August 25, 2013

Candyland: Letters & Sounds Edition

Only another week before I get to meet my little ones!  My classroom is starting to look ready for my cherubs, but it's not quite there yet.  Thank goodness for another week to work!

I did a little work this weekend on some more literacy activities to use with my little friends.  One activity I worked on was a Candyland game for them to play to practice their letter recognition during the first weeks of school.  We can also use it for letter sounds!  Students must say the letter's name or sound before being able to move to the color indicated on their card.  Doubles mean they can move two color spaces.

I love games like this because not only does it make learning and practice fun, but students are also developing social skills!  Bonus!
Click the image if you'd like a copy!

August 16, 2013

Number Puzzles

I am so excited to start sharing snippets from my classroom, but it just isn't quite ready yet.  (Ok...maybe it isn't even close to ready yet, but this is my first year in kindergarten...there are so many new things compared to my 4th grade room!)

Instead, I wanted to share some little number puzzles I made this morning.  I'd seen similar ones floating around out on Pinterest, but naturally, thought I could make my own. :) 

The number graphics were downloaded from ScrappinCop - they came as part of a set with letters too!  I love the little staple mark in them!

I can't wait to use them with my little ones!  Click on the image if you'd like to download a free copy for yourself!

August 11, 2013

Learning Log Format - A Literacy Strategy

As part of my current Grad School Work, I recently had to create a literacy coaching experience about a particular literacy strategy.  The strategy I chose was from Rachel Billmeyer's text Strategies to Engage the Mind of the Learner.  First, I can't say enough good things about this text.  It is VERY teacher-friendly and includes the blackline master of any graphic organizers needed to implement a strategy on the page immediately following the strategy's description (including step-by-step directions), reasons to use the strategy, when to use the strategy, and how the strategy can be linked to assessment.  I love it and have loved getting to explore some of the strategies this summer.  It will be kept handy as the school year begins!

The strategy I worked with for this lesson was called the Learning Log Format.  It is a relatively simple, 4-square graphic organizer that includes a prompt in each box for students to respond to either before, during, or after reading.  I love that it is customizable for the text/age/content you are working with, that it includes writing with reading, and that it prompts deeper thinking.  Most importantly, I love that it guides students in how to do this deeper thinking while they are reading.  The skills strong readers utilize are not ingrained within us automatically - they have to be cultivated.

This is the digital text I created for this assignment.  It includes a link to a Wiki Space set up to host the sharing of Learning Log Formats.  Hopefully this will be added to as the year goes on - I am certainly excited to see about modifying this strategy for use with my little kindergarten learners!  I'm sensing large-group versions and pictures rather than words initially when students attempt it independently.  Certainly a possibility though!

August 9, 2013

A Little Bird Told Me...

Have any of my teacher friends out there ever used Little Bird Tales in their classroom??  I used it with my 4th graders this past spring and they LOVED it!  It was perfectly kid friendly for them and gave them such an engaging, authentic way to share their learning - even with a wider audience as we shared the links digitally!  I am excited to find new ways to use it this year in kindergarten.  I don't envision the students themselves using it as actively this year, but I can picture it being a great tool for sharing what we are doing in class or creating digital stories for my students to listen to. logo

There is the option with the website to use the free teacher account or upgrade to a premium account to allow student profiles.  I only used the free account this year as I tested it and gave my students all the same username and password to work with.  This worked well for my class because they were all very respectful of one another's work.

  • I logged back in to the site this week to use it for a grad school project I'm working on (and audibly wished my kids were all here to remind me of the password...they were so much better at remembering that than I was!)  When I got logged in, I noticed a new tale had been created on my account since school had ended.  (I told you they were better at remembering the password than I was...) Curious, I opened it up and was immediately brought to tears.  Seems one of my little cherubs was thinking about me this summer.  Example A of why teaching is such a rewarding career:

    August 5, 2013

    Bucket Seats

    Hello again world!  I've given my blog a bit of an update and after almost a full year without a post, I'm back!  The blog has changed a touch because my teaching position has changed a bit!  I've moved to Gage Elementary in Rochester, Minnesota and moved from 4th grade down to...KINDERGARTEN!  Admittedly, I was initially terrified about the idea.  I know nothing about teaching these little learners - ALL of my teaching experience has been in the upper elementary grades.  However, I'm getting so excited for this new adventure!  To share my excitement, I thought I'd see about getting this blog up and running again.

    Tonight I'd like to share a project I made tonight that was actually super fast and easy!  I made 6 of these bucket seats to use around my guided reading table.

    Supplies Needed:
    • 5-gallon bucket with lid (I got mine at Home Depot)
    • Foam (I used 1 inch think foam from Jo-Ann's)
    • Fabric (2 yards was just about right for my 6 buckets)
    • Stapler/Staples
    • Scissors
    1. Trace around the lid for the bucket onto the foam and cut out your circles.
    2. Trace around the lid onto your fabric, making the circle about 3 inches wider than the lid all the way around.  Cut these out.
    3. Lay your fabric circle right side down, place your foam circle on top of it, followed by the lid upside down.
    4. Start folding your fabric up around the lid, stapling it in place.
    5. Put the lid on your bucket and enjoy your new seat!  Easy and cute!