Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Blues

I can't believe that in just a few short weeks, I'll be back in the classroom.  I was actually there tonight with my sweet husband who helped me move most of my furniture to where it belonged.  The summer cleaning crew did their best, but most of it was in the wrong spots.  At least we got all the heavy furniture where it goes, but i still have a ton of work to do.

this week I'm in a CCSS workshop.  Love that 3 of by betties are there with me,  it helps make the day bearable and the time pass just a little bit faster.  Today we played with Edmondo.  I had never been on the site before.  not sure how much I'll access it, but good to know it is there if I need it.

This past week I've been busy working on room decor. I remember last year having a "cute" room became quite a hot topic for some people.  For me, it is a place i spend a grab majority of my time, so I need it to look good.  I know my kids don't care if I have polka dots or chevron decorations, but I like it.  Having a nice esthetically pleasing place makes me happy, and happy teacher means happy students.

Last Friday my Donors Choose grant was funded, so now I will have another iPad to use in my room.  I'm currently working on setting up some new apps and planning how to introduce the iPads to my class.  I created a few posters to help teach my kids how we will be using the iPads.  You can grab them for free in my TpT store.
iPad rule, iPads in kindergarten
A few other things I have been working on are my Calendar Wall Kits.  They are a great addition to my Calendar Notebooks.  They come in black and gray chevron, plain white, or red with white polka dots. IF you need another color combination send me animal and I'll see what I can create.
calendar wall, calendar time, calendar notebooks

Well, it is late and u have another workshop day in the morning.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throw Back Thursday- Calendar Math Notebooks

Last year I implemented Calendar notebooks in my classroom.  They were a huge success.  My students were actively engaged in every aspect.  When it was time to put them away they would beg to do just one more page.  I'm sharing a post I did last year showing the set-up of my Calendar Notebooks.


From August 10, 2013
Calendar time is how I begin my morning.  My kids come in, put their things away and meet me on the rug.  We start with our attendance, pledge of allegiance, school pledge and then begin the morning calendar routines. This is about the time when my criss-cross applesauce gets ants in the pants.  The helper of the day is up front putting on a show and most of the other kids are picking at the carpet or -- well you know how it goes... I knew my routine had to change- more kids needed to be involved.  Slowly little by little calendar time turned into a whole group activity. Now everyone has a binder with a special pencil pouch to hold their pencil and crayons.  As the year progresses manipulatives can be added to their pouch.

Needed Supplies:
  • My Calendar Notebooks for All Year
  • 1" binders bought at Costco 6 pack/$7.98
  • 1 box of 250 sheet prtoectors from Costco $12
  • 4 pack box of crayons from the .99 cent store 6 boxes in a pack
  • zipper pouch or ziplock bag
I also added page dividers that are numbered 1-4 so kids can turn to specific sections. I only used them because I already had them.  Colored construction paper works well too.

I have a binder as well so that I can place it under my Elmo while we are working.
Here are a few samples of some of the pages.  Some pages students will write or color on. Other pages will be placed inside the plastic sleeve and they will use a dry erase marker.  My markers on order.  I will be using the magic erasers from the Dollar Store as their erasers. They are big enough to cut in half and be placed in the push with the other supplies. 
Calendars: Different styles as the year progresses
 Monthly Weather Charts, Days in School Tally Chart and 100's charts
 More Activities
 Place in Sheet Protectors
 Great for Tracing with dry erase pens, or asking students to point to specific items.

I can't wait to begin calendar time this year.  My binders are ready to go, I just need to add names to the covers, once I have a class list.

Here is a FREE SAMPLE of the AUGUST  calendar pages (Don't worry the water mark logo isn't on the samples)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's Under Your Cape Chapter 5

I am so thrilled to be participating in the What's under Your Cape book study.  Sharing the book study with me today is Amy from  Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrascaniano.

This past school year our leadership team decided to bring back Life Skills.  Now that our school is only a K-2 school we felt it was extremely important to dig deep and focus on the essential Life Skills our kids seemed to be lacking.  We had over the years strayed away from our weekly Life-Skills assemblies and classroom lessons.  We also noticed a huge increase of students who weren't receiving these lessons at home.  They were coming to school with a sense of entitlement, attitudes that were unnacceptable and disrespectful and work ethics that lacked effort or perseverance.   This school year we will embark on a weekly school wide Life Skills focus.  Our hope is through teaching and modeling our students will begin to learn and practice these skills and then become roll models for future students.

This book couldn't have come at a better time. If you haven't started reading the book or have missed the previous Book Study posts, it's not too late.  What's Under Your Cape is a quick read full of practical ideas that can easily be adapted to any classroom grade level. Barbara's book takes a different approach to the traditional Character Education that my school will be focussing on.  She has focussed on the acronym SUPERHEROES to provide a framework for teachers to use and reference. Although we aren't specifically using the acronym SUPERHEROES, we are using a superhero theme in our character traits focus.

Chapter 5 R is for Respect  
I can't help but hear the Aretha Franklin's song in the back of my mind every time I hear the word respect.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me.

I think that is the big question.  What does Respect mean to you?  What does it look like like?  How do you get it?  As I think of my students who come into my room at the beginning of the year, I wonder do they know what the word means.  I often hear their mothers telling them to "be good", "be polite", "be a good listener"- ultimately they are telling them to be respectful.  

So, how do you get respect? To get respect you have to give it. As teachers, we expect our students to be respectful, but what happens if they aren't?  As Barbara writes in her book "We must teach our supeheroes what respect looks like so they can imitate it too." 

As teachers it is our job to take those teachable moments to show our little superheroes want respect looks like, what it feels like and what it sounds like.  We can also teach them about respect through modeling, role-[laying and what I personally use most often in my room is recognition of it.  When I notice another student who is being respectful towards another adult or classmate, I publicly acknowledge it.  Almost all children respond to praise, especially when it is amongst their peers.

These words really really sang out to me Aretha style, if you will.  "When it moves from cognitive to affective and we feel it, then it starts to become real.  But respect won't happen in isolation; it happens when we witness and experience it in action. When we weave it as a habit into our daily routines and are able to show it authentically in real-life situations, then it is a part of who we are and how we behave."

I like to think of this as a gradual release of responsibility-  "I do, we do, you do"
I, the teacher do it, I model it, I recognize it.
We, as a class, practice it, model it, recognize it
You as a superhero, do it authentically.

Barbara has a really cute little chant/song to use in your classroom when teaching your little superheroes.  Using the motions to the hand jive-

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
We've got to give it, to get it
yeah, that's the key.
>We live by the golden rule, you see
>At (insert school name) Elementary.

Now, if you need a little help remembering the basic moves to the Hand Jive and your DVD copy of GREASE isn't handy, you can watch this little youtube video.
Lastly, Barbara offers some great lessons to use with the picture book Hey, Little Ant, by authors Philip and Hannah Hoose.
This book is new to me.  After finding it on Amazon then finding a Youtube Video of it, I know it is a book that I need to add to my collection.  There are so many great teaching moments this book has to offer.  Barbara shares many great guiding questions to use with this picture book.  Hey, Little Ant  is also a great way to discuss bullying and how superheroes stand up for what they believe in. Superheroes are not bullies, superheroes stand up for their friends who are the victims of bullies.  Working with kindergartners, it is sometimes difficult for them to understand what a bully is.  This book will be a great addition to my classroom collection.

As I said at the beginning of my post- My school is taking on the Superhero theme to teach the Life Skills.  I've made some classroom poster that our school will be using.  You can download them here for free,

I hope I was able to shed a little light on what Chapter 5 was all about.  If you haven't purchased the book, you can buy it from Amazon.
To read about the other Chapters in the book just look below


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Donors Choose- A Call for Help and a Freebie

I was really hoping to start my school-year off with my Donors Choose project being fully funded.  However this doesn't look like it will be the case.  In my last minute efforts- I'm asking my readers to contribute just $1 to my project.  If even 1/3 of my followers contributes $1 it would be more than enough to fund my little project.

So, here's a little background.  I teach at a very low-sociaeconmic school.  Most of my students come to school speaking very little or no English at all.  Technology is not something my students have access too, unless they are at school.  While some of my students are fortunate enough to have an iPad or tablet, their families often don't have the means to afford the internet leaving these devices useless.

My goal is to expose my students to technology as often as possible and teach them how to use it.  If you read my post the other day about What I Learned in Vegas, then you know how excited I am to to start using iPads in my classroom.
Donor's Choose Project
So I ask you, my readers and followers to spread the word and help me get this funded.  I only have 4 days left before time runs out.

And just in case you need a little something in return.  Here is a Black Chevron Word Wall set that is editable so you can add your own words as needed.  Just click to download.






Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas All Eyes on Reading Pointers


wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
I love to use reading pointers in my classroom.  I have large ones to use during large group activities and small ones to use during small group lessons.  I have found that using "special" pointers helps my kids to focus, stay on track and not lose their place when reading.   I had seen some cute eyeball pointers on Pinteret and thought I could make my own, so I did.


I gather some basic crafty supplies: 
  • popsicle sticks,
  • wiggly eyes
  • pipe cleaners
  • wash tape
  • hot glue gunwiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hopI measured the popsicle stick to the wash tape, cut then peeled off the backing and smoothed the tape over the stick.
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
Flip it over and glue the eyeball to the top.  Pinch lightly until glue dries.  
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
AREN"T THEY C-U-T-E!!!
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
Next, I made these.  
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
I twisted a pipe cleaner into this shape
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
I then glued the large wiggly eye to the backside.
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
Add caption
Ta-Da!!!
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
wiggly eye reading pointers, time 4 kindergarten, kindergarten pointers, bright ideas blog hop
If you enjoyed my Bright Ideas post please consider following me on Bloglovin, Facebook or Instagram.  
Do you want to gather some more Bright Ideas.  Just look below at all the great ideas to help you get ready for the new school year!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What I Learned in Vegas Part 2

I'm back with Part 2 about what I learned in Vegas.  Today's blog post is all about technology.  I was able to sit in on two sessions presented by Mary Amoson of Sharing Kindergarten.  Let me just say that this girl is a firecracker.  She has so much energy and enthusiasm.  Her passion for technology his inspiring.  I'm going to do my best to recap everything I learned, but if you get a chance to see her present, it is a must do!!!


I went to her session on using iPads in the classroom.  Mary emphasized throughout her session to
  • Try one idea and KEEP trying until you get it.
  • Fight to get technology in your classroom.
  • Try your ideas at school-school filters can block internet sites.
Setting up the iPads
Before you begin think about
  • Protecting
  • Storage
  • Charging
  • Synching
  • Management
  • Labeling and assigning devices
Protecting: I use the Griffin Survivor case found on Amazon and Walmart for about $35
Storage: I keep mine in a drawer that also has the cords ran through the back to a surge protector, so I can charge them.
ipads in the classroom












Management: This is where I failed last year.  Don't just randomly assign kids to iPads.  Think about it  in terms of how you will have the kids use them. This year I will be assigning kids to specific iPads.  I will be creating a roster for each iPad.  Every app on the iPad will have the login for only the students assigned to that iPad.
ipads in kindergarten
When I'm reedy to install new apps, I can bring the iPads and my iPad roster home to add the students to the apps.  I use my home computer to synch all my iPads.  You will need to check how your school wants you to load and synch apps.

Different Types of Apps
Here is something I learned from Mary's session.  There are different types of Apps.  She has cleverly named them  Assigned, Open and Multi Player.

Assigned Apps: User profiles can be created for student. The games build on the students performance.  Sometimes specific skills can be assigned for each student and data can be collected of the students performance as well as.  Teach Me is one of my favorite Apps.  It is available for several different grade levels. It is well worth the $1.99
ipads in kindergarten
Open Apps: Start from the beginning or where the last student using it left off.  Students can not be specifically assigned to the app.  The only data that can be collected is for the groups of students who are assigned to that specific iPad.
Letter School is an example of an Open App
ipads in kindergarten, time4kindergarten
Multi-Player:  There are only a few apps with this capability as of now.  These Apps allow multiple students to play at the same time.  An example of this type of App would be Counting Together
ipads in kindergarten, time4kindergarten

Did you know that some Apps can be changed from Open to Assigned?  I didn't until Mary told me.  Under the user profile select enable.  I haven't tried it, but I will once I get my new iPads all set up.

Other Great Apps to Try
Storia from Scholastic.  Download 5 free ebooks

























QR CODES
QR CODES, ipads in kindergarten, time4kindergarten
I'll admit I'm pretty excited about these.  QR Codes is short for Quick Response.  I experimented a little bit last year with QR Codes using one of Mary's products.  I was so intrigued by the entire thing.  Here is what I know.  The one above is supposed to link to my website.  I currently use i-inigma.  There are many out there, just try a few an see which one you prefer.

QR Codes can be used to:
  • Read text to students such as a story you have recorded
  • Access Youtube videos
  • Check Answers
  • Ideas are endless!!!!
There are many free QR code scanners available.  I use the one 
Mary has a fabulous blogpost that breaks it all down for you.  To get a better understanding of what they are and how to use them in the classroom, read her post.
Mary Amoson, Sharing Kindergarten


O.K. now that you know what they are and how to use them- check this out.  I am sooooo excited about this  I can't wait to use it.  She has created QR Codes for sight words.  When your students come to a word they do not know, they can scan the word and have it read to them.  These are genius!!!

So, are you ready to start the year off with you iPads.  I will be cleaning mine up, updating old apps and wiping out student information.  Then I will be loading all the new apps and assigning each iPad a specific number.  I made iPad backgrounds to help my students identify which iPad is which.  You should be able to right mouse click and save to your iPad desktop, then select to use as background image.
I hope you have found some of this information useful.  
Want to win one of  Sharing Kindergartens QR Scan and Learn?

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