Sunday, September 27, 2015

  Introducing the Character Pals:

My Character Pals were inspired by the Sun Sentinel's Kids of Character Program. Every month teachers in my county focus on one character trait & at the end of the month choose one student that portrays that character trait. Our local newspapers prints stories of children across our county that show exemplary character. 

This year my school is giving all students character bracelets as a visual reminder of the character trait we are working on for the month. To the right is September's Character Bracelet encouraging student's to show cooperation. So far the kids love them!

As a kindergarten teacher I needed an engaging way to teach character traits to my kindergartners so I created the Character Pals. Each Character Pal has two posters:one defining the character trait 
another giving an example of how it is applied. A writing frame is also included where children draw and write about how they apply the character trait.

12 Character Pals Are Included:

Carrie the Cooperative Cat

Robbie the Responsible Rabbit

Gaby the Good Citizen Giraffe

Keri the Kind Kangaroo

Ricky the Respectful Raccoon

Hailey the Honest Horse

Sadie the Self Control Snail

Terry the Tolerant Turtle

Freddie the Friendly Fish

Benny the Brave Bear

Paulie the Perseverant Penguin

Frankie the Fair 



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Monday, August 31, 2015

Building Back to School: Writing Tools

I am back for the last week of the Building Back to School Linky Party hosted by Denise from # TeacherMom. I want to thank her for putting on this Blog Hop and congratulate her on the birth of her baby girl. Don't forget to enter our raffle below to win $20 worth  of Teacher's Pay Teacher's Products ($10 from my store & $10 from Miss Jenny's and Edutunes store).

This week we are talking about writing. I'm the first to admit that I writing is my least favorite subject to teach. However I will never forget what I learned in a workshop: Great writers are always great readers but great readers are not necessarily great writers. So I am partnering up with my friend Miss Jenny from Edutunes to liven up my writing instruction this year. She has already livened up my reading and math instruction through her amazing songs. You can meet Miss Jenny here.  

Her music is amazing and has great rhythm. Today I am reviewing her 6 Traits Writing Songs Book & CD.

 Tool # 1: Big Ideas Song

This is what my brain looks like when I'm thinking of what to write. Miss Jenny's Choose a Big Idea Song gives writers some questions to ponder to help them decide on their topic. My students loved the beat to this song. It reminded me of Sebastian from the Little Mermaid. You can hear a clip from this song here.

Tool # 2: Writer's Block Song

We have all been there, stuck on what to write. This song gives students four strategies to help them overcome writer's block: 1. Write about what's on your mind. 2. Keep a notebook to jot down ideas as they come to you. 3. Read. Reading helps you learn and gives you ideas to write about. 4. Ask a Friend. These are great strategies to teach students and to remember as adults. You can read the lyrics below and hear a clip from the song here.

Tool #3 Colorful Words

Her Colorful Words song encourages students to use "colorful" words in their writing. It gives students specific examples to help them understand what that means. For example, "It's not just pretty...It's darling, charming, dainty or delightful. " Like her other songs, this song has a catchy tune to engage students. You can listen to a sample here.

Tool #4 Writer Rhino

She created an character named Writer Rhino to introduce primary students to the writing process. She introduces him as "a friend who will dazzle your mind." I love that she tells students in this song that their writing will improve with every story. You can hear a clip of this song #24 on iTunes here.

Tool #5 Classical Music

The final tool Miss Jenny's suggests for writing is playing classical music while children write. The last song on her CD is 29 minutes of classical music to stimulate children during writing. There is a link between classical music and learning. Music helps create a desired atmosphere, focus concentration, provide inspiration and  motivation. Source: John Hopkins School of Education

You can contact Miss Jenny below:

Teacher's Pay Teacher's: Miss Jenny and Edutunes


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Monday, August 17, 2015

Building Back to School Week 3 : Language Tools

I am back for week 3 of our Building Back to School Linky Party put together by Denise from #TeacherMom. This week's topic is language tools. Don't forget to enter this week's contest and grab this week's freebie.

Week 3: Language Tools

The foundation of language development in young children is giving them tools to develop their oral language. What are these tools? Think of what you see when you look into the calendar math wall of an early childhood teacher other than the calendar. Shapes & colors will be found in every room. Why? These are the foundations to language development which helps children expand their oral language skills. Shapes & colors provide attributes to describe the world around us. You can read more about my color posters here.

I used real photographs in my posters with language development in mind. The shapes below were designed to spark curiosity in students. In my classroom I will discuss one shape a day and have children describe what they see. Using questions like:

What shape is it?
What is it?
What color is it?
Where would you find it?
How is it used? 

 Here's a freebie for you to help you teach your students shapes & spark a conversation about them. 
 Shapes Flashcards Freebie

You can view my full size posters here.

 For those of you in a dual language class you can get the bilingual version here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Building Back to School: A Classroom Tools Week 2

I'm back with Week 2 of #TeacherMom's Building Back to School Blog Hop. This week is going to be even better than last week. There will be a giveaway on every blog so be sure to hop along with us for a chance to win one of them. Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $10 Gift Certificate from my store.  Good luck!

Today I will feature two products from my Back to School Poster Bundle which you can use as Classroom Tools to support literacy in the Primary Classroom.

Classroom Tool # 1 An Engaging Alphabet

You will notice that vowels are bordered in red & consonants in blue this was done to help students visually distinguish them.
An alphabet is a must for any elementary classroom. It helps younger students learn letter names and sounds. Older students might use it as a reference when putting words in alphabetical order. All students use it as a model for correct letter formation. However in order for it to be a tool you must refer to it often when teaching a lesson. In my kindergarten classroom we sing songs as a child points to each letter. I use both recorded songs and songs I've made up. Students love them both. One of the songs I made up is /a/ apple, /b/ Ball, /c/ cat... Basically we just sing the letter sound and name the picture. Its so easy the kids can do it by themselves once we have practiced a few times. I can't carry a tune but have found that children love singing songs & luckily in kindergarten they think their teacher is awesome no matter what she sounds like. 
You can get the Vowel Posters Freebie here.

Classroom Tool #2: Color Posters

For years I have been using the same old color posters. This summer I decided to make my own. What a better way to engage students than real photos. These vivid pictures are sure to spark a conversation. You can use them to sing a color. Don't know one make it up. You can also use them to play an eye spy game: i.e. I spy something green. In the writing center you can place color flashcards to help students with their writing. The vivid pictures can serve as writing starters. Students can write a sentence or a story about the picture. You can get my Freebie Color Flashcards here

These posters are also available with white backgrounds

and in a Bilingual Version.

You can see my Back to School Posters Bundle here.

Enter below for a chance to win a $10 Gift Certificate to my store. Don't forget to hop along for more awesome giveaways.

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

BTS Blog Hop

I am linking up with some wonderful teachers for a Back to School Blog Hop. Thank you to Tammy from The Owl Teacher for organizing this blog hop.
The Owl Teacher
I can't believe I only have 1 more week of summer vacation! Today I am sharing some tips to start the   year off right.

#1 Recycled Crayon Holders

Detergent caps are the perfect size to hold crayons. You can jazz them up with a little bit of ribbon & give every student their own crayon holder. I used a 1 inch circle cutter to make the numbers. I love the way you can see all the crayons making selecting one much easier. The teacher can see at a glance who needs more crayons. It also eliminates sticky hands a little since students can't fit too many crayons in their caps. I can't wait to share this hack with my students.

#2 Line Numbers

At the beginning of the year my kindergarteners need lots of help to line up in a straight line & always complained that someone got in front of them. I created these line up spots for my Star Themed Room. I suggest laminating them and attaching them to the floor using clear packing tape. I even made spots for the line leader and door holder. 

#3 Name Tags

I bought 100 Plastic ID Cards on Ebay for $1 including shipping. It was a deal too good to pass up. You can get them here. Since I don't have a ID card printer or an extra $1,000 to buy one.

For weeks I've been trying to figure out how to make them cutesy. After making the Line Order Spots, I thought why not make 1.5" spots (since I have a 1.5 inch circle cutter) and print them on photo paper. That way when students line up they can match the number on their name tag to the matching spot. My 4 year old loved matching her name tag to the number on the floor.

Here's how I made my name tags. I made circles in Photoshop and have them a border. Did you know Photoshop lets you make exact circle sizes? Then I inserted my graphic in the middle. Print on 4x6 photo paper. Hot glue Then I write the number and the student's name using a permanent marker. 
I'm going to attach mine using clothes pins. Simply hot glue it to the back. You can also hole punch it & attach it to ribbon.

Enter below to win this AWESOME Prize Pack!

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Visit the other bloggers on this hop for more back to school tips.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Our Teaching Tribe August Challenge

This month for Our Teaching Tribe's first challenge I was paired up with Yara from Sea of Knowledge. Yara is from Sydney, Australia. My son & I reviewed  her Fall Themed Mystery Place Value Messages. We practiced his Place Value skills all week as he gets ready for 2nd grade.

 In her packet students must complete Place Value Worksheets to decode the mystery letters to solve a riddle. The graphics on these sheets are super cute!  
 Children love solving riddles. This packet can be used in over the course of a week or a day if students are separated into teams. Over the course of a week students can solve one letter of the riddle a day, definitely building excitement as they get closer to the answer.

  I loved how this product offered multiple ways of building numbers. Yara has answer keys for all the worksheets making checking them a snap.
My son had a great time practicing his math skills and solving the riddle. You can see Yara's Fall Themed Mystery Messages here. Click below to visit Yara's blog and see her review of my Kissing Hand Unit.