Saturday, November 24, 2012

More polka dot organization

I have been gradually sharing pictures of my classroom and resources that I made for it. As I mentioned before this year I went from 20 first graders, to 31 in a first/second grade split (yikes!!). Just trying to organize thirty-one of anything is daunting, and the paperwork..
 Here is how I organized my student's daily work. I  have 31 hanging file folders in 3 milk crates (so everyone is not crowded, otherwise known as pushing and shoving,
around one crate) and assigned a folder to each student (they each have student numbers). I made these polka dot "flower" numbers for each student and stapled them securely to the back of a hanging file folder (with the number facing forward). The reason for this is that each student was shown how to locate their number, place their finger on the number and slide their hand straight down to make sure they have the right folder.
Now unfinished work goes here in their work folder instead of lost around the room (we have group tables rather than desks).
This has worked quite well for us,
I do have to go in every now and
then to push down papers that
are sticking out, or to throw away
old papers, but other than that
they are able to manage them
on their own.
So I am adding a copy of these number flowers that you can print out on cardstock and laminate for use in your class.
In addition to the folders, I use the flowers to label certain supplies  such as scissors and glue.
If you are interested in organizing a system like this, you can get my flowers here.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read my blog.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 26 & 27
To go to my store CLICK HERE
Great SALE! Almost all stores will have up to 28% off!
Go to TpT and fill your wish list so you will be ready!
See ya there!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Love that Pete the Cat!

      Okay, I have decided that I am done feeling guilty about not posting and will just post when I can. For those of you who don't know, I will give you a little update on my crazy (teaching) life. This year at my school we went from 20 students per class to 31! After initially being freaked out, I buckled down and got ready
to welcome my 31 second graders.
I got my room set up, my book boxes and folders ready, etc. etc. you know the drill.
So... two weeks into the start of school and not too bad.  I can deal with this, I thought. Well... okay... called into the principal's
office one day and told I wouldbe losing 1/3 of my second graders, and they would be replaced by 1st graders! Yep, I now had a 1/2 split!Had I done a split before? No. Had I even done second grade!
Fortunately for me, I got to loop up with most of my first graders from last year, who are very high. Unfortunately for me, I welcomed 13 extremely low first graders, transferred in from another school. First graders that do not know the names of most of the letters of the alphabet, and very few letter sounds. OMG!
So, I have been keeping busy trying NOT to crack up and do as much as I am able to do in my crazy classroom.
Most days are spent late at school, I go in early, I go in on weekends, but I am nowhere near having things run smoothly. They just kinda... run!
So instead of feeling bad about not keeping up my blog I figure that I will just post what I can, when I can and see if anyone is interested.
I have been asked to post some pictures of my classroom. I have jumped aboard the "polka-dot" bandwagon and LOVE it. I will share some of the things I have made here in case anyone else is dotty for dots.
The first thing I want to share is this hanging that I made for my room. Both my kids and I LOVE Pete the Cat. I made these posters as much for myself as for my students, there are days when you will find me banging my head against the wall mumbling, "It's all cool...".
If you'd like to put together this cute hanging for your room, you need ribbon and these posters.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wearable DOLCH Word Cards

Here is an item that I just posted to my TpT store
(offered as a FREEBIE here for you!) 
(**btw: make sure you are signed up as a follower of my store on TpT as I will be posting the other sets for free on TpT for a short while and as a follower you will be notified by email as soon as they are posted)
I made word necklaces for all of my firsties last year and they LOVED them! I loved the way it really helps them memorize their sight words. Parents love it because it is a quick and easy way for them to help students with their words daily. It's a lot of work initially making sets for everyone in class but it is SO worth it!
I have a total of 5 sets (preprimer, primer, first grade, second grade and third grade) that I will be posting in my store. In the meantime you can find a FREE copy of the first set if you click on the link below.

I hope these come in handy for some of you.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great Center Game(s)

Here is another BOLO (Be On the Look Out for) you.
Sometimes at yard sales or at a sale/clearance table at a big bookstore like Barnes and Nobles, you can find one of these "game books". These are big cardboard books with pages of games. They are usually simple board games that students spin a spinner and move along until someone reaches the end of the board and wins. The attraction of these books is that they usually have a noisy spinner or move selection button. If the sound is dying, the batteries are easily replaced if you remove the battery cover.
Here are two that I came across, one at a yard sale, and one at a bookstore.
In order to make these useful for my kiddos. I "redo" the games inside. By that I mean that by using stickers or printing on label paper I can cover the existing game and add whatever it is that I would like my kids to practice.
Sight words is a big one. You can never have enough ways to have them practice their sight words (IMHO). Here is one of the Winny the Pooh pages that I converted to simple sight words. This one I use when I am doing kinder, or the beginning of first grade. This is also a great game to play with class buddies if you have students from a higher level classroom that come in to help out.

I have used these for sight words, sentence reading practice, math facts, etc.. Basically anything that can be put in board game form.
After putting the stickers on, I cover the whole surface of the page(s) with clear packing tape. I helps keep the board book clean and the words or labels that I have added do not come off.
Here is a page from the race car book:

I usually remove whatever pieces that come with the game for the kids to use as individual markers or movers and add my own.
I have a really cool way of making personalized game pieces that I will share in an upcoming blog.
In the meantime, "BOLO" for these in your summer travels.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Left hand, Right hand - Which is Which?

When you have a chance, download my latest resource. These are small posters that I created to help my firsties  and kinders distinguish their left hands from their right. I showed them how to hold their hands out in front of themselves, palms facing out,  and to stick out their pointer fingers and thumbs. The fingers that made an “L” were on their left handI placed these posters on the right and left side of the board in the front of the room for easy reference. 
My students loved these  and soon knew their right from their left without these “hints”. Perhaps these posters will come in handy for your kiddos as well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Resource

As you know, I have been spending a lot of time creating resources/products for my TpT store in preparation for the upcoming school year.
I don't know about you, but where I am in California education is getting getting hit with drastic cuts. Not only are our class sizes increasing (32 in Kinder, 33 in 1-3!), but our budgets are decreasing. Districts and thus teachers, will have much less money for resources and supplies.
Especially with many of us moving to Common Core, not only are our materials outdated, but Districts have no money to replace them!
That is one of the reasons that I post free products for a limited time. I am hoping that teachers and homeschoolers are able to take advantage during this short window.
I hesitate to link items here that are free because I don't know how (and will forget) to "unlink" them (is that a word?) once the freebie period is over.
So, this is what I propose to do. I will post/link items here, but they will have an "expiration" date. If you are reading this post after that date, please note that the item is still available in my TpT store, but no longer for free (although I always have many, many freebies available that I would love for you to check out).
I'm hoping this will prevent anyone from being disappointed if they click the product link after the "expiration" date.  Not stinky like expired milk, but a disappointment just the same.
So, that being said, I would like to share my latest resource with you.

Here I have six different activities (5 for Language Arts, 1 for math) that I created for early primary classes. By early primary, I mean the beginning of First Grade, as well as Kinder and Pre-K.
Here are some shots of a few of the activities.

     Dolch/Sight word match.     Alphabet recognition/match.
There is also a CVC word building activity

and a math/number "Poke and Peek".
Again, these activities are geared to more basic skills: number recognition, alphabet match, etc.. that may be too "easy" for some First Graders and even some Kinders, but I hope they will come in handy for many others.

I really love this colorful unit (I adore ThistleGirl graphics as you may have noticed) and hope you do too. I am currently working on a similar type of resource, but this one is based on Fairy Tales rather than Nursery Rhymes.
The EXPIRATION DATE for this free resource will be Aug. 1.
If you are reading this blog post after that date, it will no longer be available for free (again, please visit my store and see what is currently free, it's always changing).
If you have a chance, let me know what you think.
Hope your summer is going well. Reeeeeeeeeeeeelax.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Handwriting Resource

Here are some great handwriting resources for your primary classroom. I have a large "Sky, grass and ground" writing banner across the top of my whiteboard which is a very useful resource for my students, especially early in the year.
It looks like this (except that it has the entire alphabet on it). It is wonderful for students to use to help with letter formation and letter positioning, which is difficult for our Kinders and Firsties.
This is another wonderful free resource from Sparklebox. At Sparklebox you can find many resources using the sky, grass, ground method. They even have each sight word on a separate page that you can laminate and have your students trace.  I took one of their pages and scanned and enlarged it for my classroom. I then wrote the letters on it and hung it in my room.
I also made a small mini-banner that I laminated and keep on my whiteboard. I can easily grab this mini-banner and using a dry erase marker, I can demonstrate how to write words or letters as they are presented. You can just see the corner of that mini-banner in this picture of one of my class whiteboards.
See the banner to the right?
Here is a link to these wonderful writing resources available free from Sparklebox. Be sure to check out their other resources while you are there.
Just another resource that would be a wonderful addition to your classroom and something you may want to think about creating over the summer.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Parts of Speech Puzzles

Back a few blogs ago, I talked about a very easy way to have students practice sight words using puzzles. Well, I just recently came across these puzzles at the Dollar Tree and they worked wonderfully for this activity.
Each pack came with 3 puzzles. Yes, there was a "boy" pack and a "girl" pack and I bought one of each.

I first put together all 3 puzzles (only one package at a time so that I wouldn't get too confused!).

After I put together all three puzzles, I flipped them over, face down keeping them in one piece.
(you can do this with the pieces individually keeping the puzzles apart, if that is easier for you).

I designated each puzzle to one word type; verbs, nouns, and adjectives. On the back of each puzzle piece I wrote one of that type of word.
For example, on the noun puzzle, I wrote a noun on the back of every piece in the puzzle. I then moved on to the "verb" puzzle and wrote a verb on the back of every piece of that puzzle, etc. The backs soon looked like this:

After all the words were written, I took the puzzle pieces apart and mixed them all together. Keeping the boy/girl different sets separate.
I placed each set of 3 puzzles in a container.
The children come and choose a set of puzzles and dump them out on a work surface. Next, by reading the words on the back, they sort them into three different piles, verbs, nouns and adjectives. After they have completed the all sorting, and working with one pile at a time, they turn the pieces over picture side up, and put the puzzle together.
After they have that puzzle put together, they move on to the next one.
If they did not sort the puzzles correctly, the puzzle will not fit together correctly, so they must look at the backs and see if they have all the correct pieces or sorted a piece into the wrong pile.
Once all three puzzles have been completed, students put all the pieces (of the same puzzle set) together in the container.
Three puzzles, three types of word practice!
You can do this with different puzzles that do not come in a set as well. Just choose 3 puzzles of the same type that have 25 pieces or less, and follow the same process.
This can be done for any grade level. For kinder you may want to have them sort puzzles by capital and lowercase letters, and perhaps add a number puzzle as well.
Get your puzzles, and the ideas ... they will come.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

BOLO (Be On the Look Out)

Now that school is out for the summer (I sure hope your school is out by now!). If you are like me, you are looking for new resources to make for next year. In addition, if you are like me, you may be frequenting more yard sales or garage sales during the summer. That being a possibility, I would like to post a couple of my "finds" from yard sales that have turned into wonderful and useful classroom resources, just in case you may run into any of these items at your local garage sale (or Goodwill). Hence, Be On the Look Out ...
The first one is something the office at one of my schools was throwing out. What?! Trash? I think not!
This is one of those binder/stands that one used to keep forms and pages of phone numbers etc. in to have them handy at your desk. With everything on the computer now, they didn't need them anymore.
What I did was to convert this to a wonderful resource for my writing center.
 I added many, many different things that I wanted my Firsties to be able to easily access. Everything from letter formation, letter writing templates, names of people they could write to (principal etc.) picture dictionary/vocabulary pages, and so much more.
I keep little pieces of scratch paper  nearby so that they can copy words they need and take it to their table.
You can do the same thing with a binder, but this is such a fun way to display them.  I often see my kiddos just flipping through and reading the pages!
Keep your eyes open for one of these handy dandy things. You might even want to ask your school sec'y or office manager if they have one tucked away that they may not want anymore.
So... Be On the Look Out for more BOLO posts from me to think about when you are out and about.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Resources

I am determined to get to all of the things that I've been wanting to post and was, of course, waiting until school got out. Well, I have been out of school for two weeks now, and instead of catching up on my blog, I have spent most of the time creating new resources for TpT. So, to kill two birds with one stone, please check out and grab copies of my FREE stuff as soon as you have a chance (only free until July 4th). I keep things up for free for a couple of weeks and whenever I have something new to put up, I try to take something down (meaning price it and put it in my store). Believe it or not, I have lots and lots of new resources almost ready to post so hurry up and get what there is now, before they are replaced with even more "stuff" for you.
Here are a couple of shots of things that are available currently:

These are great for Math Meeting or Daily Calendar.
And for my CANADIAN friends:
Canadian Coin Counting Calendar Cards

Pre-Primer Dolch/Sight Word Card Set

Please take a minute to check these out, as well as everything else currently free!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Spaceman" Writing Finger Spacers

If you haven't checked out "Sparklebox" it is a wonderful resource for all types of materials. This one in particular is for   "Spaceman" finger spacers. 

There are several different types available (I just show 2) and are great to have in your writing centers. Students love to use them when they are writing and they are great reminders for students to make spaces between words when writing.
Laminate and cut out spacemen. In order to make them sturdy and to hold up to lots of use I strengthen them before putting them in my writing center.
I get some coffee stirrer sticks from McDonalds (they have nice skinny ones) and cut each in half.
I tape the stick firmly to the back of the spaceman. I find that clear tape or packing tape works great. I use a glue dot to tack down the end of the stick on the cutout. This not only makes it sturdier, it makes it easier for little ones to handle the cutout.
Once you are done, you can't even tell from the front that you have added the support.

If you have not had a chance to check out the rest of Sparklebox take some time to do so. You will find lots of wonderful resources for free.
This is a great summer project to have all ready to go for the new year.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Classroom Pointers

Pointers are great to have in the classroom. The students love to use them and I am constantly using them in lessons. I have a ton of adorable pointers, that are super easy to put together.
It's a bit difficult to see, but here is my pointer holder on my desk. One of the jobs of the student of the day is to choose the pointer that we will use for calendar time/morning meeting. They love being the one to do this.
Here is a super simple way to keep lots of cute pointers on hand... antenna balls!
Wherever I go, I keep an eye out for cute antenna balls. I've gotten them at WalMart, Disneyland, auto parts stores, theme parks, even my son's Navy graduation! You can also get them online from sites like "Super Balls".
Just pick up a 2-3 foot dowel from any hardware store, pop the antenna ball on the dowel and you are good to go!
Jack in the Box often has antenna balls for different seasons. You can also hot glue little toys to the ends. Here is one I made for Halloween using a skull whistle and a spider ring I got from the Dollar Store.
Just keep you're eyes open and you'll find so many things that could be used.

Here are a few more pictures of some of my pointers. I rotate them so that we have seasonal pointers, holiday pointers, sports pointers and a constant variety for the students to choose from.
Just one more way of catching
their attention and making learning a bit more fun, and isn't that the whole "point"!?