Monday, October 31, 2011

Word Work Linky Party

I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things to find is a new word work idea. I am always searching blogs and Pinterest for new, creative things to add to my word work station. Unfortunately, I haven't found many in one place. That is why I decided to start a Word Work Linky Party. On Wednesday, November 2nd, I plan on hosting a Linky Party simply for Word Work ideas. Tomorrow, I plan on taking photos of Word Work activities I do and posting it on Wednesday for the Linky Party. Get ready to join in on the fun, and take pictures of your best ideas. I sure hope you join me!

On another note, I just updated my Patterns All Around Unit, and it is on sale for 5.99. Grab it before tomorrow night to get yours at this price. You can also click here to purchase it through Teacher's Notebook.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Great FREE Clipart Find

I recently came across the blog called The Scrappin Cop. I found it because I was looking for some cute doodle frames to use in items I create for my class and TPT. She has SO many awesome things on her site! Best of all, it is FREE! If you intend to use it in products on TPT or Teacher's Notebook, you can buy a $2.00 Commercial License per download, or you can buy a $20.00 license for ALL downloads. I bought the $20 license because there were so many things I found that I'd like to use.Go check it out now! Well, only if you have the time because it's easy to get pulled in.

If you don't have the time, click here check out the doodle frames I used in my Patterns All Around Unit.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Pattern Unit

I don't know how so many of you teachers do it, but creating things for TPT while teaching a new grade level is crazy! I just now finished my Patterns All Around unit. I am so excited, because it contains a book I made about patterns in our world. I've never made my own book to read to my class. This is one of the units I wanted to make to complement my LINK Math Workshop Launch Plans. I promised it was coming, and it's finally here. Check it out! I'm sure your kids will love it!

Now to catch up on everything else... :)


Monday, October 17, 2011

iTouches and I Can Statements

My Donor's Choose project for 3 iTouches was funded, and I finally got everything together to use them in my classroom. I loaded apps after trying out some free ones and buying the full versions of the ones I liked best, then created these I Can cards. One thing I wanted to do for my students during Reading Workshop was to create some way for them to pick options based on what they need to learn. For kindergarten, I thought it was a difficult task and I needed to get creative. So, I decided to create I Can cards that were depicted with clip art. I have it for all kinds of things from I can form letters to I can write sight words. It has also spilled over to math, but I'll get to that later in another post!

Anyway, all that to say that I wanted my kids to be purposeful in choosing the apps they use. So, I have cards with a mini I Can Statement on top and a screen shot of the apps that correspond. You can see what I mean below.

I'll elaborate more later on the I Can cards I made. I LOVE them :) Lessons are so clear when the objective is not only stated, but depicted, too!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lesson Cycle

Something new I have done with my class this year is talked quite a bit about the lesson cycle. You know, you start with a mini or focus lesson, then the students do some type of work or practice, and then you come back together and share or reflect on what they learned. Well, one of the ladies in our district came up with the idea of posting it in your room like this:

I added a clothespin with a glued on star to mark where we are at. As you can see, it's on my book stand right where the kids can see it. This has been so helpful for my kids. They can see where they are in their learning, and they keep me accountable sometimes, too. We talked about how some "scientists" found out that people remember their learning best when they share or reflect on it afterwards. Well, this is typically the part of the lesson that gets left out when you're in a time crunch. This year in my classroom, my students won't let me skip this part. Even if it's a quick tell your partner how you did, or give me a thumbs up if..., we are always sharing or reflecting about our learning.

One other great thing about this... it helps my kids to know when it's okay to go to the bathroom. They know that if we are in the focus lesson or share/reflect time, it's not okay to go. But... if it's in the blue section, the student work section, they are free to go.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Leaders in the Classroom

One thing I have become very passionate about is developing a sense of leadership in my students. I think it is so important in the work place no matter what field they go into. So, to help develop this, I integrated something I call LINKing Leaders into my Link Math Workshop Framework.

Through LINKing Leaders, half of my students figure out a game on their own (with only a teensy bit of teacher direction...) then teach it to a partner at their table. When I created this Math Workshop plan, I did it with first graders in mind. I was a little unsure of how kindergartners would do with it, but they do WONDERFULLY! I was so impressed with the critical thinking they can do when they figure out the game, and with the pride and care they take when teaching it to someone else.

We've now done this 3 times in my classroom, and each time it has been successful.

Whether or not you want to do the whole framework or not, I encourage you to consider letting your students figure out a game rather than you teaching it to them. They are immediately more engaged when they have to figure it out, and the critical thinking they can do is incredible. You may have heard me say this before, but if a 3 year-old can figure out how to use an iPad, then surely a 5 year-old can figure out how to play a game with cards and dice!