Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Comprehension Centers Throwback & a New Year's Freebie

   It was around this time last year that I decided to revamp my word work centers in my second grade classroom. I worked with the "intensive" kiddos of our grade level each day, many of whom were ELL, to improve phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. I needed a system that was independent enough for my kiddos to complete, but included rigor and engagement. That is when my Interactive Comprehension Centers were born. You can read all about the set-up, materials, and purpose here.

  To accompany comprehension in the classroom I wanted my kiddos to continue the learning at home with a take home reading folder. I used a yellow shipping folder, placed on a cover, and laminated for durability. Inside each reading folder I included a reading log, before, during, and after comprehension questions, a reader finger or pointer (for my emergent readers), a book from our guided reading group and a leveled book (A to Z Reading), and a comprehension activity. This system was simple for even my kinder kiddos to learn and manage.

   To get your New Year off to the right start you can make Take Home Reading Folders for all your kiddos using my starter pack FREEBIE. Also included are sample interactive comprehension sheets from my Ultimate Comprehension Centers Pack. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year, BIG Changes

  Has it really been 4 months since my last blog post? YIKES!!! So much has changed the last couple of months and it really is true what they say..."time flies when your having fun!" In my last blogging session I was giving you a tour of my new kindergarten classroom. Well in October I was offered a Literacy Interventionist position in a neighboring school district. This was a brand new position to the district working at a year round school with students who come back on their "off-track". For five days these students received specific reading and writing interventions. As hard as it was to leave my kinder kiddos this was an amazing opportunity for me and my family.

   I have not regretted one minute accepting this position! The weeks fly by so quickly as I only have 5 days to work with my intervention kiddos. I love how each week I get the opportunity to work with new kiddos kindergarten to fifth grade. The biggest change to get accustomed to is that I do not have my own classroom. I utilize the classrooms of the teachers that are "off-track". I do have my trusty mobile classroom cart that I get to move with me every three weeks.

   These last couple of weeks I have utilized some of the great products on TPT to support my intervention time. I am loving everything The Moffatt Girls and A Year of Many Firsts. Both these ladies have AMAZING products that my kiddos have loved and kept engaged.

   I have also added a few new products to my TPT store that my kiddos will use when we return next week. I really have noticed that all of my intervention kiddos need vocabulary practice and nonfiction exposure. I used two of my favorite winter stories to create a product that my kiddos can utilize all week through retell, compare & contrast, character traits,  vocabulary matching, close reading, and comprehension activities.

   My kiddos have also been enjoying my Q-it Up! QR Code Stories during center time. Below are some of the newest stories available in my store or save and buy the growing bundle!

   Here are a couple more products and activities we will be using the first couple of weeks in January

     Happy New Year friends!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kindergarten Classroom Tour and Visual Plans

Oh my goodness. I have not been the best blogger these past couple of weeks. I really wanted to soak up EVERY.SINGLE. MOMENT of the summer with my kiddos before starting to teach in a new district and new grade. Speaking of a new grade...where has kindergarten been my whole teaching life? Last week was my first week with the kinder kiddos and I am in absolute LOVE!!! My 23 kinder kiddos are absolutely amazing, high energy, and cute as buttons. I had anticipated early nights of exhaustion, but much to my surprise I feel more energized! My kinder kiddos are like little sponges...picking-up quickly on routines and expectations. They have Whole Brain Teaching down pat!!!

I absolutely love the environment I created for my kiddos. I didn't go with a specific theme...more of a color theme of greens and black. So excuse all of the pictures, but it is the best away to show my new home away from home.
 The first day in my classroom (blank canvas)
 Looking in from the classroom door.
One of many summer trips to IKEA.
 I really wanted to stick with my furniture theme of black, but needed a big book shelf. And this worn down shelf was not going to do! So with a little chalkboard contact paper (did you know that they make CHALKBOARD contact paper?!?!?) and chalk marker I now have...
A matching black big book shelf. I'm in LOVE and cannot wait to change the chalk with each of the upcoming months.
   Here is the front of my room. I moved the large carpet to the front to create a meeting spot. The black skinny shelf holds all of our interactive math and poetry journals. They are placed in colored bins according to what color table my kiddos sit at. I am missing my Promethean board from my last classroom, but I am hoping to get one up on Donor's Choose soon!
Directly to the right of the whiteboard is my calendar and weather wall. All of the ten frames on the "How Many Days?" is our daily count of how many days we are in school. We add a sticker to it each day. 
To the left of the calendar wall is my focus wall. We will hang our focus letter, number, and sight words for the week. 
 Here is a view of our meeting spot from the back of the classroom. 
   To the left of the front whiteboard is my Math focus wall and centers. The yellow pocket charts hold our math vocabulary and center rotations. The magnetic whiteboard hanging below will be used for centers. I am in LOVE with my new black shelf from IKEA that I found in the clearance section for $20. One of my best finds of the summer. The two green tubs on top hold math books and the black baskets hold our math centers. Each center bin has a smaller black basket that holds the manipulative needed for the center. 
   Here is a closer look at how I house my math centers.Each bin has a number card on the outside that correspond to our rotation chart so my kiddos know which center to complete. I also have a matching label on the shelf so when my kiddos are cleaning up they know where to place everything. 
Matching shelf label. 
To the left of my math focus wall is our word wall. 
 Moving to the left again is my guided reading table and desk. I was SO EXCITED when I walked into my new classroom and did not have a teacher's desk. I never sit at a desk and think it is such a waste of space. 
   This is a look behind my guided reading table. The black and green shelves are from IKEA. The large black bins hold my supplies (paper clips, staples, tape, etc.) and the green bins will be used for each of my reading groups. The metal shelf holds my word work activities.
   Here is a look from the back of my reading table across to my classroom library...my FAVORITE part of the classroom. The two black tables and yellow stools are from IKEA. 
   Here is my classroom library revamped this year in new green bins to match my color theme. The skinny bins hold my nonfiction books and the large bins hold fiction books separated by theme. This window lets in very little light and is "foggy" from the inside for safety reasons.  
 Directly to the left of my guided reading table is the other half of my classroom library. The large black shelf in the corner holds my Lakeshore Learning Listening Center and Leapfrog Tags. 
   For some reason I did not snap a picture of my literacy center shelf from afar. But is is set-up similar to my math center bins. Each bin is labeled with a matching label on the shelf for easy clean-up for my kiddos. 
    Here is where my kiddos hang-up their jackets and backpacks. I have placed paper on the wall above to hold my kiddos work throughout the year. Clothespins are hot glued to the paper for easy hanging.
   To the left of my kiddos hangers for their belongings is my writing center. It is kind of bare now until we introduce the materials my kiddos will get to use. The yellow box holding the clipboards will hold our "Write the Room" center materials.
   I love that I have a large rectangle table that my writing center kiddos will be able to use. Behind the table is my writing vocabulary wall with cards from Deedee Wills August/September Writing Work Station pack. To the left of this picture is my pocket charts for my pocket chart center with my kiddos book boxes on my black rolling cart. 
   So there you have it! My week old home away from home. Below you can find my visual plans for the classroom this week. 

Have an amazing week!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

TPT Back to School Sale

It's finally time for the annual TPT sale. EVERYTHING in my store is 20% off, plus and additional 8% with the code below. I have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the new classroom. A classroom tour coming soon. Now I'm off to purchases everything in my cart. HAPPY SHOPPING!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Instant Interactive Listening Center & 4th of July Sale

   Happy 4th of July everyone! I know I have been away from the blogging world for awhile, but I am spending every second of my summer vacation lovin' up on my family, binge watching Game of Thrones with the hubs late at night, and planning for my new kindergarten classroom. Wait!!! Did I just say new classroom?!?!?!? I am so excited to announce that I will be teaching full-day kinder this upcoming fall. I can hardly contain myself these last couple of weeks planning on what my new classroom will look like. It's so exciting to have a blank canvas to transform for my new kiddos.
   I have just finished my QR Code Interactive Listening Center. This has been on my to-do list for weeks, but I am excited how they turned out. My kiddos this past year LOVED using QR codes for their Ancient Egypt project and I knew I needed to incorporate them more into my classroom. I have included 30 picture books with QR codes that have been filtered so no inappropriate material or ads are available for little fingers to click on. Each QR code is fitted onto a half-sheet so it is small enough to fit into any space you have. They can be printed and laminated to place on binder rings, in a small basket, or even in the inside cover of the picture book if you have it available. Why spend money on books and CDs that easily get scratched. Just print and READ! All you need is a QR reader downloaded onto your iPad or iPhone which are FREE in your app store. You can grab this interactive listening center in my store on sale for the weekend by clicking on the image below.
And because I love a sale the rest of my store is 20% off this weekend too! Happy 4th everyone!

Monday, May 26, 2014

It's Summer Time & SALE

  It's officially the start of summer vacation! YIPEE! I am so excited and thrilled to finally have some quality family time and begin to enjoy our new house. The last month has flown by, but with all of the commuting back and forth to school each day I have been so exhausted and too tired to really work on projects around our house. Until today when the hubs, boys, and I built a grilling patio with flower bed.

  As I relish in the fact that I don't need to set my alarm in the mornings for awhile, I reflect on all of the amazing last days my classroom kiddos and I had together. Here is a look at all of our hard work to transform our classroom into Ancient Egypt for our Walking Museum. We used my Ancient Egypt: Nonfiction Close Reading & Writing Research Unit for all the activities below.

  I made each of my kiddos a bag with their name written in hieroglyphics on the outside. (The numbers in the corner are for me to know which bag belongs to which kiddo) Inside each bag was a baggie of homemade dough and two toothpicks.
   My kiddos practiced how to write their name in hieroglyphics for several minutes using the alphabet code from my unit.

  I then placed all of the hieroglyphic bags all around my room and had my kiddos look for their name. I seriously planned for this to take 10-15 minutes, but all my kiddos found their bags within minutes! They were all so excited to open their bag and "carve" their name in hieroglyphics to make their own tablet. 

  I baked these tablets in my oven at home before our Walking Museum opened for the whole school. Here is how they looked on the day of our museum opening. 

  All the kiddos that came into our room got to match several of our bags hanging to the hieroglyphic tablets below. I know it is hard to see in the pictures, but our room included interactive QR codes that my kiddos were so excited to include on all of their projects and crafts. The QR codes on the bags would reveal the kiddos name it belonged to and the QR code on the information chart, next to the sink, gave a link to a YouTube video on Ancient hieroglyphics. We also had a table set up with hieroglyphic alphabet charts and blank paper and sand for kiddos to practice writing their own names in hieroglyphics. This was a favorite interactive activity...even for our 5th graders!
  And after learning about kings of Egypt my kiddos turned their black and white picture into their own pharaoh oil pastel painting. 

   Here is how we took these oil pastel paintings and turned them into columns inside of our pyramid museum room. 

  Hanging from the ceilings is our oil pastel pictures held together by twine and left over cheesecloth from our mummy that we made. You can see each of my kiddos research reports on their tables. Each final draft was laminated and bound with QR codes attached to the front cover. When the kiddos from the school scanned these QR codes they would be able to hear my kiddos reading the research book. This took extra time to complete, but myself and my classroom kiddos were so excited with the end result!
  Here are a couple more pictures from our Ancient Egypt unit. 
 This is a mummy mold of one of my kiddos that we had so much fun making at home. I almost had my classroom kiddos convinced that my son was actually inside of it! Both those QR codes include links to YouTube videos about mummification and amulets placed in the linen wrappings during mummification. 
  Behind our mummy you can see several canopic jars some of my kiddos made which hold the organs during the mummification process. 
  Our last day of school was filled with laughter, awards, recess, games, recess, sugar, recess, and a few goodbye tears. As we said our last goodbyes and had a huge hug fest my kiddos each got a little end of the year gift on their way out the door. 
 Each sand bucket had a label that said,
"Thanks for filling my bucket this year!"
  I alternated the yellow and blue sand buckets around the room. Each bucket (Michaels for .49 each) had bubbles, a bookmark, a summer vacation Black Lagoon book, and a picture of all of our classroom kiddos holding a sign of what they want to be when they grow up. Here is a look at the end of year gifts at each table around our room. 
    I have placed my entire TPT store on sale as my end of the year gift to all of my teacher friends. You can grab my Ancient Egypt unit or stock up on activities for back to school for next year. Now its time to toast in the summer with the hubs!!!