Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Colors book {FREEBIE}

A mid-week post!  Can you even believe it??!?  I have a few free minutes while my son is at his church choir practice and I wanted to share this book freebie with you!

My teaching partner and I have parent volunteers come every Thursday to pull kids for small group activities.  Last week, we were trying to decide what to have them do, and my partner had the idea of putting together a Spring-y class book for the first day of Spring.  Perfect!!  She came up with the cute wording for the book and I put the page together.
 They turned out really cute!!
 Oh, I am so READY to see green grass, trees, and flowers again!!!
I loved the ideas that some of my students came up with to match their color.
Here is a copy of the blank page.
Maybe it's something you can use too?
CLICK HERE to grab a copy of this page and the cover from Google Drive!

I like to laminate the pages of my class books, punch them, and bind them with metal rings.  I save all the pages to put in my students' memory books at the end of the year.

Please leave me a comment if you grab it!  I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Wednesday!  Temps are supposed to be OUT of the 20's here tomorrow -- I'm so, so excited for Spring!!! :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Word Wall tip {and a FREEBIE!}

I have a word wall posted in my classroom all year long, and I talk all year long with my students about how they can use it as a tool to help them while they write.  But, it is always around this point in the year when I really begin to notice my students using it during writing time, unprompted and without needing my direction to do so.

One of my littles, in particular, was really using the word wall to his advantage last week, and it made me think that this word wall tip might help some of your littles too.

My word wall has evolved so much over time.  I have a chalkboard in my classroom that went unused for so long.  I knew that it would be perfect for my word wall, but I didn't know exactly how to set it up until I visited my bestie Abby's classroom and saw how she had used tape to create boxes.  I used black electrical tape which is super easy to work with.  It's been up like this for almost two years, and has been awesome!
Then, I got the tip to use different colors for my words at Kim Adsit's "DI for the Little Guy" conference that I went to last Spring.  It was a tip that she mentioned really quickly, but it was such a great take-away for me that day.  I worked over the summer to divide my word wall words into separate pages so that I could copy them onto different colors.
 The idea is that, for those sweeties that need a little more of a visual, they can remember each word by it's color.  "Of" is green, "one" is yellow, etc.  Just one more layer of support in case your kids need it.  From my experience this year, this has been super helpful!  It's even so nice for me to use if my students ask me how to spell a word....I can point them to the word wall and remind them that "look" is the purple word in the Ll box or that "from" is the pink word in the Ff box.  You get the idea. :)
 I laminated the word sheets and cut out all the words at the beginning of the school year.  As we've covered each word in class, I've added magnets to them and put them up on the word wall.  I love the look of a full word wall!  We've done LOTS of learning this year!
After years of being dissatisfied with my word wall and not being able to figure out the way to make it work best for my students, I have just loved it this year.  And when I see my students choose writing spots close to the word wall so that they can use it while they work, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!!

I posted about it briefly back in November.  You can check out that post HERE.  

If you'd like the PDF file of the words I use (they mostly align to our Scott Foresman reading curriculum), click HERE to grab it from Google Drive!

I would love to hear how you make your word wall work for you and your students!!  Please share in the comments!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five for Friday {March 21}

Hi there!  Happy Friday!  All I keep hearing about in bloggy world is Spring Break, Spring Break, Spring Break.... I have two more weeks of teaching before Spring Break, and I am crossing my fingers that by the time it rolls around, the temperatures around here feel even a teensy weensy bit like Spring.  Maybe?  Please????  We still have 20's in the forecast for next week and I am just ready to be DONE with that craziness!

ANYWAY.... let's talk about some great things that happened in my classroom this week!

1. One of the kids' favorite things to do on St. Patrick's Day is always the Lucky Charms graph.  My class had lots of fun with this on Monday.  Fun AND delicious!

2. I love making this student reader with my students in March.  We focus so much on reading and books in March, and academic vocabulary is a huge push in my building.  This book checks both boxes and just fits perfectly this time of year.
(This student reader is part of my Three Cheers for Books pack.)

3. I introduced the rules of letter-writing this week as part of our current writing unit.  During one of the mini-lessons, I modeled writing a letter to a friend and used my first name when I signed the letter.  This little guy decided to write a letter to me and used my first name.  He also signed with a heart which is how I always sign my letters to my students.  Made me giggle!

4. Mystery Readers for the WIN!  We are LOVING our Mystery Readers.  The class cheers EVERY morning when they see a mystery reader on our daily schedule.  It's just so much fun.  I take a picture of every reader with their child and the books they read and put them up on the door.  The kids just LOVE having those pictures up in our classroom.  You'll have to use your imagination for what the whole door looks like because I didn't want to post all the photos here, but I have these two signs and lots of stars mixed in with all the photos.

5. Our seeds are starting to sprout and...SURPRISE!  The first seed to sprout is growing in the pebbles!!!
 And the second seed to sprout is growing in the sand!!
The seed in the soil is starting to break through the surface, but I just love the amazement from my students when they see that the seeds in the sand and pebbles actually DO grow!

I hope you've had a great week!!  Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Patty's Day Fun

I spent a few hours at school today getting ready for next week, so I took a few photos of the St. Patty's Day fun that we've been having at school...and also some that my students will get to enjoy first thing Monday morning!

Each Friday, we meet with our 4th grade Reading Buddies.  Most weeks, the students read together, but this week they helped us with a St. Patrick's Day craftivity.  We had already done our LEPRECHAUN DIRECTED DRAWINGS in the morning, so my students knew all about leprechauns and pots of gold.  We used Corn Pops cereal as the gold to fill our pots and the Kindergarteners got to color their pots however they wanted.  
This little guy is a HUGE University of Michigan fan. :)
 The pot actually came from a Mailbox magazine many, many years ago, but you could use any that you can find.
 Then, I paired it with this fun writing prompt from Nicole's Straight Up Standards for March pack.  The Kindergarteners did the talking and the 4th graders did the writing.
 This little one cracked me up!  I do LOVE my smelly markers!!!!  Ha!

Aaannnddd.....I got everything set up for my students to discover that those pesky leprechauns DID invade our classroom even though we crossed our fingers and hoped that they wouldn't!  Tricky, tricky little trouble-makers!! (My kids go nuts for this every year.  It is seriously the craziest and most fun way to start the day!)

What fun things do you do in your classroom to celebrate St. Patrick's Day???

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five for Friday {March 14}

Amazingly, I actually taught five full days this week!  With the winter we've had, it seems like I haven't taught a full week since before Christmas.  Boy am I tired tonight and so ready for a weekend...but I'll be back at school tomorrow preparing for next week.  The life of a teacher!

We had a fun week, so I'm linking up with Kacey for Five for Friday!

1. Our book this week with our Reading Street language arts curriculum was If You Could Go To Antarctica. Don't Kindergarteners just love non-fiction books?  We've been learning about Arctic animals for the past several weeks, so they thought it was fun to learn about the continent on the opposite side of the world.  After reading, we did a word splash about what we might see if we went to Antarctica.  All of these ideas were from the book.
Then, each student chose either a penguin or a seal and they used it in a drawing of Antarctica.
 They chose five words from the word splash to fill the boxes on this page.
I stapled them together to display on our "Star Kindergarten Work" bulletin board.
 If only it didn't still look so similar to this right out our windows.  Snow, snow, go away!!

2. I received several sweet notes from my students this week thanks to an at-home March is Reading Month challenge.  Love these precious kids!

 3. We just began a new writing unit.  For the next few weeks we'll be working on "Writing for a Reason".  This week, the kids made signs to remind us of school expectations.  
Always use your manners.
 When the signs were finished, I gave each student two pieces of tape and they got to choose a place in the classroom to hang up their sign.
Don't throw snowballs.
 They LOVED this!  They could hardly believe it when I told them that they got to use tape! Ha!  
Do not run in the lobby.
 We took them down at the end of the day today and they went home.  I might do this more often with other projects!  The kids took so much pride in choosing the perfect spot to display their work and showing it to all their friends.
Don't hit in gym class.
(I use the Writing Through The Year packs by Deanna Jump and DeeDee Wills as the main part of my writing curriculum, but tweak it to work for me and my students.)

4. We planted seeds this week!  We are investigating how our seeds grow in sand, soil, and pebbles.
Some sweet artwork during Choice Time...

5. We're gearing up for St. Patty's Day on Monday!  I found the CUTEST leprechaun directed drawing activity over at First Grade, Blue Skies. Look how completely adorable they are!!
 I absolutely LOVE doing directed drawings with my students.  And since I am a terrible artist, I am so thankful for the creative geniuses out there that can give me step-by-step instructions!
 I mean.  Seriously.
 I love having these hanging up in our classroom!
 We had to get to know a little about leprechauns so that when they invade our classroom on Monday (Shhhhh!  Don't tell!) my students will know what they're all about. ;)  Can't wait!
CLICK HERE to link back to last year's post to see what the leprechauns like to do in our classroom. :)

Happy weekend, friends!!