Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reading, Our Elf, and Winter Freebies, Oh My!!!

It has been a long time since I have blogged!  This sweet group of smart Kindergarteners are keeping me very busy this year.    I just finished our Fountas & Pinnell Reading Assessment on our K kiddos this past week and I was so excited that 17 of my 19 sweeties are reading at a level C or higher.  Many are reading so much higher that I was just wowed!  It is amazing to see the light coming on this time of year!  The 2 who are reading at a level B (our expectation for this time of year) - were late comers are are trying to catch up on strategies and our sight word work.    I believe that my Kindergarteners see themselves as readers from day 1 and this has helped them to grow and become more independent in their reading!     You can see the information I had shared earlier this year in my post on Our Sight Word Plan and Work.
   You also can check out my Sight Word Books on my TPT store :  Sight Word Books

It has also been a very fun week with our Elf on the Shelf Eddie.  The students were so excited to see what he had been up to each day.   I have been pleased with how they have really wanted to make sure that Eddie was impressed with good behavior too!  They have been darling angels (for the most part).   We even had one day where Eddie's friend Elfie came to play for a little while (his class was not being so nice).  The coolest part is that they are journaling everyday about Eddie's adventures and then get to partner share at the end of the day!  Some of them are so funny!   Here are some pictures of Eddie's activities!

Eddie was so tired out after decorating our ficus tree.  He left us a note telling us that Santa and the other elves loved his name the students picked out.  

Eddie had a great time playing our Candyland Sight Word game with his new friends Pete, Pigeon and Sock Monkey!   You can find my Sight Word Candyland Cards here!

Eddie enjoying the movie Elf.  He thinks Buddy is hilarious!   Of course he was enjoying one of the four food groups: Sugar!  

Eddie having a "marshmallow snowball" fight with his friend Elfie who came for a visit! 

I also wanted to share that I finally have completed my Winter Themed Math Activities.  This is a 140 page packet of great Math activities for K kiddos.  There are 20 different games and ideas including all 5 Strands of the K Math Common Core.   Here is a pic of all that is included in this great packet: 
You can find this in my TPT store here:

 Here is a Subtraction Freebie Just for you!  Just click here.

I hope that you have enjoyed this post and I am going to work hard to post more often!  I am so thankful for my followers and hope that you are encouraged and blessed as well!  

Blessings to you all!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Crazy Fun in Kindergarten (Reading Forts) - Grandparent's Day Writing Freebie too!

I am so excited to share about our day in Kindergarten today.   We started our day out reading What Grandma's Do Best/ What Grandpa's Do Best by Laura Numeroff.  We are working on writing opinion pieces about a topic and so of course we then wrote about why our Grandparent is best.   I am so amazed at what great writers my sweet little kiddos are becoming.   The light is definitely coming on.  I used these pieces below to create a bulletin board for our writing.   (Picture coming soon)

Click here to get your copy

After lunch, because my little darling's have become such great readers as well and to celebrate that The Thankful Turkey only had to take one small vacation day away in the month of Nov. (He didn't like when we weren't good listeners.) Anyway, we built a reading fort and had so much fun reading with our partners under the tent by flashlight and lamps. It was so much fun and I again was amazed at how well they buddy read and were great encouragers. I have such a sweet group this year.  It wasn't fancy but it was all their own creation.  I was so impressed at the ideas the students came up with to create and build the fort.  Lots of sheets, blankets, clamps, even binder clips and yarn were used.   Take a look at these great pics.   It was so cool!  

All in all,  it was a super great day!   My students were talking about their reading fort for the rest of the day!    I hope that you all enjoy a special time with family and friends this Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for you! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Those Tricky Teens And A FREEBIE Too!

What a crazy couple of weeks.   End of quarter and grades due last week and Parent/ Teacher Conferences Thursday and Today!  I am one exhausted teacher!   Looking forward to my day off on Friday.  

I did want to share one thing we have been focusing on this week.  We began to study and learn about those "TRICKY TEENS".   I have been so impressed with my students this year and how well they are understanding numbers.   We began the year by creating number posters with all the ways to create/ represent that number.   They have been amazing!  For more on Number Talks and Math Workshops,  take a look at this link here! 

Well,   I have been so excited creating my own units and work for my students this year.    My latest unit is on the Tricky Teens.   Included in this unit are teen number posters that have the ten frames for the number and a poem to remember the number (could also make a book for students to refer to as well.  I have just been showing mine on my Smart Board for right now.     Today as we were discussing the numbers 11 and 12  and creating our number posters,  I was so excited to hear my students talking about how we could use a ten frame to show our number.  Another student said but "how can we do that when there is only room for 10 dots" and then another quickly replied back,  " I know,  we could just use two frames so that will  be a 10 and 2."  Can you say,  Woohoo!

We then did some work exploring the numbers 11 and 12.  This worksheet is the same format as used in the Exploring Numbers 1-10 Worksheets.  

During Math Workshops,  one of their favorite games was the Tricky Teen Spin and Write.   Here it is as a FREEBIE just for you:   Click here to get yours:

Here are a few pictures of what's included in the Tricky Teen Centers & Activities (Common Core Aligned) unit!

I hope that you will enjoy this post and these activities as much as I have enjoyed writing it!  If interested in more great Kindergarten ideas,  take a look here at my TpT Store!     Blessings to you and have a great rest of the evening!  I am off to bed!!!  


Friday, October 4, 2013

Five for Friday...

I am so excited to get to share my five favorite things this week!   

1.  I have been on an incredible journey to become healthy.  As of this week,  I have lost 32 lbs.  I am learning what it means to "eat clean"  and am quickly becoming shocked at what I have been putting in my body for all these years.  I feel so much better!  Here is a a poster of some good ways to add protein into your diet naturally!   Love it!  

2.   My second favorite thing this week was last night was Skate Night for our school.  It is a once a month fundraiser and is a great at building a sense of community within our area.   It was the first one for this year and so it was so cool to see so many of my kindergarteners (and previous students) show up and get on those skates.  Many for the first time.   I was impressed with this little daredevil as he went all the way around the rink by himself and fall after fall,  he got right back up.   We talked a little bit about that today in class and how it works in school too.  We may struggle sometimes,  but we always keep on trying and do our very best!  

3.   I taught my students how to play Sight Word Bang today (we now have 28 sight words that should be known)  and they are absolutely in love with it!  They were asking to play again at the end of the day.   I love this little group of mine.  They are so excited and motivated to learn.  It has motivated me this year to discover more and more engaging ways to help them learn.   Every day is a groovy day in Mrs. Garrett's class.   Two of our favorite Games are Candyland Alphabet Game and our Sight Word Candyland Game .   Both of these can be found in my TpT store.    The Sight Word Candyland game includes all 105 of our expected sight words for the year,  but we only use the ones that I  have taught so far.  

4.  I was so excited at how well my students did with our Concepts of Print Assessment this week.  Most of the assessment students are asked to determine the difference between a letter,  a word,  and a sentence.  I was so impressed with how well they did at this activity.   I introduced early in the year my Pete the Cat - Is it a Letter, Word or Sentence Sort?       I think this has really helped my students with their understanding of these concepts.  Plus,  we are crazy about Pete!   

Another one of our favorite sight word games is Around the World.  Again because we love Pete so much.  I created this Pete the Cat sight word cards you could use for many different sight word games.  There is micro (for craft sticks) ;  small cards (that would fit perfect in a pocket chart) and a large size to play Around the World or many other Sight Word games!   Each size includes all 105 Sight Words our K kiddos are expected to know!   Click the picture below to take a look!   

5.    MY MOST FAVORITE THING WAS TODAY'S PUBLISHING PARTY DURING OUR WRITERS WORKSHOP TIME.   It was our publishing party for our first Unit of Study.   The students did such a great job.    We circled up inside and outside  and then just rotated the outside circle and shared our stories with one another.  I was amazed to hear them giving details about their illustrations and their stories.    I shouldn't have been surprised - they are ALREADY authors and illustrators after all.   I heard lots of things like " I noticed you have lots of details in your pictures",  I added a background because my trees aren't just floating in the air"  and " I like the way you added your period at the end of your sentence."   All my students were very aware of encouraging each other.   My favorite was  "your picture of your mom is pretty,  but boy she is fat"  ( she was having a baby) !  LOL 

Thanks for letting me share.   Check back for more of what's coming up next week sometime this weekend.      

Blessings to you,  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Number Talks and Math Workshops!

First of all,  I again have to say I am so excited,  blessed and very thankful for  this year.  I have such a great group of students and they are rocking and rolling already.   Every day is a joy to go to school.   Let's just say last year was a little rougher.   Oh,  the stories I could tell.....

With that being said,  my personal goal this year is to grow and to become a better Math teacher.   Reading is my thing,  but I know I can do this.   I am so excited to share about what we are doing in Math in our classroom.  Our district uses Investigations Math and I like it...  but also love to add and put my own spin on things.   Groovy,  right??

I first want to share this great idea I pinned this summer and have been amazed at the Number Talks that we have been having.    I wish I knew who this idea came from,  but my pin was just linked to a pic. (I hate when that happens).   Here is what my Number charts look like ( Don't laugh at my pictures...  Okay,  you can laugh, we often do in class).  I am in no way an artist, but just writing/ drawing the number thoughts that my students have:

Frontloading my kiddos with these great talks about numbers and getting a good sense of the many ways to represent numbers will help us a lot when we begin really hitting addition and subtraction later in the year.    I have been amazed at their thoughts and how well they are beginning to understand numeracy and good number sense.   Throughout this process,  they have come up with ideas on their own.  The domino idea was not one I had even thought of yet.    It was awesome this week as one of my kiddos said,  "Well,  Mrs. Garrett,  of course we could compose and decompose #8"  instead of "that two color marker thing"   LOL.     After our number talks,  we either do a math journal activity or we do Exploring Numbers 1 -10 Practice.   When we work in our Math Journals - students are given a thought/ idea and then asked to represent that.  ex.  " How many students are sitting at your table?  How can you show your answer? "    I just  love these Math Journals.   When we work on Exploring Numbers, students complete a worksheet that gives them many opportunities to explore that number.  Exploring Numbers 0-10 can be found  here in my TpT store.

After this in Math, we will have a short lesson from Investigations.  Right now,  it is all about Counting and  Cardinality.  Then we go to our Math Workshops.   My students love this time and I love watching them grow as Mathematicians.    I took a lot of my Math Workshop ideas from Deanna Jump ( I have a whole folder just dedicated to DJ - love her)  and her Math Magic Activities Set.   Can I just say AMAZING!!  You can find it here.   

 I also am just a researcher and am constantly, reading,  pinning ideas and activities and thinking "What is it my students need most of.  .  I do work to keep it simple and easy to manage though.    One of the things I have discovered this week is that my students are struggling a lot with number words. ( One to Five have been added to our sight word list this year and we have been introducing one number word  a week with our other sight words).   So coming up this week,  I will be putting some number word work into our Math Workshops as well.    I created this Number Words Work and Activities to address this need.  You can find it here.

Here is the Number Words Assessment (shown below)  from the Number Word Work set for you. 
 I hope you enjoy!  

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope that you are continuing to grow as well.  I was reminded by my Trainer this week that if you aren't growing,  you are dying!   I thought I was dying when she was done with me.   LOL

Blessings for a great week,

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pledge of Allegiance

This past week in Kindergarten we worked on really understanding what the Pledge of Allegiance means,  how to recite it and all the different parts that make it up.   I shared a pocket chart activity that  I had created with my students and we read and reread the Pledge of Allegiance as we put the chart together.   Students practiced with a partner reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and then we culminated our activity by reading together and coloring our Pledge of Allegiance emergent reader along with the Colored Teacher Version that I used on my smart board.   These readers were then placed in to our book boxes so we could read and reread our Pledge.
My students are getting so good at tracking and using their picture clues as they are reading many different emergent readers.  It is exciting to see.  I am going to revisit this activity this coming Tuesday for Constitution Day.   I found these great Pledge badges over at Little Miss Kindergarten's blog  that we will use as well.    We will color our flag that day as well,  maybe talking a little about the pattern that we see on our flag!   Here is a flag freebie for you to enjoy!  Click here:

You can get this Pledge of Allegiance Emergent Reader and Pocket Chart activity by clicking on the name below!    I hope you enjoy!

Blessings to you!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our Kindergarten Road to Learning Tracking Wall

First off,  I must say I am a bad blogger,  but I am going to get better !

Tracking with Kindergarteners?  What does that look like?  I have heard this question so much so I wanted to share plus we actually started our tracking wall this week and my kiddos were so excited!  It is so fun to my students excited about getting to put/ move their car on our "Road to Learning"!  I had a few who came back the very next day and were so excited to want to let me know that they practiced their letters and sounds last night.    I love to see them so excited and motivated about learning and seeing themselves as learners.   Here is a picture of what our Kindergarten tracking wall looks like!   This is all 3 classes in our building.  

There are 3 roads : the bottom road is for Letter Recognition - broken down into Upper (blue car)  and Lowercase (green car) letters ,  the middle road is for Letter Sounds and the top row is for sight words.    Look at how many cars are already up on their way to their destinations.     I even have one little guy who already has his trophy up for knowing all 100 Kindergarten sight words ( see small trophy by the door)   That was a first for me,  but I had his sister last year and so he was pumped and mom said practiced all summer.   We don't have the "winners circle" up yet,  but are going to get on it!  !  This is our 3rd year to use the Road to Learning tracking wall and we have seen such great motivation amongst our little K kiddos.   After about mid- year,  we transfer the top road to the bottom of the wall for easier access for most kids.   This was very easy to create and get started with,  but for those interested,  my dear sweet colleague Laura recreated our signs, etc.. this year and has developed a packet in her TpT store.  You can find it here.

I am absolutely loving the start to this school year.  I have a group of really bright, sweet and kind students.  I can't wait to see what this year holds.    

Blessings to you all!   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Great and Groovy Sight Word Work

Tonight is all about my thoughts on Sight Words!  I apologize for the length,  but its a favorite topic of mine right now!  My kiddos are taking off :  tracking,  using picture clues and reading like crazy already!  I introduced Week 3 Sight Word Book :  WE SEE YELLOW  this week and were so excited to see my students excited to read and share with each other their new discovery of themselves as readers.

When I came to my new school 3 years,  there was not any type of sight word plan in place.  There really was no plan or expectation for learning sight words at all.   I knew that we had to remedy that very quickly having had great success in my previous school.    With the help of my colleagues,  we took a plan that I had used previously and adapted and updated to fit our needs.   I  teach in a Title 1  school in a very poor area.   I only share to let you know that we had some big hills to climb.

Let me share our success.  The year before I came to Topping,  only 59% of Kindergarteners were reading on grade level.    The first year I was there and we implemented our sight word plan and Readers Workshop,  we had 93 % of our Kindergarteners reading at/ on Grade level and 17 % reading at a Level J or above.    The 2012-2013 school year,  we had 100%,  YEP 100%  of our K students reading at a F &P level D or above and many reading way above.   This school year 2014-2015 we had 98% of our students read at Level D or above!    I love to share that Data and growth!  .

We have had a number of teacher friends who have begun to use our sight word program this past year.  I love hearing of their successes.  One teacher said,  "I believe we had higher readers this year  because of sending the Sight Word homework and take home books home each week."   Love it!

 Our expectation is that our K kiddos will know 100 sight words by heart and be able to write 40 of them by the end of the year.   You can get this plan free here.:

My favorite resource to support this plan are the Sight Word Books that we have created to go along with it. We just updated clip art and added the sight words focused on to the front of each book.   There are a total of 30 books to support this plan and they are progressive and comprehensive throughout the year.   Take a look at the odd week Sight Word Books Bundle on my TpT store here.   You may take a look at the even week Sight Word Books Bundle on Laura's store here.   We also have lots of resources available to support this Sight Word plan on our stores as well.  Here are just a few of my favorite:   Candy Land Sight Word Cards   Fun Sight Word Partner Games (Baldy) ;  HIgh Frequency Sight Word Cards &  Stamp & Write Literacy Station Work - 1st Quarter Words.

Pete the Cat Set of 3 Sight Word Card Sets (105 words each set) for Games

One of our very favorite ways to introduce our sight words is to use Heidisongs.   Can I just say amazing!!!!

If you want to check one of our  books for free,  grab it here.  I can't wait to share more sight word activities!  Keep checking back!

Blessings for a great weekend!

Monday, September 2, 2013

My First Ever Linky Party: I love making new friends

I am so excited to share my first linky party with you!  I am thankful to my friend Carrie at Mrs. Horn's World for all her guidance.  I am so going to owe her one!  I am sitting on the back deck,  enjoying this beautiful weather and thanking God for all His blessings (especially new friends)!

I must say I really like Farley's  idea of walking 33 miles this month.   I need to work on exercising more than just my mind.    I have been on a personal weight loss journey for about two months and as I sit here thinking about it,  it has been slowgoing,  but at least it's going!  

As I think about all the things above,  I am reminded of how good it is to self-reflect and to grow as a person.  I believe that one of my big "jobs" that I have been given to to encourage others as they journey through this world.  I pray that today is a huge blessing for you.    

Lots of Groovy Love, 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Few Freebies Before Bed

You are going to discover that I absolutely love Pete the Cat and have created a number of different products this summer and fall to go with my Pete the Cat theme in my classroom this year.   Here are a few freebie Pete products.   Be sure to check out all my other Pete the Cat products in my TpT store.

Pete the Cat Stepping Up Our Stamina - you can get this freebie here .    
We are using this in our classroom to track our reading and writing stamina.   
We are up to about 4 minutes!  Woohoo!  

Pete The Cat Thank You Cards - check these out here . 
There are 3 different kinds of Thank You cards here that will help you to show appreciation for those who are helpful and encouraging to your classroom!    I have already had some parents comment on how cute they are! 

It's been a big weekend so far.  Looking forward to one more quiet day at home with all my men before school on Tuesday.   I can't wait to share some of this weeks literacy station ideas with you!