Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Deep Blue Sea

Summer School is winding down and we have fallen in love with Audrey Wood's The Deep Blue Sea.
Do you know this book?  If not, you NEED to have it.   As we were doing our activity today, I was thinking of all the CCSS  we could hit with just this one book!  Here's what I came up with:
K.RL. 2--retell familiar stories
K.RL.10--actively engage in group reading (Can I find a Big Book?)
K.SL.1--participate in collaborative conversations (after reading...what would you see if you were in
             the deep blue sea?)
K.L.1e--use the most frequently occurring prepositions
Not to mention colors, reading for enjoyment and following a pattern.  :)

So, all that to's what we did!

After reading the story, I asked the students to retell me the story one part at a time.  As they did I handed them a pre-cut piece (most I did freehand...the tree, parrot and butterfly I used clipart and ran it on the correct colored construction paper) and they glued it down.  With each new piece we reviewed what we already had on our picture.  Here's how it turned out!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Font fanatic!

Is there a 12 step program for obsessions with fonts and clipart?  If so, please take me to the nearest meeting!
I just ran across this site....
And OH MY WORD...her fonts are too cute and free!  Click on the button to take you there.  She just posted her TOU.  Thanks Jen for your creativity!

Chapter 3...Daily 5

I feel a bit better after reading Chapter 3.  Chapter 2 was rough...gave me a lot to ponder.  But as I tell my kiddos, when you think, you stretch and grow and growing is part of learning!
Here's my reflection on this chapter:
1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks:
      Gotta love the good ol' carpet!  Room to move, a place to gather.  A lot of learning happens on that carpet.  I am lucky that I have one corner of my room that's's big!  I'm always saying "Let's go to the carpet."  I'm so used to saying it that I think my Summer School kiddos think I'm nuts.  (I'm not in my room for it and I'm always saying "Go to the carpet." when there is none!)  
2.  Developing the concept of "good fit" books:
     I spent a lot of time on this section.  I love the shoe mini lesson-it's something I think my kids would get.  I did panic a little at first because I was thinking "How can I make sure the book is a good fit if they can't read?"  But then I reread the section and saw the part on focusing on purpose and interest.  That is so doable with my little guys.  I can focus on the comprehension part later.  
3. Create anchor charts with students:
     Key word here is WITH.  I'm all for making it pretty, but if you take the time to make with the kids, it's more meaningful than if you "redo" it again later.  We make some anchor charts but I used to make a lot more.  Our school is  a PBIS school and we have a weekly focus lesson that we have to make an anchor chart for and hang all week.  My wall space at eye level is pretty limited after that but I have heard about and saw on the pin board about making a reference binder with a picture of anchor charts that you've taken down.  
L*O*V*E it!
4.  Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes:
      I touched on this in my Chapter 2 reflection.  I've been building stamina all along so I feel pretty confident in doing it.  I like the stamina charts I've seen...planning on putting one of those into use this next year.  As far as book boxes, I use cereal and easy to come by and replace if needed.  I haven't ever used them from day 1 though.  My kids include the little emergent readers we make in class and then eventually their guided reading books.  Something to ponder...
5.  Calm signals and check in procedures:
    I've used chimes, call backs, clapping, hands up...a myriad of tricks.  It usually ends up being whatever pops out of my mouth the very first day of school.  I've used the thumb method too...just never with self-checking.  Adding to the list!
6.  Using the correct/incorrect behavior modeling:
    I've always done this and I LOVE modeling the incorrect behavior!  They watch open mouthed every time!  And, as suggested, I always use the little angel I think may have the hardest time to model correct behavior.  That one station....they are always so good after that!
Join the linky at Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten!  Chapter 4 will be hosted by Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business!   

Monday, June 25, 2012

A little behind...Chapter 2 of The Daily 5

Wow!  Where has the time gone?  Like so many of you, I've gotten a little behind in my postings for the Daily 5 book study.  I've also got to work on my post for the first 6 chapters of In Pictures and In Words but a little trilogy about some guy named Grey has me hooked. it hot in here or is it just me?  

       Do I trust my students?  Ummm...yes...but some more than others.  It's sad to say, I know, but I really try then something happens that breaks that trust.  I need to work on it.  I try to give the students ownership in our room and our things, but sadly, many don't care. I teach them the routines of our classroom from day 1 and we practice, practice, practice so that I can trust they can do things on their own.  I shudder to think that I may be...can't say, not enabler?  **Sigh**
    Ok this was a really hard chapter for me to reflect on.  Control freak Erica has a hard time letting go.  I do think I provide choice within structure...multiple activities within their station that they can choose to do.  Is that good enough?  I know in my heart of hearts its not, so something else I have to work on.  
    Finally, something I feel good about!  We are pretty much told class building, class building, class building the first 6 weeks.  Establish routines, get the feeling of belonging and safety established.   We do that.  Can I do more?  Absolutely!  
Sense of Urgency:
   Because I said so?  Guilty of saying it.  I try to explain everything...but sometimes it pops out of my mouth.  I let the kiddos know right off that everything we do, whether it be lining up, writing, or playing at recess, is part of our job and our job is to be the best learners we can be.
    I do this!  We start off for just a few minutes whenever I start introducing stations, and celebrate a good job.  I like the idea of the "barometer" child that you can use to gauge when they are done...keep them successful for how long they can.  There are also tons of cute stamina monitors on the Daily 5 pin board.  
 Staying out of the way:
     I have to do this...I am supposed to be teaching!  I use the "3 before Me" and for emergencies, the "3 B's"...blood, barf and bathroom.  It's usually 2 B's  because we always take a restroom break before hand.  I love explaining the blood (squirting!) and barf emergencies.  It's even funnier listening them explain it to someone who doesn't know!

Link up with Caitlin at Kindergarten Smiles for the Chapter 2 linky then next will be back to Tammy at Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten for Chapter 3!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daily 5 Linky Party...Chapter 1-Introduction

Tammy at Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten is hosting a book study and linky party for The Daily 5.  Check out her post and found out how others are doing it and you can too!
There's also a Pinterest board for all you "pin-aholics", just for Daily 5 freebies and ideas!
I am so excited to be part of this book study.  I will admit to be a Daily 5 newbie, but plan tackling it this year with a little help from my teaching and blogging friends!  Here is my answers to Tammy's questions, based on what I already do and what I *think* I might do...I'll probably change my mind once it's in practice.

1.  How do I teach new behaviors?
This one is probably the same as everyone else...model, model, model...I model and my kids model for each other.  I show them what I want...exactly!  Every minute of every day for the first 2 months, then review and model after major breaks, during holiday weeks and any other time we need it we practice all the way until day 178!

2.   How do I teach expectations?
The same as with new behaviors-with model and practice.  I show them the good, the bad and the ugly and they love it.  Always pick a "little angel" to help you do it right after you shown them how to do it wrong.  Works every time!

3.  How do I monitor student behavior?  whole group?  small groups?  individuals?
Hi, I'm Erica, and I'm a Type A control freak!  I used to have color groups that ended up being the same as their table colors and use a rotation chart.  But I found that by doing it that way, when the kids were sick of each other (I move seats every couple of months) they were short with each other and didn't work well together, so behavior in centers became an issue.  So then I went to putting kids in groups of 3 or 4 and using their pictures and a pocket chart.  This last year I went to groups of 2 and my literacy stations were actually a lit and math combo.  I'm hoping after next year to start Math Workshop and have separate math and lit stations.  I was going to try this year but as usual, I think I've bit off more than I can chew.  

When I've got a small group, we use the "3 before me" method and only interrupting for "B" emergencies-blood, barf and occasionally bathroom because we take a break right before.  If we don't then I'll allow it.  If we do, and they decided they "have" to go, it's a 5 minute time out. 

4.  What do I do when a student is not exhibiting a desired behavior?
Our school is a PBIS school, so we have a "hierarchy" of sorts when dealing with off task behavior.  It merged well with my color card system, but to be honest, just for work stations, I simply warn the student with 1 finger and then a "2" is a 5 minute removal from the station, which is usually pretty effective because my kids LOVE stations and hate to be away from them.  A "3" is removal from all of station hoo!  I very rarely get passed a warning because they love it so much.  Thank goodness! 

5.  Whose classroom is it?
It's ours...with some of my stuff :(  Sorry...control freak!  I have to work on that!

6.  Locus of control?
Again, control issues!  I do reward students, though.  I use the Rock Star folders/lollipop tree idea from Katie at Little Warriors.  Check out the post here!  

7.  Where are supplies stored?
I have a toy organizer with plastic bins that I got at Toys R Us.  Each bin is numbered and alternates literacy and math so my kids do one of each each day.  The numbers coordinate with the pocket chart and usually by the end of the first week of stations, they know what's in what bin.  I rotate my work station materials monthly, although most stay the same activity, just with new pictures or manipulatives.   What worked best for me this year is a zippered pouch with the supplies they need to complete the activity...crayons, glue sticks, scissors, etc, a gallon plastic baggie to hold the recording sheets if any, and a baggie for the game.  The kids were really good about telling me they need more of something when they get it out or at the end of the rotation.  

When we dismiss to stations, I allow the students to go anywhere in the room that they agree on with their partner.  This works well and gives them some choice during this time.

Next week, the study moves on to Chapter 2, hosted by Caitlin at Kindergarten Smiles!  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Back to school theme and my newest obsession...

Maggie over at Maggie's Kinder Corner is having a Classroom Themes Linky Party and I'm linked up!
Head on over to her blog to see what everyone is gearing up for!
This is my newest obsession...that I am rolling into the new year with.  He's hip, he's cool, he's got such a positive attitude...Pete the Cat!

I guess all those blog posts I read from Fran at Kindergarten Crayons wasn't enough to wake me up to the awesomeness that is Pete.  I try to use a quote from a book as my banner theme for the year.  Last year it was "Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too." from Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, perfect for entering a new year at a new school that was devastated by a tornado.  

This year, I have bitten by the Pete bug!  I love his "it's all good" attitude.  Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes is perfect for teaching colors, too.  Still working on the title for my bulletin board, but I have my desk plates, name tags and calendar pieces ready to go.  And....I want to share them with you!

Clipart is by MelonHeadz Illustrations and KPM Doodles!  Backgrounds by Scrappin' Doodles and Lettering Delights!

Click on here for the August/ September calendar pieces!

Click here for name tags!
If you have tried to get these and it wouldn't give you access....try now!  Sooo sorry!!

Click here for desk plates!

How will you be kicking off your year?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer learnin!

I'm almost through my first week of Jump Start at Summer School!  I just had to share though my sort of original idea to go with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

After scouring...literally--5 stores!--for Alpha Bits cereal to make Chicka Chicka trees,  I ran across these at Wal-Mart (I know, boo, hiss...but I was desperate!)...
 German Chocolate Cake marshmallows!  And the best thing is that they are mini and look like coconuts! 

So I gathered the rest of my supplies and viola!  Here's our "finished" product.  I was able to snap a picture before they devoured them!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Go on over to Farley's Oh' Boy 4th Grade to link up!

Here's my currently...