Saturday, November 26, 2011

CVC Nonsense Word FREEBIE Center!

A couple weeks ago in kindergarten we took out the CVC dice to start practice reading words nonsesne words.  Fall benchmarks are coming up and so it's important to give students lots of practice.  These dice make a great center for word work.  I also like to have my students kill time with them.  For example, if they are sitting at my table waiting for a group to start, they play these.   Click the image to download for free!

I provided you with two consonant dice in blue and a vowel dice in red.  Students roll the dice, place the vowel in the middle, and read. 

I tried to give it to you in word so you could alter the letters, but Google Docs kept moving the boxes. (They even went a little askew in PDF... technology... ugh!)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

BOGO Free Sale TpT This Weekend!

Since shopping is my FAVORITE thing ever and since I love a good deal!  How about a BOGO free this weekend.  Here's a listing of my favorite items.  Purchase one, email me a request for the second for free!  Click here to visit my entire store!
Buy Number Formation Poems 
(0-9 number poem signs and worksheets)  
          Get the Kindergarten Assessment Checklists free!
         (Checklist assessments to get a class picture of data.)
                          Or buy Gingerbread Math Centers                             
(Includes center to build a gingerbread house)
         Get the Gingerbread Positional Book free!
           (Student book manipulating man to different places)

Offer only good on an item of lesser value.  You do not need to pick and item listed here, it applies to my whole store!  Please email me your user name on TpT, what you purchased, and what you want for free!!  On my end I can only see your user name and purchased item so I will need your help to get your free item!  Offer ends midnight on Sunday, November 27th, 2011!

Thanks and happy shopping!


Glad I'm Not a Turkey Freebie!

A teacher in my grade level taught this song to her kids and it was the cutest thing ever to see them singing it!  So here it is as a freebies so maybe next year you can do it too!

Click image to get it for free!  I am so thankful to have discovered the world of blogging and that you all actually read what I write.  So thank you and I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving day!

Free Academic Gingerbread Houses!

I am SO excited about this! 

With the times changing in education, it is our job as educators to fight to keep learning fun.   But don't tell me I can't do something!  So I have taken the very traditional milk carton gingerbread houses and turned it into an academic experience for students! Every year I have fought to do this project with my students and won! Now you can do it too!

With this project students will work through counting, addition, subtraction, or division problems to create a graph. They will then use the graph to count out specific items to be placed on their gingerbread house, creating an exact model of their graph! Yum!

I also provided you with directions, a parent letter, several versions of the content areas listed, and blank graphs to meet your specific academic needs.

Click here if you are interested in some centers to go along with this activity!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I am linking up with What the Teacher Wants and Oh Boy 4th Grade to share with you all the things I am thankful for!

1.  What are you thankful for in your classroom?  I am so thankful that my school reorganized about 2 weeks ago.  It ended up lowering my class size to 25 and just losing 3 kids made such a HUGE difference.  I am also SO thankful to have had the opportunity to observe a teacher last Tuesday who inspired me to just keep trying to do what is best for kids!  I am a happy teacher all around!

2. What person are you most thankful for?  I am very thankful for my husband!  If you would have known me 3 years ago you would have NEVER heard me say that comment!  I have a new perspective, a more productive perspective on life and I am so thankful to have him.  (I married my high school sweet heart!  There is an older picture at the bottom in Mexico!)

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for? 

Debbie Clement at Rainbows Within Reach!  Let's be truthful, I have seen this crazy lady dressed all silly at conferences before and thought to myself... who is she?  Then I met her at Teaching Blog Traffic School and answered that question... she is one AMAZING lady!  Just love her and I am inspired to be just like her!
GeeGee Comes to School
Carolyn at Wise Owl Factory!  Again, amazingly smart and always willing to share and offer a hand when you need.  The world needs more people who give unconditionally like she does!

Wise Owl Factory Blog
And lastly Mrs. Ayala's Kinder Fun!  Again, amazing teacher who is always willing to share and offer a hand.  She is the kindergarten teacher I always thought I'd be and am seriously considering moving so my own son can be in her class next year!  If you have not visited Kinder Fun yet, you are missing out!

Kinder Fun!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?  Chocolate.  Need I say more!

5. What are you most thankful for?  In life I am most thankful for my son Braedon!  I just love him dearly!  I know I am not the best parent all of the time and that he is not always the best behaved child on the block, but he is AMAZING and I LOVE HIM!

I know it's hard for some of you to understand, but I will be thankful when the holidays are over.  I don't like stress and drama and for some reason my family is full of it.  I don't know... maybe we will do the holiday's in Mexico!

And of course, I am VERY thankful for you for reading my posts!  I love blogging each day I am thankful that someone actually reads it!

I have some fun freebies planned over the next few weeks!  Be sure to follow so you don't miss a beat!

BTW - for those of you looking for a recipe, I am sorry... but I am THANKFUL my husband cooks (because I don't!)  However, I am looking forward to sharing some of those great recipes at Oh Boy 4 Grade with my husband.  Hehehe! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Teaching at a Plump & Perky Pace... and Kinder Business!

So I decided that each Saturday I am going to take some time and share my week AND the freebies I made to go with it!

On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to get to go see a fabulous teacher in our district during her reading time.  She kept what our district calls a 'perky pace' and kept kids engaged at all points in the lesson.  These are things I strive to do all day long so it was inspiring to see another teacher pull it off successfully!  She has inspired some changes that I am really excited about!  (Whenever they say perky I think of the Plump and Perky Turkey!)

One quick tip I picked up was integrating those fun finger plays and rhymes into transitions.  So, she would have her kids clean up and then say their turkey poem.  It gathered their attention listening wise immediately and has been working great with my kids all week!  I have always wanted to do those and just never really had time to fit them in but now I do.  =)  Then, ironically during our Wednesday staff meeting we were presented on the idea of doing something quick to capture listening attention first and it all made perfect sense!  I even added a place on my lesson plans for the Quick Management Rhyme to ensure I continue to do it!

Another thing I have really been thinking lately about centers!  I have not been allowed to do centers for about 4 years and so managing it has been a challenge for me this year.  How do I group kids?  How many centers?  What centers?  And what do I put in them?  Ugh!  We have centers in our teachers manuals but they are NOT rigorous at all and so not useful to me.

One thing that I implemented this week was center folders.  This will help my student collect work and reflect on learning.  On the outside of the folders I taped on these alphabets and a set of Alconan boxes so kids can practice if they have a spare moment while waiting for me to start a group or something.  I plan on putting something on the other side (maybe sight words or letter naming fluency) but I am not sure yet.    I will share that too when I create it!  

Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business is having a linky party about behavior management systems.  This too is a very challenging part of teaching.  How do you apply the rules fairly and consistently when all kids are different.  Here are some pictures of what I have typically done as a kindergarten teacher, but I have been inspired to change by that classroom observation (I will share that a little later.)  

First thing I do is the stop light system, except we move clips.  Through the years I have added picture clues, timers, and a positive place to land behavior wise.  Overall a good tried and true system.

Next thing I do is team points.  This works great for getting cleaned up and working at tables because you reward what is expected and the other follow along.  

Last thing I do is treat points.  This is for outside of the classroom.  At recess, specials, or anywhere we go students have a chance to earn treat points as a class.  When they get all 10 treat points they get something special.  Sorry I don't have a picture... it's just a sentence strip with numbers and a paperclip to move up.  

A key element is my good listening anchor chart.  We made this (or copied it from Pinterest) about a month into school.  Many times throughout the day I will ask students to look at the good listening chart and think about what rule they may be breaking or what rule they may be doing well.  

Outside of the classroom I have been working on my Kindergarten Checklist Assessment Pack!  I am really excited about this because it is a fantastic comprehensive sit of checklists for kindergarten!  I have used checklists my entire teaching career and feel like they really help me to focus on what gaps the students need filled in.  I can quickly pull groups and really target in on skills they are missing!  
Included in this set thus far is: Letter Names, Letter Sounds, Lower Letter Sounds, Upper Letter Sounds, Writing Letters, Number Idenfication (0-10), Number Idenfication, Math Writing Skills, Can Count To, Counting Objects, Concepts of Print, Colors, Color Words, Shapes, Drawing Shapes, Shape Words, Oral Language, First Sound Fluency DIBELS, Phoneme Segmentation Fluency DIBELS, Non Sense Word DIBELS

So I have preloaded this set with over 20 checklists and will update it as the year goes on!  I hope you will stop by to see!  

So I plan on posting like this from now on.  Hopefully you found something of value!  


Monday, November 14, 2011

Letter Naming RAKE Freebie!

So I was making some Fall DIBELS activities for my TPT store and got really tired of looking at Fall Leaves!  Here in AZ the leaves are always green... truthfully I have never seen "the colors change."  Sad huh!  Anyways, my lack of focus is YOUR benefit! 

So here is Letter Naming RAKE, played like BAM!  So simple, put all the letters into a bag or basket.  Students pick out one and say the name or sound or both.  If they get it correct they keep it.  If they don't, they put it back.  Also, if they draw a RAKE, they have to put it back too!  Endless fun!  (It's truly amazing how long this game can last!)

It has also been brought to my attention that Google Doc is the preferred method of freebies.  I have to say I agree because I my Google Docs is full of GREAT things I have collected along the way!  So... click on the picture to get your FREE copy of Letter Naming RAKE!  


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turkey, Turkey, Turkey Dinner! (I still heart patterns FREEBIE!)

That's right people!  I still love me some patterns.  And technically even though our district is Common Core, we still have a unit on patterns that we are required to do because it supports the numbers in patterns eventually.  So... here is my FAVORITE pattern of all year!  Turkey, turkey, turkey dinner!  Yum!

Linking up with Kinder Fun for great November ideas!  (Thanks Mrs. Ayala!)

Click here to download this fun freebie! 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Classroom Routines Can Fix It All!

Classroom Routines are essential for having great management.  If you are struggling with any part of your day, it most likely can be fixed with a group routine or procedure!  Here are some of my routines:

Right when my students come in...
1.  I shout out a questions and they put up the answer in our graph.
2.  They get a review activity of their choice... from these trays located on my counter.  I rotate the activities in there so they advance throughout the year.
3.  They sit and work until my morning song plays

Reading Lesson...
1.  We start with letter names.  We sing the same song all quarter for this.
2.  We move to letter sounds.  "Letter sounds help us to.... READ!"
3.  We sing a sound song.  Again the same song from before.
4.  We read our decodable book.  We do this with partners on special reading rugs.
5.  Reading comprehension story.
6.  Literacy Labs.

Going Home...
1.  Student pack their cubbies during our 30 minute lab time at the end of the day.  (I take not time for packing up.)
2.  I play the clean up song.  (Same song all year.)
3.  Student clean their lab, then their tables. 
4.  Students stack their chairs.
5.  Students go to the carpet and sit on their spot.
6.  Busers and after school kids go to hallway.
7.  Parent pick up goes to the back door. 

Sometimes just documenting these routines can help you follow them!  By doing the same thing over and over the kids know what is coming and can just do it on their own! 

What classroom routines do you use?


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birthday Bookmark Freebie!

So... tomorrow's my birthday so I thought I would share a birthday freebie with you! 

Birthday Bookmark PDF

Kindergarten and First DIBEL's Tips (And Freebie!)

No matter what your beliefs are on DIBEL’s and testing, the fact is that testing is here and it’s most likely not going away! So here are some practical tips to hel p make your students more independent in the testing arena!

1. Make the kids point to what they are reading, don’t do this for them. If you don’t, when they go to do the test without you they may lose their place, go slower, and have a lower score.

2. Put a different mnemonic for each test. For example, when we break down words we always count sounds on our fingers. So if I say cat, the kids go /c/ (put up one finger), /a/ (put up another finger), and etc. For first sound fluency I pull my ear and say the first sound (and the kids do it too!)

3. Progress monitor all your kids! Every year we always have one or two we thought could do it who could not on the test. The truth is that all kids need practice not just your intensives or strategics.

4. Use common language throughout the day. For example, when we are writing in our journals, we break down the word orally and with our fingers. We will also write down the first sound (pull on your ear) when labeling things in our journals.

5. “If you don’t know it… skip it!” I tell this to my kids all the time. Testing these days is about automaticity. If they spend their time thinking about every single question or word, they may lose all their time. This is especially true with auditory tests. (When it comes to paper and pencil type assignments, I will teach them to go back and check their work and finish any problems they may have skipped.)

6. Practice all day, every day! In the hallway, break down words or before you go to lunch, practice letter name flashcards. There are so many small times during the day you put it in so use your time wisely and increase your students’ scores!

One of the things I do with my kinders for Letter Naming Fluency is to have them practice saying the letter names fast when we come back from lunch. I copy these pages and keep them by the sink so kids can get them and practice, practice, practice. Sometimes we will even put them in sheet protectors and have the kids circle the upper case letters or cross out the lower case. Any activities you can do with these forms will help with letter naming fluency!
Letter Naming Fluency Practice Pages PDF

Hope everyone has a great week this week!