Monday, May 2, 2016

Teacher Appreciation and Currently

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Are you feeling appreciated?
Do you feel the LOVE?

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their HUGE SALE
 on May 3rd and 4th with 28% off in most stores!
I am so excited to join in as a SELLER and a BUYER because
who doesn't LOVE a deal?

So you can click on the apple icon or HERE to check out my TpT store! 
Don't forget the code CELEBRATE!
I am also linking up with Farley's FINAL Currently!

YES, you read that right!
To be honest, I haven't linked up in a while...
It was such a fun way to get immersed into the blogging community
and connect with others that I am sad to see it go!
So as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation this week,
let's take the time to celebrate with each other
and be thankful for the little people we are honored to teach!

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Plant Week & Five for Friday

What a better way to celebrate my favorite day of the week 
than joining up with Doodle Bugs Teaching with Five for Friday?
Jack and the Bean Stalk has definitely been one of out favorite fairy tales and was the PERFECT story to integrate literacy, math (shapes) and science (planting)!  This activity was Pinterest inspired, so be sure to check out my Science board on Pinterest.

We brought a a Milk Weed Plant into the classroom in hopes of finding a caterpillar only to find out we have FIVE caterpillars!  We are very excited to learn all about them. I love the text in this Butterfly Life Cycle book by Amanda Richardson. This product also has a life cycle poster and several other activities perfect for the primary grades. 

Butterfly Life Cycle

Mother's Day is just around the corner. These finger print flowers are a favorite of mine. We will add the stems and fingerprint leaves next week.  I am trying to decide if I should frame them or add them to the front of a card.  It doesn't happen too often that I am actually ahead of the game!

Skill building puzzles have brought life back to the puzzle center!  I found this idea over at The Applicious Teacher years ago and had it tucked away in the back of my mind.  You should check out her post on Puzzles in the Classroom

We are down to the final 28 days of school.  I love that I have the most awesome paraprofessional! She is prepping Alphabet Flip Books for next year and yes, that is the final letter Z is see!!  
Well this week is a wrap! Lots of learning and excitement with our plants and catties:)
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Picture Graphs and FREEBIE

Graphing in the primary grades can be so much fun!  
Picture graphs give my students time to think about their responses 
while using a little creativity.
There are so many ways to incorporate graphing into
monthly activities, themes, science and social studies and special interests. 
 Just in the past three weeks, we have done a graphing mini unit 
and the topics are limitless.
We started with Our Favorite Color graph.
Colored hand prints are always fun and 
would also be great at the beginning of the school year.

I hand wrote a title to get us through the week, 
but soon realized I would love to have cuter go to titles.

We then moved on to a Fairy Tale unit in Language Arts and spent two weeks reading different versions on The Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats Gruff and Jack and the Bean Stalk. That naturally lead to the discussion of our favorite story and another graph.
I love using authentic drawings to create the graph. 
 It gives the children more buy in
 as they are creating their card as a part of the graph.  
There is a sense of pride and more of a connection.
And once again, I was in need of a title card.  I finally realized that I may 
NOT be the only teacher who could use a collection of graph titles.
Another great graph that could be used now or at the beginning of the year is More Boys or Girls?  Let's just say I have WAY more girls than boys this year!
In the morning class of nineteen students, I have 5 boys and 14 girls!
In pre-k, we have REALLY been working on body parts and adding details.
Some of getting it and others are a work in progress:)

So I created another title and decided I LOVE the print and go easibility 
of these titles.  I print them on card stock 
and decided NOT to laminate them to avoid the glare.
I have put these three graph titles in a little bundle 
and even added a fourth as a sampling of what is to come! 
You can download them for FREE here.
I can't wait to read you feedback to see what you think!
Feel free to leave suggestions for upcoming graph titles.
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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy Friday Saturday Friends!  

Do you know how some weeks feel like they are NEVER going to end?  Yes, that would be this week for me! Coming back from spring break is always hard, but we also had a sick dog, vet visits and I had a student fall on the playground who need stitches!  #heavyheart

So I am looking forward to some down time this weekend and to yes, catch up on some much needed sleep...I am linking with with Doodle Bugs Teaching with Five for Friday.

There is nothing like a little pick me than a new tote and lunch bag from Thirty One!  I love this new summer print and my husband can't believe there isn't any black in it! #mygotocolor

We are working on graphing and what better time than Easter? This week we graphed "Our Favorite Flavor Jelly Bean" and "Have You Ever Colored Easter Eggs?"  Next week we will be using our self portraits to graph "Are You a Boy or a Girl?" and "What Is Your Favorite Color?" with colored hand prints.  We talked about what is a graph, sorting/categorizing  information and comparing quantities with more and less.

Our Dramatic Play area has turned into a Chinese Restaurant.  We have added Pei Wei to go boxes, "noodles" and "rice" made from yarn, chopsticks and a wok set from Melissa and Doug toys. This has been one of their favorite centers to date!

We are working hard on phonological awareness and phonics.  We are in the last quarter of school and are now moving to blending words with the majority of our students.  Our go to resource is CVC Words by Learn to Play.  There are a handful of littles who needs LOTS of practice with letters and sounds. 

Spring is the perfect time for a Farm Unit.  My littles loved exploring farms through literature and hands on literacy and math activities.  You can check out my Farm Unit HERE and it is 25% off through Sunday night!
So don't forget to check out Doodle Bugs Teaching and then get some much needed rest!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Small Group Instruction

Small Group Instruction is by far my favorite time of the day in pre-k!  It is time to teach specific language arts and math skills in a fun, play based way to engage my littles. We have 4 rotations that last 12 minutes each for our classes.  I have 19 students in my morning session and 12 in the afternoon.  I have names and post its on the board to help my para professional and I keep track of the kids and where they belong.  I know I want it to look much cuter...  So please do not throw rotten tomatoes... **This has been on my list of things to do all year.**

My sweet para, Becky, and I rotate daily between Literacy and Math.  Let's just say that Becky is my right arm in the classroom and I am truly blessed!  In between the literacy and math centers are the library/listening center and the computer center. 

We have tried to incorporate all things reading in the library area.  Read-a-loud books that I have shared over the course of the weeks are left on the front ledge and on the easel. 

Large poems from our poetry notebook are available to read with pointers.  The listening center changes every other day as this gives all the children in the group a chance to hear the story. 

Alphabet puzzles are put out occasionally for a quick review of alphabet letters and sounds as well as Alphabet Flip Books.  Our library is stocked with board books of our favorite predictable stories like Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and The Napping House. 

Our math group is one of our four rotations that is guided my Becky or I.  We have a scope and sequence of skills that need to be taught during each quarter of school.  We work on number recognition, counting, measurement, ordinal numbers and patterns.  

We use LOTS of hands on manipulatives, play dough and games galore.  The CRASH game is part of our Farm Unit and a favorite for sure!

What's Under the Cup is another fun game we play in the classroom.The teacher hides the bear under one of the cups.  We were practicing ordinal numbers so the students had to use an ordinal number when guessing which cup the bear was under.  You can put any skill on the outside of the cup- shapes, letters, numbers...the sky is the limit!

We are lucky enough to be able to use computers as a rotation in out room.  I have 3 student
computers, 1 computer attached to my Smart Board and on teacher computer on my desk.  We use all 5 during morning small group time.  We started the year with Starfall and the letters taught to date were on the top of the computer for easy reference.  

I later learned that teachers can get a free membership on ABC Mouse.  We tried it during small group time, but the students often wandered off into the land of ABC Mouse so we now save this for Center Time later in the day.  

In January, our school asked us if we would pilot a computer program called Imagine Learning.  So now each student is working on his/her own levelin phonological awareness and phonics. 

Small Group Literacy is a blend of phonological awareness, phonics and writing.  We practice building letters and words with play dough to work on fine motor development.  The lock and key matching game is from Lakeshore Learning

The Interactive Alphabet Activities cards are used over and over in so many ways.I added magnets to the back of the small cards to match to the large alphabet letter.  The larger picture cards are used as we build our circle maps, in counting syllables and also in the salt trays to practice letter formation.
We also started writing journals in January.  Some students are working on verbally forming sentences, while others are labeling pictures and then yes, a few are using sound spelling to stretch out words by sounding them out.

The key to making small group time work is to keep the rotation time short (10-15 minutes) while keeling children engaged in hands on activities.  The activity can can stay the same while just changing the novelty with manipulatives and work mats.  Be sure to model procedures and expectations.  Children love this time of the day and don't even know they are learning!

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

St. Patrick's Day and Five for Friday

I love celebrating holidays with my Pre-K friends.  
Most of my littles have not been in school before so what they experience 
in my room is a first, and that is exciting!
So on Saint Patrick's Day, we had a visit from Lucky the Leprechaun.
Let;s just say their excitement could not be contained...
Our rainbow windsocks took several days to complete, 
but were well worth the effort! 
I love how the colors compliment out alphabet too!
We painted every other color the first day,
so the colors wouldn't bleed together.
After all rainbows were painted and dried,
we worked on measuring and cutting the party streamers which was
the perfect addition to our measurement focus in math this week.
Windsock idea was found on Pinterest HERE.
CRASH! is one of our favorite games!
It is a matching game and can be played with any concept. 
We are working on number recognition from 1-20 
and I was able to differentiate the numerals worked 
during small group instruction.  
If the numbers match you keep them, if they don't match
you return them and CRASH! makes you return all your cards to the pile!
This edition of CRASH! can be found in my Farm Unit for pre-k and kinder.
With our teacher work day on Friday and spring break next week, 
we had to sneak in a few Easter activities this week.
Easter grass, Easter eggs, large tweezers and buckets were a hit!
I ordered the large tweezers from Amazon,
 but have also seen some at the Dollar Store recently!
Our class was invited to watch Scott Humston on Tuesday and his Pro Kids Show
 Can I just share with you that this is the BEST character ed show
that I have seen in my twenty years of teaching!
I saw the Pro Kids show five years ago at the elementary school 
that I taught at and when my youngest son attended.  
Scott Humston used comedy, magic, puppets and music 
to teach character ed in a way that CONNECTS with students!
So much, in fact, that my now middle schooler wanted to go watch 
the evening show at my current school for parents and students!
I LOVE his saying:
I am linking up today with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Five For Friday.
Be sure to head over to see what everyone has been up to!
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Five for Friday {March 4}

Happy Friday Friends!
I am joining with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  

Truth be told, I am tired this week!
I have been resourceful with lots of activities, not so much creative.
And I am ok with that!

 We loved this "Seuss like" story this week! 
 This super cute craftivity was found on Pinterest HERE.
We switched out the tissue paper for construction paper
and large plates for smaller ones.

Did you say Seuss inspired STEM activity?
Yes, please!! Did I say I was tired this week?
Look-NO prep here:)  Check out the pin HERE!

As we wrapped up our farm unit, our county scope and sequence has letter formation listed for March.  We have been consistently working on this with play dough, salt trays and yes, writing instruments.. So my pre-k friends labeled their farm animals today in a little book they made.

My oldest son is in ninth grade this year and I have high school drop off for carpool duty.  We leave the house at 6:30 as school starts at 7:00am.  No need to wipe your eyes to double check the time!  Its CRAZY EARLY.  That being said, I have come to LOVE the sun rises somewhere between when I leave my driveway, drop off at high school and drive myself into work!

This is a little off topic, but I am super proud of my hubby's promotion and second stripe.  That being said, teaching is somewhat like police work -under-appreciated and underpaid!This week a police officer was shot and killed on her FIRST day on the job in Maryland and another officer was shot and killed in Texas.  It makes my heart so sad.  Not only is it too close to home, but the blatent disrespect for the law and police officers sickens me!  #pleasepray

Be sure to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching 
and check out the Five for Friday Link Up 
to see what other sweet teachers are up to!

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