Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why I Teach Blog Hop

Today, I am linking up with a group of ladies to share "why we teach." I love hearing teachers stories about why they teach. I know many teachers who always wanted to be teachers. They were inspired by a teacher they had and always wanted to be one.

That is not my story. Sure, I had fabulous teachers growing up. A few times in elementary, I was inspired by an amazing lesson and thought it would be fun to teach, but that had faded by high school. I started college as a Business Major and ended with a Psychology Degree. LOL. In case no one ever told you, there is not much you can do with a BA in Psychology. I knew I would eventually go to grad school, but I wasn't sure what for.

I took a job as a Para working with high school students with multiple disabilities. I LOVED it. I felt like I was really making a difference. I spent time talking to parents about their child's educationally history and it broke my heart. They all seemed to have at least one horror story. After a few months, I decided to go get my Master's in Special Education. I actually planned on teaching middle school. Thankfully, I ended up in a 1st grade inclusion classroom. Now, middle school students scare me.

Best. Decision. EVER.
I Am A Teacher!    100+ quotes about teachers and teacher graphics on this page of Unique Teaching Resources.

10 years later, I still LOVE my job. I have taught Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students both with and without disabilities. I LOVE that I am shaping young minds. I am making a difference in these little lives. I also LOVE to create materials that I can really use in my classroom. It pulls from my crafty side. Seriously. I get so excited when I create new centers and get them just right.

I will frame this! I am a teacher because: I want to change lives, love the children who needs love the most, and be loved by them.

I know this is a really time to be a teacher. Morale is at an all time low. Testing is at a freakish all time high. We are all feeling it. Sometimes, we just need to take a moment to smile and remember WHY we wanted to teach.

Teacher Appreciation Tags Get You An A For Effort! ~ Simply Sprout

Ready for a simple GIVEAWAY??? 
Comment below telling me 1 thing you LOVE about teaching. Then tell me what product of mine you MUST HAVE Be sure to include your email. I will pick a winner on WEDNESDAY
{Sorry, BUNDLES not included}

Ready to hear another uplifting story? Hop on over to to Lovin Kinder!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Exit Tickets in Kindergarten

Recently, I have fallen in LOVE...with Exit Tickets. They are a quick and easy assessment to grasp if your students understood a concept or if they need a little reteach. It takes less than 5 minutes and I use them to drive my instruction and meet my students diverse needs.

There are so many ways to use them in your classroom. Sometimes, I give them to the entire class but more often then not, I use them at centers, during Guided Reading, and during my intervention block.

We have been working on short u sounds as a class. I did give the entire class this CVC Exit Ticket. It took 5 minutes, with coloring. All but two students got the short u sound, but I noticed 4 kids still aren't hearing those ending sounds. I can work on that with them in small group. 

 In one of my Guided Reading Groups, we are working on beginning sounds. Everyday, we do word work involving beginning sounds. This activity is from my Beginning Sounds Mega Pack. I like to have documentation where my students are performing. 

 What kid doesn't LOVE using dabbers? At the end of the week, I gave this group a beginning sounds Exit Ticket. I placed it in their folder and have great documentation for Parent Teacher Conferences.

One of our literacy centers this week was working on rhyming words with this fabulous Haley O'Connor. You can get it here.

Now, I do not use exit tickets EVERYDAY at every center, but I like using them once a week to see if students are grasping the concept.My Rhyming Exit Tickets went PERFECT with this center.

I have included easy to use class data sheets with each set of Exit Tickets. This way I can see who has mastered a concept and who needs more time.

That brings me to my intervention groups. Some of my kids are still working on letter identification. This picture is from my RTI Alphabet Books. These books are available in both Print and D'Nealian Fonts.

The Letter Recognition Exit tickets are perfect for keeping data on my students who need extra support. I am also excited to use these next fall with my new kinders.

All of my Exit Tickets have 2-3 different styles to teach the skills. You can view ALL of my Exit Tickets HERE. I highly recommend the Literacy Exit Tickets GROWING Bundle. Right now, it is only missing one set, digraphs. once I add that, the price will go up. I hope you all can see how useful Exit tickets can be. They are quick but give you USEFUL data to help drive your literacy instruction.

Monday, February 2, 2015

All About the Groundhog

Did you hear?Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. You know what that means....

We have been learning all about groundhogs for the past two days. My class had so much fun. I have a few freebies for you, too! Hopefully there are a few ideas you like. You can always pin them for next year.

On Friday, we made our predictions. I shared this on Instagram. Are you following me on Instagram??? You should. Click HERE to follow me. Yes, a few kids were out on Friday. Yes, my class is small. Really small. We worked in our math vocabulary or more, less, and same. 

I did not guess, but I would have said NO! I am so over snow and ready for spring. Snow is only fun for a day or two and then I am OVER it.

After we made our predictions, we made these fun flip flap books. We talked about what spring and winter look like. The kids drew pictures. Would you like this recording sheet? You can find it FREE HERE.

Today, we worked from this AMAZING Groundhog Informational Book Companion from Primary Graffiti. Have you seen her book companions??? I am addicted and have been buying ALL of them. It is great for multiple grade levels. There are wonderful vocabulary cards with pictures and definitions that we went over in a pocket chart. She includes a text that I shared on the Smartboard. The little picture cards on my Can, Have, Are chart are also from the unit. I feel like my kids LEARNED A LOT today.

 To see how much they learned, we made these adorable Can, Have, Are flip -flap books. Students picked three items from the anchor chart to draw in their flip-flap book. You can get the book FREE HERE. The ground hog is a simple cut the corner craft. This is what you need.

Head - 1 BROWN 8x8 square
Ears- 2 BROWN 2.5x2.5 squares  
2 PINK 2x2 squares
Paws- 2 BROWN squares 2.5x2.5
Eyes -2 WHITE 2x2 squares
Teeth 1 WHITE 2X2 square

Finally, we made these little pop-up groundhogs.This was inspired by Mrs. Albanese's Kindergarten. You get download the poem and pop-up groundhog FREE HERE

We took them outside to see if we could see the groundhogs shadow. We talked about how it was easier to see the shadow today because it was sunny. then we talked about how hard it would be to see the shadow if it was cloudy.

They didn't get it.
We went inside and turned on the document camera.
I stood in front of it and we could see my shadow.
Then I turned it off.
It was much harder to see my shadow.
Lesson Learned.
I hope.

I have also created this Groundhog Day Math and Literacy Centers and Printables.You get 4 Math Centers, 3 Literacy Centers and 6 printables. You can have Groundhog fun all week long!