I know how you’re feeling. Summer is half over and it’s time to start thinking about your classroom, right? Whether it is your first, 15th or 30th year teaching, this can be an exciting yet stressful time. That’s where I come in. I am sharing my favorite things about my classroom, how they work for me and most importantly how they help me teach my students. I have broken my classroom down into stations, for instance library, computer station, play dough station and sensory station. You can find my favorite products as well as the link to the post that explains more. These are my Teacher Must Haves For The Classroom. I hope this helps relieve some stress for you and enjoy this time to prep!
As much as the world is anti-screen time for kids, I find many benefits of using technology in the classroom. It is important for students to not only learn how to use technology but apps and programs are helpful in teaching students concepts! Here is how my computer station is set up.
Mouse pads are a must but I like this one because it is aluminum not foam that will be destroyed quickly.
Computer chairs are crucial. These are awesome because they have removable & washable covers!
One thing I love is seeing other teacher’s classrooms! Classroom reveals are SO FUN, don’t you think? Here is mine from a few years back. Although I’ve made a few changes, these pictures show what has really worked for me for years! I’m sharing my favorites so you can have the same success for me!
Do you have a growth mindset? Do you teach your students about what growth mindset is and how to have one? Over the last 4 years, my school has made a shift to this way of thinking, growing our brains and teaching! Teaching students to have grit and perseverance are traits that will hopefully stay with them for the rest of their academic careers and into adulthood. 3 summers ago, Greg (Kindergarten Smorgasboard) and I did a summer book study on the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck . The book study was wildly popular and still one of my most read posts and series! With so many teachers, administration, and districts embracing growth mindset I have put together a round up some resources that you might be interested in, when teaching growth mindset in your class! This round up includes teaching tools, activities, anchor charts, bulletin boards, and books!!! But to make this Growth Mindset post even more exciting, I am doing a giveaway!!
Last summer I designed a shirt with The Wright Stuff Chics and it has finally been released this summer!! As a kindergarten teacher, I am always telling my students that mistakes are a part of learning and practice makes progress. So it was only fitting that my shirt would say, Mistakes Happen #growthmindset.
I believe in celebrating mistakes so much, that I have these huge letters as a focus in my room, to let my students know that mistakes happen, but they help us learn and grow! Scroll down for the GIVEAWAY!!!
Hey friends and welcome to the first week of our 2018 Summer Book Study;
The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading! Can I just start off by saying that both Greg (The Kindergarten Smorgasboard) and myself have been deluged with positive comments and feedback on our book selection this year! I think every teacher wants to be better equipped when it comes to guided reading! I hope that you are just as excited as we both are, to delve into this book and learn and grow as an educator! So let’s take a running leap and jump right into this book study head-first! (If you are not sure what book study I am talking about, head over to THIS post to read more!)
What Is Guided Reading?
Jan Richardson explicitly explains that guided reading is differentiated, small group instruction that supports students in developing reading proficiency. It also targets specific learning needs, has appropriate scaffolding and gradually reduces support from the teacher, which promotes more independent reading. (pg 13) Guided Reading is not only important for the student, but for the teacher too. Using the 3-step model, illustrated below, a teacher will be able to instruct each student at their instructional level, so they become a more developed and independent reader!
Guided Reading is intentional and strategic! I love how Jan Richardson states that although ‘assessment’ has become a dirty word in education, if it is designed and used properly and efficiently, it is extremely valuable!
Guided Reading is just a part of balanced reading instruction. I love how Jan broke apart the different parts of reading instruction and shared what a balanced program looks like! No need to take away read-alouds (please don’t!) or to spend too much time on direct instruction; use this model and you can achieve success!
So I’m sure you are convinced of the importance of Guided Reading, but where do you fit it in and what are the other students doing while you are running your guided reading groups?
I was so excited to read that Jan Richardson promotes independent literacy work stations! While reading this chapter, I was shaking my head vigorously in agreement and excitement, since I am already doing that in my class! Using this method allows my students to work independently and purposefully when practicing skills that have been previously taught, which then allows me to work with my guided reading groups, uninterrupted!
If you are not operating literacy stations in your class, consider reading these posts: Literacy Stations in the Kindergarten Classroom. I share what literacy stations are, how to run them and keep them going for a year of engagement and learning! But exactly what Jan has written in her book on pages 16-22 is how I operate and use stations in my class.
Decide (Determine what skills each student needs and group them accordingly)
Guide (Flexible Guided Reading Groups to target their specific reading needs)
Guided Reading Groups will be held during the independent literacy block of time, which for me, is 45 minutes. This allows me to get in 3 different groups for 15 minutes each. While I am meeting with my groups, the other students are working independently at their literacy work stations.
Welcome to the series, Intentionally Teaching with Purpose and Fun – A Kindergarten Curriculum Standards Series for Teachers.
If you are interested in getting more in-depth with the kindergarten standards and growing as a kindergarten teacher, then you have reached the right blog post and series! Over the next few days and weeks, I will be focusing on each of the kindergarten standards and sharing what each means, ideas for how to teach it, and how to assess it. Have you ever looked at your kindergarten standards or the specified content you are required to teach and wondered what does this mean? How do I teach this? Or, have you ever been teaching a certain standard in a specific way, only to find out that that is NOT what the standard means? Or you misinterpreted or misunderstood the learning target? The answer for me was, YES!! Even though my district has all of the standards easily accessible and teachers are able to ‘unwrap’ the standards, I found myself still struggling with the meaning of certain standards and how to teach/assess them.
My ah-ha moment was when I took an amazing class offered to our district Kindergarten teachers (shout out to Heaven B!). It was this class that opened my teaching eyes to a few standards I was misinterpreting. I was blown away that I had been teaching kindergarten for over 5 years and was just finding out what some of these standards REALLY meant. Sheesh. I felt really bad, but was determined to take the bull by the horns and dig into my standards. After talking to other teachers throughout not only my district, but the United States, I found out that the majority of teachers find interpreting the kindergarten standards challenging. (I mean, what exactly is prompting and support?!?). This inspired me to take apart each standard, determine the ‘bones’ of it, create a way to teach it, but also, learn to teach it in an intentional, purposeful, yet fun and engaging way!
I can promise that this series is coming from my heart and my intention is for it to be a help and resource for kindergarten teachers all over. No, I am not an expert. But I am an ‘in the trenches’ kindergarten teacher, like most of you and just want to do my best and make a difference!
I hope you follow along with this series and it makes a difference in your teaching! Please, please, please, leave your comments and support me along on this journey! We are all in this together!
First of all, congratulations for making it through another school year and HAPPY SUMMER! I know we are all excited to have a moment to pause, take a deep breath and relax a little. I too am excited for this, but I am also looking forward to taking time to reflect, make needed and wanted changes, and moving forward with my career. This is why I LOVE hosting and participating in Summer Book Study For Educators with my friend Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasbord. This year we will be learning all about how to take a step forward with guided reading.
2018 Educator’s Summer Book Study:
The Next Steps In Guided Reading
I love that this book comes with the option of being spiral bound. This makes it so helpful to study with. Not sure why I get so excited about that, but it’s like the excitement of a laminator.
Why This Book?
Guided reading is an important part of teaching Kindergarten, isn’t it? This book is fabulous for helping educators step up their guided reading game! This book has incredible resources. It includes planning and instructional tools that will be needed to teach guided reading from a pre-A point all the way to fluent reading. The book is organized around Richardson’s proven Assess-Decide-Guide framework.
There are prompts, discussion starters, teaching points, word lists, intervention suggestions and so much more to support every student including students that are struggling or ones who speak multiple languages.
This book also includes:
29 comprehension modules that cover essential strategies including monitoring, retelling, inferring, summarizing, and more.
Online resource bank with a variety of assessment and record keeping forms that are downloadable.
Templates for stage specific lesson plans.
50+ videos of Jan showing the key parts of guided reading lessons for each stage.
How Does The Book Study Work?
Greg and I will be posting a weekly recap and our comments on one chapter per week. We will be starting Wednesday June 6, 2018. Our recaps will be posted each Wednesday.
We will also be doing Facebook Live broadcasts as well as Instagram Lives. These will be fascinating to get all of your input as well! Follow Along With Our Live Broadcasts Here:
Mother’s Day is a fun day to have an in class event, like a tea party. It is a day that we, as teachers, can help our students celebrate the special women in their lives. My favorite way to have this classroom celebration is to throw a Mother’s Day Tea Party.
Hosting A Mother’s Day Tea Party In The Classroom
There are many ways that we have accomplished this in ways that doesn’t have to be any extra stress for you.
Have children each bring a snack in.
Ask 4-5 parents to cover food and drinks, just like any other class party.
Keep it simple and have drinks and a cupcake.
This can be done in the classroom or in another area you may be able to use in the school like the cafeteria or outside.
Although we have hosted the tea party itself differently, we also use these adorable invites & RSVP cards.
Printable Invites & RSVP Cards
The invitations and RSVP Cards are printable and editable to meet your needs.
We have also included a black and white version of the invitation so children can color or decorate the invitations themselves.
Looking for a fun and engaging game to help teach subtraction? Try using this Subtraction BowlingFREEBIE with your students!
Teaching subtraction can be tricky sometimes. Not every school year, but some years it can be a challenge. I have found that after teaching addition to my kindergartners, that they struggle with taking away, instead of ‘adding to’, like they did with addition. That is when I pull out my Subtraction Bowling game! Since we live in Las Vegas, many of the casinos have bowling alleys, so my kids are familiar with the concept of bowling. If you have been living under a rock your whole life (joking…lol) then you may not be familiar with bowling. But bowling is simply ten bowling pins and one bowling ball. The object is to roll the ball down the long and straight alley way and knock down all of the pins. The fact that bowling requires ten pins is perfect for kindergarten, since adding and subtracting within ten is a perfect goal for little learners.
When I started using this game to teach subtraction, it was difficult to find bowling sets to use in the classroom. Now with the surge of backyard games, you can find bowling sets at Walmart, Target and other stores. My personal favorite are the mini bowling game sets that I found on Amazon! The ones that I use in my classroom can be found here. They are a great deal, since you can get 6 or 12 individual sets for less than $1 a piece! This allows you to have enough sets for partner games or several different math tubs!
I also found that using a lid as a ‘bowling alley’ helps to contain the balls and pins. I just use the lid from the sterilite container that my game goes back into. But…in researching a little for this blog post, I found this mini bowling set and I am in love! I love that it has the gutters and little ball ramp! It’s not as inexpensive as they other, but I could buy 2 different sets for math tubs. (click picture to be taken to product)
After using another teacher friend’s recording sheet, I decided I wanted one that allows for multiple games and not one game at a time. So in my true DIY self, I created my own recording/response sheet.
The recording or response sheet has 8 different ‘bowling games’ on it. Students will set up bowling pins and bowl, knocking down the pins. They will then record how many pins were knocked down and complete the subtraction sentence. Students can cross out knocked down pins to ‘show their work’ or color the pins that are still standing. That is the decision of you and your students to determine how you want your students to show their work. You can also laminate or place in a plastic pocket for multiple uses. Want the freebie for yourself? I hope you are a Kindergarten Chaos Exclusive Member, since it is on our FREEBIES page here!
Looking for more subtraction ideas? Check out this post for more subtraction games and ideas!