Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Obscure Holiday Videos You Might Have Missed

I had the greatest intention of writing the greatest blog post in the history of blogkind.  The topic would have redefined teaching and caused mass chaos from the fervor and cheer resonating from teachers all around the globe.  It was gonna be that good.  I'm serious.

Then I realized how close we are to winter break and realized no one really cares.

Instead, here are a few holiday/winter/Christmas videos you might want to watch with your students. I'd suggest checking them out for yourself, but you don't have to take my word for it.

A Muppet Family Christmas
This is broken into four parts on Youtube.  It's a crossover of Muppets, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock.  This is phenomenal.  Wacka, wacka, wacka!

Star Wars Christmas Special (1978ish)
This might be the worst thing ever created.  It is not good, but some of your Star Wars loving kids might be interested in seeing wookies celebrate Christmas.  Or not.

ALF Christmas Special
This is bad.  I was a kid--so it is a bit nostalgic for me.  Don't judge me.

California Raisins Christmas Special
I love claymation and this hits some high notes.

Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.
More Muppet-type fun.  Check it out.

Have a great week.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

FREEBIE ALERT: Subtraction Interactive Notebook!

Hey guys!  It's Angie from Lucky Little Learners and I am here today to bring you a FREEBIE!  Last week I reached a TPT Milestone and am overwhelmed by the love and support of all of you!  Bloggers, TPT sellers, and teachers all over have taken the time to send me emails and messages.  Needless to say, I am feeling the LOVE!
 Then, just when I thought things couldn't get any better, THIS HAPPENED...

Yep, that's right!  Teachers Pay Teachers shared this on their Facebook page it was shared 293 times and liked by over 350 people!   Better yet, as of today, it has been downloaded over 6,000 times...that's 6,000 people that get to experience my hard work and passion!  #cloudten  #lovewhatIdo

So, I'm here to let  you know that if you haven't downloaded this Subtraction Interactive Math Notebook Unit, you have until Tuesday, December 9th to pick it up for FREE and then it goes back to a paid item.  Here's a sneak peek at some of the interactive notebook pages that are included in this product...






Saturday, December 6, 2014

Gingerbread Fun in Kindergarten

I wanted to shake up my kindergarten instruction so I made these simple gingerbread cards. When I made them, I originally was going to use them as flash cards to "warm up" at the beginning of our group time. Then I started going and we ended up using these for the entire time! Here is what we ended up doing with these gingerbread men:

First, we used them as flash cards. Students had them in a pile and went through and reviewed their letter names.

Next, we sorted the cards by upper and lower case. Then they matched the upper and lower case together. 

After that we reviewed the letter sounds using only the lowercase letter cards.

We had the gingerbread vowel run to a consonant to practice blending words. Most of the words were nonsense words, but the point was to practice blending sounds together. This group of kids isn't ready to blend three sounds yet, so we focusing on two sounds. It was a lot of fun!
Click on the picture to watch the video. :)

We practiced segmenting sounds. They were able to segment three letter words with guidance. I said the word, then we all segmented the sounds together a couple of times. Then they tried to pull down the correct letters to make that word.

Last, we worked on manipulating sounds They had lots of guidance but I really saw improvement by the end. I would repeat the word and "touch and say" each sound. 
For example, I would say, map/m/ /a/ /p/ as I touched each sound. Then I would say a new word, like mip, /m/ /i/ /p/. I would touch the cards again to help them see which sound changed.  A few kids were able to touch and say the cards on their own to determine which sound changed.

If you want to print out these cards to use with your kids, you can download them here. 

Come by my blog to see more Gingerbread ideas! Here is a link to all of my previous posts with a gingerbread theme. Three years of freebies and ideas!

Monday, December 1, 2014

december freebies for you!

Hello! You may or may not know, but I recently had a baby boy! We welcomed Oliver into our family on November 12th.

He's super cuddly and super codependent (older brother Gavin has always been extremely independent so a baby that wants to be held all the time...new to me!), so I'm glad I'll be off work until February to get extra cuddles in.  So, here's where I get a little personal.  Because I'm still recovering from my c-section and dealing with some other surgery issues (my bladder tore completely open during surgery...a big whoopsie that enabled me to pee out of my ankle have a super cool catheter for the last 3 weeks!), I will make this super VISUAL and REALLY quick so I can get back to that little bundle of poop joy :) If you're still reading this, I applaud you for not jumping down to the photos so quickly. Guilty myself of doing it all. the. time.

For the last 5 years, I've made these cookies in a jar with my class for parent gifts. I always end up with a few extra jars and because I loooove this yummy recipe so much, I can eat them with red and green m&m's all year long #noprob So, if you're looking for something for your parents/volunteers/neighbors/coworkers, download this FREEBIE!

Or...if you have a good sense of humor, this FREEBIE might be helfpul :) 
and one more before you go!
And if you haven't already noticed, TpT is having a HUUUUUGE site-wide sale! This only happens about 3 times a year, so head over and save now!  
Happy shopping everyone!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

QReative Writing, the QR Code Method

Creative writing--it's one of the few times where kids (and us adults) have free reign to write pretty much whatever we want.  BUT I'm pretty sure we've preconditioned so many kids to write like robots that when given opportunities to free-write they don't know what to do.  How many times have you heard a student say, "I don't know what to write about."

This goes for my own daughter and on a couple of lazy days during Thanksgiving break we tried to break the norm of creative writing by incorporating unknown QR code elements.  My thinking revolved around the idea that my own kids just need little bumps of engagement to get going and adding in the technology/QR code element is just the ticket.

Then I went to my quality control (that's my daughter) and asked her what she thought of the idea.  I could see her wheels spinning and she started telling me all kinds of ideas that should be included.

I created a die with codes for characters, setting, and a problem.  Then she (my second grader) had to write a story based around these ideas, but first she had to write out her rolls/scans on a graphic organizer.

Below is what she rolled and scanned:
Character:  Frosty the Snowman
Setting:  The Enchanted Forest
Problem:  There was not more hot chocolate.

This was the final story I got from her:

This was written during a break.  I didn't even bribe her with a new set of LEGOS.  I was even able to get my littlest kindergartener to do it to.  For a little differentiation I had her draw a picture of the three items she scanned.  She plowed through multiple stacks of paper using that method.

I love seeing this and watching my child grow as a writer.  It's a pretty good measuring stick.  I'm excited to use this in class and see what all my other students come up too.

Engagement is the absolute key for hooking my kids and students.  I think it would be a little preposterous to imagine that all kids come in ready to learn like one of Pavlov's dogs.  It doesn't work like that.  It never works like that.  It doesn't even work like that as an adult.  We want to be engaged and sometimes our imagination can't get the jump start it needs without a jumping-off point.  Sometimes engagement takes a little piece of technology or a idea-nugget from the teacher, either way works and either way is successful.

How do you engage your students for creative writing activities?

Grab a free sample below:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Make Your Rotations ROCK!!!

Have you all ever had that moment in class when you had finally had enough?? If you heard one more student go... "Where do I go now?" or "I don't know what to do?"...you were going to lose it!?! 

Well, about 5 or 6 years ago, I had reached my limit!!! I never liked teaching whole group that much except for writing mini-lessons or science/social studies since we had very little time. However, even though I didn't like whole group, I found myself doing a lot of it until I figured out what kind of teacher I was. I'm constantly changing, but it wasn't until I got my master's degree and had 2 of my close friends (EL teachers) pushing into my room during the day that I realized the teacher I wanted and was born to be. From that day on, I was determined to create a classroom environment that flowed and was smooth like a well oiled machine. I know it might sound funny that I didn't figure it out until my master's degree was complete. haha BUT, you guys, I seriously grew a back bone and had some new found confidence! My 2 friends that pushed into my classroom also introduced me to all the small group work. This was the same year that we started putting majority of the lower level EL students in my room since I speak Spanish, and our EL population was primarily Hispanic. I love this!! 

With this new found confidence and knowledge of what type of teacher I was, I began using a rotation system for both math and reading time. It took a few years to get it down to exactly the way I wanted, but now, I seriously could NOT LIVE WITHOUT IT!!! My classroom runs around this system! 

I wanted to give my students chances to explore, learn independently, challenge themselves, work together, and grow as problem solvers. I wanted to empower them to take charge of their learning and to see how they are just as big a part of their education as we (teachers and parents) are. So, my rotations system was created!!!

With this system, my kids are given several different learning experiences between technology, partner work, and independent work along with the small group time with me. I even have different rotations leveled by writing their Lit. circle number on their post-it which corresponds to the container with the appropriate passages for their levels. I made sure to use lots of picture cues for my EL learners, but also my gen. ed. learners. EL teaching methods are good teaching methods that can be used for ALL students. With the picture cues, I've matched those labels with the areas and materials for each rotation. Here's a glimpse into one part of it. :)

As with any procedures you do in your room, they have to be practiced explicitly. It can also be adjusted and customized for your schedule and framework!! That's the greatest part of the whole system! It is constantly changing!! With the post-its, it's super simple to move around kids because you can see it all right there. AND...this also helps with partnering kids up to set them all up for success! 

If you'd like to learn more about my rotations system and how you can use it in your room, hop on over to my blog to read more HERE!!! You can also click on my blog button below!! 
Thanks so much for stopping by!!! Have a great weekend!!!
Nicole :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Meet Mrs. Olson

Hey everyone!  My name is Angie Olson and I am so excited to introduce myself to you as the newest blogger that has been added to the Class*y Collaboration!  I'm a 2nd grade teacher from Minnesota.  I have been teaching for ten years and I have taught kindergarten, first, and second grade in those years.  I blog over at Mrs. Olson's Lucky Little Learners.  I love blogging about Interactive Math Notebooks as these have become my specialty!  Feel free to check out some of my favorite blog posts that I have written!  I have even done an interview with Sheila Jane teaching where I shared a bunch of Interactive Notebook Tips and Tricks!  I'd love to connect with you and if you use INB's in your classroom, let's chat!!!

On the personal side of things, I have a husband named Brandon and a 3 year old daughter named Molly.  We moved back to our hometown after being away for 12 years and it has been so nice to get reacquainted with old friends.  I am now teaching in the same school that I once attended as a child.  I love being able to teach with teachers who taught me.  It feels so good to give back to the community that helped to provide me with such a solid foundation!  Here are some photos of my family...

Now for the fun part!  In celebration of this recent collaborative opportunity, I'm sharing a sample of my Addition Interactive Math Notebook with YOU!  I'd love to hear what you think of it!  Simply click on the image below for a direct link to the product listing in my TPT Store!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Cards Freebie!

Tis the Season for Fast & Easy Gift Ideas!
My first graders LOVE making cards for every occasion.  This year, due to the hustle and bustle of a jam-packed December schedule, I decided to make a fun Holiday Card Collection that students can make for their entire family!  Just print and go!  Students will have fun making cards all month long.
Click here or on the image below to grab this special freebie 
from my TPT store.
Happy Holidays!
Julie DiBenedetto
First Grade Critter Cafe'

Friday, November 21, 2014

Crystal Making

Hey everyone!

My class is finishing up their rocks and minerals unit for science and even though we follow a scripted curriculum for this unit, I had a few days that I could play around with.

I decided to surprise my class by letting them make crystals.

We made two kinds, one in a jar and one on a plate. 

The recipes are over on my blog. Your kids will have fun making these crystals too!

~Ms. T

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Clip Chart ADAPTED!!!

Hi there!!! Hope everyone is enjoying their week and getting excited for one of the best days of the year here in the US, Thanksgiving!!!

Today I wanted to share with you a struggle and a change I've made to fix that! One of my challenges is keeping up with my classroom management systems. I've always had systems that I've liked (clip chart, Class Dojo, etc.), but I always seem to either make the recording of it too complicated, time consuming, or just not feasible to keep up with when you have 50 million other things to do. Yes, I'm using a hyperbole hah to describe that (figurative language is always being taught in my room hah) because I just have the hardest time doing it all!

Aside from just recording everything, I started reading about different perspectives on the clip chart system (you can read more about this in the link below) which is the system I always end up going to back to. I read about the negative aspects of making kids clip down in front of everyone and all that.

So, after having a class discussion, we decided to DETACH the bottom of the clip chart from below the green down! I decided that with this, the kids who "fall" off the chart will give their clips to me to keep in my apron pocket. They can get back on the chart just as they would be able to clip up, but if their clip was still in my pocket then I make a phone call after school. Now, on the other end, if the kids get "off" the charts because of great behavior, I wear their clips on my clothes! This will also be a reason for me to call home for a good phone call! Now, I'm not saying I won't call home any other time, but this will help keep me accountable for making more parent contact!

Click on the picture below or HERE to learn more about the ins and outs of the clip chart system in my classroom and how I use SPARKLERS and REWARD COUPONS as incentives too that even work on counting coins!! :)
Thanks so much for stopping by!!! Leave a comment below to share how you all use the clip chart system in your rooms or if you do at all!! :)

Nicole :)