Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Writer's Workshop: Informational Reports

Each nine weeks, our district requires a piece of writing to be completed as an assessment and placed in our students' permanent record. The first 9 weeks was a self portrait with name and date, the second 9 weeks was a journal entry (small moment), the third 9 weeks was a book review, and this nine weeks we are working on informational reports. I just began teaching this skill within the past week and students have helped me write a report based on a book we read together. 
My kinders expressed an interest in ocean animals and specifically sharks...so this is the book we went with. I talked to students about writing informational reports and the steps to take. We referenced this anchor chart, which can be found in my mini unit on TpT
After we discussed the steps, I began a whole group writing and modeled each step - - from the illustrations and coloring....all the way to stretching out of sounds and recalling facts. Here is what we came up with and what my students wrote when they were turned loose. 
For those of you who don't speak Kindergarten...my example says:
Sharks
Topic Sentence: There are many kinds of sharks.
Fact 1: They have sharp teeth. 
Fact 2: If they stop swimming, they will sink.
Fact 3: Some are flat and some are round.

My little buddy (whose writing I am sharing with you) says:
Sharks
Sharks are not mammals.
Sharks have sharp teeth.
Sharks have gills.
There are many kinds of sharks. <--this was his topic sentence and we discussed putting it at the beginning of his writing during our conference time :) 

I'm very pleased with what I've gotten so far from my students, although we've got more work to do. I have several friends who rush through their work and think they are done, so I cracked out this anchor chart.
When I'm done, I can...add to my picture, label my pictures, write more words, reread my writing, start a new piece. This has helped tremendously in knowing that a writer's job is never done! ;-) If you're interested in doing something like this with your students. All of this, and MORE, can be found in this unit {here}. 
Leave a note about what you're working on in Writer's Workshop and an email and I'll pick two winners to receive this pack for FREE. Happy hump day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mail Center

Hey friends! I know it has been such a long time. I can explain, trust me! I've moved, bought a condo, paid off my car, joined a gym, lost my mind, and a partridge in a pear tree. ha Anyways, I have a wonderful practicum teacher from the University in my town (who is helping me stay afloat in my classroom) and she was asked to re vamp one of my centers for her class. She chose to re do my writing center and change it into a mail center. My students are LOVING it...as am I. She is so creative. Here is the documentation panel she was asked to put together and share with her peers. I wanted to share it with ya'll. 
Be sure to leave her some love. She has done such a great job. I'll be back tomorrow! I've already got the post scheduled. Whoop whoop!



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Learning about MLK

Hey ya'll. I'm enjoying the snow cold day and just looking ahead. I wanted to post some of my MLK stuff. Here is a sample of some TLC Art my students make. If you aren't familiar with her stuff, check it out {here}. It's such a great activity for teaching directions and fine motor skills. I especially love how all of the students' art work looks so similar, but yet...so different! 
My students fill out a was/had/wanted chart and learn all about MLK through non fiction texts. 
We also add a MLK poem to our poetry journal. I just love these illustrations. Kindergarten drawings are my fave!!
You can find most of these items in this unit {here}.
And just because I love ya'll....and my kiddies have been working a lot lately on multi flow maps, here's another freebie for ya! 
Just click on the image to grab it from Google Docs. I hope you enjoy! I'm out again tomorrow for COLD. Whoop Whoop. What do you do to celebrate MLK Day? Please share!

Monday, January 6, 2014

What I'm teaching this month...a look at past posts!

Hey ya'll. We had a snow day today and boy have I loved every minute of it. I may or may not have JUST gotten out of my pajamas (and showered)! ;-) Oopsie. Not to mention, I just got a text saying we are out again tomorrow due to extreme cold. Whoop whoop. I am thanking Jesus right now (and Mother Nature) because this gives me another day to devote to planning. I was just reflecting over some past posts and wanted to share. Here are some things we will be doing during the month of January. Be sure to click the links and visit my "oldies but goodies." Hopefully, you can snag a few ideas...or two!
Read last year's Hibernation post {here}. And check out my Hibernation Station unit on TpT {here}.
You can read more about this unit and what all my students do for Snowmen/Winter {here}.
You can read about this {here}. And make sure you grab my MLK freebie unit {here}. This little unit has had over 45,000 downloads! What?!?! 
Read my 100th day posts {here} and {here}.
This is absolutely one of my favorite units to teach. Can't wait! Check out our penguin posts {here} and {here}.

What do you teach in January? Please share. I hope everyone is staying warm tonight. With the windchill factor, it's -15 outside. Brrrrrr bears!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Professional Goals for 2014 + Hibernation Unit!

Hey friends. Contact the press - I've blogged 2 days in a row! Woot woot. I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' again and discussing my professional goals. You should hop on over and check out the posts and link up as well. Here goes...
I want to be more planned and organized with small group instruction. I'm so bad about not getting everything in that I have planned...or changing my mind on what I want to teach at the last minute? Is anyone else guilty of this? It's especially bad if I feel stressed to complete something for the school or I have a pressing note to write to a parent...I may skip a small group all together. Shew....there, I said it. Eeek! This can NOT continue to happen. My small group time is precious and often, it's when my students learn best and grow in their ability. 
Ya'll - another confession. I hate math. I've always hated math...even as a child. Therefore, I think I hate teaching it. I really want it to be FUN for me so I can make it FUN for my students. I think I do a good job incorporating fun centers into work station time, but as far as the instruction itself...not so much. I've got to make it more appealing to myself so I will enjoy teaching it. I could teach Reading/Language Arts ALL day long!! Math - blah. 
Is "commenter" even a word? I so enjoy the comments I receive. I try to read each one and they make me oh so happy. I want to do better at reading other bloggers' posts and commenting on them. I also want to work on not being so ADHD and finish all the projects I've started. I'm so bad with starting a unit and using what I need for my class, but never finishing it to post and share with others. :( I get distracted. Oh look - a squirrel!! ha You all inspire me so much and blogging really is an outlet for me. I must make more time for it because it's something I enjoy and work on completing my projects. Which brings me to this...I have FINALLY finished my Hibernation unit. I plan on using this next week when I return on Monday (still praying for that snow day). ha This unit is packed full of 16 math and literacy stations and is only $5.00!! 
I'm pretty excited that I finished this and was able to get it posted BEFORE January. ha For this weekend only, this pack will be discounted at 20% off. Click {here} to check it out. 
And all of this brings me to my last goal - stay AHEAD and organized in my plans. I'm pretty decent in planning but then I search pinterest and find something I like better. Dang creative people out there. This leaves me scurrying to plan and change things all together so I can incorporate this grand idea I found online. I must stay organized and stick with what I've written down. No more planning the night before and changing my mind to include something else. So far...I'm planned through January. Now, if I can just stick to this routine. 

What are your goals? First person to leave a comment and email address below will score my Hibernation unit for free! Happy Saturday!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's feeling a lot like Christmas...

Hey friends! It's feeling a lot like Christmas - in my classroom, that is! It's certainly not outside. Boo. This girl needs a snow day...or 4! ha I've been flushing my ice cubes, sticking a spoon under my pillow, wearing my jammies inside out...ya know, the whole nine yards - - but no luck so far. I'll stay hopeful for January. Anyways, we are bringing the Christmas spirit indoors and engaging in lots of fun classroom activities. Here is a break down of what's going on. Our elf, Jingles, has been up to a lot this week. 
1. The Super Heroes were trying to protect us from Jingles the villain. 
2. Jingles made a snow angel (out of sprinkles)!
3. Jingles took a Hot Air Balloon ride.
4. Because every elf needs a sick day....

I'm having so much fun with this little guy. ha ha It's seriously ON when I have kiddos of my own. Onward to the ornament making. 
I try to make an ornament a day in December. I know, I know - I've lost my mind! But, in all seriousness, the parents love it and tell me (every year) how much they cherish them. Here are just a few we've made this week. The snowman to the far left is from Oriental Trading...but I found 2 dozen at a Garage Sale!! Score. In the middle, the classic popsicle reindeer. Love! And the snowman on the right is out of a toilet paper tube. We painted them and hot glued pom poms/pipe cleaner to make the ear muffs, then, my students added details. I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out so far.
I'm also getting close to finishing the decorations to my classroom door. I always do a big scene outside, each year. For those of you wondering, the roof is white paper plates, and the border on the bottom is painted paper plates. Pretty easy and cheap! I'm pleased with the way it turned out. (Note: Thanks to my Dad for his help) Hope everyone has a great Sunday. I'll be back with some freebies this week. Stay tuned for more adventures from Jingles. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Elf on the Shelf

Happy Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a great 1st day back from Thanksgiving break. I have 13 1/2 days left until Christmas break...but who is counting? There is seriously SO much to do and I am 12 kinds of stressed. Anyways, we kicked the day off right. Santa came to visit while my students were at lunch (wink, wink). He snuck in through the window and when he did, his hat got caught. Oopsie! He even left a few bells from his sleigh. 
I guess there must be a lot of snow in the North Pole, because there was snow everywhere!
Santa left an official letter, reindeer food, and Elf on the Shelf. My students were so excited and could hardly wait to read the book and learn all about their new Elf friend. We voted and decided to name our Elf, Jingles. But it was a toss up between Justin Bieber, Ryder, and Jake. ha ha If you do not do Elf on the Shelf, I highly recommend it  - it encourages great behavior and also gets students in the holiday spirit. 
Stay tuned for the adventures of Jingles. I have lots of things up my sleeve. If you are interested in some great Elf on the Shelf ideas, be sure to visit my Pinterest board. Just click the image below.