Winter Break is Finally Here!



It has been a CRAZY, HECTIC but joyful week. It is tough to go to school until Dec. 23rd but we made it. Here in New England many superintendents learned from last year's harsh winter and decided to shorten winter break just in case we have another snowy winter.  Our entire school had Pajama Day and this just added to the excitement and craziness as we also had ugly sweater day, Christmas sock day and Christmas hat day earlier in the week.  

Students cheerfully came to school with cards and gifts and they were so eager to show off their Christmas PJ's. Our job was to keep these kiddos who were bubbling over with excitement in control. Needless to say this is a lot easier said than done. Our class did have an Elf on The Shelf that traveled around the room and reported back to Santa on how well the children were behaving. I even had the students write letters to the Elf to tell Santa why they thought they should be put on the nice list. Despite all my efforts, as you can imagine there were still quite a few chaotic moments and I came home each day exhausted.

Today I read the students one of my favorite holiday books "The Polar Express" as I took out our classroom bell and rang it several times during the reading. Students listened for the ring and learned about the true meaning of this special sound this time of year.   My students were eager to take home the ornament  gifts they made for their families. I was also showered with so many thoughtful gifts from the students and their families and I felt so appreciated and thankful to have such a great group of students.  

It truly is a magical time of the year, but I am so thrilled to officially start my winter break.  I look forward to not having to set an alarm clock and get up so early. It will be nice to stay in my pajamas and not have to go to work in them like I did today. I especially look forward to spending time with family and friends. 

I hope you enjoy the holidays and find time to relax with those you love. 











































Cyber Monday Holiday Sale!



I hope you enjoyed spending quality time with your families this Thanksgiving and you've recovered from over eating all that delicious turkey and fixings along with shopping till you drop on Black Friday. For many of us, it is time to head back to school tomorrow, but let's turn those frowns upside-down and SMILE! Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday and Terrific Tuesday Sale and you can save up to 28% off products at many different stores. My entire store is now fully stocked with many new holiday and winter themed products that are sure to bring a SMILE to your student's faces while they practice their skills. I have even put my Bundles on sale as well to save you even more money. Many of my new products are teacher friendly "PRINT & GO" activities. I know how overwhelming this time of the year can get and teacher's do not have time to be spending hours and hours preparing materials for their classrooms. Time is so precious and it should be spent with your families. Shop now and save a bundle. Be sure to use the promo code SMILE at the checkout in order to take advantage of these super savings.



Tomorrow, I plan on getting to school early and start decorating my room. I also need to find my elf on the shelf and special letter that I have to read to the class. It was such a big hit with my students last year and I can't wait to get started with my current class. I let the students know that the elf will be watching over my class and reporting back to Santa on how well behaved they are. The elf will move around the classroom each night and my students will have fun finding him as they arrive each morning. As an added incentive, the students will also get a chance to write letters to the elf as well as Santa. You can find a wide variety of holiday writing prompts by clicking here.

        



  I hope you have lots of  joyful moments with your students during this holiday season. Each day can get so hectic but if you can do your best to stick to a schedule and  do your normal routines while engaging students in activities that they are excited about, the days will go by much easier.  

The "I Know What You Bought Last...October Event"

I've teamed up with seven teacher authors in the "I know what you bought last....October SALE" this Monday - Wednesday! I love the feeling of joining forces with other teacher authors to share our latest creations. My creative juices have been flowing as I've uploaded several new products just in time for fall. This sale is perfect timing as it is also a great time to celebrate WORLD TEACHERS' DAY!


Teachers take some time and do something special for yourself and remember the impact you make each day as you aim to inspire students for a better tomorrow!


Building a Classroom Culture


Building a classroom culture will help set the tone and create a great learning environment. The time you spend building a strong classroom culture during those first few weeks of school will pay off in return throughout the school year. Team building activities gets all the students involved and each student feels important as they all share a role in a common goal.  My kindergarten students worked on creating a classroom web.  Each student introduced themselves and told about something they like to do. Once they introduced themselves, they were asked to hold on tight to the string and choose a friend's name to go next.  I let the students know that they were all an important part of our class and they all need to work together as a team. Students were asked to hold on to their piece of string and not pull on it or let it go. Students were also asked to stay in their same circle space during this entire activity. We were all relying on each other to make our web happen.  It was a fun way to get to know one another while at the same time we were able to work together as a class in creating our beautiful web. I did have a couple of students who were a little antsy and needed reminders to hold on tight because we need your help.  This is to be expected with this young age.  We did manage to get all 22 students involved in this activity and take a quick picture before dropping the string. Students were really excited with the way the web looked when it was complete. I was very proud of them and I let them know that this is the kind of teamwork we will need in order to have a fun, exciting year of learning together in our classroom.

This week we also worked on creating classroom rules together. However, I chose to not use the term "rules."  Instead I created a chart entitled "Expectations for a Peaceful Classroom."  We began by having a discussion about the word "Peace."  As we brainstormed the word peace together, we described it as meaning relaxing, calm and getting along with one another.  Next,  I asked the students to think about an expectation that they would like in order to have a peaceful classroom.  I let the students share their ideas with a thinking partner and then they were asked to go to the tables and draw themselves doing one expectation that they would like for our peaceful classroom. As the students were busy drawing their pictures, I went around and asked each student to tell me about their picture. I wrote what they said next to each of their illustrations. We gathered back in circle and students shared their pictures and ideas with their classmates.  We then worked on writing expectations on our chart to hang in our classroom.  Students ideas fell into four main categories that we all agreed upon.  For example, a couple of students said  "keep hands to self," while others said for us not to kick or punch. A few students drew themselves using walking feet. We discussed how all these are ideas to help us keep safe. We added "Keep Safe," to the top of our expectations. Here is the four main categories on our chart.

   Expectations for a Peaceful Classroom

Keep Safe
 Be Kind to Others
 Follow Directions
Show Respect

Having students work on rules/ expectations together rather than just posting rules and expectations is more meaningful to the students as they feel empowered. I feel that it is best to have just a few expectations rather than too many rules in which youngsters may not respond favorably to.

I had all the students sign the bottom of our chart. We all agreed together to work towards having a peaceful classroom. We proudly displayed our chart for Open House.

I just completed our first ten days of school and we have been super busy with several classroom building culture activities, Open House and lots of initial bench mark testing. The first couple of weeks sure can be exhausting, but all this hard work will help set the tone for the rest of the year. I hope your school year is off to a great start!








 

First Day Excitement!



Today was an exciting day as our kindergarten class had our "Greet and Meet." It was a special day in which the students came in to our classroom for just a short time while their parents were busy meeting with the principal and filling our paper work to begin the school year. As the students came in and found their name tags on the tables, they were quite surprised to see a t-shirt draped over their chairs. I let the students put on their special t-shirts which were provided by our PTO. The t-shirts have a peace sign on the front with our school name.  We use the "PeaceBuilders" program at our school and I let my students know that we are going to have a safe, peaceful classroom with lots of fun and learning.  Once the students put on their t-shirts, I gave them a brief tour of our classroom and then asked the students sit down on the carpet in a circle. I sat a special puppet bear on my lap and showed the students how to play "Bear, Bear, passing by. Say your name and say hi." It was a great way for the students to introduce themselves while they all got a turn to hold the bear. This year I have 22 students in my classroom. I will have my hands full. This is a large group and it took some time for the bear to go around in the circle. The students were all engaged and only one student seemed a little teary eyed as she said she missed her mom. Next, I read the students a story about the first day in kindergarten and the time went by so quickly. I looked up at the clock and it was already time for the students to get ready to reunite with their parents. Before the students left, I gave each student a booklet for their parents to read at bed time. It was a cute poem with magic dust (small sequins) to put on their pillow before the first day of kindergarten. Tomorrow will be our first official full day of kindergarten. I am just as excited as the kids are. I am so glad I got a chance to finally meet my students and their parents this afternoon. I am looking forward to another successful year in kindergarten as we share moments of joy and laughter while we grow and learn together. 

Below is a picture of our "Pockets Full of Praise" bulletin board.  When I catch students being responsible, respectful, cooperative or helpful, I may fill out a praise note and stick it in one of the pockets of the overalls for all to see. This bulletin board also displays the virtues of what a "Peacebuilder" entails. Each day the students in our school recite the "PeaceBuilders" pledge. Each month we focus in on one of these virtues.  Admirable qualities of the "PeaceBuilders" program are shown on this special bulletin board and include the following:

PeaceBuilders Pledge

I am a PeaceBuilder. I pledge to... 

-praise people
-give up put downs
-seek wise people
-notice and speak up for the hurts I have caused
-right wrongs
-to help others 
-I will build peace at  home,  at school and in my community each day. 


The first few weeks of school it is so important to build a positive classroom culture. Students can't learn if they don't feel safe at school. They need to feel comfortable and confident.  They need to know that it is ok to make mistakes and be willing to take risks. Students need to take an active role in putting together class rules and learn the importance of why we have rules. This year it is my goal to learn more positive teacher language and work on creating a "peaceful classroom." I apologize for the fan being in the way in this photograph. It was 90 degrees out and we do not have air conditioning. I can't wait to put the fan away in a few more days when the weather starts to get a little cooler.  What are some of the things that you do in your classroom to create a positive classroom culture? Please comment below. Have an amazing school year!




Ways to Make it Easier to Get your Classroom Ready

School Supplies are Taking a Bath! 
Today was my first day back in my classroom. There are a few rituals that I do each year to get my classroom ready that make my life easier and I'd like to share them with you on the "What Works Well" Link up.  I've been waiting patiently to get in and start working as school will be starting next week. My room gets used for summer school and our custodian workers do not get in to work on my classroom until the very end of summer. They moved all the furniture out into the hallways and put several coats of wax down. The floors looks so sparkly and beautiful and there are fresh coats of paint in our hallways.  Our custodians worked so hard throughout the summer heat. The majority of our school does not have air conditioning and it has been very hot these past few weeks. I commend them for all their hard work. Our school looks fabulous! Be sure to thank your custodial staff for all their hard work to prepare us for another school year! 

As you can see I've got a lot of unpacking to do. Each year I move everything off the tops of the shelves on the opposite end of my classroom and store supplies in the kids cubbies. This way the classroom can be used for summer school and can be cleaned easily for the new school year. It took me several hours to empty out these cubbies but I am have the majority of it done. My to do list is enormous and I have sooo much more that needs to be done, however I am feeling accomplished because at least I was able to get in and get started. After a very busy morning, I went out to the 99 restaurant with my grade level partners and enjoyed chatting with them about our summer. It was so nice spending time with them and talking about things that are not school related. I feel that teachers need to get together and do this more often. 

Before I left school today, I brought a couple of large bags of school supplies home with me to run through my dishwasher. My crayon boxes and pencil bins get yucky looking and it takes so long to scrub them out all by hand. I also brought home all my student scissors. These are especially hard to clean as they are coated with paint and glue. Running these supplies through the dishwasher saves me an enormous amount of time. I know they are clean and sanitized once they go through the dishwasher. What does not come out through the dishwasher can be wiped down with a magic eraser to get some of those stubborn crayon and pencil marks out. 

Name Plates That Last
Since I was not able to work in my classroom during the summer, I've been busy creating materials at home. There is just so much to label and I do need to get a jump start on this before the students arrive.  Each year I make wooden name plates for my tables. These labels last the entire year and I am able to reuse the wooden plates over and over again. To make these name plates  I used paint sticks that you can get ant any hardware store. You can probably get these for free just by asking. I got two dozen of them at the Home Depot. I cut off the top thin portion of the paint stick with an exacto knife. They measure about 9 inches long and fit perfectly on my tables. Next, I  spray painted the sticks a bright yellow and set them out to dry on my deck. To make the labels I used KG Primary Print. I love the way the this font is lined and it is a great reference to show the students how to form letters within lines.  I laminated the names before I put them on the plates using packing tape. This way I can reuse the sticks the following year and not have to worry about scraping the old name off with a magic eraser. On the back of these plates I add velcro.  This way I can easily move students and have them work at different tables. I added colorful owl stickers to decorate the plates.  I just love owls!  Owls are the theme for our classroom.  I always make extras for new students arriving. At this time I only have a partial class list, since some students did not get screened last spring.  This is a picture to show what the wooden paint sticks look like on the back.



This year I've decided to purchase name badges that will last for years to come. The first week it is so hard learning the names of the new students. Instead of having the kids wear sticker name badges that just fall off within a few hours, I've decided to purchase a set from Oriental Trading Company. I love this set because the vinyl badge holders are the perfect size for kids and seem pretty durable.  They have colorful thick velcro lanyards that are safe to wear for young students. Now I can have my students wear these badges for the first whole week of school so that way everyone in the building can learn their names.  I think the specialist and cafeteria  workers will appreciate this. As you can see I made my own badges with an owl theme to match the name plates. You can find these adorable badges at my store. You will love the fact that they are editable so you can use your favorite font to create your own badges. 


One of my favorite projects that I completed this summer was the Birthday Tub. I purchased the template to make this for only $1.50  from Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey.  I used an ice bin that can be found at Walmart for less than $2.00. You could probably use any book bin tub or container to make this.  I filled it with Goodie Bags found at the Dollar Tree. Inside the bags I put a birthday pencil, a small container of play dough and a small box of birthday stickers. The total cost for all the supplies to make this was $10.00. 

*White Ice bin from Walmart $1.89
* Goodie Bags 20 count $1.00
*2 packs of pencils 12 count $1.00 X 2 
* 3 packs of play dough  8 count $1.00 X 2
* 2 packs of boxed birthday stickers  12 count $1.00 X 2

I've done other birthday ideas in the past but I like this a lot!! It is bright and colorful and it takes up very little space in your classroom. Best of all the kids will be excited as they celebrate their special day!


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Editable-Birthday-Tub-Labels-2013590

Did you do any projects this summer that may save you time in the future?  Please share in the comment section. If you blogged about it, please leave a link. I'd be glad to visit your page. 

Please check out the "What Works Well" Link Up for more great ideas that may be helpful for your classroom.   




Mega Giveaway: Awesome Prizes!

You don't want to miss out on your chance to enter these amazing Mega Giveaways. Check out the following link t o get started. I've donated my Back To School Bundle and you will find many other fabulous prizes in Giveaway 2 from some amazing teacher authors. You could win a 20.00 Amazon Gift Card, an awesome DVD from Heidi Songs or terrific prizes from teacher bloggers.  Check out the following link from Reading and Writing Red Head to get started. 



Reading and Writing Redhead: Blog Makeover and Birthday Mega Giveaway: Day 2!



Here is the prize I donated. My Back to School Kindergarten Bundle includes six of my products that are just perfect to start off the school year. It includes alphabet, color word and number posters along with literacy and math activities. If you really want this product, now is a great time to grab it as you will receive an extra 20% off . I've extended the TPT Boost Sale until Saturday. This is a steal and it is the perfect time to shop. 





Can you believe that this is just one of the Giveaways? Head on over to Reading and Writing Red Head to see what all the other Mega Giveaways have in store for you. There are many gift cards and unbelievable products available. Be sure to grab your chance to enter up to six Giveaways! This is Amazing! Good Luck! I hope you win! 



                                                    

Back to School Free ebooks for 2015 are Here!



The 3rd Annual Back to School Free ebooks are here. I am super excited to have my store featured in this fabulous collection of amazing teacher tips, freebies and top-notch products. You do not want to miss out on this. Since I am a kindergarten teacher I chose to submit my page to the Pre K-K page compiled by Kinder Kay. You don't want to miss out on some of these awesome freebies. You will love all of the teacher tips to jump start your school year. The ebooks feature some of the newest and latest products that teachers want to showcase. Be sure to check out these ebooks and spread the word about these amazing Teachers Pay Teachers authors.

 
Here are the links to all of the ebooks for all grade levels.


Grades 7-12 Science: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … ar-2020124


Grades 7-12 Math: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … 16-2020159


Grades 7-12 Social Studies and Foreign Language: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … ar-2020164


Grades 7-12 English Language Arts: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … er-2020179


Grades 5-6: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … 16-2020134


Grades 3-4: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … 16-2019246


Grades 1-2: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … 16-2020092


Grades PreK-K: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Pro … 16-2020245











BACK TO SCHOOL SALE TIME~LOVE IT









Hi teacher friends,


I hope you have a fantastic start to your school year. I still have the month of August off before my school year officially starts, but I know that there are many of you heading back to school a lot sooner. Be sure to check out Teachers Pay Teachers as you get your classroom ready and save yourself a boatload of time preparing materials. Starting tomorrow you will find the Love Back to School Sale. Everything in my store will be 20% off from Monday through Wednesday, and if you shop on Monday and Tuesday and use the code BTS15 at checkout, you'll save a whopping 28%

Thanks to Brian and Eric at the Wise Guys, Creativity for the Modern Classroom, who are hosting a great big linky party, I'm joining in with a whole bunch of amazing teacher-authors at many grade levels who'll each be blogging about two of their resources, their best-seller and an especially great back-to-school favorite. This is a fun and easy way to discover what others are loving AND something just might spark your interest, benefit your and save you a boatload of time as you prepare for the school year!

First, let me tell you about my best selling resource. It has been pinned over 4,000 times on Pinterest. If you like getting your kids up and moving while at the same time learning something new than your students will love this Frog Hop Number Line Addition and Subtraction Activity. Students will enjoy hopping along the frog number line as they solve addition and subtraction problems. Simply place the frogs on the floor for students to hop to the right to solve addition problems and hop to the left to solve subtraction problems. This is a great gross motor activity to do prior to working at tables to complete the worksheets. You will love these worksheets as students will use the number lines on the sheets next to each number sentence to solve addition or subtraction problems.


                                       
Next, I'd love to share with you a couple of amazing bundles that can save you lots of money, especially when you add these savings to the Back to School Sale. WOWZA!!! Check out my Back to School Bundle which includes six amazing products in one. Enjoy huge savings as you get your classroom ready. This bundle includes letter,number and color word posters along with literacy, math activities and desk incentives to get your students thinking about making wise choices.


                          

My next bundle is one of my personal favorites as it has lots of Owls. My classroom has lots of pastel colors and OWLS EVERYWHERE!  This "Owltastic" Bundle includes terrific owl writing activities, edible labels and an owl themed bulletin board set to display your students photos.

                            

Now be sure to hop on over here to visit other amazing teacher authors  who have some great products to share. Have an amazing school year!

What Worked Well Wednesday with Kinder Tribe



I'm joining in with Kelly from My Fabulous Class to our first "What Worked Well Wednesday"  Linky Party. 

I am excited to share something that worked well for me last year and I can't wait to implement it into my classroom this year!  

Have you tried Interactive Notebooks in your classroom? I gave it try last year with my Kindergartners and it was a  HUGE SUCCESS.  Interactive Notebooks is a fantastic, fun way for students to learn and interact with new information as well as a great way to practice and review skills introduced. By adding an interactive feature, learning becomes more meaningful and will spark interest. This type of learning involves so much more than just simply listening to the teacher and then filling out boring worksheets. Keeping interactive notebooks in the classroom helps kids to be more responsible and take an active part in their learning. Unlike worksheets that go home and often don't ever get looked at again, interactive notebooks stay in the classroom as students work in them to build upon and review skills. It is also great for all those paras and incoming teachers that come into the classroom because they will have a better sense as to what topics you are learning about and what needs to be reviewed and taught. 




Interactive Notebooks provide a way for students to think and plan and use their creative side while they write, draw,color, cut, and glue. You can use different interactive notebooks in so many ways in all subject areas at any grade level. You may think that all this cutting and and gluing might be a little scary especially for the little ones. However, if you plan things out right while thinking about where your students are developmentally and let the students work at their own pace, it can be done!  

When creating my interactive notebooks for kindergarten, I thought about being sure that my activities did not require a lot of complex cutting skills. I made sure that there was not any complex folding or the notebook did not contain too many flaps. I also thought about not having lots of lose pieces that can easily become lost. I've seen some really cool interactive notebooks with pockets to keep pieces in, however I think that this may cause a problem with little ones, as pieces will just fall out and get lost. If you teach kindergarten, then you know how upset students can get if they lose something. They can cry so easily. 

So far, I've created five interactive notebooks.  Last year I introduced my Alphabet Notebook and Number Sense Notebooks to my students. Students used them in small groups during either literacy center time or RTI time. At first, you need to slowly show students where to cut and fold. My interactive notebooks are very simple and easy for students as they are asked  to cut only on the dotted lines and fold on the solid lines. After they fold, there is a large enough area for students to paste down in order to make simple flaps. lt is so important to provide an example of what your expectations are before the kids get started. Once they get the hang of it, they can work more independently. Once they finish a page, they can work on the next one until literacy or RTI time is over. "NO MORE, I'M DONE, NOW WHAT DO I DO NEXT." I love interactive notebooks because it keeps students busy in a meaningful way while you are able to give your attention to other students who may be struggling. You also get a chance to run a small group for guided reading or RTI instruction. My groups are never more than four or five students to keep things manageable.








https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Alphabet-Interactive-Notebook-Fun-1370942

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Number-Sense-Interactive-Notebook-Fun-1377018

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teen-Number-Sense-Interactive-Notebook-Fun-1968062

This spring and summer I've worked hard on creating Interactive Notebooks for Kindergarten Literacy and Science. In these notebooks, I've tried to be creative and include many things that students need to know by the end of kindergarten.I worked very hard these past few days putting these together and I can't wait to share them with you and the students in my classroom. I plan on making more Interactive Notebooks and continue to update them as needed. 

Please check out some other great tips on "What Worked Well"by clicking here.





My Best Back To School Tip


I've teamed up with the latest #littlefishteacher Blogger Linkup hosted by Hanging Around in Primary  and Pop Into Primary to bring you some fabulous Back to School Tips. 

        With back to school right around the corner for many of us, we are all looking for ways to keep our parents well informed. Communication with your parents is vital to the success of your students. A great way to do this is to put together your own website. I started one a couple of years ago and it was much easier than what I thought it would be. Parents can use our classroom website as a learning tool, a source of information, and a way to stay connected. Yes, as teachers we all stay connected with notes, logs, newsletters, emails, phone calls and conferences but by creating a website can also bring a whole new level of communication to your parents.


     I used Weebly to get started. It is free and very user friendly. You can have your site up in no time. Several teachers across the country have found success using Weebly.  There are several other sites to help you get started but I thought Weebly was pretty easy to navigate through with tutorials that can easily get you started. You can post all those newsletters that you send home, classroom rules, word lists, and so much more. One of the  benefits of having a website is that you can post direct links to helpful educational websites or video clips for your students.  I do usually give a hard copy of my monthly newsletters to my students but they do sometimes get lost. Now, parents can simply log in and check on important information that they might have missed. There is no excuse for students claiming they do not know the classroom rules when they are posted on the site. You can post lots of helpful hints for parents on your site and not worry about wasting massive amounts of paper. I even set up a separate Pinterest account just for my classroom. This set of boards has tons of video clips that are categorized to help support learning at home. Parents have access to this special Pinterest account through my Weebly Website simply by clicking on the P which is a direct link to these special boards. You could also post some photographs of your students busy at work in class. Parents would love to see what they are doing. I even posted an end of the year slideshow I put together on Movie Maker and posted it to my sight. My parents were ecstatic as they were overjoyed to see their child and the friendships they made throughout the year. Be sure to clear it with my principal and make sure you have permission from all my parents through the photo and internet forms that were sent home. 

      At the beginning of the year, it is helpful to send a questionnaire to your parents and be sure that they have access to the internet. This way you will know which students need a hard copy of certain documents. If it is really important, I would definitely send home a hard copy to your entire class.

     You may already have lots of older newsletters and documents that you send home and just tweak each year to accommodate the needs of your students and classroom already saved on your computer. Simply copy and paste your documents from Microsoft Word or wherever you store them and add to your site. It is really that simple. You can easily fancy things up with some clip art and you have a professional looking website. Do you have a classroom website? I would love to check it out. Here is a link to my website:http://mrsfrazierskinders.weebly.com/  My website is quite extensive as you will see lots of tabs across the top. I especially love my literacy tabs with built in word lists for each vowel sound, high frequency word lists and more.   

      ****Be sure to check it our soon as I will need to many of the postings down for the start of the new year. The best part about Weebly is that you can hide certain tabs and tweak them as needed from year to year. Now that my website is up and running, I only need to tweak just a little from year to year.      

If you are thinking about starting one, I hope this site can inspire you with some ideas. I am hoping to check out some of  your classroom websites and find some new fresh ideas as well. Please leave a comment with links to your site or if you found this post helpful to you.  


Now head over to Hanging Around in Primary or Pop Into Primary to see what other tips have been shared!



 

All About This Kinder Teacher


Today I am linking up with the ladies from Kinder Tribe to share all about this Kinder teacher.  

Here are a few fun facts you may not know about me. 


This is going to be my 15th year of teaching kindergarten. Prior to this I have taught 3rd grade for one year and PreK for about six years.  I just LOVE teaching Kindergarten. It marks an important milestone in a child's life as they enter the primary grades. I am proud of being part of that journey as I help navigate students into a life long commitment of learning. 

    Each day I begin with a fresh cup of coffee. My absolute favorite is Dunkin Donuts. { other brands are just too bitter}  I love spending time on my laptop and not a day does not go by in which I spend some time on Pinterest. I admit that I am an addict. There is just so  many cool things out there. I need to get better at setting a timer so I just don't get lost with clicking in and out of different ideas that I find. 

Each morning I leave the house with my utility tote bag from Thirty-One. It has eight outside pockets and plenty of space for storing my laptop and all my school gear. I have a black and white poka dot one. This print is no longer available but there are plenty of other really nice looking prints. I also have a lunch bag from them as well. I just love the high quality of these bags. You can find them here. 
I love anything CRAYOLA and I find that using FAT pencils and crayons work best with Kinders. They don't break as easily and the kiddos have a better grip when just learning to write and color. Ticonderoga pencils are way better than the cheaper pencils. They seem to sharpen better and don't get eaten by the pencil sharpener. 

"Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"
You will love this book. The book describes how everyone has an invisible bucket. And throughout the day, things that you and other people do will either fill their bucket, or dip from their bucket.Students learn the importance of treating others with care and respect and they begin to realize that being a bucket filler makes the world a happier place and they will feel good about themselves. You can grab this book from Amazon here.

I look forward to hopping through many kindergarten blogs and making new connections with Kindergarten Teachers. 

The most rewarding thing ever is watching students progress throughout the year and the HUGE smiles on their faces makes it all worth while.

I hope you hop on over to Kinder Tribe and link up with us for this fun linky. I can't wait to learn more about you as well. Please be sure to follow this blog
and leave a comment. I will be happy to follow you back.  

INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS IN KINDERGARTEN



Kindergarten Interactive Notebook Literacy 
Have you tried Interactive Notebooks in your classroom? I gave it try last year with my Kindergartners and it was a HUGE SUCCESS. Interactive Notebooks is a fantastic, fun way for students to learn and interact with new information as well as a great way to practice and review skills introduced. By adding an interactive feature, learning becomes more meaningful and will spark interest. This type of learning involves so much more than just simply listening to the teacher and then filling out boring worksheets. Keeping interactive notebooks in the classroom helps kids to be more responsible and take an active part in their learning. Unlike worksheets that go home and often don't ever get looked at again, interactive notebooks stay in the classroom as students work in them to build upon and review skills. It is also great for all those paras and incoming teachers that come into the classroom because they will have a better sense as to what topics you are learning about and what needs to be reviewed and taught. 


Interactive Notebooks provide a way for students to think and plan and use their creative side while they write, draw, color, cut, and glue. You can use different interactive notebooks in so many ways in all subject areas at any grade level. You may think that all this cutting and and gluing might be a little scary especially for the little ones. However, if you plan things out right while thinking about where your students are developmentally and let the students work at their own pace, it can be done!  



When creating my interactive notebooks for kindergarten, I thought about being sure that my activities did not require a lot of complex cutting skills. I made sure that there was not any complex folding or the notebook did not contain too many flaps. I also thought about not having lots of lose pieces that can easily become lost. I've seen some really cool interactive notebooks with pockets to keep pieces in, however I think that this may cause a problem with little ones, as pieces will just fall out and get lost. If you teach kindergarten, then you know how upset students can get if they lose something. They can cry so easily. 



So far, I've created five interactive notebooks. Last year I introduced my Alphabet Notebook and Number Sense Notebooks to my students. Students used them in small groups during either literacy center time or RTI time. At first, you need to slowly show students where to cut and fold. My interactive notebooks are very simple and easy for students as they are asked to cut only on the dotted lines and fold on the solid lines. After they fold, there is a large enough area for students to paste down in order to make simple flaps. lt is so important to provide an example of what your expectations are before the kids get started. Once they get the hang of it, they can work more independently. Once they finish a page, they can work on the next one until literacy or RTI time is over. "NO MORE, I'M DONE, NOW WHAT DO I DO NEXT."  I love interactive notebooks because it keeps students busy in a meaningful way while you are able to give your attention to other students who may be struggling. You also get a chance to run a small group for guided reading or RTI instruction. My groups are never more than four or five students to keep things manageable.





https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Alphabet-Interactive-Notebook-Fun-1370942

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Number-Sense-Interactive-Notebook-Fun-1377018

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teen-Number-Sense-Interactive-Notebook-Fun-1968062

This spring and summer I've worked hard on creating Interactive Notebooks for Kindergarten Literacy and Science. In these notebooks, I've tried to be creative and include many things that students need to know by the end of kindergarten.I worked very hard these past few days putting these together and I can't wait to share them with you and the students in my classroom. I plan on making more Interactive Notebooks and continue to update them as needed.  
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindergarten-Literacy-Interactive-Notebook-1968891

Smile~ Kids will love pretending to take pictures and learn short vowel words.




Smile~ Check out these camera sliders to learn about short vowels. I was just going through my camera role and as I was looking through pictures of some of the fun activities we did this year, this particular activity really stuck out.  My students loved practicing short vowel sounds while inserting film through these mini cameras. This activity was a BIG HIT in my class and each time we worked on a new vowel sound, the students would ask if they could make a mini camera to go along with it.  In the late fall, my kindergartners begin to blend with the short a sound. The first vowel sound is always the hardest as the kids just need to get experience with blending. We then start working on short i for a few more weeks and by the end of the winter we move on to short o. In the early spring, we work on short e and u. I have found that it is important to take lots of time with each vowel sound especially at the beginning.  By the end of kindergarten, most students should be easily reading and writing CVC words. By the end of the spring, I am introducing long vowels only to those students who I think are ready for more of a challenge.  To make it easy to organize and find the vowel sound you are looking for, I've designed it so each camera has two color coded strips to match which include 16 short vowel words. In a small group, I like to use the color version as we practice the vowel sound. There is also a complete set of the cameras in a black and white version for students to make their own cameras to practice and take home. This product includes a camera with mixed vowel practice. This set includes 96 words in all. Students will simply pull the strip through the lens hole and read the short vowel words. Included in this packet are 14 recording sheets. Two for each vowel, two mixed short vowel sounds and one last page to include writing sentences using the words that the students have learned. You can choose which worksheets work best with your students and differentiate instruction as needed. Here is an example of what one of the recording sheets looks like after the students put together these fun cameras. 



When I create products with using different vowel patterns, I like to color code them to make it easier for both the teacher and the student to store. You can check out my Short Vowel Flash Cards. 

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Short-Vowel-FlashcardsColor-Coded-for-Each-Vowel-1046161


How do you introduce vowels to your students? Do you teach vowels in this order (a,i,o,e,u) along with several consonants in between. How do you find success with teaching kids to blend? Do you have a fun activity that your students are really excited about when you teach vowels that you would like to share.  I'd love to hear from you. 

I've linked up with some other great K-2 teachers at   http://primaryinspiration.blogspot.com/ Check out this linky party going on to see some other fabulous products.