Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Product Swap!

I am so excited to share with you the product I received from Miss Schinke at Keeping Up with First Grade! She gave me a GORGEOUS set of Writing Work Station writing pages! They are absolutely perfect for grades K-2!
This adorable pack of lined paper includes B&W and Color originals for each month of the year and each holiday! The pack even includes June, July, and August. If your school isn't in session year long, these are perfect to include in your summer packet!
Look how adorable these pages are! They just kept printing and printing! There's enough to last you all year and keep your students excited and engaged in writing!
These are wonderful! Brittany even included a page with a blank header so the teacher can add his/her own clipart or topic....or maybe the students could even fill that in with a title and topic of their choice!!
Another thing I love about these pages is the number of lines for writing! At one point this past year, I was using paper with just a few lines; and I was disappointed that my kindergarten students were only writing a few basic sentences. A colleague recommended I provide them with paper containing more lines. She said they would naturally feel the need to write more to fill up the space. Boy was she right!! I gave the students more room to right, and they were using their creativity to write six or more detailed sentences!

Brittany has even more wonderful things to offer in here TpT store! I highly recommend you head on over and follow her there! More than that, I love, Love, LOVE her blog!! Her blog is warm and full of terrific, practical ideas for the classroom! Brittany teaches with a lot of heart, and that is evident in every post! I loved her recent post about how to design popsicle sticks (used to call on students randomly and equally) to go with the classroom theme! I'm definitely using that idea! Keeping Up with First Grade is a must-follow blog!

Finally, I want to thank Jessica for hosting this product swap! What a wonderful idea! To see reviews of all the products visit her blog

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Dance Party!

If there is one thing I love, it's dancing! I also love to sing, and my students and I love to sing and dance whenever possible! In fact, my colleagues joke about how they can hear us rockin' and rollin' through the hallway. They also joke about how Randy might need to tell me that I'm a bit pitchy at! One thing I love about teaching kindergarten is that I can just let go and belt it out, and the kids don't mind a bit how it sounds!

This week, I have been reading Ron Clark's latest book, "The End of Molasses Classes." It's so inspiring! My head is spinning with new ideas, and my heart is soaring with hope for this upcoming school year! After reading about the songs Ron Clark's class wrote several years ago about the election (and watching them on YouTube, of course), my creative juices were flowing! We love to sing, and I always seek out academic songs already written by HarryKindergarten, Dr. Jean, Hap Palmer and other musicians. However, I started wondering if I could write my own lyrics...

The first order of business was to think of a song my students love. Duh....Justin Bieber! After choosing his song "Baby" (that I may or may not also love!), I had to choose an academic skill. According to the Common Core, kindergarten students are expected to fluently add and subtract numbers with sums and differences up to five. I thought that would be a pretty good skill! Once I had the song and skill, I started writing; and I don't think it turned out too bad! I was able to cover addition fact families up to 4 with sums of 9 or 10.
I was also able to find a karaoke version of the song on iTunes, which I purchased! It's going to take me a while to get the song down, but we will be jamming when I do! All that's left is to choreograph some dance moves....hmmmm. :)

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful Friday, and don't forget to leave some comments!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DonorsChoose Giveaway!!!

Okay, I know I'm breaking the rules of blogging by posting twice in one day, but I think you'll agree that I have a good reason to do so! Jennifer over at Herding Kats in Kindergarten is having a DonorsChoose giveaway!!!!! Have I ever told you how much I LOVE DonorsChoose? Okay, okay. I know you're all probably sick of me crowing about it constantly, but it has seriously changed my life and the lives of my students! If you love DonorsChoose too, which I sincerely hope you do, head on over and enter yourself for the giveaway! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Big Book Station

Now, our Big Book Station is pretty straight forward as you might imagine! It consists of an big book easel, a tall laundry basket to hold the books, a Common Core "I can" statement, writing paper with pencils and crayons, and big books. Yep, you guessed it! Our big books WERE purchased by those lovely donors of!! It's like I said....DonorsChoose is THE BOMB!!

Before the students visit the big book station, we spend LOTS of time reading and rereading the big books as a class. Even in the whole group setting, I will call students up to point to the words as we chorally read them aloud. When the students visit, they choose a book and take turns reading it and pointing to the words with their partner. This station helps increase reading fluency and comprehension.
To add another element of choice to the station, I included clip boards with paper, pencils, and crayons. The students have the opportunity to write a response to the stories they read. Many of the students will choose to do this, especially during the third and fourth nine-weeks. I also print the sentence, "I like the part when ______________." on sentence strips and place them at the station. Students with language differences or with special needs can use this support to help them write about their opinion. The students that need the support use the sentence strips, and the students that do not need the support use their own inventive spelling.

The students feel so proud that they are able to read these books, and they love visiting this station! Thanks for stopping by for a peek into our happy, little classroom!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Classroom Library Station

Next, I'd like to show you our classroom library station or as my students call it the "book corner." As you can see, there are baskets of books. They are sorted into categories. The book baskets have labels that correspond with stickers attached to the back cover of the books. This station also contains our Common Core "I can" statement, a cushy rug, and comfy bean bag chairs (again, donated by!!). Wait, I forgot one of the best parts! I put an old CD player in the book corner with some classical music on CD's. I placed a green sticker on the play button to signify "go" and a red sticker on the stop button to signify "stop." After choosing the CD and setting the volume, I teach the students how to start and stop the music. This provides a relaxing atmosphere in our classroom library to read and look at books!
My students absolutely love relaxing in this station! If they begin feeling stressed during the day, they will ask if they can go to the "book corner" and relax a while. The fun's not over.....more photos coming tomorrow!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Poetry Station

Another one of my students' most favorite station is the poetry station! Our poetry station is at our SMARTBoard. For this station, I made pages of familiar poems and songs on SMARTNotebook. I used some free clip art from the internet to help students recognize words they may not be able to decode. Then, we would practice one poem a week. After the students became fairly fluent with it, I would add that page to the poem file. While at the station, students would turn the pages in the file to select a poem and take turns pointing to the words while reading it. I also provided a ring of cards containing our sight words. The students were also able to flip through the cards and use one of the SMARTBoard pens to circle our sight words in the poems.
At the end of the week, I would print the poem from SMARTNotebook and put it in the students' poetry folders. The students would take their poetry folders home over the weekend and practice reading the poems from the year to their families and friends! This station with its home link was wonderful in helping the students develop fluency! And the best part is how much they loved it!

There's still more to come! Visit again tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

iPad Station

Another station my students enjoy is the iPad station! We were able to obtain an iPad for our classroom with a grant through the University of Mount Union. After we were able to see the benefits of iPads in the classroom, the district was able to purchase a few more for our building. As you can see, I still only use one iPad for the station. That is intentional. I found a splitter at the Dollar Tree that allowed me to plug in two headphones. Working as a pair on one iPad provides invaluable opportunities for the students to work together and problem solve. They also must communicate with one another as they work.

We have found a lot of great apps! Many are free or very inexpensive. I really like apps by PocketPhonics, Grasshopper, Rantek Inc., and McGraw-Hill School Education Group! Stay tuned for more work stations tomorrow!!