Monday, July 28, 2014

Bob Books Review and Giveaway!

I'm sure you have all heard of Bob Books, right? 
They are published by Scholastic and are great for beginning readers. Bob Books introduce reading step by step and really help to get children excited about learning how to read. Children feel very successful when they read the books, which helps to build their confidence and self esteem.

Recently, I was asked to review a set of books, of my choice, from Bob Books and I jumped at the chance. I have several sets of books already, that I have collected over the years, and my students absolutely love them.

I chose to review the Rhyming Words Set
Learning to recognize and read rhyming words is HUGE in kindergarten, so I thought this would be a great addition to my library.

This set comes with 10 small books, each 12 pages long. 
All of the stories contain mostly two and three letter words that can be sounded out. All of the rhyming words have endings that both sound the same and are spelled the same.
In addition to the 12 books, the set also includes 40 word family puzzle cards. I'll be putting these out at my phonics station. 
I know my students will thoroughly enjoy reading these books and I look forward to watching them become confident and enthusiastic readers!

Bob Books has generously allowed me to give away a set of books to a lucky follower. I'm sure most of you already have some sets in your classroom already, so I definitely encourage you to click here and peruse their website. It is very user friendly. They even have a book finder quiz that will help you find the right set for your students' needs.

Once you figure out the set you would like to win, just come back here and enter my giveaway using the rafflectoper. One of the entries is to leave a comment below, stating the set you'd like to win. This entry is mandatory. Please enter this giveaway with integrity, as this contest will be closely monitored.

Good luck to everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Idea: Instant Shelving

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!

This month, I'm sharing an easy and inexpensive way to add extra shelving in your classroom.

Just put some crates on a table and put a piece of wire shelving on top and, voila! You have an instant shelf! You can put stuff in the crates and on top of the wire shelving. To make more room at the table, I pushed the table out from the wall a bit and put some wooden boards on the table, before I put the crates on it. The boards are just left over dividers from my wooden furniture that I never use.

When I purchased my wire shelving, I had a worker cut it down to the correct size. They do that free of charge!

I hope you find this idea useful! Check out the links below for more bright ideas!

Friday, July 18, 2014

20,000 Facebook Fans Sale-A-Bration!

I am very excited to have reached
To celebrate, I'm having a 3 day sale.
Now is a good time to grab what you need to start the new school year! We can't keep pretending that our summer vacation will last forever!

Here are some items you may need!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Super Improvers Wall

I am joining some of my blogging buddies in a Back to School Blog Hop!

Here's a great tip on Whole Brain Teaching, to help you breeze through back to school preparation!

I love Whole Brain Teaching and each year, I introduce more and more of their strategies to my students. If you aren't too familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, I urge you to check out their website and see what all the hoopla is about.

This year, I plan on utilizing the Super Improvers Wall. 

The purpose of the Super Improvers Wall is so that the children can play an important role in goal setting, so they are self motivated and fully committed to reaching for their goals every single day. The more effort they put into it, the higher they will get on the Super Improvers Wall.

The way it works is, about once a day, if you see your students working hard to reach their individualized goal(s), they earn a star sticker on their labeled, colored star. The color of the star matches the level they are on. Once they earn 10 star stickers, they move up a level and you give them a new star that matches the color of that level. It should take almost all year for the children to get to the top of the chart.
Since I don't have my display up yet, I made this pretend display. You can see that my very small, imaginary class of 6 children, have their name on a star that matches the level they are on. For example, Al is a beginner and Kim is an MVP. I will put a foil star on their colored star each day that they put forth the effort it takes to strive to reach their goal(s). As mentioned earlier, once they earn 10 star stickers, they advance to the next level.

You may be thinking that you have some students who are already perfect and it will be hard for them to come up with goals. Well, the bottom line is, no one is perfect, and there is always something they can improve upon. 

Let me give you a good example of how no one is perfect!

Meet Buddy!
At first glance, he seems perfect. Cute and cuddly, right? 
Well, look again! See that fuzzy pink slipper? That is not Buddy's toy. That is my slipper! Buddy is not perfect after all. He has an affinity for stealing slippers. He doesn't chew them or ruin them. He just stalks people and when he sees they took off a slipper, he waits until no one is looking and swipes it. He brings it to his bed or crate and either hides it under the pillows or just goes to sleep with it. 
At times, he has 2, 3, or even more slippers in his bed.
And when you ask him why he took them, he gives you this look...
And it's hard to get mad at him when you see that sweet face!
But, the bottom line is, although he doesn't ruin the slippers, it's wrong to steal them. He needs to put forth some effort and try hard to curb his appetite for slippers. So, that is his goal. "I will not steal slippers."

Each day that I see him ignore a slipper, I will give him lots of praise, belly rubs, and a star!
Now look at Buddy! After earning some stars, he is able to sit next to a slipper without the urge to steal it. The Super Improvers Wall is doing it's job! Buddy is motivated to get to the next level so he can get a new star a treat!

I am super proud of Buddy!
His slipper stealing days are (almost) long gone!

But, even better, he is SUPER proud of himself for reaching his goal. 
Just look at that winning smile!

You can read more about how to utilize the Super Improvers Wall here. If you download my Super Improvers Wall, you can read more about how I plan on using it. I'm sure there are many different ways you can use it successfully in your classroom.

Included in the download of the Super Improvers Wall, are these posters of the 5 Whole Brain Teaching Classroom Rules.

I also made printable student books so the children can share the rules with their family!

*I included a set of posters and booklets without rule 3, as I do not use that rule in my classroom.

Click here to read all about how to teach these rules to the children using gestures. 
Fun, fun, fun!

I hope you enjoyed my back to school tip!
Click the image below to hop to the next blog!
Nicole has an awesome organizing tip for you!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Freebielicious Back to School Educents Giveaway!

I am definitely loving my summer vacation, but, I am also excited to start planning for the new school year. 

Start planning? Who am I kidding? I started planning for the new school year even before the last one was finished! LOL! Don't judge me! I'm sure you did the same thing, whether or not you care to admit it! 

This year will bring with it some exciting changes for me. 

The biggest changes, will be my use of Interactive Notebooks and the Super Improvers Wall, which is a whole brain teaching strategy. 
I'll be blogging about this very soon!

I'm also changing the names of my stations this year, to make them more specific to what the children will do there. This year, my stations will be called...
With the new school year just around the corner, my Freebielicious friends and I have teamed up with Educents with some instant downloads for you! Loaded with great products for back to school including book studies, craftivities, classroom prep, and content materials for back to school!  With 23 instant downloads... you have to check it out!  

My product included will surely be loved by your students!

Sentence puzzles are a wonderful activity to help young learners practice reading, writing, spelling, conventions, and grammar. Many of the sentence puzzles are fact based, making for even more meaningful learning! My sentence puzzles are differentiated to accommodate all ability levels.
For a limited time it is $29.99 from Educents which is 73% off!  Twenty-three products for your kinder and first grade classrooms and over 1200 pages of materials from some of your favorite teachers!  It's a bundle you are sure to LOVE!

Take a moment to peek at some of the other teachers featured in this bundle - what they have going on for back to school and what they are featuring in this deal too!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Rhyme and Sort Rockets Giveaway!

Check out this fun game from Constructive Playthings!

Constructive Playthings sent me this game to try out with my students and to write an honest review about it.

Well, it is a really fun and exciting game.
My students couldn't wait for it to be their turn to come to my table so they could play. In kindergarten, this game is best played with your assistance. Some of the rhyming cards are challenging for the children to figure out. But, I'm all about challenging my students, so this is a great thing.
There are many different ways you could play this game. 
For the game you see pictured here, the children took turns choosing a picture card from the pile. They looked at the picture, said the word out loud, and showed the group. If they couldn't come up with the picture word, I gave them a hint.

 Next, they matched the card they chose to the correct rhyming rocket and stuck it inside the rocket. There is a little hole on the front of each rocket. Each rocket has a picture clipped to the outside of it. Once all of the cards have been matched with a rocket, the game is over. You could also assign each child a rocket and have them find the pictures that match their rocket. We played that way too. There are many different options.

This game definitely made practicing rhyming words fun, exciting, and challenging. Who doesn't like feeding a rocket? LOL! And the game is incredibly colorful and very durable. 

I highly recommend this game for every primary classroom. My first graders enjoyed it too. Once they all had a turn playing with me, they were able to play by themselves with very minimal assistance from me.

I am happy to say that you all have the opportunity to win one of these games for your students to play! How exciting would it be to head back to your classroom, for the new school year, with this fun rhyming game? I know you and your students will love it as much as we did!

Constructive Playthings is generously allowing me to give away a game! Yay! They are a family owned business who specializes in learning toys, teacher supplies, classroom materials, playground equipment, and more! Please click on over to Constructive Playthings and check out all they have to offer! 

All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter below, with integrity. The more options you choose to enter, the greater your chances are of winning. 

Good luck to you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 4, 2014

Kindergarten Sight Words Interactive Notebooks

I am on an interactive notebook roller coaster and I can't get off!
If you haven't read my last two blog posts about why I am addicted to interactive notebooks, you can read them now. Just click here and here.

Here's my latest creation!

Since I use the 2014 Journeys Reading Program, I used those words to make these exciting activities.

I love teaching sight words and the children definitely love learning them. I am very excited about using a notebook to hold all these activities, because I know the children will benefit greatly from having this resource at their fingertips every day. 

I am certain this book will be an extremely useful learning tool. As in all interactive notebooks, the children will be able to refer to them if they forget how to spell a word, and by reading these books repeatedly, they will memorize the spelling of these words way quicker. Unlike activity sheets that go home each day, these books will always be available to the children. 

If we have a few minutes to kill, the children can look through their notebooks and read the words. If they didn't finish coloring a page, they can work on that too. Even while coloring, the children are still looking at the words and committing them to memory.

The activities included are all labeled with the lesson number. The activities get a little more challenging as the year progresses. I grouped the first several lessons together since there are not a lot of words to learn. Here is how I grouped the lessons...
After Lessons 13-14, they are no longer grouped together. Starting with Lesson 16, there are 8 activities for each lesson. You can pick and choose the activities you want to do each day and do some during whole group, small group, stations, independent work, or even for homework. Whatever works best for your schedule.

I bundled this pack together with my Phonics Interactive Notebook activities, so you can purchase both at a discount. Although the phonics notebook activities are not labeled for the Journeys lessons, they do include activities for all the kindergarten phonics skills covered in Journeys . Click the image below to purchase the bundled notebooks.

I am so excited to use all my new interactive notebook activities, that I (almost) want school to start soon!
Now is a great time to snag them!
Thank you Dragonflies in First for the CUTE sale button!

In honor of Independence Day, my whole store is on sale Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! Now is a great time to pick up all your interactive notebook activities and anything else you may want to prep for the new school year. Just click on the button below to start shopping!

Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard