Friday, September 30, 2011

Writer's Workshop: Still labeling and that's OKay!

Well, we are making progress. I decided to keep working on labeling this week. Instead of giving each student an entire blank page, I gave them each a half sheet. They seemed to do better with this amount of space. Their labeling was much better. Yeah! I put the numbers 1,2,3 in the corner of my work so I could check off the first three steps as I did them without having to write them..AGAIN! I am going to encourage my students to do this also. I think it will help them to stay organized with their writing process. I am hoping to move on the simple sentences on Mondaywell, that’s the plan Stan!
 This is my favorite find from Pinterest this week. If you are pinning, send me your user name so we can follow one another. It is my latest addiction and I LOVE it. I have found so many great things to do in my classroom and at home. I think it is great motivation. Good thing I have a superpower! 
Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Group Time!

Everything is a teaching opportunity. During group time, we sing lots of songs. When learning sight words, we use the song "The word on the bus". You can find it at Welcome to Room 36 blog. I made these sight word buses to go with the song. Click below to download. :)

Sight Word Bus

Do you use your calendar to teach different lessons? I know most of us use it to teach patterns, but this month I used my calendar to teach the difference between days during the week and weekends / school days vs. non school days. What do you teach with your calendar?
 Have a great day!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Math Centers!

In this center, students stamp the body and label in pencil the body parts.
I heart dice games! In this games, students can play alone or with a friend. They use bears as a game piece. They role the dice and whatever they land on, they move fwd that many spaces. The student to get to the end first wins. If they are playing alone, they keep rolling the dice until they get to the end and then start over. You can purchase my dice game unit that is 38 pages, all themes, here for $4. Kids love these! 
Students choose a card and use the shapes to make the picture. 
students use clothes pins to count the dots and clip that many clothes pins to the plate. When they are done, they remove the clothes pins and grab another plate. This is a cheap center activity that the kids enjoy, it's great for fine motor, and it is easy to put 20 different plates so they keep going and don't finish too early. 

Another way to use the plates is to have small counters (I used bears) and have them place them on each dot. This is good for teaching one to one. 
In the science center, I will have various activities. Here students can use the anatomy apron to continue to learn about our body. 

We also have a blocks center and mobilos...more center favorites. I would love your feedback. What are you doing in your math centers?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Phonics Lessons

I love Frog Street Press! I use their alphabet songs, charts, and books to help teach each letter. This week, we are working on letter N so we learned Nelly Nurse. The kids LOVE these. I have a small book that I made that follows the song too. The first day of the letter study, I introduce the letter, we read the song book, and then we listen and learn the song.

The second day of letter study, we make this chart with pictures they bring from home.  We read the chart on the carpet for a week, and then I tape it to the front of my IKEA shelves. I was going to cover them with fabric but then I had an “ah ha” moment and decided to cover them with the alphabet charts because they will be more accessible to the kids. J

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall, Pumpkins, & Halloween...Oh My!!

I finished my “Fall, Pumpkins, & Halloween...Literacy, Math, & Science and everything in Between” Unit. It’s a whopping 80 pages and I hope you love it. You can buy it by clicking here. Right now it is on sale for $5. I will post a few freebies tonight so check back. Have a great Monday. Where did the weekend go? J

Fall Preview

Friday, September 23, 2011

Writer’s Workshop Lesson 4

This is my lesson from MONDAY. Just to clarify, we have WWS time daily but I only model write every other day because of time. Right now, I am starting lessons on Monday and we continue to work on that lesson all week. I am using a small chart tablet but soon I will use a large chart tablet for Writer’s Workshop. Clear as mud, right?!

Anywho, to start off, I drew a black line down the chart 1/3 over from the left. I told my students that I would draw this line so I could remind us of the rules but they will only write similar to my example on the right side. Then, I wrote out rules 1-3 just like I had done in the last lesson. Next, I told them about rule 4, write a sentence. We will take one of our labels and a few word wall words to create one sentence. Before this, we went over our word wall flash cards that we have learned so far (I, a, can, see, the, me, like) so that we could use them in our sentence. 
Then, I started with step one and went brainstorming. I tell the kids to close their eyes and think of a story they could write about and I do the same thing. Then I begin to draw. They just watch me to see if they can figure out what I am writing about. J I draw my picture and we dicuss it. Then, I color it. I check numbers one and two off the list. J

Next, we went to labeling. This has been a great way to teach phonemes that I wouldn’t teach yet. For example, this is the second time we have labeled a word with “oo” in it. When I asked my students to help me punch out pool and how to spell it, they remembered the two letters that made the “oo” sound. Very cool. Then, we checked off labeling, number 4. 
The last thing we did was write our sentence. We took our word wall flash cards and choose what words we wanted to use for our sentence (I, can, see, a) and picked a label to add to the sentence. They we tried to find them on the word wall. I try to make reference to it as often as I can. Then, I wrote the sentence “I can see a pool.” I remind them that all sentences start with a capital and end with punctuation. Last, I underlined the word wall words and circled the labeled word just like we did on the picture.

We went over the four rules AGAIN, reminding them of the five color rule and they went back to their seats to begin. It didn’t take me long to realize that they were NOT ready for this lesson! They need to spend more time on drawing and labeling. They aren't ready for sentence structure. That’s okay though. We spent the rest of the week working on numbers 1-3 and will try lesson 4 again next week. Sometimes, you will plan a lesson and it won’t work. Even if it looks pretty on paper! J The important thing is to follow the child and they will get where they need to be eventuallyand I am ok with that. Have a great day friends. It’s FRIDAY! Love and virtual hugs!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Terri's Teaching Treasures Giveaway

Terri's Teaching Treasures
Check out Terri's blog for her fabulous birthday giveaway!!

Friends! (Interactive Writing)

I am so glad I can call you my friend! Teaching children how to be a good friend is super important. Sometimes, children do not spend time with other children before coming to school. They haven’t been exposed to sharing, caring, and understanding what it is like to have so many friends to consider. We usually take an entire week to talk about friends and another week to talk about family. This is a great way for me to get to know my students better. We created this chart. I wrote FRIENDS and we went around the circle and each student shared what they thought a good friend was. Then they went back to their seats and drew a picture of themselves, because each student can be a good friend. Then we glued the pictures on to the chart. J

I’m not sure why I put quotations around their names for the first part of the chart. LOL! Brain fart I guess. (that is what my son would say, lol) 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Letter P Week

Last week we studied the letter “P”.  On Friday, we had a Pirate and Princess Popcorn Party! Fun times! This week, our color of the week is brown.  We will have a Teddy Bear Picnic this Friday and we will all wear brown. I will post pics this weekend. I love THEMATIC learning!! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I love SCIENCE blogs!

Little Miss Hypothesis
Have you seen this cutie patootie blog? I know I have said it before, but I will say it again..I LOVE SCIENCE! My two teaching favs (this year, lol) are Science and Writingodd combo I know. Anywho, you should go by and visit Mrs. Coe and follow her great science blog. I think that science is an area that usually gets shoved aside in the classroom, especially with pressures of reading levels and math scores. It is a breath of fresh air to find a new fun idea or lesson that you can throw in the mix of all the ciaos to create a little scientist! Have a great day!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shut the front door!

Shut the front door! Shut the back door! Shut the windows!
This weekend I hit 400 followers. That is Ah-May-Zing!!! To think, I just started this little blog May 16th and I am so glad I decided to embrace this journey. Of course, I don't have a lot of free time with all of the blog stalking I do...not to mention Pintrest! J I've just got to give you something. It’s not much, but here is an  October calendar. J And, if you haven’t participated in my Giveaway, you should because you are already a winner. It’s ok if you don’t have a blog! J Have a great Monday and THANKS for taking time out of your busy lives to see what is going on in Room A8 in Texas! J


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Facebook Linky Party!

The super fabulous Lesson Plan Diva has created a linky party for bloggers to find other bloggers on Facebook. You can find me HERE. Come by and follow me and visit Lesson Plan Diva too! Join in the fun but follow the rules. I skimmed through it and misread (so I was totally NOT a rule follower, oopsie) so my link didn't post. Lesson learned...must slow down. LOL Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Literacy Centers!

Centers this week

This is my fine motor center. I call it Star Center. I think it is important to incorporate fine motor activities into centers and the kids always love them. This activity is tonging. Students have two small bowls and plastic tongs that I purchased from Lakeshore Learning. The first bowl is full of counters, little animals I think. You can use whatever you have, cotton balls, erasers, etc. They transfer all items to one bowl and then back to the other bowl. Then, they do it with the other hand. This is always more challenging since it is usually the hand they don't write with, but it is a fun center. 

Last year, my Leapfrog Project was funded through Donors Choose and I received two Tag readers and several books. In this center, students will listen to the leveled books and also listen to animal facts. I hooked them up to headphones so they can hear without being disturbed. They love this center. Eventually,they will be able to read along with the TAG reader.

Magnetic Center: I think I got a little over zealous with this center. Too many students were not able to do this independently so I will have it revised on Monday. In this center, students will use their magnetic letters to make the sight words on the bus. These are words that we have introduced during word work by singing "the sight word on the bus", which I found on Room 36 blog, a terrific blog! I will tweak this though and make a matching bus or backpack or something with the sight word on it and have the students match the words. I should have only put five words up to begin with. Live and learn!

Rhyming Work: This is an activity where students will take a train and match the pictures to the train that rhyme. There are three trains. Students will take turns or work together each filling out every train. Then, they will take a small piece of paper or a magnadoodle and write one set of rhyming words. They can color a picture if they are not able to write yet. I ask my students to always try. We are not seeking perfection when we are learning. 

Stamping Center: I sell this set on TPT and Teachers Notebook. Students will trace, stamp, cut and glue the letters. I only put the stamps they will need for this activity in the basket. Stamping is always a hit. 

Art Center: Paper tearing is a great fine motor activity. It also takes longer than painting. We are creating our own Meanie this week out of construction paper. I love what they have come up with so far. No two meanies are alike. If you are not sure what I am talking about, "Meanies" is a Joy Cowley book that is great to teach from. Check it out!
  Writing Center: One the writing bulletin board, I stapled these picture up for this round of centers. The pictures have the words under them. Each student will get a book to write these words.  This summer a teacher store was closing and they had notepads super cheap so I bought a ton of them. I thought it would be great to use a notepad as a cover sheet for books they will make in the writing center. I just cut out plain paper and staple it together. I think this is a great way to make their own book without having to worry about my copy count.
 We also had library, listening, poetry, and write the room centers but those pictures are similar to last weeks. I will post math centers on Monday. We did our shape unit last week and made a pretty cool shape mural. Pictures to come in a few days. Have a great weekend!

It's not too late to participate in my GIVEAWAY! You're automatically a WINNER!!

Check out Clutter-Free Classroom for a great Linky Party to see what other teachers are planning and teaching this week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writer's Workshop Lesson 3

Okay ya'll! I hate taking pictures of myself...for real! I would never share a picture, but I really like this one. This is of me and my sweet hubs last night at dinner. I had lap band surgery this summer and so far I have lost 21 pounds. I can tell in my face and I think that makes me happier with my pictures. 

Anywho, on to the good stuff!

Let’s recap.
The first lesson I introduced:
  • why writers write
  • what we can write aboutbrainstorming!
  • children are authors too
  • how to create an illustration

The second lesson was all about LABELING!

Yesterday, we recapped on everything we have learned this far. To start off, I went through the steps myself. Modeling is so important for the little peeps!
Please IGNORE the terrible writing. I wasn't writing from the best angle and you can tell. So, I drew my picture and then reminded my little friends of the steps and wrote them down. 

As step 2 states, you need to draw and color your picture. I will teach them how to keep adding to your picture in a later lesson. I tell my kids that I want them to use at least five colors. I have never done that before, but it amazes me how much it works. I was tired of seeing pictures that were all red or blue. It helps with learning their colors too because they will tell me the colors and count them. J

The last step I did was labeling. They told me what to label too. They really went to town. They wanted to keep going (stairs on slide, seats on swing, etc.) so I know they understand labeling. Then, they had to go back to their seats, think of a story other than me and my mom (lol), draw and color a picture with at least five colors and label at least three things. I forgot to take pictures of their work but I was super impressed. I kept referencing the alphabet charts on the walls so they could go and find the letter they needed even if they don't know their letters yet. We also "punch out" our sounds with our hands so they know a word should have at least ... letters. I hope that makes sense. 

I ended the lesson with letting them know that next week we will take one of our labels and make it a sentence. Ex. I see a sun. I can go slide. They will use their word wall words along with their labels to begin to create simple sentences. I wanted to start preparing them for the next step so they won't be overwhelmed when the lesson comes. So far, so good! So, have you started Writer's Workshop? 

P.S. Don't forget about my giveaway! I have given away approx. $150 worth of units from my stores. It's not too late. Check out my previous post!! Have a fantabulous day blogging buddies. You have almost made it to Friday so get your Fridance ready! Love and blog hugs!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Here’s a giveaway where EVERYONE is a winner!! 
All you have to do is:
  • Follow my Teachers Notebook Shop
  • Follow my Blog
  • Blog about my giveaway (if you have a blog)
  • Leave your email address in the comments along with your choice of ONE of either my Sub Tub Folder, Birthday Unit, Colors Unit, or my Rainbow Words Unit and I will email it to you for FREE! J 
Make sure you do ALL of the above please! 
Feel free to leave a comment too. I love getting to know my blogging buddies. Have a fantabulous week friends!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Poetry Center

Each week I introduce a new poem.  We will read it every day and use it during word work.  For example, we may find words that start with, or find the sight words from the word wall.  This week we are working with the poem Way Down South. The kids really like it.  Then, in the poetry center, students get out their poetry folder, which will have a copy of the poem in it, and they will draw the picture and sometimes do additional activities with the poem.  For example, last week for Mary Wore A Red Dress, they had to circle the word RED with a red crayon. Curious minds want to knowdo you have a POETRY center???

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Writer's Workshop Labeling!

Moving onour next lesson in Writer’s Workshop was LABELING. I found the cutest chart on Pinterest, my newest addiction, and was excited to see that it was created by one of my favorite bloggers, Babbling Abby at the Inspired Apple. Anywho, so I made my own replica and added a tree. (I am an official copycat!)  We had a wonderful discussion about why we label our pictures and how we will one day take our labels and make sentences with them. 

Then I went back to my picture from the previous day and asked my students what we could label. I was very impressed that I did not have to offer any input. They decided what I needed to label.

After the lesson, each student went back to their table and brainstormed a new story idea. Then, they created their illustration and I asked them to label two things on their picture. I didn’t want to overwhelm them.  Most of the pictures were just self portraits or them with their mom (which is always popular especially because it is easy to spell). I had a handful of kiddos that did get overwhelmed so I worked one on one with them helping them to just write the beginning sound.
Here she write "sn" for sun and "pl" for people. This is great for a Kindergartener. Once they know more letters and sounds, they will write more, but starting out, this is the first stage of phonetic writing. I think it's exciting!
This student drew herself with her mom and sister at the park. She filled in her name because she new how to spell it. It always amazes me how self conscious kindergartners are. Then she wrote "MGBZ" for monkey bars. LOVE IT!
This is full of good beginnings! "XBCN"= xbox connect, "PAS" = pants, "HUT"= shirt, "TZE"=t.v.  I was pretty impressed. Even though KIndergarten is the new first grade, it amazes me how many students start K without knowing any letters or sounds. We just started our letter study this week so I am pretty pleased with their growth and I am totally confident that this year we are going to be chalk full of blooming authors! 

They were very proud of their writing & so was I. Good times!! We start week four on Monday. It's down to business people. So...what are you doing for writer's workshop? J

Friday, September 9, 2011

Writer's Workshop Begins!

This week we began our official “Writer’s Workshop” time. Have I mentioned that this is now one of my favorite things to do?! Last year I thought I started this way too late with my kids so I was on a mission to get it going fast.  To be honest, I am nowhere near an artist, but I can copy stuff by looking at it.  Luckily, I found great inspiration from Cara at First Grade Parade. She has great ideas! You should check them out. Solike all good teachers, I steal, I mean borrow other wonderful ideas. J I discussed with my students why writers write? We write for ourselves and for the READER. Then we talked about what we could write about and went on a BRAINSTORMING ride. 

After completing the chart, I did some brainstorming of my own. I told my students that I was going to start an illustration and I wanted them to look at it and see if they knew what I was going to write about. This helped them to understand that the illustration is an important part of their story.  It didn't take long for them to say "you're at the grocery store."  I choose something very basic because I wanted it to be something that everyone could relate to and for them to understand that they don't have to write about going to Disney World for it to be a good story. We talked about what I could do at the store and what I could buy. I told them I would add more tomorrow and then everyone went back to their tables and created an illustration. I felt it was a very successful lesson. J
This is the first part of writing, brainstorming an idea and then creating the picture. Stay tunedtomorrow I will post the next day’s work. I think I am having as much fun as the kids! J
P.S. THANKS to everyone for their sweet comments this week. I would love to say my week got better but it didn’t. L Someone we have known for a while died very unexpectedly on Tuesday night and Wednesday as soon as school started I broke my glasses. Um, hello I can’t see without them. LOL! Can we say Hot Mess in the house!! I did buy a new pair because of course my frames were discontinued. Oh well. It’s Friday and it will be a great day! Either way, I woke up with my big girl panties on and I am choosing JOY! Love and virtual hugs!