Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back to School 2014 - oh yeah! Plus a Giveaway!

Happy Back to School y'all!! Who's excited?! Of course you are...you're a teacher after all. It's in your blood! It's how you tick! It's your THANG! You can already smell the crayons and glue, can't you.... Well stop sniffing the glue! That's bad for you!! hehehe

Back to School time is always the most exciting time of year - and not just for the kids.


Nope! You are so on this....you are SUPER TEACHER.....and you really are a hero to all those kids ....even those that might not know you yet.
You have prepped like crazy for this new school year to be U-MAZ-ING!!! You go girl!

So........ are you ready? Classroom all clean, set-up, and organized? Or are you.....
still holding on to the last days of summer? ;)

Well......guess what? I feel your pain.....and your excitement. So, let's make this whole thing a little easier and smoother that way your school year will really be U-MAZ-ING!!

I'm officially announcing the LARGEST TPT SALE OF THE YEAR - Yeah!!! 
It's time for Back to School peeps!!!
When you buy Monday and Tuesday you'll get 20% off from my store automatically! Plus, if you use the PROMO CODE above when you check out, you'll get another 8% off! YEAH!

Here are some things in my TpT store that may help your year BLAST OFF a bit smoother!!

Click HERE if you need an editable set of center cards.

Click HERE to take a look at my Camp Out Classroom Theme.

Click HERE to learn more about how I teach letters at the beginning of the year in this fun, engaging way!

Click HERE to grab this bundle of 26 letter books - perfect for teaching the ABC's!


Click HERE to check out Kissing Hand for Kinder - the very first unit I use each year!


GIVEAWAY!!

I'm giving away a $20 gift certificate to my store. All you need to do is leave a comment below listing the items from my store that you would like to spend the $20 on if you are chosen! Super Simple!! You can earn an extra point by sharing this with friends!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 1, 2014

2nd Day Plans


So, you made it past Day 1. You didn't lose any kids. You are a rock star! Now you are so ready for Day 2, right? Day 2 is when reality starts setting in..... For the kiddos, they are now realizing that "going to school" didn't mean a one day trip. Some will be in love with school and ready for what you can throw at them while others will be wrapping themselves tightly around their parents' legs and hanging on for dear life. Kindergarten is a MAJOR life event. Yes, kindergarten is a wonderful experience, but the first week or two of kinder can be a difficult transition for some. It's normal and it will pass! :) As for the teacher, reality begins to set in that you are now in for the long haul. You spent probably a week or more getting your room just right.....but now.....now you gotta teach. This new group of kiddos makes you long for last year's group. This new group seems so slow, so un-trained, and you are starting back over at square one. BUT, this is your expertise - you can do it! Don't fret! In no time you will have this new group up and running like a well-oiled machine! So, let's dig in -- what do you do on Day 2? Below you will find some of the things that I do on Day 2. This is by no means the "perfect day 2". I know as a teacher I love hearing what other teachers do, so I am showing you this to rev up your own engine. Teachers can get rusty - it's been a whole year since you've done Day 2, so hopefully you can gather a few good ideas here. :)

DAY 2

7:40-8:00 Kids will arrive. I will pay attention to those who remembered where to put their backpacks, lunch boxes, and where they sit. The ability to remember those things will tell me alot about those children. On each table, I will have either play dough (which they will remember using on the first day) or pattern blocks (which they used during math centers). If your school is like mine, you will surely get another new student. This day moves almost as slow as Day 1. I double check with every parent how their child goes home. Many times, kids will go home different on the first day of school as they will the rest of the year. So, I am over-cautious and just double check! :) 8:00-8:20 Math Problem Solving I read the book Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. As I read it, I model the finger play that goes with the book. Some kids naturally begin picking up on the finger play and do it with me. This book/finger play quickly becomes a class favorite. Make big number 1 poster. Draw 1 in circle in middle -- kids help me create ways to make the number 1 (stamp, drawing, glue pic, show 1 crayon, etc).... 8:20-8:35 MM/Calendar Use counting Heidi DVD (#1 and #2 songs and counting to 100 song) Kids really love these brief videos. We concentrate on learning numbers 1 and 2 this week. 8:35-8:45 Clap Your Hands song We also sing to Jack Be Nimble Here is the first ABC song we learn:

 Read and discuss No David!  Focus on how funny it is. I'm still not discussing alot about rules yet (unless I see an absolute need!)


8:45-9:00 Review Line procedures Marshmallow Mouth and Toes - reinforce lesson I taught yesterday. Visit nurse and cafeteria again. These are places they will need to know well. 9:00-9:15 Sing ABC song and do word wall chant. Yes we sing the regular ABC song that we are all familiar with. It's something the kids feel confident in singing even from day one. Plus, I'm able to notice those kiddos that don't know it (they get put on my Uh Oh! list immediately for extra help right from the beginning of school). If you'd like to know more about how we do the word wall chant, read HERE.  I also introduce the new word wall word, "I". 9:15 - 9:35 Read the book, "Who Shares?"




 What does it mean to share something? Discuss model what it looks like/doesn't look like to share. Introduce Home center - yes I believe all kinder classrooms should have one although I understand many don't :( - make a looks like/sounds like chart for Home center. Model and have kids model what you can and cannot do in this center. One table group will go to the stationary Home center while other table will do the table centers I talked about from Day 1.  9:35-9:50 rotate centers 9:50-10:05 rotate centers 10:05-10:20 rotate centers During this "center" time - I am walking around monitoring and making informal notes on what I see kids do. 10:20-10:30 Shared Reading Read and discuss Monsters big book. (Kids can come find letters). This tells me alot about which kids have some letter knowledge and which one don't.

LUNCH/RECESS

Hallelujah!!! It's time to eat! 11:20 - listening game - just listen for sounds   11:25-11:40 Read Kissing Hand - Discuss and compare how we feel to how Chester feels. Use hand cutout and put kiss in hand to give to mom/dad. Find small heart stickers or Hershey kiss to put in palm of hand. We do many activities surrounding this book is the first week or two of school. I have a supplemental pack for The Kissing Hand. It contains many whole group activities and several center activities perfect for the beginning of the year. Click HERE to see more.

    11:40- 12:00 King or Queen of the Day - choose a child to be K/Q *show name backwards and talk about whether its a long/short name. Can it be yours? *show first letter, kids stand if it could be their name - based on first letter *Use elmo to examine name. write and cut name apart. check 1-1 matching *rainbow write * can do IW write - write a sentence about children. Here is the pack I use to do King or Queen of the Day. It's a great way to learn names and letters in a quick, authentic way! Click HERE to see more.

    11:55- 12:00 Song -- Play Five Little Monkeys song to get kids up and active for a couple of minutes.
 

12:00-12:25 Do Turn and Talk Lesson  Model for kids how to "turn and talk" to a partner. Have the kids practice this activity a couple times. Quickly turn and talk - one person talks and the other listens. Then SWITCH. Do interactive writing by making labels for room. Kids can  turn and talk about what things to label or what would that label begin with?   12:25 - 1:00 Re-read No David and discuss the funny parts. Then read David Goes to School and discuss why he was in trouble at school. Later today re-visit the David books and begin discussing rules at school - What are rules? Why do we have rules at school? What happens if we don't listen to teacher? Sometimes I begin discussing rules on Day 2, sometimes I leave it for Day 3. It kind of depends on the "vibe" from the kids. Are they restless? attentive? sleepy? Each group has a different capacity for new learning. Make a circle map about how we “keep our school safe  1:05-1:50 P.E. 1:50- come in get a drink, then get backpacks and put at seats. I make sure we are all ready to go super early because you just can't be in a rush with beginning of kinder or you will never get where you are going.  So, we actually get ready before starting math centers. That way, we are ready to go ahead of time and all ready come dismissal time. Return to carpet - Discuss unifix cubes. What are they called? What can I do with them/not do with them? Make looks like/sounds like chart. Kids practice using unifix cubes and pattern blocks from Day 1.  

Time-Fillers Ideas (if needed)

kinder books - in book shelf show alphatubs toys or pics - say names only youtube songs (clap your hands, this is the way we say hello, where is thumkin, shake my sillies out)   Ok, so that's a wrap on Day 2 for me. Again - not glamorous. We work on firming up procedures and routines this week. Personally I don't throw in alot of arts & crafts (1. my district doesn't allow much of that and 2.I prefer my students to see our routine from the beginning). They really do start to internalize our routine and LOVE knowing what to expect next.  

So, I'd love to hear from you. Anything else you think is a MUST-DO that I didn't include here? Tell us in the comments. I'd love this to be a great resources for new teachers so please leave your thoughts! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First Day Plans

So the first day of school is right around the corner, huh? Ah! The excitement....the anticipation.....the fear is setting in, isn't it?! Hahaha!!! It's really ok! We've all been there. The first day of school produces a myriad of emotions. Many times we are bummed about summer being over. But we are all excited for the new beginnings that a new school year brings! So - what are you going to do on the first day of school? Here is the plan that I have used for years (yes I've made tweaks). It seems to work for me. I love getting to sneak a peek at others' plans because, even if I don't follow them, they help me think about what it is that I will actually do in my own classroom. So, I thought I'd let you see my FIRST DAY PLANS! duh da duh!!!! And I will tell you that I literally use these plans word for word (although like any teacher there are times when I have to make adjustments). Each year brings a new crop of critters and sometimes their attention spans are longer or shorter...But regardless, I use very specific, detailed plans for the first couple weeks of school until I get back in my "groove"! :) Do what feels right for you! Of and be very leary of teachers that tell you they just "fly by the seat of their pants". Obviously good execution takes good planning. :)  

  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First Day Schedule Layout:
Playing Dora music as kids start coming in....(it helps make those new kinders feel a little more at ease :).
7:40-8:20ish - Kids and parents come in and find backpack hook, go to their table spot, and play with play dough. Parents are good at helping them get stuff put away and getting the play dough out. Sometimes, I leave coloring pages and crayons at the tables instead.
Ask parents:
*How they go home - I have parents actually put the tags on their backpacks (one less thing for me to do and less chance of me messing up)
*Lunch - I need their lunch money or place their lunchbox on the lunchbox table.
8:30ish - Teach the students how to come to the carpet. Then, have them come to carpet (some kids may be slow to clean - play powervideo video - Franklin Goes to School - first day fears for ones at carpet until we all get there). Introduce yourself and tell them you will learn lots of new things today in kinder.
Practice a few times how to go from table spot to carpet spot. Praise a good job and raise clips. (I am simply letting them see me move clips up - I haven't explain why yet).
8:45ish - send kids back to tables ......teach children bathroom procedures (in small groups) while others at their table coloring (use community tubs).
9:00-9:30 - Boys and Girls, we are going to learn something new called Marshamallow Mouth and Toes. Do you know what a marshmallow mouth is or what marshmallow toes are? (Of course they think that's hilarious - laugh with them). Show kids a bag of chips. Who likes chips? Give them a chip or 2 to eat....Listen. Does it make a lot of noise when you eat chips? Crunch Crunch (emphasize the noise). Show marshmallows. Who likes marshmallows? Do you think they will make a lot of noise or not a lot of noise? Give them each a big marshmallow. Listen. Discuss the difference.
When we leave our classroom to go somewhere like the lunchroom we will use marshmallow mouths and toes. I’m going to pretend to put a big marshmallow in my mouth. Do you think I will be making lots of noise or not? What if I put marshmallows on my toes? Would my feet make lots of noise or not?
Use marshmallow toes poem. Teach kids how to line up at the door. Remind them to put a marshmallow in their mouth and on their toes. Practice a few times. Teach marshmallow mouth and toes (do actions). Walk to cafe and teach how to get tray.
9:45 -10:15- Return to class (at seats, arms folded and heads down). Call kids to carpet by table - teach calendar procedure. use counting HeidiDVD (#1 and #2 songs and counting to 100 song)
10:15-10:30 - Read Pete’ Rocking in His School Shoes. Read and let kids show off their new shoes. Later on play video.
LUNCH/RECESS - Before you leave room check to make sure you aren’t leaving any lunch boxes. Make sure to have kids wear orange bracelets or name tags on way to lunch...easy to identify on playground. Make sure to teach kids signal to line up.
P.E. - have kids wear badges so they are easily identified (for you and P.E. teacher).
12:15 Return to room (arms folded, head down) Practice coming to carpet. *Read No David - but just enjoy, no talk of rules yet. Be sure to use clip chart alot for positive reinforcement.....you want them to like the clip chart. No one clips down the first day. They all go home with a certificate celebrating their first great day even if it wasn't really so great. :)
12:30- 1:00 - Table Centers. Boys and Girls we are going to learn something new now. We are going to learn how to do table centers. On carpet show kids the 4 or 5 table centers we will do (legos, playdo, lacing letters, or inside recess items). Demo what we can/cannot do with them. We can do this......We cannot eat them or throw them. We must share and keep them on the table. Return to tables (arms folded, head down)..... Begin centers. If a child throws or refuses to share - they automatically go to carpet spot and put head down - NO WARNINGS. When you rotate the tubs after about 15 minutes - you rotate tubs, not kids....kids stay at their tables and get new table center. If a child had to sit out - they may go back to table and try again.
During centers, I will call kids in hallways to take 1st day photo( I’ll use for center cards).
1:00-1:20 Word Wall - Sing regular ABC song and then teach the Alphabet chant. You will be doing this by yourself as they stare at you. Introduce the www “I”.
Phonics - Queen of the Day (me) - introduce my name on the name board (make my name)
  1. write name on sentence strip
  2. read and spell name
  3. cut apart and fix - use the name that’s not cut to match and check the one you are putting together
  4. kids do
  5. Rainbow write first letter
1:20-2:00 Writer’s Workshop - Model me drawing a picture and writing my name. --no writing, picture only. Kids will do this. If I can, I will begin testing kids’ letter id. If they can write their name have them do that... Don’t worry if kids fall asleep. :)
2:00 - Begin End of Day Procedure. Teach how to use behavior chart -  send all back to seat and color with green. Teach how to slide in folder. Get Backpacks and double check how we go home chart.
If I run out of something to do:
*read a book
*teach a song (pinterest - first week of school)
*do math tubs
*color bubble names
*inside recess games
*handprint puzzles
*Show alphatub toys under Elmo - we name the object
Math Tubs - Teach about unifix cubes. What they are called? (getting that vocabulary for the manipulatives - they need to know their names). What we can do with them/cannot do with them? Kids spend time exploring unifix cubes. Come back to carpet and discuss what you built or did with the unifix cubes.
In the end -- if all student get fed and sent home the correct way - it will be a SPECTACULAR SUCCESS! Breathe deep, stop by your favorite fast food place, go home and sit in the quiet and eat! Everything else can wait!! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Marshmallow Mouths and Toes (freebie)


As teachers around the country head into the classrooms with kiddos we have so many things ahead  to teach these little people. It's a big job, but someone has to do it! So, over the next few weeks I will share some things I use to get my students' year off on the right foot.....

Do you know what a marshmallow mouth is or what marshmallow toes are? This concept is how I teach my kiddos hallway behavior expectations. Last year I found an adorable poster on Pinterest called Marshmallow Toes. I loved it, but I wanted a poster that demonstrates that when we are walking in the hallways we not only have "marshmallow toes" but also "marshmallow mouths"..... so I altered this little poem (I have no idea who came up with this gem of an idea and I saw different versions of it. If you know who to give credit to, please let me know so I can give proper credit because it is super sweet! :)

This is the lesson I created to use on Day 1 to teach hallway behavior.....
Show kids a big bag of chips. Ask, "Who likes chips?" They will all quickly agree they like chips. (Seriously, show kids food and you will definitely have their undivided attention!) Give them a chip or 2 to eat.... Tell them to listen carefully as they chew. "Does it make a lot of noise when you eat chips?" Crunch Crunch (emphasize the noise as you model crunching the chips with your mouth). Wow! Those chips sure are noisy!
Next show them a big bag of marshmallows. Ask, "Does anyone like marshmallows?" Of course they will all agree they like them. By this time they are just waiting for you to give them one. "Do you think the marshmallows will make a lot of noise or not a lot of noise?" Give them each a couple marshmallows (I actually like the HUGE ones). Remind them to listen as they chew.......yep it's MUCH quieter chewing marshmallows than chips. After you establish that marshmallows are QUIET, show them this poster:


Now tell the kids "When we leave our classroom to go somewhere like the lunchroom, we will use marshmallow mouths and toes. I’m going to pretend to put a big marshmallow in my mouth. Do you think I will be making lots of noise or not? (Physically do this and cram your mouth with a big marshmallow and try to talk (silently of course:0).....yes it's silly but that will make it even more memorable for the kiddos!......."What if I put marshmallows on my toes? Would my feet make lots of noise or not?" (pretend to do this as well....:0) The kids will giggle and love you for it....They will also get the message that marshmallow mouths and marshmallow toes means we are being quiet.
Teach kids how to line up at door. Remind them to put a marshmallow in their mouth and on their toes. Practice this a few times.
After this initial lesson, all I have to do is remind them "marshmallows on" and they know exactly what that means! :0)
How do YOU teach hallway expectations??

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back-to-School with Lakeshore

Are you in love with Lakeshore as much as I am? Seriously - that place is TEACHER HEAVEN! It also can be dangerous to one's bank account too....but who cares about that... ;) Honey - don't check the bank account... it's fine... really! ;)

I love the Lakeshore Learning Store near me. It has everything from teacher materials to classroom decorations to arts & crafts... just everything to make an elementary teacher happy. I've learned over time that it also makes my momma side happy too.... lots of cool toys for birthdays and Christmas - things that make kids use their creativity ---not just poking around on an IPOD.

Recently, Lakeshore contacted me about doing a review for them...something that teachers might be interested in for back-to-school. I was super excited to try something out. I chose the Stretch & Connect Builders for Reagan. They looked like a neat twist on legos and blocks.


First thing: Lakeshore ships so fast! I think we had these things by the end of the week. I was shocked at how quick I got them. Reagan, like any boy, was super excited to see them. As we say in Texas, "He was in hog heaven!" ;) From the moment he saw the package, I knew he wasn't going to let these out of his sight!

And I was right - he didn't! In fact, his older brother couldn't even resist these builders.
In fact, I nearly had to fight to get them to put the builders away and go to sleep that night. :) hehehe

I have to admit... I even got into the action as well... they were so darned intriguing. 
Here is what you get....

You get these big straw like things.... called connecters. They bend and twist and locked into these plastic pieces of different sizes and shapes. It even comes with wheels to make vehicles. Your mind quickly gets to thinking of all these things you could make with the pieces.

Oh man... I not only saw Reagan make such wonderful things ....but he was using fantastic vocabulary while doing it. Anyone who says..."We can't PLAY with blocks in my kinder classroom." -- YES YOU CAN! And if your principal says no - take in research showing how academic BLOCKS can be. Reagan was counting, making shapes (2D and 3D), problem solving, using vocabulary and creativity by the bucketful!! 

He was also having fun and.... to him, THIS was meaningful!

Look at some of the many things he did with these blocks.....

Great fine motor work for little hands!! Plus, he loved that he didn't have to be gentle with these blocks. He could be a rough and tumble boy!

Look at that intense focus!




 Looks at that cube!!     

YEAH - Helicopter!!

YES!! This is my favorite picture! What creativity and problem solving!! These blocks are not only wonderful at home. They would be ideal for a kinder/1st classroom. If you don't use blocks during your center time....think about recess! How many kids would love to create during recess time!

Lakeshore is an amazing company that really makes our jobs as teachers and parents easier. And, they are having a Back-to-School Sale (now through Aug. 31) at Lakeshore Learning Stores nationwide featuring doorbusters up to 50% off and special in-store coupons! Or shop online at www.lakeshorelearning.com!  


THANKS LAKESHORE - YOU ROCK!!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Freebielicious Partnering with Educents...AGAIN!!


Are you ready for Back to School? Yay!! NO? That's not possible! After all, you had all summer off to do nothing right?

BWHAHAHA!!! We know better than that! If you are like most teachers you have been reading and learning nearly all summer, preparing your new classroom (or at least planning in your head), and missing your kiddos from last year. Right?

I love this time of year! It's so exciting - for teachers and students alike. And kindergarten is of course the BEST grade EVER! As a mom and a teacher, I always love hearing what new kinders think of school. Check out this super cute video asking new kinder kids about their first day of school:



Yes - back to school is a wonderful time. However, it can also be a little STRESSFUL.... ooopsss - I said the "S" word! Don't worry. Me and my girls at Freebielicious have teamed up with Educents with some instant downloads for you to make your teacher life less "S" word!

Loaded with great products for back to school including book studies, craftivities, classroom prep, and content materials for back to school!  With 23 instant downloads... you have to check it out!  


You AND your kiddos will love my product that's included! It's one of my best-selling products.
And, yes! Your students CAN love a behavior clip chart. Why? Because it's more of a motivational tool! Kids love seeing how well they can meet expectations (thereby 'climbing the colors'). Everyday students start their day on green - Ready to Learn. According to their choices, they can stay on green, move down, or move up! I always have move students move up than move down. It's a great visual for young children to see how they are doing. And, even if they mess up and move down.....they can recover and move right back up -- which is really what we want...students correcting their mistakes and ending the day on a good note! Plus - it's also perfect for those that are required to keep parents aware of behavior and keep documentation.



For a limited time only,  all 23 amazing Freebielicious products are bundled at $34.99 from Educents --69% off!  Twenty-three products for your kinder and first grade classrooms and over 1200 pages of materials from some of your favorite teachers!  It's a bundle you are sure to LOVE!



Take a moment to take a peek at some of the other teachers featured in this bundle - what that have going on for back to school and what they are featuring in this deal too!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Making Lemonade

One of my favorite summertime activities is making lemonade with my kiddos.


One of the reasons I love this is because it's super simple. Plus, it's super refreshing - especially when it's HOT, HOT, HOT in Texas.

Here's what you need:


1.  Cut a lemon in quarters and remove seeds.

2. Place 1 or 2 quarters of lemon in a Zip-loc baggie.

3. Pour 1/2 cup of water in the baggie.

4. Pour 1 tsp. of sugar in the baggie.

5. Squeeze the contents of the baggie. Be sure to squeeze the lemon pulp really well!

6. Insert a straw and enjoy!

See?? I told you it was super easy! So, run out and buy a couple lemons and make your own fresh lemonade... :)