Friday, July 31, 2015

What's in Your Cart? TpT BTS Sale

Did you hear the news?!?!?! TPT is having their Back to School sale on August 3rd and 4th. I am joining the linky party at Speech Room News to share a few of my products and some things I want.

First up our my Concepts of Print booklets. Each booklet contains a simple sentence and picture. There is a dot under each word to help the students practice work tracking skills. There are 5 booklets in this set. Simply Print, Cut, and Go! 




The Ending Sound Sorts has everything you need to teach and practice ending sounds. There are large color cards for instruction and smaller color and black and white versions for independent practice. Help the kids sort picture by the ending sounds they hear. 


My simple Bathroom Signs contain a sign with the bathroom rules: Remember to flush, Toilet paper in the toilet, and Wash your hands. Each sign is available in three different color options. 


There are lots of things in my cart. Writing through the year is almost at the top of my list. I have unit one and love the way it is laid out. 


I am always looking for ways to incorporate science into our day. These emergent readers by Melissa Williams are perfect. 



At the top of my list; KG Fonts! Oh, how I want these. I know the price will only go up. Decisions, decisions.


What is in your cart? Need some ideas. Check out the What's in Your cart? linky party for more ideas. 



Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Preview of My Room

I haven't been in my room since June. I haven't really thought much about my room since June. We are lucky to have a couple of days to work in our room guaranteed by our contract. But who am I kidding, I teach Kindergarten, I always need more. 

I walked into a pretty organized room. The custodians put things back approximately where they were originally. Yeah, I don't have to move the rug or housekeeping center, it is very heavy. We are also allowed to leave things on the walls. That means less chair climbing up the ladder for me. 


My room is a large rectangle with built-ins on every wall. This is my third year in the room and I haven't found a set up I love yet. I am finally happy with the housekeeping center. It is just inside the door, see the 'microwave' in the photo above. I need the custodians to turn it around, but it won't move. My tables and bookshelves are another story. 

As you see, I have trapezoid tables for my students. Above they are in the butterfly arrangement. I like this because it gives the students more surface area to work. In this room, that takes up too much space. I use the hexagon set-up, but haven't been happy with it. 

One reason I go in early is that I CANNOT do anything until I have the set-up done. And set-up means I stand around and mentally move things in my head. Then I imagine 18 little bodies, with back packs moving around the space. I imagine the table being too close to the water fountain or another table for the kids to walk around. I imagine myself walking around and keeping on eye on everyone. It takes a long time. 

One thing I need this year is a bookshelf near each table group for the students to use. I have a 1:1 computer program in my room and most of those are laptops. They are in a cart overnight, but need to be accessible during the day. Last year I had them all on the same bookshelf. It worked fine. This year I wanted them  spread out a little more. Hey, the fewer kids needing in the same space at the same time, the better. 

I moved the bookshelves, I put them on a towel so I could slide them across the room. I didn't like them with the hexagon tables. I stared at the tables for a very long time and came up with an idea. What if I didn't do 'tables' but 'rows'? I moved the tables and bookshelves again until I came up with the arrangement below. I made a "V" type shape with the tables and put the bookshelf in the center. Each grouping will comfortably seat 6 kids, perfect. 


I have plenty of room to get around the groups. There are no tables close to the carpet anymore, bonus there! I feel like I have more floor space than any year prior. I need to fix up my teaching area, move my easel and big book cart, but that won't take long. Next week is the teacher area and bulletin boards. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How to Teach Word Tracking Skills

There are several skills that must be in place before a child is ready to ready. They include the following:
   Identifying the cover, back, & title page of a book
   Identifying where to read
   Identifying the pictures and the words
   Pointing to where to begin reading and tracking the words across a page
   Knowing the difference between a letter and a word
   One-to-one word correspondence, touching each word as it is read

All of these skills are taught during read alouds and often taught indirectly. But the last one, word tracking, needs a little more direct instruction.



Big books and pointers are great for this. As I read the book I touch each word with a pointer. After rereading the book, I let a student be my helper; they point to the words as I read them. After spending a week with the same book, I put it into my reading center, with the pointers. Students will have learned the book and can practice reading and tracking the words themselves. Repeated readings of the same book are important for beginning readers.

I also use simple text to teach word tracking skills. My Concepts of Print Booklets are perfect for this. The set is new and I will be adding to it throughout the year. Right now it contains booklets with a fall theme. Topics include: At School with common school items, Apples with number words to five, Fall Leaves with color words, and Halloween with common Halloween items.

The booklets are easy to assemble. Print the pages, stack them, staple them, and cut them apart.

 

Each booklet has one sentence per page and a simple illustration. The booklet is a pattern book which helps the students learn and remember the words. There is a dot under each word for word tracking. I use echo reading to teach Word Tracking with these books. I display my copy of the book and touch each dot as I read the words. The students echo the words back to me and they touch the dots as well. 

We will read each page a couple of times on the first day. The booklet is kept and reread throughout the week, maybe not everyday, and that is okay. The students will color the illustrations and on Friday they take the book home. I remind them that they now have a book that they CAN READ! That is powerful in September when many are still mastering letter sounds. 


I have a Promethean Board and an ActivSlate. The slate allows me to walk around the room and still move things on the board. That means I can still touch the dots without being at the board. 

Once the students have mastered word tracking skills these books can be used as simple take home readers, to practice the sight words, or find capital letters and punctuation. 



Click the image below to check the set out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


Thanks for stopping by today! 



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Assess Me: A get to Know Me Linky

I saw this on Bloglovin' tonight and it looked like fun. I am joining up with The Tattooed Teacher for her A Get to Know Me Linky.



This week is a quick Yes/No questionnaire.

1. Last year my kiddos were asking me 'What are you saying?" Then they just started saying "She's doing it again." Yes, I talk to myself all the time. 

2. Slightly superstitious

3. I used to crack them all the time, not so much as I got older.

4. No, it is bedtime. 

5. No, it is at my back, so I listen to music while on the computer. 

6. Nope, but I never had any to begin with.

7. Yes ma'am

8. To be fair, I was 18 the first time I went to Disney World. Now I live 2.5 hours from the parking lot at the Magic Kingdom, I've been a lot. I have also been to Disneyland and will go back one day. 

9. Yes, I just gave up my contacts and went back to glasses for everyday use. 

10. Nope, I only lived there for 6 months, never lived in that state again. This is the 6th state I have lived in. I lost count of how many cities and places. 

There you go. Check out the linky and join the fun. (HERE)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Desk Update; It was time

When our house was built I was able to customize my office/studio/creative space. I looked at lots of photos of craft room, storage types, desks, etc... to come up with I hoped would work for me. Since it is all built in, there is no changing it now. I knew I wanted a large desk area. In fact I have two, there is a small desk across the room. 

My large desk 8 feet long and I love it. I put my computer at the end, over the printer, which is on a pull out shelf! This has been my set up for 4 years, barring minor changes. The computer area has always bothered me. I have to pull the computer down the desk so my feet will fit. That left a lot of wasted space between the computer and the book shelf. 

I can't make notes while I am on my computer. All the desk space is on the left and I am right handed. I needed to do something. 

Why it took 4 years for me to think of this I am not sure. But while looking at the above view last night, I realized I could put my computer in the corner. WOW!! Corners are always wasted space, with my computer on that end of the desk my external hard drives and USB hub could go in the corner. I have less wasted space now. I can easily turn and make notes if I need to. I have plenty of room for creating and crafting. I still need to swap the supplies in the cabinets and move my bulletin boards to the computer side, but that won't take long. I am already much happier with this set up. 


Some close-ups of each end of the desk. 

 

Now back to work and creating in my updated space. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

All About this Kinder Teacher

Today I am linking you with the new Kinder Tribe blog {HERE} to share a little bit about myself. 


Name: That is pretty self explanatory! 

Years teaching/Years in K: I have been teaching since 1996. I thought I wanted to teach 4th or 5th grade. My first job was teaching Pre-K and I loved it. I taught 1st grade in between my Pre-K and K years. I have been in K for 5 year now. 

I can't live without: My Promethean Board; and that means I have to keep my computer. I love letting the kids 'be the teacher'. It also helps with behavior. If you are playing, you miss your turn. I teach a high poverty and high ELL population, at least 80% ELL. They don't have the background knowledge many kids come to school with. I find short videos on YouTube to show them things like snow (we live in Florida) and animals, instruments, even household items. It really gives them a better understanding of the word to see it  versus me just telling them. 

Favorite school supply: Markers.... Dry Erase, Sharpie, Flair, Sketch, Crayola, You name it, it is probably in my marker bucket! 

Favorite Kinder Book: IMPOSSIBLE... there are too many to name. I like the 'stand bys' The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, No David!, Dr Seuss. The Bear series, The Pigeon books, and on and on and on.

Favorite Kinder Blog: I can't answer this one. Really, I am a content reader. If the post looks interesting I will read it. I enjoy Simply Kinder, Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten, and I have recently added several more to my Bloglovin' feed. 

I love Kindergarten because: They are 5!!! I tell people I teach 5 year olds, it is so easy to have a generic picture of an elementary age child in your head. Our students are 5, they are relatively new to the whole idea of school. They have so much to learn and so much potential. I love the 5 year old brain, it can soak up so much learning, it doesn't filter what it says (not always a good thing), it want to explore. 

I tie lots of shoes, buckle belts, help with jackets, and so many motor skills that I can't name them all. BUT, I teach them the letters, those letters make words, with words you can READ! I teach them numbers, to count, to add and subtract, to talk about shapes, and much more. I can see the progress so easily. They change so much by the end of the year, so much more independent. I love it!

I will have a new group of 5 year olds in just a few weeks. I can't wait to see what we can accomplish this year. 

Check out more Kinder teachers on the All About this Kinder Teacher Linky. 



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Enable Guided Access on Apple Devices

Raise your hand if you use iPods or iPads in your classroom. They are wonderful devices and there are more than enough apps to support and engage students in learning. Most of our students come to school with plenty of experience with some type of device; Apple or Android.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing. 

It's good because they know how to turn on the device, open the app,  and they know the finger gestures to work the apps.

It's bad because they know how to work the device. They know how to open apps, close apps, they accidentally delete apps,  they know the symbol for the camera and how to use it. 

There is a time and place for them to use the camera or the video and the microphone. But when they are in the center it is nice to know they're working on what you want them to. Apple devices have a restriction that allow you to do this. It's called guided access. It is easy to set up.

On any Apple device go to Settings (the photos are from an iPhone, the iPad will look slightly different) Go to General


Click on Accessibility
You'll need to scroll down to Learning and click on Guided Access


Swipe to turn ON Guided Access
Click Set Guided Access Passcode and set up a 4 digit password, or enable Touch ID if it available on your device. 


You are all set. When you want to turn on Guided Access; it is a simple process. 
Open the app 
Triple Click the Home button
At the top of the screen you will see Start and Cancel
At the bottom is an Option section that allows to you set a few more controls. 


Once you turn on Guided Access it is done. It is only activated when you triple click the home button. I use Guided Access all the time with my Kindergarteners. One tip, don't let them watch you enter the passcode. They will learn it. lol True story! 

I hope this helps you get more use out of your Apple devices and feel more comfortable letting the students work with them independently. Thanks for stopping by. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Periscope

Yes, I need one more social media outlet! Periscope is very addicting. Find me here...


TPT Store Updates

I have been tinkering with my blog this summer. I updated my Social Media buttons on the right.
I also added some pages and navigation bar links below the title. 


Next I turned my attention to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I used the tutorial "How to Dress Up Your TpT Store!" Found on Mrs. Fultz's corner. I do not see any reason to reinvent the wheel and there are so many kind bloggers who share tutorials. I always start with a Google search. 

I used Canva, the online platform for design, to create a new 'quote'. My quote doesn't link to products. This is where I diverged from Mrs. Fultz's tutorial. 


After creating the image in Canva, I downloaded it to my computer. I then added it to my blog. I have an unpublished page of images so I can grab the HTML codes. I previously used Photobucket, but my account was having issues. After getting the HTML code I logged into my TPT account. Under the Seller's Dashboard, click on Edit Profile. Paste the HTML code into the Personal Quote box and save. 

My old banner doesn't match my new quote. Back to Google and I found this tutorial at Tales from a Very Busy Teacher  to spruce up your TPT banner. I went back to Canva and voila and new banner in no time at all. 


I have uploaded many of the design elements I use on my blog to my Canva account so I can keep a uniform theme and color scheme throughout. I used papers and clip art designed by KHDigi on Etsy. She had great work and good prices. Check her out. 

Update blog.... check
Update TPT store... check
Update Credit page... check

I think I have gotten everything updated and tweaked this summer. I could play with design all day, I often tell myself to stop. 

Don't be afraid to dress up your store. If you get stuck, directions are usually just a Google search away. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Where was I Five Years Ago?

I am linking up with I Heart Grade 3 for her summer blog summer link up. This weeks topic:

I had to pull out my old hard drive for this one. I keep all my photos on an external drive and replaced it 2 years ago. Then I couldn't find the cords. Off to Snapfish for my uploaded photos and here we go! 

It was a busy summer with three trips. First was a quick trip to Disney World with my daughter and her best friend. After all, Disney is better with friends. It is only 2 hours from my house, so we used to go quite often. 



Then a late planned trip to Atlanta for my family. All the siblings were able to be in the same place at the same time, and spouses (except mine) and children. It is a rare event indeed. In fact, it hasn't happened since then. 


Finally, the our family vacation to Paradise Island Bahamas. I made it out of the US before I turned 40, it was close but I did it. The water is beautiful and almost beyond description. We spent time at Atlantis and other spots around Nassau.



Where were you 5 years ago? Join the linkup and share. 


Saturday, July 4, 2015

TpT Masterpiece

Here it is; my TpT challenge Masterpiece; hosted by Teach Create Motivate, Third in Hollywood, Peppy Zesty Teacher, and Sparkling in Second. I created this for reinforcing letters and sounds.


 Many children come into Kindergarten knowing most or all of the letters and many of the sounds. They no longer need a week on each letter. Yet, they need to master the sounds and shapes of the letter. They need to recognize the letter in different fonts for reading. This set provides resources to practice the letter names, letter shape and beginning sounds. 

What do you get? 


Each letter has three options for font sorting. You get two pages of color or black and white letters, in a variety of fonts for sorting; mats are included. These are great for small group or center work. Each letter had a printable page for font sorting. This can be used as independent practice, homework, or just use it for the students who still need help, instant differentiation. 


Each letter comes with a beginning sound practice page. The students color the pictures that have the same sound as the letter. The vowels focus on the short sound in the middle of a word. 


There is also a visual discrimination page for each letter. The students find and color the target letter. 


The final resource is for fun. Each letter has an upper case and lower case puzzle option, again in color or black and white. Use them in a center or small group, print and cut apart several letters, mix up the pieces and have the students build the letters. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July Currently

It is that time again; a new month, a new Currently from Oh' Boy 4th Grade. 


I haven't turned on my music or TV yet, so the air conditioner is a constant sound in the background. It is hot in Florida, so it rarely shuts off. 

I love the new FB groups I have joined this summer. One to help with blogging and a couple to help TPT. 

I am thinking that I can put aside my TPT items next week and spend the time on personal projects. I have a basket of photos waiting to be scrapped. 

I need to go put the towels in the dryer, but I don't want to move right now.

All Star, really, you' have to ask my friends that. 

Don't forget to check out all the other posts at Oh' Boy 4th Grade and link up yourself.