Saturday, July 25, 2015

MEGA BTS $200 TpT Giveaway!

Freebielicious would like to thank you for joining us for a week of linkies!  We had so much fun and appreciate you taking a few moments to pop in and see what we had to say!  We also have a bit of a surprise to share with you! How about a chance to win some money to spend at TeachersPayTeachers?  It won't take away any or all of your back to school blues, but it is sure to sweeten it!

 Head on over to Freebielicious to enter to win one of TWO $100 TpT gift cards!  But you will have to be quick!  Winners will be announced on Freebielicious on Sunday, July 26th at 9:00 AM CST. 

We will also have another surprise for you...because why?  Because we LOVE you and appreciate what you do day-in-day-out for your students!

Click on the apple below to enter this amazing giveaway!
Good luck!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fun School Activities!

I am linking up with Freebielicious again, and this time, it's Fun Friday! Time to talk about all the fun things we do in our classrooms. I went through thousands of my pictures from the past few years of teaching, and grabbed a few that show some of the ways I keep it exciting in my classroom.

 The children love to take gallery walks. Once students have finished a whole group writing or interactive notebook activity, they are allowed to get up and walk around the room, looking at everyone's work.

 Whenever learning can be turned into a game, we will play it! While the students are learning and practicing important academic skills, they are also developing and strengthening important social skills, like patience, sharing, problem solving, and getting along with others.

 Scoot keeps the children moving and learning and completely engaged. In this picture, the children just scooted to the next chair. This past year, we played without chairs, and it was even better.

 Nothing beats good old collaboration! My students LOVE to work in small groups and if we don't do it every day, I'll hear about it! The moment the words, "we're going to work in groups..." come out of my mouth, they're already plotting who they're going to work with. 

Why sit in a chair to work when you can sit on the floor, under a table, or lay out on the carpet? For most activities, I let the children choose where to sit. Within reason, of course. Children love to make their own decisions and where to sit is just one of many they enjoy making on a daily basis. Some still choose to sit in a chair, but many like to work wherever they are most comfortable.

Write the room is a favorite in my classroom, year after year. Once again, it gets the children moving and always keeps them engaged.

So, these are just a few of the ways learning can be lots of fun. Most involve collaboration and movement.
And that's they way I like it!
Who wants to go to school and sit and work alone all day?
Not anyone I know!

Now, head on over to Freebielicious and link up and/or read all the other ways to make learning fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wonderful Idea Wednesday: Supercharged Leader of the Day

I am linking up with Freebielicious for 
Wonderful Idea Wednesday!

I know everyone has their own way of assigning jobs in their classroom, and, today, I'm going to tell you about my way. It's been working for me for many years and, each year, I give my leader of the day, more and more responsibility, which takes a lot of the pressure off of me.

Here's what I do...

Every day, I choose a name out of the "I'm waiting for my turn!" basket and that is our leader for the whole day. They wear a badge like this...

Being the leader of the day is a very sought after position because this person is in charge of everything that a child could possibly be in charge of. And, not just the usual jobs, like messenger, paper passer, line leader, etc. In addition to the standard leader jobs, he/she also...

Since the leader of the day is in charge of all these tasks, and more, it frees me up to do other things. Even if it's just 2 minutes, that's still 2 valuable minutes for me to do something important, while someone else is in charge. I can check my email, file papers, clean up from an activity, get ready for the next activity, take a drink, or blow my nose. And, I can do these things without worrying about entertaining the children. Transitions have never been easier!

Of course, it takes time to teach the children to be in charge. And I spend valuable time at the beginning of every year, training my students to take on these extra responsibilities. 

When a child is in charge and calling the shots, the rest of the class responds very well to them. The children really learn to respect each other and generally want to please each other and get noticed for their good behavior. Since I spend so much time role modeling how to be in charge, the children can't help but emulate my words and actions. I often hear the leader complimenting their peers on their outstanding behavior and I see them smiling and winking at each other. Yup, even though I may be at my teacher table, writing a note, I'm always paying attention!

So, there you have it! If you put your leader of the day in charge of more than just passing out papers and being a messenger, you will so enjoy all your free time! 

Now, head on over to Freebielicious and link up or read all the other wonderful ideas!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Interactive Notebooks in Kindergarten? You bet!

I am a HUGE advocate of using interactive notebooks. I've written numerous blog posts about what a valuable learning tool they are and how engaged my students are while working in their notebooks. Click here to see my previous blog posts.

But, no matter how many times I tell other teachers how wonderful they are, a lot of kindergarten teachers still feel hesitant about incorporating them in their classroom because of all the cutting and gluing involved. And, rightfully so. If you use activities with lots of small pieces to cut and glue, then I would be turned off too.

When searching for interactive notebook activities for our youngest learners, it is very important that you find ones that do not have a lot of cutting and gluing. 

I created phonics and sight word interactive notebook activities for my kindergarten students last year, and used them very successfully in my kindergarten classroom. I purposely created activities that do not have too much cutting.

Even though the activities I created do not have a ton of cutting and gluing, I have talked to some teachers who are still hesitant to use interactive notebooks because ANY amount of cutting and gluing turns them off.

To help sway my teacher friends to take the plunge, I added to my existing activities, a whole bunch of JUST ONE CUT activities. That's it! JUST ONE CUT! After the children complete the fun activity, there is JUST ONE CUT and then they glue the sheet into their notebook.

See the BIG dotted line around the label and activity? That's the only cut the children need to make. No small pieces and no intricate cutting.

Here are some other images of the JUST ONE CUT activities, compared to the multiple cut activities, included in my interactive notebook activity pack...

Click on each image to enlarge to show detail.

There's no doubt that flaps and foldables are engaging and exciting. But now you have a choice. On days you are pushed for time, an activity with just one cut may be all you have time for. I recommend mixing it up and doing flaps and foldables on some days and the just one cut activities on other days. 

All the skills in my Kindergarten Phonics Interactive Notebook Activities pack contain activities with just one cut and with a few cuts. Just pick and choose what you have time for. You can also differentiate if your students are working on these activities independently. Those who can handle a little more cutting and gluing can do the activities with multiple cuts and those who can't, can do the activities with just one cut. You can even let the students decide which activity to complete.

Now, there's no excuse not to jump on the interactive notebook bandwagon! 

Too much cutting? Problem solved! 
Not enough time? Problem solved!

If you're ready to commit, and watch your students excitedly work in their notebooks, while staying engaged, then click on the links below! If you already purchased any of my activities, be sure to download them again and get the JUST ONE CUT activities for free!

Click here for the BIG Bundle of all phonics activities.

Click here for just the alphabet activities.

Click here for just the beginning, middle, and ending sounds activities.

Click here for just the rhyming, syllables, and short and long vowels activities.

Click here for just the CVC word, word families, onset and rime, and real and nonsense words activities.

And, if you're new to interactive notebooks, don't forget to read all my blog posts about this wonderful and invaluable learning tool! Just click the image below to get started reading!

Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard