Saturday, July 14, 2012

Common Core Help

Common core, common core, common core!!! I don't know how it is for all of you, but that's all I've been hearing about for the last couple months. I'm excited that most everyone will be on the same page.......It's always hard getting that student from another state! I'm not excited about all the extra work I'm doing for it though. I'm in the process of changing all of my plans and lessons so that I can make sure I'm meeting all those common core standards. I feel that's all I think about and search for anymore!!! For those of you that feel the same way I thought I would share some great finds that are helping me along the way. :)

First, let me begin by telling you that I have a common core pinterest page where most of this stuff can be found! Click here to check it out. I have pinned many assessments, activities, and much more from blogs out there.

I have also included the common core app widget on the side bar to the right. Open it to find the standards for all grades and subjects. If you would like to get the common core app for on the go access click here.

Two new and useful blog sites...
These sites are meant for k-12 teachers who will be implementing the National Common Core State Standards. You can search for your grade and then the specific standard you are looking for. Some items are free and some cost money (however it goes to fellow teachers so that makes it worth it). It is constantly being updated with new lessons so you should check it often!!!

If your like me and you love is a great new online practice platform for elementary grades. Best part's 100% common core aligned and if that wasn't's free for teachers!!! Scootpad generates continuously personalized practices for each student with no intervention from the teacher. There is a downside to it though :( As of right now it's only for grades 1, 2, and 3. However, they are working hard to get grades K, 4, and 5 up by August.

Our schools Math Coach has always been a big advocate for CPALMS. This site has amazing resources for teachers in both math and ELA subject areas including lesson plans, assessments, games, and more. They are currently converting everything over  to CCSS.

I hope these will help you feel better about all this common core talk! If I find anymore resources I'll add them to this post and my pinterest board too of course. :)

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Time For A Behavior Change!

After 9 years of using the same behavior management system, I have decided it's time for a change! Since my very first year, my students had a fish that was moved up a fishbowl when an undesirable behavior occurred. The higher up the fish bowl, the more severe the consequence. This system worked for me, but I always felt like it focused on the negative. We've been told more and more that positive reinforcement is better for the students. Over the years I started to incorporate more positive behavior charts around the room like a mystery line walker chain and brownie points (I'll explain those in a future post). I still wasn't happy with my overall behavior management system though. Last year my school developed school wide rules.  We called these our "SHINES": Show respect, Have a positive attitude, I will work hard, Never give up, Everyone cooperates, and Safety counts. Of course, teaching Kindergarten, we had to help our kids understand what each rule meant so we went into it a little more. I will say that I liked having our whole grade level on the same page! It made it easier to know what to say to a student from another class if they were misbehaving. We all changed how we notified parents and tweaked our weakly notes home. I was much happier this year, but it still wasn't enough. 

Then, Pinterest came into my life!!! Who doesn't love it! I noticed a lot of people pinning this clip chart behavior system. So, I thought I would take a look and.....I have decided.......this is the change I've been looking for!!! Now, that is when my OCD really kicked in and I went into clip chart overdrive. I found as much as I could about it. After looking through it all, some stuff I'll use, some I won't, and some I'm adapting for my classroom needs. Here are the most useful sites I found...

This is a link to the e-book written by the creator of the Clip Chart behavior management system Rick Morris. It goes in depth into the program and will answer all your questions about it.

Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge has a great explanation of the program on her blog. She includes a parent explanation letter, a happy postcard for when they reach outstanding, a behavior reflection note for students to fill out, the link I found to the e-book, and so much more!!!

This is the actual chart I decided to go with. It comes from Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten. I printed it from a color printer, put it together, then laminated it twice for durability.

Sunny days in Second Grade talks about the program and offers these title cards and some parent notes. 

Teaching With Love and Laughter does a great job of explaining how she uses the system and she offers a behavior report as well.

First Grade Fanatics talks about it and how to customize clips with ribbons. She also offers a parent note.

The Polka Dot Patch offers a great teacher resource for recording your clip chart behavior:

Frogs and Fairy Tales also offers many great teacher resources like the one below.

There are so many great ideas out there so I thought I would provide you with all the stuff I found so that you too can decide if this is for you. Most of it I found by doing a broad 'clip chart' search in Pinterest and Google images. I recommend doing the same if you are truly interested! Most of my things were found out in blog land so I only have one thing of my own to share. Here is my parent letter (in Google docs) in case you are looking for an idea on how to communicate this system to them. Since I haven't actually used this program in my classroom, I will post an update of how it goes once the school year has begun. I'm hoping I can make the adjustment!!! If you have any suggestions for me please comment below. =)

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rainbows and Pots of Gold

I can't believe the last thing I talked about was winter! After looking at the pictures I had taken throughout the year, I decided going back that far was too much. So, I decided to start with spring instead. Of course this begins with St. Patrick's Day! During this unit we talk a lot about rainbows, colors, and color mixing.

I found this rainbow hands idea from Artzy Creations. It was such a great pinterest find! I was lucky enough

to have a wonderful parent volunteer help with this project. It took us a couple tries to figure out the best and fastest way to do it, but eventually she got all 18 students hands painted with the 6 different colors of the rainbow. They created clouds with cotton balls at the ends of it. I also added this cute poem to the rainbow...I always have to add some other academic element to a craft so my students get the most out of it! Here is a link to the document if you would like to use it. 

Another pinterest find came from Mrs. Plant's Press. Check out her St. Patrick's Day ideas here. The kids made torn paper rainbows. They cut out the pot and gold and glued it all together. After they had to finish the  sentence...If I found a pot of gold I would... Some of the kids got very creative with this. I also couldn't believe how many said they would share it or give it to their parents! So sweet. :)
If I found a pot of gold I would...grab it. Colton
If I found a pot of gold I would...hide it in the closet. Savannah

A very simple craft that we did was painting a rainbow with water colors. Once the students finished painting they colored the sky with blue crayon and added the mixed up sentence they had been working on...I see the pretty rainbow.

We did many other projects with four leaf clovers and leprechauns, but I forgot to take pictures of those so I guess they can wait till next year. By then who knows what other fantastic creations I might have added to the unit!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer is here...

Today was my last official day of work for this school year. Boy, it went by fast. My first year as a blogger didn't go as planned. I wasn't able to post as often as I would have liked. :( I just couldn't find the time between being a single mom, teaching, creating and implementing all my new Pinterest finds to get on here.I did take lots of pictures throughout the year so I am going to be posting all of them soon. I'm hoping this will just give everyone a head start for next year. :) I know I will be busy this summer creating things for next school year. My favorite Pinterest quote yet...
I know I won't just be pinning things, but making them as well!!! I hopefully will be able to do that and write some posts too so keep an eye out for them! :) 
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winter Wonderland

I love teaching Florida kids about the Winter season. Although it is a hard season to teach in Florida, especially this year, since we don't ever get snow and rarely get really cold weather. Two science experiments that I found on Pinterest this year really helped the kids to understand what snow and cold weather are all about.
The first is called Instant Snow.You can purchase it here if interested.
 The second experiment was perfect since we were learning about the states and changes of matter in science.
Fill balloons with water- small, medium, and large- and place in bowls with the tied side down so it will create a flat surface. Lay something on top of the balloons to create a flat surface on the top as well. Once frozen, remove balloon and stack balls using salt to help them adhere to each other. Cut out decorations with felt and stick to ice. 
The end result...

To help my students understand Winter we do a lot of crafts about snow, snowmen, snowflakes, and we talk about how to stay warm when it's cold outside. Here are some of our projects:
We read the book...and then created our own "puffy" snowmen. To create the puffy effect, mix equal parts of Elmer's glue and shaving cream. We let them dry then decorated with construction paper and wrote a describing sentence about our snowmen.

We made snowmen out of our names...

Based on the book All You Need for a Snowman, we created a First, Next, Last picture of the steps to creating a snowman. Some students got really creative!!!

First, the snow falls. Next, it grows. Last, it is finished.
First, it snowed. Next, they made snowballs.
 Last, they decorated it.


This was a center they completed on their own. I provided all the pieces and they created their own snowmen.
Some extra activities you can try are editable snowmen. Use powdered donuts, candy corns, and brown icing to create a snowman face. We also made these ornaments for Christmas, but I couldn't resist sharing them in this post. The kids painted snowmen on clear ornaments (blue looks nice too) with white acrylic paint on their hands. Next, they decorated it with paint markers. This is one of my favorite crafts for this time of year!!!

You can go check out this website Make-a-Flake to create online snowflakes from paper. After practicing on the website students can go create and cut out their own snowflakes from paper. I hung our up on our class tree.

Of course I also take this time to talk about animals that live in cold habitats like penguins. We read a lot of books about penguins. Then the students do a step-by-step drawing of a penguin and write some facts about it. To help them with this we completed a tree map.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Update in progress...apps, apps, apps

I recently discovered that I can add links to my google docs iPad/iPhone apps list. Beginning today I'm going to be changing all of it over so that if an app sounds interesting to you, all you have to do is scroll over the title and a link to the app in itunes will appear. This will make it much easier for everyone to find the exact app I'm talking about. Hopefully this process won't take too long! Here is the link back to my page iPad/iPhone apps :) If you have an app that you really love, please, please, please, leave a comment below. I'm always looking for new apps!!!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011


 So I know I'm way late in posting about Thanksgiving, but I thought better late than never!  
 First we made step-by-step drawings of turkeys. Next, we added a silly turkey story to go with it.

This was a center the kids had so much fun doing!
Our sight words were written n turkeys, which I placed around the room. They had to find the correct color and write the sight word next to it.

We recreated these adorable turkeys from Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business. For a free copy of the pattern go here.
We did a turkey hand print to go with our turkey poem.

At our school, all of Kindergarten gets together and has a big Thanksgiving feast. We dress up as pilgrims and indians. In my classroom each student gets to choose which one they want to be. Here are pictures of our costumes.

When our feast is over we go back to our room and do a pie tasting. When our taste test was done the students completed this book. I like ___ pie a lot. I like ____ pie a little. I don't like _____pie.

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