Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {July 23}

I'm linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.


I scored this paper from Office Max for $4 a pack!


What back to school deals have you found?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {July 16}

I'm linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.


This was my little travel companion in Vegas.  One of my students named him "Pengy" and he acted as a Flat Stanley throughout my trip.  I sent the pictures to students because they knew I was "teaching the other teachers" this summer (their words).  I got some strange looks as Pengy posed all over Vegas, but it was worth it because they loved it!

My question for you is what is the silliest/craziest thing you've ever done for your students?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blog Meet-Up

We are safely back in Ohio after our wonderful adventure.  On Wednesday night, we had the opportunity to attend a blogger meet-up.  It was crazy the number of people there!  I got to see some old friends and met some new ones.  It was very loud, so a bit difficult to hear, but lots of fun.  I didn't take may pictures, but here are a few.

I saw my new friend Lcie from The Beezy Teacher.  She attended my session Monday and we chatted a bit at the blog meet-up too.  I'm excited at the possibility of collaborating with her in the coming year. She teaches in Germany, and I think that will be a great experience for my class!



Below is a photo of Ohio Bloggers.  Many of us had met prior to this meet-up, but it was great to meet some other people I've been chatting with!  Hoping to see more of them soon!

Amanda (One Extra Degree), Christina (Sugar and Spice), Sarah (Permanently Primary), Me, Em (Curious Firsties), Michelle (Fabulous in First), Jenny (Luckeyfrog's Lilypad)

The craziest thing that happened was that we had find a partner and line up around the room (inside/outside circle).  Holly (who went to Vegas with me) was on the inside of the circle, and as she rotated, she found Mary.  Mary and Holly both did their pre-student teaching in my classroom; Mary now lives in California.  We all went to Mount Union.  I had seen Mary a few times throughout the week and kept thinking she looked familiar, but couldn't figure out why. Small world!

Holly, Me, Mary

I'm having a sale on Teachers Pay Teachers this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in celebration of my week in Vegas and my birthday.  Everything is 20% off.

I Teach K {Day 4}

Today was the 4th and final day of I Teach K!, sad face.  I had a ton of fun this week and learned so much.  There were only 3 sessions to attend today, but both presenters were rock stars!

The first was with Crystal Radke from Kreative in Kinder about kindergarteners being authors.  I loved her steps to teaching writing.  You work on each step until most of the class has it.  I never thought to do it this way, but will definitely be trying it this year.
1. Brainstorm
2. Draw Picture/Color
  - draw with pencil, color with 5 or more colors
3. Label
4. Write a sentence
   - use one label word in your sentence; use sight words for the rest of the sentence
   - this was a "light bulb" moment for me!
5. Check for capital letter at the beginning, spaces and end punctuation



She used the "Rocket" books by Tad Hills as part of her writing instruction.  My Amazon list is growing...  I also liked that as they started writing, students write the numbers from the steps above at the top of their paper and checked them off as they completed the task to help keep them on track.  Kids made vocabulary books with cute paper covers and blank pages inside. The cute paper went with the theme, then students wrote the word and an illustration to show the meaning of the word. They could then use this as a reference in their writing.




The second and third sessions were with Mary Amoson from Sharing Kindergarten.  One session was about calendar and incorporating a variety of skills into calendar time and the other was about centers.  I got some great ideas for both times during my day.

My favorite part of the calendar time was the little games that kids can play at calendar then go revisit during center time.  Her kiddos are certainly on the ball and you can tell they love their teacher!  I like the organization (everything was VERY organized and color coded in her room) of this all about the number chart.  I might need to find some more space around my calendar area.



During centers, she had some great center organization.  I'm going to try the "have to" centers and the play-based centers.  All of my centers were "have to's" but I don't think I have to ask them to play!  If 4 students were allowed at a center, she had 4 sets of materials each in a different color (if cards or paper pieces) for easy sorting and clean up. Yes, please!  Below is a picture showing how she incorporates science and social studies into her art center.

I decided to save the Blog Meet-Up for another day (most likely tomorrow) since packing needs to happen tonight.  Such a great experience; thanks SDE for the opportunity!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Teach K! {Day 3}

Today was our third (and last full day) at I Teach K!  I attended four sessions again plus a Pinterest Party and Blogger Meet-Up.

The first session of the day was with Shari Sloane.  I saw her last time I was at I Teach K! and knew I had to go to another session.  This session was about "fitting it all in" in regard to literacy.  She had some great ideas for letter of the week (which we don't do in our curriculum) but I still found some new ideas to use possibly during whole group and/or literacy centers.  One thing I liked was a "did it dot" (a sticker) that students could earn for having a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence, spaces between words and an end mark.  I also liked that she accepted invented spelling but made sure she reviewed spelling with students so they could learn from their mistakes.  I felt like what I am doing with our alphabet chant was validated, so that was appreciated :). She had lots of good book suggestions; one I immediately added to my wish list was The Vowel Family.  My favorite idea was so simple; it was a "why didn't I think of that" moment.  The picture below shows her "Question of the Day".  Each child puts a linking cube in the pan balance to indicate their answer.  What an awesome idea!!




Next up was a second Deanna Jump session about Common Core Nonfiction.  I love using nonfiction texts in my classroom and was excited to learn new ideas to teach it.  My favorite resource she shared was All Things Animal TV on YouTube.  It has great nonfiction videos about, you guessed it, animals. The photo below shows her nonfiction text features book.  I know it is very difficult to see.  Do you also see all the other photographers?  I loved the idea of the kids making a little book of their own to demonstrate their knowledge of text features and to use as a reference for their future learning. I picked up a couple of ideas on some graphic organizers to try to help kids organize their thinking and writing for nonfiction.



After lunch I went to a classroom management session with Peter Harry (Harry Kindergarten).  One of my favorite things from this session was his "secret signals".  For example, when he wants a child to sit on his/her bottom, he taps his nose.  This is so that teaching is not interrupted and the child is not called out.  I use some hand signals, but I think this would be a great way to communicate with my students and keep lessons going.  He also had flip charts (Power Points) to go with almost anything and everything he did.  He used his kiddos' pictures as much as he could, which I'd like to do more of!

My final session of the day was back with Shari Sloane.  This session was about fluency and comprehension.  Shari is very musical (love her CD's!) and gave some great ideas for using music to teach comprehension.  For retell (sequencing) she suggested "Baby Bumblebee".  For prediction, "Baby Shark" was used.  I will definitely be incorporating some of that into my classroom.  I also loved her idea of having comprehension strategies with cues: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.  The visual was a beanie baby (animal), the auditory was a pop culture song related to the strategy and the kinesthetic was a movement that related to the song.  I can see this working much like HeidiSongs, which I've found to be very effective in my classroom! Below is a picture of a graphic organizer I will use for remembering the key parts of a story.

It was a full but exciting day!  I'll be back to share my fun at the Blogger Meet-Up tomorrow and my final day the conference.  I'm sad it is over tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Teach K! {Day 2}

Day 2 was almost just as exciting as day 1!  I saw 2 presenters I had seen in the past, and I met 2 new ones.

First up was Deanna Jump's Integrating Math, Reading and Writing. She gave lots of good books suggestions and ways to make any "cute" projects related to them academic and meaningful.  One of my favorite books that she shared (that I haven't read) was Dog's Colorful Day (link to Amazon).  Looking forward to reading it and doing some counting/color activities at the beginning of the year!  She shared some great color mixing activities that she said were on her blog.


Next up with an Interactive Notebook session with Matt Gomez.  He was a presenter who was new to me; now I have a new blog to follow!  I loved the idea of Interactive Notebooks, and I think it could be very valuable both to students as learners and me as I formatively assess learning.  It would be very interesting to see the different ways students interpret the same information.  I'm looking forward to giving these a try even on a small scale.  I'm thinking at least 3 entries per week.  He said he does 10-12 entries per week.  The most interesting part to me was the "teacher side" and the "learner side".  The teacher side is for parents to understand what we were learning about and to be used as a reference (spelling particularly) for the students.  This "teacher side" is always on the right side.  The left side is the "learner side" where students show their learning using pictures or words.  You can see some examples from his blog (click the link).


My first afternoon session was with LeAnna Wolkis Goldstein, who was someone I was also not familiar with.  In this "Make and Take" session, we made lots of different foldables that can be used.  I took some pictures of a few to share with you.

The first was this little person who holds the information inside on his body.
Here he is with his arms open.  We used math facts inside this example with a goal in the middle.  

The next was a pop-up which we used for sequencing how to build a snowman.  Never would have thought of that!

My favorite!  Students put a number (dice, domino, actual number, etc)  in each box.  They then determine greater than, less than or equal.  They can move those little guys in the middle to show their answer.  The red is cardstock (I'd laminate) and the pink was construction paper (I'd probably use cardstock and laminate as well).  Can't wait to put this on in my math center!

My last session for the day was with Heidi Butkus, aka HeidiSongs.  My kiddos L-O-V-E HeidiSongs, so seeing here again was a must. Do you have her DVDs or CDs?  If not, you should look into them. We have the sight words, 3 math ones and Phonics DVDs.  We use them daily.  I went to a session on Differentiation.  She shared ideas for differentiating within the whole group and the small group.  A simple change like choosing a name before a ask a question so I can tailor the question to that child's level will help differentiate full group.  Differentiation both full group and small group/independently are big in our new OTES evaluation so I was excited for little tips.

My students don't believe that I've met "Miss Heidi" so this is for them :).

Looking forward to tomorrow with 4 different presenters, 2 of which I have not seen before. Tomorrow night is also the Blogger Meet-Up!  Looking forward to meeting some new people.  I'll be back with another update soon!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I Teach K {Day 1}

Monday was the first day of I Teach K.  I started my day with my first presentation!  I presented about Project-Based Learning. It was a blast and I loved talking to people both before and after my session.  My kiddos would be so excited to see people taking pictures of their work.  

The room ready to go!
Some of my kiddos' work on display.

A little treat for coming. (Andes mint with the phrase "Thanks for coming to "Project-Based Learning.  I hope you'll experi"mint" with PBL in your classroom).
After I cleaned up from my session, I headed off to 3 great sessions!

The first was Catherine Kuhns about geometry.  I shared before that I'm hoping to implement math centers (multiple, in a rotation, not just a "math center") so I was looking for some new ideas for the geometry strand.  A big idea was to start collecting any cool containers to use in a "Geometry Museum".  I have collected 3-D shapes before, but this is ongoing in her classroom and she uses them for a variety of activities.  Once I got in there, I remembered that last time I saw her, she shared great literature to use in math.  She didn't disappoint this time either! :)  A couple of my favorites (already on my Amazon wish list) were:

Greedy Triangle (Marilyn Burns)  This one had been recommended on a blog before and I considered it.  Then Catherine shared about having the kids make the shapes in the book using strips of paper, pretzel sticks or toothpicks/marshmallows.  

Jack the Builder (Stuart J. Murphy) This book was suggested as an intro to building with "real world" shapes.


My second session was with Kathy Griffin about vocabulary.  Our curriculum is big on vocabulary, and I was hoping to find some fun ways to incorporate it (without droning on).  My big take away from this session was Ms. Booksy on YouTube.  It seems that I might be the only one who has never heard of this!  She talked about having the kids be "active listeners" when listening to a story and asking (politely) about words they do not know or understand.  Then, after defining them, try to incorporate them into your writing lessons.  Your students' writing will become more detailed and grow.


My final session of the day with with Deedee Wills about writers workshop.  She shared different types of writing her students do throughout the year and had some great student examples.  Her blog is my "go to" for writing inspiration and ideas.  I originally stumbled upon her and read about a book study she was doing on In Pictures and In Words by Katie Ray Wood.  I immediately purchased the book and started reading, and it is still a great resource that I use almost 2 years later.  

It was an exciting day 1!  Looking forward to the rest of the week :)