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Monday, January 16, 2017

We're Back with a Subtraction Jam

video

I promised we'd have a follow-up subtraction song and here it is!

Lyrics:

Walk in the classroom and it's time for some learnin'
My teacher said, hey let's talk about subtraction
hey hey hey hey
ok ok
I want you all to subtract now
Go 'head take away
Go 'head take away
Take away, take away, take some away
Subtract, STOP
What do you see?
The number gets smaller
The number gets smaller
Subtract from the group 
Subtract from the group 
Subtract from the group 
Subtract from the group 
Find the difference 
Find the difference 
Find the difference, hey!
That's subtraction, it's easy kids

Have fun!
Friday, December 30, 2016

Our Addition Jam!

I'm happy to see that my blog is still up and running after an 11 month leave of absence. I'm embarrassed! What better way to pick back up than with this fun jam I created to help my students learn addition?! Check it out!



video




It was inspired by the song, "24k Magic," but I used an instrumental version that I found on iTunes.

It goes a little something like this...

Pop pop just show me, show me
Show me how to add
Oh you don't know?
Oh you don't know?
Let me show you how to add.
You take one group, you take one more
Now you combine them
What do you get?
What do you get?
You get the total of two groups.

Put your number in a ten frame, MOVE!
What y'all tryin' to do?
Put two sets together and then adddd
add, add, add
add, add, add

I always make up the movement with my kiddoes so they're more meaningful. :)

My kids had SO MUCH FUN with this! Definitely keep your eyes and ears open for our come back with subtraction. ;)


Sunday, January 10, 2016

My Love/Hate Relationship With Sight Words...

Let me dust this thing off real quick and see if I remember how to do this. Seriously, what happened here? Anyway, now that the sounds of crickets have subsided, let's talk sight words.

Dolch.
Fry. 

It doesn't matter what list you use, sometimes it feels like they have become the end-all-be-all to reading.

Last year my kinders had to leave knowing 30/40 words from the preprimer dolch list. This year they have to know 50 words. What does that mean to me? That means that even though 3/4 or more of my students don't know the letters in their name at the beginning of the year, we're introducing sight words to them. Well that's not a huge deal except, do they ever have time to truly master those words before they're moving on to new words?

I'll avoid my rant and complete my thought by saying, yes it can be done. However, I feel that we are seriously losing sight of what is developmentally appropriate for our children. They are capable of so much, but sometimes by doing more, it means they're missing out on another piece. I'm sure any teacher reading this already knows that.

I love sight words. They build the confidence of students. They help them become readers. I love to see the excitement on the faces of my kiddos when they tell me they don't know how to read, then they sit next to me and they independently read a book because they were able to identify the sight words. Sight words are important and valuable.

Dun Dun Dun...

However, I have such a fear that due to the emphasis I have to place on sight words, that my students will become sight word readers. What that means to me is that they completely rely on sight words and don't attempt to decode. To me, this is just something I'm always trying to balance and ensure that I am providing equal exposure to in not only guided reading, but also in writing.

Since I have felt that I have spent a lot of TIME on sight words in the past, I'm gonna share with you two tricks that I use that have made a huge difference in my classroom. Since I've incorporated these two things, I spend less time on sight words daily, but I am confident that my students are learning even more than they were previously.

1. Sight Word Poems

I use one of these poems each week. I introduce the poem during writing (on chart paper) and also send it home to read for homework. We read it everyday to build fluency. All words on the pre-primer and primer dolch word lists are introduced in 33 weeks in these poems. The poems specify the focus words and review words at the bottom.

By the end of the week my students are reading these poems independently and identifying words in isolation from the poem. Oh, and they LOVE them!

These poems have given me a consistent way to introduce words to my students. Consistency is incredibly important.

You can find those sight word poems here.


2. Flashcards

Duh! But wait...there's more. These aren't ordinary sight word flash cards. Each flash card contains a small image in the corner. Why?

The brain learns by making connections. It's easy to make kinesthetic connections, auditory connections, or visual connections. With my sight words I chose to use these visual connections. As I teach new words, I let students see the pictures. Each time they look at the word, they are seeing the picture with it and attaching the image to the word. We talk about the image. Students discuss their connections between the image and the word. Sometimes the connections are easy and logical, sometimes they're silly and creative. Either way, they remember them. What the pictures are isn't as important as students' attraction to them.

Soon after, I begin to cover the image in the corner and students are still able to read the words.
When shown the word on an ordinary flashcard, they can still read it.
When seeing the word in text, students can STILL read it.
I honestly feel that this has immensely cut back on the amount of time is takes my kinders to learn new words. I noticed an even bigger difference in my special education students the last couple years. I had students that were struggling to master 10 sight words, and within weeks they had mastered 30 words.

You can find the pre-primer AND primer sets of these cards in my TPT store here.



Overall, these two tools have helped me make my time teaching sight words more efficient. Therefore, I spend less time drilling them, and more time with decoding and other essential reading skills. Yet, they are learning MORE words.


Oh, and HERE WE GO STEELERS!








Saturday, September 12, 2015

CLASSROOM REVEAL 2015!

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by to check out my classroom reveal! I put a lot of thought and time into creating a classroom that I love and that I hope my students love. I have once again planned a set up with student independence in mind. I've kept many of the same things from last year, and added some new things as well. I hope you enjoy!

WARNING: This post is PHOTO HEAVY.




This outside of my room is purple for days and I LOVE it.


I keep this little motivational note on my door for students to see when they enter. The colors this year make me happy.








The pink basket is where I keep materials for write the room and the purple basket is our workstation "turn-in bin."


Our write the room basket is all set with our fall letter quest! 


Here are our classroom piggy banks that I use as one classroom management tool.
The leis are used for my write the room station. Students wear the leis at write the room so I know that they are allowed to be up and moving through the room.


Here is our dismissal chart, word-a-pillar and brownie points management system.


I adore these line-up spots from Really Good Stuff!



My number and alphabet area is the same as last year because let's be honest...no one likes hanging numbers and letters on the wall. Plus those bulletin boards were a lot of work last year so I was happy to get two years out of them. :)


...because who doesn't love superheroes?





I love this space in my classroom. This year I've set up these baskets to hopefully keep me organized and keep papers off of my work spaces. They are labeled for:
Notes From Home
Extra Papers
Papers for Next Week
Paperwork to Sort


The striped box on my desk is my "mailbox." When students write me notes or draw me pictures, they put them in my mailbox so I can look at them and keep them somewhere safe. 


I also keep a picture of myself on my first day of kindergarten on my desk. My kinders always get a kick out of this. 




The seasonal word wall is a new addition this year. I placed it above our writer's desk so students can see how to spell commonly written words for various times of year.


Of course our beloved crayon tubs.







Our classroom library with our beautiful new library chairs thanks to Donors Choose!


These holders are essential to student independence in my classroom. They are labeled with workstation icons and we keep extra recording sheets here. Students know when they run out of papers in their workstation, they come here to get more. All without interrupting my guided reading lesson!


The leveled side of my classroom library. I also keep student interest books as well.


I love that my classroom has so much shelving. This is our supply organization space.





We keep our early finisher tubs organized by table color.



My binder-ize project is complete! I keep the reading binders close at hand incase I need to pull materials for guided reading.


The rest of them are kept on the shelves underneath.


Here is my guided reading space. I display objectives on my PVC anchor chart stand, sound sorts in my blue and pink tool box, and dolch flashcards in the colored boxes.


This is where I keep the other important guided reading materials: slinkies for sounding out words, cars for blending sounds, witch fingers for concepts about print work, etc.




Here is where we keep our literacy workstations. They are marked with the workstation on the basket, as well as on the shelf so students know where to put each basket back. This makes clean-up much easier and makes me a happy teacher.



I will be labeling these boxes with each student's picture. In these, we will keep their workbooks and light materials.


Ok ok, no more pictures. So far, things are running smoothly with our classroom organization. Hopefully it only gets easier from here. Happy school year, everyone!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Classroom *SNEAK PEEK* 2015

Well I'm not quite ready to do my full classroom reveal, because I'm waiting on a last minute shipment. I thought I'd give a little sneak peek today.

Here's our back to school bulletin board!
Welcome to Kinderland, where learning is sweet!


This poem is on the inside of my classroom door. Those colors may or may not be ALL OVER my classroom. ;)


The line-up spots are back this year! This time though, I'm trying these from Really Good Stuff. I love that they have a line leader, door holder, caboose, and light helper spot.


Here's one portion of my all purple everything hallway decor.


Stay tuned for the full classroom reveal later this week! Yay!