Happy New Year Sale!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year Friends!

Can you believe it is almost time for second semester to begin? WOW! I am working to be sure I have everything planned and ready for my students arrival back at school. I am excited to throw a New Year Sale but hurry because the sale is only ONE DAY! 

Here are a few items from my store that may help you in you planning for second semester. 

My newest product to help with incorporating non-fiction text with small group reading
Polar Bears, Penguins and Wolves Book Guides

My favorite fictional text that begin working on during second semester is FROG AND TOAD! YAY!
Frog and Toad All Year Book GuideFrog and Toad Together Book Guide Frog and Toad Are Friends Book Guide
During the month of January we prepare for Science Night with our Dental Health unit. Check out this best seller - Totally Teeth. 
Totally Teeth - A Dental Health Unit for K-2

Are you Preparing for February?

February 2nd is Groundhog's Day. Take a look at this packet. Includes a fact book - All About Groundhogs. This is one of my students all time favorites! 
Groundhog Day Fun for K-1

This Valentine MEGA packet is over 100 pages of Language Arts and Math activities and printables aligned to the K-1 CORE Standards.
Valentine MEGA Pack - K-2 CORE aligned activities

I LOVE using this math unit in February!
Hershey Kisses Addition FUN!

Have you taught 3D shapes yet? Time is ticking.... Here are a few products to help.
3D Space Shapes - A 10 day Geometry Unit all about 3D Shapes 3D Shape Fun - Games, Printables and Much More!

Finally, due to numerous requests I have now combined all 16 Kindergarten and First Grade CORE Math Units and they are now offered at a bundled discount price. 

Even better they are 20% off with the sale! 
Kindergarten CORE Math Units 1-16
First Grade CORE Math Units 1-16
Happy New Year Everyone!

Arizona Blogger Meetup!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hi friends! 
Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting up with some amazing ARIZONA bloggers! We had some dinner, conversation and a little gift exchange. FUN! 

We ended our evening with a little photo!
These ladies were so uplifting and fun! Tonight was a great reminder of how much I enjoy blogging and the incredible opportunity it has given me to meet and collaborate with such amazing teachers! 
"A key to growing as a teacher is to keep company mainly with teachers who uplift You, whose presence inspire You and whose dedication drives You."- Robert John Meehan

Polar Bears, Penguins and Wolves OH MY!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

    The Common Core State Standards require that we now give equal emphasis to both fictional literature and informational texts. I found this great website that gives more information about this shift from Teachersfirst.com:
There are a number of factors that led to this shift. Numerous studies have shown that students (in general) are engaged in reading very little informational text during the school day—in many cases less than five minutes per day. The study “Reading Between the Lines” (ACT 2006) determined that students who reached the benchmarks in reading for the ACT exam were those who were able to analyze and interpret complex texts. In 2006 the number of students who reached the benchmark was the lowest in over a decade. Why? Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards offers the following:

  •  K-12 reading is primarily narrative in style, while college and workplace reading is mostly expository
  • Research shows that K-12 school texts became easier after 1962
  • Instruction is heavily scaffolded in grades K-12, but less so in college
  • High school students are not often held accountable for independent reading

The Common Core demands that our students do a lot more reading in the course of their day and that there is a balance of literary and informational text. If we are to move students along a path of reading and understanding texts of greater complexity to assure their college and workplace success, then we need to build in more experiences with expository/informational texts.
    So, I am doing my best to expose students to high-quality nonfiction text but with our older reading series that is often very difficult. I have found that it is also extremely difficult to find exemplar informational text at the appropriate reading level. BUT… I have found something I LOVE - National Geographic KIDS books! 

     I use these books during our guided reading time with my on grade level and above grade level reading groups. (My most emergent readers are not yet ready for these books). These books are very affordable especially if you purchase them through Scholastic BookClubs. I found this set of three books for $8 or 200 Bonus Points. Another great way to get your students hands on these books is by writing a Donors Choose project. I have had a lot of success getting books for my classroom through Donors Choose, try it out! 
    Because these books are more complex with lots of vocabulary I have created Book Guides to accompany the text. During the month of January, we are going to be working on winter animals so I created books guides for the above books. The Paper Police are in full patrol at our school so I created each book guide to be easily copied back-to-back and folded in half to create 7 pages of comprehension and vocabulary questions.

I am working on a Martin Luther King Book Guide and presidents packet that I will have posted in January! 

Christmas Presents for Parents

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey Everyone! Three more days until Xmas break...but who's counting?! 
We worked on our Christmas presents today and although they are not super fancy they are meaningful and the perfect gift for parents. I have spent many years creating everything from handprint calendars, to plaster of paris hands, to candy trays. I get exhausted just thinking about it!

This year I gave myself permission to keep it low-key *cheap* and try a little Oriental Trading. 
As we put up our own tree this year, I realized that the most meaningful things (in my eyes) are crafts my daughters have created. I love ornaments with their pictures. So I ordered these ornaments from Oriental Trading, they were only $6.50 for 12! AWESOME! 
We also made these cute little snowman card to match our ornament. This art project was inspired by The Elementary Art Room. We simply folded a piece of construction paper in half, did a little tearing and gluing and we were done. The best part - FREE!
We used a little tissue paper to wrap up our gifts and placed them in a Hobby Lobby bag (10 bags for $1.49) and DONE! I don't know if you are keeping track but total cost is only 69 CENTS/student! 
Although I was not super innovative with this craft :) they turned out adorable and I know parents are going to love them! 

Partner Time!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I swear this is the face that comes across my kiddos the second that I say we are going to work with a partner!

As soon as this word "partner" comes out of my mouth and reaches their little ears they begin plotting with looks across the room, hand gestures and sometimes the sudden bolt from their chair - and all of this happens before I even give directions! 
Well, I have had enough! To ensure my sanity (let's face it, I have many years to retirement), I have created this little "Hive Helper". Using this bookmark helps my students choose different partners, ensures feelings are not hurt when someone is not picked as a partner and allows me to ability group partners (I often assign the first three partners).

I have tried several other versions of this idea from clock partners to partner wheels and this is what works best in my class. I uploaded it as fan only FREEBIE on Facebook! (Colored version and Black and White version) So, simply click the image to visit my page and you can download this for free!

Here is a little "sneak peak" at what I am working on right now. I wrote a Donors Choose project for some National Geographic KIDS readers for guided reading groups. My project was funded *yay* and I now have 6 copies of 19 different NG books! I am thrilled to begin using these with my reading groups and so I have been working on Book Guides to accompany the text. I am creating a bundle for the books - Polar Bears, Penguins and Wolves. I should have them posted by the end of the week and of course I will do a little giveaway for the first couple comments so follow me on Facebook so you can win!
Time to get some rest, I have 4 more days before Christmas Break begins and my little firsties are going slightly crazy with the anticipation of Christmas so I am going to need all the patience in the world this week! 

We Remember, We Heal, We Act

Saturday, December 14, 2013

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

A year ago today our lives as educators changed forever. It is hard to believe that it has been a year and it is still so fresh in our minds, perhaps it always will be. Being a former kinder teachers and current first grade teacher, the events of that day are unfathomable. My heart still hurts for the families in Newtown. 
I have a beautiful piece of art hanging above my desk that an artist created in remembrance of the teachers and students who lost their lives in the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Often times when all the *stuff* involved with being a teacher is starting to get to me, I take a moment to regroup by looking at the picture. How quickly my thoughts and priorities can change when I stop to reflect on what really matters - the amazing young learners within the four walls of my classroom.  

The victim's families of Sandy Hook have asked that December 14 be designated as a day to perform Random Acts of Kindness to honor those who lost their lives. So show your love to our fallen colleagues and the victim's families and do something nice for someone else. 

This amazing FREE packet from A Year of Many Firsts is a great resource to help your young students understand Random Acts of Kindness and how they can affect others with kindness. Thank you Lyndsey for sharing! 
Free Packet: We Are Kind Kids {Random Acts of Kindness}

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