Sunday, November 29, 2015

Late Night Christmas Freebies

It's late Sunday evening.  I'm sitting here relaxing underneath the glow of my Christmas tree, drinking hot chocolate, quietly preparing for the craziness of the next three weeks before Christmas break.  It always seem to FLY BY.  End of quarter assessments, Christmas music programs, holiday parties, Polar Express Day....before I know it I'm squeezing my Kinder babies and telling them Merry Christmas and I'll see you next year!  To help with the holiday season I've got some quick goodies for you!  

First up is a handwriting FREEBIE!  This is the third set I've made like this and my kiddos LOVE them.  I print them on card stock and slip them into dry/erase pockets.  Easy peasy!  Click on the picture below to download!

Next up is a technology FREEBIE!  A few weeks ago, I talked about the wonders of Nearpod.  You can check it out HERE.  Well, I have another goody for you!  I am currently working on applying for Nearpod's author's program so I am creating a portfolio of sorts!  This quick little Christmas addition activity is so sweet and is going to be PERFECT as a formative assessment for my Kinders!  It covers addition to 5 and then addition to 10.  They won't even know they are being assessed!  Score!  

(Excuse the bad's late and I'm tired....)

To download and use just click the picture below!

Last, but not least...have you heard something about a sale going on?  Well my ENTIRE STORE is on sale starting tomorrow!  To grab some additional savings just enter the code SMILE at checkout!  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Let's Talk Teacher Technology (and get some FREEBIES!)

Hey y'all!  Let me say...I am the first to admit that I am not that tech-y.  Most of the time I really feel like I'm learning on the fly...this year though I made a teacher goal of using and incorporating more technology in my classroom for instruction.  We have an online component with our math curriculum that I use daily and I am feeling pretty confident there.  However, I really wanted to start utilizing our building's class set of iPads.  We are blessed with a cart of 30 iPads that a teacher can check out for a block of time every day.  Last year, I avoided this cart like the plague....I was unsure how to use them for instruction as opposed to just something to 'play with'.  With the help of a colleague (my daughter's teacher actually!) I'm learning a few new tricks of trade and have begun to feel comfortable enough to try a few things here and there.  One of my absolute favorite apps to do with my kids is Nearpod.  Have you heard about it?

Nearpod is a FREE website/app that allows teachers to create and download interactive multimedia lessons.  There are several lessons already created by educators for free or to purchase that cover a wide variety of skills.  Once a lesson is downloaded on the teacher's computer, laptop or iPad, teachers can "start a live session".  When this happens a teacher is given a code like the one below.

Students then open the app on their iPad, enter the code given to them by the teacher and type in their name.  This part takes a little time for kindergartners to do, but with every lesson we are getting faster!

Once students are logged in the lesson shows up on their device.  The best part?  THEY CANNOT SWIPE THEIR SCREEN TO MOVE ON.  You have to change the slide on your device for students to move on.  They only see the slide you want them to.  No, "I'm on the wrong page!"  Whew! 

Depending on the lesson, there are a variety of different interactive features.  Students can write on their screen, select from multiple choice answers or match objects.  After they are finished answering whatever questions are asked, they can submit their answers to the teacher.  They do this by simply hitting send (the box at the bottom) and confirming yes.  

The teacher's screen then looks like this.  Each child who is logged in is displayed on the screen.  While they complete their work their personal box says 'awaiting drawing'.  (I was testing this with my Madi which is why there is only one name.  Normally I would have 22.)

Once a student sends me their work, I can see exactly how they did on my screen and give instant feedback.  HOW.  COOL.  IS.  THAT?

Madi's work....

Now it's on my screen...

My students love Nearpod and my daughter is CONSTANTLY asking to do it at home.  I can use it as a formative to see how students are progressing on a skill, while giving instant feedback, and it's fun!  One thing I noticed was lacking when searching lessons, were kindergarten friendly, CUTE, skills based activities.  So...I made one!  This Thanksgiving themed sight word activity targets 12 sight words where students practice reading the word, finding it, and writing it.  I haven't created a seller's account yet...I'm dipping my toe in the Nearpod water...but I would love to share what I created with you all!  If you would like to try out Nearpod, or if you already use it and need a fun free lesson for this week, click on the picture below to check out this one!  I really hope you enjoy it!

If you aren't totally on the technology bandwagon yet, you still deserve a freebie!  I whipped these handwriting sheets up for my kiddos to use in the handwriting center this week.  THEY LOVE THEM.  I print them on card stock and stick then in dry/erase pockets and add a dry/erase marker - instantly handwriting is more fun!  I included all capital and lowercase letters, numbers 1-10, Thanksgiving themed words and sentences, and a spot to practice their name.  Click on the picture below to download!

Monday, November 9, 2015

How one book led our morning....

So here's how my morning went...I arrived at school this morning, for once, completely prepared for a Monday morning.  Attendance, lunch count, morning work completed without a hitch.  We moved seamlessly into calendar time and math then went outside for our first recess of the day.  When my students came back in we settled onto the carpet for a read aloud - one of my favorite parts of the day.  I worked on activating prior knowledge by discussing what we had learned about fall - and specifically leaves - last week.  Students were quick to raise their hands and give answers - making me proud.  I then read this book Leaves by Marilyn Easton.  

It's a book from a Scholastic book order and I've used it for several years now.  My students are always FASCINATED by the pictures and facts in this non-fiction story and we always love learning 'big' words like chlorophyll and pigments. The students listened intently and answered questions throughout the book, excited to learn more.  Toward the end, a student commented about noticing the changing leaves outside at recess.  Suddenly, it was very important we investigate.  So, the whole class bundled up again, I grabbed our iPad, and we took a walk to the best tree on school's property - the big tree out front.  This is what we found...

We found leaves of all colors.  Leaves with a lot of chlorophyll left...

And leaves without any..

We also found the perfect leaf to take a closer look at.  We took this little guy inside and put him on my document camera.

We then zoomed in and put him on the big screen.  It was easier then to point out the midrib and veins. 

We then decided we were going to write about the leaves we collected.  Each kiddo chose their favorite leaf to write about.  I paired their writing with their leaf and a painting they created will in art class.  I love when I can double dip a little bit.  :)

NONE of this was on my lesson plans except for my read aloud...but I would say we did a lot of learning today... wouldn't you?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sight Word Sale plus a FREEBIE!

Can you feel it?  That pressure coming on?  It seems as though when the holiday season comes around, there is more to do and never enough time to do it.  The same holds true for my classroom.  Mid-quarter is just around the corner which means assessments, formatives and report cards are looming.  Not to mention student attention starts dropping as thoughts of turkey, Santa and winter break start appearing.  So what can you do to hold student attention and make them motivated to learn?  Make it fun!  

One of the resources I use in my classroom is my Superhero Sight Words.  Each student has their own ring of sight words that we've learned (as well as up to two weeks of words ahead of schedule).  When my students have downtime, they get out their sight words and practice.  They also get out their sight words and practiced their words when they come to my guided reading table.  

For every word that the student reads correctly, I place a stamp on it.  We then work to create a goal for the number of words they read correctly the next time I check their words.  I typically try to check every other week.

When students make progress, I fill out a mini certificate that let's their parents know I checked up on their child's words and this is how they're doing!  The kiddos are SO PROUD to take these home!  And it's a great parent communication piece.  

Check out my Superhero Sight Words in my TPT store by clicking the picture below! 

I also use a variety of sight words games and activities throughout the year to keep students engaged and excited about practicing their words.  To help you out, I am putting my Superhero Sight Words and all of my sight word games ON SALE until Thursday night!  Below are three great resources to check out!  Click on the pictures for a closer look!

With holidays coming up, money can be tight. about a FREEBIE?  I created this fun Thanksgiving themed game for you to use with your kiddos in small group!  Here's how you play:

To begin, give each student a copy of the recording sheet.  Then place the sight word turkeys upside down in a pile.  Determine who goes first.  When it is a player’s turn, students will draw a sight word card from the pile.  If the student reads the word correctly, he/she will use a paperclip and the spinner card to spin a number.  The student will then color that number of circles on their recording sheet.  The first player to color all of their circles and get their turkey to be Thanksgiving dinner is the winner!  

  Click here to download and enjoy!

Last, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their kind words and support.  Opening up and sharing what's been going on personally was hard but the sweet messages definitely lifted my spirits!  Y'all are the best!  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Currently

Whoa.  Hello November!  When did you get here?  I am super excited November is here.  That means yummy food and the holiday season is right around the corner!  Eeeeek!  

I am linking up today with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade to share what's currently going on!

Listening - I'm working tonight and relaxing to my favorite Christian band Sidewalk Prophets.  They are amazing!!!  My girls love listening to them too!  Click their name to check them out!  

Loving - The fall season's here.  The leaves.  The pumpkins.  The cooler weather.  Scarfs and boots.  
♥   LOVE.  IT.  ALL.  ♥

Thinking - Assessments.  Assessments.  Assessments.  Big talk lately has been formative and summative assessments.  I will be working this week on fun, easy ways to formally and informally assess students to give you a 'check' on where students are during teaching.  

Wanting - Life has been CRAZY since school started and my teacher friends and I are in desperate need of a night out!  Margaritas ladies?!  :)

Needing - SLEEP!  Halloween was so fun!!! But also exhausting... This momma needs a nap!

Yummy - Munching on my all time fall favorite - CANDY CORN!

Have a great first week in November!  Stop by later in the week for some freebies!