Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday Treat for My Sweets: Back to School Roll Say Keep

Happy Saturday everyone!  Sorry this post is rolling out a bit late, I've been busy working on another Daily 5 post as well- stay tuned.  :)  Just in case if you're new to the blog, here's how it works:
  • Swing by the blog on Saturdays to snag a sweet free treat
  • See a sneak peak of the Sunday Super Steal Deal item (or items)
  • Super Steal Deals start on SUNDAY and last all week!
  • Facebook Fans have an additional opportunity to win the Sunday Steal Deal (so make sure you're a fan!)
Today's sweet free treat comes from my School Swing Roll Say Keep game.  It includes uppercase alphabet cards, a game mat and I-Can chart.  Click on the picture for your fun freebie!

Roll Say Keep games are a big Word Work hit with my students all year long!  

What I love most about these packs is they are EDITABLE and easily differentiated.  It's super easy to type in whatever words you need!

You can snag all my Roll Say Keep bundles for 50% starting Sunday- even the bundle!  That's like getting more than half the games for free!  :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday Made It: Clipboards, Letter Cases and Cute Binder Tabs

I am finally getting around this summer to linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics!  Don't forget to visit the linky and check out all the fun!

This is mostly what I've been up to this summer:

{best. movie. EVER!}

But as I swinging around Hobby Lobby and Target last weekend I finally felt inspired!  Here's what I made:

First, I re-did my letter tile storage case with these awesome stickers I picked up at the Target Dollar Spot!  I love how they have a picture and the capital/lowercase letter.  Now I need to go find another case at Walmart for all my magnetic letters...

32 Compartment No Spill Case: Walmart, $7
Alphabet Stickers: Target, $1
Eureka Letter Tiles: Amazon, $9
{Total Cost: $17}

P.S. Don't forget to enter my current giveaway for a Target gift card!  Giveaway ends this Saturday!

I finally tried it... mod podge cute clipboards for my awesome new teammates!  Here's how it went- tell me I'm not the only one!  :)  

In the end (six clipboards and three trips to Hobby Lobby later) they turned out great!  Practice makes perfect, right?!  Here's what you'll need for this project:

 Mod Podge Matte Finish: Hobby Lobby or Walmart, $5
Clipboard: Dollar Tree, $1
Scrapbook Paper: Hobby Lobby, $0.59/each
Assorted Foam Brushes: Hobby Lobby, $2/pack
Decorative Ribbon: Hobby Lobby, $1-$3
3" Avery Printable Round Labels: $9
{Total Cost: ~$20}

{It is really important to add a MEDIUM coat.  This first time I didn't do a thick enough coat and my paper ended up peeling!}  

{It's very important to WAIT between each layer of mod podge, otherwise you will get terrible bubbles.  I did 3 total layers- 2 in the evening, 1 in the morning and they turned out great!}

Did I mention how important it is to wait for each coat to dry completely before putting on another one?  :)

And last but not least...

I learned how to print onto sticky notes {best.thing.EVER!}  Look how cute and classy my new organizational binder tabs turned out:

And it was pretty easy peasy lemon squeezy once I got going with it!  Here's what you do:

Print sticky note template onto white paper, then cover with sticky notes.  The template shown is for 3" by 3" sticky notes.  Be careful to place the sticky part towards the top in each box.

Edit the text in the template file.  The circles are designed for use with a 2" circle cutter or you can cut them out.  You can also add text to the plain boxes to print onto an entire sticky note.  (And yes, the text is upside down.  This is very important- you want the sticky side on top to adhere to the page and the text to stick out of the binder!)

Place template paper with sticky notes into printer.  Note the direction the sticky notes face- you want the paper feed in the smoothed down sticky part first.

Voila!  Beautiful sticky notes.  The lightly dotted circle makes it easy to line up with your circle punch or to follow with scissors.

Got that?  Here's the steps in review:

And that's all folks!  I hope you found some fun easy to use ideas.  Don't forget to pick up your sticky note template/tutorial freebie below and happy crafting!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tales of a Target Teacherista: Goodies & a Giveaway!

Having a love affair with Target is nothing new for teachers.  I've tried to save myself (and my wallet) all summer, so when I headed in yesterday it was like stumbling across an oasis in the desert!  Naturally I can't keep all the great things I found to myself.

Mmmm guided reading supplies!  The Eric Carle bags are absolutely adorable for sending reading bags home.  The word strips I use for Mix N' Fix (scrambled sentences) during guided reading.  I model making a connection and writing it down in a sentence, cut it apart and mix it up, and the kiddos help me fix it.  Then they write their own connection down on the small sentence strip whiteboards.

I love these card sorts, puzzles and bingo games for skill-building in small groups!

It wouldn't be a true Target trip if I didn't stock up some stickers, stamps and organizational goodies.  :)  I love the cute buckets with chalkboard/dry erase surfaces and color-coded baskets (great for turn-in work).  I go through a lot of stickers because each Tues/Thurs the kids bring back their guided reading back, they get a sticker for each sentence they wrote about the book in their journals!

Aaand I may have bought the same skirt in 2 or 4 different colors.  With matching cardigans.  And some coordinating scarves.  :)

Have you been craving a trip to Target but need some extra cash?  Enter the giveaway below and gain extra entries by sharing the good news with your friends.  Good luck!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday Treat for My Sweets: B2S Class Books!

I'm back from vacation and ready to roll after a fun week of hiking, free wine-tasting and poolside lounging!  :)  Just in case if you're new to the blog, here's how it works:
  • Swing by the blog on Saturdays to snag a sweet free treat
  • See a sneak peak of the Sunday Super Steal Deal item (or items)
  • Super Steal Deals start on SUNDAY and last all week!
  • Facebook Fans have an additional opportunity to win the Sunday Steal Deal (so make sure you're a fan!)
Today's free treat comes from my two class book packs.  There are TWO covers (black and white/color options) and book-specific prompt pages to help your class start creating class books on Day One!  Click on either picture to snag your sweet freebie.  :)

My kiddos love to create class books.  We usually make 1-2 per week (on Fridays when we have a shortened literacy block).  During this time I do a whole-class writing lesson, modelling my response first before letting them go to write their own pages.  I focus my mini-lessons to correlate with what we're learning about in writer's workshop and the weekly books relate to our theme.  In the beginning I do a lot of mini-lessons based on the writing process and mechanics, such as...
  • What is the first thing a writer should do?  THINK what they want to say!
  • How do I show what I want to say?  Through pictures and words!
  • How do I write that word?  Stretch out the sounds!
And so on.  We spend a lot of time referencing our writing anchor chart, which is modeled on this way more awesome and cute one from Mrs. Jones's Kindergarten:

Eventually mini-lessons progress to more complex aspects of the craft.  For example, in the mini-lesson below I modeled using a nonfiction text feature (labels) to help teach my readers about penguins.

Then I let the kiddos pick their own polar animal to write about.  Here's what they were able to say after two weeks of learning about our polar pals!  (You'll notice that these are not prompt-specific pages.  In the class book packs there are differentiated page templates to support the different levels of your writers, in addition to prompt-specific pages).

And this one is my absolute favorites!  I just love all the blood and guts.  :)

On the very first day of school we make The Kindergarten Kissing Hand after we have read the book with our parents and then said goodbye.  It's a great way to start modelling making text-to-self connections (How did Chester feel?  How do you feel?) and learning about the 3 ways to read a book (pictures, words, retell)!  I also get a valuable portfolio sample with this book that tells me many things right off the bat- how they write their name, their knowledge of letters/sounds, and I get a self-portrait.  

The kiddos get so excited when I put the class book in our special class book basket in the library and explain that this is where books we publish will go all year long and they will get to check them out.  At the end of the year I have a system to determine who will get to take which book home, which you can read about by clicking on the picture below.

You can grab all these awesome book covers, prompt-pages, general templates and more for this week's Sunday Steal!  BOTH book packages are discounted at 50% 

P.S. The rest of my store is also 20% off for the next two days!  Enjoy and good luck getting ready for back to school!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapters 3-4 {2nd Edition}

Welcome back to another blog post all about the new Daily 5!  This post is all about Chapters 3-4.  We are really getting into the meat of the book now!

One thing I love about most about the Daily 5 Model (and there are many things!) is the gradual and structured release of responsibility.  If you follow the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence, most of your kiddos will catch right on and it will be smooth sailing from here on out.  Here they are!

This whole process is grounded on what many of us know about memory.  

Let's look at each step in detail!

1. Identify What Is to be Taught
Right from the beginning it's important to create a lasting anchor chart (called an I-Chart) with the kiddos.  The first step (in the words of my college supervisors) is to set the objective.  This step outlines WHAT will you be teaching today and is written at the top of the I-Chart.

You may be wondering what an I-Chart looks like.  Here's what our Word Work I-Chart looked like during its initial construction (sorry for the super poor lighting!):

An I-Chart outlines what the students and teachers are doing during that round of Daily 5.  It serves as a reference all year long.  I like to make a rough-draft with my kiddos on the active board, then later on make a permanent chart with pictures of the kids modeling each step to hang in the relevant area.  Here's the newest and cutest version:

2. Set a Purpose and Create a Sense of Urgency
This step explains WHY you are teaching the objective.  Why is it important to learn how to read to self?  Will it make you a better reader?  Is it fun?

3.  Record Desired Behaviors on an I-Chart
The rest of these steps focus on HOW the objective will be accomplished.  In a notable difference from the first edition, this time the two sisters recommend writing down and explaining each desirable behavior on the I-Chart (rather than having the kiddos' brainstorm).  I think this is an option in the interest of saving time, but I really enjoyed our class discussion on the topic.  To help guide my littles in the direction I wanted them to think, I modeled what being a good reader looked and sounded like, then had them describe what I was doing.  

You may run into kids wanting to focus on negatives (things readers shouldn't do) rather than the positives.  My class definitely had this mindset last year, so to help them out I reminded them to think of and share only "yes choices."  

Here are the "yes choices" you want your kiddos to make to become better readers:
  • Read the whole time
  • Stay in one spot
  • Get started right away
  • Work quietly
  • Build stamina
*NOTE: When working with kindergartners you definitely want to break these behaviors up into smaller more manageable chunks!  Try adding 2 desirable behaviors each day to the chart.

4.  Model Most Desirable Behaviors
It's important that you have the STUDENTS model the behaviors you've charted together.  Not only do the kiddos love the attention, it's a great way to point out each behavior in action.  

Here are some snapshots I took of my kinders while they modeled most desirable behaviors (I later used these photos for our permanent I-chart).  Their faces are blurred to respect their privacy, but just imagine the cutest kiddos in the world and that describes my class!  :)

Always follow up with this essential question (the answer should be an emphatic and resounding YES!)

5.  Model Least Desired Behaviors, Then Most Desirable Again
The sisters suggest skipping this step in Kindergarten unless if you absolutely have a "barometer" child- you know, the ones who are guaranteed to act up and set the weather in your classroom!  I have to say I agree that modelling incorrect behaviors can be confusing for our kinders, especially if it's their first year in school.  If you choose to do this step, pick a student or two to model least desirable behaviors.  Ask the students the essential question (this time the answer should be NO!), then have those same students model the most desirable behaviors and ask the question again.  The key is to focus on and return to the positive.

6.  Place Students Around the Room
To begin with, you are in charge of placing students around the room for practice.  Try to send them off as close to each other in time as possible so that everyone has an equal chance to build stamina.  I love Erica's Book Nook Chart to use initially in the Read to Self send-off (later students will be able to choose their own spots, sometimes with reminders to choose the best spot for their body and their brain):

7.  Practice and Build Stamina
This is a great time to observe and learn about what and where works best for your students!  Pay attention while you....
8.  Stay Out of the Way!
These two steps occur together.  This is the time for your students to practice what it will be like when you're with small groups- which means you can't be hovering over them, or they'll never build independence.  When the focus is lost, round 'em all up and record their stamina. 

I use the timer on my active board while students are reading.  They love to see how far they have gone when I signal for us to stop!  Here's the newest and cutest stamina chart.  

Last year it only took 5 days for my kinders to reach where we needed to be (the Sisters say to expect typically anywhere from 5-10 days).  We celebrated with a super fun Teddy Bear Tea Party!  :)  They got to bring their favorite stuffed animals to school for our literacy block and snack that day.  Their job was to teach their stuffed animal all about the right way to do Daily 5.  It was awesome!

9.  Use a Quiet Signal and Bring Students Back to the Gathering Place
I love how the Sisters emphasize saving your voice for instruction rather than management.  Quiet signals work like a charm!  In my classroom I use a rainstick, but you could use chimes, a bell, etc.  Once "the spell has been broken," use the quiet signal and in a quiet voice direct students to return their book boxes and come back as a group.  It's very important to stop once those undesirable behaviors start cropping up.  As the Sisters say, they're difficult to change once they're ingrained, so you don't want them practicing the wrong way!

10.  Conduct a Group Check-In
At first you'll be checking in with how the group did meeting the D5 expectations.  The students self-reflect and rate how they did, then set their goals for the next practice.  You can use a 1-2-3-4 rating system or in my class, we just use our thumbs (up, down, or in the middle).

At this point, you can choose to launch another practice round of Daily 5 or break it up with something different.  That's one thing I love most about the Daily 5- the flexibility!  The Sisters have some great advice about it:

Phew!  I can't believe I talked so much about one chapter... onwards to the next one!

The Daily 5 is easy to implement and really mostly requires things you already have on hand or things that are easy to get.  I've made a quick checklist you can refer to as you get started:

I think the classroom environment (and especially the classroom library) are key to running a successful literacy block.  Here's a glance at how my library was looking while I was setting up last year:

The plastic lawn chairs were only $5 at Walmart and were probably THE place to sit all year.  They were an easy and inexpensive way to provide some alternative seating!

I organize my books both by theme and level.  It took awhile to sort everything into piles and make, print, then attach Avery index labels (which ended up getting expensive), but it was definitely worth the effort!  I love how organized my library is and it is easy for the kiddos to maintain.

There are lots of great ideas to organize your classroom library, but I am absolutely in love with Maria's labels (available in black and in white).  She's got lots of great tips for setting up, organizing, leveling and labeling the library of your dreams:

I also love these cute and classy labels from Ladybug's Teacher Files.  I think they are awesome for the older grades she includes genre labels:

The most expensive thing (besides all the books!) ended up being the book bins.  Last summer I ended up doing some comprehensive research about the best book bin buys for Daily 5!  You can check out that post by clicking on the picture below:

Thanks for bearing with me all the way through these two chapters!  I hope you got some good ideas and let me not forget the FREEBIES!  :)  The 10 Steps to Independence, Getting Started Checklist, I-Charts, a Stamina Chart, and the Thumbs-Up GroupCheck-In Poster have all been added to my Daily 5 Freebie File.  I hope you like them!

See you next chapter!