Thursday, May 21, 2015

Egg Carton Jellyfish-simple project

Hello All, This first year teaching Kindergarten has been amazing! I love it more and more each day. This month we are studying the ocean. We are using each day to study a different creature that the children want to learn about. We start by watching a youtube video and completing a KWL (know, want to know, learned) chart and a Can, have are chart. Once we record our information in our science notebook we draw, paint, create each creature. Today we had fun making an egg carton jellyfish. This was so simple yet fun. It took some fine motor skills and a few supplies but the kids were having so much fun swimming their jellyfish throughout the room, they even took a little time to "sting" each other. Not maliciously of course! It was great fun, I hope you find time to make some of your own!

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's time for a Valentines Day FREEBIE!!!!!

Hello All, I have just made my Dollar Store Centers free in my TpT store. I have found the dollar store to be an invaluable resource for classroom centers. If your local dollar stores are as great as mine you will have no problem finding the basic tools needed to use these center ideas. Do you like to have your students use bags or make mailboxes? This year I have a parent donating tin mailboxes with the children's names on them. I think they will be super cute! In years past I have done love notes where the parents write their kiddos a little note at the door for me to read them each morning leading up to Valentines day. I also have enjoyed having parents "sneak" me a teddy bear and a card to greet their child the morning of Valentines day and then having a teddy bear picnic. Since I have moved to Kindergarten at the same school I can't very well steal the Pre-Kindergarten activities so I am looking for some new favorites to make traditions out of in Kindergarten. What are your favorites? Do you have any activities that have been successes or failures? I would love to hear from you. Enjoy the freebie, use the link below to download!
Dollar Store Centers for Valentines Day
Dollar Store Centers for Valentines Day: 14+ centers

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Habitats, Biomes and Homes OH MY! Activities for Kindergarten Classrooms

Whatever you want to call the places that animals live we all study them in the early elementary years. I have put together a unit that will take you through the most common habitats and its dwellers. You can use the activities in this unit throughout the year to support literacy, science and social studies in your classroom. Enjoy!

More freebies!

Hello All, I have taken a few activities from my Winter Units on TpT and made them free for you to sample! Each one can be found as part of one of the Winter units found in my store. I hope you enjoy these! Winter freebies link!

Individual Guided Reading Binders: Kick start your reading groups in 2015!

For quite a while now I have been looking for a Guided Reading system that worked for my classroom. I needed something that the class would get excited about, kept the parents informed of progress and was easy for me to maintain. After looking through various blogs, products and polling other teachers I realized I had to create my own system. There just wasn't anything that met enough of my needs out there that I could find. So for several months now I have been piecing together what may be the best thing I have ever made for my classroom. INDIVIDUAL GUIDED READING BINDERS!!!!! Here is a view of one of the front cover choices:
I had always used simple folders with a reading log and the weeks books. There was no space to send home more literacy building resources that the children could work on. When I would send home extra resources in the kiddos backpacks I would either never get them back or they would get lost in the child's home for a while. I also wanted everything for each group in one place, making our limited meeting time more efficient. I am no longer hunting for supplies, everything is inside the binder. It is also easy to switch out resources, communicate with parents, complete assessments and conduct smooth reading groups. These guided reading binders fix so many of the problems I was having. Here are views of the binder spine inserts, inside and back cover choices:
Sure, this took some time and money to put together. I used some Amazon Gift Cards I had been given by my students parents and some Amazon gift cards I had earned through swagbucks (to find out about earning through swagbucks use this link: Swagbucks). In the INDIVIDUAL GUIDED READING BINDERS FILE I have outlined and given pictures of each item I am using in my binders. I purchased most of the items on Amazon and a few at my local dollar store. These binders have turned out to be well worth the original time and money. My kiddos love them, my parents are excited to work with their children and I am one happy teacher! Here is how they work:
I purchased everything I needed and gathered it on my kitchen table. You can get as simple or detailed as you want with these binders. Several things I bought were used in more than one binder making things a bit more economical. I outline all of this in my unit on TpT. I assembled the binders, printed out the covers and introduced them to my students. I sent an email to my parents preparing them for this binder, there is also a section within the binder that explains it's contents and provides activity ideas for at home. Each binder has a pocket for manipulatives, a dry erase surface, reading log, lesson plans, parent resources, learning posters, extra support books and assessments. I also created a master binder for myself with copies of everything included in the student binder plus pages that I use during guided reading. Here is my binder:
These are just a few of the pages in my binder. Most can also be used as worksheets or copied off and laminated for repeated use at the guided reading table. Here are some views of the inside of the student binders:
So now that we all have our binders how do we use them? Simple, each morning the children unload their binder into a bucket in the hall which I later bring into the classroom. Then when it is time each child brings their binder to the table when called. We start by reviewing this weeks sight words, vocabulary words and learning posters. Once we have done that we go through a few of my teaching pages, reviewing syllables, rhymes, decoding etc. Then we get down to reading our book. While the group talks about comprehension I write their homework in their log and record anything necessary in their assessment section. I go over sight word assessments on Fridays making my groups 3-5 minutes longer than my other three days. Download the full INDIVIDUAL GUIDED READING BINDER UNIT which includes full instructions, pictures and editable files. Here we are enjoying our binders, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
WHEW! That was a long one! Thanks for sticking with it!