Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Whiteboard Software and Other Stuff from Lakeshore, and a Winner!

That's right people.  I came across these free resources this week from Lakeshore Learning and wanted to share!  Click on them to go to the link!

(And other great November freebies!)

And look what else I found, WOO HOO, more Free Whiteboard Software!

Please remember, this is an external site so I have not control over how long it is available.  So stop by and get it ASAP!

And a thank you to everyone who entered by give away!  I hope you enjoy your freebies!  They are great huh!

And the winner of the Fisher Reyna Educational Subscription is 

I will be contacting you with details!  Congrats!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Be Advised... Teachers will eat your candy Freebie!

Hi ya'll!  I love Halloween, but I hate dealing with kids bringing candy to school.  So here is a fun flyer I sent home asking families not to send candy to school!  Click here to get this flyer from Simply Kinder!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five Little Pumpkins Freebie (non-halloween version too!)

Did this non-halloween version of Five Little Pumpkins with my class and they were SO cute (I mean educational!) 

We started by making the setting.  I directed them all to make a tree and grass and the sun!  Then we cut up strips of black paper and put them on to look like gate!  (They look great huh!)  Last we colored and cut our pumpkins and glued them on along with the poem!

And here's the poem for FREE of course!

 I also listed it at Simply Freebies... head on over to see other great freebies there!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quick Student Empowerment Tip!

So I am going to start posting EMPOWERMENT tips for y'all!

First tip to empower your students to have more control over class is to allow your student the power to initiate a quiet signal.

We do this with the lights in my room.  Any student, at any point can turn one light off if they feel the class is being too noisy!

It is way more meaningful when it comes from the students and it is one less thing I have to remind them of!


Monday, October 24, 2011

How to Create Independent Learners!

Do your kids need you too much?  There such a thing as too much of a good thing!  

It all starts with accountability!  You have to hold yourself accountable to follow through - because truthfully in the moment it is just easier to do it for the kids!  And also hold your students accountable and responsible for following your expectations!  

Here are some ideas that work for me:

1.  Partnerships!  See my partnerships tab to see how to successfully implement and label for how to make them work for you!  

2.  Students can only interrupt me for of of the 4 B's - Blood, Barf, Bones, or the recently added Bad Bathroom!  If it is not one of those, they must wait and I will ignore them (the student I am working with is no less important than them!)  (Sisterly advise - thanks Jess!)

3.  Students are responsible for their own things.  I do this through a series of structures in my class.  When students need a pencil, they get a pencil. When students pencil breaks, they know where to get one.  When a student finds a pencil, they know where to put it.  There is no reason to ask  about a pencil because they already know the answer! 

4.  Students have partners and friends to ask questions of.  Before I answer a question for a student I always say "Did you ask your partner?  And what did they say?"  Following two responses are either (1) "Partner, did he ask you..."  or (2) "did you ask someone else?"  From there I ask what they think, because usually students know the answer!  When all else fails, I answer the question with a smile.  Eventually students begin solving their own problems and not coming to you for silly things like I found a pencil!  

5.  Tattling drives me CrAzY!  So as a teacher I have to teach you to read and write and help you through so-and-so did whatever!  CrAzY!  My response is often similar to the above but also may include "Oh no, what are you going to do about that?"  If they say they don't know, my response is "would you like some suggestions?"  Suggestions include things like asking them to stop, finding a new place to sit, or working with another person.  Of course this is tricky balance because you don't want those calls coming in saying CrAzY things are happening in your room, so you have to still be aware and address any issues in class counsels, meetings, or through character development activities.  (Learned this for the most fabulous first year teacher, Ms. Nicoletti!)

Please post any other ideas you have that work for making your kids more independent!   Photobucket

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Teachers Pay Teachers Freebies For Everyone! A Great Giveaway too!

The title says it all!

You can get access to all of these documents from my favorite educational blogs! 

Halloween Addition Up to 10 from Kinder Latino!

Two Digit Addition Tic-Tac-Toe from Ms. Preppy!

Animal Characteristic Sorts from Raki's Rad Resources!

A whole slew of Rubrics & Graphic Organizers from Wise Owl Factory!
(Over 50 different PDF goodies!)

A great Thank You Note pack from Sunny Days in Second Grade!

And from me, a sampler pack from some of my favorite products!

Plus, one lucky person will win a 2011-2012 membership to Fisher Reyna Education: HiTech Test Prep!

One simple step (well two if you count telling me about it!) 

Step 1 - Follow me on TpT!  Click here... 
located in the center is Follow Me!

Step 2 - Enter your email below and I will send you your pack of freebies!  Click here for step two!  (Comments won't count, sorry.  You must do the click here!)  

If you already follow me on TpT, please enter for your free files!

So simple!  Please share on your blog or facebook!  Great files for free!

After you do this, please stop by to see my friends amazing blogs!

Free documents will run through Saturday!   

Thanks!  And enjoy!


The Fine Print:  All items have been donated to me from the websites listed above and are owned by those websites not Empowering Little Learners.   Membership will be selected by randomly selecting a number through Random.Org.  Then the person who registered as that number in my Google Doc will receive the membership.  This membership is through a third party and so any questions or concerns from the winner will have to go through Fisher Reyna Education itself.  (It's a great product, who ever wins will LOVE it!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Video of 3 Foldable Books with a Freebie!

So you make books for your kids?  If not you should!

There are lots of different books you can find on the web, but most are very complex and take a lot of time!  As a teacher, I don't have the time to cut the middle of this paper and slice this page or fold this one into that one!  I need quick and simple!

So here's a little video I made for 3 of my favorite foldable books!

And of course, a freebie!  Here are some alphabet pages to make into an accoridan book!  Directions seem a little much, but it is really simple!  I just wanted to break it down for you very clearly.  =)  Your letters will be at the bottom of each of the pages.

Free Foldable Alphabet Book

Hop on over to see other great foldable!


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Power of Partnerships (FREEBIE Too!)

So earlier today I posted about how to make Cooperative Learning work in your classroom. One of those elements is having a great partnerships set up in class.

Partners really help eliminate a lot of nonacademic and also help the kids to take more ownership of their time.  For example, instead of having one person answer, you could have everyone turn and tell your partner the answer.

I also have a strict rule in my class that we help our partner all the time.  You will often hear me say "Did you ask your partner" at the beginning of the year.  Eventually they figure out that partners can help them a lot quicker than I can!  This helps keep kids on task long and I love it because I don't have to answer a question that student SHOULD already know the answer to!

So in my class we use Peanut Butter and Jelly partners, just because that is what I was required to do for so long and what I am used to.  There are however lots of other fun names for partners and guess what I did... I made them for you for FREE!  These symbols can be taped to tables (or where ever) or strung around string to wear when you are doing the majority of your partnering.  I always taped them because we did this ALL day!

Why do you want to label your partners?  Well some theories suggest that you need to give assignments with precision!  for example, Peanut Butters turn to Jelly and tell them who the character is.  This way they are not arguing over who goes first and also the same person is not always answering all the time. 

A new thing I have implemented this year is putting them right on my name tags on their tables!  (Brilliant I tell you!)  I got so tired of buying the desk plates that the kids just destroy.  "Let's just throw my money away why don't we."  Made me mad!  They NEVER use all that information anyways... it's just a distraction!

 So I made my own!  Sometimes I do the partnering ones, but right now I have pumpkin ones.  I usually change them every couple of months, and the pumpkin ones could get me through that.  =)  Head on over to see them! 

I hope everyone is having a great week!  I am enjoying my Fall Break.  It's the first one I have had since my son was born 4 years ago so I am really excited.  We walked to school today... my husband said I was nuts but I just want to experience it all.  We may ride our bikes tomorrow!

Have a great week!


Cooperative Learning Does Work in Kinder!

Cooperative Learning Does Work in Kindergarten

Follow these simple guidelines for getting partnerships to work in your classroom:

1. Predetermine your partners. Some people assign high-medium, and medium low students, but I like to just know the personalities of my students and pair who will work well together. The students need to feel as if they need each other to get a job done and so their academic level means nothing unless they are collaboratively working together.

2. Label your partners. Peanut butter and jelly. Chips and salsa. Whatever you decide on keep it consistent throughout the year and label the kids. Lanyards or pictures taped to tables work well. For me I find the later to fit my style best.

3. Specify which partner is to complete a task. I like to do this with a hand held symbol. When it is peanut butters turn to talk, I hold up peanut butter. (Of course I specify that jelly should be listening and providing feedback or retelling.) I keep these on magnets to my white board so they are easily accessible to me.  This helps to eliminate.. you go.. no you go.. no you go..!  Get's them right to work!

4. Set a finished and quiet signal. When my students are complete with the task they create a partner pyramid - both students each put a hand up and thus forming a triangle.  Students during this time are still expected to talk but this sign shows me they are ready to move on!   It is also imperative you have a way to regain control of your classroom. I like to clap twice and I raise my hand. The students then raise their hand to to signal they are ready.  My students do not clap!  

5. Practice, Practice, and Praise. Practice with fun items (Peanut butter tell jelly your favorite color. Jelly tell your partner your favorite kind of ice cream.) Then after each question you can call on the students to tell what they AND their partner liked.

Once you have the basics down you can do amazing learning structures where students are teaching each other.

Be sure to check out my Cooperative Learning Tab (located to the left) to see other great Cooperative Learning strategies along with some freebies to get started right away!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Parent Teacher Conference - Freebie!

Parent Teacher Conferences are just around the corner. 

Are you ready? 

Here's my tips for preparing for successful conferences!

  1. Highlight the report card.  I do two pinks or great things and one yellow or area to practice at home.  This helps me to plan out what I am going to say with each parent. 
  2. Collect student samples of work.  This will help to provide proof of your grades.
  3. Have everything organized.  Don't be pulling papers from here and there. It wastes time and makes you look very unorganized.  I orgnaize mine just into manilla folders and then organize those by date of conferences.
  4. Never make your first contact with parents be a conference - good or bad.  Send a note home now or make that phone call.  It will make parents feel much more comfortable
  5. Schedule the conference and immediately send the confirmation.  Parents have to take time off work and that's not always easy.  The day before, make a phone call to remind them if you can and put a reminder sticker on the students that their conference is tomorrow.  This will help with no shows.  I use Avery labels for the stickers.
  6. Also consider how long your conferences will run.  I like 25 minute blocks.  This way I don't feel rushed and if I end up having 10 minutes in between that's better than 30 minutes behind.  Even though I can get them done in 15, I like 25 so there is that buffer for late or longer conferences.
  7.  Prefill the sign in sheet with student names.  This will help you keep track of who has come and who has not.  Also include a current phone number, it's a great time to get that updated because we all know it always change!

Sign in Sheet Conference Label
Here's those Avery Reminder Stickers and a Sign In Sheet for free!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yuck Soup - Another Great Alternative for Halloween

Another fun project I like to do in October uses Joy Crowley's book Yuck Soup!  It's an easy reader about monsters who put in all sorts of yucky things into a pot of soup.  Who does not love yucky things in October?  It is a GREAT alternative to doing Halloween at school!

We like to make Kindergarten Soup!  It's much more delicious!  We have each student bring in a bag or box of crackers, cookies, or whatever and mix it into one of those giant cauldron's.  It's really fun and makes a great snack!

First is the parent letter.  I included two versions... one if you have the story and one if you don't.  (Just a thought, I bet if you check around at your school someone will have that book... it's a classic in the kindergarten world.)

Next is some options for you for making a class book.  Each student will draw what they brought to put in the pot and write it.  It follows the same format as the book.  I have preschool soup, first grade soup, and so on.  I also have one page that says ____'s Classes Soup.  The choice is yours.

And last is a graph so you can graph who brought what in.  Super fun, and reaches across the curriculum!

Please also check out my Halloween Store on TpT for other great Halloween Freebies!

If you enjoy this project, please leave some comment love.  And don't forget to follow me if you love it too, so you don't miss my next big project and FREEBIE!

I listed this product at Classroom Freebies.  Be sure to check out all the other great freebies there!

Head over to Rockin Teacher Materials for more great Halloween stuff!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Happenings and Giveaway Winner!

I would like to say welcome to all my new friends.  I don't like to call you followers because we all learn from each other and followers sounds like such a non-participation type word.  Anyways. 

Yesterday was a crazy Friday... Up, down, up, down... emotions were crazy! 

Highlights of my day was definitely showing my kinders our super cool Pumpkin Book Reports!  I showed the secretary too and OMG (you know in kinder world that means Oh My Gosh BTW)  she showed everyone!  She even had a parent who just came to pick up her daughter's work come see it because it is super cool!  She is so nice!  One time I told her my favorite pinterest saying.. "I heart you like my butt, it's much bigger than my heart"  and she replied that there was no way that was possible!  Seriously amazing woman!  I hope you all have someone great at your place of work who makes you smile!  Now I am just rambling!

Anyways... make sure you grab your copy of the parent letter. I made it super generic so everyone can use it!  Click below to get your copy!

Congrats to lucky number....

Please email me and let me know what you like to eat! (I will email you too because that's how I roll!)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


More Free Lakeshore!

Seriously... I don't know how I keep finding all this free Lakeshore Software!  This one is courtesy of my best friend Jenette!  Thanks dear!  

Click below to get your free I-Phone, I-Pad, or I-Touch apps through December!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cooperative Learning... Silent Library Style!

That's right people... whether you love the show or hate it can help make cooperative learning more fun in your room! 

Here's how to do it.  Place all the cards you want the kids to have for whatever structure in the middle...

Say... 1, 2, 3... and everyone quickly picks!  

Kids think its great! Talk about getting them motivated right before playing a game!

And I guess you really could do this with handing out any papers! 

PS - I tried to find a small video of Silent Library doing this to you, but they are really inappropriate.  If you want a visual... search You Tube for Silent Library and watch how they do the cards!

Please see my TpT store for FREE Cooperative Learning games!