Holy Guacamole!!


   This beginning of the year has kicked my boo-tay!  Between meet and greet, routines, and MEETINGS, I am officially exhausted. What makes it all worthwhile are the smiles I receive from my kids each morning and their hugs in the afternoon. 
   Kelly (my co-teacher) and I have worked each day to get our groups (Reading and Math) situated.  We were so excited to have everything situated when the dreaded F word popped up.  F-A-I-R! The Florida Assessment for Instruction in Reading test tells us lots of information about our students, but we have to assess it ONE-ON-ONE (all other kids with busy work- anxiety level through the roof!!).  I have a love/hate relationship with this test.  When it is all over, we will know how our kids are leveled in all the areas of reading and we can use that information to maximize our small group instruction (my favorite part of the day).  
  One thing that we had been rockin' out this year (before our short hiatus for FAIR- do you hear my frustration) is our interactive Science notebooks.  Our class has been using my "The Nature and Practice of Science" to jump into our Science this year. 
                                  The Practice and Nature of Science
  This unit includes Vocabulary for display, daily lesson plans, ready made student entries for their notebooks, and lots more!!  The students LOVED this and could not wait for Science to begin.  They especially loved the partner activities. 
  I am working on a Matter unit for the interactive Science notebooks and hope to get it going very soon (after the F word is over). 
  Happy Teaching!
  

Today's the day for teachers!


Today is the first day for teachers in my district.  While I will miss my lazy slow paced days of summer, I am so excited to get back to school. When going back to school,  I love to see my colleagues and new students, but sadly most of all, I love to see a schedule! I crave structure and planning my day gives me great pleasure.  

                                     First Half of my day (we have the same schedule as last year)

If you have checked out my store, you can probably tell that my co teacher and I are going with a monster theme this year.  We know with all the assessing and whatnot that the students are put through faced with each year, we wanted a little fun (shh, don't tell my district) in our room.  Below are a couple of things we are going to be using to get the kids off on the right foot with community building and routines.  I will post later this week more about our routines. But until then, good luck with the new year and come back to visit for ideas to get your kids moving and grooving and having fun (shh)!

                          Mon'star' Beginning of the Year Activities

                          Monster Interest Inventories and "Favorite" Task Cards

"Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high...."

                                                               Reading Rainbow App

I was introduced to this iPad/Kindle app through a good friend of mine that has kids the same exact ages as mine (8, 7, and 5).  We previewed it and in less than 5 minutes were signing up for a subscription.  It does cost to join but it is soooo worth it.  It is $9.99 per month, $29.99 for 6 months, or $49.99 for a year (the best deal by far!) for an unlimited amount of books as well as virtual field trips through videos.  I cannot believe I can get an unlimited library, including videos, in all of my children's hands for $50 a year.  


                                         A normal morning at our house!


When you open the app, it asks for your first child's name.  We always use first initials for apps that the kids are going to be on by themselves.  You can even take a picture for their "flying license". My kids like to use their favorite toys as their pictures. Then your child can select three different things he/she likes to read about.  Those type choice books are what RR puts first in the list of books to choose from.  If you have more than one child, click on the settings icon in the lower left hand corner of the main screen to add up to 5 different children (you will thank me later)! They each will get to choose their own books and backpacks. This will also let each of them earn their own stickers. We only have 3 children at our house, so the other two profiles are used for family backpacks that we can all read from each time.

Animal Kingdom Books and Videos

Once you and your child has finished setting up the profile, the adventure begins.  Your child will fly to 7 different lands that each have books and videos based on that topic. When your child chooses a book, it flies to the backpack of his/her choice.  My kids LOVE changing their backpack themes (under change pack).   The videos cannot go in the backpacks but can be viewed immediately from that land.  Once they read a book in their backpack, they can keep it or return it to the return slot and go choose another book for their backpack. 


One of my most favorite things about the app is the "Read to Me" or "Read by Myself" feature.  My PreK son uses the "Read to Me" option because he wants to do EVERYTHING like his big brother and sister.  This option is a lifesaver for us because he can do everything on the app independently. However, even my big kids use this setting to hear all the different stories and different character voices.  

For parents, under Settings is a Reading History for each child. I enjoy looking over their lists to see what their current interests are.  It lets me know how long they read a book so I can tell if my oldest sneaky wonderful child is rushing through books.  

One thing to remember is to have the kiddos fill their backpacks when they are going to be off wireless.  The backpack books are available to read off wireless, but you need WiFi in order to choose books and watch videos.  With so many free WiFi where we go now, we don't have a problem with this. 


                  The little one joined when he heard books being read!

As a teacher, I will be using this as a listening center with a headphone splitter (like this one).  One of my families accounts will be turned into my school account and put the 5 books I want each day for the children to listen to in the backpack. 3 children can comfortably sit around the iPad. I will then have a follow writing activity for the students as an accountability piece.  
  
Have fun with this app and enjoy seeing your kids' or students' eyes light up as they discover so much through Reading Rainbow!


*Reading Rainbow pictures are used with permission from Reading Rainbow.*


*I was not compensated in any way for this post.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.*

Currently...

                                                          Oh' Boy 4th grade template

I am a little late to the Currently party, but I have been getting my TpT store ready for Back to School Sale! Woot Woot!

My own kids are trying to get in as much "no think" time in as possible. I just switched to boys toys out for ones in storage, so they think it is Christmas! They are finding the noisiest toys first! That's boys for ya!

I was up at 12:01 to see my first TpT as a Seller kick off. It is so exciting! Of course, I could not go to sleep until I started loading up my own cart of my favorite sellers and making a few purchases. The hubs won't be seeing that receipt. 




Today is my last Monday before going back to school.  I did have a chance to go up to school 2 weeks ago.  Since we were on a time crunch (Mama kids needing naps/rest time), I was only able to get the desks and chairs arranged! At least that is out of the way for when we go back and I can work on the walls (oh the lack of color!). 

This year, my coteacher and I are working on getting the kids excited for learning! One simple way I have found is adding clip art to presentations, games, and task cards. The kiddos love to see the topic "brought to life" on their paper with just a few pictures about the topic. I will probably be back on TpT getting more before the sale is over. 



As a family, we love Boca Grande! If we can get one more trip in before next week, it will make for a happy Mama.  Just a day or two of sand, salt, shells, and fishing will "tide" me over for a month or so to get back in the swing of things school related. 

Of course the main thing I have LOVED this summer is the morning snuggles I get woken up with.  My kiddos are snuggle bugs and they wake up enough in the mornings to crawl into my bed and burrow in right next to me. Oh how I will miss that starting next week!

Now off to browse TpT.....




"First Day Jitters" Quadrama

Happy Friday Eve!

   I think about school 365 days a year. My partner in crime agrees that it

might be a disease. In fact how I kick my brain out of gear is brainstorming 

ideas for school.  One thing I love to think about is beginning of the year 

ideas.  

   Each year we all have those hit 'em out of the park activities that we want 

to always use and some that fizzle in the dugouts (I might have a little 

baseball on the brain too). One of my favorite books to read is "First Day 

Jitters". This one never fizzles!



   One activity that I can't wait to try out with my students is the "First Day 

Jitters" Quadrama.   Each section will be about my students' first day with a 

connection to Sarah, the main character. It will take some time to construct 

the quadrama. However, during the first week of school, time is a luxury we 

have to take the time to compete. 

So this Friday Eve, enjoy this little FREEBIE





Turn and Talks!

One the most important things when teaching a new skill is informal assessments.  Our 2nd graders need to stop about every 5-10 minutes (10 minutes being the max) to talk with a partner about the new information they have "soaked" up.  We have found that the students need to have a specific question or questions to answer.  We have in the past said to students "turn and talk to your partner about something you just learned".  That was a BIG mistake learning experience.  We have all sorts of conversations floating around the room.  The best thing we found to use is:

"Turn and Talk ideas"!

These topic ideas that keeps the kids on track when given two-three minutes to discuss what they have been learning.  For example,  when discussing Character, Setting, and Events, we might start the discussion with a sentence like "We could change the character in the sentence on the board to.....".  Then the partners will orally list different characters to have in the sentence.  We can tell if partner groups do or do not understand by the type of choices they are making to change the characters.  
We continue this with settings and events.  Our kids love to try to make the silliest sentences they can.  They don't realize that they are learning while trying to make their partner laugh.


The Turn and Talk questions are so important because we always follow them up with the wonderful WHY. The kids know that word is coming and by the 3rd or 4th week of school we are hearing the buzz word "because" in their partner conversations.  

While planning lessons (even during the summer- wahoo!), I try to think about how to incorporate more of the Turn and Talk times in our classroom. The sky is the limit!
Happy Teaching!
Kim

My Online Filing Cabinet

I am so excited to start this blog as a way to keep my ideas organized as well as possibly share with other teachers at the same time.  I know what some of you are thinking and I know it's the end of the year and it's an odd time to start a blog. However, between school and family, I have just realized having my resources and ideas documented in electronic form on a blog is an awesome way to stay organized for more learning, laughter, and love with my students.  I hope you enjoy all the ideas and resources you find here.