Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Day SALE!!!

Are you excited about the BIG sale tomorrow? I am! Tomorrow only, everything in my store will be 20% off and if you enter the code L2P9Y when you check out, you will get an ADDITIONAL 10% off! I’m no math whiz, but I am thinking 30% OFF is pretty sweet!!  
 OMG! I made it the biggest size possible. It's like a poster. Haha...your welcome! (wink wink) 
Thanks to Rachel Lynette for sharing this photo. J
Free eye candy! LOL!

In case you missed it, here are my latest creations:

I also bundled both units for a cheaper price. J

Have a happy hump day! (What a silly word! Haha!)

P.S. for my sweet praying friends...my husband's grandfather passed away tonight. Please say a prayer for his family. When it rains it pours I guess...sigh.....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Creating Student Independence!!

Hello Kreative in Kinder Fans!  I am Heidi Raki of Raki’s Rad Resources, and I am super excited to be here today on Kreative in Kinder to share some ideas for you on how to promote independence in centers.
In my classroom, we do centers for the majority of our day.  I use the time when my kids are at centers to teach differentiated lessons that meet my kids where they actually are, which can vary by a lot!  So, having my students be independent workers when they are not with me is super important!  Here are some things I do to promote this independence in my room:

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.   <!--[endif]--> <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> 1. Use the same centers each week, or at least similar centers.  I have had the “same” centers pretty much since the beginning of the year, with a few exceptions.  I created “category” centers, and fit all my skills inside the assigned categories.  For example, one of my “writing” centers is a phonics center.  The phonics center has a slightly different activity each week, but the kids know there will be a phonics activity and pretty much know what it will include.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.  <!--[endif]-->Keep supplies simple and organized.  I try to use as few supplies at each center as possible, in order to limit disagreements over supplies and frantic searches for missing supplies.  Obviously, some centers are going to need supplies, you can’t go to the reading puzzles center without reading puzzles.  Organization that the doesn’t change helps keep this simple.  For example, in my reading puzzles centers, I have 3 levels of difficulties, and the puzzles are all sorted into bins based on their level.  Each puzzle is in a baggy with a number on it.  The numbers on the baggy are the same as the number on the bin they go in.  All my reading puzzles are in red bins, my math puzzles are in yellow bins.  Simple organization systems like this go a long way towards getting little hands to set up and clean up their own centers, allow you more teaching time!

<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.  <!--[endif]--> <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Use a center checklist, or better yet a center packet.  My kids only visit 2 of 5 centers during each rotation, so in order to help them keep track of what centers they have been to, we use a simple center checklist with boxes that are easy to check off.  I suggest using a checklist even if your students rotate through all 4 or 5 centers in one rotation, because someone is bound to miss a center, whether they were working with you, pulled out for extra help, playing in the bathroom, for whatever reason.  The checklist allows you to have a better idea of who did what and what should have gotten accomplished.  I staple my checklist to all the papers my students need for centers for the entire week and we call it our center packet.  It contains reading, writing and math centers, and it eliminates the need for making just about any other copies throughout the week!

<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4.  <!--[endif]-->Explain each center ahead of time.  Taking 5 minutes to “remind” students of what each center’s expectations are can save you 20 minutes of redirecting during centers, and increase the chance that what you want to happen will actually happen.  My kids have been doing the same thing for 20 weeks, and we still start every Monday with an explanation about what I want to happen at each center, (and someone still ends up doing it incorrectly.)

<!--[if !supportLists]-->5.  <!--[endif]-->Have a Do Not Interrupt symbol.  My do not interrupt symbols is a hat, nothing fancy, just a little grey ball cap.  I have seen people use a princess tiara or a Hawaiian lae, anything that tells the kids this is not the time to interrupt me.  When I am teaching a small group and I don’t want students to interrupt me, I put on my ball cap and they know not to come up to me.  Do they still try, of course, but generally they will get to me, see my hat and walk away.  A few still try to ask their question, but generally get the point when I don’t answer or ask them “Am I wearing a hat?”

<!--[if !supportLists]-->6.  <!--[endif]--> <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Explain the exceptions to the rule.  I love my Do Not Interrupt symbol, but as with every rule, there are exceptions.  My kids can tell you there are 4 reasons you can interrupt Mrs. Raki if she’s wearing her hat. 
1.  You peed your pants.  2.  You’re gushing blood.  3.  You’re throwing up.  4.  You don’t know the phonics word.  ( I teach in a school with almost 100% ESL population, a lot of the time, they don’t know what the picture represents, so then how are they supposed to know if it is a long A or a short A?  So, for this class we made an exception and decided they can interrupt me, but they know that they just hold the picture card up, I say the word, and they leave.)

<!--[if !supportLists]-->7.  <!--[endif]-->Have clear, age appropriate expectations.  If you are clear with your students that you expect them to be independent, they will be.  However, most 5 year olds will not sit with a worksheet for an hour.  Keep your centers to activities students should be able to do independently, and limit the time at each center to 15 – 20 minutes. 

I hope some of these tips will help you have independent students when you are teaching those important, differentiated lessons.  Thanks for the opportunity to guest blog here on Kreative in Kinder.  I’d be honored if you stopped by Raki’s Rad Resources for more ideas you can use in centers and beyond.

Biographical information:
Heidi Raki teaches first grade at the American Academy of Casablanca.  In addition to being a teacher, she is also a mother of 3 young boys and the author of the blog Raki’s Rad Resources.  She believes in using quality teaching strategies and quality resources to create quality teaching moments that will resonate with her children, increasing understanding and a love of the learning experience.  Feel free visit her blog at http://rakiradresources.wordpress.com or her TPT store http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Heidi-Raki where she has 20 free products available for download.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Teaching How-To Writing!!

This week, I taught my students how to write a “How-to” piece of writing. We have been writing nonfiction (for the most part) all year. We use this chart to help remind of the differences between fiction and nonfiction for reading and writing.
Anywho, we first created a snowman Interactive Writing chart for “How to Build a Snowman.” This is funny to me because in Texas it doesn’t feel like winter. 

Then, the next day, I did my mini lesson on the board with dry erase markers. I usually do it on chart paper but since they moved my projector to show on my white board, I loved the fact that I could do my work on the same paper as they will complete their work. I hope that makes sense. HAHA!
I decided to go ahead and write about “How to make a snowman” for my mini lesson.  Then, I passed out this paper and students wrote their own how-to piece. They were not allowed to use my snowman example. They turned out so good. I thought I had took pictures but I guess not. I will add them later. We had How tomake a paper airplane, make a pb&j, get dressed, learn to read, play soccer, etc. They really did well. Here is the printable for your downloading pleasure. 
We have the Lucy Calkins curriculum so we are on book six this six weeks. I will post more about the work we did during this past six weeks soon. 

Also, I just posted my St. Patrick's Day Unit. I will post a freebie tomorrow. 

Have a great week friends!!! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


For my praying peeps: This week two of my friends have lost their mothers, one from a brain aneurysm and the other a massive heart attack last night. Both women were healthy and in good shape, so this was a complete surprise to everyone. They both were teachers and have taught me and/or my kids. It is just heart breaking. Please send prayers for their sweet families and mine as we all suffer a great loss. I am taking a break from blogging this week as my heart deals with so much sadness. Love and virtual hugs!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Seuss-Tastic Learning!!

I posted my Dr. Seuss Literacy & Math Centers Unit last night. It’s 57 pages of Seuss-Tastic FUN! Here is a freebie because I love ya ..what rhymes with freebie? HAHA!
Dr Seuss Freebie

This unit will be on sale this week! 
Click the picture to check it out! THANKS!!

Do you have off today? I do but don’t be jealous because I will be at home doing report cards all day. I knowyou want to come help me do them, don’t you?! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sight Word BINGO Fun & Freebie!

This week, when we finished our word work, I passed out blank BINGO cards and had my students fill in sight word/word wall words in each box. I did a super messy quick demonstration on my board. I passed out a handful of fruit loops to teach child to use as markers. Of course they ate them when we were done. I have sight word flash cards all the time. Right now, they are gloves because it is supposed to be winter outside, or else that is what we have heard. In Texas, the jury is still out. Though it did snow for a few minutes last Sunday (of course while I was in the hospital and didn’t see it) but it was 70 degrees the day before and after. Go figure! That’s Texas for ya! Anywho, I read the word and they put a fruit loop on it. Not rocket science but so fun! They loved it. Here are some bingo cards I made for you. We used the same ones all week. They didn’t put their names on them so after they first day it was “you get what you get and you appreciate it!” J I let them trade in between games with their neighbor too. We only played for about 5-10 minutes but they loved it so much and I will try anything for them to learn all of the word wall words! J

Sight Word Bing
Ugh! I hate when the preview from scribd is jacked up! Grrr! All of the lines will be there when it downloads. LOL! Also, I will post my Dr. Seuss Unit, St. Patrick’s Day Unit, and other goodies today too! J

Math Centers!

Here are a few Math Centers from last week. We LOVED them!! IThey can all be found in my Valentine Unit, which I think was my favorite unit I have created. I am doing similar activities in my Dr. Seuss & St. Patrick’s Day Units because I like for my kids to work on the same type of activities all month. Consistency is important. J I always create units with my class in mind and love it that you can use them too!! When I sell my units, it helps me pay for my student loans so it is such a blessing! Thanks for keeping me off the streets! (I am TOTALLY just kidding!!) J  

Counting by 10's! 
 Count and Color!
 Roll and write!
 Valentine Graphing!

 Number sequencing!
Dice games!

Matching numbers to ten frames then play War or Memory!
 More dice games. Rolling to 100!
And lastthis is a table from our Valentine Party. My room mom and parents did a great job and we didn’t spill one Big Red float on the carpet!   Poor activity teachers. We partied and then they when to their rooms to work off the sugar high. It was so fun but I NEVER want to have a party on Tuesday ever again! Longest week everrrrr!!!!

If you purchased this unit, did your kids love it?

Did you have your Valentine party on Tuesday or Friday?

Anddo you have to work on Monday?? I DON’T! Whoo hoo!! I need that day to do report cards (on the couch, haha!)!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Morning Message!

Hello Kreative in Kinder folks! My name is Lori. I am the author of Conversations in Literacy blog. Crystal so kindly asked me to be guest blogger and I am so excited to do this! I love her blog and she has such great ideas to share with all of us! I really enjoy reading and sharing all these ideas through this wonderful place known as blog land. I hope you will take a moment to hop over to my blog too. I'd love to hear from you! :)

One thing I really enjoy doing with my kindergartners is the morning message. They love it too! When they walk in the room and the message is up, they are immediately excited to see what it is about. They rush right on over to the rug and start trying to see what they can read! They are pointing at and touching words in the message. Some are so excited they want to stand instead of sit on our nice carpet. I hear things like "oh I can read" followed by the words they can read, "I see a question mark" (they know that means there is a question they will get to answer it on the chart), and many other excited comments about what they know. This picture shows the morning message that I had all prepared and ready for the students for Valentine's Day. But I'm in Missouri and we got snow Monday morning and wouldn't you know...school got canceled for Monday and Tuesday!! So this message will be waiting for them when we get back to school on Wednesday! I wish I could have shown you what it looks like after we have gone through and marked on it all the things we do, but the snow kind of put a kink in my plans! :)

I don't usually get as fancy with the morning message as I did with this one, but hey, it's for Valentine's Day. So we had to be a little creative! Normally I write the message on white chart paper or on my wipe off easel. I've tried it on my Smartboard, but that doesn't seem to work as well for me. There are so many skills that can be taught in the morning message that makes it multi-level and differentiated. We always start off with what do you see that you know. If students are recognizing and reading words, they can point out words to read. But if they are still working on recognizing letters, they can identify a letter that they know. That way everyone can be successful! Here are just a few things you can use morning message to teach:

*left to right directionality
*sight words
*we count the number of words we know in message
*beginning or ending sounds
*math, social studies and science concepts

Lastly, I just have to show our owls for Valentine's Day! We made our owls and talked about whooo we love. Lol! Parents, cousins, and pets were the popular answers. The kindergartners then wrote on their hearts who they loved and why. It was difficult for them to choose only one to write about- we had lots of love for everyone! But the hearts were small so we kept it to one and then why we loved them. Kindergartners are naturally loving people!!

Thank you, Crystal, for allowing me to guest post for you and everyone for reading it! It's been a lot of fun! I love sharing and learning about great ideas and would love to hear about the wonderful things you are doing!

Conversations in Literacy

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

24 Hours Of Sweetness You WON'T Want to Miss!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I heart you with all of my heart!!! Have I told you how so excited I am to have over 1,000 followers? Now, that is swwwweet! So, I asked some of my sweetest friends to donate to my sweet followers for one day of sweet freebies! This post is giving me a cavity already!

What’s the catch? None. Nada. Nothing.  You don’t have to do a thing but click the link below and start downloading all of this sweet learning goodness!! Of course, I would LOVE it if you would follow my blog (if you don’t already) AND FOLLOW MY facebook (by clicking like on my facebook button in the left column), but ya don’t have to! Just a heads up though, since I post tidbits to facebook quite often, I will be posting random sales and freebie announcements often so if I were you, I would totally consider following!! Also, later this month I will launch my monthly newsletter so stay tuned.oh..it’s SO EXCITING!!!!

Click my heart to grab yourself tons of "1000 followers" sweetness!!

So.if you have totally loved this giveaway, pretty please leave me some love! ANDgo by and say hi to my friends on their blogs because they heart you too! THANKS to everyone who donated towards my big day giveaway. I heart you gals SOOO MUCH!!!!

Have a fantabulous Valentine’s Day. Who needs roses when you can have this sweetness, right?!!!!

Live Love Laugh

A Modern Teacher

Sharing Kindergarten

Kindergarten Lifestyle

Mrs.Miner's Monkey Business


Make, Take & Teach

Teaching First

Cooperative Learning 365

P.S. This sweet deal only lasts 24 hours and then it will disappear forever to shout it from the roof tops and tell all of your friends! Love and virtual hugs!!!