Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Does a Teacher Mind Turn Off?

When Does a Teacher Mind Turn Off?

For the most part, having a teacher mind (thinking like a teacher, watching like a teacher, analyzing like a teacher) is a good thing.  With a teacher mind, we are able to catch on to many things that other people may not catch on to.  

·      -   I am able to recognize when a kid may not have enough clothes at home
·       -  I am able to see the brain turning in little five year old minds
·        - I love the question “Why?” and answering it
·         -I find ways to integrate reading into everyday activities
·         -I see endless opportunities to count and compare objects
·         -I know that kids aren’t mad “just because” & I look for the reason behind things
·         -A shoe needs tied, no problem
·         -Snot, doesn’t scare me
·         -A kid is struggling with a concept, I can think of numerous other ways to explain it
·         -Finding a way to learn in every situation
·         -I can think on the spot
·        - When a kid is getting bored, I have so many brain break ideas

My teacher mind never goes off.  Babysitting, I am thinking like a teacher.  Why are the siblings fighting?  What just made her cry?  How many cupcakes could we buy with the allowance we got?  Our pizza cost $18 and I paid $20, how much change should I get?  There are endless opportunities for learning to occur.  Now, I don’t always take these opportunities, but with a teacher mind, I notice they are there.*
*I know you don’t have to be a teacher to think this way, just many teachers do

Now, I realized just recently that there is a problem with this teacher mind all the time.  I can’t seem to turn it off.  For the longest time, I never saw why this would be a bad thing.  It doesn’t hurt to think that way as long as I am not constantly drilling kids with knowledge and information everyone needs fun in life.  But there is a problem with always thinking this way.

I was recently at a sporting event with my older brother.  We were having a good time, cheering on our team, and just enjoying ourselves.  At the beginning of the game I noticed a young boy sitting in front of us, just a few seats over.  He had a notebook and was jotting down things the whole time.  I couldn’t really tell what.  My older brother said he must just be in a fantasy league and shrugged it off.

Me, with my teacher mind, I couldn’t do that.  I kept glancing over as the game went on.  He was always scribbling things down.  When I was able to get a closer look, I noticed he was writing the alphabet many different ways (this boy had to have been in middle or high school), and had random lines and scribbles everywhere.  I knew that he had some logic to it and each mark was carefully made.

With my teacher mind, I wondered, and I wondered.

What is this boy doing?  What do those marks mean?  What is causing him to do this?  Is he focusing on the game?  I wonder how he best learns?  I wonder what he is interested in?  And the thoughts went on

As I thought about it later that night, I thought to myself what a horrible person I am!

My brother just sees a kid writing during a sport event and assumes it is stats or something for a fantasy league me, I wonder, I question, I am curious.

As I thought about it, I realized I am practically “judging” kids.  

-I see a kid reading a chapter book at dinner, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious.
-I see a kid throwing a tantrum at a park, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious
-I see a kid playing on an iphone, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious
-I see a kid jotting at a game, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious
and the list goes on.

Kids are kids.  We aren't here to teach everyone.  We have our class and our teacher mind helps us greatly with our own students.  It is not my place to “judge” these other kids.  I miss the innocence of seeing a kid and thinking the best and moving on.  Sometimes, my teacher mind gets the best of me.

When does a teacher mind turn off?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Daily 3 Math - Math Writing: Unit 2 - Teen Numbers

Woo!! I have just completed my second unit for Daily 3 Math!  I am so excited to have this unit done (and even more excited about Unit 3 that I have been working on)!!

I would like to give you a sneak peak at my Daily 3 Math - Math Writing: Unit 2 - Teen Numbers that I made for my kinders!  This is a great way to reinforce the common core standards and to help students gain a strong number sense.  It also is great help for starting to learn about place value.

Daily 3 Math is a fabulous form of math centers in the classroom.  Students can go to Math Writing, Math by Myself, or Math with a Partner.  During that time, you also pull groups of guided math!  It gives you the time to work with students and the routines unit to unit make it very easy for the students to follow directions, know what to do, learn, and have fun!

Here is a glimpse at my Daily 3 Math - Math Writing: Unit 2 - Teen Numbers!

There are 9 different centers included that you can switch out or have available all at the same time.  Your choice :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Daily 3 Math - Unit 1: #0-10 GIVEAWAY

I have reached so many milestones recently that I decided it is time for a GIVEAWAY!  This one is HUGE!  I am so so so excited about this one!  One lucky winner will receive my Daily 3 Math Center Pack - Unit 1: #0-10!  This has over 200 pages of materials and 24 different activities to use for math centers.  It includes activities for Math by Myself, Math Writing, and Math with a Partner.  ***THESE CENTERS DO NOT HAVE TO BE USED WITH DAILY 3, they just align well with it.  THESE CENTERS WORK FOR ALL TYPES OF MATH CENTERS YOU MAY DO***

To enter:
Like my facebook page.
Like & SHARE the post about the giveaway on facebook (1 entry)
Leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address and your favorite activity to do during math time (1 additional entry)
Pin this blog post & leave the URL in your comment (1 additional entry)

I will pick a random winner on SUNDAY.  Good luck! If you don't win, the unit will be on sale so you can grab it at a reduced price!  Have a grrreat day!

Daily 3 Math - Math with a Partner

More Daily 3 Math posts!  I am so excited to have finished creating my first Daily 3 Unit!  Daily 3 Math Centers - Unit 1: #0-10!  The piece that I just finished is Math with a Partner!

Students love learning with one another.  Students gain some much knowledge from working with other students.  I love this component of learning and love that it can be used during math time.  My Daily 3 Math Centers - Math with a Partner - Unit 1: #0-10 has 6 different activities that can be completed with partners during math centers.  These activities will stay pretty much the same throughout units but the content will change.  There may be new activities added here and there to keep students engaged, but the change in content makes all the activities like new.  It really helps to create independent learners and they love knowing how to play some of these games on their own!

Here are some snippets from my Daily 3 Math Centers - Math with a Partner - Unit 1: #0-10

 Some of the cards for "war"
 Go Fish Card Game
 Building Towers Game
 Race to 100!
 Different board games!
 Many different sets of flashcards!


Daily 3 Math - Math by Myself

I recently posted about Daily 3 Math & how excited I am to be using it in my classroom this upcoming year.  I have been busy putting together my old math stations and math centers and fixing things up to make them new, independent, and centers that can be expanded upon from standard to standard.  My first post, Daily 3 Math - Math Writing, has some examples of my first Daily 3 Math Writing Unit: #0-10.  It also expands on how I use these centers a little more.

I am very excited to share with you my Daily 3 Math Centers - Math by Myself - Unit 1: #0-10.  These centers are completed individually and independently by students.  They focus on numbers 0-10 and help to provide a strong foundation of those numbers.  There are 9 different centers for students to chose from.  When they go to this station, they are able to pick what they want to do.  These centers will be expanded & tweaked just slightly for Unit 2: Teen Numbers (coming soon) so that students will understand what is expected of them and will know how to complete the stations.  It is fabulous!  Kids love all of these things.  Below you will find previews of a few of the activities my Daily 3 Math Centers - Math by Myself - Unit 1: #0-10 contains.

Be sure to pick up your pack of Daily 3 Math Centers - Math by Myself - Unit 1: #0-10 in my TpT store.  On sale for a short period of time!

If you like this, please check out my other products that work great for Daily 3 (you do not have to do daily 3 math for these centers to work, all of the centers can be used during regular math stations/math centers)
Have a grrreat day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Daily 3 Math - Math Writing

I am so excited to be transitioning to Daily 3 Math this year!  I LOVE Daily 5 and it has seemed to work wonders in my classroom.  For my Kinders, it seems like routine is always better.  That is what I love about the Daily 5.  Students are slowly introduced to different stations and activities.  We learn them together and practice them together whole group or in small groups.  Then it is left to them at their stations.  The activities change slightly based on what we are learning (ex: different sight words - same activities, different writing papers - same process, CVC puzzles vs. CVCE puzzles).  It is WONDERFUL.

I knew I just had to make this transition for math.  My math stations, while they worked, were just too much of a headache.  Come Wednesday, my kids forgot how to do their stations that day.  They need more of a routine.  I took my favorite activities and centers from math time & put together a Daily 3 Math Centers - Math Writing - Unit 1: #0-10 Packet!  Each packet has 9 centers.  You slowly introduce them to your students, whole group & small group.  Then they can do them on their own.  Daily 3 Math Centers - Math Writing - Unit 2: Teen Numbers becomes a much easier transition because students are already familiar with the activities, it just has different numbers and some slight changes.  It is FABULOUS!

Back to Daily 3 Math Centers - Math Writing - Unit 1: #0-10 - I am thrilled with how this turned out.  This packet is all centered around students writing.  Writing numbers, forming numbers, tracing numbers, etc.  I am obsessed with laminating so for this packet, I laminate most things and allow students to use dry erase markers to complete.  This way I can check it then (or later if we are in a time crunch) and it doesn't waste paper! Go green!

The packet explains all the centers and any prep needed (though you are free to set them up a different way if you would like).  Here is a little peek at some of the activities in the packet!

Plus much, much, MUCH, MORE!  Grab it here on sale for a limited time!

Do you do Daily 3 Math in your classroom?  I would love to hear all about it!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Best Dress!

I am so excited!  My mom was talking to me about a dress she saw that I just HAD to get.  My mom is not one to normally say that I HAVE to buy clothing.  She doesn't like my addiction to shopping and doesn't like to encourage it.  I knew this had to be something interesting if she was insisting that I get it.

I couldn't be more excited about what she found.  It is a colored pencil dress.  I think I will wear this for the first day of school for the rest of my life!  I am not one to spend much on clothing, but I think this was worth it.

I just ordered this dress from The Pyramid Collection.  I can't wait to get it once they are back in stock.  It is literally the most PERFECT dress for back to school.  I have not been this excited about purchasing a dress in a while! How perfect is this?!?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yoga in the Classroom

If you are anything like me, you would laugh at the thought of doing
yoga.  I have tried it a few times before and it just wasn't my thing.  I
have a hard time being silent and I am the least flexible person on
this planet.  I prefer a long run over yoga any day.

I have found a series of free yoga videos for kids that includes yoga stories, yoga poses, and yoga for the classroom!  My kindergarten kids have loved doing yoga when they need a brain break or are stuck indoors for recess.  A new video was recently uploaded and the kids went nuts over it (HINT: It has to do with a movie series)!  Check it out!

much as yoga is not for me, I completely understand the benefits of
it.  Everyone who does it raves about it.  I have seen articles about
yoga in the classroom and chuckled when I saw them.  People think my 5
year olds can be quiet and do yoga for an extended period of time?? No

We had many days of rain and indoor recess.  I was
out of new ideas and figured I would give yoga a try.  I have no idea how to teach yoga, but there are fabulous YouTube videos.  My kids LOVED
it.  It is a new indoor recess favorite.  Cosmic Kids Yoga has at least 10 different yoga episodes.  They are fun, involve characters, and the kids go on an adventure.  It is a great, and quiet, way to do indoor recess.  I highly recommend you try yoga in the classroom with your kids.

I have posted one of their favorites below!  What is your favorite indoor recess activity?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eggcellent Math & Literacy Centers

I am gearing up for April and starting to work on some new centers for Word Work and a few new math stations.  I LOVE Easter eggs and there are so many ways to incorporate them into the classroom - in an educational way!

Here are some ideas for you!

 WORD FAMILY EGGS - This is a quick and easy center to make.  Simply decide on a word family.  Write it on one side of the egg.  Put letters on the other side of the egg.  Students twist the egg and read all the different words.  You could have them use the words in a sentence or come up with new words that work for that egg as well.

RHYMING EGGS - This is another easy activity.  Write rhyming words on eggs (I didn't repeat any word families..).  Unhook all the eggs and students have to put together the eggs that rhyme.  I will also use this to pair up my kids.  I will unhook all the eggs.  I will have kids pick a half of an egg.  They will then have to find the person with their other rhyming half and that will be their partner!

 MATH EGGS - I can't wait to use these for one of my math centers.  I am going to create a recording sheet to go along with the eggs, but haven't created it yet!  I will be sure to share once I do.  Anyway, the eggs each have 2 problems on them.  The answers to the 2 problems are the same.  I will see how long it takes my kiddos to figure that out!  I like having the answers the same because it is an easy way for the kiddos to check their own work.  If they get two different numbers, they know something is not right.  I also have included the answer inside the egg.  This is another way for my kids to learn to check their own thinking while doing independent or group work.
What I love most about these eggs is how easy it is to differentiate the center.  I have kids who will pick yellow and orange eggs and I have other kids who will pick green and blue eggs.  My yellow and orange eggs have addition with 3 numbers on them and subtraction within 20.  My green and blue eggs have addition and subtraction within 10.

Another thing that I love about these eggs (yes, this is my favorite egg center), is that you can challenge all of your students even further.  Once the kids solve the problems and I will ask them to come up with another problem that fits with that egg.  I love giving kids an answer and having them come up with the problem.  It really shows what they know and some of the things they come up with just amaze me.  This will all be on the recording sheet that I eventually create.

Other Ideas (sorry - no pictures...)
EASTER EGG SIGHT WORD HUNT - I will be hiding Easter eggs around the room.  The students will hop to find an egg.  They will open the egg and hop back to a teacher and read the sight word inside.  They will then hop the egg back to where they found it and then hop to a new egg.  This is a great brain break or perfect for a rainy day.

Now, I have a bad feeling that the permanent marker is going to wipe off the eggs with all the little hands that will be on them.  Anyone have any ideas of how to get it to stay?!

Have a grrreat day!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Safari Time!

My entire classroom is safari theme. I went on a safari last winter and fell completely in love with it.  I just had to have my classroom theme be a safari.  I have different table names, each after an animal (lions, tigers, rhinos, zebra, giraffes, and tigers).

We recently have been working on researching a topic and writing about it.  We researched and wrote about penguins as a class.  We researched and wrote about polar bears as a class  The kids LOVED it.  I decided it was time for them to do some research in groups and create books about their animals.  They are already in tables with an animal so we just used those!  The books came out GREAT!  The kids had such a fabulous time reading books and researching the animals.

I even created non-fiction animal books for each of the tables to use when doing research.

I have some writing samples that I will share later on (I don't have the pictures with me currently), but I do have pictures of all the covers we made for the books.  The kids loved having a special craft that they got to do and loved showing off their animal!

After creating the title pages, the kiddos added the title to their book and their name.  We displayed our books proudly in the hallway :)

Write the Room - April

My kids are obsessed with Write the Room!  We have been doing Write the Room since the beginning of the year and they are always so excited when it is a new month which means new words and NEW GLASSES.  My kids love finding out what our new words are and love wearing the glasses when they write the room.

I am so excited about my Write the Room - April Edition and even more excited about the glasses I just found for this month!

Before I show you, I figured I would share a little bit about the station.  I keep this at my word work center and it is so easy to manage.  I switch out the words once or twice a month.  I print the colored copy onto cardstock and laminate it.  The kids put it on a clipboard and grab a dry erase marker.  They head around the room and find words wearing groovy glasses.  After that, they come back and grab a black and white copy.  They transfer their answers onto a copy to turn in. For those who need a little more of a challenge - they use the word they found in a sentence.  Easy as that!

My pack for April includes pages on Easter, Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Spring!  See a preview below :)

Write the Room - April Edition is FREE today!! If you happen to come across this post and missed the freebie, comment below and I will e-mail it out to a lucky winner  on Friday - March 28th!

As for the glasses, I am just so excited about what I found today.  I always find the best stuff at the dollar store.  They had out bunny glasses for Easter season.  I picked up some bunny glasses - for just $1 - and I know my kids are going to LOVE wearing this while writing the room this month!  How adorable!!!

Have a grrreat day!

Friday, March 14, 2014

You are in Luck!

I love St. Patrick's Day! I think it is such a fun holiday with great celebrations. I love leprechauns and rainbows and especially the color GREEN! It also helps that I have some Irish in me! In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I am having a SALE!! I am having a 3 day sale where everything in my store is 20% off! Visit my store March 16th - 18th to get some wonderful products and even better prices! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Visit: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kindergarten-Is-Grrreat 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

3 Million Strong!

TpT is celebrating being 3 million teachers strong!  I am joining in on their celebration.

February 27 - 28 all of my products will be 28% off!!  Just enter the code: TpT3 at checkout!

On top of things being 28% off, I am adding another deal to these 2 days!  If you buy 3 products (on February 27 or February 28) I will send you a 4th one for free!  Just comment below with the 3 products you bought and with the free product you would like.  The only restriction is that it must be of equal or lesser value than the most expensive item you bought (ex: you bought something for $3, $1.50, and $6 - your free item must be $6 or less). 

Visit my store & enjoy the grrreat products I have to offer!

Have a grrreat day!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

You are one in a minion! {Valentine's Day Treats}

I am absolutely obsessed with Despicable Me.  I think it is the cutest movie and I am just a huge fan of the little minions.  My kids know this is my favorite movie because on pajama day I wore my minion slippers!
 Looking for a fun valentine’s day card or craft for your kid to make!  Check out these minion cards with twinkie cakes!  They are perfect for valentine’s cards for a class or can be a fun activity or goodie bag for a Despicable Me party!  Super easy so you can DIY!

With all of these "snow" days we have been having, I decided to get a head start on my valentines for this year.  I looked all over for a cute thing to make my kids and when I saw a picture of minion twinkies, I knew I had to make them.

Here is how:

-blue & black construction paper
-wiggle eyes
-tin foil
-twinkies (could use a generic brand that looks the same!

Looking for a fun valentine’s day card or craft for your kid to make!  Check out these minion cards with twinkie cakes!  They are perfect for valentine’s cards for a class or can be a fun activity or goodie bag for a Despicable Me party!  Super easy so you can DIY!

To create your minions:
Cut the blue paper into strips to wrap around the bottom of the twinkie.  I cut my paper 1 1/2" by 5" and other 2" by 5".  Then cut the black paper into a thin strip to wrap around the top.  Secure with tape.  Cut out small circles of tin foil.  Glue onto the black strip.  Glue a wiggle eye onto the tin foil.  That's it!

 Looking for a fun valentine’s day card or craft for your kid to make!  Check out these minion cards with twinkie cakes!  They are perfect for valentine’s cards for a class or can be a fun activity or goodie bag for a Despicable Me party!  Super easy so you can DIY!

 You can draw on pockets with a black marker & attach a valentine & you are good to go!
 Looking for a fun valentine’s day card or craft for your kid to make!  Check out these minion cards with twinkie cakes!  They are perfect for valentine’s cards for a class or can be a fun activity or goodie bag for a Despicable Me party!  Super easy so you can DIY!

Below are the Valentines for you to attach if you would like them!

 Looking for a fun valentine’s day card or craft for your kid to make!  Check out these minion cards with twinkie cakes!  They are perfect for valentine’s cards for a class or can be a fun activity or goodie bag for a Despicable Me party!  Super easy so you can DIY!

Have a grrreat Valentine's Day!

Comprehension & {Give-Away}

Comprehension is such a difficult thing for beginning readers to grasp.  I constantly am working with my kids are reading comprehension.  It is something that I watched my students struggle with and something that I knew I needed to fix.

When I was assessing my students reading ability, using running records, they were doing PHENOMENAL.  They had all the words right, paused after punctuation, used pictures to help them figure out words, self-corrected mistakes, and they were just superstar readers.  I was excited to assess them using mClass (the program NC uses to assess students now) and see the growth they made.

I was a little set back when my students weren't exactly where they needed to be.  I talked with other teachers and they had the same results in their classes as well.  The students were reading the stories almost perfectly, but they weren't retelling and comprehending the stories enough to move onto the next level.

I knew I had to do something.  I created Reading Comprehension Passages that are designed for Kindergarten (although can be used in other grades as well).  I now have 3 different sets of passages on 3 different levels.  These are great to use with students.  It is a quick way for them to practice reading and comprehending.  The passages use many sight words and CVC words so that they are on their level.  The passages also have a picture to go along with it so that students have an idea about what they are reading, but it still challenges them to work on their comprehension because the picture doesn't tell them everything.

My Reading Comprehension starter packet contains 20 different passages.  Each passage is offered in color and in black and white.  The passage is just one sentence.  The questions focus on comprehension and print concepts.  Below is a sample of one of the passages.

My Reading Comprehension (Level 2) packet contains 20 different passages.  Each passage is 2 sentences.  There are 3 comprehension questions following (multiple choice) and 1 question where they respond with a picture.  Below is a sample of one of the passages.

My Reading Comprehension Pack (Advanced) contains 22 different passages - fiction & non-fiction.  Each passage has 4 comprehension questions with 1 of them being a response by picture.  Below is a sample of one of the passages.

If you are interested in a packet, comment below with which packet you would like and an e-mail address.  I will randomly pick one lucky winner on February 9th.

Have a grrreat day!