Sunday, April 29, 2012

May Freebies (DIBELS and More!)

Make sure you pick up these freebies for May!

May Countdown Calendars!  Use these for counting how many books you read, how many days in the month, or your behavior for those days if you use a color system.  When you open this file it even has a countdown for the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!  Can you feel it?

Letter Naming Fluency!  Be sure to change up your letters for DIBELS practice!  I use these in class as bell work, early finishers, and during instruction.  You can also send home and have students practice with families.  Sand timers will add some extra fun!

Nonsense Word Fluency!  There is a big push in my district right now to not teach kids nonsense words.  I am not sure how I feel about that.  We teach kids if they read a word and it does not make sense to reread OR look for context clues to figure it out.  So if we give them a list of nonsense words, aren't we then doing them a disservice?  I actually will have my kids sort real and nonsense words and not just teach them for speed.  I don't know.  We'll see I guess.  For now... grab your April Freebie!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Top Teacher's Giveaway Galore Winner

Just posting really quick the winner of my Top Teacher's Giveaway Galore prize!

Terry, please check your email for your Primer Sight Word Snap Cubes!  

Thanks to everyone who played!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Teacher's Giveaway Galore!

It's Giveaway time and you are not going to believe this!  Over 20 items up for grabs from AMAZING bloggers all over the USA!  It's Top Teacher's Giveaway Galore!

Click here for your chance
before APRIL 27th and from me you could win:

Sight Word Snap Cubes by Jennifer of Empowering Little Learners"Looking for a fun new center for your kids? How about having them make the sight words with Snap Cubes! Use these cards to have your students count out blocks to create the letters and form the pre-primer sight words! Then they count how many cubes it took to make the words! Two recording sheets are included (one where students just count the snap cubes, and another where students count and write the word.)" (K-3)

While you are here, make sure you follow me through Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers, and Pinterest.  

Then stop by these great BLOGS, look for this same post and enter to win their free products with them!
(Please note there is a link to the product and blog, you will want to visit their blog to enter.)

Making Words with Blends by DeAnne of First Grade and Fabulous: "Making Words is a great activity to work on phoneme isolation, segmenting sounds, and blending sounds to make words. This packet includes Blends (with both short vowels and long vowels with silent e. You will find ten different making word directions which include their own recording sheets." (k-2)

Dolch Sight Words for Kindergarten by Lidia Barbosa of Kid’s Reading Activities: "Sight word cards in a fun theme. Use them in a center, small group or on your word wall. A word sorting activity is included." (K)

  Center Signs in Spanish by Lidia Barbosa of Kinder Latino: "These are 24 colorful center signs in Spanish. It includes two sizes. One full page size plus small cards for your Centers pocket chart." (K)

  Adding 3 Numbers Pack by Melissa of Dilly Dabbles: "Pack full of activities to support instruction on adding three numbers with sums within 20." (K-2)

 Baseball Antonyms by Sally DeCost of Elementary Matters: "This is a game to practice antonyms. It has a baseball theme, and can be played like "Old Maid" or like "Concentration". It can be played with a pair of children, or a whole reading group.." (1 - 3)

 Compound Word Magic Square for Grades 3, 4, & 5 by Heather of HoJo's Teaching Adventures: "This is a great fun puzzle where students need to match 24 compound words together. You will get three different puzzles with this item."(3-5)

  Interactive Student Notebook by A Teacher's Treasure: "The ultimate alternative assessment & differentiating tool. Students will become creative, independent, reflective, thinkers, readers and writers. Students will be able to express their own ideas, process, and or apply the information and skills learned in this class. This notebook serves as a live journal, personalized textbook, and working portfolio. Engages learners of all learning modalities & multiple intelligences." (4-12)

  Vocabulary Detectives 2 by Ruth of Teacher Park: "Run weekly vocabulary contests! As your students read their books, they fill out the Vocabulary Detective cards and put them in the Detective Jar. Have a drawing at the end of the week for the winners!" (4-6)

  Alphabet Writing: Quick Prompts From A to Z by Erin of Small Types: "Get students' pencils moving and their creativity flowing with these short alphabet-themed writing prompts. Students can write notes to friends, make lists, turn alphabet letters into main characters and describe the details in fictional adventures--All corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. (Includes five prompts for each letter to suit different levels and interests.)"

Fun on the Farm by Brian of Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings: "Here is a fun Farm Packet for primary grades. It includes Farm Rhyming Words - The words used are actually from the book Country Morning by Christine Lynn. Read more about it on my blog. It also includes I Have Who Has Dolch Words, Addition and Subtraction Center. You can use them as concentration matching, go fish, etc. All, but the I Have Who Has, has a work sheet and an answer key to go with it! I hope you enjoy!" (K-2)

Geometry Fun: A Supplemental Unit by Mandy of Mandy's Tips for Teachers: "This 77 page packet includes vocabulary cards, a student dictionary, three games, two sorting activities, two creative art projects and a short assessment." (2-4)

 Busy Teacher Forms by Michelle of Teach123 : "Fourteen forms to help busy teachers." (K-3)

Farm Math Work Station Activities numbers 11-20 by Mandy of A Special Kind of Class: "Seven math work station activities including, subtracting, counting, number recognition, number matching, measuring and 2 adding activities. Includes response sheets and answer keys." (K-1)

  The Three Frogs by Arlene of LMN Tree: "This is an ELA Guided Reading and Writing Unit for Grades 1-2. It includes a complete lesson plan, Word Study, Make and Take Book, Graphic Organizers, Story Sequence Writing Activity, Phonics Worksheet, Writing, Chant and Activities.

  Writing Center by Caitlin of Kindergarten Smiles: "I created these activities for my students writing center. They are all independent and fun! These can be used throughout the year (more than once). Activities range from name writing, to writing the globe, to sight word writing, to much, much, more!" (K-2)

   I Spy With My Frog's Eye-A Differentiated Word Work Activity by Marsha of A Differentiated Kindergarten : " This is a differentiated I-Spy activity which includes 16 pages of CVC, CVCC and CVCe activities that are tiered to help you meet the readiness levels of all your students." (K-2)

  Writing Lists by Nicole of Teaching With Style: "This set of 10 lists is perfect for using during Daily 5. In my classroom, if students choose Work on Writing, they can work on their story from Writer's Workshop, start a new story, write a letter to a friend, or write a list. " (K-3)

  Digital Clock Sorting Game by Jennifer of Best Practices 4 Teaching: "This product allows students to sort digital clocks by 'quarter til', 'quarter of', 'quarter after', etc. Students will quickly see the pattern of the times and commit it to memory! In 2 days, all of my students had learned this concept using this sort whereas the lesson in our math kit totally confused them!"

  Synonym-Antonym Rap Packet by Abby of Third Grade Bookworm: "This packet is full of activities for a 2nd or 3rd grade classroom studying synonyms and antonyms. Students will enjoy the Synonym-Antonym Rap, partner game, buddy reading activity and other printables included in this set. Wrap it all up with a cute class book template that can be used with other units in the future!" (2-3)

Early Elementary Science - Human Body Unit with Literacy Math by Lisa of The Lesson Guide: "This Early Elementary Science based Anatomy Unit will teach students about the Human Body (inside and out) with colorful graphics and diagrams using a variety of Literacy and Math skills. This unit includes Measurement Skills, an original Poem with a Get Moving Analysis, Information/Facts about each Body Part with Vocabulary, Templates for students to create a nonfiction book about their body, Full color pictures of body parts and locations of body parts, a Classification and Math graphing activity with Critical Thinking Analysis, a Unit Project/Human Diagram, a Word Wall Classification activity with Phrase Cards, Resources and more!" (K-2)

  Building Popcorn Words by Krissy of Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business: "This product includes weekly cut, build, and glue activities that follow along with my Monkey Popcorn Word Fun Unit as well as the Treasures series word list (which includes many Dolch and other HFW as well). It also has center materials that students can build the words in a pocket chart." (K-1)

  Scooping Up Story Elements by Tonya of Super Second Graders: "This is a fun way for students to pick story elements to plan out a story. Students will pick a card from characters, setting, and plot and record then on the recording sheet. Students will use the chosen element to create a story. Students will have a blast getting to create fun and whimsical stories. " (1-4)

  The Answer is… What’s the Question? Math Task Cards by Michelle of Making It As A Middle School Teacher: "28 numbered cards that leave the level of difficulty and specific math skill to be assessed up to you! 
Some students may only do basic operations, while other students may be required to do more advanced skills and give more details for their answers.

Two student response options are also included!!

Use for early finishers,
have the whole class complete in Round Robin style, or use as a center. 
Pull out specific cards
or use all 28 cards." (5-8)

  David Shannon Author Study by Mary of Sharing Kindergarten: "This is an 80 page author study using the books of David Shannon. It features 8 book. Each book title has a reading comprehension game, answer key, and writign prompts with it. " (K-1)

  Candy Land Long Vowel Game by Mel D of Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations: "This unique game is one of over 50 games I have to offer! Over 18 pages of long vowel words are on "look-alike" Candy Land cards. All you need is a game board & game pieces. Print, laminate & cut & use for years to come. These games can be used during Daily 5, tutoring, literacy stations, Daily 5 Math, RTI, ELL, Title 1 groups, homeschooling & more! The possibilities are endless!" (K-3)

A Not So Wimpy Resource: Fractions, Decimals & Percents Using Money by Kathie of The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher : "This resource is great for differentiating instruction. Help struggling students, or those who have a difficult time with math concepts, understand fractions using money. This resource includes an info sheet, practice sheet, flashcards, and a bingo board." (3-5)

Again, CLICK HERE win my product before APRIL 27th.  Winner will be randomly choose and announced on April 28th!  

And then hop on over to these great blogs to enter to win their free products too!  


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Earth Day Freebie

Just posted my Earth Day Freebie!  

I have done this project in previous years those fun stickers that you get with helium tanks.  In the spirit of sharing I went ahead and found / created the face pieces!  The kids will love being able to pick out eyes and a mouth.  I also provided several writing prompts but you could easily pair it up with a more in depth writing project for older learners!  Enjoy!  

Freebie Fridays

Gifted in Kindergarten? My Blunt Opinion!

I just watched this episode of Nightline that aired from April 13th called Cramming for 'Gifted' Kindergarten Test.  I wanted to share it because it is VERY interesting (and it sort of hits a cord with me.)

I have posted responses, deleted them, rewrote them, deleted them.  I just don't know where to start with this.  So here is a few things that I want to say.  Then hopefully you will comment your view or comments.  
  • Just because you teach your toddler to read does not make them gifted.  Gifted by definition is the ability to reason differently than the other children, NOT the ability to memorize letter sounds or apply reading rules.   Many parents can teach their children to read prior to kindergarten, if they take the time and the effort to do so.  Although it is an indicator of giftedness, it is not a guarantee that your child is truly gifted.  Boy would I love to see some research done on this, the relationship of early reading to actual giftedness long term. 
  • In many schools gifted just means they go to a pull out program for a small amount of the week.  A great teacher will differentiate and move all kids 1 years growth. (I am not against them going if they are truly gifted.)  Yes, I admit, this is harder with children who are above grade level but it is a necessity of your job as a teacher.  It has been commented in several places that this type of labeling allows teachers to write off students because they are getting their services elsewhere.  I personally don't operate this way and I really feel that the push towards accountability will eliminate this as all kids are now being required to show one grade level growth (not just passing that years curriculum.)  But I am sure this viewpoint is out there as I have seen many crazy teachers over the years!
  • I have a problem with parents spending thousands and thousands of dollars (or even a dollar) for test prep at the age of 4!  That is just absurd!  Face it people, your children did not make it in because they are not gifted NOT because they did not prep enough!  You are teaching your children how to take the test and skewing their results.   The fact that these kids are making it into this school with test prep proves that this test is not testing gifted ability but the ability to train a human to perform a task.  The fact that they can go back and retake the test proves that the state does not really think it tests gifted ability, afterall, how can they be gifted this month but not the next?  I understand your desire to want the best for your children, but if your child is truly gifted they should be able to pass the test without intensive test prep! I don't blame you for doing this for your children, I blame the state for allowing a test at the age of 4 to determine opportunities to your students through high school!  I completely agree with the clip that of course any student who gets that type of education will shine as I am sure not all schools in NY have that great facilities or that well trained of teachers.  Just saying! 
  • I personally feel that putting this much pressure on little learners is not healthy and you are doing more harm for your kids than you think.  I even quit a job over it!  If you have followed me for awhile you would know that this year I quit and moved to a district that does not do rigorous testing for little learners.  At my previous job we gave our kinders a 60+ multiple choice test each quarter that by midyear had the full years worth of standards on it.  Third and fourth quarter had first grade skills on it.  And if the kids passed the test with an 80% or better they got to go to a party... cookie decorating, dancing, popsicle, or other fun stuff like that and they knew what they were working towards upfront.  It just felt so wrong... you are smart so you get a cookie, but you missed it by one point so I am sorry you don't get a cookie.  Of course I did not spin it like that to the kids but kids are smart social beings who get it!  Goodness, I had one student who went from like a 34% to a 78% and did not get to celebrate with her peers!  Just wrong and I was told that yes we can celebrate her in class but when it come time to line up at the door she did not get to go.  (I celebrated with her with a special Happy Meal that same day but at the expense of frowns from other teachers and administration I am sure!)  No matter how stress-free we try to make high stakes testing to 5 year olds, it is stressful and I genuinely believe at that age the kids don't understand the relationship of the answers they choose and the scores they produce.  They just want a cookie (or in this case to please their parents.)
  • We all look at our kids with rose colored glasses.  I personally don't think my son is gifted but he definitely has some characteristics of checklists you find on the internet for giftedness but does that mean he is gifted, no!  This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves personally and professionally.  I think people in general need to be more real about their children academically (and socially for that matter.)  Maybe it's the kinder teacher in me to be able to step back.  The video alone proves this theory!  The woman who decided that she did not want her child tested because she had all these interventions and they did not make a difference.  They did not make a difference because your child is not gifted and yet she still says 'how can this be?'  Take the glasses off and see your child for the amazing young lady she is!!!

I originally was going to post with actually research and data but the truth of the matter is that you can find research that goes both ways!  So I just rambled.  Sorry... please ramble below if you have anything you want to share!  


15% off TpT Today!

Hope tax season for you was better than it was for me!  (Somehow I take a rather large paycut, begin to pay on student loans, and finally take some time to relax and not work 4 jobs at once and it works out to my disadvantage with taxes!  I was shocked and annoyed!)  Anyways... here's to taxes being finally checked off my to do list as of yesterday!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Free Product for Everyone! No Joke!

I am so appreciative to be featured on today at Teach 123 and just overall so grateful today for everyone who follows and helps me along the way that I decided to do something a little crazy today!

And it's no joke with no strings attached!

So... I have listed my favorite products below and you get to
pick one for free April 1st ONLY!

(Please note, if you submit for all 6, I will only send you first one.  Feel funny even saying that but people are entering 6 times.  It's no joke, you get ONE for free!  Silly teachers and free stuff!)

Click here to tell me what you want!  (Sorry... time's up!)
(And click product to see the full description in my TpT store.)

And be sure to stop by Teach 123 and tell Michelle hi!

All requests must be time stamped by 6pm AZ time.  
(Sorry, we don't convert time well here in AZ!)

No strings attached but I hope you will follow me at these fun places so you don't miss my many great freebies and other crazy things I do!

(Located in my sidebar.)

And also stop by Simply Centers!

Once the Google Doc closes down I will start sorting and sending you your freebie!

(Please note, if you submit for all 6, I will only send you first one.  Feel funny even saying that but people are entering 6 times.  It's no joke, you get ONE for free!  Silly teachers and free stuff!)