Sunday, February 1, 2015

It's Currently time again...What are you doing today? No snow again :(

 It's time for Currently again, and I must say I am not as chipper as I was this time last year because I was probably looking forward to a Monday Snow Day!!! This year we have missed all of the forecast chances, and I think I deserve to be a bit bummed. :) The winter days are long, and I sense a lot of restlessness in the students by Friday of each week.  They need SNOW! How has the weather been where you live? Are you ready to send it all my way, LOL! Have a great Sunday, then read posts from some of my friends to find out what they are doing.  
Be sure to go have a look and link up at Oh Boy 4th Grade!

post signature

It's Super Sunday! Giveaway, SALE, and Currently!

Here is a quick post that may benefit someone!
First off, I decided to play a game on my Facebook page called the Super Bowl Double-or-Nothing Giveaway.  Just leave a comment naming who you think will win, Hawks or Pats.  If you are picked as the winner, and you predicted the winning team you get two prizes!
 Also, just in case you miss the giveaway, I have a 20% Off Sale today throught February 2, and here's the "kicker" (pun intended):  Select items are marked 50% Off, which means you could get another 20% off of already discounted items.  
Finally, we just can't seem to "buy" a snow day here where I live.  Last year we had several inches and missed a lot of school days.  The long winter months need a day or two of "brain vacay" just to help teachers stay fresh.  Here is as cute video of my sweet Mozart from last winter! He can really enjoy a good winter snow! 

I am going to enjoy this last day of the weekend! We have peanuts, pigs in a blanket, chips and a warm house.  What are you doing today?
post signature

Monday, January 26, 2015

Great weather means we can learn EVERY DAY! Sight Word Memory Freebie!

(image from
I must admit I am missing an occasional snow day this year (thus far), but am thankful for the consistent days school has been in session.  Last year was a nightmare with over 25 days missed (that was SO last year, so I have forgotten exactly how many days we missed, lol).  This year we are at maybe two days, and boy, howdy! The great attendance is paying off! My sweeties are adding like nobody's business, and we are hard at work on the next quarter's sight words.  
Last year, our team decided to divide the words into quarterly lists after one of our team suggested possibly five-seven words each week.  Since we are a Journeys 2014 school, we have refined our approach this year to include activities that go along with the word lists.  Each week, students can take a test over that week's list and any other list they may be ready for.  Of course, not all students practice at home, but this year, the majority of my students do! A big help!!! Our current quarterly list covers words from Lessons 21-25.  We are playing a lot of sight word games to keep it fun, so here is a little card printable you may want to send home.  This went home today with my students! (you will notice the words are ahead of where most of us are in our Journeys lessons, however, we have no time to spare in getting all words in by year's end) 
Just click on the pic to grab a copy! It is in black/white in order to be printer friendly.  I printed a class set on card stock and laminated them.  This set is a center now.
   If you are needing other resources for teaching sight words you might like:
Sight Word Practice Aligned with Journeys 2014 Lessons 21-30  Sight Word Bingo "Trace and Go" Activities Aligned to Jour

 Sight Word Slideshow Aligned to Lessons 21-24 in Journeys
 Use my store's search engine and the key words "sight words" to see all of the resources related to sight words. 
Hope you are safe if you are in that winter blizzard! Our next chance is Sunday, and it's not much of a chance. :)

post signature

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Butterflies in January??? Kinesthetic Life Cycle Twist

If you teach kindergarten (or early childhood), you are 100% aware of the need for kinesthetic connections to learning EVERY day.  
This week, our Journeys 2014 lesson introduced the life cycle of a butterfly.  Several years ago, after a rousing round of 10 Monkeys in the Bed, it occurred to me that I could also teach metamorphosis through four simple body movements.  And, since we have had a butterfly theme going all week, we made our math journal pages fit into the plan as well! Here are some examples of how our week has unfolded.  
First thing each day we work in our math journals.  Today we recorded tens and ones, drew/illustrated the number with butterflies, then wrote the teens number.  Here you can see a journal page representing the number 13.  
We are currently working on writing about the butterfly life cycle, so our writing will become part of this week's study (and project display) tomorrow! I will post photos of writing this weekend.  
The fun part of our day today involved acting out the four stages of the butterfly life cycle.  
We have done this each day this week as we read and review, compare and contrast our featured books.  I can tell you unequivocally that my students prefer nonfiction selections.  We have a nice balance of fiction/nonfiction, however, I notice students attending to and participating in lessons that are based on nonfiction text.  
Each student became the egg, the caterpillar, the pupa, and finally the butterfly.  This process will be recorded on a life cycle labeling sheet too.
Kinesthetic Stages explained:
1.  egg (make yourself into a tight ball
2. caterpillar (lie on the floor and wriggle-wriggle)
3. pupa (hang on to the silk button that is attached to a twig or stem and stand very stiff)
4.  butterfly (flap your wings gently)
I will be displaying student picture collage posters alongside their writing and butterfly crafts.  Here is an example of the collage. 

 More this weekend...
  The math journal you see the students using is from my Numbers in the Teens CCSS Aligned Journal that can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  This is a separate journal, but the entire year of standards are also available as a bundle.  
Maggie's CCSS Aligned Math Journals
This set has been reviewed 77 times with a 4.0 rating.  :)
post signature

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's a January Bright Ideas Linky! Hard Copy Slide Shows

  Here are two very simple ideas for helping kids to practice fluency! 
First, I love all of the large Scholastic News Magazines that come with our Let's Find Out packet.  AND I love to utilize all of the predictable text in each little graphic block inside the large leaflets.  I realize there are some fabulous posters that you will not want to cut apart, so just scan the inside! I laminate all of the "pages" after cutting out all blocks, including a small student leaflet sized cover, then put the cover in the front of a binder and hole punch the pages for the book.  Voila! Instant familiar word reader! Love how these are seasonal.  They make a great addition to any library.  
 And, my next idea: 
Do you use slideshows to help teach concepts? I use them to teach alphabet (letter and sound), number identification, and sight words.  I print a hard copy of every slide and make a "manual" slideshow for students to access during center time.  They love to grab a favorite pointer and progress through their own slideshow.  Again, I put the slides back to back in sheet protectors, then put them in the binder.  I include a beginning slide for the cover insert, then put the slides in order of the slideshow. Later on, I mix the pages so students learn the words, rather than memorize the order of a listing of words.  I want to be sure they really know the words! 
 *** Updated information: When you arrange the slide pages for the sheet protectors, be sure to put them back to back with one right side up and the other upside-down (two back to back pages in one sheet protector).  This way, students can orient the binder on its side, then flip the pages with  the pages on the back always right side up! Hope this makes sense. 
Those are my tips for this month! Be sure to follow me via social media, then hop over to the other marvelous blogs featured in this linky! You will not be disappointed!

 post signature

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fun Math Game Freebie, Winter Themed Resources and Planning Ahead

Well, hello sweet blog! Long time no post.  After a long week of grade cards and planning for the new year, there hasn't been time to blog.  But, there were opportunities to highlight in photos what we are doing to help us learn about addition and subtraction.  
My little ones are so sweet, and this game has been great fun already.  I call it Ready, Set, Split! 
I wrote a blog post last year explaining how to play the game here.  I always introduce the game using the large circles (or, as in the case this year, we are using 3 floor mat tiles--green, red, yellow).

With this year's group, I wanted to allow for plenty of opportunities to practice grouping, sorting into sets, then talk about the similarities and differences in how we split our individual sets.  We talk about how many ways we can make 5-10.  
How we play it with our table partners:
1.  Each child gets the number of pieces called
 out by the teacher (for instance, "Get 6 dinosaurs").  
2.  Students place objects on the green square, then "Hands in the air".
3.  Teacher:  Ready (students cover the objects with both hands).
Set (students grab two handfuls of objects)
Split (students quickly put one handful on the red square, and the other handful on the yellow square).  
4.  Students write how many they began with in the box on the recording sheet, then how many
were on the red box, and how many on the yellow box.  
We discuss who had 6=2+4 (students raise hands if they had the same smaller groups).
Then we ask if anyone "flipped it" (had 4+2).  They love making these comparisons!

Then, we use the same set of objects to play again.  After we have discussed all of the combinations of objects that make 6, the teacher calls out a new group amount (7, 8, 9 or 10), then we play again.  
This game can be placed in a center after students understand how it is played.  If you would like to try this fun interactive activity with your students, just click on the pic below to grab your freebie that includes the game board and recording sheet.   Let me know how this worked for you too!

Are you searching for resources for the month of January? These are things I am using currently (click on pics to go to my TpT store):
This one is FREE!

Arctic Emergent Reader

 Animals and Plants in Winter
  Need a fun go-to easy prep center? This should do it!
 There is also a bundled version of Magic Writing Activities for other times of the year.

Do you have anything lined up for MLK Day? 
This little booklet is geared toward kindergarten age children, but will also work for first graders.
Description:  This was such a delight to create because of the beautiful art concepts from Krista Walden, Melonheadz Illustrating and Teacher Resource Force. This easy on the ink printable has two copies per page, so print, cut in the middle and staple. That's it!
I tried to keep in mind the age of the students when writing this little story. I also wanted to get the point across to readers that Dr. King's Dream didn't end with the "I Have A Dream" speech. Our world is still growing and changing in its views on tolerance for all people. At the end, I left a sentence for each student to reflect and illustrate their own page that says, "This is my dream...". I hope this will help your students to understand why Dr. King's impact on our world still continues to be important.
post signature