Saturday, January 30, 2016

Best Bathroom Trick Ever!

Oh, the bathroom! The bane of every teacher's existence. 
Never in the history of the world has a teacher ever said, 
"I love sending kids to the bathroom!". 
I recently sorted out a super simple trick for
sending kids to the bathroom one by one.
We all know that letting them travel
in packs is never a good idea!
So I bring you a...

Everything my students need is kept in 
these handy dandy caddys 
which I've blogged about here

This week I added a craft stick into the caddy 
with each students' name on it. 

When the kids need to go to the bathroom 
the girls put their stick in 
the pink cup and the boys in the green cup. 
Only one stick is allowed in each cup at a time. 
If your genders' cup is full the bathroom is closed. 
Don't forget to take your stick back to your seat.
Although the kids are great at policing each other about this.

 Here the boys' room is closed and the girls room is open. 

When the bathroom is empty is looks like this!

I make my kids give me the sign language symbol for bathroom to go. 
And of course 150 days into the school year 
and they still ask to go at all the wrong times, 
but we are working on it!

And if all else fails do this!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Responding to Text {Opinion Writing}

The students in my class have been working on opinion writing by responding to a given text (we listen to a story.) Here is a freebie and a lesson plan to use in your kindergarten or first grade classroom to help facilitate opinion writing.

The topic of this opinion writing lesson plan is seasons. Students listen to a story about four friends who disagree on their favorite season. 

After students listen to each reason, they sort the season cards. This will help students recall information from the story. Read the sentences for each of the seasons, or have the students read them to you. 

Let the students group into partners to discuss with one another what is their favorite season. Walk around the room and encourage/facilitate conversations among partners. 

Students are to write a response to the question "Which season do you think is best?" by citing examples from the text, as well as, adding their own opinions and details. 

I have added a sample rubric that is CCSS aligned to this pack to help first grade and kindergarten teachers assess their student's writing abilities. 

I hope you have enjoyed this fun and simple opinion writing freebie!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Valentine Sneak Peek

Is this true for everyone?

This was TOTALLY me last week.
I can't even begin to tell you about it. 

Well, it’s Kimberly from Loving Kinders and this week I’d like to...

share some of my valentine resources with you!
When it comes to resources I love to spruce it up with seasonal additions to keep learning fun and engaging.  Here are some of my valentine must haves.
Right now in kindergarten we are working with CVC words.  This is a great resource.  I print, laminate and place it in a center to use over and over again.  I also pull it out for RTI intervention.  You can use magnetic letters or whiteboard markers.
I use a Daily Five format so I can place this in my writing center or I can use it whole group.  Either way it will go into their yearly portfolio for progress monitoring and it is a wonderful way to gauge student growth.
Word Work is essential in developing phonetics and decoding skills.  This CVC activity focuses on finding and sorting vowel sounds.  This is the short A section.
Last but CERTAINLY not least, I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE {and yes it's valentines day} mini books.  I use them all. the. time.  I use them in guided reading, supportive writing, or for a whole group supportive read/write.  We write, identify sight words, sound out words, and identify end marks.  My kinders love them, maybe more than me but probably not.

This is my entire unit if you are interested.

Until next time lovies....

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snowman Day Activities and a FREEBIE!!

Hi guys!
This is Laura from Where the Magic Happens and  I hope everyone is keeping warm and cozy during this crazy winter weather…
Speaking of winter
You know how our kids get all antsy when they can go outside and  get some energy out?
If you know me, you know very well that I am always very intentional with every instructional activity that I design. However I always try to sneak in some fun because
let’s be real
having fun and learning at the same time is pretty awesome!
Have you ever read the book “Snowzilla” by Janet Lawler?
This is the story of a little girl who, with the help of her family, builds a gigantic snowman. The story goes on and on until the little  girl has to blog, text, email… to save her Snowzilla. I love this story because our kids can connect to it. I also love how the community works together to achieve a goal.

{Click HERE to get from my TPT store} 

This great Snowzilla mini-unit has these activities:

This is a great activity that can be done in a small guided reading group before you introduce the book. It can also be done independently in a literacy center to review and practice new vocabulary learned.
In this activity, the students put the puzzles together in a pocket chart. After the puzzles are put together, the students complete one of the three sheets provided. Each sheet is differentiated, from easiest to most challenging.
Oh and don’t forget!
Direct vocabulary instruction can be implemented using a research-based six-step process. {The Marzano Way!}
The six steps of the vocabulary instruction process are:
1.Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term.
2.Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words.
3.Ask students to construct a picture, symbol, or graphic representing the term or phrase.
4.Engage students in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks.
5.Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another.
6.Involve students in games that allow them to play with terms.

The activities in this section are designed to review the concepts of verbs, nouns, and adjectives.
I like the idea of “zooming in” in the evidence to look for language patterns… when our students look at characters, key details, settings, etc., their comprehension of any text is greater.
These activities can be done in a small guided reading group or independently (if your students have the command and strategies to problem solve unknown words).

These pages are designed specifically for a small guided reading group.
Young children need a lot of practice zooming in on the text and illustrations to locate evidence and then articulating their discoveries orally and in written words or pictures.
As with any type of writing, children will gain a better understanding of how to craft an effective response if they can watch you do it first. Then, based on this experience, work with students to develop a shared criteria so that they can self –assess their own response.
Each sheet is differentiated, from easiest to most challenging.

Who doesn't need some opinion writing to match standard W.1.1!

And my most favorite activity: How to build a snowman.
3 cups of baking soda
½ cup of white (inexpensive) hair conditioner
This amount makes about 4 snowmen
Mix all ingredients in a big bowl, and voila!
Use googly eyes, a toothpick broken in half for the arms, whole cloves for the buttons, and strips of felt for the scarf.
After making Snowzilla, guide your students through the “how-to writing.” Your kids will love this activity, and your classroom will smell glorious!
Because I heart you all, I am posting the how-to writing for free here! Click on the picture to download. I hope you and your kiddos love this activity as much as we do in room 208!

 Click HERE to grab this how-to writing for FREE!

Thank you for stopping by and happy winter!
Love and blessings,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Learning with Literacy Center Games!

        Children working together in small groups doing centers is an active time in primary classrooms! One GREAT idea that helps children practice and review reading skills is an engaging, fun game!  We have many types of games that our students ask to play again and again!  
     Here is a new FREEBIE of one of our popular game formats, "C-V-C Roll and Read -Spider Friends". The directions are pretty easy! Students roll a die and record the letter they rolled in the first box.They roll 2 more times and record the middle and ending letters to form a C-V-C word. They write the word again in the box to the right on their recording sheet.  Now they must decide if the word is real or make-believe.  If it is a real word, they circle YES and rainbow write the word by writing over it with 2 or 3 different colored crayons. If it is a nonsense or make-believe word, they circle NO and do not rainbow write it. After filling their whole recording sheet, have the students read their rainbow words!  Depending on your time frame, students can roll and record their words individually OR they can take turns rolling the die but EVERYONE in the group records the same letters. This game provides lots and lots of C-V-C practice in a really fun way! The students don’t realize all the important reading skills they are developing!  Click {HERE} to download this FREEBIE. (This also comes in a B/W version with a Parent letter so you can easily send it home as Homework practice!)

      If you like this game, there are 4 additional game boards available at our TPT store.  Click {Here} to view "C-V-C Valentine Friends" at our store.

     A lot of our classroom games are open-ended path games where you can add ANY skill cards you want. The 2 Valentine-themed game boards below are made on poster board and allow you to use any Sight words, letter cards, vocabulary cards, math facts or WHATEVER!  If your students are ability grouped you can differentiate their practice by switching the cards for each group (ie. different sets of Sight words).
     By using the same game board but different cards, your students will think they are ALL playing the same game although the skill levels may be differentiated!
For example: Use Letter cards, C-V-C word cards and Sight Words of different levels. 

How to make these games:
Use a 22"x28" poster board.  Cut into 2 pieces to get two 22"x14" pieces. We used clipart and colored stickers to create one LONG path game that all players move on (I'm Buggy For You Game)We used clip art and colored stickers to create 3 EQUAL paths where 3-6 players move on the paths with each player using their own game marker(The Owl Game).   We placed the "I'm Buggy For You Game on the BACK of the Owl Game so you get two games on one board! If they finish one side, turn it over and play on the other side using the same cards!  
How to play these games:
Each player needs their own colored game piece/marker/token/chip to move on the path. One die is also needed.  Determine who goes first and that player rolls the die and moves that many spaces. They turn over a card and read it.  Play passes to each of the other players. The first player to reach the end of the path is the winner.  

Remember: The object of ANY learning game is to provide children practice with the targeted skill. Regardless if a student knows the answer or not, they still get to move on the game board. If they do not  know the answer, the adult or helper provides the answer, the child repeats it, and takes their turn!   

    Our games are designed to support children's learning and the roll of the dice or the turn of a card determines whether they win or lose...not because they couldn't read a word or name a letter etc. This makes the game fair because it is based on 'chance' and not on their knowledge. Would you want to play a game if you knew you would most likely LOSE because you didn't know the words?

     Once the students have learned the directions to a game format like Sight Word Bumper (played like Math BUMP) or Swipe or Tricky, they know the directions and can easily play games with the same format.  If they are playing Monkey SWIPE in Februaryand then play Gold SWIPE in March and Pirate SWIPE in April, in their minds those are different games 'cuz one had monkeys, another had leprechauns, and the third had pirates....different! They say, "Wow, this is a new game!"
Teachers really appreciate that most of our games are EDITABLE so ANY words or letters or math facts etc. can be printed on the game cards so YOUR students get the practice that THEY need.  Note the red arrow on the covers above.  When you see that, you'll know the game is EDITABLE

If you are interested in viewing our Learning games click {HERE}

Have fun with learning games!
Jackie and Kylene
Visit our store! 
JK Curriculum Connection