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Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick or Treat Blog Hop

Fall is upon us and that means it's time for some 
Teaching Trick and Treating!

That's right - I have teamed up with my Freebielicious friends again to share some 
teaching tricks and special free treats for you!  

My tip is pretty simple.  And inexpensive too!
I grabbed these cute Halloween boxes and ice cube trays to jazz up one of my math centers.

We have been working on ten frames and because many of my students have poor fine motor skills, I find that manipulatives such as erasers tend to end up on the floor.  

Having the children put the erasers in the tray keeps them from the floor and is a great visual for them.  They are also great for children with visual difficulties as they can feel where the erasers are.

Now, for my treat.

I made this little game to practice our sight words.  Choose the words you are working on and place them face up on the table.  Hide the word "BOO" under one of the words.  Don't let the kids peek!  Then, have the children read a word, if they get it right, they get to look under the ghost to see if the "BOO" is there.  If it is, they win!  Click on the picture below to grab it for free.

Hop along to the next Freebielicious friend to see what their Trick and Treat is!


The Book Whisperer - Chapter 6

This week is Chapter 6 of our book study on "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller. 

   The Book Whisperer.png

If you don't have the book already,  you can grab it here.  It's not too late to join in.

The fifth chapter is called "Cutting the Teacher Strings" and is all about examining what you are doing with reading instruction in your class and deciding whether or not you are doing it because it's good practice or just because it's always been done that way.  

Miller offers a variety of ways to change traditional methods to achieve the same better results.

A large part of my reading program is taken up by just reading and sending books home every night.  I do get parents to fill out "reading logs" but it's really so that I can keep track of books that are read (kindergarten children tend to want to take the same book home every night). 

What do you do to change things up a bit?

For more tips from Chapter 6, see below.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Book Whisperer - Chapter 5

This week is Chapter 5 of our book study on "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller. 

   The Book Whisperer.png

If you don't have the book already,  you can grab it here.  It's not too late to join in.

The fifth chapter is called "Walking the Walk".  We need to examples to our students and demonstrate reading ourselves.

The one thing that stood out to me in the chapter was when Donalyn suggested that as part of a reading improvement plan you "read more children's books".

Now being a Kindergarten teacher, I love children's books.  I think I had a full library full of children's book before I ever became a teacher.  

Not only do I have a large collection of books by Robert Munch, the entire set of Franklin books and a large quantity of Berenstain bear books, but I also have a good sized library of young author books.

As a teacher, you know how busy we are.  With that in mind, I don't always have the time or energy during the school year to get into a book with a complicated story line that requires more than a few brain cells to figure out the plot and characters.  Lets face it, during the school year I need a book that I can pick up, read for a minute two, and then be able to pick up again (maybe even in a day or two) and not have difficulty following the storyline

I find that young author books fit this bill perfectly.  The stories are rich and exciting, easy to read and can be picked up and put down frequently without losing the storyline.

Here are a few of my favourites.

What are your favourites?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pumpkin No Prep

My students are getting so excited about Halloween coming up.  I finished my Pumpkin No Prep just in time to practice some math skills before the big day.  They will be half-price until Sunday.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Book Whisperer - Chapter 4

This week is Chapter 4 of our book study on "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller. 

   The Book Whisperer.png

If you don't have the book already,  you can grab it here.  It's not too late to join in.

The fourth chapter is all about reading freedom.  

It is so important to allow children to make choices about what they read and Miller makes it a point in her classroom to put the kids in the drivers seat.

Miller also states that she has a 40 book reading requirement in her class.  Have you ever 40 books in one year?  Do you think it's too much?

I loved "The Right of the Reader" that Miller quoted in her book.

Several of these hit home with me, like number 2.  I'm an avid reader and I'm always skipping pages.  I don't really like pages and pages of descriptions of scenery.  I prefer to just get on with the story, so I will often skip those pages.

Which of these points describe you?

Don't forget to check out the other blogs with thoughts on Chapter 4.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Custom T-Shirt Mega GIVEAWAY from Freebielicious

Every once in a while,  the girls at Freebielicious discover a really awesome product for classroom teachers that is so amazing, we just have to share it with you! Today is one of those days! Get ready because we are hosting a super cute giveaway for custom classroom t-shirts from ClassroomFaces.com. We will be giving away a class set* of custom t-shirts to THREE lucky Freebielicious fans! Isn't that amazing?   Here is my t-shirt.

These are NOT your average t-shirt designs. The people at ClassroomFaces are so creative, they found a way to print a collection of drawings from every child in the class on the set of t-shirts, to create a truly custom design! Nobody else in the world will ever have a t-shirt exactly like the one your class designs. The website may be called "Classroom Faces" but there are SO many more options for children to draw than just their face. Sample designs on the website show creative ideas using student handprints or drawings of the school mascot.

Since the Freebielicious girls are such good friends, we designed our very own set of Classroom Faces t-shirts. We enlisted the help of our talented friend (and fellow Freebie gal) Nikki from Melonheadz to create custom drawings of each of our faces. The finished t-shirts were absolutely ADORABLE! I absolutely love my new custom Freebielicious t-shirt from Classroom Faces.com.

About Classroom Faces

Creating a class set of t-shirts featuring your students drawings is easy. Each child just needs to create a simple drawing. To create t-shirts with one-color ink on a solid colored t-shirt (like ours) each child needs to draw their picture using a fine point black marker. The ClassroomFaces website has downloadable templates that you can use to guide your students. Full-color illustrations on a plain white t-shirt are also possible. Look how cute these t-shirts are! 

Extra Savings for Freebielicious Fans

Freebielicious fans that order a class set of tshirts can save $1 on each tshirt and receive 1 free teacher tshirt with their order using promo code FREEBIE14. Orders must include 15 or more paid shirts to qualify and must be postmarked by December 31, 2014

Enter to WIN a Class Set of Custom Classroom Faces T-Shirts

Now that you have seen how ADORABLE these t-shirts are, it's your chance to try and win a set for your classroom. The wonderful people at ClassroomFaces are graciously giving away a class set* of custom t-shirts to 3 lucky Freebielicious fans! Each set is valued at over $250. Stop by the Freebielicious blog for your chance to WIN! 


*Up to 24 tshirts will be included in each prize pack. Winner can choose to order a class set of traditional single-color tshirts or tshirts will full-color illustrations. Additional t-shirts can be purchased for $11 or $13 (depending on t-shirt size and style). Shipping is free for winners that live in the US. If a winner requires shipping outside of the US, the winner is responsible for shipping costs. (Shipping to Canada costs between $5-$20 depending on weight and location). 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Monster Colours Interactive Books

I've had several requests for more Halloween Interactive books, so I did one with a monster theme.

I've also added to this pack, 4 sets of take home books, one for each of the big books.  These will be perfect for the children to take home.

This set also contains both U.S. and Canadian spellings.  

You can pick up this pack for 1/2 price until the weekend.  Click on the first picture in this post.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Book Whisperer - Chapter 3

This week is Chapter 3 of our book study on "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller. 

   The Book Whisperer.png

If you don't have the book already,  you can grab it here.  It's not too late to join in.

The third chapter talks about different places to read and how to find "reading" time.

I read at the doctor's office, while I'm in the car,  waiting in the ER (you could be there forever), and at hockey practice.

Where could you find time at school?

  In the morning when children are coming in, waiting in line for picture day,  rainy day recess or any time that is "wasted" time.

  Where do you have "wasted" time?

Where is the strangest place you have read?  I love the idea of making comfortable, unusual areas in the classroom to read.

I've had these chairs in my class before:

Beanbag chairs are awesome and come in so many shapes and sizes.

We have lots of sensory seat cushions.  Children can take them to "just the right spot".
I love the idea of using a laundry basket.  Add a few pillows and you have an instant cozy reading spot.

I hope I've given you a few ideas to make reading fun.

You can find more thoughts on Chapter 3 on the blogs below.