Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Literacy Work Stations: Part 1

After several emails about my charts, stations, etc...I have decided to put together a few posts based on work stations. I just thought this would be easiest for everyone! There have been several (wonderful) online book reviews that bloggers have put together and I strongly encourage you to check those out as well! Here are just a few ideas and what works best for ME.
The books are great in that they break down stations, how to set them up, and how to keep them on going throughout the year. I have found that students can become bored easily with the task, so changing little things like the pens they use or markers they color with can help a great deal!
I may choose poetry, listening, library, tongue twisters, and punch prints one week...but the next week do writing/word work, newspaper knowledge, poetry, listening, and library. I change them so students are still excited about going and interested in what the station has to offer. When I say my stations vary depending on theme, I mean....take my Zoo Unit for example. My lesson plans for that week in stations may look like this...

Poetry - Students will recite the zoo poem, cut and glue in their poetry journal, highlight words they know, and illustrate.
Listening - Students will listen to The Smelliest Day at the Zoo and complete a story report.
Library - Students will review fiction and non fiction zoo books. They may read to self, read to friend, or read to a book buddy. Students will discuss and complete a library story report.
Tongue Twister - Students will recite a zoo tongue twister and record on tongue twister page. Students will illustrate the twister and highlight the similar sounds. 
Punch Prints - Students will read, trace, and punch the weekly sight words/zoo vocabulary. 

 I know this can seem like a LOT, but really it isn't. The story reports in library and listening are the same each week, but the books they read and listen to change. Does all that make sense? The tongue twisters are recorded on a sentence strip and changed each week but the tongue twister recording page stays the same. Really...it is minimal up keep! :)
Now, in order to be able to SUCCESSFULLY operate small groups while your students are rotating throughout work stations, you must have a chart that students can read and understand. This eliminates students interrupting you and asking where they're suppose to be or where they are to go next. If they have questions about anything, they see their team captain. If the captain doesn't know, they see another captain...and so on. The old rule goes, "See 3 before you see me!" So, only after they've pretty much exhausted all of their options are they allowed to interrupt my small group time. 
This is another great method! I do all that I can to ensure my small group time is meaningful and engaging to my students participating. This, of course, means little interruptions can occur!

This is only the tip of the ice berg but hopefully I answered some of your questions! Are you ready to get started? Have I convinced you to start work stations this year? ha Here is a freebie to help you organize your charts. There is a set for those of you who have your tables by colors (red table, yellow table, blue table, etc) and a set for those who use money (penny table, nickel table, dime, etc). Simply click on the images to download from google docs. Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A delivery and a discount!

One of the things I love so much about blogging (besides the great friends you make, awesome ideas you are inspired by, and networking) are the companies who ask you to do product reviews! I was recently greeted with this sweet package on my front door. 
Could this box be any cuter? I hate to even throw it away. ha ha Thanks to Kohl's, I was able to review 4 of the Skippyjon Jones books and 2 of the plush. So stinking adorable and such great quality for $5 bucks!
Included in the box was: Skippyjon Jones, Skippyjon Jones Lost in Spice, Skippyjon Jones Class Action, and Skippyjon in the Doghouse. They also sent me Skippyjon and the sock monkey plush. Take a look at all the books they're offering with this collection...
They've also got a backpack, note cards, and the dinosaur plush (not included in picture). Through August 23rd, Kohl's is offering a 10% savings to my readers who make online purchases. Simply enter BLOGIT10 during checkout and stack your savings with one other department specific code as well! How's that for a deal? While the email from the company didn't specify if the code worked on the Kohl's care books...I would assume so?! I've not tried! Could someone let me know, please? But if not...at least you can score a discount on back to school clothes! ha You can visit the Skippyjon page {here} and the Kohl's page {here}. Also don't forget to stock up on the Guy Parker - Rees books, they are all discounted to $2.50! Happy shopping!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Last minute: TN blogger meet up!

Hey blog land. I'm just now getting home....I've been gone for almost 2 weeks! Shew. In the midst of all the travel, I was able to connect with some blog friends in Nashville for a TN blogger meet up. We had SO MUCH FUN and laughed NON stop. Lawdy, kindergarten stories never.get.old. Here is a snapshot.
From left to right: Greg, me, Elizabeth (Laura's friend, non blogger), Tangelia, and Laura. 

If you're not familiar with some of these people....you must be. Here are their blogs:
Greg's blog: Smedley's Smorgasboard 

Tangelia's blog: Buggy in Kindergarten

And Laura's blog: Kinder Kraziness

We're trying to convince Elizabeth to start up a blog - she teaches 4th grade! We were brainstorming names. ha ha Any ideas for her?? Please share. If ya'll are ever in Tennessee, let me know. I'd love to meet you. Hope everyone had a great weekend. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Big Event Fundraising: Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway sponsored by Big Event Fundraising. It was such a wonderful prize pack...I wish I had more to give out! Who wouldn't love a prize pack for a classroom store valued at $500? Hello - awesome! Well, I won't keep you any longer....drum roll please....and the winner is........

My sweet friend, Laura Starnes, from Kinder Kraziness. Whoo hoo - congrats! Just contact me with your mailing address so we can get the prize pack out to you. Again, thank you to everyone who entered!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fast Finisher: File Folder Games

Hey ya'll! Just got back from a refreshing week in the Bahamas! Ahhhh - life is good.

I posted a week or two ago about how to organize your puzzles. Remember that? You can check it out {here}. Anyways, I am trying to get everything situated for my fast finishers. Last year, I just had the same few things that students could do each day when they finished their work and let me tell ya, it got OLD. My kids were so over their options by December so it made for a long rest of the year. ha! I've posted my fast finishers chart so I can be reminded of what I have left to gather. Here it is:
I've got the puzzles, books, ABC games, Math games, marker boards, etc. I just needed to work on my file folder games. I had some file folder things that were a hot mess and again, in baggies. The ziplocs were worn and torn and had to be replaced - often! 
I grabbed a few packs of large manilla clasp envelopes from the Dollar Tree and begin organizing my folder games. Similar to my puzzles, I took pictures of what was inside the folders. 

Then, I printed off the picture and used contact paper to secure. I plan on laminating the folder itself once school starts but atleast they are ready!
Here they are! Whatcha think? Now my kinders can easily grab an envelope, head back to their seat, and work on a file folder game. How do you organize these?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Made it: A Hodge Podge

Hey friends. I am so jealous of those of you who are Vegas bound! I hope to find the funds next year and fly out there to meet some of ya'll! I cannot wait to see the pics and hear how it goes. 

Not to worry though, I will not be sitting around here...twiddling my thumbs! I am Bahamas bound tomorrow with my sister, Mom, and Aunt! Bring on the tan and girls trip. Whoo hoo! Anyways, wanted to post a few things I managed to make this past week in between packing and gearing up for another vacay. I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th grade Frolics for another wonderful Monday Made it. Here is what I've put together - a hodge podge of stuff:
I just LOVE burlap door hangers! I have a few that I have shelled out a pretty penny for. I ran across a pencil similar to this on etsy and loved it, but not the price. I bought some burlap, googled a tutorial, and began working! Here is my finished product! It will look great on my classroom door! 
I also made Christie's "Good Listener" poster set. It looks awesome in my newly painted room and the zebra ribbon pulls everything together. You can find this freebie at her {TpT store}.
I finished this board the other day, too. This originally housed my word wall but I took my letters off and glued them to my wall versus taking up a bulletin board. Last year, I had my clothespin rope draped across my room. While it was super cute, any time I had anything heavy on it...it would weight the rope and I would have to duck every.time.I.went.under.it (which was a LOT). So, I moved it to a board and am going to hang student work here. This saves me from ducking and from changing out my board all the time for different seasons. I can simply swap out the work and Viola - new bulletin board, instant change!

What are YOU making today? Link up!
P.S. Sorry for the poor pics, I snagged them with my phone. BUT - you get the hint! Happy crafting!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gingerbread Man Loose in the School

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a great 4th! Mine was awesome and filled with family, friends, fun, and fireworks. I may or may not have gotten a little crafty with the fruit pizza! ;-) Check this out!
Um...hello! It was de-lish! God Bless the USA and Pinterest!

Anyways, my sweet friend Nikki over at Melonheadz Illustrating just finished the most awesome bundle for me. It accompanies this book! Ever read it? 
It's so cute! I do a big back to school unit using the Gingerbread Man book each year. I wrote a post about it last August {here}. To jog your memory, here is a picture:
My students always have SO much fun searching the school for gingerbread clues and meeting the faculty/staff along the way. It's a great way to introduce all of the employees and rules/expectations for hallway behavior. 
Afterwards, we always come back to the room for a treat and coloring sheet. Several of you all asked me about this last year and I finally put a packet together! This packet features over 40 pages and all the goodies you need for a successful Gingerbread Man/Back to School extravaganza! ha This $4 unit includes: a gingerbread glyph, retelling bags, teacher retelling pieces, graphing, cutting practice, venn diagram, scavenger hunt, character analysis, and more! Here is a sneak peek:
The first person to comment on this post will receive this unit for FREE! So, what are you waiting for?! Run...run...as fast as you can....over to my TpT store and catch a copy of this cute Gingerbread unit today! TGIF!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July, Flash sale, Giveaway, and a Michael's trip!

Happy 4th, sweet friends! I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday. To celebrate, I'm having a flash sale through tomorrow. Everything in my TpT store is 20% off. Although I don't have much (yet), what I do have is cheap! ha So go snatch it up and put it away for next year. 

Also, on another note - don't forget to enter my {giveaway}! I've teamed up with Big Event Fundraising to offer you a giveaway that is out of this world and valued at $500.00! Holy smokes! You can totally rack up for your classroom store or treasure box...so be sure to enter.

On a whole other note: I made a quick Michael's run this morning to get a few things to finish up some craft projects (dang Pinterest). I'm trying to make the personalized wedding hangers for a friend of mine that is getting married. Anyways, while I was there, I searched the $1 section. UM - hello fuzzy! I hit the mother load! YOU MUST GO! Now, while I'm not a fan of things in the "$1 section" costing more than a $1...they had some great things for $2 and $3 bucks and you can use your 40% off coupon on them. Here is what they have...
Top left corner...digital/analog clock puzzles, capital/lower case puzzles ($3.00). Bottom left, coin puzzles ($3) and alphabet bingo ($4). They also have the small pocket charts for $2 that Target had last year?! AND - tons of book marks, stickers etc. Here are a few things that I bought...
Pointers, foam blocks, wooden hall passes, birthday stickers, and much more. Everything shown here is $1! They're open until 6 pm tonight (if you have time in between all of the 4th festivities). Have a wonderful day!

Oh yea...almost forgot....if you show your teacher badge, you get 15% off your entire purchase. I think sale items are excluded! Shop, shop. Happy 4th!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A BIG giveaway with Big Event Fundraising

Hey friends! I know what you're thinking...ANOTHER GIVEAWAY? That's right, I have teamed up with Big Event Fundraising to offer you a prize pack that is out of this world! How many of you all have a treasure box or classroom store? If so, this prize pack is for you! This carnival package includes a wide assortment of prizes including small hand held games/FM radios, little magic kits, PDA phones (plug in), magnetic dartboard games, scooters, portable ping pong tables (miniature), and much more. As opposed to a bunch of small, cheap prizes...Big Event Fundraising will be providing a fewer of the medium to higher-quality prizes. This is perfect for any type of rewards system or classroom incentive, valued at $500.00, and it's FREE no less.
Do I have your attention yet? Here is what you need to do to enter:
1. Like Big Event Fundraising on Facebook (1 entry)
2. Post the Big Event Fundraising link on your blog (1 entry)
3. Advertise this giveaway on your blog (1 entry)
4. Follow my blog (1 entry)
5. Leave a blog comment telling me what you'll do with this prize pack if you win (1 entry)
That's 5 chances to win folks! Whoo hoo! The giveaway will begin tonight (or tomorrow morning?? ha ha) at 12:01 a.m and will end the 16th at 12:01 a.m.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Made it: Library Clips

So......one of my many summer projects was to label all the books in my book tubs. The way my library is set up now works well, but when a student takes a book out of a book bin...there is no guarantee it will be put back in the right bin. I've found Christmas books in my Nursery Rhyme tub and 5 senses books in my Fall/Apples tub - it's a headache! I wanted to print the same label that's on the front of my tub onto smaller address labels and stick them on every book that's in the tub. That way, all students have to do is match the picture to ensure their book goes right back to where it belongs. BUT - holy smokies....Office Max doesn't make enough labels. That would take me forever, not to mention the ink. I have mucho books! 
So while I was searching Pinterest the other day, I ran across this great picture! This woman is Einstein! Source: Teaching is a Work of Heart
This is truly an awesome way for students to remember which tub they pulled a book from! They simply clip their clothespin to the bin where they got their book. Super smart! Now - I got to thinking though...with 25 students next year (projected) that will be a lot of clothes pins, writing names, etc. So, I thought I'd make my own. When students are in library center, there is typically no more than 5 students. Therefore, I wouldn't have to make a clothespin for every child in my room. I thought to myself - why not color code them? Maybe little Susie wants a pink clothespin and a book from the Pets and Wildlife tub. She'll simply clip her clothespin to that tub and when she's done look for her PINK clothespin because that's the color she chose. Easy Peasy -right? Well, here is what I came up with.
Whatcha think? I like the arrows because it serves as a reminder..."Hello - you got your book from this tub! Put it back here, follow the arrow!" I can't wait to get them to school and try them out. Sure beats printing a million and one labels. Simply download the arrows, cut, laminate, and secure to clothespins. Just click the image below to grab your freebie. Do you have a better way of ensuring your books go back in the right bin without using labels or hundreds of dot stickers? Please share! Leave me your thoughts on this, please. 
I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics! I'll be back this week with my Currently and another giveaway! YOU won't want to miss this one - trust me! Happy Monday.