Saturday, December 31, 2011

January Word Work Freebie

I enjoy this time of year in kindergarten because (most) of the kids are ready to move beyond basic alphabetic principals and really work with words.  Everything grows in the next 3 months:  writing, spelling, reading, sentence building...and on and on.  Now is the time of year the kids are more independent and are excited for some new/harder work,  Love it! 

As I'm sitting watching Kung Fu Panda 2 with my kids and it is FINALLY snowing outside I decided to finish my January Word Work pack and put it on TPT.  I probably won't print my own out until I go back to school on Tuesday but thought I'd put it in my store early.  (I had planned to try and go into work for at least a few hours...but it's just so nice being at home! I will suffer slightly for that as I have no specials on Tuesday and my January calendar is not ready.  Oh well!)

Anyhoooo......Click the picture above for a free mitten/glove making words activity and click here to see my January Word Work packet on TPT.

Let it snow...let it snow....let it snow!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thistlegirl Freebie

I am so excited!  Thistlegirl had a 50% off coupon so I used a little of my Christmas money and bought myself a reseller's license!  I can't share my DJ Inkers creations but now I can share my Thistlegirl creations! Click on the image above to get my first Thistlegirl freebie!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DJ Inkers Freebies

Tammy from Live, Love, Laugh Everday in Kindergarten posted today about a copyright issue with DJ Inkers and freebies.  I did not know we couldn't share DJ inkers projects.  I knew we couldn't sell them but didn't know we couldn't share them.  So sad.  A few of my freebies will have to come off.  So sorry.  DJ Inkers is missing out on a great market.  Love their stuff but won't be purchasing more if it means I can't share!

A few things I had to remove because they contained DJ inkers clipart and/or fonts:
ABC Posters
Thanksgiving Bracelet
ABC Writing and Drawing

I will try to redo these projects without DJ inkers but it might be awhile before I get them replaced.  Ugh.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Flip Flap Resolutions

Anyone love Flip Flap books as much as I do?  They can be use for absolutely anything!  Here's one I used to do with my first graders.  They would write a New Year's resolution under every flap.  I might try it this year with my kindergarteners....if I can explain the word "resolution."  Hhmm....maybe I'll try it next year....

If you haven't made Flip Flap books yet here are the directions:
Fold on the solid line.
Unfold and cut the dotted lines until the reach the fold (stop at the fold!)
Fold again and your book will flip and flap! Lift up the flaps to write your resolutions.

Live, Laugh, Love Everyday in Kindergarten is hosting a linky party about New Year's Resolutions.  Here are mine:
Personal:  Spend more time with my family.
Professional:  Organize!!!
Blogging/TPT:  Increase sharing and thanking others for their sharing!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holly Bloggy Christmas

Thank you Lindsay from My Life As a Fifth Grade Teacher for this awesome gift!  It's a Mini Organizer from Thirty-One (Love their products...have LOTS of their stuff!)  This is one I didn't have yet and it's my favorite color! 

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!  My house is a mess...I'm sure the floor is still there I just can't see it right now.  But BIG smile on my face because my kids have all day tomorrow to clean it all up!  Yeah, right.
Happy Holidays from my family to yours.  Here are my 2 beauttiful daughters after round 1 of Christmas at the first Grandma's house.  That's me on the floor looking's a lot of work to eat all day and sit around!  haha!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So Neat!

Head over to Teach On to find out about this very cool classroom management website called Class Dojo.  It is FREE so I signed up right free stuff!  I can't wait to try this with my class.  Think I'll wait until after Christmas Chaos is passed though!  I jokingly told a non-teacher friend of mine that the kids are on Christmas crack right now and that they all need to go home for a week of detox and then they will come back sober and ready to function in society again!  I think only a teacher will understand the truth and humor in that statement!  1 more day....1 more day....1 more day!  I can do it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A little perspective in a crazy week

The Dash 
Copyright 1998

I read of a reverend who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth

And spoke of the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;

The cars, the house, the cash.

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard,

Are there things you'd like to change?

For you never know how much time is left,

That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough

To consider what's true and real

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,

And more often wear a smile?

Remembering that this special dash

Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's being read

With your life's actions to rehash,

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your dash?
Linda Ellis

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What a Day!

It was just one of THOSE days....sigh.   Here are a few highlights:

***First greeting of the day from a student:  Mrs. Rist, I threw up this morning but my mom said it was ok to go to school      HUH???

***report card testing:  students are supposed to be writing dictated letters   ME:  on line 1 please write a capital M      First student paper I look at as I'm walking around has the number 40 written down!! WHAT???

***Each teacher signs up for a month to bring potluck for all the group of 9 decides to bring appetizers and desserts...yum, right?  Guess not because we had 5 people telling us there were complaints that "that is not a meal!"   SERIOUSLY???  It's free food!   Who complains about free food???

***DIBELS testing is over and my scores....sigh again.    I want to cry and shout YES...I AM TEACHING THIS YEAR!!

***I thought all day that today was Wednesday...nope...only Tuesday.....and yes I have get to teach all week!

But all is not lost!  When I opened up to my blog today I found this waiting for me:

Thank you Chrissy from First Grade Found Me for ending my day on a high note! 

The Liebster Blog Award goes to blogs that have less than 200 followers so let me pass it on to these sites that I love:

My Kindergarten Kids
Love, love, love your blogs ladies!  Thank you for all your sharing!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Gifts for Parents

An oldie but a goodie.  I make these every year with my class because when I married my husband his mom gave me his banner he made in 3rd grade.  It was an "awww.." moment and I decided right then and there that I was making one every year with my class.  Unfortunatly I don't think parents like them as much as I do: over the 10 years I've been doing them I've had 2 parents say they liked them....maybe that's normal???  Anyways, I LOVE them and when I get siblings in my class it's so fun to hear them say "My brother/sister has one of those!"

Here's how it looks at my house:  the 2 on top are my daughter's and the one on the bottom is my husbands from 1985! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elf Yourself!

Ever seen the site Elf Yourself?  It is so much fun and was the inspiration of this Elf project years ago.  This year, before we elfed ouselves we read the book Who Will Help Santa This Year?  (The cutie in the picture is my daughter.)
 My coworker Jill found an Elf Application on pinterest (don't have the exact site it came from but I've seen it on a lot of blogs and pinterest sites.)   And here is the display we ended up with (complete with 75 elf applications!)

So fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Button at Last!!!!! And a Freebie to Celebrate!

I am SO excited!  I FINALLY figured out how to add a button for followers to grab.  YEAH!  I've been puzzled by that for weeks!  Now I've been to all my favorite blogs and grabbed their buttons and hopefully a few will grab mine (hmm...I hope it works!)

If you grab my button and it works let me know...I would be EVER so grateful! celebration I made this button themed Read the Room!

Monday, December 12, 2011

How to Accept a Gift (Lesson and Freebie)

I am SO excited....I got my Holly Bloggy gift in the mail Saturday and can not WAIT to open it!  I even made my husband hide it!  The best thing about the gift is that I found a fun new blog to follow.  Check out Linsday over at My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher.  She has a fun site and a great sense of humor!
Getting the present reminded me of my favorite holiday lesson:  How to Accept a Gift.   I first saw a version of this lesson taught by an awesome counselor a few years ago and have since modified it (a little) to work with my teaching style.  Here it is:

1.  I open a previously wrapped present in front of my class (I wrap up an ugly sock).  I tear the wrapping paper off without looking to see who it's from, I say mean things about it once it's open and then I go throw it away.  Reactions to this are priceless...some stare at me in shock and some laugh like crazy...that alone will tell you a lot. 
2.  Next comes the discussion.  I ask the kids, "What do you think was wrong with the way Mrs. Rist opened that package?"   Hopefully I will get a few clever kids who come up with the words "rude" and "mean."
3.  Then I open another previously wrapped package (it's the other ugly sock).  This time I model the "correct" way by using the High Five Rules:

 #1 Check to see who it's from (I say it's from one of my students and ask them to play along.)
#2 Show gratitude  (Thank you SO much for buying me a gift.  It was so kind of you to think of me!)
  #3 Open it nicely!
#4 Say thank you and mean it!  (I model again a "thank you" that looks like I mean it and a "thank you" that looks like I'm just saying it because I have to!)
  #5 Tell the person why you like it or how you will use it. (I think up all the fun ways I can use 1 sock: puppet, dusting mitt, etc.)

 4.  After my demonstration I will let a few kids try it also (I put random things into a Christmas bag b/c I just don't have time to wrap 24 fake presents!)  I'll use paperclips, scraps of paper, a single pencil, etc. and the kids have to use the "High Five" method to accept the present.

5.  Then we each get a "High Five" paper to color and take home so Moms and Dads can help their child practice.

6.  Each day I'll pick a few more kids to model for us so we keep it fresh in our minds right up to Christmas.

7.  If any of my kids bring me a Christmas  present I make sure I do all 5 steps b/c they will watch and check!  We also exchange coloring books at our Christmas party and we walk through the 5 steps when opening our presents.

That's it.  Hope you find it useful.  The handout is not cute but it gets the job done!  Click on the picture if you'd like a copy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Few of My Favorite (Christmas) Things

First of all, I want to say "I knew it!!!"  My class has been NUTS all week and as I was driving home tonight I saw the biggest full moon I've ever seen!   I was thinking either there was a nasty storm headed our way or there was going to be a full moon soon!  Big sigh of relief...there was a reason for their madness!

So, I'm finally getting into the holiday spirit.  Took me a little longer this year (usually I'm on board by November 1st) but I finally got there!  Better late than never. 
In the spirit of the season here are a few of my favorite Christmas things:

1.  My daughter in her Christmas program.  Don't you just LOVE her smile?  She has a zest for life that shines through in everything she does!

2. The view from my bedroom when I walk down my stairs in the morning to get my morning coffee. (I will miss the tree when it's gone.)
Pictures don't do it justice!

4.  The view from my favorite "blogging" spot.  (I'm sure the people driving by wonder if I ever move.)
(If you can't tell...I love Christmas lights!)

5.  Corn Flake Wreaths.  YUM!!!

6.  FREEBIES!  Ok, that's not just a Christmas favorite...that's an all the time favorite!    Click on the word Santa to get a Pocket Chart Freebie of Dr. Jean's S-A-N-T-A Song.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Elf Emergent Reader Freebie

Crazy, crazy, crazy time of year!  I finally got my Holly Bloggy Christmas gift done and boxed to find time to get to the post office! 

If you click on the picture above it will take you to my TPT store where you can download a fun little Emergent Reader for FREE!  Looooove freebies!!!

Here's my funny for the day:  While decorating for Christmas the other day the song Feliz Navidad came on the radio and my 5 year old daughter said, "Oh mommy, I love this song!" and started singing along.  Her version of the song goes likes this, "These naughty dogs...these naughty can't see no fleas on these naughy dogs."  HA!  Of course teacher mom in me started to teach her the "right" words but she just gave me a strange look and said, "Mom, that makes NO sense."  I love the 5 year old minds!

By the way....18 days to Christmas!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Read Room Freebie

One sick kid, me, my laptop (big YEAH for blogs and pinterest!), lots of prayers for my sub, and my Clorox spray....makes for an interesting Friday!

If you click on the pic above you can download a Christmas Read the Room I'll be putting in centers in the next few weeks.  I also left some blank cookies so you can fill in your own words b/c often are we all teaching the same words at the same time?  

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shape Monster

Not very seasonal but this book helps my kinder kids learn the terms sphere, cone, cylinder and cube.  It also helps builds understanding of the differences between 2D and 3D shapes.  Just added it to my TPT store for $1.00.

Is this the longest week in history or is it just me???

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CVC Christmas Packet

I put together a CVC Christmas Word Work packet for my small group instruction this month. Face it...all they are thinking about, dreaming aboutl, talking about, worrying about or caring about is CHRISTMAS!  If you can't beat 'em....join 'em!   I'm hoping this packet will keep my small groups on task and learning all the way to Christmas break.  Hahahahahahaha! 
If you're interested in taking a look at it I posted it on my TPT site for $2.00.  Click on the pic to go to my store.  Also, if you liked my animal drawing book I posted it on TPT with 3 versions of the pages.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Tried the whole shopping at midnight thing.  My mom and sister and I stayed up playing cards until 11:30 and then headed into the stores.  WOW.  I love shopping but THAT was NOT shopping!  That was a mob of crazy people pushing, shoving and snarling to get $5.00 extra off a Barbie car.  Hee people watching EVER!  One lady was blocking the isle with her cart and no one could get around her.  We sat there for about 90 sec (not very long) and then she "realized" we (all 20 of us) where waiting to get around her (yeah, like she didn't see us).  She apologized (sort of) and my mom and I smiled at her and said in our sweetest voices, "No problem, we're in no hurry."  And of course we meant it because we were mainly there to watch the chaos but she turned to her friend and said, "People in this store are so polite!"  And she had this totally shocked look on her face. 

Then we made some flip comment about wishing we had an ad because everyone seemed really excited about the deals (they were RUNNING from isle to isle!)  Some nice lady overheard us...she had her arms piled high with about 6 boxes but she stopped walking and threw her arms up and said "If you reach in my coat pocket you can have mine."  How nice is that?!?  She was obviously stressed out trying to hold all her boxes (no carts left) and she stopped to help us.  Loved it.

We didn't buy anything and were were all home by 1:30 but it was fun!  It also made me very grateful for Cyber Monday!  I love online shopping almost as much as I love people watching!  TPT is having their own sale on Monday.  Right now my products are all on sale for 20% off.  If you wait until Monday and use the code above you'll get 30% off.  Lots of techers are having a sale for Cyber Monday so don't forget to check them out.  Lots of great Christmas products!  What the Teacher Wants has a free Christmas writing activity that looks fun and easy!

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Bracelet

During our feast tomorrow we'll be making our Thanksgiving Story Bracelets.  We have the adult helper use this page to explain the bracelet.  There are lots of different version of the bracelet out there.  It's nice because it can be easily changed according to the amount and color of beads you have in your classroom.    Click on the picture for a printable of this version.

Have a Great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Last post about behavior...I promise!  Tomorrow I will post a Thanksgiving freebie!

So, I've taught the behavior and we've modeled it.  Now, I expect it.  Remembering that these kids are only 5 or 6 I give reminders of expected behaviors.  Using my example from yesterday (kids following me around the room) I say something quick like "have a seat little ducks."  Quick & kind reminders are usually all my kids will need once I've taught and modeled.  They know (after a few weeks a few months of consistency) that if we take time to talk about it in class then I expect it.  However, there are always a few who have to see if I REALLY mean it.  When that happens I use our behavior system. 

At the beginning of the year we had a classroom rabbit so that's where the carrot idea came from.  (She has since gone to live on a farm with other bunnies.  She was a lot of fun but a lot of work also!)  Anyways, all students start on green and if they are making bad choices, even after gentle reminders, I will move their pictures to yellow and tell them we will use 5 minutes of their Choice Time to practice the right choices to make.  (The last 25 minutes of my day are devoted to Choice Time.)  If they make more bad choices they can have their picture moved again, and so on and so on. Everytime their picture moves it takes 5 more minutes of their Choice Time away.  If they get to red and are still not making good choices their next move is to the office or the telephone to call home.  I have a "no tolerance" policy on hurting others.  If you hit, pinch, scratch, kick, slap, push another student your picture goes below the line immediately.

This year I also took 20 Training and have taught the kids above the line/below the line behavior (that's where the yellow line idea came from).  It has been really effective with my kids this year (a lifesaver actually!). 

At the end of the day I report their daily behavior on a calendar we keep in their take home binders. I also write quick notes if they are not on green.  For example, If they hit I will write "hit."  I tell the parents and the kids that it is the students responsibility to tell the "story" about what happened.  I find my students are usually very honest b/c they know their parents will check with me is their story is "fishy."

I also do a positive classroom behavior jar called the Warm Fuzzy jar.  I've pretaught what Warm Fuzzies and Cold Prickles are.  When we fill the jar we earn a Warm Fuzzy reward. I forgot to take a picture of it but it is simply a jar I fill with craft puffs.

By this time of the year I find I rarely have to move pictures at all.   Last week I only moved 3 pictures and I have a very "strong willed" class this year.

The end.  Finally. 

Friday, November 18, 2011


My pictures still will not download...AUGH!  I'll have to take some new ones on Monday.  What a long's going to snow here tomorrow and I seriously believe children have a built in barometer telling them that the weather is's like when there's going to be a full moon!  CRAZY!!! 

I realized the other day that when I talked about teach it I never talked about what to teach.  Here's my theory...teach them what YOU want them to know about behavior.  I once taught with a teacher who didn't mind that her students follwed her around the room like little ducks.  It drives me crazy to be followed around all day. So I make sure to teach my students how I want them to get my attention.  It's all about what you want your kids to know and do.  If you like them following you around the room...let them.  However, if you don't want them to then teach what they should do.

Model It
I once taught with a wonderful counselor who modeled and role played everything!  She was awesome!  The kids even role played how to go trick or great is that?!?  Ever since then I make sure if I teach kids what I want them to do I then model it and role play it with them.  Make it silly and fun- for example:  when I teach my class how to get my attention (raising their hand and not following me around the room) I have 6 or 7 little kids follow me around the room and let the kids see what it looks like and why it doesn't work.  Then we model kids raising their hands and talk about why that does work.

We role play everything in my room:  what to do when someone makes fun of you, what to do when the teacher is talking to another teacher, what to do when you have a B emergency (Bathroom, Blood or Barf), what to do when someone takes something away from you, what to do when your friend wants to play with someone else, what to do when you finish a paper early and your friends are still working, and on and on and on. 

I believe that if you don't teach it and model it then you can't expect it.  Once I teach it and model it then I expect it.  So, hopefully I'll get pictures of my classroom managment plan I use and I can show you how and what I do when I've taught it and modeled it but kids still have trouble doing it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business is having an AWESOME linky party!  I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has an ever changing behavior system!  I took some pics of what I use in my classroom but I can't get the files to download.   AUGH!  So, I will post those tomorrow (hopefully)  In the mean time here are a few rambling thoughts about behavior. 

When I first started teaching (13...14 years ago...hard to keep track) the most I had to deal with was the dreaded BLURTER!!  Oh my!   I look back on those years now and see how easy I had it!  It seems every year the kids become more's not just me is it??  What I would give to go back to the days where I had to give "the look" to the blurter and that would be the end of that (well, for a few minutes anyways).
Now, in any given day we will deal with:
*the assertive "no"   (the kids who'll look you right in the eye and tell you "no" I the only one who's blood boils when this happens?)
*the passive "no" (the kids who will just keep on doing what they're doing even when you tell them 3 times to they not notice the whole class is in line to go to music except for them??)
*the hitter, kicker, pincher, biter (yep, biter!)
*the volcano (much worse than blurters!!  Wow have blurters gotten LOUD!  Is it all the TV they watch??)
*the couch potato (when did it become "uncool" for kindergarteners to do the Tooty-ta??  Seriously...I am 35 years old...if I can get my groove on so can you...get up off the floor!)
*the wise old owl (kids should be kids...why do these 5 and 6 year olds know what they know???)
*the runner (Yes, I can catch you!)

Don't get me wrong...I love my kinder kids!  If I didn't I would let them continue to act like this and just think "let first grade deal with it!"  But I want them to be successful in school and life and there are some behaviors that have to stop NOW! 

So, what do we do???  I admit I do NOT have the answer.  If I did I would be a millionaire billionaire!  I'll gladly share my thoughts with you but also I will understand if you don't agree with me!

 Here's my classroom management philosophy:   TEACH IT, MODEL IT, EXPECT IT.

TEACH IT is easy.  We all do it.  Read a book, use a "teachable moment", watch a video, use visuals, etc.
Just this week my fellow teachers and I stumbled across a great author who beautifully covers a LOT of the things kids need to learn in kindergarten now.  Our goal is to purchase all of her books and use them as part of our behavior management strategies.  If you haven't seen any book by Julia Cook yet please click on the picture above and check her out.  They are AWESOME!  Kid friendly, easy to understand, and chock full of great "behavior vocabulary."  The TEACH IT part becomes easy & fun when you find great books like these!

Thanks for hanging in through all my ramblings....tomorrow I'll post about MODEL IT.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Story download

It's a simple little story/song sung to the tune "The Muffin Man."  It was a good discussion starter for my class when we began discussing the first Thanksgiving.  My students made up actions to go with the song which was hilarious....they really do not like sitting still!

Happy American Education Week from me to you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Give Away Winner

And the winner is....Christine!  Thanks so much for the feedback on my site and being a follower!  Please e-mail me at and let me know where to send your $25 Target giftcard! 
Thanks to everyone who left a comment or is following my humble little blog!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sight Word Safari Word Work

Another Reading Center I really like my kids to work on is our Sight Word word work book.  There are 3 pages for every sight word in our book.  The kids work on them at their own pace.  Some will get 2-3 pages done during their center time and some will only get 1 done.  Here are the pages in the book:

 On the first page they trace the word in lots of colors to make their sight words as colorful as a toucan!  Then they cut the word apart and glue it back in the right order

On the next page they use magnifying glasses to search for the word hiding in the jungle of letters.  Then they stamp the word.

On the final page they unscramble a sentence (short phrases at the beginning of the year but they steadily become harder) containing the sight word, glue it in order and draw a picture to match the sentence.

My students love working in their books and there is enough variation in the pages to keep them engaged each time they are at this center.
The book has 63 sight words in it.  If you're interested in using it in your classroom it is for sale at my TPT store.  Click on the Picture of the cover to take you to my store.

Also, if you haven't signed up for the give away yet make sure you do!  Only 1 day left and only 11 people are signed up!  By the 11th follower joined my blog on 11-11-11.  How cool is that!!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Help! New Blog Look and My First Give Away!

My husband says if I keep changing my blog design people are going to think I'm crazy!  It's true...I can't decide how I want it to look (this is my 3rd design in only a month)!     Help!!  If anyone has any thoughts on how I can make this look better I am up for suggestions!  I just bought these awesome graphics from Just So Scrappy and I love them! is it looking? 

I wanted to try a Give Away anyways so this seems like the perfect time!  Each comment left about the blog design is worth 1 entry and joining my blog is worth another entry.  (Current Followers:  Because I am eternally grateful to you for following me, even though I'm crazy new at this, you are already entered 5 times!)

Also, when you leave a comment please tell me your favorite place to shop for your classroom.  The winner of the Give Away will receive a $25 gift card to their favorite school shopping spot!  (Current Followers...make sure and leave me a comment letting me know your shopping hot spot!

I'll announce the winner on Sunday (11-13-11) night!  Thanks in advance for helping this newbie out!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ABC Posters Freebie

I was going to keep going with my Reading Centers but decided to go off topic today and give out a freebie. Click on the picture above to download my A-Z alphabet posters. They are mostly DJ Inkers cliparts. Page "V" is not my favorite but couldn't come up with anything better. If you have a better idea leave me a comment...I'd love to change it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Read the Room Write the Room

Sock Hop Friday. Sick Saturday. Taught Sunday School, laundry, clean house, kids' homework, still stick on Sunday. Back to work on Monday...first comment from student "Did you know you can throw up when you're in the shower?" Hhmm...I guess I wasn't the only one sick!
Tomorrow and Wednesday I'm off to a Core Curriculum Training Class my state has set up for teacher. Should be interesting!

So, I mentioned in my last blog that I'd add more center ideas. Besides the Animal Drawing book I listed earlier I also have a few more books I use during centers. One of them is my Read the Room Write the Room book. I like this book because it's so easy to differentiate plus the kids get to choose what letter they want to work on so there is still choice in the activity. Some of my students work on finding words that begin with the letter listed on the page, some just look for words that have that letter anywhere in the word , some work on finding words that end with that letter, etc.

We make the activity even more fun by adding a bucket full of fun pens, markers, pencils and some groovy looking glasses. Kids get to pick from the bucket, grab their clipboard and their book and off they go! (The glasses this girl is wearring are 3D glasses from the movies. Pop off the insides and you have awesome Read the Room glasses!)

If you're interested in adding this center to your routine click on the cover above and it will take you to my TPT store.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Reading Centers

This is a picture of my management system for my reading center books. I used to have the kids keep their books in plastic magazine boxes but my brilliant co-worker Jill came up with this idea. This method takes up a lot less room and now I can use the other buckets to organize our classroom library books.

Inside each box are the books the kids use during centers:

*ABC Art
*ABC Animal Drawing & Writing
*Popcorn (Sight) Word practice
*ABC Punches
*Read the Room/Write the Room
I featured the ABC Animal Drawing book in my previous post and you can download it for free. I thought I'd spend the next few days explaining the other books the kids use.
Tomorrow night is our school's Sock Hop but after that I'll be be back to explain some more of our books!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Animal Drawing Book (fixed...I hope!)

Today was not a wonderful day. Feeling a little "below the line" and ok...feeling sorry for myself. Sigh. But....I realized as I was sulking that I was getting a lot of cleaning done! Yeah!! Clean toilets!!

Was checking out Adventures in Kindergarten's blog and Mary mentioned how much she loves teaching her kids to draw and how it inspires writers. I agree! I am posting this book on TPT in a few weeks but wanted to offer it here for free first. If you download it please leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Giving stuff away is a great trampoline!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Last year I attended a Boost-Up or SMART (Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training) training in Minneapolis. Wonderful training! If you get a chance to go or see it in action it is wonderful stuff! The training really focuses on the whole child! Above you see some of our kinders reading sight words, letters and sounds while balancing on stability balls. (We had the words a little too high but we've fixed that now!)

In this picture we are exercising our eyes and working on crossing our midline.

This activity works on our near/far focus.

As well as mid line, visual & balancing skills we also work on gross motor, fine motor & auditory skills. If you haven't heard of this training yet check it out. It's great for Early Childhood through 2nd grade students. Even some of your struggling 3rd-5th graders can benefit from these activities.

Here's an easy crossing the mid line activity to try with your students (We call it Soldier Walking): While walking in the halls to a special have them pat their legs using opposite hands (so right hand taps left leg, left hand taps right leg, etc.) VERY difficult for some kids to do but a great activity to promote crossing the midline. If you're like me you will be shocked how many kids can't do this at first. Make sure you aren't late for a special though because they do walk slower when they do this....also a great classroom management technique to slow kids down and quiet them in the halls (they are so busy thinking about their walking they don't talk!)