Do you hear the crickets chirping? It has been way too quiet on here. My work life has kept me very busy! I think this will be a pattern for a while. Too much going on. So what are my 5 highlights for this past week?

1.  My district uses Reading Street as its series. At my school, we use it as a resource. This past week we worked with the big book Baby Animals in the Grasslands. I made my first bridge map with my kinderkids. Our vocabulary consisted mostly of baby animal names. I went online and printed out some pictures from google searches. Then I laminated them so I could use those pictures again.

2.  I was looking for a new lion craft, and was inspired by this pinterest pin. I gave each of my kinderkids one yellow 11"X11" square to paint stripes from the center out. For the head, I gave each child a 3 1/2"X 5 1/2" yellow rectangle. We cut the 4 corners and rounded it to make an oval shape. We used the scraps to make ears. I modeled how to make a lion face. They did great! Each one came out adorable! Then each kinderkid cut around his mane to make a fringe and added yarn for texture. Last we glued the heads on. On another day, we used Kim Adsit's lion treemap. To help my kinderkids understand how to make a sentence, I made a tree map on a pocket chart. Since children come up with ideas that I do not think of- I wrote them on sentence strips and added them. I forgot to take a picture of it, but to get your own tree map pieces click HERE FOR FREEBIE. Kim's tree map is a freebie. I saw she has a teacher version as well.

3. Text Dependent Questions...
This summer I went to a workshop about TDQs. It really helped me to better understand close reading. Currently, I am in the process of collaborating with other district primary teachers on TDQs.  From that summer workshop, I wanted to share a packet of TDQ stems I put into a pdf file. I printed mine out. They are on a ring to help me when needing to create questions. Clink on the picture to get it:

4. We are moving along in the Leader in Me process. I am excited about using the 7 Habits with my children more explicitly. We created our class mission at the beginning of the year. I asked what kind of classroom they wanted, and combined the words into positive statements. The original is posted in our classroom on chart paper. The one below is one I created recently to post outside my classroom door.

5. Girls on the Run- I am so glad that I volunteered to be part of this program as an assistant coach! It happens twice a week after school. It is a great program that helps young ladies (3rd - 5th grade) to build self esteem and encourage others. I enjoy the activities we do with the girls. In December, we will be running a 5k as a team! Sorry no pictures!

I am so looking forward to this Wednesday! It's our 50th day of school! Kindergarten will have a sock hopping, jump roping, hoola hooping, frisbee flinging, and bowling kind of day!


Quick Little Post & Freebie

I have been meaning to blog and write to tell about some things going on in my "school" life. Just been busy with workshops (text-dependent questions, writing workshop, Leader in Me), first weeks of school, and adjusting to a new school. It has been a positive and easy transition... changing schools. Everyone has been so kind and helpful. My new kinderkids are sweet and already getting into their routines by the end of this 2nd week of school. (I am missing my previous kiddos and friends!) I wanted to say hello and share a WRITE banner that I made for my writing center. Just click the picture below to get the freebie.

I do hope to share more this school year!


Reading Street Organization

I think another month has gone by... and I am finally getting to this post. This summer, I have thought about different ideas to share, but honestly, this summer, my main focus is on rejuvenating and relaxing.

 I have been in my new classroom, cleaning and organizing to make room for all of my stuff. My "stuff" filled up 9 vehicles. 7 to school and 2 to home. My new classroom already has stuff in it left over from the previous owner- a retired teacher. So, I spent 2 days to sort through things to figure out what to keep, save for other team members, and throw out. Last year, my district adopted the Reading Street series. The Kindergarten Reading Street boxes are humongous and bulky, taking up valuable classroom real estate. I kept going into the different boxes to get the different books for each week or unit. These boxes are colorful, but technically not ideal for storage. This year, I decided to get rid of those boxes...

So, I used some plastic tubs to combine all the unit books together. Here's a picture of what I did...

I made some Reading Street labels for the plastic bins. I added them onto this picture to see what they would look like. :0)
Earlier this year, I made some Reading Street mailing labels to use on file folders. When I came across an activity or idea I wanted to remember for a particular Reading Street unit, I could add it to the folder. Before this past year, I had always kept my stuff in thematic tubs. Now, I do a combination of skills and themes. I am also sharing my mailing labels for the Reading Street weekly units. These mailing labels use Hello Literacy fonts: Hello Basic & Hello Firstie. So if you do not have them, they may look funny on the mailing label. (Hello Literacy fonts are free on her blog.)

The mailing labels (size: Avery 8160) were made on Microsoft Word.

Click the picture above to get the plastic bin labels in a pdf format.

Click the above picture to get the editable labels.

I think having the Reading Street's student books organized this way will make it easier for me to get to them when needed. Now that I have that organized, I wonder what I will conquer next in my new room?


Font Linky Party

I will be starting my 3rd week of summer! Time is just flying by so quickly. I have been meaning to post here on my little old blog, but we have been having some technical difficulties with our dns server. Still trying to figure that one out.

I also haven't posted in a while due to end of school year craziness and transferring to a new school! I will still be teaching kindergarten. :0) I am going to a bucket filling school that will be starting the Leader in Me program this upcoming school year! I have incorporated bucket filling concepts into my classroom for the past several years. It is a great way to look for the positives. This past school year, I wanted to include the 7 Habits, but didn't get to it like I wanted to. So, I am beyond excited about this new adventure, and getting an opportunity to work with some friends again! :0)

I have blog stalked some, and thought Ash's Font-astic Favorites is a great lead in for me to get back into some blogging. I love fonts. Back in the day, I bought CDs of fonts for my scrapbook journaling. I tend to stick with Hello Literacy's fonts now, because I cannot keep it straight on which ones are commercial or not. It was fun looking at some fonts that I do not use regularly!

Click below to find fonts:
Hello Asparagus  (free- look for font links on the right side bar)
Pea Lemonade  (free)
Cinnamon cake  (free)
DJ Garden (This one came from one of my CD fonts from DJ Inkers. I could not find it on their website.)


Daily 5 Second Edition- Chapter 2

Jen over at That First Grade Blog wrote up a great summary of Chapter 2 of the second edition of Daily 5. Chapter 2 goes into details about the core beliefs. These beliefs are trust and respect, community, choice, accountability, brain research, transitions as brain and body breaks, and 10 steps to Independence. The last core belief, 10 steps to independence, is given a whole chapter- Chapter 3. Instead of repeating what Jen wrote up, and saving me some time, I decided to just focus on community, choice, and transitions as brain and body breaks. Click the above icon to visit Jen and read more about the core beliefs of Daily 5.

At the beginning of the year, I focus on building community to get my little kinders to become a "family". I use morning and afternoon meetings. My morning meetings follow a combination of Dr. Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline and Roxanne Kriete's Morning Meeting. After our morning routine and Read to Self time, we start our day with a morning meeting.
  •  First, my kinders stand in a large circle at our meeting area. 
  • Next, I play a community building song that has my kinders doing actions together. Some of students' favorite songs are by Dr. Jean (Hello Friend or Ride That Pony). 
  • Then, we sit in a large circle and pass a morning greeting around. 
  • Last, we discuss our goal for the day to help our classroom become a better place. 
  • After that, we move on to our morning message and word work goal. 
In the afternoon, I have my students group together for the last part of the day. This is a time to focus on the positives of our day. We share what we are proud of or how someone filled our bucket. This way my students can go home and hopefully share some of their successes of the day. Success mapping is a way to help build optimistic attitudes. According to brain research, optimism can be taught, and students who have optimistic attitudes are more likely to be better problem solvers than those with pessimistic attitudes. We end our day with a fun brain break song (usually a Just Dance Kids video on youtube).

In addition to my classroom meetings, I use Kagan cooperative learning strategies to build classroom community. Sometimes, we have a meeting during the day to discuss any problems and ways to solve them.

Choice is such a deterrent to behavioral problems. I remember sitting in one of my early childhood classes, and Dr. Becky Bailey was telling us that giving children choices would help with those who wanted power. I applied this technique one night watching my nephew. This three year old cutie did not want to go to bed. Instead of arguing, I told him he was going to go to bed, but he had a choice in how he went: piggyback ride or horseback ride. He choose piggyback (tired me out with him on my back). He went to bed without any issues. The next night, he looked forward to trying the horseback ride to bed. In class, I have had children who do not want to draw or write. So I gave them choices depending on their needs. Sometimes it is the writing materials (markers or crayons) or place (carpet or small table). I apply this to the Daily 5, in a way that works for me and my kindergarteners. My students choose their books to read during Daily 5. They choose from one of the 3-4 word work choices at their assigned area.

Transitions seem to go smoothly as I use music to signal clean up time. I use my ipod with pre-made categories to help with transitions. Dr. Jean has some clean up songs that my students sing along as they put away materials. After word work, I like to use my whiteboard and overhead to display HeidiSongs singing and moving to a sight word song. My students know that they must clean up before joining, so they get right on task and join as soon as they can. They love to sing and dance!

Check out my previous D5 posts for some freebies. Have a great week!


Daily 5 New Edition Book Club- Chapter 1

I am joining in on Jen's, from That First Grade Blog, book club. The new edition of Daily 5 is the book of choice. I have bought it a few weeks ago, and have not started reading it yet. It has been a bit busy around here... hence my not posting. It is my last day of spring break, and I did want to post something... so here I am. :0) (Okay, I have now read it!)

What should you know about me?
I have implemented Daily 5 in my kindergarten classroom for the past 6 years. I am not a true Daily 5 follower, as I have made modifications each year to meet my classroom needs. Each year, I do something different depending on what is going on. Currently, this year has been a challenge since my district has mandated Reading Street as its series to follow during our literacy block.

How did I hear about Daily 5?
I first heard about Daily 5 when I moved down from teaching first grade to kindergarten (about 7 years ago). My good friend, Krissy, and first grade team leader, got the whole entire first grade team on board to follow Daily 5. She wrote a grant for all first grade classrooms at our school to have ipods as a listening center. She certainly peeked my interest, and I borrowed her book (the first edition) and couldn't put it down. It was easy reading. I had my hesitations about it, but was able to see how first grade embraced and loved it.

What experiences have I had implementing Daily 5?
When I first started Daily 5, I called it Daily 3. I focused on Read to Self, Listening to Reading, and Word Work. My kinders had choices of which one they wanted to go to. Now, I implement all components, though not on a daily basis. Read to Self, Word Work, and Writing Workshop are my main components. Sometimes, we get to Read to Someone and Listen to Reading. This is the first year that I have focused less on Listen to Reading and more on Partner Reading (Read to Someone). My students still have choice, but we are all doing the same activity at the same time. Over two years ago, I went to Kim Adsit's "Differentiated Instruction for the Little Guy" and learned how she organized her groups of students. I have 4 areas named after some owls I have made and hung in my classroom. Each area has a space that has materials for all components of Daily 5 and my Math Stations. Each group of students rotate through the different areas visiting one per day, making choices in that area. I have done it this way for two years, and it has worked for my classes.

Does what my class do, during literacy block, resemble the before or after description of the sisters' classrooms?
My class resembles the "after" description of the sisters' classrooms. However, it is still a work in progress. I still have to give student reminders or go over routines. I am looking forward to see if there are some tips in helping me teach my students how to self monitor themselves more. A couple of weeks ago, 2 kindergarten teachers from another school came to visit my class to see how I implemented Daily 5 with Reading Street. They were full of positivity, and my kinders made them feel welcomed. One comment made from one of the teachers was where were my misbehaving students. I have them, but they take their reading seriously and enjoy learning through the Daily 5 structure. My kinders also love to show others how they do things in their classroom.

What is one thing I read in Chapter 1 that I think is worth remembering?
"...Daily 5 is not a prescriptive program to be followed blindly, the same way each day, week, month, and year. Instead, we as educators need to respond and react to the diverse needs of our own students." I remember when Daily 5 first came out, and I did not follow it to the T. I was criticized and told I was not following Daily 5. Okay, I was not, but I used elements from it to make it work for me and my class. This really hits home this year as my district mandated that we had to follow Reading Street with fidelity the first 12 weeks of school. I implemented Daily 5, but with resources I already had. Reading Street did not give me tools to do this. I also use cooperative learning structures for group activities, and Reading Street does not encourage this. At least, not in the teacher manual of daily teacher talk. I know this from trying to follow it, but also knowing that one resource is not the best. I am one who uses different resources to teach my students.

What is one change I am ready to make in my classroom?
As I read and find more about Daily 5, I will modify and adjust to my students. I am still working on making my math structure better in my classroom. It used to work well, then I had to use the GoMath series. For the past three years, I keep adjusting and modifying my math structure to include the GoMath series in a way that helps my students. Looking forward to getting more ideas from others about how they are able to combine using a series with Daily 3 for math.

2 summers ago, I joined another book club about Daily 5. Just go to my side bar and click on Daily 5 to find links to those previous posts and other resources. Thanks Jen for giving me that incentive to start reading my new book!


Valentine's 5 for Friday

It has been a fun week of learning about penguins and getting in the Valentine's spirit! Here are my top 5 of the week.


I asked our cafeteria ladies to save some large cans for me so my kinderkids could make some penguin tins for their Valentine's containers.
I used my Papertrey Ink stamps and crafting supplies to make some Valentine covers for lollipops.
These yummy homemade sweets made by my room mom made our day more festive!
In the afternoon, my Valentine, Mr. Brinn, came to help out with our Valentine Math Centers. He helped my kinderkids measure with nonstandard measurement with these Valentine Cards we made for our families. This one shows the outside, before Happy Heart Day was written on the outside arms.

On the inside, we used Kim Adsit's activity to measure the arm span in nonstandard units: pennies, cubes, paperclips, and hearts.
Here is another math activity we did. It is an old one using candy hearts for addition. We also practiced subtraction using hearts with my freebie offered on TPT.

 I hope you had a happy Valentines. Enjoy the 3 day weekend!


Currently February

February is here? What happened to January? December? I have enjoyed my winter break with my family and friends, that I have completely neglected any blogging. Since it is the first second day of February, I thought this was a perfect opportunity for me to join in on Currently.

I am not a huge tv watcher, but I do love me some Bachelor episodes. This season is going a bit slow... less drama. Less so than the previous seasons.

I am celebrating the lunar new year with my family. I shared my experiences with my kinderkids on Friday.  They loved eating with chopsticks.

This Thursday, I will have my formal observation. I need to prep for it by cleaning up some of my clutter. It is amazing how fast things pile up. Hence the reason, I need a maid!

It has been a cold and damp week here in Florida. Hopefully it will soon be sunshiney... and still cool. I am not ready for summer weather. That is what happens here though. One day it's 50F and the next day it's in the 80s!

I either need a teacher work day every Monday or get a maid/secretary to help me out.

During winter break, I discovered Sims Freeplay, and am having fun creating homes for my Sims to live in. I am craving some Indian food right now. After Thai and Vietnamese, I love Indian food. I have yet to go to Africa. I have been to 5/7 continents. An African safari is on my bucket list.

Happy New Lunar Year!

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