Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alphabet-Tastic FUN & a FREEBIE!!

We are plunging into the alphabet. We learn one letter a week for the first two weeks, and then move to two letters a week. How do you do your letter study? I really want all letters introduced by the second semester. Each year my class has such a wide range of learning abilities. Some kids can read like second graders while others don’t know what a letter is. It can be challenging meeting everyone’s needs, but it is doable (says the teacher that doesn’t sleep, lol). I have handwriting worksheets for my kids, but I really wanted something more. So, last night I got a wild hair and whipped up this little ditty. Wellnot so little. It’s a 215 page phonics packet with all kinds of activities. Yes, handwriting activities, but also centers and things great for whole group or RTI interventions. I am hoping this will make my life so much easier. J You can click on the picture to get more information on this unit.


When I introduce a letter, I use Frog Street Press’ phonics DVD, charts, and songs. Here is a preview of what the DVD looks like. 

The kids love Mr. Pencil! We also make charts with pictures the kids bring from home. I forgot to take a picture of one though. I will try and add it tomorrow. J We learned the letter Nn yesterday. Here are a few pages from my new unit for a freebietake a test drive! J Just click on any of the pictures to download. 

I hope you are having a great week! I am ready for the time to changeI think. I have been recovering from a sinus infection I am sure caused by the crazy Texas weather. Cold one day, blazing hot another. I am sure hubs would love to move and my asthma would probably love me, but I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.
So, inquiring minds want to knowhow do you teach phonics?
I asked FB followers for their funny school stories that I can share with you. I will close with this one from Ann Greene.

“I was sitting with one of my grade level teachers before the school year began and we were looking at the names of our new students on our rosters and generating our birthday lists. After a few minutes she says "Hey look! I have two students with the same birthday. I don't think that has ever happened in all the years that I have been teaching." A few more minutes go by and she excitedly blurts out "Wow! Look at this! I have three students with the exact same birthdate! That is amazing! I have never had that happen before!" As we are oohing and ahhhing over the irony of this...all the sudden she bursts out laughing. She is laughing so uncontrollably with tears streaming down her face. She tries to speak between the gasps of laughter but simply cannot. Finally she regains control and says..."I just remembered! I have triplets in my class this year!" And the uncontrollable laughter continued for at least another 10 minutes. We still laugh about it when we tell the story to others.” THANKS Ann for sharing!! J

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

HERO in the HOUSE!!

So, today is day 16 of school. Can I tell you that I am totally counting down to the 20th day? We had SO MUCH FUN on day 10 when Zero the Hero came to visit. This is the first year that I have for real committed to going all out and man oh man was it a hit. By time those kids went to bed, every parent knows about our new friend Zero! This is by far my favorite unit to do and really my favorite creation. J

I keep everything stapled to my calendar wall so I have everything handy when it comes time to make Zero's appearance, including this necklace I got at I Teach K this summer. I wore it all day and the kids loved it. In order for them to enter and exit the classroom, they had to say Zero's number for the day...10!! 

We count the days with colored post it notes..all colored coordinated. All of the 1’s are a certain color, all of the 2’s are a certain color and so on. But, all of the tens have zero on them.
 We also made these zero puppets. I have this cute pop up zero puppet too. Right now we are using him to count to ten so when it gets to ten he pops out. Eventually we will use him to count by tens too.  

Zero comes with a cute little poem and a gift for our class. You can do things like cheerios but for now I think he is going to bring that day's number of items we need for our classroom or a project we are working on. For example, when we get to 30 he is going to bring us 30 fancy pencils so everyone can get one and the rest will go in the writing center. 

You can click on this picture for more info. If you are doing Zero the Hero in your classroom, I would love to know what fun things you do. Please share in the comments. Have a great day!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What's in your LIBRARY??

Well, we just finished day 14 on Friday. Whew! I think we are finally making leeway. Do you feel like that too? I had a family emergency on Wednesday so I had to get a sub. Eek! I would rather have had a surgery then have a sub the third week of school. When I returned on Thursday, it felt kinda like day one. We pulled it together but I didn’t have much of a voice by the end of the day. Bless their hearts (that’s the Texas way of saying OMGHOT MESS!!).

Next week is homecoming for my kids so this weekend has been a little busy and I am sure this week will be all kinds of nuts. I cooked for a few hours last night and made about ten freezer meals for the next two weeks. I was trying to get ahead on this whole mom business! Besides, I need time to get down with my bad self. LOL!

I thought I would share with you tonight how I have my library set up. This is my little library. I actually have two book shelves. The one on the inside of the library is for my students. The one on the opposite side (facing our group rug area) is my library that I pick books from when I read to the class. Once I read a book, I put it in their library. This way, they are not reading anything from their library that hasn’t been read to them. I hope this helps them to “read” better.

I also have available reading phones. My brother in law made these for me out of PVC pipe and cost practically nothing. I also have tons of fun glasses that I bought from Oriental Trading and popped out the lenses.

I use Frog Street Press to teach phonics, colors, and numbers (along with district curriculum). I have these books based off of their songs that students can read too. They love them. They only issue is keeping them quiet because they can belt out some Apple Annie like it’s Broadway!

I also like to keep magazines available. I have Zoo Books, Scholastic magazines, etc. that have all been taken apart, laminated, and put on rings. They will last years this way. It’s part of our TEKS (Texas guidelines) that students read magazines and newspapers. 

I also have a basket of puppets handy so they can act out stories, though I prefer this not to be in the actual library. 

We also participate in a program with our local newspaper where a business donates a class set of newspapers to our classroom once a week. The students love Tuesdays because of this. I teach them where the title of the newspaper is, where to find the date, weather, headlines, local stories, etc.  Each week I will also give them an independent focus. For example, highlight all of the letters “a” or sight words “see”. We use it to find capital letters and punctuation. Really the possibilities are endless. J Kids also love to take the newspapers home and discuss what they learned about it. Parents are pretty impressed. You should see if your community has a program like this. J

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Classroom Pics of Daily 5!

Today is Post Your Classroom Pics Tuesday on TBA. Since I already did that, I thought I would explain some of my D5 set up with my classroom pics. If you missed my original post, you can find it by clicking HERE! J

Okay, so here is the dill pickle. I have never done Daily Five before and even though I believe in the whole theory or process, it kinda scares me. I am used to having 20 centers so this will be (is) a major change for me. So, I read online, did the book study, and attacked Pinterest and this is what I came up with. Here is my D5 board. 

Each group is a certain color. I will write the names with dry erase marker so I can change the groups weekly if I want to. 

For the first time ever, I am grouping by ability. I actually like this idea because I will be able to differentiate easily. I can have five different “Word Works” based upon ability.

So, here is what I came up with to start with. A student’s name will be on a color on the chart. They will come up and get a book mark with that color and go to the different D5 centers in that order. Here are the bookmarks.

Now in each area, there will be some choice as to what they can do. I also added a “meet with teacher” section for guided reading. Again, this is my Cracker Jack version to start with. We will start with doing one and adding to it until we build stamina to do all six (D5 + Meet with Teacher).  We have already started doing “Read to Self” and “Buddy Reading” as a group. I will add “Work on Writing” tomorrow. We are doing everything as a group at first and will start a more traditional “center time” next week when children will go to their area and choose an activity. I think I will like this (if it works) because I can really meet students where they are. If they are working on letters, then that is what they will do. If they already read, then their word work will be more rigorous (but fun of course).

Have I completely confused you? I hope not. I stay confused so you are in good company. I love that I don’t have to change a center chart EVER. I also love that they can get their bookmark or group sheet and know exactly what to do and where to go without talking to me. Of course this will take practice but I have big goals for my little peeps. I think they will be able to do it. I will give work examples for each area soon so you can see what we will be doing. Here are the different areas in the room that are labeled.

If you want a copy of my signs or bookmarks, just click the picture examples BELOW. My blogging bestie Tammy (from Live Laugh Love Kindergarten) let me steal borrow her cute handy work to create signs in my theme. She has polka dot ones on her site (the big signs NOT the book marks). Now, before I get a gazillion emails, I will try my best to make a plain colored set that will fit with most classrooms soon. J 

So, what do you think? Am I off my rocker? It’s ok to say that. I already do. I am excited though and think this will be a great way for us to start. We will see. You know I will tell you if it works or not. No sugar coating goes on here. J

Make sure you go by TBA to link up and check out everyone’s awesome classrooms!!

Before I forget, I just posted this new packet this week. I am SO excited about it. It’s called Reminders Galore. It's 82 pages and includes tons of wrist bands and tags (to staple on to folders or newsletters,etc.) for just about everything you can run into during the school year. Check it out!! J

Have a great day tomorrow. Did I mention I came home from work feeling like dog poo? I just LOVE going back to school and getting sick the second week (insert sarcasm here). Good grief. Wishing you days this week without Tylenol Cold and runny noses!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meet the Teacher MONDAY

It’s Open House Week on TBA this week and tons of bloggers will be linking up to share with you lots of goodies. Here is what this week holds:

 Meet the Teacher- tell us all about you and your teaching style!
 Classroom Photos
 Handouts for Parents
 Bulletin Board Photos

Make sure you go to TBA and link up to participate and/or visit all the blogs participating in the FUN!

So, it’s Meet The Teacher Monday. I guess I will go through the “All About Me” spill even though you probably already know more than you want to about me and my hot mess life. I will try to throw in some new stuff. Brace yourself, it’s a long post. J

This is me. Well, this is me a year ago with my hunky hubs. Love him!

This is me now. Notice anything different? LOL. (This is Pointy Jr. and I in NYC a few weeks ago. Pay no attention to the messy hotel room. Three girls, enough said!)

I had lapband last summer and it was the best decision (other than forcing myself to get a personal trainer) that I have every made for my health. I have lost almost 70 pounds and even though I sometimes gripe and complain about my old lady hip and my hot mess hot flashes, I really feel the best I have ever felt in my life. This year is the first time ever that I have been able to sit comfortably on the floor criss-cross apple sauce with my kids. Ahhhthe little things that bring me joy!

I have been happily married for almost eleven years to my HS sweetheart, Nick. Well, I say we were HS sweethearts but we only dated a month during our Senior year and then broke upDRAMA! We did become best friends and two years later, wha lahe came to his senses he fell madly in love with mebwhahaha! Anywho, we got married when we were 21, the first of our friends which means that our wedding was a small fiasco. My friends still say it’s our fault for getting married when we were sophomores in college. LOL.

Here are my crazy sweet hormonal loving preteen/teenagers the first day of school last week. It's only been a week...feels like a month already! 
If you remember correctly, I just celebrated my 2nd annual 30th birthday so if you are doing the math, stop! We adopted. We have had our kids for about eight years. Our oldest started High School this year. I am so not ready for this! There was lots of kicking and screaming but then I calmed down, ehem. J I have PCOS but still wish, hope, and pray for a baby one day! J

I live in Texas so I do say y’all a lot. I don’t think I have an accent but I have been told that I am incredibly wrong, lol. Hubs has tried to move me a few times but I can’t be far from my family. I live a fourth of a mile from my sister and seven miles from my parents. My brother and his family moved to Oklahoma last year, which is way too far away, but we have tried to adjust. I talk to my sister EVERY day and couldn’t imagine it any other way. Between the three of us we have 11 children so you can imagine the fun we have when we are all together. No one sleepsfor real! 

I LOVE my school and have totally parked my trailer there. They will have to force me out kicking and screaming if they ever want me to leave. We live in a small town but I work about 30 minutes away. Hubs works about 45 minutes away. We won’t move because again, family. I also like the idea of my kids going to school with their cousins and going to the same school as hubs and I. J

My favorite color is glitter purple. I really love all bright colors in everything..my classroom, wardrobe, you name it. I guess I am a little sassy! I love to shop, get pedicures (I have the driest feet on the planet people!!), and go to the movies. Yes, I am a girly girl.  My favorite movie is Steel Magnolias. I love Meg Ryan chic flicks (pre plastic surgery Meg that is). I am scared of heights but I love riding all the rides at amusement parks. I LOVE to travel and went to Turkey four years ago...amazing! I hope to travel the world, though it will probably be with friends because hubs is a sissy (said with love) and won’t fly. Want to plan a trip with me? Though I work out, I don’t love it. I know, SHOCKER! I am 5’2”small fry. I think it’s funny when I meet people that they are surprised that I am short. I guess I sound tall. Haha! Oh, and I rarely tell people this, but if I grew my hair out (which will NEVER happen) I would be more than 50% gray. Seriously, I started going gray at 16. Lucky my hubs puts up with my high maintenance hair. I really am a simple girl though. I am totally not convincing you huh? I hate carrying a purse (which means I am always “misplacing” my bank card and hubs grounds me, lol). My make-up goes on in the morning and I never reapply. I like to accessorize but can’t handle jewelry but a few hours. It usually ends up in my car. I don't like clutter. I really like things simplebut sparkly. Haha!

That makes me laugh! That is something that my kids may have said this past year...though I do have friends here, ehem. I have been married to this blog for a little over a year. I think it will be “til death do us part” for it to end. Hubs used to be annoyed and thought I traded him for a more modern model,  but I have managed to squeeze this in without it affecting my life as much as it used to. I have way more in my head to share than time but what’s a girl to do. J When I am not a mom, taxi or hot date, ehem, I LOVE making stuff for my classroom. If I didn’t teach, I think I would want to be a writer or graphic designer so this allows me to do everything I love. I am one lucky duck.

Oh, I also love my church family. I just joined our worship band. Though I must be honest, my classroom voice is TERRIBLE! There must be Godly magic in the microphone at church because I can rock some KLove songs. J I love me some Hillsong. J

Okay, I am sure that is WAY more than you wanted to know about me. Tomorrow is show your room day but I have already done that. I will think of a different spin on that. I hope you go by TBA and meet all of the teacher authors. I had the privilege of meeting many of them this summer and they are such AMAZING people! Have a great week friends. FOUR DAYS! You can do it!!

Oh, one more thing. I have been getting lots of emails about Writer’s Workshop. I am thinking about creating a WWS unit for TPT including a step by step guide. Would you be interested in that? It will take a lot of time but I will totally do it if y’all will find it helpful.

Now, it’s your turn. Leave me a comment and tell me something about YOU!

I love you more than my luggage! (What movie is that from?)