Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday!

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Freebie Friday!
Click on the picture to download.
I don't know about you but I just love teaching my students to spell simple CVC words.
For those of you who are asking "What in the world are CVC words?"....they are simple 3-letter words that are formed by a consonant-vowel-consonant.
These words are a great introduction to spelling because you can teach students that the middle sound will always be a vowel and stretching out the rest of the sounds comes easily for many.
That being said, I use these CVC cards throughout my day.
 
In my Guided Reading groups, I like taking these out and having students practice spelling the words together (I usually do this with my lower reading group).  We review the sounds together and I might even place the letters we need mixed up on the table so that it's a little easier at first.
 
I also put these picture cards out at my Pocket Chart center along with my Alphabet Cards and have students build the words on their own.
 
You can attach magnetic tape to the back of the cards and place them at your magentic letters center too!
 
I've even used them during my Chit Chat (Morning Message) for students to decode.  I may start by omitting one letter from the CVC word (beginning sound) and later on asking students to spell the entire word.
 
You will be surprised at how quickly your students will become fluent readers and spellers!
 
I'd love to hear other ways you could use these CVC picture cards!
Join in on Freebie Friday at Blog Hoppin'!
 
Happy teaching!
 
 


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Literacy Centers 101: Write the Room

I'm back!
We got back the other day from a great week-long trip with the kids to Jamaica.
I wanted to post earlier but I was trying to catch up with laundry, getting everyone back into routines and cooking
(it was so nice going up to the buffet each day and just choosing something to eat!).
I had wonderful guest bloggers in for me last week so if you missed their post, be sure to go back and read them.

I have just over 2 weeks left of summer vacation.
I'm hoping to pop into my classroom later on this week to attempt to get it ready.  I'm just hoping it's going to be cleaned by then!
This week I wanted to talk about my Write the Room Literacy Center.  I have had a lot of e-mails about how I do write the room and why it's different from how others may do it.

Well, first, I've tried the "typical" write the room....
the students get a clipboard, blank paper, pencil and are asked to "write" any words they know/see around the room.
Here's the problem I had - my students were so SILLY!
They did everything with those clipboards but write!
This center was so unstructured that I knew it was time to do something about it!

Here's my way of doing a Write the Room center.
The first thing I do is "hide" the picture word cards around my room. 
The picture above is actually of my Summertime Fun Write the Room center. 
I like to introduce theme words to my students every few weeks and we use these words for our Write the Room activity.  For instance, my Back to School Write the Room words include "bus" and "pencil", words that we will use and talk about in our classroom.
My kids think it's so much fun that they have to search all around for the words
(don't get me wrong, I hide them, but not in places even I would never guess.  I'm talking about taping the word cards to the side of a shelf, bottom of the blackboard, on the wall next to the washroom, etc.)
The students still get a clip board and pencil (tip: attach the pencil to the clip board with a piece of yarn or shoelace so that your students won't spend time looking for a pencil).
Instead of a blank paper with little to no direction, students are asked to complete various worksheets which I change every week.  They might be asked to find all of the words that start with a certain letter, clap and count syllables, match the word to the picture and record it, etc.
I always include a variety of worksheets so that I can meet the various needs of my students and show how differentiated instruction is used in my class.

There are time that I use this center with the whole class too.
Some worksheets ask that students choose a word or two and draw a picture/write a sentence using them.
I have a student choose a word and we come up with a sentence together.
This is a great way to introduce your journal writing topic also.
I have these resources available in my TpT store.  You can purchase each theme individually or all 25 activities for less than half price in my bundle!

Here's a preview of the Back to School Write the Room center.


I have had some teachers leave me feedback on these products at my TpT store and tell me that they print an extra set of the picture word cards and leave them at the Writing Center for students to use.  Great idea!

Hop on over to Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten today to see her post on her Centers for the Week and how she uses my Write the Room Complete Set in her classroom.
(Be sure to check out what she is using at her Playdough Station too....another fun activity that I made for my kiddies!!!)

Happy teaching!



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcome....Crystal from Kreative in Kinder!

Greetings new friends! I am Crystal from Kreative in Kinder! I am so excited to guest blog for you. 

One of my favorite thing to teach is Writer's Workshop. I love creating Interactive Writing charts with my students. This is a great foundation for creating informational pieces of writing. This is an example of our writing towards the end of the year. We first finished up our unit on creating “How To” pieces of writing and have moved on to “All About” books. We had been studying insects, specifically ladybugs.  After reading about ladybugs, we created this Interactive Writing chart together.

The students wrote in the text and then each added their own ladybug art. I like for everyone to participate in some way. Then, all students have ownership over our work in the classroom.  The next day, I taught my students what the word fact meant. I told them that it is something that is true and can be proven. Then, we talked about how we would write a book using facts. I modeled this by creating an “All About Ladybugs” book. Here is my chart example.



Then, they took each selected a different topic to write about and used this paper to create their draft. Click to download. J

After they filled out this page correctly, they took this information and created a three page book. 


(This is my favorite, lol)
 I was so impressed with how well my students did. They really understood what a fact was and why it was an important part of writing an informational piece.to teach the reader something. J I really have enjoyed all of our writing adventures last year. It amazes me to look back over a year to see how far they really can go when writing in Kindergarten. They can reach the bar so don't be afraid to set it high. They are little sponges and we are passing out the water. 

I hope you have a great school year! Come by my blog for other writing tips and freebies.



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Please welcome...Tanya from Ms. Solano's Kindergarten

I gotta go back, back, back to schoo-oooool! 
Greetings!  I’m Tanya from Ms. Solano’s Kindergarten and I can’t tell you how happy I’m to be guest blogging for my BBB {Best Blogging Buddy} while she’s away on a wonderful family vacation.

Within the next couple of weeks, most of us will be back to school {with kids}.  When I hear those three little words back.to.school. it kinds makes wish for a grand entrance like this:


It would just kick start the school year.  Don’t ya think?

Anyway.  I like most teachers have an intense love for going back to school.  Weird you say?  Let’s just see how many of you nod your head and sigh with agreement when I say {or type}...

opening that first brand new box of perfectly sharpened crayons

your best bulletin board display...to date

crisp, never opened composition books

the deal of a lifetime~twenty-five folders for $1...with brads no less

brand new, never touched by little hands Mr. Sketch markers {admit it, you’re im agining taking the lid off of the brown marker and inhaling deeply right now, it’s okay}

bragging enthusiastically sharing about the wonderful time you had at the I Teach K conference in Vegas

My list can go on and on.  But as teachers, we tend to get wrapped up in all the B2S hustle and bustle by thinking of our administration, the upcoming families, and the twenty something littles that will be entering our lives and hearts for the next nine months, that we tend to forget about the Queen Bee, the Big Kahuna, the Top Dawg, la jefita {pronounced Hefita, the boss in spanish} bottom line: US.

So.  I want to know what you do {for yourself} to get ready for back to school?  This is what I do to kinda pump myself up for BACK TO SCHOOL:

I have to have a new bag.  It doesn’t matter where it comes from.  If my son gets a new backpack...so does momma : )  On that note - I recently became a member of Little Black Bag.  OH.MY.GOODNESS.  In love with this site.
I hit the mall a few times to cash in on those 60-80% off deals and get a few outfits to get me through the fabulous Colorado fall.

I treat myself to new face moisturizer and eye cream.  These are my faves:

I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but I cannot live without mascara and some color on my cheeks.  So I get these:


I'm not a mani/pedi kind of gal so I just make sure my cuticles are well moisturized.

{I am not getting any kick backs from Philosophy, Kiehl’s, Almay, or Stainiac.  These are just the things that make me feel fresh, young, and ready to face a room fu ll of 5 year olds}

Although my car is still pretty new, I take her in to get detailed.

I stock my classroom mini fridge with Starbucks iced coffee, Fresca {citrus flavor}, Coke, cheese sticks, turkey lunchables, and a bag of mini carrots.  I stock my closet with yummy chocolatey snacks, crackers, nuts, and dried fruit.

I buy a new pair of slippers to wear in the classroom {I love going in my bare feet so my feet and I are enemies the first few weeks of school}.

Finally, I make sure I’m in bed by 9. Eat right. And during the school year I treat myself once a month to a small reward.

In honor of YOU, the Big Kahuna, Queen Bee, la Jefita...I am giving away two of these babies worth $25 each to two lucky winners.


You don’t have to become a follower or like my facebook page.  I simply want you to leave a comment about what you do for yourself to get ready for back to school on my blog.  



The lucky winners cannot, I repeat CANNOT use these gift cards to purchase a si ngle marker, a pad of paper, or border for your bulletin board.  You have to pinky promise you will use these gift cards for you and you alone : )

One lucky winner will receive this fantastic Lotsa Dots Cinch Thermal from Thirty-one.
Here’s to a WONDERFUL school year to each and everyone of my friends!

Cheers!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My 1st guest blogger: Lori from Teaching with Love and Laughter

Hello! My name is Lori and I am the author of 


And, this is my blog:



I am thrilled beyond words to be a guest here on Alessia's outstanding blog. Alessia and I became best blogging buddies six months ago when I was a newbie to the blogging world. Since then, we have helped each other out along the way and I was so happy when she asked me to come here and entertain all of you.

I decided to talk about something that seems to have captured lots of attention this year...the clip chart. I have already done a post about how I utilize my clip chart here, so if you haven't seen it yet, feel free to click on over to my blog to read all the exciting details.


I have also already talked about my daily take home calendars I'll be using this year here. Feel free to download them, too!


Today, I am going to share one more thing with you. If you read my post about how I utilize the clip chart in my classroom, you'll have read that I issue certificates to my students who have clipped up a predetermined amount of times by the end of the month. This is a huge deal to my students because they love the prizes. If you would like a copy of the certificates, just click on the image below. I guarantee that your little angels will work very hard to earn one (or two!) each month.

Well, there you have it! If you are interested in using the clip chart, now you have the clip chart, take home calendars, and reward certificates. You're all set to start a successful new school year! 

I hope you enjoyed my post today. If you are not a follower of my blog, you are invited to come and check it out. If you like what you see, please feel free to follow me. I love to share my thoughts, ideas, and activities with anyone who will listen. LOL! See you soon!






Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Literacy Centers 101: Felt Board

How many of you fellow teachers acutally use (or even have) a felt board?  I've had one in my class from my first day of teaching.  Problem was - I didn't have any sets for it!
I bought a few felt board story sets at my local Dollar Store.  They were terrible!
Very small pieces, didn't relate to a story we were reading, and they DIDN'T STICK!

That's when I decided I needed to do something about this!
I planned on making my own felt sets!
The felt board center is so important during my Literacy Center time.  After we have read a story in class (and have acted it out, talked about beginning/middle/end, reviewed the characters, setting, plot, etc.) I put the pieces out at my Felt Board to have students retell the story. 
*I usually include the book too, but I like to buy board books since they are much more durable with those little hands!*

Here's a step-by-step guide to making your own felt board sets....stay with me....it's actually not as hard as you may be thinking.
I found this method online a few years back and have been doing it ever since.  But if you do it a different way (maybe even easier!) please let me know.

Here's the thing...I can't draw!
Really!
Have you ever met a Kindergarten Teacher who can't draw?
Well, you just did!
So this is my {draw-free} way to making these sets.

Step 1:  Choose clip art that you want to use.
Here I am using a Goldilocks set I purchased at Scrappin' Doodles.

Step 2:  Enlarge the clip art on your computer to the size you want your felt board pieces to be and print them.

Step 3:  Cut the pieces out.  Think about the colors you want to use.  Start with the bottom layer (the largest) and tape the clip art directly to the felt.

Step 4:  You will need a VERY sharp pair of scissors - mine are fabric scissors from Michael's.  Cut on top of the tape - YES, you need to cut through your clip art, don`t be scared.
You can see how cutting out the piece this way matches perfectly!
Step 5: Cut another part of the clip art out and tape to another color of felt.  Cut it out.

Here is the face using a different color.

Step 6:  Repeat cutting pieces of clip art, taping to felt and cutting.  The more detail and colors you want, the more times you have to do this.

Step 7:  Using a hot glue gun, glue the pieces onto each other.  Add google eyes and glitter if you`d like.
{I tried using Felt Glue when I first started.  It was terrible once the kids got their hands on the felt pieces!  Trust me, hot glue sticks much better.  Although I have heard from others there is a super glue out there, something 6000?  Haven't tried it but I should look into it!}

This is Papa Bear.

Voila!

This is only one bear in the set, and, of course, I plan on making the other bears, bowls, chairs, etc. 
It is easy!  Maybe a little time consuming but easy!

I have a couple (literally 2!) Lakeshore Learning felt board sets.  They are amazing....but expensive!
My school bought those and I wish I had the whole set but I am not going to pay $35+ for each set.
And besides, sometimes they don't have sets for the books we are reading!

I have made about 25+ sets over the years. 
Once you start, you will not stop!
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If You Take a Mouse to School
Here's another tip:  take a picture of all the pieces of your set on the felt board and tape it to a Ziploc bag.  When the kids go to put the pieces back in the bag, they can make sure all of them are there!

I`d love for you to check out my good friend and teaching partner,
Ann-Marie Parisi`s new TpT store!
She posted the cutest Kindergarten Memory book....that you start making in September!
Go and check out her store and follow her while you are there.  She should be starting a blog really soon and posting pics of her fabulous classroom!

I`m off for a family trip to Jamaica tomorrow but while I am gone I will be having some amazing guest bloggers.
Be sure to check back this week and see who they are!
You will not be disappointed!

Happy teaching!