Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Things They Say

There are many reasons I teach young children. The highlights of my days are the things they say. Children can't help it. They didn't set out to be funny. It is just  part of their being at 5 & 6 years old.

This weekend I got my hair cut, I went from shoulder length to a short bob style. Very noticeable. As I walked in on Monday one of my students asked "What happened to your hair?"

To which I promptly replied, "It shrank." As I walked into the classroom another student said "She cut it."

I returned to the hallway and asked the first student, "Which do you think happened? My hair shrank or I got it cut?" Remember 5 years ofter believe everything we tell them. He thought about it, looked at me, and quietly (as if he wasn't sure of his answer) replied, "It shrank."

I had to smile. Then I corrected myself and told him that I was being silly and of course I got a hair cut. The exchange made me smile all day. Even telling the story is making me smile.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Number Sense Poster

My school has used number sense techniques to teach numbers for many years. I have been using number combinations as a teaching and assessing method. Common Core takes Number Sense to the next level and adds an understanding of place value for numbers and mental math to solve problems to 10.

The best way to accomplish these goals is with daily practice and multiple exposures to each number. I have seen some great examples of number sense posters on various teaching blogs. But none of them fit my needs. 

This year I set out to create my own. I decided what I wanted on the poster; the numeral, number word, 10 frame, a place for combinations, what comes before and after, and if possible, a place for dot patterns. I created the poster pieces, printed it, and created the poster you see below. 


I am loving how it all came together. The kids are involved as I add the pieces and information to the poster each day. I use the 10 Frame to create the number sentences. I ask three questions: 
"How many do you see?"  I get a choral response, then I remove some dots. 
"How many do you see?" I pick one student to answer. I write that number in the Number sentences box.
"How many are in my hand?" I pick another student, then finish the number sentence and say "Correct, because X + Y = Z" I do this three times. Why three? That is all the room I have in the box. :) 

I hope you find the number poster helpful. Check it out by clicking on the picture or going to my TPT store. Feel free to ask any questions about the product or how I use it in my classroom. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Idea

I admit that my New Idea isn't mine at all. I teach in a rural school, with 85% of my class being ESL students. I have 4 who did not attend any type of Pre-K program. They are learning to speak, understand, read, write, etc... all at the same time.

Because they don't have the Pre-K background, they don't know any letter names or sounds. Some can't even write their name. One of my personal goals this year was not to rush teaching the letters names and sounds. I want to give the students who need the exposure plenty of time to learn the letters. At the same time, I don't my kiddos who are reading to be bored with the letter activities. Yes, I teach small group, but I was looking for something fun for the whole class.

At some point this summer, I stumbled upon the Interactive Alphabet Notebooks by Rowdy in Room 300.





This notebook is exactly what I was looking for. There is an art activity for each letter. Then there is a find the letter, handwriting practice, or written response for each letter. It is easy to differentiate the response part of the notebook. My kiddos love this. It reinforces letters and sounds, it teaches them, and lets the kids be a little crafty. Something all 5 year olds need to do. Click on the picture above to go to TPT for the files. 

Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ideas on the blog. 





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Activities Like

Today's post is about Activities, and it was really hard to pick my favorite.

This year I brought back an old whole group activity. It is based on Wilson Foundations and Words Their Way practices. We had a reading series several years ago that included small magnetic letters, I had enough to make a class set of alphabet boards. I use the Wilson letter order. 


Each students gets his/her own board. I also have a Flipchart with the letters. One child is picked each day to be the 'teacher' at the board. 



At the beginning of the year, the focus of our word work time was on the letter names and sounds. Now the lessons include a spot check of letter sounds. Then we move right into word building. 

I tell the students to move down three letters. We use the Wilson procedure of 'Tapping the sounds" "Blending the Sounds' & "Reading the Word." 


The students touch the letters while tapping and run their finger along the letters to blend. Then I ask someone to read the word. My favorite part... We do  3-4 words in a word family and by the last word, ALL of my students can 'read' the word. Even the students who still need to learn letter names. 

We build real and nonsense words. I ask after reading the word if the word is real, The students respond and if they are not sure, we discuss the word. I have mostly ESL students so there are times when they do not know the real words. 

I am glad I added this activity back to my routine. Ii keeps the students engaged and everyone is learning. 

Don't forget to link up and share your favorite Activity.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Helpful Hints

My hint has to wo with all those computer files, PDFs, clip art, and untils i am accumulating at a rate faster than I can think about it.

I have always found it very important tto keep my computer fils just as organized as my paper files. I do not keep a printed copy of the units I use each year, that is just more paper that needs to be filed. I do not like filing. 

My hard drive has mulitple folders on it. I have a main folder for my printable files and a main folder for my ActivInspire files. It makes it eaier to find what I am looking for. Here is the folder tree for my printables. 


Withing each catergory, I will also have folders. This is my Books folder, insife I have Kissing Hand, Eric Carles, etc... Again, I can find waht I am looking for quickly.

Since the computer has a large storage capacity without being cumbersome, I will also save untils in multiple folders. For example a Brown Bear unit will go in the Brown Bear folder, the counting 1-10 folder and Beginning Sounds folder if it has activities that teach those skills. I can pull the specific resources to use for remediation work. 

Don't foget to link up your hints below.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Time Saver Linky Party

What better way to get started with blogging than a Linky Party?!?! I can't think of one. I was wondering what to post next, but now I have 5 days of topics. Plus, posting every day will help me get into a good habit... bonus!!!

Today's topic is time saving tips. I have read a few other blogs linked up today and realize we all do some similar things to save time. Just proves we are all pretty smart and that they are proven tips. 

My first tip is at home. My alarm goes off at 5:30am and I will anything to stay in bed a few extra minutes. I start the night before. I am a southern girl and LOVE my iced tea during the day. I also prefer fresh tea. Each night I make my tea for the next day, in the green lid Teavana 
pitcher,  it can cool overnight and I am set. I also measure out the tea leave for my hot tea, in the purple tea kettle (also from Teavana).


My second tip is at school; lesson plans. They can take so long. My principal allows us to create weekly plans and the district has provided us with an assessment calendar based on the Common Core Standards. I use an Excel template and fill in 80% of my plans. I put a summary of the quarters standards in the first column on the left. Since there are activities I do each week, i.e.my word building activity, I prefill those in the planning sheet as well.  When it is time to plan I can simply fill in the books I am using, any specific goals, activities, and resources. It saves so much time.



I have a small hanging file holder on my desk where I put any worksheets and materials for the week. 

There you go. Thanks for letting me share a couple of my time saving tips. Don't forget to click on the Linky button to read more great tips.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Welcome

Welcome to my corner on the web. I started this blog in August. With all the good intentions of posting about back to school, prepping my classroom, and the thrill of the new year. That didn't happen. :)

Next I thought I would jump in during the fall holiday frenzy. You see how that went.

Then I thought, I should get several things in my TPT store before I post. My TPT store is still empty.

The list goes on, and nothing got done.

I realized I didn't need a reason, or a theme, or a store launching, or etc.... This is my blog. It is about my experiences and opinions about what occurs in my classroom. I am starting today with a simple introduction.

My name is Candice. I have been teaching sine 1996. I have taught Pre-K through 2nd grade. I currently teach Kindergarten. I love it. Despite being to an age where bending over to tie shoes can hurt a little, the 5 & 6 year olds make each day interesting.

I won't give many details about where I teach. The district I work for has very strict policies regarding student privacy, which I respect.

There it is in a nutshell. The beginning of a new endeavor in my teaching; sharing my experiences. Thanks for reading.