Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Opinion Writing...Kinder Style

My kinders' writing has come a long way.  A long, long, long way.  I walked around today during writing and I could read every single piece.  For me, that is a pretty good indication that my students understand what it means to be a writer and can create pieces for the reader to read.  SCORE!

We use Lucy Calkins and this trimester our focus is opinion writing.  To give my lessons some direction I have been using this book:

Each day I ask a question from the book and then give them time to write.  Today they wrote if they would rather be thunder or lightning.  Here is how we go about it...

1.  Think about which one they would rather be (their opinion...not a friends!).
2.  We brainstorm as a class some supporting details for each one.  
For example, we said it would be cool to be thunder because it is loud, we could shake buildings and we could scare people.  On the other hand, it would be fun to be lightning because we could light up people's houses, zap things and turn off the power.
3.  I dismiss the students and give them time to write. 
4.   I walk around and conference with students.  I LOVE this time.  It is a chance for me to see their progress and help them become better writers. 
5.  We use the editing checklist at the bottom of the paper for writers to use to make sure they have everything they need in their pieces.   
6.  At the end of the writing block they get to share what they wrote with a partner.  Today they shared with their locker pairs.

That's it!  If you want my writing paper, snag this FREEBIE by clicking on the photo below.

In other news...T-minus 25 days until I present at the Minnesota Kindergarten Association Spring Conference!  I'll be talking about Guided Reading and how I've made it work in my classroom.  I'm so excited to meet the other presenters (Nancy Carlson, Pete Harry (THE Harry Kindergarten), and Shari Sloane).  Let me know if you're going to be there!  I'd love to meet you!  Click on the picture below to find out more and register if you haven't already.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Addicted to Kindergarten

We had Parent/Teacher Conferences Thursday night.  I don't especially love working until 8pm but I do like talking to parents about how much their child has grown since the fall.  At a conference about a student who has shown phenomenal growth, the parent mentioned how kindergarten teachers must see amazing improvements and how much fun that must be.  I said, "Yes!  That's why I'm addicted to kindergarten!"  We laughed but I realized it is true.  My name is Sara and I am addicted to kindergarten and there are a few reasons why.

Every Fall students come in at varying levels.  I had several students this year who couldn't write their name or even knew the letters in their name.  Now, those students are reading!  Amazing!  It's a huge high to report to parents that kind of improvement and to be able to witness the joy the student feels when they reach their goals. 

I also love that I get to help shape kids' minds about what school is about.  I work my hardest to show students that if they work hard, they will reach their goals.  Parents will often comment on how much their child has grown and how much they love school.  Love that!

I know other grade levels see growth in their students but I'm willing to bet not as much as a kinder teacher.  It is the reason why that I am still in kindergarten after 15 years and hope to continue for a good long while.  Are you addicted to kindergarten?  What do you love about it?  Please share!

I mentioned in my last post that I was asked to speak at the Minnesota Kindergarten Association Spring Conference in April alongside YouTube star Mr. Harry, children's book author Nancy Carlson,  and the amazing kinder teacher Shari Sloane!  Now you can see all the details and register for the conference.  Click below to find out all the details!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently February 2015 Edition

My favorite day of the month!

Our family has been working our way through the Harry Potter series.  Last night we finished book 3 and then watched book 4.  My girls are obsessed and are currently playing Harry Potter.

My youngest has had four cheerleading competitions this month plus practices.  I've spent every weekend driving around the Twin Cities.  I LOVE seeing her cheer but am grateful the season is now over and I can have my weekends back.  Isn't she cute?

Koo Koo Kangaroo is coming to our school this month and I'm so excited!  My team ordered some shirts and I'm on a mission to dye my shoes gold. 
The best part is that I get to perform Pop See Ko with them up on stage!  Can't wait!

We've been in our house for over 10 years now and it shows.  I REALLY want to get new floor and counter tops for our kitchen.  I can't decide between tile or wood (right now we have linoleum).  Anyone out there have any advice?

I got a SUPER exciting e-mail the other day asking if I would present at the Minnesota Kindergarten Association Spring Conference in April.  Me?  Sure!  I am speaking for two 75 minute blocks on guided reading.  I've spent a good part of today brainstorming and planning.  If you live in or around Minnesota and want to see me, Shari Sloane, Mr. Harry Kindergarten and author Nancy Carlson, click below to find out more!

Pageant Title:  Mrs. Tries to do it all
Yep, that's me.  I hate saying no and like being in charge.  Anyone else?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Currently-January 2015

Happy New Year's!  I was thinking the other day about how crazy it is that I've taught for 15 years now.  When I first started I asked a more seasoned teacher how long they have been teaching and being in awe when they said 15 years.  I thought they must have seen everything and know everything.   I've seen and heard a lot, but I am no expert!  I have started to think about what's next for me though.  Farley's Currently is the perfect way to reflect on what's next!

Listening...we're headed to the neighbor's house to ring in the New Year but first we're watching a movie the girls got for Christmas.

Loving...I am not as organized as I was before I had kids but once in awhile I get a HUGE case of organization fever.  Last Saturday I cleaned out our kitchen cabinets, my girls' rooms and just about everything else in our house.  Our donation bin and garbage was overflowing and I can breathe much easier!

Thinking...I LOVE my job but I also love a little time off to recuperate and have fun with my girls.  

Wanting...I really feel content in my personal life and with my girls.  Professionally....

Needing....January is a HUGE month in our house.  Birthdays, cheerleading competitions, a trip to Vegas, school events, etc.  Thank goodness for family and friends who can help out!

Yes...I was doing really well on the road to healthy eating and then BAM!  I need to get back on track!

Maybe...I have always wanted to help other teachers become better teachers.  I've taught some classes and lead a couple of book studies but I am getting the itch to do more.  I'm not sure what or how but I'm ready.  

I wish...I've told people that I would love to go into a school who needs help with Guided Reading or Daily 5 or anything!  Starting my Reading License will hopefully help me get on the right path.  Maybe this is the year!

Link up with Farley with your Currently!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Stop. Swap & Roll!

Jungle Learners is graciously hosting a product swap!  So fun!

I got paired up with Gloria and Rick from
2 Scoops of Kindergarten

I was just switching out my math stations and needed something new for November so I jumped at the chance to try out their Thanksgiving Kindergarten Math Centers
Click on the picture or the link above to check it out for yourself!

Here is a sneak preview of what is included

You get 20 cards that have different addition problems on them plus a recording sheet.  I taped up the cards all over the room.  My students walked around with a clipboard and looked for the cards.  When they found one, they wrote the answer to the addition problem on the correct line.  Love it!  I usually don't introduce addition this early in the year but my kids caught on and did fantastic!

For this one, you have your choice of composing numbers to 5 or 10.  I picked 5 and printed off the yellow and orange feathers.  Here is my cutie making math problems with the feathers.    

This station is a SNAP to get going.  I printed, laminated and cut out the puzzles and threw them in a basket.  I love quick and easy prep so this station is my favorite!  Students had to to make a puzzle with the number, correct number of feathers, tally marks and tens frames.

I'm excited to giveaway their Thanksgiving Kindergarten Math Centers!  Don't delay because it ends on Sunday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit 2 Scoops of Kindergarten to see what they they tried from my store AND possibly win it!

2 Scoops of Kindergarten

Visit Jungle Learners blog to see all the other bloggers who participated in the swap and don't forget to enter the other giveaways!

Jungle Learners

We had a Professional Development day yesterday.  I always wonder why we have to differentiate our instruction but PD days are one size, fits all!  What have you done during PD days that has been super beneficial to you?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Seriously CrAzY for Creepy Carrots!

My kids are CRAZY for Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds!  

I love reading it during Monster Week because they are seriously creepy.  This video is the perfect intro for the book!

After reading the book we talk about how they would get rid of the creepy carrots.   Then, we made our own carrots.

Creepy, right?

You can check it out in my TPT store here.  It includes a CVC game as well.

The book Creepy Carrots is in the Scholastic Book Order this month for only $4!

This project is also featured on a blog post by Kidsbook Friends!

Angela's blog was on Aaron Reynold's Facebook page the other day.  
That's right, THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK!!   Eeek!

 Thanks for the shout out Angela!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently...September 2014

Today is turning out to be a great day!  It's my birthday and the weather is just perfect!  I had a nice breakfast with the fam and then got to go shopping for new clothes by myself.  Yep...all my myself.  It was pretty nice not to have an audience while I tried on clothes!  I squeezed in a short nap and finished two books.  Pretty much the perfect day!  

I'm trying to ignore the nervous feelings I have for the first day which is TOMORROW!  My district has two days of Assessment Days tomorrow and Wednesday.  Each student comes with their family for an individual appointment.  I complete a quick assessment and get to know each family individually.  Our first day alone is on Thursday and I'm super excited!

To celebrate my birthday I'm having a 20% off sale AND Buy 1, Get 1 FREE sale!
You can get to my store here.   Don't forget to e-mail me to let me know what item you'd like for free!

It's also that time again...

Listening...My girls are making art out of cotton balls and Starburst wrappers.  Watch out Rainbow Loom...a new trend is starting! ;)

Loving..My favorite weather on my special day!

Thinking...Have I mentioned how excited I am to meet my kinders?  I already know several families which is super nice.  

Wanting...While I went shopping my husband got me my favorite ice cream.  It's called This $&@! Just Got Serious.  Smooth salted caramel ice cream brimming with rich sea salt fudge and salted cashews.  Drool!  
He said I had to pick either cupcakes or ice cream.  I am a HUGE cupcake fan but this ice cream is too good to pass up.  If you live near a Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream shop try it out!!

 Needing...Nothing!  I am completely ready for tomorrow and the week.  It's only taken me 15 years to figure out how to get it all done in time for the first day.  :)

3 trips...
Have you been to any of the 3?  Which one is your favorite?

Thanks Farley for hosting again!  Check out the other Currentlys and find some new friends on her blog here.