Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bright Ideas-Printer Tricks and Tips

I am a printer hoarder; I currently have 3 printers sitting in my home office.  My newest printer is by far the best for printing in color.  My other two are good, but old and ink consuming.  I kept them as a back-up-  really because I don't know what else to do with them .

Over the years I have become quote the expert when it comes to printing  I love printing on construction paper.  It is easier to come by then colored card stock- just walk to my school's paper closet.  Construction paper comes in three basic sizes, is 9x12, 12x18 or 18x24.  No, I don't have a wide format printer, but I do own a paper cutter.  All I do is trim my paper to 8.5" wide and voila!!! it fits into my printer by-pass tray.

You might be wondering what I do with this new found paper.  Lately, I've been printing my pocket chart poems on it.

So, for those of us who are visual learners, here are the pictures I took along the way to show you how quick and simple it really is.
I make a file the length and width of my paper.
Next, I insert a table 8.25"x13.5".  
Then I pick the font and text size to use for my sentence strips.
For this poem I used KG Miss Kindergarten font size 96.

Have you ever wanted to shrink the pages of a file?  I have lots of files that the cards are too big to fit in a pocket chart.  By reducing the file when I print, I can save paper, ink and have smaller cards.
multiple page printing, printer tricks
If you enjoyed these Bright Ideas.  Be sure to follow me on BloglovinFacebook, and Instagram.
I hope you have enjoyed my Bright Ideas.  Look at all the other bloggers who are sharing their Bright Ideas this month.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Getting Parents To Volunteer

parent volunteers neededHave you ever felt like displaying this sign in your classroom window?  It isn't always easy getting parents to volunteer.  I remember when I first started teaching, I had parent volunteers every day sometimes even two.  Times, however have changed.  With many families  having both parents working, or only a single parent, it has become difficult for parents to find the time to come into the classroom.  

Parents want to help, but often, they don't feel confident in their ability to work with students, or perhaps they feel their English isn't adequate enough to communicate with the teacher. Over the hers, I have worked hard to get my parents involved. Here are a few ays I get my parents to help.

The Parent Helper Box
parent volunteer boxI place this box outside my door in the morning.  Inside the envelopes are things I need a volunteer to do.  Usually it is cutting, collating or stapling.  I always write directions, have a sample and supply the needed items like a stapler or scissors.  This is a great way for the working parent or for the moms who still have little ones at home, to help but just can't come in.

The Centers Calendar
Each month I place a calendar on my information board asking for parents to sign up for specific time slots.  These are the times I need a parent to help at a center.  Really what I need is someone to keep the children on task and resolve problems while I work with a small group.  The parents who come, see what we are doing at school and often notice that their child needs more practice.  I have a mom who can only come in on Tuesdays,  Her English is very limited, so I always leave her prep work.  She had noticed that her child wasn't able to keep up with the class.  I have noticed that her child all of a sudden seems to know more letters and sounds.  It is a WIN-WIN situation.
parent volunteer calendarparent volunteer request

For special events or class projects where I will need more help, I will put up a special sign-up.  The parents never seem to let me down.

Donations List
Whenever we are working on a project and I need items donated, I put a list up.  This month I am asking for medium sized pumpkins.

Parents might not always be able to donate their time, but they will find ways to help, whether it be prepping items at their home or sending in items so you don't have to go to Target after school.  I'd love to hear how you get parents involved, I'm always looking for more ideas.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dollar Store Centers

I love creating centers that can meet the individual needs of my students.  Creating centers, takes time and sometimes a lot of ink, laminating and cutting out.  Recently I have found myself wandering the aisles of our local .99¢ store, The Dollar Tree and Target's Dollar Spot. While meandering about and filling up my basket with too many unneeded items, I came across some items that I new would be great for centers.

I found the pumpkins and the spider webs at the .99¢ Store.  The spiders were from the Dollar Tree. I printed out some numbers and hushed a circle punch to cut them out.  I laminated the numbers then glued all 3 pieces together with white glue.
Dollar Store centers, Halloween centers

The ten frames I made and added the erasers that my husband found while we were cruising the Target Dollar Spot.  50 cute Halloween erasers makes one fun center.
ten frames, halloween math centers, Target $1 Spot

Next up are these adorable cutouts from the Dollar Store.  The minute I saw them I thought of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  This was perfect timing as our letter last week was the letter M.  These were perfect for upper and lower case letter matching. I used my Cricut to make the letters, but a marker or letter stickers works too.
dollar store centers,If you give a mouse a cookie
I also snagged these lock and key cutouts from the Dollar store.  I made a number matching game with these. I used some colored sticky dots I had and the Cricut for the numbers.
dollar store centers, easy math centers for kindergarten

I also found these in the back to school section of Target, They were on clearance.  I'll use them to make some rhyming cards and sight word match games for later n the year.
target, kindergarten centers,
I hope I've given you some inspiration for some creative, inexpensive and easy to make centers.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Morning Routines

The other day I shared my attendance board with you and mentioned that I hadn't used it yet.  Well I have now, and it worked.  The kids are really getting the morning routines.
attendance board, magnetic board, kindergarten
A few friends still need some verbal prompting, but they are doing it.
Here is what we have been doing.

morning routines, daily routines, class must do's, morning work
I now need to add this new routine.  I'll place it between putting away their homework and before they come to the carpet.
morning routines, lunch choice, morning work
The cards above are from my Back to School Rules packet.
school rules, morning routines, classroom procedures
What routines do you have for your students each morning?  i'd love to read about them.  You can leave me a comment below.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Throw Back Thursday Freebies

Nothing super special today, but came across these old blog post freebies and thought I'd share again.  We are working on these sight words this week and next week and probably in the following weeks too.  Just click the pictures to take you to the download page on TpT.
sight words, pumpkins, kindergarten, freebie
ghosts, halloween, freebie, math, tallest, shortest, freebie

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hello October

Wow, can you believe it.  Is it really October already.  Today as I planed and prepped I thought to myself, where did the month go?  I can't believe I am already thinking about Halloween.  Yikes.!!!  The one good thing about a new month is a paycheck!!! Could you hear me shouting this morning as I checked my bank account?  Those back-to-school expenditures for the classroom and 2 college tuitions were a bit much.

So now that it is October and my little ones have been in school for 29 days, we have established some routines and those who weren't so quick to pick up on our morning procedures seem to have them down.

Tomorrow we will be testing out our attendance and lunch count board.  Yesterday was picture day, so I took pictures of all my kids.  They looked picture perfect, so I knew it was a good opportunity to snap a photo.  I'll report back next week as to how it is working out.  I think it will be just one more thing my kids will be able to do.  I love making them independent.
attendance board, lunch count ideas, daily attendance
I used a Spontan magnetic board from IKEA ($12.99), some washi tape and the signs from my Calendar Time Wall Kits.  To create the board.  I put my students pictures in a PowerPoint sizing them to 2" squares.  (Sorry for the rectangles- can't show their cute faces) I just wanted you to see how I made my photos. I used magnetic tape from Michael's on the backside to keep them on the board.
class photos, student photos, powerpoint ideas

This month we will be focussing on rhyming!!! I printed the cards from my Rhyme Time Packet to begin using with my small groups.  I changed the setting on my printer, to print two pages onto one page.  This way I save on paper, ink and the cards are more manageable in a smaller pocket charts, like the ones form Target Dollar Spot.
multiple page printing, printer tricks

Here's a quick preview of the packet.
rhyming, rhyme time, time4kindergarten
Until next time, enjoy the rest of the week!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Brown Bear, Brown Bear and a Freebie

Who doesn't love the classic story Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?  It is always a favorite amongst my students.  The receptive language and the whimsical animals make it a must read at the beginning of the school year.

I introduced this book to my class last week. Although some of my students were familiar with the book, the majority had never  seen it before.  They immediately caught on to the receptive language and were able to recite the story as I read.  This story offers so many different teaching moments; retelling, sequencing, sight words, animal names and color identification, to name a few.

After reading the story a few times whole class than with partners, we worked on sequencing and retelling.  Using some picture cards for the pocket chart that I had made, we retold the story.  My focus was on sequencing, but also description.  I wanted my students to say not only the animal name, the color of the animal.  We talked about how the author use color words to describe the animal.

I also made my own student version of Brown Bear, so they could keep it in their reading Book Boxes.  During our quiet reading time, they read the books we have made.  Being that this book is easy to recite, the students feel successful as readers.  Keep reading to grab your own copy of this book.
Friday, we made a story retelling bag.  As students had completed the project, they sat on the carpet retelling the story.  A few students grabbed a copy of the book, so they could remember the character order.
Brown Bear Brown Bear, Bill Martin Jr, kindergarten books
Brown Bear Brown Bear, Bill Martin Jr, kindergarten books
Brown Bear Brown Bear, Bill Martin Jr, kindergarten books
Brown Bear Brown Bear, Bill Martin Jr, kindergarten books

You can find the bag project and pocket chart retelling cards in my TpT store.
Brown Bear Brown Bear, Bill Martin Jr, kindergarten books

Our three sight words this coming week will be I, see, and a.  This was a great way to introduce those three words.  Now for your Freebie.
brown bear freebie
Lastly, I'll leave you with this video that is fun to sing along with.

Have great week!
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