Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's in Your Summer Stack?

I saw the absolutely cutest idea for a summer reading incentive over at Andrea's blog, Stepping into First Grade. I pass out Scholastic book orders every month and maybe get 3 or 4 kids who order books. My class is full of really great readers and I really want them to continue reading over summer vacation! So I was so excited to use Andrea's Summer Stacks!

I passed out our June book orders {holy cow, it's June!} and told my students to circle the books that they liked. Then, they wrote the name of the books on their summer stack.

Andrea took pictures of her students and glued them onto the paper, but I was too lazy busy to take and print all of their pictures, so we just drew faces instead!


On the other side of our summer stack, I copied the ready-made letter that Andrea included in her pack. I realized, after I made all of the copies, that I forgot to sign my name and write the due date! {0 for 2!} So I just had my students write their names, as if they were writing the letters to their parents and write the date. Hey, extra writing practice never hurt ;)

Then I stapled the letter onto the book order form and we were good to go!
Such a fun idea, thanks Andrea!
You can get your own Summer Stack {here}!

Here's a couple of some other really great summer reading incentives:
Created by Yvonne Dixon

 
Created by The Teacher Wife

Created by Library Centers

Do you have any fun summer reading incentives?? Comment below!
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Cooking Up a Great Year!

No, no, no! I am not thinking about the new school year already! Trust me! We still have 19 glorious days to go! But my mom asked me to make her some "cooking buddies" {after I showed her how cute our Garden Buddies turned out} so that she could use them for her cooking class. That totally sparked an idea, and so I went with it!


How fun would these be as a back to school bulletin board!? You could title your board "Cooking Up a Great Year" and have all your little students dressed up as chefs holding trays! I thought it would be fun to also incorporate "Recipe for Success" so a bubble map, writing prompts and measuring words are also included in the file!

I have a whole cooking theme stirring around in my brain! Summer can't get here fast enough!

My sale is still going on, so you can pick up these bad boys for cheap until Tuesday at my TpT store or TN shop! Well...they're still pretty cheap even after Tuesday ;)

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Eula, The Square Cat Came to Visit!

 Last week, we read the adorable story Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker. She sent my class an autographed copy and we were so excited when it arrived in the mail!

Eula is so cute! My class just loved her!

After we finished reading about her life as a square cat, we brainstormed some ideas of other animals that could be square. Then we drew a picture in our journals and wrote a story about our square animal.

Square Puppy

Square Bunny

Square Cat

Square Porcupine

Square Polar Bear

Square Lizard
{I just had to share the whole story, it cracked me up!}
"those were the good old days"...sigh! I'm gonna miss these kiddos!

Thanks for coming to our classroom and helping us learn Eula, we love you!
You can visit Eula's own blog {here}!
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guest Blogger- Kindergarten Lifestyle

Hi ya'll! I'm Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle and I am nearly giddy that Hadar is allowing me to guest blog for her today! Thank you Hadar -- You Rock! :0) While thinking of what to post about - I remembered a question I often get..... "What's in your writing center?"

I decided to take this opportunity to let you in and have a sneak peek into my writing center!
A writing center is hands down one of the best centers in a classroom. It also has the most academic potential of any literacy center. In a writing center, kids should be busy with "the work" - real writing for a real purpose and a real audience.

Several years ago, I was overwhelmed by the thought of a writing center. I thought about all the materials I needed to have in the center, how I would be able to organize them all (and better yet how I was going to teach the kids to keep it organized). I avoided having a writing center because I didn't believe kids would stay engaged enough.......Boy was I WRONG!

My embarrassment over my pitiful writing center motivated me one summer to get my act together! And I am so glad I did! So, I want to share some photos of my writing center with you and explain how the students and I keep it organized so my kids can "work on the work" when they are at the writing center.

This is my "I Can" chart for the writing center. I include photos of my students using the center (yes I change this each year ...actually several times per year....with my current students). I also include a photo of a clean writing center at the bottom so they can refer to it if they need help on how to clean it up. I have the "I Can" chart taped right to the writing center table.


One of the choices they have in writing center is to stamp word wall words, names, and sentences. My alphabet stamps are organized in this nail and screw organizer. Gosh I remember when I had all the stamps thrown together....Kids couldn't find the letters they needed. Now, all the stamps are right at their fingertips. Perfect!

Here you see one of the organizing drawer sets I have. This houses everything from colored pens (our newest additon) to Thank you cards, glue sticks, scissors, index cards, etc. On top you can see the ink pads and to the left (on top of the letter stamps) are picture stamps for stamping-a-story.

This is the other organizing drawer set I have. It holds pencils, colored pencils, markers (fat and thin), and crayons. 

You see here I have a couple of different lamps the kids can use to brighten their work space. They really enjoy using them!

When I introduce a new activity they can do in writing center I model....of course! I hang the piece I model with in the writing center so they can refer back to my example and remember exactly what they can do.

 Notice how close my word wall is to my writing center. Those words are THE MOST IMPORTANT words we have and are easily accessible while working at the writing center. My kids know that, although we stretch words and listen for sounds in most words, if it's a word wall word - IT MUST BE WRITTEN CORRECTLY - NO EXCEPTIONS! It's all about expectations.


Well, I hope you enjoyed a "sneak peek" into my writing center. It is absolutely my kids' favorite center and I am always amazed by the quality and quantity of the writing they do her - completely by choice. I believe variety in the spice of life and that holds true in the writing center. Give children lots of materials that are fun and motivate kids to write ....and they WILL surprise you!

I am so grateful for the opportunity to guest blog here at Miss Kindergarten! I'd love for you to come over and visit my blog and facebook page!


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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our New Bookmarks

Since we've come back from Spring Break, we've been working on journal writing every morning. I told my class that the second grade teachers came in over break to look at their work and really wanted them to practice writing. {Works every time ;)}

It's been a really nice start to our mornings. We usually write "Weekend News" on Monday, we'll practice our HM strategy skill on Tuesday,  free write on Wednesday and either a silly story or writing prompt on Thursday. Friday is our "day off".

My students' writing has improved SO much!! I've always struggled teaching writing so that was really my personal focus this year. I am very proud of my students!

The other morning I gave my students their writing prompt and told them I was setting our timer for 20 minutes. They all groaned. Want to know why?? Because they wanted 30 minutes instead!!! Melt my heart, proud teacher right here!

To help motivate them and reassure them that I think what they are writing is important, I check their journal entries, every single day. I love to read what they write and I've gotten it down to a science so that it doesn't take me longer than two minutes to go around the whole room. However, there was one thing that was really bothering me!!!

Every single day while walking around and checking their writing, I found that I needed to remind more than half of my class to check their conventions. "Did you remember to start your sentence with a capital letter? What should go here? Is this is first grade sentence?" Every single day!!!

Then it hit me. They've probably tuned my voice out at this point of the year anyway. What could I do to make sure they remembered these important things so that their second grade teachers wouldn't come knock on my door! they're ready for second grade? I got a brilliant idea!
Self check bookmarks!!!
Meaningful and functional bookmarks!

I made some new posters to hang on our writing bulletin board {I think the others were just starting to blend in!} and introduced them to my students.

After we talked about the expectations, I gave them all their new bookmarks, with ribbons! They loved them! I seriously love first graders!

We practiced using them with a journal page that I wrote out and printed for all of them. We looked to make sure all the sentences started with a capital letter. We fixed the sentences and then check! We looked for periods. Fixed the periods, then check! We looked for spaces...fixed the spaces...check! You get it!

The next morning, during journal writing, I reminded them all to get out their bookmarks. I didn't check their writing until I saw the check marks on their bookmarks. I think using their dry erase markers and personal erasers was their favorite part ;)

After I checked their work, they erased their bookmarks and put them in their journals. 

And I didn't have to ask them any questions...not even once!

You can pick up your own self check bookmarks, which include 2 sets of writing posters and 2 types of practice pages at my TpT store or TN shop.
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Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Teaching Heart End of the Year Party 2012

 You all know me, I love a good party! Especially when we're celebrating the end of the school year!!

So here are the deets!

Be sure to visit the sponsors of this party:
 
3.) Miss Kindergarten  {that's me!}
 
 

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Fun Frame Giveaway!

L&L Designs has graciously offered one of their adorable handmade frames for me to give away to my followers!
 How perfect would this be for your classroom? You could use it to hang your substitute cards, love notes from your students, important information! The possibilities are endless!

You can check out all the other adorable frames from L&L designs on Etsy.

Want to win??
Enter using the rafflecopter below!
This giveaway runs until Monday, May 21 9pm PST

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

School is Cool!

 I wanted to share this fun little craft with you that my awesome friend Denise inspired me to create!

School is Cool! 
A fun bulletin board craft for the bright summer months!


Click {here} to download the craft and writing templates for free! Leave me some feedback if you'd like!

Also, my sweet friend Jen made another version of the writing template which you can get for free too {here}.

Hopefully that'll give you something fun to do with your kiddos as the year winds down.

I, on the other hand, have way too many days left!!!

After Open House...which at this rate feels like it will never get here...we will be making these adorable Father's Day Briefcases.


My kiddos {and more importantly, their moms} loved the Mother's Day purses so I know everyone will love these! You can pick up the file {which includes grandfather's too!} at my TpT store or TN store.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

There's a Party Going On!!!

There's a special Teacher Appreciation Day party over at TBA today!! Over 50 freebies so far!!! Head on over to Teacher Blog Addict and check it out! You might find some new great blogs along the way too!


Also, if you haven't seen Tessa's End of the Year linky party yet, be sure to check it out!

 And a Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!!!
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer Bucket List Linky Party!!




Summer Bucket List


28 days until summer vacation starts! Woot woot! April, Teri and I thought it would be fun to have a party to celebrate summer! So we're having a bucket list party! Do you have a bucket list?? Thanks to Pinterest...I sure do! Here are some fun things I'm planning on doing this summer!

This summer I want to make...






I want to copy...



I want to visit...


And last but not least {definitely not least!} I wan to sleep in!!!!

Want to join our party!? Pick up the button code above to add the button to your blog post and then link up below!


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