Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Writing Center

Ever since I opened up my writing center to 'choice' writing, my planning/life has been so much easier!! Every activity seen below I introduce to my students one at a time, starting the first week of school with write the room! I then move on to 'Write the Globe', 'I Can Draw and Write Words', 'Color Words' and some of the other easier activities.  As the year moves on I can start introducing some of the harder activities like 'How to' Writing and 'All About' Writing.
As each activity is introduced, it gets added into the pocket chart organizer you see below.  Then it is available for kids to use when they finish early!
I even added in some toy magazines that I received in the mail--the kids LOVE writing shopping lists!
'I Can Draw and Write Words' is an easy activity for beginning writers. They can use thematic word walls or books to complete.
I love the 'Dictionary Hunt'.  I really like the fact that they are getting used to a dictionary and know how to use one at such a young age ;)
'All About' writing has now become one of my students' favorites! They love writing all about me, or the principal, or I've even heard them interviewing each other and writing all about their peers. Love it!
They also use my portable word walls for their 'All About' writing.
'Write the Globe' never gets old with my kids.  They love discovering new places. Most of them have taken this a step further and are now writing letters to their parents telling them where they want to go on the globe and why.
I also ALWAYS leave cards and envelopes in the writing center.  They love making cards for their family members, peers, teachers, etc. 
I have now introduced all of the activities in the writing center and my students are able to complete them all independently.  Now that they are all hanging in the wall organizer, I don't have to plan anything for the writing center.  They go to the center and CHOOSE which activity they want to work on.  When kids have the 'choice' in their centers, they work SO much better!

All of these writing activities can be found in my store by clicking on the image below.
and the thematic word walls can be found here

Friday, March 13, 2015

Silly McGilly (Giveaway!)

Recently, I received an email from 3 sisters from New Jersey telling me all about Silly McGilly.  A little leprechaun who will help bring some fun and excitement (and learning) to your classroom during the month of March!
Well, today I received Silly McGilly and I was BEYOND excited to get started! Right away we opened the package and read the story. The story explains that the leprechaun we have is just a toy doll. But, if you place the doll in the window of your classroom at night, it is an invitation for a real leprechaun to come visit and play a trick!
After I read the story, I passed around our new leprechaun doll.  The kids loved him!!
 They were SO excited! Look at that face!
 Some of the children even wrote notes for the Leprechaun.  This one made me smile...'Do something that makes me laugh.'
Silly McGilly is now in our window.  I wonder what will happen when we arrive at school on Monday?!
You can head over to Silly McGilly's site to find sample activities and tricks that will enhance learning.
I am so excited to use Silly McGilly in the classroom this year and many more years to come!! Such a great idea!
If you would like to purchase your own Silly McGilly and his book you can HERE, or you can enter to win your own copy on my Facebook page HERE.  Good luck!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Rhyme to Read (iPad app)

With the help of Donors Choose, this year we are lucky enough to have 5 iPads in our classroom!! On each iPad I have two sets of folders--one education folder, full of education apps, and another games folder that students can use during 'free play' in the afternoon.  One of the students favorite reading apps is Rhyme to Read. This app was created by two teachers and is a reading program with 20, cumulative, books.  Each book builds perfectly from one to the next.
They focus on particular short vowel word families: at, an, ad, am, en, et, ed, ell, it, ig, id, ip, ot, og, ock, op, un, ub, uck, and ug.
As you can see from reading the different word families, each book gradually progresses.
My students love using this app during our Daily 5 time.  It is perfect for Read to Self.
OR Read to Someone!
 One of the great features of this app is that students can touch any word and have it read to them if they get 'stuck'. The app also has the focus sight word(s) in the top corner (which students can click on and have the sight word read to them before they read the page).  When they are finished reading the 20 books, they will have also learned 35 sight words!
Another great feature is that the word family words are color coded.  Instead of sounding out each sound, the color coded word families allow for students to 'chunk' the word. 
At the end of each book there is a list of all of the sight words that have been focused on throughout the story.  There is also a review list of the color coded word family words which is great!
With this app, you can get the first book for free and each additional book is .99 centers.  If you buy all of the books (to 20) the app will cost you ONLY 5.99...what a steal!! and you can have it on all of your iPads in your classroom! Definitely worth it! 
That's only .30 cents a book :) 
Click HERE to learn more! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Kindergarten Poetry Journals

Poetry has become a lot of my students favorite time of the day! They love getting the opportunity to stand up and lead the class in our poem of the week.  They take turns pointing to the words while the class sings the poem. I also let them choose who sings while they point-girls, boys, or everyone, and how they are going to sing-in normal voices, quiet voices, girl voices, boy voices, like monsters, etc.  They have a blast!
Each student gets the poem of the week to add into their poetry journals.  We usually have a focus word that they have to highlight; however, in this case, they had to highlight all of their word wall words.
Then, I give them an image that correlates with the poem to color and glue into their poetry journals as well.
When they are done gluing in their poem and image, they have to create a setting! This is usually my favorite part haha. I love to see the details they add!
When they are finished they place their poetry journals into their book bins for the week.  During the Daily 5, when they go to Read to Someone or Read to Self, they have the opportunity to choose their poetry notebooks as one of the books they can read.  This is definitely their favorite book to read and even your non-readers can feel extremely successful with this poetry book!  
On Fridays they place their poetry notebooks into their backpacks to take home and share with their family over the weekend. I have parents sign each poem to show that they read it over with their child.
To grab your poems, just click on the image below!