Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What's Free From My TpT

Yep, you read it right, todays blog post is highlighting what I have free on my TpT.  If you were involved with my Teacher Facebook Friends group, then you know we've been talking a lot about WBT (Whole Brain Teaching).  I needed some posters of the rules to use in my classroom. Being that I'm ink stingy, I hate designing things with busy backgrounds.  Don't get me wrong, I love my chevron, polka dots and what not borders, but ink isn't cheap.  So with that in mind, I created these.   This also includes headers for a Super Improver Wall.
WBT posters
Next up is one of my favorite products.  This is a sample of my Number Naming Fluency Homework pack.  It is parent child-interactive.  Within a minute the parent knows if their child can recognize numbers or not.
Number Naming Fluency
Just in time for back to school.  If you were in Las Vegas, you may have seen these adorable Show and Tell Aprons.  This is a free set of cards to retell Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Of course, you could also just use them in a pocket chart too.
Show and Tell Apron Cards
Need some rules for your iPads? Try these out. If they are too large to display, they are 8.5x11, you can change your printer settings to multiple and it will print two pages onto one.  I love that feature. 
iPad Rules
Last up, is my What Is It?  This is great to use at the beginning of the year, especially with those little ones who don't know the difference between letters, numbers and shapes.  It has pocket chart cards and an assessment page.
sorting in kindergarten
This time of year can be heavy on the wallet.  Just thought I'd share what I have available.  Make sure to sign up for my newsletter. I try to always send it out with a Freebie attached.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Using Plickers in Kindergarten

Hey friends today I'm handing over my blog to the fabulous Mary Amoson from Sharing Kindergarten.   She is an amazing presenter who is truly passionate about using technology in the classroom. She told me about Plickers last year, but I was apprehensive and I put it on the back burner.  I think she has me convinced to jump in and give it a try.  Read on to learn more about this fun and engaging assessment tool.

Hi friends! This is 
I am so BLESSED to be given the chance to blog with you all about a passion of mine...
using technology to make our jobs easier and better!
Let me tell you about a FREE app I love called PLICKERS.

This is an easy way to have fun with your class and assess them at the same time.
Each student gets a paper clicker... called a PLICKER.

Then you ask your students a question.
They turn their card to show their answer.
THEN you open up your app and it turns on the camera function on your smart device.
Your camera "reads" their answer and records it!
You can read more about this app {here}.
This link takes you to my blog where I have a video
 to SHOW YOU how I set up my Plickers for little ones. 

How can I convince you to TRY plickers in your classroom?
Esp if you have little ones like Kinders...
I top 5 reasons to try PLICKERS!

You only need one smart device in your classroom to do this!
Why? Many of you guys are not one to one.
A lot of you guys don't even have a school purchased device.
But, you guys CAN use your own iPad and iPhone with this. 
And you are the only one who has to have a device!

All the info it gathers is stored online, 
so it doesn't take a lot of storage from you own device either.

The app is free.
The website you use to set up the cards and assign them per student is free.
You can even print the cards for free. 
There is NO COST.
You can even retrieve the data at no cost.

It is easy to prep these cards.
You can prep them ONCE and use them all year.
Just make sure you make a few extras... 
just in case a friend or two looses one.

 If you do use my Assess for Success Packs,
you can use these cards even easier and faster.

 One of the most important reasons to use PLICKERS
 is because it makes a game of giving pre and post assessments. 
Most of my students don't know I am actually figuring out what they already know about a topic...
or what they know about what we learned.

I also through in older games to make sure remember those skills!
When we play we giggle and laugh a lot.
Then we focus on the question I give...
then we show our answer.

This is also stress free for me.
I am plan ahead- OR I can fill in a few extra minutes of time with a quick game.
Sometimes I start asking my students questions about rhyming words,
but I quickly figure out I need to ask a new question or a follow up question, 

 And the most important reason your administration wants you to use this app...
It keeps up with the data for you. 
You get a really easy to read graph

Here are some examples I took from my data.
The top graph show you how many students answered the 
SUBTRACTION 29 question correctly.
I can see that we prob need to go over that problem again
 since only 58% of my students missed that question.

When I click on the question, 
I can see a detailed report of the question. 
On the far right, I can print the responses.
What you can't see is the detailed list it gives me of each students' answer.
I won't show that for student confidentiality reasons. 

As I scan the cards, I see instantly the same data.
Since this app keeps it for me, 
I don't have to write it down myself.

I have tons of Assess for Success packs ready to make giving assessments 
using this format so easy!
Check out this preview of the Initial Sounds Pack so you can see how the cards are formatted!https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assess-for-Success-Initial-Sounds-1333505
You simple hold up the cards and your students turn their plickers to give their answer.
And you can and will assess your whole class on initial sounds
 in MINUTES with one on one data!!!
 Here is a shot at some of the other titles!
You can see all of the topics in the series here.

I hope you decide to TRY PLICKERS in your classroom!
I know you will love it!

After reading this aren't you convinced that you just have to try it.  I know my kids will love it and the best part is they will be having fun and won't even know they are being assessed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Truth About Teachers When We Are Sick

when teachers are sick
You know these funny little pictures you see floating around Facebook and Pinterest, we see them and we laugh and nod our head.  Well I'm hear to tell you it is true and it really isn't a laughing matter.  Think about it- what other profession has to have a substitute when the employee is sick.  If I worked at an office, my co-workers would just have to pick up the slack, or my job just doesn't happen and all my work is still piled up waiting for my return.  If I worked at the grocery store, the lines might be a little longer due to one less checker.  When teachers are sick what happens.?

The truth about teachersStage 1 Denial
First we pretend we aren't sick. We tell people it's allergies.  We then say, I feel fine, I just sound terrible.

Stage 2 The Little White Lie
We tell people we aren't contagious.  We li and say,  'it's just a cold".

Stage 3 Admitting We Are Sick
There comes a point when we've gone too far.  Our body is shaking because we feel like we are in a freezer.  There is a loud pounding in our head as if we were at a Bon Jovi concert.  Finally we admit it. We say those 2 awful words every teacher can't stand to say... I'M SICK!

What happens next is so different for us teachers than it is for anyone else.  We can't just say those 2 little words and crawl into bed.
Stage 4 Panic
This is when we start to panic. We have to get a substitute teacher and prepare lesson plans.  Sometimes we even have to go to school and set everything up.  I've been there on a Sunday night in my pajamas, almost falling over because the world was spinning, but I couldn't let my kinder kids down. I had to leave plans. #thestruggleisreal

Now if you are lucky, you might have a regular substitute or two that you can depend on.  When I know in advance I will be out, I have an amazing substitute.  It has gotten to where I can literally leave her a post-it note.  I don't have to make special sub plans.  She knows my kids, my routines and how I do things.  To make it better, she even knows to grab my iPad and snap photos of what the kids are doing.

BUT… what happens when she can't come at the last minute.  This is usually when I relapse into Stage 1 DENIAL--I tell myself just go in you can make it through the day, because I know the alternative could be tragic.  Let me paint you a picture of a few options I have.  Option #1,  is me with my head on the desk, begging the kids to not write too loudly.  Option #2 THE SUB FINDER.  This is our system.  We get on the computer, check a few boxes and then it  begins calling the 5 people on our preferred list.  They of course either already have a job or don't want it.  Next, it randomly calls people on our district sub list until someone excepts the job.  

Stage 5 Anxiety
From the comforts of my couch I keep checking the system to see if the job has been filled.  My fear is that no one will take the job.  Then it happens a name appears and you feel even worse because you know your room will be destroyed, nothing will get done and your teaching partners will be texting you all day to tell you what is going on.

Before I go on and tell you my tragic stories of substitute teachers- I will say that I have a lot of respect for those who are guest teachers.  I used to be one, so I know how hard the job is.  After my very first day of being a sub, I went home and cried and said I don't want to teach ever again.  Now that the shoe is on the over foot, I also know how to prepare for a sub. I teach my kids to be on their best behavior when I am gone and I don't expect everything to go smoothly. I expect the sub todo their best to follow my plans, but most of all, take care of my babies.

So why do I worry when the sub job goes to a random stranger?  It has nothing to do with a stranger teaching my babies or being in my room and snooping through my drawers.  It has to do with the fear that my babies might not be taken care of.  Let me list some of the "Guest Teachers"  I've had in the past.

#1 Mr. Rubber Rain-boots and Piccolo:  Yes- the first thing he did was enter the room, take off his rubber boots and proceed to play the piccolo.

#2 Here's Jack: According to my colleagues he looked like Jack Nicholson from The Shining.  At one point he took one of my girls to the office and told the principal to talk to her about her behavior.  Of course my principal wanted to know who was with my class if he was in the office.  No one was with them they were just left alone.  Oh and my room has not windows and there is a lonesome hallway before you enter my door.

#3 I Don't Follow the Lesson Plans:  I'm not really a teacher, I just signed up to plat one; its easy money.  This person doesn't have any idea of how to work with kids, they just let the kids have free choice and hand out the assignments without ever explaining them.

#4 The Homeless Looking Guy: According to my colleagues they thought he was a grandparent because he was waiting outside the door with the kids.  He looked homeless and smelled a bit.  I know that at another school they gave him a t-shirt to wear and keep.

#5 Mrs. Zero Tolerance:  I'm fine for coming in strong, showing the kids you're in charge, but there is a limit.  You can't just farm all the kids out to my colleagues to make your day a little easier.

Stage 6 Acceptance and Healing
At some point after the bell rings we have to accept the fact that we won't be going in.  We have to put our phone on silent and ignore the texts and missed calls from colleagues and begin to heal.  If we spend our time worrying and checking in all day how are we going to recover quickly.  After all, the goal for staying home when you're sick is to recoup and make a speedy recovery.

I know I'm not the only one with crazy substitute tales.  I also know we've all been through these 6 stages of being sick.  I invite you to share your tales with me and my readers.

It's simple, Link up below and use the image to link back here.
the truth about teachers

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Made It- Some Classroom Chalkboards

I'm back again linking up with the Monday Made it from Fourth Grade Frolics.

This is actually a project I started last summer- I bought all the supplies at Michael's.  I even went as far as writing out my students' names.  then there the supplies sat for almost an entire year.  So this year I'll have a new class roster.  After removing all the names, which wasn't easy.  I attached the mini clothespins with hot glue.  Now they are ready and waiting for this years class list.

Next up is my Book Bag Check out system.  I'm using Creative Teaching Press supplies.  I have their Chalk It Up! Library Pockets, Chalkboard 4"Designer Letters  and their  Pencil 6" Designer Cutouts.  I bought my red poster board at the Dollar Tree.  I'll be writing my students names on the pockets and numbering the pencils.  to correspond with the numbers on my book bags.

I have a basket the kids put damaged books in.   It needed a new label so this is it.   I had so many people asking me for the label I made for the First Aid kit from last week.  So I put them together and they are now a Freebie on TpT.
This is my first Aid box in case you missed it last week.

 Thanks for stopping by to see what I made this week.  I have a few more projects I hope to get completed tbefore returning to school.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Top Teacher Finds at Target

A few weeks ago I found a few great items at the Target Dollar Spot.  This time of year they always have fabulous teacher must haves.  Of course there are plenty of things there I don't need, but you get caught up in the moment. The next thing you know you have $30 of stuff and you have only just walked through the Target doors. You also know that if you don't grab it right then, it won't be there the new next time 

I found this cute message board, and  a few sets of lacing shapes, and a mini paper looking dry erase banner.  The shape will be great for the first few weeks of school.  My K-kids can learn shapes while working on fine motor skills.  not sure what I'll do with the banner, but I had to have it.
back to school target finds
 On my next trip to Target I found the red bins with chalkboard labels, a set of chalkboard labels, the strip with clips, some pointers, the polka dot organizer and the small black storage case.
For the Monday made it, I shared how I transformed the case into a first aid kit.  If you want to see more- just click the picture below to go to that post.
Alright- back to the other things I bought.  The bins will be used to hold each days planning materials.   I had to go to a different Target to find the 5th bin.  The pointers are great. I have large collection of pointers already, but these are small and well, they were only a $1. The labels, well, they were a $1.  I'll add them to a container or something. The board with clips, I'm not sure how I'm going to use that.  I have this information board outside my classroom that I need to transform. The wind is always blowing my papers away.  I thought I could add the strip with clips to it.  This was an old rolling big book stand, but now it is my parent information board.
parent board, parent helper box
Last up is the polka dotted organizer.  this will hang in my closet.  I stopped at the Dollar Store and grabbed a few items to add to it.  Here I have a mini sewing kit- that actually came from a hotel.  I have hairspray Aleve, toothbrush and paste, hairspray and a few other items.  I also have my favorite cold and hot patches.  These things are amazing.  Bending over tables all day long and sitting in tiny chairs can be terrible for your back.  Sometimes You just move the wrong way and OUCH!.  These things are amazing.  I can stick one on my lower back and be on my merry way.  I have bursitus in my shoulder, so i often sleep with one of these.  When I wake up the pain in my shoulder is gone and I'm good as new. 
teacher medical organizer

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