Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fluency practice!

Hi friends!

We've been working really hard on fluency and inflection in our voices lately in class. I *love* using this quick,easy peasy, fast, effective, and engaging {can you tell I puffy heart love it?!} fluency activity with my kiddos.

I just write sight words with a punctuation mark after each one down a sentence strip.
It's that easy.
And it REALLY helps my kids to recognize the change in their voice when reading. Early on in the year I do this same thing with letters, but we're past that point now. You could easily do this with CVC or CCVC words, etc. to make it suit your students best. I could use complete sentences, but when I really want them to practice with punctuation, I whip these puppies out and practice. It's a great warm-up at teacher table!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Story Problems!

Hey you guys!

It's about that time of year when we're really focusing on using all the different strategies that we've learned in math and combining them all! Of course, we still get out the manipulatives to solve our story problems but I wanted something that could be a quick practice used daily. I made up this little addition and subtraction story problem pack:
The story problems are on half a sheet of paper to cut down on waste. I hate printing out stuff like this on a full page- unless something really good is on the back! :) And- I know some of you have to buy your own paper- so I figured you'd appreciate that.

I've been using these along with my calendar time and I LOVE how quick we can go through all of the strategies together- or independently! There are a set of subtraction and addition problems each that are both differentiated for 1-10 or 11-20 depending on the level of your students!

If you want to try this pack out- click the picture below to snag a little freebie!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Close Reading

I'm SO excited about this post...I've had it written in my head the past few weeks so I hope that YOU will be just as excited as me!
I'm sure you've heard about close reading by now. It's all over blog-land and TpT and have you been to a professional development on it yet?! I went to a workshop last summer during our district's leadership conference and it was awful it left me thinking "mehhh." And...I wasn't quite sure how it was applicable to my kindergarten classroom.

I think of the hours upon hours that (as a student) my teachers taught me how to go back and annotate and highlight and FIND THAT ANSWER! {It  is testing season, friends!}

But that's not what close reading is all about. It's about digging deeper than the text and activating our student's schema and making new connections. We are using higher order thinking but basing our answers within the text. We find the evidence {OK?! you upper grade teachers! They are being taught SO young how to do this!} and ask "how did you know that?"

I am really a beginner at this...but seriously, it is amazing the vocabulary and language that our students are using! For most of my guidance I've used the internet and a lot of Tara's guidance!
So..to start off we only read 1 book a week {yes, we read many other books for other subjects- but for reading, we stick to 1 text} I like to have something to anchor my students to throughout the week..so I created a focus board for our close reading. Anyone could walk into our classroom and see what we are learning for the week.
{I apologize for the glare...I just have this up on our whiteboard so I can use magnets to tack everything up} I hope to make it an entire bulletin board next year when I have time to rearrange things. If you'd like to snag the labels I used for this board, click HERE. I just backed them on teal construction paper, laminated, and cut to size!
 {don't mind that question mark...totally unrelated to close reading- just higher order questions I ask my kids throughout the week}
Essential questions set the focus for the lesson. I like having my question posted so that we can refer back to it as the lesson moves on. On the day that I took this picture, our focus was vocabulary. {always on Tuesday- day 2} We read through the book for a second time and highlight (on the Smart board) words that were unfamiliar. My kids are SO good at this! It really encourages a child's natural curiosity- so many times they come up with words that I never would have picked out myself. This way they are taking ownership of their learning. {of course...I might "guide" them a little bit to the words I really want to focus on} ;)
I put our words in a pocket chart- I would prefer to use chart paper...but I'm seriously out of room and the pocket chart fit perfectly in the space I have. My KIDS come up with the definitions (with a little guiding of course) Sometimes we do this as groups or partners and act it out - it all depends on what is appropriate for the day and book.
This week we have STAAR testing and my classroom shares a wall with a testing grade so we couldn't get rowdy doing vocabulary. Instead, my students illustrated the definitions in their own way. I love how this student showed "germination"!
I hope you're intrigued!! I will be back with more soon! If you're interested- Tara from Little Minds at Work has some GREAT posts on close reading. Hop over to her blog to check them out!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Planting word families FREEBIE!

Good morning!
Y'all..... Ella and I had strep throat this week!! Ahhhh! It was miserable! I have not had strep since I was 20- I remember the last time fairly well because I ended up getting scarlet fever! Like, for real, y'all. Didn't think it still existed?! Well, I proved that wrong! lol!! It was my own fault because I wasn't resting like I should've and I ended up having to go to the hospital..so, needless to say, this time I was terrified of not resting enough. I finished 2 books laying in bed for 2 days. It would have been kind of glorious if I hadn't felt so crummy!

All is well now though and MAYBE I can actually get back to blogging. I missed 2 days of school this week, and you guys know what that feels like! I was playing catch-up and clean-the-disaster-that-the-sub-left-my-room-in when I got back.

I wanted to re-share with you a little freebie I made a few years ago that my kids love! We used it in stations this week! Hop on over HERE to snag the freebie up!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Hey y'all!
I'm just popping in really quick- I'm on Spring break and promised myself I wouldn't do *too* much school stuff! We've been running around all week doing fun stuff and spending lots of quality time together.

I wanted to share with you a little trick that I use occasionally when my students have spring fever and start slacking don't quite remember everything we've worked on in writing.
I use this with my kiddos when I first teach finger spaces waaaaaaaaay back in the fall but then they start getting it and we drop them. I let them put stickers *only if they leave good finger spaces* when we go back to check our writing journals. It's an easy-to-incorporate tip that saves me when writing!
I hope you can use this quick tip in your class- it's amazing what a 5 year old will do for a few stickers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ten frames update!

Hey friends!

I updated my popular "Year of Ten Frames" packet this weekend! I'm super excited that I finally completed it because it was really driving me crazy! You know how you make something and love it and then go back and discover that it really wasn't that great?! Ha! Kind of like I'm so OVER the stripes that I've had on my bulletin boards the last few years.... you know the feeling, right?!

So... I updated a few of the fonts and made the numbers a little more "kindergarten friendly". I LOVE cute fonts... but I can't stand curlies on numbers! There are still 2 differentiated levels for each season- numbers 1-10 and then 11-20 so you can pick and choose which level works best for your kids. Click over HERE to view the packet!
I also added some math station activities to reinforce ten frames skills! I LOVE using these with my kids! These are cards that your students can use to place beads or other small manipulatives on the ten frames and build the numbers to 10. Then your students can find the matching number sentences.
And of course- I have a little freebie page (that is not from the packet...it was made just especially for you! Hopefully you can use it the next few weeks!) Click on the picture to snag it up!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Hey y'all!
This week had been bananas! I *love* teaching Seuss all week, but Ella and Luke both ended up getting the stomach bug so I was out a day and I feel like I've been playing catch up all week!

One of my FAVE-orite things to do with Seuss week is read "Bartholomew and the Oobleck." I read it in 2 days because it's a little bit long to take in one sitting (for those sweet K babies at least!)  After we are halfway through, I have my kids write "I wonder" statements- great questioning technique! I always love having them think of "I wonders." It really gives a little snapshot into their mind.

After finishing the book, we make "real-life" Oobleck! They are always a *teensy* bit worried that they're not going to be able to pull their hands out after reading the story, lol!
To make oobleck:
1 1/2 C cornstarch 
1 C water
a few drops green food coloring, and mix! 

*I suggest mixing the water and food coloring FIRST so that you don't splash food coloring on you {I might be speaking from experience...the goop is hard to mix up haha!}*

 And let them explore!!
As we were exploring, I asked them guiding questions about the oobleck and their senses. Afterward, each table was assigned a sense to discuss. They brainstormed what it smelled like, what it looked like, sounded like, and felt like. We took these ideas and did an interactive writing poem with the ideas they came up with.
Snag this sensory poem up HERE. There are 2 versions that vary a little. 
Let me know if you snag them up!!