Friday, March 21, 2014

Reading organizers, close reads and FREEBIES!

Well let's just say motherhood has been keeping me very busy lately.  My little boy is already 6 months old and he is just the light of my life. Here is a little sneak peak at my handsome little boy, Greyson.

 I couldn't have asked for a happier baby. This school year has been quite different for me, I missed the entire first nine weeks due to maternity leave and it has taken me a while to feel creative again.  (Maybe it is just the lack of sleep a new mother endures during the first few months of mommy-hood.)  Either way I am starting to feel like my normal creative Kindergarten self again.  My creative juices started flowing when my team and I really dove into close reading lessons.  I really enjoy doing these type lesson with my class.  I never quite understood why teachers would continue to re-read the story three+ times, but now I love doing just that.  I used to try to cram in so many questions and activities for one story in one or two days and no wonder my students and I felt the overload.  Now stretching the story out among three days has saved me (and my students).  They never complain about re-reading stories like they did in the past because they know that each day has a new focus. So with that in mind here is the first freebie....Bats at the Beach Close Read.

 My team and I really enjoyed creating this close reading lesson on my now new favorite story "Bats at the Beach" by Brian Lies.  This lesson was created by myself, Darlene Tufariello and Vicky Dubin.  (Here are the Vocabulary cards I created to go with the story.) My students loved the activities and the story.  I can't wait to purchase "Bats at the Ballgame" next.

With close reading lesson in mind, I also started to think and focus on all aspects of great reading strategies for my students.  I created this short little workbook to help my students organize their thoughts when discussing and retelling stories we read in the classroom.  There are 12 creative worksheets in this packet that focus on story elements: details, retelling (beginning, middle, end), character traits, setting, problem/solution and comparing and contrasting two stories. One page is a spin and answer game that can be used for any story and is great for small group instruction. There are also 12 vocabulary cards that focus on reading. Enjoy this Story Elements and Reading Vocabulary for FREE for limited time only.  Free for one day only!  I look forward to all feedback.  If you pick up this product for free I would appreciate you rating this product on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Thanks:)

Until next time friends:)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Good bye Summer and 3 FREEBIES!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, summer has come and gone!  I have already been back to school this week setting up my classroom for my new class. (Pics coming soon)  I am very excited and anxious to get everything ready and set before the students arrive on the 19th of this month.  Because not soon after the students arrive I am expecting to meet my new little addition to our family around August 27th!  Can't wait.  Although it is going to be hard to leave my new students at the start of the school year, I am very fortunate to be leaving them in good hands.

In honor of a new school year I created some more items for my TpT store.  My Jungle clip behavior chart has been such a success on TpT that I decided to create some more thematic behavior charts.  I created an ocean, bug, and general theme behavior clip chart.  I am offering the following items for free for one day only.  Please if you download, I would love you to leave your feedback on TpT's website.  Enjoy!

Click on the images below to go directly to my TpT's store.

Until next time friends!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writing! Writing! Self Assessments?

I can not believe the school year is almost over.  I have to admit this year has been one of the most stressful years of teaching yet.  (Besides my first year of course!)  This year my county has implemented many new strategies for teaching.  New common core, new grading system and new self reflection VSET.  As part of my goals and self reflection this school year I wanted to focus on self assessment in the classroom.  I do this in a variety of ways.  First, let's talk about self assessment in writing.  When my class and I started exploring writing  we discussed as a group what our grades (P1, P2, P3, P4) would look like and why.  I created examples of each writing piece using the same topic with my class. (We wrote about a duck).   I then used these writing examples to help guide my students in their self assessment all year long.  After each writing piece my students compare their writing to the writing samples located on the board above each wiring bin.  They then place their piece accordingly to what they believe their writing score will be.  My students have really become stronger writers because of this self assessment   They have grown from P1's to P4's and even some P5's.  My students love grading themselves, I feel like it gives them a sense of personal achievement.   They are always striving to make themselves better writers!  Here are some pictures and examples of my students using self assessment strategies for writing.

As you can see in my pictures my students also use a card to help them while writing.  They use this to indicate if they are on task and completing their work with out any problem vs. if they are in need of assistance.  A colleague of mine adapted this for our Kindergarten classroom after collaborating with a second grade teacher at my school who uses a more advanced version of the card.

I have also used learning targets in my classroom to help self assess other subjects such as math, science and social studies.  My students use the target to rate their understanding of the lesson being taught.

I am really interested in learning more about self assessment.  Please share any ideas you may have about self assessment in your classroom.  If you have a blog post about self assessment or writing, feel free to leave your link below.  If you have used any of these self assessment practices that I discussed in this post I would love to hear if it worked well in your classroom.  I look forward to everyone's feedback.

Until next time friends!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Discussion groups and more!

I am sorry I have been absent for awhile but I have not been feeling to well these past few months.  With that being said, I am officially BACK!  And I have some exciting news...My husband and I are expecting our first child due late August!  The first few months was an awful blessing for me.  I had no energy and could barley keep anything down.  Now I am into my second trimester and I am feeling 90% better.  I hope to keep feeling well enough to continue blogging:).

Now onto the sharing ideas...I recently came across this link during my kindergarten collaboration/discussion group.  It was shared by an awesome colleague of mine.  If you haven't seen this video yet, you have to check it out.


I love the idea of using discussion towers in my classroom.  I have adapted it by giving my students only two-three cubes to help with discussion groups.  My kindergarten students love using cubes to help guide their discussions.  I have to be honest, I was a little skeptical with the new common core objective of participating in collaborative conversations about kindergarten texts with peers.  I thought to myself "No way am I going to be able to keep all of my students on task and observe them confirming and understanding  a particular text."  Well, with the help of my colleagues and a little faith in myself...I am so glad to prove myself wrong.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE working in collaborative student lead conversations about a text and my students do too!

With young learners I know collaborative learning groups can be difficult at times and often students seem to veer off task.   I hope this video is helpful.  With that being said I want to continue  to learn how to help my students better work in groups.  If you have any suggestion or learning experiences of your own while working with our young students in a collaborative group I would love to learn from all of you.

Now, a little late but better late than never.  I completed a Math addition and subtraction assessment that relates to the Kindergarten common core standards.  I use this in my classroom to help assess my students learning.  I have many different worksheets that correlate to each addition and subtraction standard.  You can click on the image below to go directly to my TpT store to download this packet.  But the first TEN bloggers to comment below about student collaborative learning groups will get this packet for FREE!
Until next time friends, see ya soon!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My 2013 Plans Linky Party

And so the holiday season is officially over.  I have to say I enjoyed my vacation with my family up north but I am so glad to be back in sunny Florida where the weather is much warmer.  I can't believe I used to live in that cold for most of my life.  I guess I can say I am officially a Floridian!  I also can include that my sister is officially a Floridian too, she left the cold weather to come and stay with me while she finishes her college career.  Hopefully all will be well and I can get used to living with family members again:).

2012 was a year of many ups and downs for me.  One of the downs was finding out I had a thyroid problem.  I can now say that 2013 is starting off to be a great year.  My health is much better and my thyroid levels seem to be normal and have been for the past 5 months or so.  Although I will continue to be monitored I am happy that I am in the clear for now.

I had plenty of time to reflect on my 2012 (while driving home from Jersey during a 15 hour car ride) and I have many plans for 2013.  I don't really like New Years resolutions because let's face it I am like most people and quit my resolution after the first month.  However, knowing that I am no good at resolutions but I am good at planning, I decided to make my 2013 plans.  My plans for school is to create more items for my students and TpT store.  ( I am working on creating another math assessment to share on TpT.)  I love creating things on the computer.  It is fun and relaxing at the same time.  I can really get lost in my work sometimes.  My husband enjoys looking over my shoulder at times and helping me come up with some creative ideas.  It's really funny when he gets involved:)

As for my personal plans I want to continue to eat healthy, take my dog for more frequent walks, enjoy my time with my sister, and most importantly continue to be a good wife to my wonderful husband.  I also have some remodeling ideas for the house.  I am very excited to start some new projects here at home.

Now onto the linkies to continue talking more about some things that I have planned for 2013...The first linky I am joining is with Michelle at Making It As A Middle School Teacher and the second linky is with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade.  Enjoy and don't forget to link up they are so much fun! 

Here is January's Currently...

Until next time friends, hopefully with my new 2013 plans it will be sooner than later!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Currently, giveaways and a FREEBIE!

This weekend has been great.  I completed two 5K's and my legs are a little sore, but overall I feel awesome!.  It's time to keep my running shoes on and not give up.  Saturday's 5K was for the Girls on the Run program which is a great program we have at our schools that help train 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade girls for a 5K.  I got to run with one of my former Kindergarten students who is now in 4th grade, Ahhh!  I am starting to feel a little old.   
I enjoyed running so much yesterday that I decided to wake up early today to do it all over again with a great teacher buddy of mine.  After today's run, I will be resting the remainder of the day.  And maybe creating more freebies for the future.  
Well, now onto ...December Currently!  I am linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this month's edition.  I know I am a little late to the party but better late than never!  I completed my December currently yesterday afternoon, so no I am not eating popcorn for breakfast.

A good friend of mine is having a 12 days of Christmas giveaway!  You have to stop on over to Learning is Something to Treasure to enter your chances of winning.  Lisa has some great items she is giving away.  There is still plenty of time, enjoy!

And now what you all have been waiting for...A Holiday Write the Room FREEBIE!  I created this for my class.  My students love writing the room this year.  It is one of their favorite activities   I decided to make it a little bit more fun and theme it around the upcoming holidays.  Santa's Elves are being mischievous again, they took all the holiday presents and are hiding around the classroom.  Santa doesn't know where to find them... Students will enjoy searching around the room for Santa's little helpers.  This is a perfect literacy center activity for building sight word recognition and writing skills.  Simply cut out the twelve sight word elves and stick them up in various places around the classroom.  (I created two different sets.) Students use the master page on  clipboards as they walk around the room to search for the elves and their presents.  As they find each numbered elf, they write the sight word on their paper.  Students have fun learning their words and searching for them! 
Click the image to go directly to my TpT store to download this file for free! 

Until next time Friends!