Sunday, June 30, 2013

Small Group Instruction

This week's installment from Leigh of The Applicious Teacher is her 'Small Group Instruction' Linky.
My small group instruction is done during our center time.  I will pick one, two, or three little learners to take data on or work on specific skills while the others do center time.  My centers are more free play since I have preschool age and one thing we really need to work on is learning to play together cooperatively.  One of the most challenging aspects of small group instruction is the constant interruption from the other little learners who are left on their own at centers. My sweeties feel the need to come tell me every little detail of what is going on with their friends.  In order to curb the "telling" I created this '3 Before Me' chart.  They are responsible to try to work out any problems that may arise at least three ways before they come see me.  The chart is interactive so they have to pick the pictures of the strategies they tried and attach them to the velcro strip.  There needs to be at least three picture/icons to show me what they tried before they interrupt.  It's funny to see how proud they get to be able to work out their own cute!
I can't wait to read what other teachers do during their small group instruction.  Be sure to link up with The Applicious Teacher and post your own ideas and strategies!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, June 29, 2013


I am linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly 'Currently' linky party.

  • Listening:  I am addicted to HGTV and pretty much have it on as background noise so I can look up and see what new remodel job is going on to help me get inspired!
  • Loving:  My daughter is coming home for eight days!  I have only seen her twice since Christmas.  I miss her SO much.
  • Thinking:  I finally started exercising again and need to stay with it.  I need to just stop and make myself go for a run.  I can easily talk myself out of not going!
  • Wanting:  To peruse Pinterest for some festive, fun holiday recipes to take with me for the 4th of July party we will be going to.  It's a tradition and so much fun!  It includes a lake, good people, and good food.  What else could you ask for?!?
  • Needing:  To work on some projects for my grad classes.  It's kind of like me and exercising.  I need to do it, but could find so many other things I would rather be doing!
  • Tips, Tricks, or Hints:  It easy to read all the fabulous teacher blogs and want to try to do everything out there.  I need to remind myself from time to time that I need to stay with what I know about and love.
That's my 'Currently' in July list.  Link up your list, too!  Thanks for reading.  Have a great day.  :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five For Friday!

I am linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday Linky Party, so here goes:
I am in the process of taking an online Prezi class and am so excited to learn how to put together some amazing video presentations for my little learners.  This will be especially useful for my students who have Autism since they are such visual learners.  I am only in week two so there is so much for me to still learn!

I had my very first official golf lesson with these amazing ladies and this Firefighter/Golf Pro stud!  Thanks Jill for sharing your man.  :)
I started running again.  It feel so good.  It makes me wonder why I stopped.  Of course we all know how once the school year starts there is never enough time to get it all in.  I am hoping I have enough discipline to continue after August.
I put two new packs on my Teacher's pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook stores.  One is my 'Oh, Baby! An All About Me {When I Was Little} Math and Literacy Pack.

The other is my Circle Time Book.
Available at my Teacher's pay Teacher's store and my Teachers Notebook store
I made this freebie to share with you.


Click HERE to download
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day :)
Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bloglovin' Blog Hop! {And a Freebie}

The fabulous Kate from Fun in ECSE found a Bloglovin' Blog Hop Linky Party over at Tori Teacher Tips that I am going to take part in.  If you haven't made the switch to Bloglovin' Tori offers a great step by step tutorial.  If you just want to find blogs to follow there will be a list of them at the end of her post.  As a thank you for anyone new to my blog, I would like to offer you this freebie.  It is from my S'more Early Learning Language and Literacy Pack.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Whole Group Instruction/Calendar Time

and Mary from Sharing Kindergarten with her Calendar Linky Party since my post covers both topics.  :)
My class is comprised of morning and afternoon sessions. There are two times per session where I bring my little learners together to teach as a whole group.
The first is circle time/calendar time which is actually pretty lengthy.
My circle time consists of a hello song, jobs, pledge, calendar, weather, music and movement and alternating days between colors and alphabet or shapes and counting.  I usually assign jobs every day so all get a chance to rotate through them and I have a chance to see how much everyone is learning.  Every once in awhile I will let them pick their own jobs.  Here are a few random shots during the year of our circle/calendar time.
This is a picture of us singing our hello song.  My favorite song is from Jack Hartmann called 'Beautiful Day'.  I have tried different songs from time to time and always go back to this one.
Here we are saying the pledge.  I love how even three year olds can memorize it!
My calendar helper points to the months and days of the week as we sing two more Jack Hartmann songs.  I use Dr. Jean's weather song during our 'What's the Weather' time. I tried to do my circle/calender time on our interactive whiteboard at the beginning of the year, but quickly went back to my original circle time set up.  I like how it is up all the time and my little ones  have access to it throughout the day.  I find many will go over during free play/centers and pretend to play school with it.  :)

I used to do all four together (colors, shapes, counting and abc’s) but found I got more out of my sweeties if I broke them up.  Even though I only have one designated ‘music and movement’ time, I use lots of songs and moving around during my entire circle time to help keep all engaged.  My circle time rules consist of my ‘Give Me Five’ rules. (see previous post of explanation and a copy of your own 'Give Me 5' rules.  These 5 little rules usually do the trick.

Whenever it gets loud with too many people talking or it appears as if some are not paying attention I will hold up my hand and say “give me 5” and repeat the rules.  My little ones know to stop what they are doing and look at me.  When I say “hands in lap” I show them what I expect by modeling putting my hands in my lap and they do as I do.  When I say “crisscross applesauce” or “quiet feet” for those sitting in chairs, they know to show me that behavior.  I cup one of my ears to demonstrate “listening ears”, put my index finger to my lips to demonstrate “voices off”, and point to myself to demonstrate “eyes on me”.  This usually does the trick.  I also pass out mini m&m’s or skittles randomly to those who have been demonstrating following our rules.  (Ahh, the power of a little piece of candy or sticker :)) I also use my red, yellow, and green smiley face system with names on clothespins if I need to get someone’s attention.  The beauty of the age of my sweeties is that they are truly heartbroken if I have to move their name and will work extremely hard to get back to the smiley face by showing appropriate behavior.  I also use a visual schedule during circle time, showing what activities are still to come.  For my morning class (which is usually comprised of younger students) I will actually pull off the picture/icon after the activity is completed.  For my afternoon class of older students, I usually can just point to the picture of what we are doing next.  The following is an example of my visual schedule for a Monday/Wednesday circle.  I also add a daily note to my afternoon circle. I have a long piece of Velcro that runs down my bulletin board next to my circle time calendar where I have my pictures attached.  This allows me to switch them out on different days and pull them off after an activity is completed.
In the past, I have also used a circle time book with some of my students who may have trouble attending for any length of time and/or have severe communication delays.  The students (with the help of my awesome para) follow along with us using their book. This year, I am going to make circle time books for all my students to use in an attempt to make circle time more interactive for all.  I just added my circle time book to my Teacher’s pay Teacher’s and Teacher’s Notebook stores. Click on the links to take you to the stores.  Here is a peek of what is included.
For my learning time I expect the same behavior as circle time, so I use the same ‘Give Me 5’ rules.  My learning time is not as long as my circle time so I do not use a visual schedule.  It is also pretty interactive. We usually read a story, answer questions about the story or another activity on the interactive whiteboard.  We also work on listening to following directions to complete an activity or put together an art project.  If we are gluing and need to be in front of the interactive whiteboard or if it will be too crowded sitting at our u shaped table I will pass out materials on trays for my little learners to put in front of them while sitting on the floor to complete the activity.  I have also found that keeping small pieces and crayons together is much easier with the help of the little black containers/trays saved from individual frozen meals.  You can kind of see what I mean from these pictures.
My room is also pretty small, so if we all don’t need to be on the floor to put something together I will divide the class and have half sit in chairs and half sit on the floor.  For the little ones sitting on the floor I will have them sit on a mat so they have a defined place to stay.  My mats are cut from shelf liner.
 I buy a roll of the liner and cut it to size.  At times I have even cut shapes from the Ellison machine and written students’ names on them and attached the shape with clear packing tape.  I then will place the mats on the floor according to where I want my little ones to sit.  This way I have some control of where I want certain students to sit and who I may or may not want them to sit by. :)  I also have a ‘chair chair’ posted according to which students sit in chairs on what days.  That saves lots of time figuring out who sat in a chair last time.  My littles get pretty good at looking at the chart and knowing whether to get a chair or find their mat without me having to tell them.  This past year my afternoon class was so amazing.  I would announce that it was time for circle/learning time and while I was gathering needed items or finishing putting things away they would go look at the chart and by the time I got to my spot they would just be sitting their quietly waiting for me to start.  I am going to miss those sweeties this upcoming school year.  They graduated and will be big kindergarteners in the Fall.  LOVE THOSE KIDS….they made my heart happy!
Well, I think that’s all I can remember for my large group tricks and tips.  I look forward to reading about other teachers’ successes!  Be sure to check out The Applicious Teacher’s post and add your own!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Oh, Baby! {and a freebie}

I just finished my "Oh Baby! An All About Me {When I Was Little} Math and Literacy Pack.  It is available in both my Teacher's pay Teacher's and Teacher's Notebook shops.  Here is a preview of the pack.

Here is what is included:
  • A baby glyph so your little ones can recreate themselves as newborns
  • Baby carriage and baby shape match
  • An I have/who has shapes game
  • Two I have/Who has numbers games.  One goes from 0-10 and the other goes from 0-20.
  • Baby carriage 10 frame counting mat
  • 10 in the bed counting emergent reader art project
  • Baby bottle patterning
  • Cut and glue numbers from 0-9 in order
  • No ordinary baby ordinal number fun
  • Roll, stamp, and color baby blocks
  • Alphablocks~little ones match the alphabet block to the block with the picture of the beginning sound
  • Fill in the letters ABC baby block page
  • Pacifier color page
  • Emergent reader with pacifier colors
  • Additional ideas to use with a baby theme

Last year, one of my co-workers was pregnant so we did this baby theme.  It was so much fun!  The little ones really got into it big time.  :)
As a thank you for reading this post I am offering one of my I have/Who has number games.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Made It Monday!

I am cheating for this version of 'Made It Monday'. I hope you don't mind, but I think you will like the result.  :)  The past few years I have had the privilege of working with the most amazingly talented and creative woman I have ever known and wanted to show off one of her masterpieces.  
This little beauty is hanging in my classroom.  I purchased it at our annual art auction in May.  I am not sure if you can see all the details, but the bird, grass and flowers are cut from paper little ones in her class painted freely.  The 'SING' is old sheet music that little ones stamped with black paint and sponge letters and then cut apart.  The flower stems and some background pieces are scrapbook paper cut by little ones and strategically placed.  She then used Scrabble letter tiles for the saying 'KEEP CALM AND SING ON'.  After all was placed to her liking, she modged podged it on a piece of barn wood.
I tried to zoom into show more detail.  I apologize for how blurry it is, but I am not able to go back up to school to take close up pictures.  Every time I look at this in my classroom it makes me SO happy. :) Brenda we will miss you, but can't wait to see what you will create next in the new phase of your life!
Be sure to link up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics and her Made It Monday linky party!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day. :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five For Friday~Family Style!

I am linking up with Doodle Bug's weekly Five for Friday Linky.   This week my Five for Friday is all about family.  I recently returned from a cruise with my mom, step-dad, brother and sisters.  My brother planned the trip as a way to thank my mom for all she has done for her children.  She will be 89 years old in October and up until recently hasn't slowed down one bit.  It was so nice to see her being pampered.  She deserves it.
 My mom with her girls.  :)
 My mom with her boy and her girls.  :)
My mom, step-dad and her children.  The empty chair represents my oldest brother who passed away 4 years ago from cancer.  The hardest thing I ever had to watch was my mom bury her first born.  Jim was there on the cruise with us in spirit.  Everyone felt his presence.
Random pictures from our cruise.  It was amazing!!!
I love my family and feel blessed to be a part of a greater spirit of love and compassion.  Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)