Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Journal Covers and Pages

I have a late Easter gift for all of you this week! 

 Now most of you have probably been on spring break the past week, well my school ran up until last Friday. I am sure all of you had this same feeling right before spring break. My last day of school before break consisted of the normal chaos and a special treat *sarcasm* of a girl having an accident during our Good Friday Mass. Kindergarten teachers do it all! This was me all Friday.

And this was me on Friday night 

This weekend I enjoyed over eating and spending some quality time with my husband. Now that it is Monday, I am starting my week out productive!

I got a manicure and pedicure,

I went to the dentist,

and ran some errands like a successful adult!

When I came home from my busy and productive Monday I checked my amazing Erin Condren planner and realized I have a blog post due! 

Because I kinda dropped the ball on my blog post,

I am offering everyone a free gift!

These journal cover pages are what I have been working on lately. They are designed for teachers to use as monthly journals or seasonal journals. There are horizontal and vertical styles for each month/season. 
Click on any of the pictures below to bring you to the freebie. 

This will only be free for a week so act fast!

I am now off to enjoy the rest of my spring break!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

To 'Bee' or Not to 'Bee'....What's all the buzzzzzzz about HONEYBEES?

Every school year, in the spring, we study insects in depth in our Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms. The children LOVE it! They are especially captivated (and sometimes scared) by all the bees we have 'visiting' our playground!  Well, bee-lieve it or not these fascinating insects are really a hit with students! Chances are they have eaten honey on a biscuit or piece of bread or eaten a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios! But they don't know where this delicious food comes from...honey that is....and no, it's not just "from the store"!! They really become great admirers of bees and not so frightened 'cuz they know how to bee-have when they see them and NOT swat at them!
                Here are some fascinating facts to share with your students.

Click {HERE} to download these pages. 

Here are some of our favorite books for read-alouds. They help build background knowledge. Click on the link bee-low the picture to find them at or check out your school or public library! You might be surprised at what you can find about bees! 

 Books about Bees at Amazon
Books about Bees
Here is a song about honeybees & honey we wrote.  It is easily sung to the tune "Alouette" and comes with a song chart, song/poem journal take-home page, pocket chart cards for teaching the lyrics and a mini-writing book called "Yum! Yum!".  Students can create their own sentences based on the sentence patterns.  Ex. "I like  hamburgers.  My dad makes hamburgers." or "I like salsa. My mom makes salsa." etc.  
 Click {HERE} to download it at our TPT store. 

Here is a song by Jean Warren that we have been using for many years. It is a fun active song that gets your busy bees up and moving around. There are also stick puppets provided so the children can place their bee puppet on their toes, nose, and arms etc. as they sing the song.  Click {HERE} to download this FREEBIE!

BEE sure to reward your students' reading with a "BEE a good reader" bookmarks.  Click {HERE} to download this file. It comes in color or B/W so you can choose which ones to print. 

It is always fun to sample a few bites of delicious honey when studying bees. Try to get some that is locally made (if you can) and spread it on some crackers or small pieces of bread and enjoy!  

Well, we BEE-lieve you will make a BEE-line to 
download our free files!  We also have some 
Bee-themed products we've created.  Click each picture caption to link to the product page. 

Fun song with stick puppets, retelling cards etc.
Sight word Game with EDITABLE cards so ANY words can be added!
Path game practicing "ee" and "ea" words     
Song about farm animals (and BEES!) and the food they provide.

We hope you have a great time studying honeybees!  

We bee-lieve you really will!
Jackie & Kylene

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Fun

My first graders are so excited the weather is getting warmer and we can start learning all about Spring and all the wonderful changes this season brings.  I have this Spring Printables Pack that is sure to be a great resource for your class.  I use these for so many things - morning work, back up center, small groups, skill groups, homework, enrichment and more.  This pack has over 50 printables to use with your students.
Here are few activities included in this pack:





To get this pack click here
Wishing you a wonderful Spring!
Jenn Wiggins

To check out my store click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Task Card Ideas

Hi, everyone.  Queen of the Jungle here to share some great tips on using your Task Cards.  Most teachers I know have lots of task cards for a variety of subject areas and skill levels.  Our students love to work on the cards.  Especially when we use them in unique and novel ways.  I want to share with you couple of my favorite ways to use Task Cards.  


The SCOOT Game is a tried and true way to use your Task Cards to review concepts and evaluate learning. If you have never played SCOOT, it is super easy. All you need is a set of Task Cards and a recording sheet or blank piece of paper. These are the directions:

  1. Place a Task Card on each desk. Have one task card for each student. 
  2. If you are short Task Cards, just make a desk or two the "Resting Desk" where students can put their head down and rest, or doodle on a graffiti page that you tape to the desk. It gives them a little break during the activity.
  3. Students will start at their own desks.
  4. They read the Task Card and answer it on the correct space on their recording sheet.
  5. At timed intervals have students SCOOT to the next desk and work on the next Task Card. Depending on your Task Card activity, you will want to time them from 30 seconds to 1 minute. But, you could do more or less time as needed.
  6. When students have rotated around the room and completed all TASK Cards, the game is over. Students can turn in their papers.

Our students love this activitiy and it is so much more fun that just working on a pile of cards or completing a worksheet.

Try out this FREE SCOOT Game with Punctuation Task Cards. Click the picture below to download.


My second favorite way to use Task Cards is in an Interactive Bulletin Board.  This BINGO Board can be set up on a classroom bulletin board, hallway bulletin board or a science display board which makes it portable.
Science Task Cards from The Science Penguin 

Staple your Task cards on the Bingo Grid.  Number them so students can put the numbers on their answer document or paper.  Students work the cards in a pattern that will give them a BINGO: Work five cards Across, Up and Down, or Diagonal.  This can be done as a center/station during small group instruction time. You can even use it as an early finishers task.  Students are really excited to see our BINGO board because they want to be the first in their group to finish the cards and get a BINGO!

Hope this post gives you a couple of new ways to use your multitude of Task Cards. 

Until Next Time,

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Queen of the Jungle

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Letter Buddies!

Hey everyone!  I'm Amy from Cahill's Creations and I'm here to share what we're learning in our classroom now.  Since we are in the final quarter of kindergarten, the kids are ready to learn about different letter combinations and the sounds they make.  They love learning about different sounds and finding them in text.  
Their confidence in reading is growing every day and I just love seeing it happen!  

YouTube is a fantastic resource that is also very engaging.  We always start our lessons with songs to get the kids excited and engaged in what our learning that day.
Here are just a few songs that the kids especially love to learn about letter combinations:

This song is so catchy.  I hear the kids singing this one throughout the day.

The kids thought this one was hilarious!

I also found these super cute letter buddies, so I had to create posters with them.  These posters turned out so cute and are a great visual for kids to see all the combinations.  They just make me so happy!

I created 60 different posters that are all half sheets of paper.  I wanted to save paper, but keep the content.  Click the pictures to find all of them! 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Celebrating the Arts!

Hi!  I'm Hannah from 21st Century K and I'm excited to share how my school works to celebrate the arts.  In response to new program reviews and standards a few years ago, we began holding an Arts Showcase for our primary students each spring.  

After reviewing the standards we found that while we provided more than adequate opportunities for experiences with visual art, music, dance, and drama in a learning/classroom-type environment we failed to offer our students the opportunity to create, collaborate, perform, critique and explore the arts in their own unique ways.  
So, we encouraged students (and their families) to choose anything creative for which they felt they had special talent or aptitude, and plan a way to present that talent to their classmates.  Then each class held individual performances and voted on which talent/presentation/performance they would like to represent their class in a school wide Create Arts Day Showcase.  No emphasis is placed on winning and losing or who is better/worse.  Our showcase isn't a talent show and very few parents attend. It is simply a way for students to share a way in which they are creative.

What resulted was more than any of our teachers could have ever imagined...

Our young students, as an audience, were respectful, encouraging, and thoughtful. Within each classroom a special story unfolded.   In a second grade classroom an athletic boy puts together a basketball dribbling routine and sets it to music for which the crowd cheers. In one third grade classroom a friend with special needs sings a Michael Jackson song and is unanimously voted into the show where she receives a standing ovation. In another class, a quiet boy shares his amazing computerized robot for which he wrote the programming and is voted into the show over the Broadway show-tune belted out by the girl who regularly participates in local theater performances. In my Kindergarten classroom a typically outgoing and boisterous girl quietly shares a memoir she wrote about her lost pet goldfish and she is hugged by her friends, many of whom are brought to tears.  My own daughter, when she was in second grade, was begged by her class to sing "Let It Go" for the school showcase, encouraging her to overcome stage fright and perform for an audience for the first time in her life. I watched her blossom before my very eyes and was touched to see her classmates give her encouraging looks and a loud, supportive ovation as she finished the song. Many more students played instruments, performed dance routines, and paraded visual arts pieces across the gym.  Each time the crowd of primary students would cheer and clap as if they were at a Grammy-nominated performance.

We all learn a lot of valuable lessons during this week of the school year.

  • As teachers we are reminded that the "extra" stuff (about which we may grumble when it interrupts our comfortable school day routine) is worthy of our time.
  • As regular educators we are reminded that the arts programs are vital to our school and our students (and that the art, drama, music, and PE teachers have a hard job).
  • We learn to view many of our students in a new light... many of which are little diamonds in the rough or have secret talents about which we didn't know.
  • From our students we learn that a little bit of grace and humility can go a long way and that supporting each other by cheering wildly when someone else succeeds is just what friends should do.
  • Interested in starting your own Creative Arts Day?

We send parents a note one week prior saying all students are welcome to participate by preparing any creative presentation including, but certainly not limited to, any visual arts pieces, vocal/instrumental performances, creative writing, dance or other movement routine, anything involving creativity with technology, and dramatic performances or collaborations. Each teacher provides a little class time to discuss projects and ideas, and provides time for friends who may not ave time at home to prepare.  Each class plans a day for class performances and works together to choose one student to perform at the school wide assembly.  Administrators and arts teachers work together to make sure students have all they need and to set a schedule for the school showcase. Then on a Friday afternoon we all gather in the gym to simply celebrate creativity and the arts.

It's simple... after all, the best things in life always are.
Add the Arts to your Common Core instruction in grades K, 1st, and 2nd with this fun unit, "Talents," at 21st Century K on TpT.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Guided Reading - Organization and Support Tools

Hi everyone!

We have about two and a half months left of school. We're working hard in our guided reading groups, so students can progress as much as possible with their reading by the end of the school year.

I'm always trying to make the time I spend with my reading groups as effective as possible. That means I have to have materials organized and easily accessible. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite tools that I've found helpful for teaching guided reading groups and organizing the materials we use.

I use The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson. It includes detailed lesson plans for leveled readers (Fountas and Pinnell levels).

The lessons last for 20-25 minutes. I keep the materials and tools we use on a bookshelf that's right behind my guided reading table.

The teachers at my school have access to guided reading books that they check out from our school library. I keep the guided reading books in labeled bins in my classroom.

The bins sit on the bookshelf that's right behind my desk. It's perfect for easy access. The bins are extra wide. They can even hold oversized books that I sometimes use for guided reading. They come with clear plastic dividers. I'm able to keep the books separated by reading group or reading level. They come in a variety of colors. You can find them at Really Good Stuff®.

I work on high-frequency word practice with some of my reading groups. Sometimes the students write on white boards. 

Sometimes they make the words using magnet boards.

These are the 6" x 9" size. They're a perfect size for students. They don't take up much room, especially when I'm working with 6 students in a group. The ones I use are magnetic. I'm able to use them for making words. I use the larger size (9" x 12" for demonstrations).

I also find it useful to have larger magnetic boards.

They come in handy when students are making more than one word at a time. The white boards and magnet boards come from Lakeshore®.

I keep the magnet letters in plastic boxes.

These I use only for guided reading activities. It's especially helpful that the compartments are labeled and are large enough that the letters come out easily. They're all lowercase letters. All the consonant letters are blue and the vowels are red. It's exactly what I need when working with vowel sound spellings. It came as a kit. You can find them at Really Good Stuff®.

I have sound box templates inserted into one side and analogy charts inserted into the other side. They save me so much time. I never have to run off extra copies, because they're reusable. Students can easily write and erase their answers. My students love when we do sound boxes and analogy charts. I think it's because they can use the markers, and they have fun erasing the pockets. It definitely keeps them engaged in the activities.

An assortment of pens and erasers are a must for our guided reading lessons. 

I place the caddy on the table. I can distribute and collect materials quickly. They're kept all together in one convenient place. The caddy fits all that we use. It's sturdy and durable. The ones I use are in primary colors. Lakeshore® has them in a variety of bright colors. 

What do you use during your guided reading groups? How do you organize them? I'd love to hear about any ideas or tips.