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!    

Exciting Start

I am so excited to post my first entry.   I have been wanting to get started for so long, but have been very nervous.     So here goes:

I am first a follower of Jesus, a wife to Steve and a Mom to Josh, Jacob, and Jackson.   I also am in my 8th year of teaching Kindergarten and I love,  love,  love it!   I will not be posting pictures of my littles here,  but will be sharing lots of wonderful ideas and stories!    I hope you will enjoy this blog as much as I will posting!  

I want to start by sharing my pictures of my classroom this year! Although my room is very small,   I am so proud of it!

This is my Library area - small,  but it works!  

My Carpet and Smart Board area.  Most of our great learning happens here! 

My beginning Pete Bulletin Board!  I added the students pictures from the first day here and then added our Pete the Cat Glyph cats.  I absolutely love Pete!  You can find this Bulletin Board set on my TpT store! 

Leveled Books and our Book Boxes! 

I love, love, love my chair! 

Our Guided Reading Table.  I love the Wall Pop on our table.  Students can use these to practice word work on when we are learning together.  

Our Groovy Work Bulletin Board and Math Area. 

I love my Magnetic Word Wall on the file cabinets.  (sorry for the blur) 

Our Table signs are held by IKEA octopus clothes hangers that we use to hang special work and projects we have done! 

Our tables!  Look at my organized tubs on the back wall above the cubbies! Lots of work,  but well worth it! 

Closer view of my chair!

The trash can is not normally there in our way on the way out the door.

Our Listening Station area! 

Our Learning Wall - we continue to add learning and review items as we go! 

Well,  I hope you will come back and visit often!  I will be trying to post often!   Have a blessed Week!