Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Common Core is getting HOT, HOT, HOT!!

Are you ready to get HOT, HOT, HOT with Common Core this year?! I certainly am!! ;)

School is approaching and most of us are beginning (or continuing) Common Core in our classrooms. This pack is a wonderful way to have FUN with your students all while assessing them, reviewing skills, and making sure you cover all areas of the Math Common Core!
You may be wondering what exactly a 'Hot Seat' is.  Hot Seats are questions that are stuck underneath your students' chairs with a small piece of tape before they get to class. This is not done everyday...it is totally random, which makes it SO much more exciting! When students take their seats, you can choose your time to announce that there are 'hot seats'. Students will check under their seats and if they have a question...uh oh! They will have to show you how much they know by attempting to answer the question. If they don't know the answer they can grab a lifeline (a friend) to help them out!
There are 8 questions for EVERY kindergarten math Common Core standard. This gives you plenty of variety and plenty of questions to use ALL year long!! The students will have a blast!! They will be so excited and even start checking under their seats before you make an announcement! Who doesn't want their students to be excited about learning?!
Click on the picture below to check out the Hot Seat packet on TPT. 
It is FREEBIE Friday!!! So grab a FREE page of the Common Core HOT Seat to use with your students by downloading the PREVIEW!! Click on the image below

If you teach another grade other than Kindergarten, don't worry! I have first grade and second grade on my to-do list and will get them done as soon as I can. Teach an upper grade? No need to worry either!! Fifth grade was created by  Little Lovely Leaders, and she will make fourth and third as soon as she has the time :) Click on the picture below (or send your 5th grade teacher friends) to grab you FREEBIE for fifth grade Hot Seats!
Can't wait to hear what you think!!! :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Teacher Binder (I bought on TPT)

I really am SO excited to be totally organized this year! I think it is going to make everything else a lot easier! Last night, while I was watching Ryan Lochte the Olympics I organized my yearly teacher binder that I bought on TPT from Little Lovely Leaders. I LOVE how it came out. It actually makes me want to do my lesson plans. WHAT?!!? I have never said that before ;)
I split my binder up into different sections for standards, lesson plans, my grade book, and a WONDERFUL substitute section. Here are some of the pages....

They are obviously empty right now, but I am planning on writing everything in with pencil. Things change all the time--my roster, dismissal, etc and I don't want to have to reprint the pages when I need them (I do not like crossing things out...it makes my page look messy!)
If you are feeling jealous of my binder...then check it out here on TPT!  It was made by a great blogger, Little Lovely Leaders. Trust me, it is GREAT!! I love it! :)

I am also guest posting over on my friend Penny's blog, Teach the Math. I have a FREEBIE over there for you, so make sure you stop by!! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Toolbox Makeover!

I finished another item off of my 'Summer To-Do List'. I made the toolbox that has been floating around everyones blogs and on Pinterest.  I got together with my kindergarten team (there are 8 of us) and we all made a toolbox! Let me tell you, it took longer than I thought so it was great to have company!!
First, I bought the toolbox at Home Depot. I couldn't find it at first (I don't really ever look that hard...I would rather just ask!), so I showed a guy that worked there a picture of it from Pinterest. When he took me to the correct isle I thought 'no way this is definitely not it!' It is WAY smaller then it looks in pictures! So weird! But a great size for your desk and will still do the job :)
I took it home and sprayed it with primer and with some pink spray paint. If you are going to paint yours--make sure you get the glossy spray paint! I got the matte because I didn't even think of it, so I still have to go back and spray some glossy spray paint on top. 
It didn't take that long to dry and we were ready to start working. I first opened up these pre-made editable labels that I found on TPT for FREE. Then, I changed some of the words to better fit what I needed and I changed the font to 'Cheri' which is a free font if you google it :) 
The labels were on 4 different pages, so I chose 4 different colors of card stock to print them out on. After they were printed, I cut the labels out...
Then one of the teachers brought some super cute ribbon and scrapbook paper to decorate these labels with before we put them in our toolbox. Since my main theme in my classroom is polka dots, that is what I pretty much stuck to!
When I was finished with all of the labels I put a little bit of tape at the top and bottom to help them stick into the drawers better and WA-LA....
I love how it turned out and can't wait to be organized even better this year!! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All You Need In November!

I am So happy to say that I am finally done giving my November Unit a total MAKE-OVER!! I know you are probably thinking, November? Already? But, the more I can get done now and the more I have prepped before school starts....the better! The November Unit was the first project I ever made on the computer and I loved it at the time, but since then I have learned SO much!! 

This unit is jam packed (149 pages!) with activities to keep your students busy throughout November and the best part is...I aligned the entire packet to Common Core! :)

Some of the standards you will see met in this packet are: W.K.1, W.K.2, W.K.3, L.K.1, L.K.2, RF.K.1, RF.K.2, RF.K.3, K.G.1, K.G.2, K.CC.1, K.CC.3, K.CC.4, K.CC.5, K.OA.1, K,OA.5

If you have already purchased this unit, please head on over to TPT, go to My Purchases, and re-download this packet for FREE! I would LOVE to hear what you think!!

Here is a little preview of what some of the pages look like....
but head on over to my TPT store HERE to read the full description of what is included!

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Top 5!

I am sitting here with a big ole smile on my face all by myself....I just finished catching up on the Bachelorette...HOW CUTE and PERFECT was the ending!?!? I am so happy for Emily! Now, Sean needs to come find me...just sayin'  ;)

Anyways, I decided to link up with Rachelle from Life Is Sweet and the Teacher Idea Factory and tell you all what my Teacher Must Haves are!

Number 1 is super easy for me...I don't even have to think about it...
I cannot even start my day without a diet coke and my kids know it!

Number 2...
I love to use colored sharpies to check my students work and they love to use colored sharpies. I tell them if they do super duper handwriting then they can trace it with any color they want or I let them use the colored sharpies for special projects and let me tell you...the kids feel SO special when they get to use a sharpie :)

Number 3...
Mailboxes are such a great way to stay organized!! All the kids have their own box where they put their folder every morning. Then, when it is time to pass out papers or projects they add them right into their box. At the end of the day everything is right there for you, you stuff their folders, and wa-la they are ready to go home!

Number 4...
Seat sacks!! Love them!! My students keep their poetry/science journal, math book, writing notebook, and science textbook all in the back of their seat. They are able to grab it and start the next activity super fast and more importantly, clean up super fast!

Number 5...
Stickers! You have no idea what kind of power a sticker has in Kindergarten :)

Don't forget to enter Rachelle's great giveaway! You can even win a product from my TPT store :) Just click on the image below :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

KD5 Book Study: Ch 6

These are probably my two favorite centers! I have always LOVED teaching writing (English was always my best subject) and word work is a huge aide in their writing. Crystal from Kreative in Kinder had some great questions to consider this week!

I introduce one new sight word a week for two weeks. Then, the third week is a review of those two sight words. For instance week one I teach I, week 2 can, and week 3 we review I and can. I leave these words on our front board for the 3 weeks and we add them onto our word wall. Our morning work usually consists of a sight word scramble, handwriting, or sentence scramble activity using these words. I also try to choose a poem for the week that uses our new words. My students also have their own sight word lists. Each child has a folder with prongs where I give them one list at a time. When they become proficient in their list, I will put their next list in their folder. 

My students are extremely curious of unique and interesting words and they LOVE to use these words as much as they can. I pick certain 'vocab' words for the week. These words may come from a read aloud or may pertain to our theme that we are working on. I write the words down onto sentence strips. Then, I pass out the words to some of the students. I call one student up at a time and have them 'splash' that word onto our Word Splash poster (it is in the shape of a pond with a little rubber ducky picture in the corner). I don't tell them what the word means, but we brainstorm ideas of what we think it means. Then as we read stories or continue our learning we come up with all of the words definitions. Let me tell you---using a word splash has REALLY helped my students curiosity and use of new words. A little story...I was outside at carpool and I overheard one of my students say, 'Woah it is really blustery out here today!' Two fifth graders sitting next to him starting chatting to each other about how they had no idea what blustery meant! I had my student tell them what it meant and long story short, the next day at carpool the two fifth graders came up to me and used blustery in a sentence--they were so proud of themselves! I really do believe that the more we teach these new words, the better their writing will be!

I have had all my word work materials stored in a shelf like this-
This picture is from Target.com
I change the activities out constantly so my students don't become bored. I may change the set up this year, but I haven't been in my class yet to decide! I do always keep these at the center on a binder ring...
You can see a picture and grab your freebie HERE
This way students can spell words with magnetic letters, pipe cleaners, play-doh, etc. 
Another great activity you can have here at the beginning of the year is...
Add some magnetic tape onto the back, put it on a cookie sheet, and students will use magnetic letters to complete the different activities :) Grab your freebie HERE

My writing center activities are all hanging in this...
I introduce one activity at a time so this does start out pretty empty. By mid-year this is full of activities to choose from! You can download the preview or read the description of everything that I include at my writing center here...
Crystal will be holding the linky party this week! I can't wait to read everyones D5 posts!!

P.S. My matching polka dot color posters are finished! (a matching birthday set and matching word wall words are on their way!) You can find them by clicking on the picture below :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

More Polka Dots!!

So as many of you know, I LOVE polka dots!! :) I have been in the process of changing my room decor over to bright colors..... and POLKA DOTS!! I can't wait to get back into my class and finish everything up!! For the mean time I have been creating items for around the class. Here are some of the items I have been working on....

Just click on the pictures to see the full description :)

I have also been loving some items from my friend Tammy at Live Love Laugh!! She has some great numbers (I already put these up before I left for the summer...they look great!!)
this adorable MUST HAVE banner :) Still need to make mine, but as soon as I do I will take pics!!
Anyone else have a 'polka dot' theme going on in their classroom this year??

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

KD5 Book Study: Chapter 5

I am a little behind on my Daily 5 reading! Time seems to fly when you are up in the mountains :) So I never linked up last week! Oopsy daisy!! I wish I was able to get into my classroom and take pictures to make this post a little easier, but I will do my best with trying to describe how my centers are set up! Bare with me!! ;)

Listen to Reading

1. How will you instill the importance (or urgency) of 'listening to reading' in your students and especially those students who have had little 'lap time' or reading done for them in their own homes?
My students have always loved listening to reading. I also give them book options that relate to the theme we are learning-All my books on c.d. are at the center; however, I put the books that go along with what we are learning in a special bin on top of the table. These always seem to be the books they choose!
2. What devices or strategies are you going to use to conduct listen to reading? Will you use a community recording device with one cd and several earphones, individual cd players, tape recorders, ipod-type devices or computers? 
My listening center is this...
from Lakeshore Learning
I love it! The wireless headphones allow the kids to spread out a little. They don't work all the way across the room but they do allow them some movement. I have cushions, chair, and a carpet all near by that they can use. I also have 2 laptops and 2 desktops that children will be using for this center. Our school uses a reading program online that is required, so this is the perfect time to fit this in!
3. What expectations will you have for your students during 'listen to reading' and how will you keep them on task and independent instead of needing your assistance when they can't manage devices?
I teach my students how to use the c.d. player over, and over again. This way I won't have any questions about it. But, I also have a technology helper (as one of my class jobs) and if a student is having trouble they can always ask the tech. helper! :) All my materials for this center are right at the center and students really don't need to go anywhere for anything!
4. Do you have enough 'listening to reading' type materials? If not, what ideas do you have for securing these materials? Where will you store them? How will your students retrieve these items? Where will they be used (will there be a designated spot in your class for listening to reading or will it be their choice?
I have TONS of books on c.d.'s. This is where all my Scholastic points go! I tape the cd case into the cover of one of the books (I try to have at least 3 of each book for students to use). Then the books go into a ziplock bag so they stay together. After that, all the zip lock bags go into a bin like this...(I have 3 bins to hold my listening center books)
from Really Good Stuff
These bins are right in my listening center; however, I pull out the books that go with our theme and put them into a bin like this...
Really Good Stuff
that goes right next to their headphones. These are the ones I would like for students to listen to first.
5. How do you feel about listening response sheets? What will they look like?
I use listening response sheets. Sometimes I create ones that go with specific books and other times I just use a generic response sheet. I have 2 options at the center and they are labeled with pictures (hearts and butterflies are my lower level and frogs and apples are my middle and high students). This way the students know which one they have to complete. I don't always have the students complete response sheets. Sometimes it is just 'free listening' and they can choose book after book :) My response sheets that I have used in the past are free if you click HERE!

6. How can this station be differentiated to meet the various learning profiles, interests and/or readiness of your students?
Like I mentioned above, I do use different response sheets for different students. Also, by allowing the students to choose what book they listen to and to choose where they sit is a way of differentiating this center :)

Read to Someone

1. Why should students be reading to someone?
I agree with the sisters, reading to someone helps students read independently and grow as readers. They are able to hear their peers read and learn from them (which sometimes is the best way to learn!) They also love being with their friends- because of this they enjoy this time! They concentrate on the task at hand, the classroom seems to be quieter, they motivate each other, and they are having fun! One of my favorite things is to overhear students helping each other sound out words or learn new words!
2. How can your students EEKK?
In the past I have only allowed my students to EEKK in our classroom library. Our classroom library has great chairs, a big carpet, stuffed animals, and is pretty spacious and cozy (I have a huge room). But, that is also because I was doing centers differently and wasn't doing the Daily 5. This year, I am going to allow them to EEKK anywhere they feel comfortable in the room. This all goes back to giving the students 'choice'.
3. How can your students read to someone and how will you need to model these ways with your students?
I will allow my students to read to someone in all the ways that the book explains; however, I will only model these to them one at a time. This way they fully understand how to read to someone in one way before moving on to another way. I always start out with I Read, You Read because it really helps the students to hear their partner read a page first. This way they can pick up on the sentence structure, the pace, etc. (just my opinion)  :)
4. What is one thing you have done with partner reading that ensures the success of your students?
Model, model, model and anchor chart, anchor chart, anchor chart! haha I involve the students in making the anchor charts and we write down the guidelines of partner reading. I also call it a promise and have the students sign the anchor chart. This way when they are not modeling a correct behavior I pull the class together, we model the correct behavior, and we refer back to our class promise. I love it and so do the kids!

I have started to make little readers that my students will include in their book bins. They will use their book bins during Read to Self and Read to Someone. I have also decided to introduce these readers to my students through the pocket chart center. I am looking forward to this :) Here is an example...

Don't forget to link up your D5 posts with Mary and Marsha :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Organization and Freebie :)

At my school we aren't allowed back into the classroom until the week before school starts so I was trying my best to get somewhat organized before I left for the summer!! I decided to take on my open cabinet. I wish I had a 'before' picture because it was so NOT cute at all!! But...here is the after picture :)

I am so much happier to know that this is already all organized when I get back! I still have some labels to add....I was using all the labels from Mrs. Freshwater's Blog :) I am trying to decide if I want to make that tool box from Home Depot that so many of you are making!! Hmmm??
I also re-did a lot of my units on TPT this past week! I added new activities or just made them cuter! So, if you have bought anything from me, please head over to TPT and go to your purchases to see if there is a new download for you :) :) 
I had a couple emails asking if my Johnny Appleseed was available for purchase separate from my Apple Unit, well....not it is! :) If you are interested, just click here or below.
If you are still with me...then I have a little freebie for you!! I know a lot of our K kids need 'glue' practice at the beginning of the year. Two of the first units I am doing are Monsters and Apples...so click below to grab your 'A Little Dot Holds A lot' pages :) Don't forget to sing the song too!! It goes to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It" Just a little bit of glue holds a lot (snap, snap), Just a little bit of glue holds a lot (snap, snap). Just a little bit of glue, just a tiny little dot, just a little bit of glue holds a lot (snap, snap)! Click on the picture below:

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade on July's Currently! I have seen these around and always wanted to link up, so I finally am!! Here it goes!
Would love to read what you currently have going on!!!