Sunday, January 27, 2013

Writing and a Giveaway!

We have been writing, writing, writing in my room!   I hear this is their favorite part of the day... writing and stations!

It is hard for me to not let my next unit sneak into the my lesson plans.  As you may know, Unit 5 is about informational writing.   In preparation for this unit, we have done a lot of informational reading.   What we read transfers right into their writing.  My little guys have LOTS of energy for writing informational texts.

Here are a few samples that I grabbed from this month.
We have been reading about penguins earlier in the month.  My friend grabbed a hold of the the name "Baby Blue Penguin."   I was grateful that he chose that breed instead of the jackass penguin!   Whew!

So this illustration is interesting. I asked him, "Why do you have so many penguins?"   He said, "Look Mrs. Wills.   These penguins have to look for their matches."  Then he showed me the lines where they matched up. 
 He said, "This shows how they grow and grow and grow."

 This one cracked me up!

I hope writing is going well in your classrooms!

Now for the Giveaway!

We recently bundled Units 1 through 4!

6 entries
1.  Follow Mrs. Jump's Blog {here}
2.  Follow Mrs. Jump's Pinterest Boards {here}
3. Like Mrs. Jump's Facebook Fan page {here}
4.  Follow my blog
5.  Follow my Pinterest Boards {here}
6.  Like my Facebook Fan page {here}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Peek at my Week-100th Day and Classroom Management Freebie

So this week I went to a district tech training.  I have to say that I sort of went kicking and screaming (quietly and internally) but I was not happy about missing a day in my room... especially because I will be out this week to go to a conference.

However, once I was at the tech training I was reminded of some very cool tools that I had pushed to the back of my brain.   Here is one of them. This is a free management system that you can load on your phone and/or on your computer.   You can award (and remove) points for classroom behaviors.   It took about 5 minutes to set my classroom up.   

 Every time I awarded a point they would hear a chime.  I had minimized the computer screen, so they were not sure who got the point, but they all got busy!   

I made these certificates to hand out once they reach a milestone.

We are swinging into our 100th day of school this week! How! Did! This! Happen! So! Fast!

Here are my plans!

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Are you in? St. Louis Meet up?

So next week I get to hang out, listen, and learn with one of my MOST favorite people!

Kim Adsit will be in St. Louis next week (Thursday, January 31st to be specific).

If you are going to this and want to meet up, let me know.   
We could meet for dinner or whatever!
Just email me!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Peek at my Week-Martin Luther King, Jr

I am semi-ashamed to admit that I am still in my PJ's!   If the house caught fire, I would just stay in it!  Ha!  I FINALLY finished a few things and now I am ready to share... nothing like screeching in at the last minute!

Next week we will be talking about Martin Luther King, Jr.  I will be using these two AWESOME resources!

Click on the images to see more on these units!

This one is from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants!

This one is from Kim Adsit at Kindergals!

They both have super cute activities and spot-on social studies learning... PER-FECT!

I just finished this unit today...OY!   Last! Minute... right?

And finally... Here are my plans for next week!

Have a great week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Kissed CVCC and CCVC Flash Give Away!

Happy three day weekend!   I am so excited to have a few days off!   My husband and I enjoyed a date night tonight... nothing fancy, but I did not have to cook so that is reason enough to celebrate in my book! 
I really wish I liked to cook.  I just like to eat!

I had one of my sweet followers ask if I would make one of my games in a CCVC and CVCC format...Sure!   I am not sure that I have many students who can handle these words independently, but they would make a great small group word activity for a few of my kiddos!

I will select 5 winners, but be quick!

Simple rules... just follow my blog!

Enter through the Rafflecopter... and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Helpless??? I don't think so!

So, I had to go home on Monday because I got the dreaded stomach bug.  While my jeans would welcome ANYthing that would reduce my waistline, it did not feel like a blessing in disguise.

I had the day ready, so I was not too concerned, but I had just done what I rarely do... switched out EVERY one of my math stations out on Friday evening.  Generally, I gradually introduce the new ones.   I was a little worried for my substitute, but thought... the stations are self explanatory, so she will be fine.

As it turned out, there were a few delays and they did not get to math stations on Monday.  So on Tuesday when I was back I got to thinking... do I really need to explain ANY of these stations? Shouldn't they be able to figure them out on their own?

So issued a challenge to my cherubs.   Can you be a problem solver?  I gave them these guidelines:

1.   Most of the stations have an "I Can.." card which shows you what to do.    Can you use this card to show you what to do? Can you do your station independently?
Click on the image to find the activities.

Click on the image to find the activities.
2.  Some of these stations do not have an "I Can..." card but they are a lot like something you have already done.   Can you look at the station and make a smart guess?
Click on the image to find the activities.

Click on the image to find the activities.

3.  If you are still not sure... can you ask three before me?

You know what? They did not need me one bit. I wonder... do we do too much for our kids?   
How are you  fostering independence?

 If you try this out, will you let me know how it goes?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Just starting out? Questions and Answers (my version)

Last month I celebrated my 2 year blog birthday!   Over this time, I feel honored that some of you have asked me for advice.  Let me preface this with the confession that I am the LEAST techie person I know. 

When I get a new phone, I hand it to my son so he can figure it out for me.  I am 100% hopeless when it comes to the remote control (probably because I hardly EVER have any say on what to watch.)   

However, when I started my blog, I was on my own.   So I had to figure a few things out for myself.

How do you get a cute blog design?
You buy it!

I honestly have NO idea how to design a blog.  It baffles my mind and makes me say words that would land me in the principal's office. 

Here is what I did:  First, I wanted to be sure that blogging was something I liked to do.  So I downloaded a free template and tried it out for a few months.  Before I invested any money into blogging, I wanted to be sure it would be something that I could maintain AND enjoy.

Here are a few places you can find some cute and free templates {click on the picture to go to their sites}

Once you are sure about blogging, then you can go hunt down a blog designer.   One of the best ways to do it is to look at the bottom of blogs you like.   See who designed it and contact them.   These blog designers are in big demand and you will probably need to go on a waiting list.   No problem! This will give you more time to decide what you want your blog to look like.

You will want your blog and your blog name to be unique. 

How do I make my products?
I create almost everything in Power Point.  It is so much easier to manipulate graphics in Power Point.   Word is great for text heavy documents, but if I plan on having a lot of graphics I gravitate towards PP.   Power Point takes some getting used to.  Google and You Tube are my best friends.  I play around with the program and I am mostly self taught. 

Fonts and Graphics?
Beyond Diet Coke... Fonts and Graphics are my addictions!

Great FONTS!

Favorite Graphics!

Seriously... that is not even the half of it!  I just checked and I have over  30,000 graphics!   
How! Did! This! Happen!??

Moving on...

How do you get followers?
I think this is tricky.   When I started there were just a few blogs, but then again, there were fewer people who were aware of them too.  When I started I had 1 follower (and he is married to me).   How did I get followers?   I blogged frequently about the things that were happening in my classroom.  I blogged 2-3 times a week (which is my goal for 2013 again... eeek).   I thought about my classroom practices and tried to share what was going on in my room.   

I read a lot of blogs in the process and I commented on those blogs.   I added my blog name via a hyperlink.  Now, I did not expect to have them swamp to my blog, but overtime, people did visit my blog. I will assume that they thought my blog was a worthwhile place to visit, so they decided to follow me.

Kristen from Ladybugs's Teacher Files has a WONDERFUL tutorial on how to do it.

Image from  Ladybug's Teacher Files
Another great way to get visitors to your blog is my joining in on Linky parties.  
These are always taking place and they are fun!

How long will it take?
It is really hard to say... some people find success faster than others. I think the key is focusing on the content and quality of your blog posts.  I know I have not been blogging as much as I want to these last few months. Trust me when I say I have about 30 blog posts written in my head.  The reality is the writing units having taken a lot of my spare time... As soon as they are all finished, I suspect I will be blogging more frequently.   Finger's crossed!

Having said that, I dedicate at least 40 hours a week outside of my school day towards this adventure.  I don't have small babies at home so I have more  time.   Do I have hobbies?  Yep, you are reading it right now.  I love connecting with others.  I love creating cute activities for my class.  
If I didn't love it, I would need a different hobby.

Just a few more thoughts:
1.  Be nice: collaborate with others, share what you know, keep your posts positive.
2. Be authentic:  Make your own way, be true.  It is hard to see other people's ideas and not be influenced by them.  Just be sure you do not copy them.
3. Be patient:  This is really hard for me.
4.  Be consistent:   Show up on your blog!  If you are starting out, I think you need to have at least 2 thoughtful posts a week (commercials do not count).   

There you have it... this is just my opinion.  I hope you find it helpful because that is the spirit in which it was written.   Are there any questions I have forgotten?  Just give me a shout!

UPDATE:   I am ready to start my 4th week of  my Couch to 10K training. How are you guys doing???

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Peek at my Week-Looking back and ahead!

Last week was busy... let me show you!
During the Christmas break I prepared all of my poetry/shared reading for the month of January!

Winter Read, Trace Glue and Draw

Here are some of the stations we did last week.
 We did some informational writing.   You can find these sentences on Deanna Jump's Blog.

Here are my lesson plans for next week!

Have a great week!
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