Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We Love Books Linky: Back to School FAVES

Today it my last official bum day! Good-bye sleeping in. Good-bye TV watching. Good-bye leisurely going to the bathroom.

I'm getting my ideas ready for the first week of school, and they include SO. MANY. BOOKS! I thought I'd share some of my favorite back to school books. Please let me know if you have a fave I didn't include!

Here are some general faves. They make the kids laugh while also showing characters who are a little nervous about school. I know teachers everywhere read The Kissing Hand, so here's a freebie I found on TPT that includes a lot of great activities:
Click Here

But wait! That's not all!

Each morning of the first week of school, we read one of these books and review our classroom rules (with the help of The Rules Rap by the fabulous Dr. Jean). Last year was the first year I had heard of What if Everybody Did That? and it is BRILLIANT! Because honestly, that's the deal when you teach school. Sure, it may be fine if one person interrupts a story, but what if EVERYONE did that?

It may be fine if one person stands up on the bus, but what if EVERYONE did that?
It may be fine if one person throws their coat on the floor, but what if EVERYONE did that?

It gives kids something to think about.

We spend a lot of time the first week or two learning and reviewing names, colors, numbers, and letters. These are a few of my favorite books to teach those skills. This year, I've bought Mrs. Jump's Fun with Names and CAN'T WAIT to use it! It's not free, but it's got TONS of creative ideas!
Click Here
And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't make a shameless plug for my own product?? (I know what you're thinking as an answer to that question...so don't answer it!). Anyway, this pack has several color word activities that go along with the book Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes.
Click Here
What are your favorite Back to School books?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Funny Kid Friday!

I got home at 9:30.

I said I was going to go to bed. But here it is...almost midnight...and I'm typing instead of sleeping.

I totally blame Kathleen at Kidpeople Classroom because she has such a terrific linky about funny things kids say (and we all know they say hilarious things! Just ask Carolyn over at Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together!).

Last year I had this student...let's call her E. I loved this child more than life itself, which is good for her, because otherwise I might have killed her. She was smart, frank, logical, argumentative, and somewhat prone to hysterics. In fact, she was always saying hysterical things...sometimes hysterical as in funny, and sometimes hysterical as in losing her mind. Here are a few E-isms:

"This weekend I learned that you can't marry your brother because your DNA is too similar and your babies will be born without eyeballs."

(Opinion writing response to The Gingerbread Man...a little ADD?):
"I like this story because Hey! Let's make our own story. Once upon a time there was a gingerbread man living in a house. He had a wife. The end."

(Response to What are you thankful for?):
"Dancing the hula."

Para-pro: We're going to learn about sneaky e.
E: I just don't get it!
Para-pro: That's ok, I'm about to explain it to you.
E: NO!!!! I am UNTEACHABLE!!!!

(Her entry in our class book about what they wanted to be when they grew up):
"When I grow up, I want to be a lawyer because they make a lot of money and argue a lot."

On a math assessment, I was trying to get her to explain how she knew one object was taller than the other. Playing devils advocate, I pointed to the obviously-shorter object and said "what if I said this object was taller?" She replied "That wouldn't be a very smart answer and you would need to think about it some more."

There were SO many others that I'll save for another Funny Kid Friday. =)

Before I go, here's a pic of my hubby and me from the 4th (don't lust after his manly beard). I used the fabulous free app, Pic Collage, for the background, layout, and text. I totally recommend it if you're looking for an app that does that kind of thing  =)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five for Friday: Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th!!!!!!! I hope everyone has a safe and happy day! I also hope all of my friends along the coast are staying dry from Hurricane Arthur.

This has been a FABULOUS week of enjoying summer time (AKA being lazy). I'm linking up for Five for Friday to tell you about it!

I started the week with a massive hair cut. 10+ inches are gone!!

My hubby and I went to the Braves game with my brother and his family. I like the Braves, but I mostly go for the food. Nachos, cotton candy, pizza, Dippin' Dots...YUM (but expensive)! 

It was my 3-year-old nephew's first game, and he didn't particularly care for it. He cried and watched Handy Manny on his dad's tablet. I think he didn't feel good, but it could have been because the Braves were losing. Of course, after we left at the beginning of the 8th inning, the Braves made an AMAZING comeback and won the game. Isn't that always the way??

I've been spending a lot of this week working on some new sight word ideas (you can read more about it on my post from yesterday). This year I'm planning to use sight word lists that students can work through at their own pace. I've been gathering some ideas that students can use no matter what list of words they are working on. This new pack is on sale in my store through tonight, and I'm also giving away a free one. It's probably the product that I'm the most excited about, so I hope you'll check it out!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

My school is working to be STEM certified. I found this awesomely great and wonderful book to introduce kids to the concept of STEM.


It's called Rosie Revere Engineer, and it's about a little girl who likes to build stuff. One day, she tries to build something for her grandmother that doesn't work. Rosie is going to give up when her grandmother explains that sometimes our first idea doesn't work, but that just means we try again. I think this sends the PERFECT message for STEM and school and life and I'm going to beg my principal to buy it for us!!

I'm off to a 4th of July parade to celebrate! My hubby has the day off, so hopefully we will get to hang out and relax...and probably sedate the dog so she doesn't have a hysteric fit during the fireworks. That reminds me of a funny Text From the Dog I saw (if you've never seen these, they're a series of texts between a dog and his master...and they are HILARIOUS!)

Happy 4th!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sight Word EPHIPHANY and a giveaway!

Sight words and I have a love/hate relationship. I know they are important for reading success, but following my county's prescribed method of teaching 5 words per week just wasn't jiving for me. Some kids already knew those words, and some kids still hadn't learned the words from last week.

This year, I have had a sight word epiphany. EPHIPHANY I tell you! I'm going to use the FABULOUS sight word pack made by The Teeny Tiny Teacher. This pack has 30 lists of 10 sight words each. 300 words should keep my students busy all year, but for those Super-Smarties who can learn to read 300 sight words, they can then start learning to spell the words. This pack correlates well to the Dolch sight word list and the Fountas and Pinnell list, which should make administrators happy.

So here is my plan...

1. I'm going to pre-assess students (my other love/hate relationship) so that I can determine with what list each child needs to start. Every child will work on their own list at their own pace. Assessment? Differentiation? Go ahead and put a check mark on my teacher evaluation that says "Uses assessments to inform instruction" and "Differentiates instruction to fit the needs of all learners" please and thank you!

2.I'm going to send sight word lists home so that parents can help students practice. I'll probably start this after Curriculum Night so that I can explain what in the world a sight word is and talk about ways to practice sight words at home. I really like this list of ideas.

3. The sight word lists come 2 to a page. I'll send one home to parents, and keep one at school for students to practice during stations.

I've just finished a sight word activity pack that introduces sight words in the same general order as The Teeny Tiny Teacher's lists. I've totally re-done my Sight Word Unscramble. It's a lot cuter now and also includes pictures to help students read unknown words. Students have to read the sentence on each card and unscramble the sight word that correctly completes the sentence. There's a recording sheet where students can record their answers. I think I'm going to print these cards and write the sight word list number on the back to make cards easy to sort.

I like using mixed-up sentences because I think it really makes the kids think about what they are reading. It also reminds them to start sentences with capital letters and end with punctuation. I've made 5 different colored sets of mixed-up sentences (each set has 5 sentences) plus a recording sheet so students can record their work.

I'm also putting together some general sight word ideas with recording sheets that students can do with any sight word list. As we start our sight word station, I'll slowly introduce these activities. From then on, students can complete them independently and repeat activities when they get a new list. And I won't have to re-explain the activity, which will hopefully make this station run very smoooooooooothly!

Some of the activities I'm using are:
  • Blue Vowels and Red Consonants
  • Rainbow Writing
  • Building Words
  • Roll-a-Word
  • Fancy Letters
  • Triangle Words
  • Magic Words
  • Scrabble Letters
  • Word Searches
I'm hoping to add more ideas and recording sheets throughout the year so that my students will have lots of fun ways to practice their sight words.

4. Wasn't I numbering something? Oh yeah! Number 4 is testing. Each Friday, my para-pro is going to test students on their sight word lists. If they know all of the words, they get to move on to the next list, and if not, they will work on the same list the next week. I wouldn't expect students to learn 10 words in 1 week, but I hope they will get a new list every 2-3 weeks.

So there's my sight word plan for the 2014-2015 school year. I'm going to be using my new pack to help me, and I hope you'll check it out at my TPT store. It's half-price through the 4th (only $2.50)!

I'm also doing my very first Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY! You can win my new sight word pack for FREE! Hopefully I've done this right, but please bear with me if there are any...um...hiccups  =)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy 4th!!