Friday, January 10, 2014

Five for Friday - Woohoo!

Woohoo!   It is Friday and I am so excited for a nice quiet evening at home by myself.  The boys all had different things going on and my dear sweet husband went to hang out with the two oldest!   AHHHHHH!!!  I love the quiet!   I am excited to share some of my favorite things from this week, a lot about How to Writing in Kindergarten!    My kiddos this year LOVE Writers Workshop and are now writing for at least 30 minutes at a time and  (MOST)  are actively engaging in meaningful writing the whole time.  They are amazing me!   
HOW TO WRITING Intro Day 1 -   We have begun our 4th Unit of Study this week week in Kindergarten and it is all about How To!   It has been really cool to see the light go on with my students this week as they are beginning to see themselves as teachers.   We had to start this How to Unit  with How to Build a Snowman since we have been off for Winter Break and have had crazy snowy weather so of course we all had schema!   We walked through each step using those important words : First, Next, Then & Last, discussing as we went and evening acting it out!   (I am in no way an artist, so please don't laugh!!  Okay,  we do laugh at my drawings!  LOL) 

HOW TO WRITING  Intro Day 2 -  In our district we have been very fortunate to not only have done Matt Glover book studies but also have had HIM in our building and have gotten to see him at work up close and personal.    Our Units of Study follow a lot of his ideas, so for this day we spent a great deal of our Writers Workshop becoming familiar with "real"  How to Books.     Some of my favorite are by Inez Snyder  - APPLES TO APPLESAUCE ,   WAX TO CRAYON,   TOMATOES TO CATSUP,  & MILK TO ICE CREAM.    We also read some books by Edana Eckart  -   I CAN RIDE A BIKE,   I LIKE TO SKATEBOARD,   &  I CAN PLAY SOCCER.   We also read some Fiction texts including PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST  & CHARLIE NEEDS A CLOAK by Tomie DePaolo.    This was a great day of immersion and we spent a lot of turn and talk time telling our PBJ partners what we were noticing about these books and how and what they taught us.   It was a great day of learning. 

HOW TO WRITING  Intro Day 3 -  (this was our day today, since we only really had a 3  1/2 day week)     Today I felt like a lightbulb went off  and I got that big teacher grin that happens when things align.   Being the first week back,  we had to have a fire drill but because of the weather we were doing a talk through with our kids and ALL OF A SUDDEN…..  I thought why not do a How To Writing about How to Do a Fire Drill.   Walllaaahh!  

First we read FIRE DRILL by Paul DuBois Jacobs.  Then we completed our  How To Do a Fire Drill.  (It probably should have a better title -  What To Do In A Fire,  but….   it was just a practice and a quick thought! )  It was a great launch into our discussion about things that we all know how to do.     It is nothing fancy at all (seriously) ,  but my students really are getting good at using those How To words and thinking about the steps.       I was just excited that the stars aligned and we got it done!  Good discussion.    After this,  we had begun to talk about all the things we knew how to do - (I kinda blew my 10-15 min. focus lesson time,  but…   the students were really pretty engaged. )     As they went back to write,  they took an organizer back with them to write down things they knew how to do!  I was surprised at how many things they could think of (but that's what happens with good discussion,  huh?? )   

This is from Kim Adsit's How to Writing packet.  You can click on the picture to get it!   It's a good one.  I do not follow all her ideas.  I use a lot of Deanna Jumps Writing materials and pick things up everywhere that I think will fit purposefully in our Units of study.   It's a Hodge Podge,  but it works!!  That's all for How to Writing this week!   Can you feel my excitement? 

During Readers Workshop this week we have been working on text to text connections!!    K.RL.9  With prompting and support,  comparing and contrasting the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.   I used the two books above to work on this standard some more.   This has been a hard one for a lot of my students and so we have needed a lot of prompting and support!!  (ME TOO! )    We created an anchor chart (sorry I forgot to take a picture) comparing the stories,  first retelling what the key details were in each story and then discovering how the experiences of Oliver and Grace were alike.   I was impressed with how quickly some of them understood that" both were told they couldn't do something and then in the end they proved they could."  "They both experience a lot of different feelings".  "They both have families that love them very much." One of my students picked up on how disappointed Oliver was that he didn't win the talent show and they thought he was hoping that everyone would stop calling him a sissy if he did.   (That was deep)!   These are two great books for comparing and contrasting adventures and experiences.   I am working on developing a post about this standard with lots of great examples because I have not been able to find (online anyway) other great familiar to us books with great adventures and experiences.   A couple of others I have thought of are …  WHEN SOPHIE GETS ANGRY… REALLY, REALLY ANGRY… by Molly Bang   & I WAS SO MAD by Mercer Mayer;   JULIUS THE BABY OF THE WORLD by Kevin Henkes  &  MY ROTTEN RED HEADED OLDER BROTHER by Patricia Polacco.   These are some great ones.  Keep checking back and I will post about that standard soon!  

The other thing that I  have loved is watching my kiddos play Teen Tangle.   This is an Everyday Math game that I have adapted.  They ask for it all the time.  It is so funny to watch them play!    They get contorted in some of the craziest ways BUT ..  they know their teen numbers!     You can take a look at this TRICKY TEENS post to see what's included in my Tricky Teens packet.  It's a good one!  You also can find it at my TpT store.  Click on the picture.  

Here's a couple of pics of my students playing!   They crack me up. 
 I hate to have to blur faces because they are such cutie pies!  

Thank you for letting me share today and I hope that each one of you has a blessed weekend!   Angel

Thursday, January 9, 2014

All Things Pete! It's a Groovy Sale and a Freebie just for you!

Hey friends!  I was reading Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses to my kiddos AGAIN today for the umpteenth time and just thinking about how much I love PETE!!    One of my favorite activities for Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses is to use it for storytelling elements.  After reading the story 2-3 times,  we discuss each of the story elements and chart them :  Character,   Setting,  Beginning,  Middle, End,  Problem and Solution.  It is a great book for these ideas.  After discussing each of the story elements, we act it out again and then students will write in their thinking journals any text to self connections that they have had. Of course during our share time,  some of these will be shared with the group!    I'm not a big worksheet kinda girl,  so no fancy products there!   Just some great class discussion and authentic learning.

 So I have decided to have a huge Pete the Cat Sale.   All 24  Pete products in my store are 20% off this Friday through Sunday!  To make it easy, after clicking on my store - take a look at the Categories list on the left hand side and click on Pete the Cat.   Of course,  take a look at all of my other products as well if you like!   : )

I had a follower ask me to create a Pete Deskplate that would match my Pete Chevron Number Line.  I thought what a great idea and did just that!   You can find them here in my TpT store:

My classroom theme this year is Getting Groovy with Pete and so I have lots of materials for prepping and charts, etc.. for Pete the Cat.     One of my favorite Products is my Pete the Cat Classroom Bundle.     It includes the Chevron Number Line with cute button ten frames and number words,  A Class Behavior Clip Chart,  Cubbie tags,  Daily 5 signs,  2D/ 3D shapes,  Desk plates and everything you need for a Super Cool Class Bulletin Board.  These are all available separately as well.  

I also love these Pete the Cat Sight Word Cards.  They include all 105 of my districts expected sight words and go along with our Kindergarten Yearly Sight Word Plan, Books, Games, etc..  Take a look at this blog post for more information about that:    Kindergarten Yearly Sight Words

Here are those Pete the Cat Sight Word Cards.  I use them for all kinds of games with my students.  We play Around the World,  Find the Sticker,  Sight Word Bang, and I use them with my Sight Word Partner Games that I have created!    They love to play Baldy!  They get to laughing so hard at their pictures they create and are learning their sight words at the same time!  

Okay, okay!   Just one more!  One of my best sellers is the

I have heard feedback from so many who have had great success using this in a small group or a literacy station with their students to help understand the difference between a letter, word, and sentence!    It is simple, but easy and has a response sheet to help students be accountable for their work!   

Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to read my blog.  I hope that you can find something useful  to help you and your students have great success!    It's a groovy thing!    Here is a Pete Freebie for you!   It's Pete the Cat   I Have,  Who Has…. Numbers from 0-31.   My kiddos love it!  

Blessings to you and have a great and groovy day! 

Be sure to follow my Facebook page for opportunities to win free products and some great ideas! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My 2014 Professional Goals!

Wow!  This is a record for me to blog two times in a day.  I hardly get twice in a month usually.  But that leads me to the thought of goals!  I came across this link from  Blog Hoppin'  that inspired me to think about not just personal goals,  but what I want to accomplish professionally!

As I think about heading to school on Monday morning,  I think I am fairly well prepared for this week - plans are made,  materials are ready,  books set aside,  all math and literacy stations are ready, etc..  But I have had two weeks to get it together!   LOL  I am usually pretty prepared but I often change it up midstream because I have thought up a new way to teach the lesson (for me anyways) or come across a great new idea.   This then leads me down a treacherous path where I am then on trying to play catch up the rest of the week.  My goal is to make the plan,  carry through with preparation and then go with what I have.  I will always reflect with feedback and can change it up next time if need be,  but I have got to maintain and stay on track.  This is professionally and personally.  I can't tell you how many "personal" hours I spend on school stuff.  That has to get better!  

My 2nd goal is to spend more time (probably in the AM), checking out my colleagues classrooms,  interacting with them more, and just hanging out.  I tend to get very focused on what I need to get done, and miss out on building those very important relationships with colleagues. (see above goal for the reason this one is hard for me)  I know that they have some awesome ideas but we have to talk to be able to share!    I believe that "Collaboration is the stuff of growth" ( not sure who to contribute that one to) and for collaboration and not to mention unity to occur,  I must get outside of my own classroom and interact!   

I feel very confident about teaching Reading and Writing.  I am a researcher at heart.   I work hard planning and preparing for upcoming Units of Study, analyzing data and addressing student needs in these areas.  I absolutely love it!  But my area of weakness is Math.  I am so thankful for my colleague Laura, who keeps me on track with Math.  She is awesome!  I want to be able to really think through some of those harder Math concepts and get my mathemeticians really thinking deep!  We are great with number sense, adding and subtracting but we are moving slowly when it comes to my students thinking on their own without me supporting them so much, i.e. me keeping the discussion going.  I want to improve with my Math Talks and really working on problem solving.  

 I have the book Number Talks- now just to get it started!   I will post more about this as I learn!    

My last goal is to become a better blogger!  One of my very favorite things at school are the discussions that take place during our PLT time.    As we discuss student data, assess where we need to work and grow and then collaborate and create ideas to meet the needs of our students and our district goals I get very excited!  My desire is to be able to share those ideas with you to help you grow as well.  I love to hear back from my followers and other bloggers as well.  It helps me grow too!  

As I think about the common thread in all of these goals,  the big thing I see is how thankful I am for community.   These blogs, ideas and suggestions and  goals will help me grow as an educator of young children and I will pass that on to others as well!  I leave this blog this evening with a heart full of gratitude and love for this community!  

Blessings to you all,


Winter is Here! (A Giveaway and a Freebie for you!)

We will be going back to school on Monday with a windchill temp expected -20 below 0.  Oh my!  Winter has hit!   I will be praying for my kiddos and lots of other little darlings who may be waiting for a bus or just having to get out in this cold!   I am looking forward to seeing my little sweeties.    We gave them a Winter Break Reading Challenge and I have heard from a few parents that it has been a great way for them to keep reading and practicing just a little bit every day.   I look forward to seeing who accomplished what on their Bingo Reading Board!    Here is what their Challenge looked like.

Click here to download and save for next year!  
I am also very excited to share my new Winter Theme Math Stations with you!  This is a 136 page packet FULL of great ideas for morning work, small group work, and math stations.   My kiddos are going to be so excited!   Here is a pic of what all is included and then some great examples :  

There are sets of 0-20 Ten Frame Cards in three different styles - Snowman,  Penguin, & Polar Bear. The larger set can be used to put up in the classroom, to work with students individually or in small groups.  The smaller sets can be used in a math station to match up and of course there is a response sheet for each set.  There is a Making 10 Response Sheet as well as a Count the Room.   

Here are some more pictures of included activities.  You will want to grab it quick!  To make it really fun.  I will be giving this unit away FREE to 5 of my FB followers.  So if you are not yet following me please check out this link, like my page, follow me,  and leave a comment with your email and I will let you know if you are the winner!  I will be picking the winner Sunday evening - Jan. 5th! Woohoo!  
You can also check out my TpT store and purchase it there as well.   I hope you enjoy!  

I promised a freebie and here it is:   We are working on that tricky What's Missing and so in my Winter Themed Math Stations packet - I have included 4 pages (here are 3 -the 4th is a continuation of the cards)  of What's Missing Work.   Click the link to get yours!   

I am off to get a good night's rest and to enjoy one more day with my sweet family before school starts on Monday!    Oh by the way,  I am working my way up to 100 followers on my TpT store.  Once I get there,  I will be having a BIG SALE!   Keep following, watching and checking back!   : ) 

Blessings to you!