Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Show & Tell Apron

Use letter cards to build words in your apron

One of the best ideas I got from the I Teach K in Vegas was this Show and Tell Apron from Sandy over at Kinder-Gardening!!!


Sandy must have had the most buzzed about shop in the exhibitor's hall in Vegas! Everyone wanted one of her super cute aprons and I got one!  LOVE IT!


Use letter and Number cards in the apron

Sandy had all kinds of different colors and fabrics.  These colors of teal and green matched my classroom colors so I snatched it up fast before she sold out.  The apron has 5 plastic pockets for letter, picture, or number cards and 2 fabric pockets under that.

Use letter cards to build words in your apron

The Show and Tell Apron can be used in a lot of different ways.  One way is stretching and  building  words.  Sandy has a free download of letters and numbers, but she also has a Letter Pack and Word Pack that you can get to build words and practice sight words.  I can see sentence building as another activity that could be done as well as a great way to do the activity Making Words!

Use number cards in the apron

But you can also use the Show and Tell Apron for math.  You could display numbers in random order and have students write them from smallest to biggest.  

use number cards in the apron

Math facts could also be practiced.  Sandy does have a number pack that she offers that has more to offer.  

If you will go to Sandy's blog, she posted about her aprons and has a lot of great pictures of how to use them.  Tell her I sent you over!  She is just a super sweet lady!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Small Group Material Organization



I am so excited that it's time for another Bright Idea post!  I am joining a bunch of my blogger friends to bring you some great classroom ideas that you can use right away!  I want to tell you about how you can easily organize your small group reading materials.  

You can get these items at the Dollar Tree and Walmart!  Easy and inexpensive!  I really like using pencil pouches to organize materials.  These are clear and that makes it easier for kids to see what they are reaching in after.

using finger lights as pointers

Have you seen these finger lights?  So fun!  Great way to motivate those early readers to point one to one when reading.  They can also use them to find sight words or vocabulary words that you are front loading.

using finger pointers as pointers

All my little readers are at home, so I just used this RtI folder to show you how the finger light can be used to spotlight a word.  

making pointers from popsicle sticks and Ducktape

These are some more pointers you can keep in the pouches.  They are so easy to make!  Popsicle sticks and Ducktape wrapped around them.  Colorful and quick to make! 

Magnetic letters kept in plastic boxes

We use magnetic letters so much in my room.  These little boxes from Dollar Tree are a great size to keep those letters in.  You could also keep a small set of sight words in the boxes if you would rather have the sight words rather than letters.

bead sliders for phonemic awareness

Bead sliders can be used in a lot of different ways!  Students can use them to count out the sounds in words, count syllables in words, or slide as they count words in a sentence.  I like the bigger beads rather than the smaller pony beads since the bigger ones are easier to manipulate for the younger kids.

dry erase markers and erasers from Dollar Tree

Of course you need dry erase markers and erasers in your pencil pouch too.  These erasers are the makeup puffs.  I like the small size!

Using buttons as sliders for phonemic awareness and Elkonin boxes

I have used a lot of different things for sliding into Elkonin boxes.  But I really like the cute buttons!  They are just the right size, flat on the bottom and colorful.  Just switching out the materials you use in your activities rebuilds motivation and interest in the kids!  Always trying to make it new and novel for them!


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Road to Vegas!


I was one of the many, many teachers who went to Vegas last week for the I Teach K conference.  There were other teacher conferences going on that week too.  This beautiful shot is of the Venetian, which was my home for the week.  It is like a city itself!  None of us in my group had ever been to Vegas before and we had a bit of a time just trying to find the registration desk!  


But let me back up a bit... before we got to Vegas, we stopped at the Grand Canyon.  Gorgeous views!  We had not seen this before either.  


Beautiful scenery!  We took lots of pictures and walked around seeing things.  We didn't have very long here because we were trying to make it to the Venetian in time to register for our conference that night.  But we made the most of our short time there.


Like I said, the Venetian is like its own city.  Beautiful and busy inside with lots and lots of shops and restaurants.  


With some help, we did find the hotel registration desk and got registered for our conference in another part of the hotel before the conference registration closed.  It was close though!  The sessions were great and I met a lot of presenters.  One of my favorite people to meet was Kathy Griffin from Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies.  She is an absolute sweetheart!!  So kind!  


On the last day of the conference, my group of teachers attended Dr. Jean's all day session.  She had us singing and moving and creating!  This is a student portfolio made from a paper bag.  It isn't very fancy since I made it in the session.


But you can get the idea from my pictures how students can make this portfolio and stash their work.  Writing pieces, homework, absent work, art work, papers to go home if they forgot their backpack, etc....  So many ideas for this little project!  You can find Dr. Jean's site here

I am so glad that I went to the I Teach K conference!  Met a lot of people, got a lot of great ideas and had a fun time!!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hook Them In With Book Choice- Freebie

wrap books like a gift

We all know that student choice is a powerful thing.  Using choice as your hook is a great way to build excitement and interest into your reading lessons.


One of my small groups had finished a Cam Jansen book.  They had really enjoyed the book, but I wanted them to have some choice in our next selection to be read.  I set out 3  different selections of books in different areas of the room.  The students traveled to the different areas to preview the books and take notes over them.


I love the notes in the first section of this one- very cool, but not for me!  She was not a spider lover!  Students noticed the genres and thought about if the book would be a good choice for them or not.  It is interesting to me that the kids mostly thought ALL the books would be good books, but definitely had a number one choice.  It was like they didn't want to say any of the books would be a bad choice!

After they previewed and even read a bit of the books and took notes on them they numbered their choices.  Majority votes won.  But another great thing you can do is set out the #2 and #3 choices for those who wanted to read them and they can read them during their free time.  Everyone wins- students are reading and interested in more books!

persuasive writing to convince the teacher what book to read next

After the notes have been taken and they have chosen their top pick, the students are ready to explain why we should be reading their book choice.  

persuasive writing to convince the teacher what book to read next

We were working on providing evidence of our thinking.  Then comes the really fun part!

wrap books up as a gift for gift of reading

I didn't let the students know what book had been the popular choice.  I wrapped them up in some pretty paper and set the gift out the next day.


wrap books as a gift to hook them into reading

The students were SO excited to see what books were inside the box!  It was a great way to build up excitement in reading and in our next unit.  They couldn't wait to rip that package open and get to the new books and start reading!!!


If you would like the book choice pages just click here or click the picture above to download it.  

This freebie works well with My Interactive Reader's Notebook.  You can insert this book choice freebie into the comprehension section.  Click here to see it or click the pictures.

different kind of interactive notebook with minimal cutting and gluing

different kind of interactive reader's notebook with minimal cutting and gluing


Sunday, June 29, 2014

E-R-T: Comprehension Skill FREEBIE

Everybody Reads To

Have you heard of E-R-T?  Everybody Reads To. . .  It is a great comprehension skill that can be used for both fiction and informational texts. 

Everybody Reads To...

 You are giving the students a purpose for what they are reading to find out:  everyone read to find out, see why, etc...  In this lesson my first graders were reading an informational text about sharks, which is always a high interest level for my students!


Everybody Reads To...

 E-R-T can be done by pages or sections.  E-R-T can also be completed in small groups, pairs, or individually depending on if this is the first time your students are working on this skill or if they are familiar with it.


Everybody Reads To...

If you like this strategy, you can grab this editable E-R-T freebie!

Comprehension Strategy Freebie

This E-R-T is editable when you download it.  Just click here or on the picture above.  It is two pages and where it says type here, you can type in your own text to create E-R-Ts to fit the books you use.  Hope you like it!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Parent Communication: Brag Notes

Quick and inexpensive brag notes

I know it is summer and I hope you are relaxing and recharging.  But as teachers, I also know we have a hard time making our brains shut off from school stuff!  I have been thinking about bragging on students!  This is my Bright Idea for this month!

Quick and inexpensive brag notes

I needed an easy way to be able to write brag notes about my students.  For me it needs to be a way that is quick, inexpensive, and easy to manage.  I went to a craft store (Hobby Lobby this time) and picked up a package of cardstock paper that was on clearance- $2.99 for the whole pack!  

Quick and Easy Brag Notes

This pack had lots of pages with 6 different designs.  I want my notes going home to be colorful and different so they will stand out and hopefully parents will notice them and read them.  Also, the colorful pages jazz up the brag notes more than regular paper or Post It notes.

Quick and Inexpensive Brag Notes

I measured and marked the pages for cutting.

Quick and Inexpensive Brag Notes

Next, the pages were cut using the paper cutter.

Quick and Inexpensive Brag Notes

One management tip is to use your class roster to go ahead and address the brag notes to the student or to the student's parents.  This is an easy way to be sure all students get notes sent home.  Relying on my memory to keep track of who all has already gotten a note and those who haven't means someone would probably miss out.  

Quick and Inexpensive Brag Notes

This is what the note side can look like after adding a sticker if you wish and your note.  The front will be the colorful side.

Quick and Inexpensive Brag Notes

Find a plastic container with a lid to store your brag notes in and keep them in a handy place where you can easily grab one or two and jot a quick note to send home.  Students and parents love to hear positives and this makes it so much easier to be sure it gets done!

Quick and Inexpensive Brag Notes

If you want to jazz the notes up a bit, add stickers or trim the edges with fancy scissors ahead of time.  During the summer is a good time to do this while you are relaxing and then you will be ready to go when school begins!


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