One of the most challenging tasks at the beginning of any school year is the daunting feat of teaching a classroom full of 5 -7 year olds to function independently...and effectively!!...in centers/stations. From organizing independent groups to setting up differentiated learning centers, fast finisher activities, and planning for small group, it's a challenge to say the least! #andalltheteacherssaidamen Something I hear from teachers quite frequently is, "they always forget what they're supposed to do! I end up losing so much of my small group instructional time trying to redirect confused learners and fan out small flames." Does that … [Read more...] about Audio CVC Centers
I often get asked how I'm able to fit things into my day and I'm hoping this helps give you an idea of how that looks. Let's go ahead and start with the plans. I'm fortunate enough to be able to help teachers plan for their days while pushing in to assist and mentor. We talk a lot about "fitting it all in" and I hope this helps you to see what that looks like. I tend to OVERplan because I'd rather have more than enough to get through the day(s). You can download them HERE for a closer look. Whew. Now let's break it all down. MORNING WARM-UP Most kids are still filtering in during this time, so I like to give my kids something … [Read more...] about Fitting It All In
It's back to school season...my FAVORITE time of the year! While it's an exciting time for our kids, I know our teachers are just as excited, too. As a parent, I love to start the school year with a few teacher appreciation gifts. And while I might not "know" my child's teacher(s), I truly appreciate them. I appreciate the time they've spent all summer readying their classrooms to pour into their students. I appreciate the time they've spent away from their own families to prep for their new classroom family. I appreciate everything they WILL DO for my child...and every other child...throughout the year. I appreciate everything about … [Read more...] about Back To School Printables
Back to school is one of my most favorite "seasons" of the year. The excitement and anticipation of a new year is palpable. The new backpacks & lunchkits, fresh supplies, & chance to start over. I love it ALL. This back-to-school season I had the opportunity to help one of my favorite campuses prep for the school year by creating a special board for the front office. Administration came up with the most AMAZING idea. We see staff shout-out boards decorate teacher's lounges & office hallways everywhere. This is similar in concept, but instead of teachers and staff recognizing their co-workers, this board is intended to … [Read more...] about Boast Board – Bulletin Board Idea
Encouraging students to be responsible learners can oftentimes be a challenging task. It's wonderful when our students come to us with experience in responsibility (like doing chores at home!), but oftentimes that just isn't our reality. So it's our job, as teachers, to TEACH our students HOW to be responsible. Teach them what it means. What it looks like and what it doesn't look like. Model responsibility. Encourage it. Most of all...provide them with opportunities to be responsible!!! One of the most effective ways to instill within our students a sense of responsibility is by trusting them with a specific job. A task for which … [Read more...] about Help Wanted: Classroom Jobs!
Prior to the start of the new school year, I always like to reflect on my relationships with my parents from the previous years. What could I have done better? How can I improve? How can I deepen my relationships with both parents AND students? These aren't always comfortable questions to ask myself because at some point they lead me back to my mistakes and weaknesses and confronting my shortcomings isn't always easy. However, being willing to recognize and admit my areas of weakness always leads to change and improvement and that's ALWAYS a good thing!!! While I think my parent relationship game is pretty strong, I will admittedly tell … [Read more...] about Managing Parent Communication
There are so many things to anticipate with the start of a new school year. Organization...classroom management...centers....small group...and everything in between! I love trying new things and making learning hands-on and engaging for my kids. I think that's the key to creating lasting connections that kids can refer back to when trying to recall and apply new information. When our kids can get their hands "dirty" so to speak, they're more engaged in what they're learning. I think that's pretty much common sense, but so often we get bogged down with SO many other responsibilities and obligations that the path of least resistance seems … [Read more...] about Math Fun For Our Little Ones
It's that time of year again. Time to go back to school. Can you believe it?! I know the Target Dollar Spot has been preparing us for this moment for a couple of months now, but I still can't believe it's already time to return to the classroom. This summer I had the opportunity to present a few professional development sessions centered around the back to school season and everything it entails. From setting up and organizing classrooms to establishing routines and procedures, we covered lots of ground! In my opinion, one of the most important things we as teachers do at the beginning of the year (besides setting the foundation for … [Read more...] about Back to School with Social Studies
Earlier this afternoon I posted this picture on Instagram.... I received a few messages after posting regaring the containers I used for organization, so I thought I'd take a minute to break it all down in case anyone else is curious, too! Storage containers, Sterilite drawers, and clear shoe organizers!!! Affordable and efficient!!! I absolutely love the clear shoe organizer (I found mine at Wal Mart for right around $7) for catching lots of odds and ends that would typically end up in a drawer and eventually find themselves at the bottom of said drawer leaving me baffled and beyond frustrated. The visual … [Read more...] about Storage Solutions for the Classroom
Yes YOU. The one whose weary body hits snooze 5 times before hurriedly rushing out the door to get to school on time. I'm talking to you. The permanently positive teacher who slides into the classroom on rainbows and dreads the end of the school year because it means having to say goodbye to your students. I'm talking to you. And all of you amazing teachers in between. I'm talking to you, too. To the teacher who doesn't like a classroom full of stuff and has opted for a more streamlined and calming decor scheme, IT'S OKAY. It doesn't mean you're not an awesome teacher because your … [Read more...] about Hey Teachers….It’s OKAY.
As the end-of-the-year quickly approaches, we often find ourselves looking for exciting ways to engage our kids, keep their interest, and teach them all the way until the last day. Okay, okay....the last week(ish), LOL. So often Science and Social Studies take a backseat to the daily demands of math and literacy, but there are SO many ways to incorporate science on a cross-curricular level. Why not end the year with a BANG and incorporate hands-on science activities that include a literacy and math component as well?! Abby and I created a year's worth of The Science Of...resources to meet the needs of science, … [Read more...] about End of Year Science
Can y'all believe we're already (quickly) approaching the end of April?! WHERE DID THE YEAR GO?! Our babies get out at the end of May and you know how May goes. Everything sort of hits us at once. Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, testing, assessment after assessment, portfolios, cumulative folders, plays, musicals, field trips, graduation, etc., etc., etc. Try as we may to be on top of things, sometimes the inevitable just sneaks up on us! For me, that is usually Mother's Day. I always think I have more time to plan and prep. What about you?! Well today I wanted to share with you some Mother's … [Read more...] about Celebrating Mother’s Day
If you're anything like me, as a teacher you love teaching thematically. SO much content can be covered on a cross-curricular level...so many connections can be made... when taking this approach to instruction. And because most public schools don't support teaching about Easter, this is a great time of the year for teaching all about oviparous and viviparous animals! Today I wanted to share with you a few activities and read alouds I love incorporating in my plans this time of the year. No thematic unit of learning is complete without a good set of read alouds! These are a few of my favorite oviparous animal books … [Read more...] about Learning About Oviparous Animals
Today we're talking all about sight words. Specifically, my top 5 effective tips for making sight words STICK! So often we as teachers focus on assessing our student's sight word automaticity in isolation, but overlook the need to reinforce that same instant recall when identifying sight words in context. We assume that easily reading sight words in context will be a by-product of focused instruction of words in isolation, right?! TRUTH: I would always get so frustrated when my kids would recall words in isolation with NO problem, but when reading them in context...it was like crickets! Complete and … [Read more...] about 5 Tips for Teaching Sight Words – How to Make Them Stick!
Happy first day of Spring to you!!! To be completely honest, I'm not sure Texas even had a winter. Well, not much of one anyway. A few chilly days, but nothing to write home about. I'm definitely NOT complaining....I'm cold when the temps dip below 80 degrees...but it's crazy to think it's already SPRING!!!! And you know what that means?! Summer break is only 48 short days away...but who's counting?! #andalltheteacherssaidAMEN Now let's get on with the reason we're here! WEATHER. Y'all. Have I told you before that this is one of my most favorite thematic units to teach?!?! I love … [Read more...] about All About the Weather – Ideas & Freebies!
We're a week away from celebrating St. Patrick's Day, so I thought it would be the perfect time to First, let's talk behavior. I always get a lot of questions about behavior management. You will never hear me say I have it all figured out. Nor will I declare that all of my ducks are always in their rows. However, I do know that sometimes the novelty of what we're doing wears off and when it does our kids become less engaged in learning and more apt to act unfavorably. I've found that changing up behavior incentives at different points during the year really seems to curb undesired behavior. I don't … [Read more...] about St. Patrick’s Day Activities & Freebies
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and today I'm at home nursing a sick child. There is nothing worse than not being able to help your baby feel better. This just STINKS. We could absolutely use the prayers. Fevers scare the daylights out of me...especially when the Motrin/Tylenol combo doesn't do a thing to relieve them. For those of you who will be at school tomorrow, here are a few activities you can implement for a little extra fun. Of course, they'll work perfectly for the month of February as well so no need to put them away after all the Valentine excitement has died down! First up, Valentine Bingo. … [Read more...] about Valentine’s Day Freebies! – Blending & Sight Word Games
Can y'all believe it's almost already Valentine's Day? Does it seem someone pressed fast forward on February? Or nah? Well...that's what it feels like to me. Moving on. Since Valentine's Day is just a few short days away, I wanted to share a writing activity & a printable treat tag that you might be able to put to use in your classroom this coming week. First up, let's talk tags. I absolutely LOVE Valentine's Day and love gifting different treats to students, co-workers, friends, and family. There's just something my Kindergarten heart loves about the holiday (as commercial as it may … [Read more...] about Printable Valentine GIft Tag & Writing Craftivity – FREEBIES!
It's about that time of the year....for us anyway...to introduce & reinforce 2D & 3D shapes (concepts and ideas). Does that hold true for you, too? Shape identification and geometrical language are always among my favorite concepts/skills to teach. Hands-on and engaging and so many connections to the real world! And for our kids, shapes are tangible. They can feel real world shapes. They can play with them. They can even identify shapes in the environment around them. Shapes are EVERYWHERE! And shapes are among the earliest objects they learn, recognize, and identify (thank you, Mickey … [Read more...] about 2D & 3D Shapes
Happy (ALMOST) New Year, friends! 2017....really?!?! Have you made any resolutions? Me...notsomuch. Of course, I always want to be a better version of who I was the year before, but resolutions never quite "stick" if you know what I mean. Sure...I want to eat healthier. Work out more. Get more organized. Keep the house clean. Do the laundry...regularly ;) Yes...I want all those things. And to eat all the things and still be able to fit into my jeans. But really...I just want to have a great year filled with lots of laughter and more memories than I can count. I'm still … [Read more...] about All About January (and a few freebies!)
It's almost time for our family elf, Elfabet, to visit us from the North Pole. He is one of my favorite family traditions because his silly hijinx always make my boys laugh. There is just no sweeter sound to wake up to in the morning, I swear. Not only are the elves flying back to homes everywhere across the country, but according to my calendar, they're flying back to classrooms everywhere, too. Here's a peek back at our visit from our classroom elf a few years ago. A special delivery straight from the North Pole with a letter, a gift tag, and everything! I read the letter to the kids and they … [Read more...] about Classroom Elf Freebies & Ideas
Hello all! I hope this week's supermoon hasn't throw your babies off at all. Oh, who am I kidding?! I know it has, LOL!!! Here's to you and making it through to the Thanksgiving holidays up ahead! Halleluia, right?! Okay, so let's talk math, shall we?! I just wanted to share a couple of math activities from my Simply Social Studies Thanksgiving Mini Unit (K/1) that you might be able to use in your classroom this week or next. I always try to include ELA & Math extension activities in my social studies lesson plans. I love cross curricular teaching and our kids tend to build a more … [Read more...] about Thanksgiving Math Freebies!
If you're anything like me, you are always looking for more ideas and resources to add to your ever growing collection. I do this for EVERYTHING. Constantly looking for new ideas...more resources...and more time. If anybody can tell me where I can find more time, I'd really appreciate it ;) That to be said, I want to share with you a few ideas to help you with any last minute prep you might be doing for Veteran's Day (tomorrow!!!) I absolutely LOVE teaching my kids about veterans and the sacrifices they make for our freedom. At my old school, veterans related to the students were invited to an … [Read more...] about Celebrating Veteran’s Day (with Freebies!!!)
Sunday I posted all about how I introduce the alphabet in my classroom. I told y'all a little bit about what I do during small group and showed y'all a little sample of what that small group instruction entails.... Now let's go ahead and dive a little deeper. Before I get started, let's quickly talk about some invaluable resources I've used in my classroom to help teach and reinforce letter recognition and letter to sound linking. These are materials I use during small group, tutoring, and I keep these out in literacy tubs as well. This isn't everything I use...it doesn't even really touch the surface...but I've … [Read more...] about Small Group Alphabet Instruction