacement.  If your kids don't ride the bus, just write walk or van or AS (after school).

It doesn't mess up the backpacks so parents aren't upset.  It's super easy to change if they start going home a different way.  The kids don't play with them so they stay on for a long time AND it makes dismissal basically fool proof.  If your sub can't find your bus list, you're covered.  If you have to leave early & have another teacher take your kids to the bus, you're covered.  If you're just having one of those days where your mind can't form um...what are those things...oh, words...yeah, you're still covered!

So grab some masking tape and sharpie and don't lose your kids.  Because that probably wouldn't reflect well on your evaluation.  ;)

Blogging tips