Monday, August 25, 2014

Modifying the Daily 5

Once upon a time I taught second grade. There were many aspects of second grade that I loved including implementing the Daily 5 into my classroom. When I made the giant scary change to kindergarten several years ago I couldn't quite process how to implement the Daily 5 in kindergarten. There's just a lot more moving parts (and kids) in kindergarten that all have to turn and function at the same time. It was slightly daunting. So upon my third year in kindergarten I think I have figured out a manageable solution! YAY!!!

Due to time restrictions and other requirements by my district, it is just not reasonable for my friends to complete all five components each day, but we can get to two a day. So my friends will participate in one reading based center and one writing or word work center each day. It is also not reasonable for my friends to self select their own centers as we start off. Students will look at the pocket chart to determine where they will be going. Once I have more friends in my class the groups will be split into teams of two. One team will go to one center while the other team is at the other center. Then they will switch and complete the other center. For example the giraffes have four friends, the top team will Reading with a Buddy while the bottom team is at Word Work C. When it's time to switch, the top team will go to Word Work C and the bottom team will go to Reading with a Buddy. My friends will learn to switch with each other and then they have someone built-in if they need help. Throughout the year I will give them more freedom, but for now I am guiding them to where I want them to be. The picture below highlights how I paired each of the components together.

Read with a Buddy
My friends will complete this twice in a week. One time partners will get to select their own books and read together on the carpet. Students will have complete control over what they choose to read. The other Buddy Read Station revolves around the Monthly Poetry units from DeeDee Wills. The BUNDLE can be found HERE. Each week we read a new poem and as a class complete the corresponding activities. The next week this poem can be found in the center where partners complete the activity and record their work.

Read to Self
I chose to only set this up as a station once a week because my students have many opportunities to read books throughout the week. As the year progresses, this may change but it works for us as we start the year.

Listening to Reading
This is also a center my students will do twice a week. One time my friends will go to our listening station where they will listen to a story I have selected and complete a task I have left for them. The other time they are at Listening to Reading my friends may choose between listening to a story in the computer through Tumblebooks or StorylineOnline. Eventually, I have four older ipods I have used in the past for Listening to Reading. My goal the next few weeks is to get them updated and allow my friends to have this as an option too.

Work on Writing
Twice a week my students will be Working on Writing. One time my friends will complete an activity from the Monthly Writing Station units also from DeeDee Wills. The BUNDLE for this can be found HERE. My favorite part of this center is how the activities build off of each other. The other time my students are at writing, they will complete some Write the Room activity. Currently this center revolves around finding the cards with pictures that start with our current letter of study. Then they write the word. It's a great way to provide additional beginning sound practices. Throughout the year, this will change to Read and Write the room for HFW .

Word Work
In Kindergarten this seems like a much BIGGER component than it was in second grade. IT'S HUGE!!! So my friends will be doing three - yes three - different word work activities. I have found I love the monthly centers from The Printable Princess. Her centers include several opportunities for students to practice different skills and include an accountability piece. Plus, each month the routines stay relatively the same. I do have many other centers that I pull out, but I have found that her centers seem to be the bulk of what I use.

The best part was my class did one round of centers today AND they were successful!!!!! Today is the 6th day of school. This has never happened!!! Happy Birthday to Me (It is this week)!!!!! My friends did a fabulous job!! Hopefully the rest of the week will be just as fabulous.

The Orange County Housewives Reunion Part 1 is on tonight! Let the fighting commence!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Five for Friday . . . Fraturday

I had all intentions of finishing this Friday night. Then I fell asleep - you know the I've-made-it-through-the-first-week-EXHAUSTION, and nothing I write is making sense anymore. So Five for Friday has turned into Five for Fraturday. Normally the first week seems to fly by, but this week seemed to drag on and on and on and on. Did it seem that way for anyone else? I also think it was the hottest week ever too. The heat index the last two days was around 120 degrees. Really!!! How is the even possible? But alas I am at home in my comfy pajamas and happy to say I had the best week ever.

Monday was the first day of school. I am now up to thirteen friends in my class. Every day they do something that just amazes me and makes me feel so lucky and blessed to have this group of friends. We had a lot of fun read Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. We made a list of all the things Mrs. Bindergarten did to get ready along with ourselves. We made Kindergarten is SUPER hats (found HERE) and I have to say I have a wonderful husband who comes and helps the first day. He helps go through supplies and take photos. It's so helpful to have someone that I can just look at and he is able to know just how I want something done. This year he dressed as Superman to go along with my classroom theme! He is amazing!! Now My friends ask where he is and when he's coming back.

Thursday afternoon, I had the privilege of joining several friends for our county's first Reading Council Meeting of the year. It was held at a popular local restaurant. My friend Betsy and I both ended up texting our husbands and telling them to join us after work for dinner and had a great impromptu double date. I think nights like that might be one of my favorite things to do with friends - laughing and sharing.

This week my friends worked on learning their positional words such as above, below, behind, and in front. We started off with everyone getting two Dixie cups and one animal manipulative piece. Then they had to listen to my directions and move the piece based on my directions. They loved this! It also gave me a really good idea about what each student already knew. We also spent some time reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and writing our names. My goal is to add a photo of each student to their page and assemble their pages into a book.

Kindergarteners say the darnedest things. Early on this week one of the ESE teachers was helping keep my friends occupied while I was taking care of some business. She would call a number and my friends would hold up that many fingers. I learned this week that five and five make ten, but when you put your hands together it also makes a butterfly!!! A butterfly! - said with perfect innocence and timing it was great. I also have another friend who would like to go home. This might be the biggest challenge among my friends, which is nothing compared to past challenges. This friend refused to eat, cried, made herself dry heave from crying so hard that mom kept her home one day and picked her up early one day. While this has not helped the situation. Today she was telling me "I need to go to the hospital". She's calling the clinic the hospital. It is so cute, but she thinks if she goes up to the nurse in the clinic she will go home. I'm happy to report that today was successful and we stayed all day (with many a few tears).

This week I joined Blog Hoppin's Back to School 2014 . I made it through the first four days. Head on over and read what is happening in everyone's classroom's this year. 

Don't forget to head back over to Doodle Bugs Teaching so you can see what everyone else has been up to this week too! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

When Thursday

Once again I'm here linking up with Blog Hoppin'. Today's topic is based around our daily schedule. There have been several changes to my schedule this year. The biggest one has been starting 20 minutes earlier!! Students can now arrive on campus starting at 7:15, but our contract time starts at 7:25. Now some kids eat breakfast in the cafeteria and some eat in the classroom. It's a bit confusing. Here's my schedule.

7:15 - 7:30 Buses arrive and students eat in the cafeteria
7:30 -7:45 Students are sent to the classrooms to eat. This is new this year. So I am trying to need to have something for our friends to do when they are finished eating breakfast. In the past my kids would have completed some of A Teeny Teacher's morning work pack when they entered the room, but I'm having to figure this out. Right now, I'm thinking my friends will eventually start the morning work. Then they either write in their journals, read a book, or on Fridays watch something special while we wait for the official start of our day. 
7:45-7:55 Our day officially begins with the pledge, our school PBS Whiz Kid Pledge, and the news, which is put on by the third, fourth, and fifth graders. 
7:55-9:30 English Language Arts - There's a lot that happens during this time: Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Whole Group Skill based instruction, Daily 5 centers, and Guided Small Groups 
9:30-10:00 Writing Instruction 
10:00-10:30 Immediate Intensive Intervention (iii) Reading Instruction - This time is set aside to directly instruct students in an area they are deficient in. This year every teacher in my pod is have this at the exact same time and will be sharing kids based on their needs. 
10:30-10:50  Calendar Time - We count, we sing, we count the number of days we've been in school, we review different math concepts
10:50-11:02 - Math Centers Part 1 - Just like we have Immediate Intensive Interventions for Reading Instruction we also have it for Math. 
11:07-11:32 Lunch
11:35-11:50 - Recess
11:50-12:50 - Math - We learn about numbers, shapes, sorting, addition, subtraction . . . you know the standards.
12:50-1:40 - Specials - We go to PE three days a week, art once and music once a week for 50 minutes. 
1:45-2:00 Math Centers Part 2 - My students have several minutes after coming back from specials to finish up their centers from earlier in the day.
2:00-2:35  Science/Social Studies - My goal is always to connect what we are learning in science or social studies so that we can spend as many afternoons with hands-on activities. Some weeks it works out perfectly and some weeks . . . not so much.
2:35-2:45 Prepare for Dismissal

That's our day. Head back over to Blog Hoppin' and check out how everyone else structures their day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Wednesday

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' once again! Today's topic is about being organized and WHY it works.

I would like to think that I am very organized . . . possibly bordering on OCD. One of my summer projects was called Operation Organize which pertained to going through tons of resources that I have acquired since starting kindergarten. Here are three of my best tips.

Jump Drives
I actually have three drives which range from 8G to 16G. One holds all of my stuff from when I taught Second grade, the other holds all of TPT documents that I have bought, and the last one is what I call my daily jump drive, which holds lesson plans and any documents I might need each week. I have numerous folders, and am known to keep documents in multiple folders based on the skill, theme, or multiple documents that are a part of a series such as monthly writing centers. Keeping my jump drives organized means I know where I can find any document I might need and I'm not wasting time searching. If I ever lost (or washed) one of my jump drives I would devastated. This last May, God must have been watching over me because I did wash my daily jump drive, but thankfully after a bag of rice it still worked! Thank you God!!!!

In Kindergarten all of my centers are standards based, but they tend to have a monthly theme. So, I organize centers by the month. Each month has one or two 12x12 storage containers where I may store any important books for that theme and all of the centers that I already have printed, laminated, and ready to go. This saves me tons of time digging around for centers. As you can see, I do dig through each box . . .

Letter Boxes
This was a part of Operation Organize. After two years in Kindergarten, I realized that while I had my letter stuff organized nicely, I was getting one thing from over here and another thing over there. I was spending 15 to 25 minutes each week pulling out and putting away the different resources from all of the locations around the room. While it may not seem like I lot, I knew there had to be an easier way - Letter Boxes! I purchased a bunch of photo boxes from Michaels this summer. Next I sorted through the variety of letter resources. I mod podged two to three letters on the front of each box based on the order it is taught in our district. Once they were dry I placed all of the resources that pertained to those letters inside. So next week when we start with the letter M, I can pull out the first box, and within two minutes everything will be ready. Plus everything for the next week as well when we move on to A and S.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where Tuesday

I'm not sure about anyone else, but the first day of school just about wore me out. I am now up to 11/13 friends showing up for our class. It's more than I had on Friday when I left. This week I have realized, I am not the energizer bunny and the thought of four more days right now seems crazy. Somehow I make it through each year, but man am I wiped.

I'm continuing to link up to Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week. Today is all about where I work and spend my time so here I go.

I had no plans to change my classroom this year until I showed my husband a bulletin board idea. Then, everything changed to SUPER HEROES! Here's a peak inside.

This is the view when you walk straight into my classroom. I have the carpet area sectioned off with our classroom library and book display. A few of our math manipulatives are stored under the Smart Board, and my desk is in the far corner. It's really nice and cozy. 

 If you look to the opposite corner from the front door, you can see our table area. Each table has their own buckets. I found it was so much easier when two friends shared versus four friends constantly learning over to the other side. We're very blessed to have four student computers in our classroom as well. The back door that is open leads to the pod office I share with three other amazing teachers and some of the best paras around. One of our paras created a coffee and tea bar for us. The other door with the white poster leads to the student bathrooms. You can just peak the corner of the kidney table in this photo. I keep my small group area right by the front door so I can see both zones and the computers while working with my small groups. 

 These photos were taken from the office door in the back corner.

 Here is the front of the classroom. 
Here is an up close look at our word wall. Tomorrow all of my students' names will be on the word wall. 

The state of Florida has some pretty strict fire codes. Two major codes involve us not hang anything from the ceiling or blinds and only 25 percent of non-bulletin board space my have paper covering it. One year I really though about that and visualized moving everything I had attached to the walls to just one wall. It's not a lot of space and requires some creativity. So, I try to use every flat non-wall surface I can find. I use my cabinets, I use the back of book cases, and this year I figured out a way to use my windows. All those windows are quite nice, but most of the time they are closed due to student distractions and the gleaming sun on the SmartBoard. Well, I attached 3M hooks across the windows and made my own clothes line without the clothes. I have three different levels that I can hang everything on. The first one I placed my favorite numbers on so it was eye level for my friends. Every other spot I thought about would have put them up high and my little friends just would not have been able to study and explore each number. Let's just hope my idea continues to work this year. 

I have not had a chance to dig through or even think about getting my materials out for centers. I am definitely only bringing out what we need as we use it. Eventually everything will be up and running, but for now it's just one day at a time . . . maybe a week at a time. 

Thanks for taking a peak of my classroom. Don't forget to head back to Blog Hoppin'.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Who Monday

I'm happy to be linking up with Blog Hoppin' for their Back to School 2014 - Teacher Week.

I just feel like I blogged about myself a few weeks ago, but here we go again.

Today is the first day of the 11th year of teaching. I had no clue how many things could happen in the 11 years. There have been amazing highs and deep lows, but through it all I have come to love what I do even more than I ever realized. I started teaching a middle school remedial reading class. Since then I have slowly moved my way down down down. In addition I have taught kindergarten, second, third, and fourth grades.

While I grew up in Northern Illinois, I now live in a town 30 minutes from Tampa, FL and 30 minutes from Orlando, FL. It's pretty nice that there's always something to do, but man the summers are brutal. This also means that anything cooler than 70 degrees is now cold. A few years ago we took our Florida dog up north for Christmas. We had to shovel the snow so he could see the frozen ground and know where to go to the bathroom. He doesn't like cold weather either.

My husband and I have been together for eleven years and married for eight and a half years. He is my number one cheerleader and support. There's no way my classroom would have been ready this year if it were not for him. He even is taking another vacation day today to help in my room on the first day of kindergarten! He is incredible and really does anything he can to help support my friends and myself. He also might realize that it's better for him in the long run if he just goes along with my whackadoodle ideas. I'm super lucky!!

I learned to play the piano before I knew how to read. My mom was actually signing my sister up for lessons and the piano teacher persuaded her to enroll me at the same time.

I love strawberries!!! One benefit to where we live is the large commercial strawberry fields in the area. I am supplied in berries from right before Christmas through mid-April. If I can't have strawberries, I'll settle for blueberries, nectarines, or watermelon. I love fruit!

While I love me dog and cat, I'm not really an animal person. I don't like frogs, snakes, lizards, or many other animals unless we are at the zoo. I am known to walk from the entrance to the exit in the reptile house, the aviaries, and anything to do with bugs and bats. Yuck!

I love math! I am a visual learner who loves order and patterns. To me, math is all about order and patterns. When I was ready to get my masters I actually completed an online program through Walden University so I could specialize in K-5 Mathematics.

I really don't know much about Super Heroes. That's correct! My classroom theme is Super Heroes, but I don't care for the wonderful Heroes all that much. My husband is a fanatic, along with most of our good friends. So on opening weekends after church, we go see the releases when they come out. I could live without seeing the movies, but because I love our friends, I go.

Make sure to head on over to Blog Hoppin and see what is happening over there this week!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Super Hero Freebies

It's been a busy day!!! My plan to sleep in was an epic failure. By 7AM I was awake and thinking about all of the products I wanted to and needed to make today. So instead of trying to fight it, I got up and started working with the plans of taking a nap this afternoon.

If you haven't caught on, my classroom has a Super Hero Theme. Today I spent time creating several products to help organize and prepare for the new year. BONUS - it's all available in my TPT store for free!!!! Here's what you can find.

First up is my Homework and Communication Folder Labels. I used sticker paper when I made these since I had it readily available at home. You can always print them, laminate, mod podge, packaging tape, or use any other method you so desire to adhere them to the folders. I placed a Homework Club label on all of the homework folders. My kindergarten team does a monthly homework calendar. To help encourage kids to stick with it each month I am going to have the Homework Club. Any student who has completed that month's homework will get to eat outside with me and have a special treat. 

My school has these large envelopes that go home every Wednesday. Student work, school fliers, and random other fliers all get shoved into this one envelope. It's crazy! As a parent I would not want to dredge through the depth of this envelope. Most do not for that very reason. The Communication Folder is going to be my way of helping parents sort through all of the stuff that goes home. Graded work is still going to be placed in the school envelope, but everything else is going to go home in the folder. Papers that parents need to read but do not need to sign or return will be placed on the left side to be LEFT at home . . . get it? Papers on the right side will require parents' attention and be sent back. After I made the labels, I realized that I should have switched Thor and Hulk on the labels. I don't need my parents thinking I will turn into Hulk if they forget to bring something RIGHT back. You can grab this product HERE.

This last week I made this quick sign for orientation thanks to some Pinterest Inspiration. Of course I had to add some Super Hero twist to it. It's available HERE. Print the sign and add a bowl of mints.

Anyone that has spent time in a primary classroom knows that tattling is bound to happen. There's always those few that feel they need to tell you what every single friend is doing. Really? We spend quite a bit of time the first few weeks discussing the difference and importance of Reporting vs. Tattling. I made this sign to hang in my room in hopes to help remind my friends. Even with it hung I know it won't stop it but I'm hoping it will help eliminate some of the tattling. Feel free to grab this product HERE.

Finally I made these adorable first day of school welcome goodie bag printables and bookmarks for my friends. Of course they also had to have the Super Hero Twist. I am so excited with how these turned out. Feel free to pick these up as well HERE

So after all of that and a trip to Target, I have yet to get my nap today. After church tomorrow we are having brunch with some of our best friends. Then my husband and I are going to swing by my classroom to drop off a few things. I have a few more projects I need to do for the first week of school, but they can wait for another day.