Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apple fun & a FREEBIE!

Last week we went apple crazy!  Our unit in our reading series had an apple theme, so I 
decided to weave apples into our other activities as much as possible.  Throughout the week we counted, graphed, compared, contrasted, tasted, observed, wrote about, drew about, 
read about,  and pretty much lived and breathed apples!!!
 The culminating event to our week was making applesauce!  

We loved using the apple corer/peeler!  Look at the apple spiral it created!!

Do you make applesauce in your class?  How do you do it?  I've always made it using a blender, some sugar, some cinnamon, and a little bit of water.....and obviously some nicely bruised apples.   I've never actually tasted the results myself.....but my kids have always LOVED it.  They beg for seconds so it's got to be good, right?? 

To go along with our study, I created an Apple themed number pack to help my kids practice matching numbers to sets and writing numbers. Those are the skills we are working on in math this week!

Here's what's included:

0-10 cards to cut apart and have students match number 
words to numbers,number words to sets, and numbers to sets.  
photo of apple number match cards

Black and white versions of the same cards for easier copying and less ink!!

Three independent practice pages that focus on the same skills!  

My kids loved it and I'm sure yours will too! :-) 

And here's a FREEBIE for you!  I made some Apple Ten Frames to go along with this unit since we are hard at work learning our numbers!  Click on the picture below or grab it here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dessert Day, a FREEBIE, & a quick giveaway!!

Do you like desserts as much as I do????  Today was dessert day at my school.  This day randomly comes along sometimes........for no particular reason other than to tempt those of us who are trying to shed some excess weight.   It never fails that I say I am NOT going to even go near the desserts.....and then somehow I end up there anyway.  Today's excuse was that I had to take something to the office.  On my way back to my room I had to walk right past the dessert area.  So I stopped.  And picked up a cinnamon cheesecake pastry thing.   It was gone by the time I got back to my room.  LOL.  I did limit myself to two three desserts today, so I consider that a huge accomplishment!!  

Seriously.  Take a look.  We had A LOT of desserts!!!

So this week I made a Fall Game Pack to help my kids practice all sorts of skills this Fall.  It's the same format as all the other card games out there.....except kids will put their leaf cards on their tree mats as they read them.  There is a set of cards for:  numbers 0-25, color words, CVC words, nonsense words, capital letters, and lowercase letters.   I will email it to the first three people who leave me a comment below, so you gotta be quick!  If you are not one of the first three to leave a comment, you can always pick the pack up in my TpT store here.  

And last but not least here's a quick FREEBIE for you.  I made a quick leaf alphabet to use during my small group time.  For now we are just working on letter recognition.   Eventually I will use these to help them practice identifying letter sounds and sounding out words. Click on the pic below to grab your FREE copy!  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Behavior Management Linky Party

I am joining up with What the Teacher Wants for a behavior management linky party!  

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my new behavior management plan here.  I got rid of my clip chart and switched completely to green tickets.  I completely changed my behavior management system for this year after reading this post from A Teeny Tiny Teacher.   

Eleven days after that first post,  I blogged again here about (gasp!) someone stealing green tickets and my thoughts on how the system was going so far!  

Head on over to What the Teacher Wants to get some great ideas for other behavior management systems!  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

This will be our 2nd year using the Common Core standards and so far, so good.  It definitely was a huge transition for us, but I think we are finally feeling comfortable and familiar with the standards.

This morning I saw a blog post for something called the Kindergarten Common Core workbook and off I went to check it out.

I am super excited about this resource!!!  Apparently it is over 600 pages and has worksheets, activity centers, posters, and more....ALL aligned to the Common Core standards.  WOW!  That is a lot of information!!  I downloaded a small sample and was really impressed with the quality and "cuteness" of the materials.  Y'all know cuteness is important!! LOL  Seriously though, this looks like a wonderful resource to have in your arsenal of common core stuff!  If you're like me, you've been going through all your old files trying to see what fits and what doesn't fit with the new standards.  Well with this book, you don't have to worry about that.   You will know that everything in the book addresses a specific Common Core standard!! As an added bonus, the common core standards are already listed on each worksheet/activity.  How cool is that!?!?

Think it might be something you could use?  You're in luck!  Until Sept. 16th they are giving away this book for free.  Go here to check this deal out.  I am definitely excited to try this resource and see how it can enhance my classroom instruction!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Behavior Plan Pt. 2 and an Alphabet Freebie!

Okay so we've been in school for a little over two weeks now.  Two weeks ago I blogged here about my new behavior plan and how I would be motivating my students with.....wait for it........green tickets.  The first week I was in green ticket heaven.  Everything was flowing along so smoothly.  Then the second week came along and we ran into a big problemo! LOL

We started having an issue with tickets being stolen randomly reassigned.  Really?!  I didn't think this would be an issue for at least a month or two.  I just figured they would be so new and naive and timid that they would NEVER take a ticket that wasn't theirs.  I was wrong.  It happened.  And I acted absolutely mortified that someone would STEAL a green ticket.  Then I took all the tickets, returned them to the ticket box, and said that we would have to start all over with no tickets on Monday.  Their faces were so shocked.  True, it wasn't the fairest way to deal with it, but honestly it was Friday afternoon and I had no idea what else to do I needed to make a big impression on them.

So....I may end up having to write their names on the tickets to avoid a future situation like this.   It just seems like that would be a lot of extra work and would take so much extra time!    Hmmmm.....ideas anyone?????

Other than working on our honesty (lol), we have also been hard at work learning our letters!  One of the things my kids love to do is play dice games, so I made some fun Roll & Color Alphabet sheets for them to do during reading rotations.

I think they are going to love the bubble gum theme!  They will roll a letter die (gotta get those made soon!!), say the letter and the sound, and color it in on their gum ball machine.  Each sheet focuses on six letters.  I made a sheet for letters a-f, g-l, l-q, q-v, and u-z.   Click here to download this freebie from my TeachersPayTeachers store!

Hope you're having a great week!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New behavior plan!

I am trying a new behavior plan this year.  In the past I have done the "turn your card" thing and the "move your clip" thing and both of them generally worked.    However, I was just never quite happy with them.   I felt like the kids who ended up on 'red'.....were always on 'red'......and I hated sending them home with a behavior calendar full of red marks each and every day.   For some reason I kept thinking how discouraging it must be to go home each day with a big red mark in your folder.  I know they earned that red mark fair and square....but still....something about that system just didn't work for me.  Who knows?!  I may end up going back to something similar.....but for now I've settled on a behavior plan that I think is going to work well for me.

I actually combined a couple different ideas to make my behavior system this year.  When I read about gold tags from A Teeny Tiny Teacher I knew I had found something to try!!   I LOVED her idea.  I loved that she didn't use a clip chart.  I loved that her kids could earn and lose gold tags.   I loved everything about it.  So off I went to make gold tags.

Instead of using library pockets, I bought a pre-made pocket chart.  Since the pockets were already yellow, I wanted my ''tags'' to be a different color....because obviously yellow tickets in a yellow pocket would totally clash.  So  I went with green.  And I started calling them tickets instead of tags.  But it's still the same overall idea.

My kids can earn and lose green tickets all day long.  Make a good choice....earn a green ticket.  Make a bad choice....lose a green ticket.  Make a really bad choice....(gasp!) you might lose more than one.  Some earn more than others and some lose more than others.  It's the way of the world.  They've caught on pretty quick to this system.  

So why do my kids care about green tickets?  What's the motivator that's driving them to want a laminated piece of copy paper?  Well that's the next part of my behavior system and I got this idea from Christie at First Grade Fever.  She created a super fantastic way to reward students for good behavior WITHOUT using a treasure box.  Yippee!!!!  Her freebie (yes it's FREE!) is called the Best Behavior Prize Book and it works like magic.  

I explained to my kiddos that each Friday we would all count our tickets.  Anyone who has 10 tickets on Friday will get to pick a prize from the prize book.  The prizes are things like eating lunch with the teacher, swapping seats with a friend, bringing something from home to share.........Honestly I was not sure my kiddos would go for the paper prizes in a binder.  But after I went over each prize they could earn.....and I saw the excitement on their little faces....I knew I had found a winner.  

The ticket counting time has now been nicknamed "Ticket Tally Time" and we had our first one on Friday.   I am teaching my kids to lay their tickets out like tally marks to count them....(another superb idea from A Teeny Tiny Teacher). 

After counting tickets, I asked each student how many tickets they had.  I wrote their total on a "ticket tally sheet" and sent them to their desk to write their name on it.  Eventually the students will be responsible for writing their total number of tickets themselves.....but since it's the first week of school I still have several that cannot write a single number.  We'll get there.  

If they had 10 tickets they got to pick a prize from the prize book.  

If they did not have 10 tickets, they put their tickets back into the pocket chart so they could keep trying next week.   I really, really, really like the fact that this system doesn't mean that the behaviorally challenged child will NEVER get a prize.  It just means that it might take that child a longer time to get it.  

I had some sad faces after our first ticket tally time.  I also had a few happy faces.  It gave me an opportunity to talk to some sad faces and give them some pointers about ways to earn more tickets (and ways not to lose three at one time LOL).  

Overall I think this system will work well for me.  The only problem I can see at this point is finding the time to do the whole "ticket tally time" thing.  It took quite a few minutes for everyone to count their tickets, write their name, and return their extra tickets to the pocket chart.  I am hopeful that after a few times of doing this, it will get easier and faster for us.  I'll let you know!