Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Hs are coming!

I'm so thankful to Chrissy @ First Grade Found Me for putting together a SUPER FUN alphabet exchange! I've been grouped with 25 other teachers and assigned a letter. My class made 26 Hs; one to keep and the other 25 to send to the members in our group. Here are our H creations...aren't they ADORABLE?!
Other classes from around the country have been sending us letters, too. My kiddos get SO tickled when we get one in the mail, and we are having fun finding where everyone is from on our map.
In other news, I've been going word family CRAZY this weekend! I made a word family unit for -op,-ot, and -og a few weeks ago, but then I got new clip art that's super cute. I've been using it to update my old unit and work on my short a unit (I'd better hurry and finish since we are starting "-at" this week. Oops!)
Here's a link to my short a unit. I'm still tweaking this, but I'd love to know what you think. This is a flash freebie, and I hope you'll give me some constructive criticism. If you have any ideas of activities to add, please let me know! Thanks!
Click the Pic to download
By the way, goooooooooo dawgs!!!
Have a great rest of your weekend!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Numbers 11-20 flash freebie!

I should be lesson planning right now. I'm so close to being finished, but I just can't make myself put on those final touches. Instead, I'm blogging, facebooking, and watching Facing The Giants (I LOVE that movie!).

I'm also creating! Let me tell you a story...

Once upon a time there was a teacher who PRE-TESTED her kids to see what they already knew. This teacher was AMAZED because almost all of her kids already knew numbers 0-10. Wahoo! So this teacher wanted to get some activities to work on 11-20. But alas, there was not very much that she could find for free. Being the cheapskate that she is, she had a brilliant thought: She'll MAKE something! And she'll use all the fun fall clip art to remind her that it's her FAVORITE season! And she will also make a cool preview to go along with her new creation (thanks to Miss Kindergarten's fabulous tutorial!).

Click the Pic for the link
Tada!!!! (For everyone who has long since known how to do these previews, please don't laugh at how behind-the-times I am!) I'm making this a flash freebie in case there are any other cheapskates out there who like stuff for free  =)  I'm not sure how long the flash will be...might be a day, might be a week. I'm just unpredictable (and forgetful) like that!

Ok, ok, I'm going to plan now. If there are any other planning-procrastinators out there, good luck with your planning, too!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

It's the Simple Things...

Is it just me, or does it seem that the SIMPLEST solutions are usually the BEST solutions? Here are a few simple solutions I've run across this week.
Problem: Students interrupt me while I'm with a small group or testing. I instruct them to raise their hand if they need something, but I don't always see them.
Simple Solution: The Problem Chair. I put this chair near my table and have taught students to come sit in it when they need something. I let them know that I can't always stop right away to answer their question, but if they are patient, I will answer their question as soon as I can. (Right after I introduced this, students sat here for EVERYTHING! I think the new is wearing off, though, because they don't do that as much anymore).
Problem: I'm constantly having to make new "I can" statements because the station activities are always changing.
Simple Solution: I made cute "I can" charts and laminated them. Now I just wipe off the old activity and write the new one. Also, I hung them up with ribbon instead of taping them. Cute, and easy to take down to write the new activity. You can get these charts for free at my TPT store.

I am starting Write the Room this week. I like to provide some structure for this activity, so we're going to start with looking for words that start with L and G (our Saxon letters), shape words, and free writing (where they can write any words that they would like).
Problem: The pencils for this station are always disappearing.
Simple Solution: Tie pencils to the clip board with handy dandy ribbon.

That's right...I'm rockin' the New Balances! I've had this same style of shoe since college and I LOVE them!
Problem: Have you ever had a student answer a question, and another student gets in a huff and says "That's what I was going to say!"
Simple Solution: When someone says their answer, my students use the ditto sign (like the air quote sign, but only using one hand). This says to everyone "I knew the answer, too!" without actually having to say anything.  

I hope these simple solutions will help you like they've helped me. Happy weekend!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Reading Mentor Texts

Making inferences...ahh, what a delightful skill to teach. I was a little surprised that this was one of the first reading skills introduced in our kindergarten reading curriculum. However, my kiddos really seemed to get it! I started with a mini-lesson that I totally stole from another blogger (I hate that I can't remember who!) I found her! It's our dear friend over at the Inspired Apple!

I got my purse and pulled out one item at a time. I asked my kids what they could guess about me based on these items.

1. car keys--I own a car, specifically a Toyota
2. Zaxby's gift card--I like Zaxby's and chicken
3. cold medicine--I've been sick

I asked my students if I had told them any of this information about myself. Nope! So how did they know it? They used clues from my purse and knowledge they already had (like 'you need keys to drive a car' or 'you take medicine when you're sick').

Anchor Chart:
We then made an anchor chart. Disclaimer: This is not the actual anchor chart, but a charming representation of it  =)
Click the pic to get this freebie

Read Alouds:
Then we read this book: Animals Should Definitely Not Wearing Clothing
This book is super simple and has very few words, but that's why it's so great for teaching inferring. The author doesn't tell you much with her words, so we have to use the pictures (and other clues) and what we know about animals to figure what she means.

The next day, we reviewed our anchor chart and read No, David
This is another great inferring book.

After reading, we played an emotions inferring game. This is important since emotions are something we have to infer a lot when we read. I told the kids short stories using them as examples (because who doesn't love to be made into an example?!). I said things like "Bartholomew went into the dark basement. He heard a loud creak. He started to shake." The kids could easily infer how ol' Barty felt, but then they had to tell me HOW they knew. I didn't tell them the emotion, so they must have used clues. What clues?? They had to give me specific examples. Dark places are scary. Hearing noises is scary. Shaking often means you're scared. By the end of the game, they were really getting how to cite the specific clues they used. This game isn't fancy, but it worked!

Link up!:
I'm linking up to share these mentor texts with the always-fabulous Amanda and Stacia over at Collaboration Cuties. I hope you'll link up, too!