Wednesday, February 18, 2015

For the Love of Pinterest!

We have been out of school for three days now for snow.  How did I pass the time.....  I spent lots of time on Pinterest.  How can you spend hours and hours without even realizing it?  I don't know!  I thought I would take a second to share two of my boards.  These two are my favorites.

The first board I created was for Common Core Ideas in Grades K-3.  I have lots of bloggers, teachers, and TPT authors that pin on this board.  If you love to pin like I do, I would love to have you join us! All you have to do is follow the board and then send me an email with your Pinterest information ( and I will add you.

This are some of the great pins just added to the board.  We try to pin lots of free ideas and freebies so that we have a good balance.  Click the board to see some of the great stuff we have found to teach our kiddos!

Another board I have is for holiday ideas for grades K-5.  I really enjoy the different holiday times with the kids.  So I started the board so I could save the pins and overnight it got so many followers I decided to make it a priority to find things each week related to the events coming up in school.  Here are some of the fantastic things I have found while planning for Dr. Suess Week and Read Across America.  Click on the picture and take a look at the wonderful ideas all of these extremely creative people have come up with.  This board features almost all freebies.  I do find a few things here and there that you have to purchase but 99% of the board is IDEAS and FREEBIES!

I hope these boards might help a few people get some new ideas for their classroom!  If you have a great Pinterest board, let us know about it in the comments sections so we can follow it!

Well this teacher better get to bed!  Can't wait to see my kids tomorrow!  

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

No Copies, No Prep Reading Instruction!

This year my big area to work on has been reading instruction.  We are reading a lot more novels and I am always looking for ways to make it better.  One day when were low on paper and I didn't have time to make copies I decided to throw all of the questions I was going to ask about the chapter we were reading onto Powerpoint.  It worked so well that I came up with a new idea....  no copies reading instruction.

I started off small and then added borders and clipart.  Soon my little idea had become the only way I teach novels these days.  Everything is projectable!  No Prep for the teacher! It requires text evidence! Best of all no paper!  Most important.... My kids love it!

When the kids come in each morning, on my screen is the chapter they need to read and a question/thought for them to think about while they read.  After we have had a chance to read on our own, we work through the next slide that has questions for that chapter.  Sometimes we do them as a group, we might work on them at tables in small groups, or sometimes we even write our own answers out on notebook paper.  Whichever we do it, the kids love it!

It has also been really easy for kids to use if they are absent.  They still get all of the questions the other kids had and I can just print out the slides they missed.  So it was almost like they didn't miss the instruction at all!

We have been out of school for two days with ice covered roads.  So I used my time and made up a new packet for us to use this week.  It goes with the Magic Tree House, Abe Lincoln at Last!  If you haven't read it with your kids, I highly recommend it.  You can teach so many common core skills within this book.  It has a great twist in it that really uses text evidence well.  Here are a few pages from the packet.  Click on them to see the packet in my TPT store.

This is one of the "While You Read" pages.  Each chapter has one to give the kids something to focus on while they are reading.  

Each chapter has a list of questions to help you discuss the chapter with the kids. 

At the end of the book, this packet has 3 different activities for the kids to do.  This one focuses on sequencing.

I hope everyone has a great day!  I'm off to work on finishing our science fair project.  Yes, it is due tomorrow!  Nothing like waiting till the last minute!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Will it SNOW?

Well Memphis is suppose to get a little ice and maybe some snow!  For those of you who don't live around here....  SNOW is the end of the world for people here.  I grew up in New York so snow isn't a big deal to me, but for the majority of people here they MUST go to the grocery store to get milk and bread!  Cracks me up!  So I decided to stay home today and create some new things for my class and pull out some old things that I haven't used yet this year.

The first one is a version of my favorite math fluency game....  BUMP!  If you haven't played BUMP with your kids, you are missing a good time.  All you need is a game board, cubes, and dice.  I made this board last year and totally forgot about it.  It is a FREEBIE in my TPT store.  Click on the picture to download it.  It is a great activity for early finishers or you can use it with the whole class.

I made a bunch of copies of the game and laminated them to use during math centers this week.  I know I have them somewhere in my classroom, but today was a day to make things!  

I wanted to show you some pictures of something that just came to me during our fraction unit.  Did you know how great a red Solo cup was?  Well let me tell you....  We were struggling with fractional parts of the circles.  I walked over to my table to get a drink of Diet Pepsi while we were working on fractions and it came to me!  Use the red Solo cups as tracers!  Normally these cups sole purpose are for Mrs. Smith's drink with lots of ice.  Not anymore!  Problem solved.  The kids circles were the same size and it was so much easier to help them divide and shade into fractions!  Here are some pictures of the cups in action.  Isn't it funny how you think something will be so easy and then while the kids are struggling and you are about to bang your head against the wall an idea comes to you!  Now don't get me wrong, they aren't always a good idea but this one was!  Why I can't think of these things before is a mystery to me.  

Here are some of the kiddos working on fractions with their perfect circles!

Made things so much easier!  So having Solo cups is a much needed item for any fraction unit.  

Well I better get back to making things for centers this week!  

I've got my fingers crossed for some Memphis SNOW!

Happy Teaching!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Joys of an Inservice Day!

Today was a district learning day for us!  Some of the joys......

1.  Bringing everyone on my grade level Chick-fil-A!  Another team teacher brought Sonic drinks.  Our day was off to a great start!  It is so funny how a little food makes teachers so happy!

2.  Finding out that I was doing lots of things RIGHT!  GOLD STAR FOR ME!  Sometimes it is just nice to know that you are doing things right.  What I think I love the most is when another teacher is talking about something they are doing in their classroom that is working for them and you think I'm doing it in my classroom too!  And YES it is working.  It gives you the motivation to keep doing it because you know it is working and now you have heard from someone else that thinks it is working also!

3.  Lunch out like a real grown-up!  We ate so fast that we had tons of time to sit and chat since we had an hour for lunch.  I think that no matter what the situation teacher eats fast.  I learned a few new things about my teammates and we had a bunch of laughs!

4.  Learned about a book that I must read...  Teach Like a Champion.  I just ordered it on Amazon.  We had a presentation on parts of it and it was interesting.  It had a lot of different questioning ideas and who can't use some more ideas to make our questioning even better!  I just finished the last Alex Cross book, so time to read something professional.

My school was assigned to do a presentation on phonics.  Well phonics is certainly not what this TN Core Math coach is strong at, but I figured why not give it a try.  So I turned to my favorite place.... PINTEREST to find the best ideas I could that teachers could actually use without spending a lot of money.  Here are some of my favorites that I will be using in the classroom in the next two months to prepare for SAT10 testing.  You can click the picture to go directly to source where I found these AMAZING IDEAS!

I love this sorting game.  It is so much better than anything I already have because not only is it for long and short vowels, it has a set that doesn't belong in either category.  Great for my higher level kids that are so used to things being easy.

Here is another fantastic idea that hits so many different skills and brings a personal connection for the kids.  We will pick a name from a hat each day right before the test to help us get some extra review in on syllables and phonemes.  You could segmenting, name another word that has the same vowel sound you hear in the middle of their name, or anything else you need practice on.  How much fun will the kids have with this great idea?

Teaching prefix and suffix is always a tough skill for kiddos.  I made these last year before testing time and they really got a lot out of the activity.  You make rainbows focusing on either prefix and suffix.  

So that is some of my favorite activities from my presentation today.  Please click on the pictures to go to the amazing teachers that came up with these ideas.  I don't think I have ever tried searching for something on Pinterest that I can't find 10 things that I would love to do with my kids!  Please feel free to share your favorite phonics ideas in the comments.   

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

January and February FUN!

Well I have been MIA for a bit.  I was waiting on my new blog design and decided to take a break. Well the new design didn't work out and I am currently looking for someone new that doesn't have a ton of orders in front of me.  So I decided it was time to go back to old set up until the new one can be designed.

My focus in January and February has been reading, reading, and more reading.  I am not a fan of our reading series, so I have really had to create a lot of materials that we could use in our classroom.  I was so lucky to have a dear friend retire (not lucky that she retired because I miss her SO MUCH!)   She left me a bunch of novel sets that we have been using for our reading instruction.  Without them I would be sunk!  So we have really jumped into chapter books and the kids love it.

To work on work attack, I created a series of powerpoint slides with the national reading vocabulary words on them.  Nothing fancy, but at least they are colorful.  We do a set every morning and the kids are really picking up on them.  I like to have them trade the letters out.  So for the word "jump", I might tell them drop the "j" and make it an "l" and they say "lump".  They think it is a game!  I can really see this helping my lower kids build confidence.  I also might ask them the baseword, prefix, suffix, antonym, synonym, make it plural, or the part of speech.  Anything I can think of to keep them on their toes.  Click on the picture to see more about this product.

We love SCOOT games in our classroom.  I post task cards around the room and the kids get their clipboards and solve the questions.  Here is a an array SCOOT game from one of my favorite TPT authors....  AMY LEMONS!  

We have also broke out a 3rd grade packet for Roll and Read.  They think they are so grown up and can't wait to read the BIG words.  It keeps them engaged while I do my face to face lesson with my RTI friend.  I snapped a few pictures of them yesterday.

Tomorrow is an inservice day for us!  I'm really excited about my presentation this time.  It is all on phonics!  Not something that I am an expert in, but I sure hope it goes well.  I tried to capture the best ideas I could find to teach phonics for 2nd graders.  I will blog about it over the weekend!

Hope everyone has a great day!

Happy Teaching!