Friday, December 27, 2013

DIBELS Prep Bellwork

I am linking up with Jennifer at Simply Kinder for her Teaching Blog Linky Party!  Woot, woot!  Go take a look and find some great new blogs (and probably some pretty sweet freebies).

Things have been absolutely crazy around here.  I bet it's been the same for you.  I know people think that teachers have all of this time off, but as I pointed out to one of my friends, teachers work even on their breaks.

With that being said, I am SO SUPER excited to show you what I have been working on.  I had a test run in my own classroom the last two weeks of school.  If it can work then, it can work anytime.  Am I right?  Holy smokes, were they ready for break!

Anyhoo, my RTI time is in the morning during bellwork.  I have twenty minutes to work with my students that need a little extra help.  My aide pulls students to work on sight words while I pull students for RTI.  The rest of the class works independently on bellwork.  Yes, my kiddos have been trained to complete bellwork on their own.  I go over the instructions and complete one day of bellwork with them.  If they can't remember what to do after that practice day, they must ask a friend before raising their hand to ask me.

I made a full 40 days of bellwork using the same format, so your students will be pros by the time they are finished with all of the pages.

The first page focuses on the skills that are tested on the middle of year and end of year DIBELS assessments.  The kids read nonsense words, letter names, and they complete phoneme segmentation.  I also added a sentence (or two or three) to start them on reading comprehension, which is tested in first grade.

The back of the page has three days of the format shown above.  It has rainbow words, fill in the missing letter, and practice sentence writing.  Now, if you teach kindergarten at a Spalding school, these words practice spelling lists 6-13.  Don't worry if you don't teach kindergarten at a Spalding school!  These words are taken from the Ayres list of high frequency words, so it will benefit your students as well. 

 On day four, your students will have a word scramble with the spelling words.
On day five, your students will have a word search with the words that have been practiced all week.

I am in LOVE with this bellwork!  My students are challenged, they let me work with my students that need extra help, and my DIBELS scores have improved.  Have I mentioned how much I love this bellwork?

If you would like to take a look, click here.  I am going to have it on sale for this weekend only.  The price will go back to normal on Monday, so hurry up and take a look!  

I am in an amazing mood, so I am going to throw a sale as well.  Everything in my store is 20% off.  Woot, woot!  But, you had better hurry because prices will go up on Monday.  Click here to take a look.

I hope you are having a fantastic, relaxing (ha, ha) break!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIBELS Madness!!!

It's kind of like March Madness, minus the basketball and the betting (and plus several hundred kids).  The teacher that is normally in charge of DIBELS is on maternity leave, so I volunteered to help out.  I mean, how hard can it be?  Oh, man!  What in the world did I get myself into?

It has been pure madness the past two weeks.  We made it through the DIBELS process last Thursday and Friday.  I am so thankful my principal allowed me to have a sub last Friday, because the process of report printing and organizing seriously took the entire afternoon.  Then, came the make-ups, which happened during my specials, recess, and lunch time.  Tis the season for sickness!  Thankfully, one of the aides finished them up yesterday.  Woot, woot!

Out of that two weeks of madness came a pretty handy reference guide.  If you have taken a DIBELS training, it is in your manual (but who likes to go back and reference that all of the time?).  This is not my work, just my reformatting and a product of my obsession with fonts and borders.

I wanted a document that would help me see the cutoffs for the various benchmark tests.  When we decide which kids need extra help, we pull the kids that were close to the benchmarks, so we can give them the little boost before the next benchmark.  So, I made the goals by grade level, so I could see where the kids are going, in a quick and easy to read format.  This freebie has the benchmark goals for kindergarten through third grade.

I am making this one a freebie for Facebook fans.  So, if you are already a fan, thank you!  If you are not a fan, go to my Facebook page, like Nurturing Noggins, and then click on the "Freebies for Fans" tab at the top.  Super simple, and this file will be super helpful!

Also, go check out the American History deal on Educents.  It really has some AMAZING products, and is well worth the money.  Lately, Educents has been sending some great discount codes, so sign up for the e-mails to save even more money.  Who doesn't love saving some money, right?


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Educents American History Bundle

I am super excited to be included in this bundle with Educents!  I have all of the products that are in this pack.  If you teach about US symbols or famous Americans, you really need to take a look.  The bundle is loaded with American History goodies for 1st through 4th grade!  66% off the regular retail value and over 400 pages!  

I actually have two products in the bundle.  :)

The first is the US Symbols pack.  Are you looking for a way to teach the US symbols to your little peanuts?  This unit makes it so easy, and it is completely brought down to their level!

It goes over the following US symbols:

For each symbol, there are:

The little readers are super easy to put together.  They are two pages double sided, two staples along the spine, and a cut in half.  I can make a class set in less than ten minutes (including copying time).

There are anchor charts for each symbol.
At the end, there is a fill in the blank summative assessment with an answer key (in case you want them to grade their own papers).

The second is my favorite!  I love my little easy readers!

There are 14 little books that were written at little people level.  They are not wordy or lengthy.

 In my classroom, for each little book, we read the page together, and add an illustration that makes sense for when we re-read to gain fluency.

There are many other products in our bundle to get your kids learning about America!  
Comprehension passages & questions, timelines, vocabulary, maps, research projects, readers and so much more!  

We have all linked together to show you exactly what's included in this bundle.  So hop along to the next person to see the next product!

...And They All Fall Down...

The deal won't last long so head over now!

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's a Sale! And a Giveaway!

Have you heard about the next Teachers Pay Teachers sale?  Woot, woot!!!

I have been building up my wishlist since I heard it was going to happen.  I think I have 3-4 pages.  Seriously... What would we do without Teachers Pay Teachers?  It has seriously made me a better teacher, and inspired me to step it up in my classroom (I am a tiny bit competitive).

So, all of the products in my TpT store are 20% off November 30th through December 3rd.  Plus, TpT is taking an extra 10% off, so you can save 28%.  Again, woot, woot!

300 × 250

So, I thought I would remind you about some of my favorite, kid friendly, classroom tested products.

First off are my easy readers.  I love, love, love these!  They give information about historical figures without being too long, and they are written in kid friendly language.  We read each page, and then draw an illustration to go with the words.  I use these in my classroom all of the time, and the kids LOVE them!

They are super easy to print and assemble.  They are two double sided pages, folded in half hamburger style, stapled along the fold and cut in half.  I can make a class set in under 10 minutes (including copying time).

I made a set for famous inventors and scientists as well.  They are SO much fun!

 With a 4.0 rating, you can't go wrong with this pack.  This unit introduces maps, globes, and the continents in a fun, engaging way.  There are mini books, worksheets, anchor charts, and more!

Oh, I love these as well!  When we are finished with calendar, I choose a few students to answer a ticket off the carpet.  :)  The kids love to show their math knowledge (even my shy kiddos).  They cheer when I call their name.

And, I also made a version for ELA that I use after our read alouds.

I use these vowel challenge sheets for bellwork in the morning.  The kids can work independently because they are formatted the same.  I was so surprised to see how quickly they were able to move up to the challenge level.  The sheets are perfect to ready your kids for DIBELS phoneme segmentation and first sound fluency.

And, the last product I am going to remind you about is my word problem of the day pack.  This pack includes all of the different ways you should be teaching word problems in kindergarten and first grade.  My students are getting so good at word problems, and I know that your kiddos will, too!

As if a great deal wasn't enough, I am going to give away two $10 gift certificates to Teachers Pay Teachers.

Have I mentioned how excited I am?!  I'm off to add more to my growing wish list.  Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Just to remind you...

We have had two years of our world turning upside down.  We've been to countless hours of training on Common Core.  We've had to implement learning goals in our classroom.  We've had to supplement our curriculum in order to meet our standards.  Our pay is now tied to not only our performance, but the performance of our students on standardized tests.  Our funding is being cut.  People don't take the time to send in their ballots for the override.  Yes... right now it is really tough to be a teacher.

It's so easy to get caught up in all of that junk.  It's so easy to feel like teachers are being respected less when politicians slash our funding.  It's so easy to be caught up in the negative, which is why I want to share a story that will remind you why teachers are so incredibly amazing.  I want to remind you that teachers make a positive difference.  I want you to remember the reason you chose this incredible profession.

I met with a parent this past Wednesday.  She had some questions about the Spalding method, and how to properly complete homework with her daughter.  We talked for about 20 minutes, and I walked her through everything.  The morning bell rang, so we started to walk to my classroom door.

The mom started telling me that her daughter had always wanted blonde hair and blue eyes like the princesses or like Barbie.  One day, this sweet little girl comes home and says, "Mom, I am so happy that I have brown hair and brown eyes like Mrs. McCleary!"  The mom teared up and said, "My daughter never really loved herself until she was in your class."

I looked at her with teary eyes and I realized that all of the hours of prep work, all of the training, and all of the stress were worth it.  I realized that I had made a difference in this one girl's life.  I realized the amazing power of a teacher.

So, the next time your students are staring at you with blank stares, or you are sitting in yet another professional development class, think about how you are silently influencing the lives of your students (and you may not even realize it).  YOU make a difference in this world.  As a mom, thank you for what you do.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fire Safety

Wow!  It seems like forever since I've blogged.  You know when you start a home improvement project that you think will take a day, and it turns into three weekends?  Yeah... that's my life right now.  I'm trying to keep my eye on the prize and be thankful I have a home to improve.  I'm a planner, and I don't like when things don't go as planned.  Oh well, I'm taking a few minutes to share what we've been up to in my classroom.

Last week, we had a short week because we had two teacher work days.  For the first time in my career, I didn't spend the days chatting it up with the other teachers.  I actually stuck to my grand plans and organized my library (partially).  Anyway, our social studies topic was fire safety and community helpers.

We used my fire safety/firefighter unit for our writing.

We always start with a non-fiction book (or two) about our topic.  Then, we illustrate the "little books" that are included in each of my writing units.  There is one sentence per page, and the kids illustrate each page with pictures that give them clues to read the sentence on the page.  The books are formatted to copy on two pages back to back.  You add two staples and then cut them in half.  The kids LOVE them!  Then, we read those books each day to work on our reading skills.  In this file, there are two book: All About Fire Safety and All About Firefighters.

Usually, we would use the circle map/tree map page to brainstorm and organize our ideas about firefighters.  The kids would then help me make sentences from the tree map.

They would copy their sentences on the paper that says "Completed in Class" and then take that paper home.  The next day, they would make the tree map with me, and then write the sentences on their own.  The third day, they would write the sentences on their own, after being reminded of the verbs (are, have, can).

We had a big conversation about sounding words in order to figure out spelling.  I showed them how to spell words phonetically, and how "vjktyuk" does not say "firefighter".  After that big pep talk and lesson, I only had two that sat there looking lost.  So, I'll work with those two a bit more in order for them to be successful in writing.

We had a firefighter come to all of the kindergarten classrooms to talk about fire safety.  Firefighter Lanna is super cool.  She is the parent at the school, and she is so good with kids.  She talked to us about fire escape plans, and the usual fire rules.  It was so much fun!

In order to thank Firefighter Lanna, we wrote a friendly letter to her.  This was the first friendly letter we wrote, so we talked about the format, when we would write a friendly letter, etc.  So, that is my freebie this week.  I am giving you some fire safety paper.  One page is formatted like a friendly letter and the other page is just lined.

Freebie Fridays

This week, we are studying pumpkins and we're continuing our unit on community helpers.  Expect a neat freebie next week.  :)

Happy teaching, and have a great week!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Love Fall Break!

I just love fall break!  It gives me some time to catch up on my "to do" list, go on vacation, and spend some time with my family.  Since we are on a modified year round schedule, we have two weeks for break.  I know... I'm lucky.

I'm in a fantastic mood, so I have decided to have some fun.  Right now, all items in my Teachers Pay Teachers store are 20% off in honor of my daughter's birthday.

And, while I'm at it, I am going to give a chance to win a product from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  All you need to do is pin a product from my TpT store.  Come back to this page, and paste the URL into the appropriate box in the giveaway below.  SO easy!!!

I hope you are having an amazing day as well!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

13 Different Types of Addition and Subtraction Word Problems?!

If you follow my blog, you know that I teach at a school with an accelerated curriculum.  This provides me with the challenge to cover kindergarten and first grade math standards in kindergarten.  Wowza!  It is tough to squeeze in so much math in one short year; every minute matters during the math block.

As I was looking through the first grade math standards, I noticed the math program we use (Saxon Math) does not quite cover all of the different types of word problems the kids must learn in kinder and first grade math.  So, I have been beating my head against the wall trying to finish an activity where my students could work through all thirteen different types of problems, while ensuring the learning would be meaningful and worthwhile.

Now, I am VERY lucky in the fact that my students LOVE to participate in class this year.  When I ask a question in class, most of the time about half the class has a hand in the air.  They are willing to take chances, and aren't discouraged when they don't have the correct answer.  Like I said, I am lucky.  Even though I have an amazing class, I wanted them to be able to write down their thinking, and I wanted to show parents the amazing skills they were learning in math (because I didn't learn this stuff in kindergarten).

I formatted the file so the kids would have a journal sheet to show their work and their thinking.  I also made the file so the pages could be printed two to a page in order to save paper.  That way, if you wanted to complete one problem per day, you could make one copy per week (Monday through Thursday... because, let's face it, we don't always get to everything we plan for each day).

There is a page to post on your calendar wall (if you choose to work on it that way).

The same problem is on the journal page.  Note the same border for a particular type of word problem.  So, since there are 13 different types of word problems, there are 13 different borders.  That way, you can see what type of word problem it is just by looking at the border.

If you are interested in taking a look, check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Also, it's my youngest daughter's birthday, so I all of the items in my Teachers Pay Teachers store are 20% off from 10/5/2013 through 10/7/2013.  You don't want to miss out!

Have a great weekend.  I'll eat a piece of cake for you.  :)