Friday, September 27, 2013

Five for Friday with a Freebie and a Giveaway!

It's time for Five for Friday again!  This one is going to be short and sweet.  I'm not feeling the greatest, I just finished a whole day of Professional Development, and I'm heading out to the high school football game soon!
Check out these numbers that Jen at Hello Literacy created for Five for Friday!  Aren't they great.  You can get them HERE.
We had a district in-service today.  We spent the afternoon going over AIMSweb data and setting goals for our kiddos.  I think I'm officially braindead now . . .

We started stamping out sight words this week.  This was a favorite last year so I was excited to get it out again this year.  I was slightly overwhelmed by the amount of ink that ended up on fingers and faces, but overall, I think it was a success!  I use THIS PACK by Deedee Wills.  I love that it's editable so I can add my own sight words.

I introduced tens frames this week.  For some reason, I love working with tens frames.  They did awesome with it and I can't wait to incorporate some tens frame fun into my apple math centers next week!

It's my day to post over on Teaching Blog Roundup.  I shared a few of my favorite apple read alouds and apple activities since we will be starting our apple theme next week.  I also included a freebie! 
Head over there to check out the post and grab the freebie.
Have you seen the amazing giveaway going on over at Meet Miss Parker??  It's HUGE, but it ends tomorrow so hurry up and check it out!
Well, that's my quick Five for Friday.  Hopefully, tomorrow I will have some time to check out all your posts!
Don't forget to link up!
Doodle Bugs Teaching

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five for Friday!!

Even though I feel like this week flew by, it also really felt like Friday was a long time coming.  How does that work?
Anyway, I'm really happy to have a few minutes before heading out to eat some ribs and have a drink (or two) with my hubby and parents to get my Five for Friday post up!
I'm sure I've shared a similar picture before, but my kids LOVE brain breaks this year.  They BEG for them!  And, of course, being the good teacher that I am, I use them as leverage to get them to follow directions and complete tasks!  That's OK, right?

We made these self-portraits this week.  First we read, A My Name is Alice and then we completed our own writing with our own names.  Then they got to create themselves!  I love how they turned out.  I almost didn't do them this year because my class is, well, kinda out of control, and the thought of this project scared me.  My Intervention Specialist (visit her at The Phonics Phenomenon), talked me into it and I'm so glad she did.  The kids had fun and they turned out so cute!  The bottom right is ME!  You can find this activity in Deanna Jump's Literacy and Math Fun with Names.  It's perfect for the beginning of school.

We FINALLY made it to 20 minutes of Read to Self Stamina!  I was really beginning to wonder if we would ever make it.  Like I said before, this class is kinda out of control and being quiet and sitting still really isn't our strong suit.  So this was definitely a cause for celebration!  This chart came from Mel D in her stamina builder FREEBIE! 
Not the best picture, but here are my school badge and keys.  We are prepping for our first safety/evacuation drill on Monday.  I taped my class list to the back of my badge and put some washi tape on my classroom key.  It never fails--we get the signal to lock our doors and I can't figure out which key is my building key and which is my room key!  Problem solved!  Do you have to practice "intruder" drills?  It is such a shame that we have to, but I'm really glad that my district is being very proactive and putting a plan in place.
And, finally, a non-school related pic.  This is how I seem to spend ALL of my free time right now--at a soccer game.  Both of my kids play and my daughter is a ball girl for the high school team so we watch a lot of soccer right now.  It's OK, though.  I can either sit there and watch without worrying at all about school, or I can take some things along to work on, too.  My choice.  Best of both worlds, I guess.  My daughter plays the cross-county rival at 9:15 in the morning so wish us luck!  It's a big game!
I can't wait to head on over to Doodlebugs to see what everyone else's week was like!  See ya over there!
Doodle Bugs Teaching

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Freebies on the 15th!

I'm linking up with Molly today over at Lucky to Be in First for her Fabulous Freebies on the Fifteenth linky party.  This is a great linky because, well, everything is FREE!! 
I'm going to share a few of my favorite freebies I've created over the last few months. 
First, these digraph practice sheets are my top freebie download on TpT.  I really should go back and update the cover page!  This is one of the first items I ever created and I've gotten a little better at it since then!
Next, is my very first product I ever made!  It's a write the room beginning blend activity.  Again, this cover page needs some TLC!  Yikes!
And finally, this is a fun freebie that I created to use in my back to school math centers.  (See how much better I got at creating things?!)
Please remember to leave feedback if you like what you see! 
And don't forget to head over to Molly's blog to find more Fabulous Freebies on the Fifteenth!
Lucky to Be in First

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five for Friday the 13th

Time for Five for Friday again!  Boy am I glad to see the end this school week.  It was 110 degrees in my classroom for three days and today was Friday the 13th!  Crazy town, people!   
Monday night, I was able to spend some quality time with my awesome 12 year old daughter.  Thompson Square was playing at the neighboring county fair so we headed up after school to see the show.  Even better was that one of my teaching besties was able to join us, too!  They put on a great show and we had a lot of fun!
We are almost up to full Daily 5 implementation!  This week we started Read to Someone and I taught them how to switch books.  I'm always really nervous when they switch books for the first time, but they did really well and we had very few books in the wrong bin!
I posted a new product to TpT this week!  This is my first new product in over a month so I was pretty excited about that!  Click the image to read the blog post and find out more about how to help your kiddos line up quickly and easily!
Have you heard of Remind 101?  It's a great website and app that lets you send texts to parents, but they don't get your cell phone number!  They sign up for the texts and you can quickly send out one text to everyone that's signed up.  I've been using it a lot so far this year.  You can even schedule your texts so if you think of something during the day that you want to remind parents of, you can type up the text, but schedule it to send in the evening when you know they are more ready to read it and remember it!  Click the image to head over to the website and check it out!
Do you have that "book guy" that comes and puts a book display in your staff lunchroom?  That is one smart man because we all know we are suckers for books!  This time, I bought these fun fairy tell spin-offs!  I can't wait to use them to compare and contrast with the real fairy tale and discuss point of view!
Well, that's my quick version of Five for Friday.  Now I'm headed to change my clothes and head back out for some Friday Night Football.  It's Homecoming night!
Head over to Doodlebugs to link up!
 Doodle Bugs Teaching

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Let's Line Up!

Yesterday I mentioned in my blog post that I have a group this year that has a difficult time lining up.  I always have the kids line up in alphabetical order by their first names.  Most teachers in our building do this.  It just makes it easier.  It prevents running to be first, kids standing next to their friends and chatting, or anyone trying to crowd in line.  Everyone has their spot in line!  Well, no matter how many times we had practiced, this group could NOT remember where their spot in line was.  Friends, it was a nightmare!  I literally had to go through and put each student in line every time we lined up.  Then I would say, "Look who is in front of you! Now look who's behind you!"  Each time I was sure they would be able to do it next time and each time . . . they weren't!

I had seen other blog posts about teachers putting numbers down on the floor so I decided to try that.  Here's what I ended up with after I had to search and search to figure out how to get the Melonheadz kidlette cropped inside the circle.  (If you want to read more about that, head over to yesterday's blog post)

I was even able to find a kidlette to match each student in my classroom!  This was a very fun project to create!  Now my kiddos have personalized circles on the floor to remind them where to line up!  No more problems!  (Except that I had to use the same kidlette for two girls because I couldn't find anything else that I thought fit so they get mixed up!)
Here's how they turned out when I stuck them down with packing tape.  Mind you, it was probably near 110 degrees in my classroom the day I was taping these to the floor.  I was sure they probably wouldn't stick because everything was so damp from humidity.
 We have to curve our line because our tables get in our way.  This helps so much with that concept, too!

I have a helper each day and one of their jobs is to be the line leader so I made a special line leader spot.
 And while I was taping these to the floor, I had a brainstorm!  These could also double as a life size number line for math activities!  I can't wait to try it out for math!
Now, my number circles are exclusive to my kiddos because they match the kids, but I made a version that could be used by anyone! 

This product includes a line leader spot and numbers up to 30--God bless you if you have to use all 30 of them!?!
If you're interested, head over to my TpT store or click the image above to get them!  And if you use them, I'd love to see pics of them in your classroom!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Techy tip! Do you know how to crop to a shape?

I always teach my kids to line up in alphabetical order by their first names.  It just makes it so much easier when we line up because there is no pushing or shoving to see who is first.  No one can crowd in line because everyone has their spot.  Some days we switch it up and we line up in backwards order so the last person isn't always last--sorry to all the Zachs of the world!  Everyone gets their turn to be line leader at least once a month--I have a helper of the day and that person is also the line leader for the day.

Well, this year, my kiddos were having a TERRIBLE time figuring out where they should line up.  No matter how many times we practiced, they just couldn't remember who they lined up behind or about where in line they stood.  I had seen the idea of teachers putting numbers down on the floor so this is probably nothing new to most of you.  I decided that was what had to be done!

Once I decided, I knew in my head exactly how the numbers should look.  The problem was that I didn't know how to create them in PowerPoint.  I wanted that cute little Melonheadz kidlette to be cropped inside a circle.  I had seen it done, but didn't know how to do it.  I asked my blogging bestie, Kristy from Phonics Phenomenon, how to do it because she's always been at least three steps ahead of me when it comes to this blogging and creating stuff and was shocked to find out she didn't know!  (She knows a lot of stuff  so you really should head over to her blog!) I made it my mission to teach myself how to do this, so I did what we always do when we don't know something.  That's right.  I googled "how to crop pictures into a circle in PowerPoint."  My google search bar probably thought, "Oh my, the crazy lady is at it again!"  But wouldn't you know, the perfect YouTube video tutorial popped up and I was quickly able to create this.

I actually was able to find a kidlette that looked like each of my kiddos so they now have personalized line up numbers! 
I was pretty proud of myself!  So I posted a picture on Instagram (if you want to follow me over there find me @alwaysanadventureink), and I had a couple people ask me how I got the girl in the circle!  So I emailed them the YouTube videos.  Then I decided that maybe there are more of you out there who don't know how to do that so I'd do a blog post about it!  (I guess you probably figured that out already because you are reading the blog post . . . .)
So here are the links.  There are actually two parts to the tutorial.

So there ya go!  And I also noticed that the man who put up the video has 72 videos on YouTube so I will definitely be checking them out to see what else I can learn!
Now, if you want to see how the numbers are working in my classroom, and perhaps get your own line up numbers, stay tuned . . . . Another blog post coming in the next day or so!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Five for Friday on Friday!

You know you have it bad when you race home from school just so you actually have time to get your Five for Friday post done before all the weekend craziness begins! We are heading out to eat to celebrate my hubby's birthday soon, so I'm going to keep this quick!  I just REALLY wanted to join the party ON Friday this week!

We've been working very hard on our writing stamina for Daily 5.  I was so proud of them today.  I'm using Writing Through The Year from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills this year and so far I'm very pleased.  This kiddos have a long way to go--most of them just write scribbles for words--, but I'm really happy with the writing unit so far.  I really needed a guide and this is perfect for me!
I finally got around to taking their pictures for our birthday display this week.  It was one of those things that kept slipping my mind!  When one of the kiddos asked me what those empty spaces on the bulletin board were for, I figured I better get at it.  I can't wait to see how it all turns out.  I was quite certain I had a picture of our birthday display, but I guess not.  Use your imagination friends.  I took the chevron gifts clip art from Ashley Hughes and added the months of the year to it.  Then I'm going to hang their pictures next to their birthday month.  Look for it in next week's Five for Friday!

We have began using this fabulous September Word Work pack from Kindergarten Smiles.  I already loved everything she has ever made and this just seals the deal!  It is A-MAZE-ING.  But what else is amazing is the coloring skills of this kiddo.  Look at that fire truck!  She does beautiful work.  I might have to have her make my anchor charts for me! 
I LOVE SCENTOS!  My class loves Scentos, too and will do just about anything to get me to write on their papers and journals with Scentos.  I have a couple stamps which are the best.  I forgot to take a picture of them before I left school and I can't find a good one online.    I have a special needs child with me all day this year and it's hard to keep her focused and motivate her.  Today we discovered that she WILL WORK FOR SCENTOS!  Magic!!
I'm loving my custom mini from Tongass Teacher! How cute am I??  I had her draw me in my Buckeyes jersey and my Buckeyes beads (and my favorite Uggs!).  This is what I will look like every Saturday for the rest of the year!
Head over to Doodlebugs Teaching to see what everyone else has been up to this week!
OK, off to dinner and then home to chill out!  My daughter has her first soccer game of the season tomorrow at 8am?! Who schedules these things??


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How Fun is Play Dough??!!


I know many of you have probably been using play dough in centers for a long time, but it's new to me!  If you remember, last year was my first year in Kindergarten so many things are still new to me!  I did use play dough occasionally last year--pumpkin play dough for fall, peppermint play dough at Christmas time--but this year I plan to use it a whole lot!  It's going to be a Word Work activity during my Daily 5 time and used frequently in math centers. 
Since we are still training for Daily 5 and building up our stamina, I decided to break out the play dough today and use it as a whole class.  Friends, it was like magic!  My class has been pretty chatty so far and also has a tendency to be grabby and less than willing to share so I was quite certain that someone (or lots of someones!) would grab the container and hoard ALL the play dough for their table.  Nope.  They each broke off a piece and even had some to spare after each friend had some!  Then, the best part--they all played with it quietly!  Yep, I almost let them play with it ALL day!  It was about as quiet as they had all been in all our 11 days of school! I'm pretty sure I heard angels singing . . .
Here's the break down.  I asked some parents to volunteer to make play dough which they did.  I also made a few batches and I found the best recipe that I must share with you all.  Maybe you use this one already, but it was new to me. 
Easy Homemade Playdough Recipe
See that part where it says "less than 10 minutes?"  Too good to be true, right?  WRONG!!  I made three batches in 20 minutes!  I think I will double the recipe next time, though.  It doesn't make a large amount.  You can find the recipe HERE.
I used neon food coloring because I'm slightly obsessed with neon right now (and I couldn't figure out how to make chevron!)

And, seriously, in less than 30 minutes I had this!  Aren't the colors fabulous??
First we had to have time to just explore and play, of course!

Then we got to work making letters! 

I'm using these awesome resources from my blogging buddy, Stephanie, over at Primary Possibilities.  Right now we are just using the letters, but we will be incorporating sight words and their names into the mix soon. 
And I can't wait to introduce these math activities for my math centers!
I'm pretty sure these play dough activities are going to be a favorite of this group--and me, too!!