Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Clever School Teacher-Ta Da!

Have you ever said anything to your husband in passing... and it seems to go in one ear and out the next?  Well, that is what I thought I did 8 months ago.  I said, "You know what would be really cool?  If there was a website that organized books around teaching ideas.  Then teachers wouldn't have to spend all their time searching for books to use.  They could just click and buy them..."

Now had this been a conversation about a pair of platformed wedged peep-toes, my statement above would have skipped through his ears and never stopped at his brain. But for some reason (totally new to me) he listened... weird!

So presto... change-o this web site was born.

We have spent countless hours organizing books for you.  
Some books are organized by comprehension strategy.  Some are organized by writing... Be Still My Heart!

We also organized books around the Common Core Curriculum Map Units! SWEET!

I would love to tell you that this site is PERFECT... but it is not... YET! We do know that the delivery process works wonderfully.  I kept telling my husband, "I think I need to order some more books, just so I know the delivery system is flawless." LOL!

Will you please look around? 

We will have gift certificates to this site during our book study! Yippee!
And the EVER-AMAZING April is hosting a gift certificate give-away over at her site.  Thank you April!!!!

Chalk Talk

I hope you like it and find it useful.  We would love to get your feedback!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Pictures and In Words-Book Study Bookmark

Oh my sweet friends... I am getting REALLY excited!

As you may recall, last summer we collectively studied Debbie Diller's wonderful book, Math Work Stations. This year we will be diving into Katie Wood Ray's Book, In Pictures and in Words.
Click on the book to go to Amazon
If you have been reading my blog this year, you know I have used this book in my writer's workshop.  But just like last year, I decided I wanted to know more.  
Who better to help me think more deeply about this text than you guys?

When does it start?  
On June 22nd, I will launch our study here on this site.  Then each week another blog will host a section of the book. (I will take the first 2 weeks)

How do I participate?
You will want to follow the blogs who are hosting the chapters (so you won't miss anything).

If you have a blog:  You can create a post (using our guiding questions) and link up with the hosting blog.
If you do not have a blog:  You can simply comment on the blog with your reflections.

The beautiful thing about blog book studies is you can check in whenever you want.  If you have plans during this time of year... no worries... The information will be here waiting for you!

What is the schedule?
I created a book mark to help you along the way.  It has the hosting blog, dates, and guiding questions.
Simply print it out and keep it with you as you go through the book study.

You bet!  We will give away gift certificates for books from

We have more exciting news about this book study soon!  Yipee!

Tell me you are as excited as I am?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Do You Know This Book?

The other day I came across this book.  It is amazing!  This is a wordless book that I can NOT wait to use in my writer's workshop. 

I can also use this when I launch reader's workshop.  In kindergarten we talk about reading the pictures... Perfect!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Writing Work Stations for June and July

I just uploaded my June and July's Writing Work Station packet for friends who are teaching summer school or who are in a year-round school.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Look What I Found!

If you are looking for another cute end-of-the-year activity... Check this out!
This is the cutest thing! They are from Donna Glynn... super cute!

Click on the image to go to her TpT store.

Here is another goodie and it is FREE!

Click on the image to go to her post.

Katie did this wonderful post about getting the last day wiggles out while still learning!

Love! It!

Thank you!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Common Core Freaking You Out? Resources

So when you start to hear about Common Core, do you feel the need to breathe into a sack? Next year our district (and state) are implementing CCSS (although... because we are Missouri... they want to call it something else... what.everrrr).  
As a district, we needed to look at our units of study and change them.   Boy HOWDY this really caused some anxiety.  

Then I recalled one of my sweet followers mentioned the Common Core Curriculum Maps last January.  I quickly Googled it and presto, change-o... I found this.

I love this book (under $20 at Amazon).  Whenever I would look at the new CCSS, I would ask myself, "Yes, but what does that look like?   How much 'support' are we talking about here?"  This book gives you sample activities and pacing guides... L!O!V!E!

The other thing I really like about this book is it breaks the year into 6-six week units.   Additionally, it lists scaffolded activities that build upon each other.   And... there is more... Wait for it... Wait for it...
The units also give suggestions on ways to incorporate content into language arts... cue the angels to sing.

Now, I may not agree with each unit or everything within these units, but if you are having trouble envisioning   CCSS, this might be a helpful resource.

I am in the process of packing up my classroom for the summer.  I VOWED I would do it in an organized way.  Therefore, I made labels to go on my bins.  My plan is to shuffle some of my content area to match the curriculum map.

Here are the FREE labels:
Click on the picture to get your copy.
Wait there is more (do I sound like the Sham-wow guy)!  

If you follow Lucy Calkins's Reader's and Writers Workshop, you can get these e-books. You can fine them on Heinemann's Website...or just click on the image.

Update #1:  Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants has blogged about this subject and she has some won.der.ful links to additional resources. 

Update #2:  Miss Nguyen's Class has a curriculum map that you may want to check out too.

One last thing...   I added this to my store... It will be on sale for 15% off for the next 48 hours... so just $1.70!

Ok...  that's it... everything I know!  
How are you preparing for the CCSS?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sad to say good-bye

The last few days of school are such a blur.   Rush here, rush there... I think it may be a blessing because the last few days are really tough on me.   Every time I would try to talk to my kids about going to first grade, I would start to cry (I am really good at weddings too... I can cry like nobody's business).

Our building started a tradition... During the last hour of the day we have a moving up activity.  We divide our class up and they go to meet their first grade teacher.  Now picture this... Our Pre-K/ Kindergarten hall is on one side of the building and we have to walk a bit to make it to the 1st/2nd grade hall.  The entire way I am blubbering and trying not to make eye contact with my students. As I approach the 1st grade teachers, I wonder if they think these are tears of joy (and start to panic) or worry that I have some serious issues.

So... I digress... the last few days are a blur with assemblies and procedures.   This was a perfect way to fill in those in between times.  Erica's packet is one that your can totally customize.   Perfect! AND Cute!

Not only did I have to say good-bye to my sweeties, I also had to say goodbye to Miss Theodora.  A new district policy is in place that prohibits classroom pets that have dander.
 Miss Theodora was deeply offended by this implication.
She went home today with my principal's daughters. They were very excited because they have been in LOVE with her all year. Still .... I am really sad tonight.

My class cried and cried when I told them that she would not be back next year.  We decided to make a book... naturally!

She really loves carrots and she really loves celery.  And  she really loves lettuce and she really loves to watch us do stations.

Theodora likes hay. She runs up and nibbles on it.

She likes us when we give her a carrot.  We love her too.  She is sweet.
I loved this one... You see... Theodora is talking to me, "Hay Mrs. Wills!  Hay Hay Hay."  She can be a demanding little pig.
She really likes kids and she likes carrots.

Theodora really likes carrots. She likes us doing stations.  She likes hay.

She loves people.
This boy knew we used the word "people" on another chart, so he went and found it... YES!
She likes carrots,  She loves kids.  She loves hay.  She loves Mrs. Wills.
Big tear!
Theodora likes to be out of her cage.  Theodora eats hay.  Theodora likes kids.   Theodora really likes stations.
For the record... our night custodian was really bummed today too.  He loved to bring her treats at night.
Boo Hoo!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mmmm... Smelly Markers!!!

So... a few months ago, I went to lunch with Katie Mense from Little Warriors (and a few other bloggy BFFs) and she came with gifts!

How did she know that I LOVE smelly markers more than ANYthing?! 

When I returned to school, I whipped this out of my purse and my students drooled over it.   They wanted to touch it...they wanted me to write on their papers with it.  Their eyes glassed over!

I went in search of more!  I went to my local Wal-Mart and did not see them, so I contacted the company.
Ta da!
These markers are YUM-MY!   They don't seem to bleed through the paper and they last and last and last!
I put some into the treasure box and they were snatched up quick!

I also got some Chalk-a-Doos!  These are super-cute chalk holders!  I had been saving them until yesterday.  I broke them out during our kindergarten picnic and my students literally clapped!

As I understand it, you can find these at most Wal-Marts, Michael's, Staples, and Toys-R-Us!  I will ab-so-lute-ly add these to my back-to-school list!

Thank you Scentos and Katie!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Peek at my Teeny Tiny Week

I didn't post my peek at my week... because we only have two "academic" days this week.   We had today and tomorrow with a regular school schedule... then Wednesday is our picnic and Thursday... drum roll please... is our last day. 

But here is last week's Peek if you need it.

 Here are some of the photos that I had on my cell phone (that you may recall was lost for 24 hours... GASP).  This is from Deanna Jump's Ocean Unit.  My kids just giggle when I say."Oh, fish sticks". We used mini-erasers as counters. We also made the shark and sea horse from her unit... C-U-T-E!
 These next few photos are from my Under the Deep Blue Sea Math Work Stations Unit.
 Sometimes all you need to do to kick it up a notch is change the dice you use.  My kiddos used these two dice... or is it die?   Anyhooo... this was a great way to get them to count on.  I could hear them say, "6, 7, 8, 9, 10."   When they used the two dotted dice, they tended to count all the dots.
 Writing their own story problems... Loved it!

On another note,  this is the time of year for reflection.  Did I do everything I could?  Could I do more?  During the "Great Sale"  I got my hands on these.  I love these!   Talk about kicking it up a notch.  I plan on incorporating these in my planning for next year.   Asking "thick" or "hot" questions takes a deliberate effort. I think these will help me weave these into my instruction.   My only regret was that I waited until May to get them.
Thank you Anna!!!
Click on the image below to see her "Complete" set of HOTS Reading Response Sheets.

Are you getting excited about the blog book study yet?
I hope to have some details to share with you over the weekend!!!!

If you are looking for other summer reads... check out this linky party.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Some Writing

Got my cell phone... check... do I want to load pictures of my stations...not really... Trust me when I say they are going great.  I really would rather share some writing.  
I have been carrying these around for a while.

Here is another from April.
The Things I Like to do with My Grandma

I like to go deer hunting with my grandma and she likes it too.

I like to ride the four wheeler with my grandma.  It was fun.

I like to plant the garden with my grandma.  We planted vegetables.

I like to rest with my grandma.  She loves it. And she rubs my feet. (SWEET)

I like to have a snack with my grandma.  And she likes it.

Good bye Grandma.  Good bye Tanner.  And I had fun with you.
I like the books with lines in it.  This seems to help them with their presentation.

I have a ton more to share... but I must go to bed soon... These cherubs are wearing me out!
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