Hello tired teachers! Or is that just me? I'm only on day 4 with my kiddos and I'm pretty sure I might fall asleep while typing this! It's worth it though, because it's the last day for the amazon gift card and book giveaway! Kathleen at Kidpeople Classroom is featuring this week's book, No More Noisy Nights. It's a cute story that promotes brainstorming how to be a problem solver (so important for all of our little ones).
As for me, I've been diving full swing back into my read alouds! Every time we have a few minutes to spare I've been pulling one out - just to get the kiddos into the love of reading. I have twins in my class this year and for their birthdays yesterday, their mom was kind enough to send in two books for our class to read! I hadn't read either of them so I was pretty excited to try them out. The one I want to talk about today is called The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.
This book is dedicated to all the perfectionists out there. This sweet girl has a magnificent idea in her head, but she just can't seem to bring it to life! She recruits her not-so-perfect dog to help her. She tries everything and she makes tons of creations, but none are quite right.
At a certain point, she considers giving up. She even loses her temper.
But the angrier she gets, the harder it is to make anything fit together. She realizes that the only way she can get it right is to calm down and work through it carefully. Of course her dog stands by for moral support. Finally, she comes up with something that is almost exactly what she wants. It's not quite the weight she wants, the paint isn't exactly the color she envisioned, but she's realized that nothing has to be perfect in order to be magnificent.
I think this book sends such a great message to kiddos. It shows them that their work doesn't have to be exactly as they planned and it doesn't have to turn out perfectly, but it can still be pretty magnificent!
I'm off to finish adjusting my plans, like we all do during those first couple of weeks, and then shortly after I think I'll just collapse right on the couch and snuggle up with my pups. If you're thinking of doing the same, you should! You deserve it! The first few weeks are exhausting for all of us!
Don't forget to visit Kathleen at Kidpeople Classroom for your last chance to enter the giveaway!
This week Kathleen at Kidpeople Classroom is doing her second Amazon gift card and book giveaway! This week the giveaway book is called The Day I Ran Away. Honestly, I haven't read it, but I just looked it up and it looks right up my kindergarten-loving alley! It's all about a little girl who recounts her day after having a tantrum. It seems like a great book to read to your kiddo when needing to establish a safe place for them when life just gets to be too much.
As for me, I'm switching gears to one of my professional resource reads. We had three professional development days last week and one focused solely on the new book our district is implementing. I am a reading freak so of course the training reminded me of one of my all-time favorite and coveted "teacher" books. It's called The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson. At the beginning of my career I spent hours and hours reconfiguring my guided reading. I just couldn't quite get it right! The set up and introduction to it was the toughest part for me. Jan Richardson lays out some very developmental ways to introduce your reading stations. I spent a summer a few years ago reading this book, implemented her ideas and I've never looked back! The key is to start with some "free choice" type centers in place of strictly academic centers during this time. Usually I keep my centers loosely reading based at the beginning, but very game like and simple (like my abc matching alligators). Keep rotations short and only start with one rotation a day. It's a pretty slow process (6-8 weeks before complete guided reading implementation), but it is SO worth it in the long run, especially with kinders. It helps with transitions and complete understanding of the routines required for a smoothly run Reading Center time. She also encourages keeping students involved in the process.
The pictures above were my students about halfway through the process - some academic centers had been added, but there were still non-academic centers integrated at that time as well. They were so engaged and excited about that time because they were able to run it themselves. Why? Because they were involved in creating the routines with me!
Don't forget to go and check out Kidpeople Classroom so that you can be a part of this week's giveaway! Stay tuned for next week's!
And just like that, we're back in school! I start screening with my kinders today. I'm excited for this new group of kiddos and to see what this year has in store for us. Since I'm back to work full-time, my Make it Monday project was actually made over the weekend, but who's really keeping track? Two years ago around this time, I wrote a post detailing how I made my easy lunch choice and attendance chart. That project took me hardly any time, was basically free and has made a huge difference in the organization of my mornings! Also, looking back at the pictures of it when it was brand new makes me realize just how well loved it is. It may need a little bit of a makeover now!
Similar to how I once felt about the chaos that was lunch choice and attendance, I now feel that way about my free choice centers. In the past I've always just let my students just pick where they wanted to go without limits. With some classes that works really well and with others... not so much. I was lucky last year and my students could have run my room without me 99% of the time, but I'm coming in prepared this year just in case!
I decided to have a limit of 2-4 students per center this year just to eliminate crowding which in turn eliminates a lot of conflict. I used the same exact materials as I did for my attendance chart. I got all these items for less than $10 at Target. How could we teachers live without that store, seriously? Don't ask how much I ended up coming out with. I can never leave with just what I intended to purchase!
The thing I love about washi tape is how easy it is to readjust. You'll see that partway through making my chart I realized that I hadn't quite included all of my center choices. Luckily I was able to reuse the same pieces of tape rather than starting over and just moved them around. They still stuck perfectly!
I also ended up using a Sharpie Paint marker to label - it just had better coverage than the regular marker. I have free choice at the end of each day, so the plan now is to have students move their attendance magnet from their lunch choice over to this chart each afternoon in order to pick their free choice center. It'll bring some more organization to that unstructured part of the day and it will allow me to see exactly where each student picked to be that day. Plus I can use the same magnets for both procedures! It's all still a work in progress, but I'm pretty excited to implement it! Using this cookie sheet is perfect because I don't have a lot of wiggle room in my classroom and this will fit in just about any space!
Good luck to all of you going back to school this week as well. Love on those kiddos! Some are nervous, some are missing home and some can't contain their excitement! I know that our goal is to help them all to be happy to come back (or start for the first time) to see the faces of the teachers who care for them!
It's here! Kathleen at Kidpeople Classroom has her first book and Amazon gift card giveaway this week! To get more info about this week's giveaway check out her page. She has given a great review of this week's featured book. I think I'm going to have to get a copy for myself!
I'm floating through lesson ideas for my first few weeks of school and certain books come to mind such as First Day Jitters, Kindergarten Rocks and Making Friends is an Art. The book I most want to discuss today is The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This book is so cute and is so helpful for when I start teaching how to properly illustrate and use colors that make sense.
I especially love this book because it is written to a child from the crayons' perspectives. It's a fun way to teach students how to appropriately treat their school supplies. The illustrations are great, too because they look at though a child could have made the pictures.
At the end of the book it shows what the child could accomplish in his illustrations once he learned how to use his crayons in the correct way. Every time I read this book my students are always so excited to go and create their own masterpiece afterward!
Don't forget to hop over to Kidpeople Classroom to sign up for this week's giveaway!
Hi All! I feel a little bit like I'm living my life through memes today. Friends memes to be exact. It's still my favorite show of ALL TIME and makes letting go of July a little easier.
Of course we'll all miss summer, but I'm getting that back to school itch, too. I'm ready to get into my new school, meet my team and my new sweet kiddos! So I'm riding the roller coaster all teachers do at the end of the summer. Ramping up for the new year, but a little sad to leave all that sunshine and extra time with my sweet fur babes. I mean just look at these faces!
But with the school year quickly approaching (my orientation is Thurdsay!!) I've become motivated to get everything organized for the new year. Our curriculum night isn't until a couple weeks after school starts, but it got me thinking about how up until this year I've prepped for Open House which was always the night before school starts. In preparation for new beginnings I revamped my Editable Open House product for TPT. Here are some glimpses of the big changes I made:
I made it an easier to read, cleaner format for parents. I also added station tents and a student activity to keep the kiddos busy while parents are getting to know each other and the teachers. If you're looking for an easy way to organize for your open house check this product out and don't forget about the Back to School sale today and tomorrow! Although I don't have to worry about getting anything together for a Curriculum Night/Open House just yet, I've been working like crazy to get my room together! I'm really excited with how it's all coming together. Stay tuned for the full classroom reveal! For now I'll show you a peek of some shelves my district was generous enough to gift me. They were old shelves from their art department so they needed a fresh coat of paint. They've worked out great for my library area! It's amazing what a little bit of paint and decorating can do.
Finally, I have some exciting news! Kathleen over at Kidpeople Classroom is doing a giveaway! Each week for the next three weeks she'll be giving away $10 Amazon gift cards and books to readers. Don't miss out on this fun opportunity! Today I'm going to do a quick review on a teacher resource book I've used in the past. It's called Sensory Integration and the Child by Jane Ayers. It's an older book, but it still holds up. It has been a life saver for me over the last few years! Many teachers have noticed a decline in fine motor skills in young children. We have also noticed more and more sensory processing difficulties. We work hard to strengthen those skills as much as possible in our classroom, but we need resources to do so! This book really opened my eyes to different things you can implement for specific behaviors you might see a child exhibiting. It also gives a great basic outline for what to expect to see at each developmental stage in a child's life. I gained so much from reading through this book (I'll admit I haven't read it cover to cover yet, but I've skipped around the whole book) and it has made a big difference in some of my students' abilities/coping mechanisms. I also realized that these accommodations are actually beneficial to all young students, not just those who have special needs. Shortly after digging into this book and books like it, I started making the switch to flexible seating in my classroom. This switch has been one of the best decisions I could have made as an educator. It'll take a while before I can fully make the switch to flexible seating (my husband will lose his mind if I drain our account on wobble stools and yoga ball chairs), but each time I add a new seating option to my classroom, I see continued improvement in attention span, focus and all around happiness in my students. I owe a lot to Sensory Integration and the Child and books like it. I suggest checking it out!