Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I finally got my Animal Drawing book fixed if anyone was waiting to download that.  But something is going nutso with my blog.  For 3 days now all I get is a blank screen whenever I try to do anything.  I haven't been able to post, look at stats or do anything! I finally switched to Google Chrome and now it's working.  AUGH!!!!!

Tomorrow is Dr. Seuss day at our school.  The day will be filled with Dr. Seuss activities and we get to wear PJ's to school!

Now that's I've found a solution to my issue I'll be able to post some pics of the day (hopefully!)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Magical Vacation

Headed back to work tomorrow after being gone for 8 days.  Always a little nervous to see how the week went (I didn't even go in today to look....figured the surprise could wait until Monday!)

Fun to return and find that I am close to 100 followers! 

Wish me luck tomorrow!  Can't be too much retraining this time of year....right?!?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Story Maps, Rubrics and Counting (Random Thoughts)

Conferences Monday, Valentine's Day party Tuesday and getting a weeks worth of sub notes ready.  My head is swimming and my thoughts are scattered.  So, today's post it just as random and scattered as my thoughts are this week. 
I just need to give a shout out to my co-worker Jill for this adorable Story Map poster she created for us!  The kids were immediately excited about it because of the pirate and they didn't even know what it was!  We read a story today and talked about Title and Characters.  Tomorrow we'll read another story and talk about Title, characters and setting and so forth. 

Jill was also the master mind behind these incredible rubrics.  These charts have really helped my kids think about their writing. 

In math we are working hard on counting "big" numbers using "big kid" (skip) counting.  My students have been brainstorming ways we've learned to count this year.  I love that they are 5 and 6 years old and don't find it odd in the least that they can count by 5's and 1's and 10's and 1's.  It's just so natural to them!   If only they knew how hard a skill that is and that their teacher didn't even start practicing those skills until 3rd grade!   My how education has changed!

Ok, random scattered thoughts are still bouncing around in my head.  Time to get organized.....sigh....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Monster Spelling Inventory

I spent 2 days this week at Common Core Training and had the opportunity to sit next to a wonderful teacher from a neighboring school district.  She was so much fun and had so many great ideas.  I'm not sure how long she's been teaching but I'm guessing maybe 20-25 years?  Anyways, I LOVED that she was still excited about finding new teaching ideas and that she was so willing to share all her great ideas!

As we were talking about ways to assess she mentioned what she called the "Monster" test.  (Doesn't that sound like fun?)  Anyways, the Monster test turned out to be a Developmental Spelling Inventory.  It's a test that has been around awhile (at least since 1985) but it's the first time I've ever heard of it. 

I e-mailed my co-workers the link right away and before I even left the meeting for the day Tina (one of my coworkers) had e-mailed a recording sheet for us so that we could give the test the following day.  (I have the best coworkers!)

The next day I returned to work and gave the test.  VERY COOL!  After analyzing my students tests I found that they ranged anywhere from Semi Phonetic to Transitional.  Here are 3 of the tests:

The little girl who took this test is on an IEP and receives resource room help and speech and language interventions.  She and 2 others in my class scored in what would be considered the "Semi Phonetic" range. They could identify the beginning sound of most of the words.

This little guy scored in the "Phonetic" range.  16 of my students scored in this range. You can see they could identify a few more sounds than the kids in the semi phonetic range.

4 of my students scored in the Phonetic/Transitional range.  Again, you can see that they could identify even more sounds than the mostly Phonetic students.

I was an interesting assessment and so cool to hear my kids sounding out these words.  Yeah phoneme segmentation practice!!!

By the way...the words for the test are:
1. monster
2. united
3. dress
4. bottom
5. hiked
6. human
7. eagle
8. closed
9. bumped
10.  typed

If you click the link above to the website it will show you how to score the assessment.
It was a very interesting assessment!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Telling Time (tip)

We started planning for our Time unit in math yesterday.  Time and money are 2 of my favorite math units!   When I introduce the clock to my kinders we'll make a clock and on the hour hand we'll put a picture of a turtle to illustrate how an hour goes slow.  On the minute hand there is a picture of a rabbit to illustrate that minutes go faster. 

I also put a turtle and rabbit on my teaching clock and the kids watch how the rabbit is always running fast around the clock while the turtle is trying it's hardest to catch it.  Usually one or two kids notice that the rabbit can get all the way around the clock while the turtle only makes it to the next number.

Of couse not every clock they see will have a turtle and rabbit on it so I also tell the kids that the minute (rabbit) hand is longer like the ears on a rabbit and the hour (turtle) hand is shorter like a short turtle.

Of course, to a teacher, 15 minutes of recess is more like a cheetah or a jet breaking the sound DO they speed up the clocks during that time???

Hope you found this tip helpful!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Word Family -at (freebie)

Over half way through kindergarten and we are hard at work on our word families.  We work on 1 word family a week.  Last week was -at.  This week is -en.  Every day we have a different way to build our words.   In the next few weeks I plan to highlight some of the ways we practice.  Above is one of our centers.  We call this playdough splat.  The kids "splat" a piece of playdough on the pages (which are inside clear sleeves) and stamp the missing letter. (We use lakeshore alphabet playdough stampers.)   Click on the picture above for your free copy of our -at family pages.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I am off to Common Core Training!  Woot woot!
Just finished 2 days of lessons plans- 12 pages!! 
Oh that bad??  Does that make me a control freak??

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Random Thoughts About Gloves

It is that time of year....I have a pile of mismatched cheap gloves that no on in my class wants to claim.  They are worthless $1.00 gloves that don't keep hands warm at all and no one seems to know how they got all over our floor!!  Do I find this annoying?  YES!   But, I hate to throw things away...even cheap gloves.  So, here is my list of useful ways to "recycle" these irritating & apparently orphaned articles of clothing:

1.  Use them as white board erasers (I have collected so many over the years that each of my students keeps one in their seat sack as their eraser.  Plus, they keep their marker inside their glove so it's fast and easy to find...theoretically.)

2.  Have students put them on to clap syllables in words

3.  Use them for crafts (seriously, just google "glove crafts" and you'll be looking at adorable gloves for hours minutes about 30 seconds)

4.  Cut the fingers out of them and wear them to keep your hands warm when your district's budget is cut and your building heat is set to 68 (feels more like 65 to me! Brr....) 

5.  Put them on the hands of any nose pickers you have (or hand lickers).

Ok, I'm out of ideas.  I actually only use them for reasons 1 and 2 above but I think #5 might actually work!