Showing posts from June, 2012

Summer "School"

As an educator, I strive to continue to be a life long learner. I have half of my master's degree completed and am spending the majority of my summer reading reading professional books, participating in a book study online and going to three days of professional development. (I mean, who does that? Of their own volition? It all adds up to NERD-but, hey, I'm owning it.) I thought the most beneficial lesson I'd learned was how to successfully teach guided reading. Until today. Today I learned that if you're meeting your friend Jennifer for lunch there are a couple of do's and don't s. For example: Do take the time to make sure you put some kind of cosmetics on your face. Because it will be the day that you get interviewed for KET (Kentucky Educational Television). Don't leave the house with wet hair. Because it will be the day that you get interviewed for KET. And God and the Commonwealth will get to see you looking like that. Do make sure y

Re-using Plastic Divider Tabs

So can you spot the difference between my Math Assessment Binder tabs and my Essentials Binder tabs? (Hint: it's not the numbers or whether the letters are bold or fine print.) It's not readily apparent, so let me just tell you: it's $4.32. As I prepare for my kiddos in the fall, I went on ahead and made four binders: an ELA Assessment binder, a Math Assessment binder, a Small Groups binder, and an Essentials binder. I wanted them to look cute as well as be functional, so I sprung for the prettiest tabs I could find at Walmart.  And labeled them accordingly. For my assessment binders, I took a beloved Sharpie and labeled them without thinking of anything. But then I remembered how cheap money efficient I am.  And when you multiply that number by four...ouch.  I mean, hello, $4 alone is cup of coffee at Starbucks, one of McDonald's chocolate chip frappuncino wannabes-with change left over-or 2 pints of strawberries.    (But now I'm off task, so let's get back to

Daily 5 Chapter 3

Hi friends! I can hardly believe July is just around the corner...where is this summer going?  Reflections on Chapter 3: A place for body and brain breaks :  My rooms have always featured an open area large enough to seat kids.  I just need to make sure I leave enough room for a chair for myself and a place for the anchor charts.  I really try and situate this place in the room so the kids aren't playing with books or near any other distractions. Developing the concept of good fit books : because I knew this mini would arise, I've been keeping track of the books I've read over the summer-I've got some really easy reads (ads I receive in the mail), just right (books I've been reading), and then difficult (a computer website I ventured onto when I thought my computer had a virus).  Being as I'm not a big shoe person (I'd rather spend the money on a cute purse), I plan on doing this lesson using clothes-finding my regular clothes for just right, doll clothes fo

Transportation Change Freebie

I don't know about you, but transporation stresses me out- majorly just a smidgen. If I receive a transportation note, I either a) email or b) call the parent to let them know I received it.  (I've sent many an email with "Transporation Change Confirmation" in the regarding line.) I also clip a reminder to myself on the classroom door with a magnet and randomly ask the child throughout the day, "Precious-how are you getting home today?"  (I'm praying with the combo of the note and me asking them about it until they're borderline neurotic answering it automatically will ensure they get to the right line. I saw a different version of this on my favorite time waster and realized I needed to tweak it.  At my school if a child is a bus rider we have to list their bus stop on notes.  So I fooled around until I had one I could that would work for me.  Click here for the document.  I plan on printing two copies per kid (hopefully I can find some bright/

Paint Chip Idea #40,248,788

To be honest, there are a couple of things I don't do really well (being tall, being a Louisville fan, and loving the color orange-sorry Rachael Ray). Boredom is one of those things I just can't do.  So I present to you my discoveries of June 23, 2012: If you're like me and you've got some paint chips because the crafts on Pinterest have all but dared you to leave them at Lowe's, I discovered:  A $1 recipe card box from the Dollar Tree makes a perfect container for the paint chips with a window. Here's a way to practice K CC 2: Count forward beginning from a given number within a known sequence. I took paint chips, a Sharpie (my favorite thing in the world, next to chocolate and Post-its) and went to work. I plan to laminate them the next time I pop in to school. I love all the creative things you can do with paint chips.  Do you have a favorite? 

Daily 5 Chapter 2

So I'm a day late, but we'll call it "fashionably late".  :) 1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way? I trust my students to an extent.  Whenever I leave my sub plans, I always include a "Reliable Students" bullet.  But kids are kids-some can handle independence and some just need those gentle reminders.  I think it will be difficult to stay out of their way initially-I would want to go and remind the kids who not looking at their books to help us stay on task.  But I need to remember our goal that first few weeks will be progress, not perfection. 2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room? I did Daily 5 last year with a 1-2 split so they had choices during our literacy block. 

Summer Reading (the Professional Version)

This fall (0kay, it's actually technically still summer since we start so early) I'm teaching kindergarten.  Which I am super excited about but also a little nervous. I've taught kindergarten before, but it was a long term sub at the end of the school year...when they were practically first graders. To combat the anxiety I'm feeling, I've spent the last two weeks reading as much I can.  (And, of course, pinning galore on Pinterest.  I seriously wonder how people managed before electricity, cell phones, and Pinterest.) In case you need something to do, here's my bookshelf:   Reading With Meaning by Debbie Miller.  Having it referenced in both Strategies that Work (Goudvis & Harvey) and The Daily 5 (Boushey & Moser), I decided to see what the buzz was about.  I found it full of strategies to implement and an easy read.    The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.  I didn't read all of this (she devotes chapters to how to teach groups in uppe

Barefoot and Proud

As the tag to this blog says, wearing shoes are optional in my room.  Let me tell you how I arrived at that... I spent one year teaching a 1-2 split  (and loved it!).  My class worked really hard for good behavior parties and after the bajillionth one ideas for parties (especially ones that don't cost a lot and interfere with instruction) were starting to wane.  One day, the idea came to me:  a shoe free day!  We all had a great day walking around in socks or bare feet (doesn't that make you feel like you're at home when you're barefoot?).  It was such a success that we repeated it-with similar results.  I hope you'll sit a spell (with or without your shoes) and enjoy hearing about our room. Y'all come back now, you hear? ;)