Sunday, October 2, 2016

Homework: How much is too much?

Oh my goodness!!! Every educator is faced with this same question year after year.  How much is too much when it comes to homework??????   First of all,

I am a parent and an educator.  Sometimes finding the balance between the two can be a challenge.  Why you might ask????   Well,  I see both sides of the argument.  On the parent side I come home after a long day and the last thing I want to do is have a ton of homework to do with my kiddos.  I want to see them, talk to them, have a conversation other than "Do your homework!!!."  We have all been there when this voice comes out of our mouth that sounds like our mother and you realize you are becoming her.   Yep...that is me sometimes.  Sometimes I give her a nickname like "Mad School Momma!  Grab this freebie here:
On the other side I realize the increasingly instructional demands put on our teachers in the classroom today.  I understand it and I know we all feel each other's pain .  Well as you can see above and you can see I am changing up my approach to homework.  I decided to add two different approaches for myself one I can do weekly or one I can do nightly.  Depending on the week and how much we cover I can use either one.  Best of  all you can grab it for FREE!!!   

Here is what I will do:
1.  Reading /Writing -include any new terms we are working on in reading for them to review with their parents nightly... very quick and simple .or if we are beginning a writing unit let them know what we are writing about-personal narrative, etc.

2.  Math-this section I would include 3 -5 problems  that I want them to do based on the skill we are working on that week.  Again quick and simple. 

3.  Social Studies:  List any terms we are learning and their definitions.  Or pose a couple of questions based on the material we are learning.  Simple 5 minute review. 

4. Science:  Any terminology we are working on or pose an easy multiple choice question to review what the days lesson was on. 

5.  Blank box on the side will be used for their spelling words where the children could write them if you are doing Words your Way and their lists are different. 

***Run these front to back to save paper (Monday-Thursday in my room) or go even further and send them via email each night as homework so parents can pull it up and have their students homework handy.  ****

The goal is easy quick homework that does not require stress for you or your students.   A FINAL TIP:   Use this as part of your morning work for your students who are older.  Have them fill it in for morning work.  

Talk to me:  How do you keep your homework simple? 

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Birthday Decor for your classroom

Quick post today for you all about birthdays.  I try to make a child in my room feel special when they celebrate a birthday in my room.  Typically, the birthday boy or girl gets to go to my treat box or wear a special ribbon for the day.  I try to change it up. 
  I found some ideas on Pinterest that I absolutely love to display birthdays in my classroom.  Stay tuned...a freebie for you.  :) 
  Here are some ideas that I have found.
I love these displays but I needed to adapt mine for a smaller space. 
 Here is what I plan. 
I made these cupcakes that I plan on printing out on cardstock and of course knew I would say that.  ;)  Each one has the month of the year on them and then I am going to add some candles with the kids names on them for a small wall in my classroom.  
When I get them done I will add a pic to this blog so you can see it.  Stay tuned!!!!
Here comes the freebie for you.  Click on the cupcakes and head on over to get yours.  ;)

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hands on Letter Recognition Activities

I can not say enough about hands on activities in the classroom when I work with kindergarten students who need a little extra help with letter recognition.  Before we can read we need to know what we are reading and letter recognition plays a big factor in that step. 
                                                          Stay tuned for freebies!!!

Some of the resources we use in my own classroom are a lot of games and activities that promote letter recognition. 

1.  One of the first things we are going to do this year is add these letter recognition puzzles to our small group time .  I plan on printing them out on cardstock , laminating , and cutting apart the pieces for independent monitoring of students to informally assess their recognition knowledge. 

You can grab the set by clicking on the picture:
2.  Magnetic letters or Clothespins are always used in my letter recognition activities.  Some of the cards that I typically use during small group work work well with these manipulatives.  The students match the letter on the card and I typically begin using these cards with my little learners who need to start with uppercase letter recognition.  We always begin there before adding lowercase. 
Click on the picture to grab your set:
3.  Finally we work on adding our letter recognition notebooks to the morning work.  I feel it is necessary to keep all of my students on the same page and these pages also work great during guided reading groups.  Students practice writing the letter, identifying them in a short story as we track the words in the story, identify letters in different fonts, and locate pictures that have the beginning letter sound.  I love using these pages with my small groups. 
You can grab them here:
These are just a few of the many things I use with my kindergarten small groups when we are just starting out learning to read.  They are easy enough to print and go and address learners at all stages of their learning. 

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Friday, August 26, 2016

How to build a Positive School Year in your Classroom

We are headed back to school very soon and each year we start off building a positive classroom community where all the little learners feel a part of my classroom.  Here are some ways that I use to make a positive classroom environment. 

1.  Share a First Day of School Story 
    One of my favorite stories to read with my students is the "Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn Read .  It is hard sometimes for me to get through it but somehow I muster up the courage to read it without crying myself.  :)   For my students who might be a little worried about their first day I also share Wemberly Worried. 

2.  Discuss Classroom Rules                                                                                                               
Usually my youngest students are so surprised when I tell them we are going to create rules for our classroom together.  Before I begin our rules discussion I share a book called "Back to School Rules" with them so we can direct our thoughts on appropriate rules for school.  
3.  Participate in a get to know you activity                                                                                   
This is my favorite part of my back to school activities.  It gives me as a teacher a glimpse into who my students are and what they like.  It is also provides me a picture of how this new group of students will work together in the classroom.  I usually start my lesson with a chart of get to know your teacher.  I have a chart prepared about myself usually with prompts ready like (pets, husband, kids, books I like, etc.) so my interview questions stay focused. 
Some of the activities I use with my students are fun and interactive.  For my little learners who aren't able to read yet I use a cupcake activity with pictures so they can learn about one another.
For my older students when I taught 3rd grade we would use something a little more geared for their age.  Emoji's are a hit with older kids.  This get to know you activity allows students to be broken up into small groups and then work together as a group to spin a spinner and find someone in the classroom that fits the spin they made.  They are working together to fill their recording sheet to learn more about their classmates.  After a certain time they can switch the spinners to gather more students names.  I would have the groups go to marked tables with the spinners and then switch after a certain amount of time.
  4.  Get to know your school
Another important thing I feel is necessary to do with my kindergartners is to teach them about the school they are in.  How do you do this?  Well I try and make it fun by giving them a little scavenger hunt .  Later in the week I buy some fun gingerbread man cookies and then tell my students we had a special visitor come to our classroom to teach us where the office, gym, nurses office, etc. are in our school.  Part of making my students feel a part of the school community is allowing them feel comfortable with their surroundings.  This activity is perfect for that.  A little bit of easy prep work by placing the cards in the spots prior to the school day and then placing our gingerbread man on the board...this activity is a hit with my students.
5.  Establish Routine                                                                                                               
One of the most crucial things I feel will build a positive school year is establishing a routine in the classroom.  We are creatures of habit with routine.  Establishing a routine in the classroom is important for students to know what is expected from them each day they enter the classroom.  Less stress and chaos is the key part of establishing routine. 
 Wishing you all a happy and positive classroom school year! 

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Emoji Back to School Classroom Editable Wishlist

I can not believe I am typing these words already....where does the summer go?????  I have a few more weeks of free time but I am spending it making some things for the classroom. 

Emoji's are so cute and my kiddos love them.  Why not get there attention by adding Emoji's to your classroom wishlist.  Best of all I can edit them to change them from year to year and so can you.

I am simply printing them out on cardstock and I thought I could do them a couple of ways.  First, I can take them and place them on a poster.

Or if I see they won't fit into some other d├ęcor ideas they can be added to a pencil and placed in a container for parents to grab the pencil by my sign up sheets.

Head on over to grab your own set.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Preventing the Summer Slide: Money Review

SUMMER IS HERE!!!!   I love saying that!  Can you tell?  :)  Sleeping in and participating in fun activities like Vacation Bible School the past week make it all fun.  Family time ranks at the top of my list and summer trips.  The list just keeps going. 

Over the next couple of months of summer I plan on preventing the summer slide here at my house so I thought it might be a great link up and some fun for us to gather our best free products that we can share with others to help prevent that dreaded summer slide.  I plan on adding some free stuff and you my readers can link up your free products to add to the list.

Here is what you do: 

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo Summer linky button.png"/></a>

1.  Share the button above on your blog.
2.  Link up your free item or product (blog or store) that would help prevent the summer slide.  (FREE only please!!!)
3.  Come on back -check often as I will be randomly posting new free things and link ups. 

So for my first summer slide freebie this is a money review task cards for firsties that are learning about money and beginning to count it.  There are 12 cards included in the set.  Click on the picture to head on over to get your own free copy.
Now link up your freebie to share to help with that summer slide. 

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

End of the Year Sharing Writing Activity

 Can you believe it?????   It is almost the end of the year!   I have to admit I am ready for it.   Before we let those little ones go I thought it might be a fun activity to have our kiddos share with the next group of students coming in on the first day of school or at our back to school meeting about our school year .

 These little newsletters are just what we are going to do before the final school bell rings.  I will have a little activity all ready for the next school year.  And the best part....they are FREE!
Click on the newsletter pictures to pick up your copy. 
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