Sunday, March 2, 2014

Can Life Please Slow Down?!

I know we all lead very busy lives as teachers.  We not only have our own biological children to worry about, but we have twenty-six other children to worry about.  Oh, man!  I am going to be the first to tell you that I have been running around like a headless chicken for the entire month of February.  I have had district classes on two of the Saturdays (which, of course, included a lesson plan that I had to create), and we went out of town to celebrate my daughter's tenth birthday (where does the time go?!).  On top of that, I had parent/teacher conferences (If you need a sheet to organize your conferences, head here or here), lesson planning, grading, and more.  Holy smokes!

Needless to say, I am SUPER excited for Spring Break to come next week.  Ahh... maybe I will be able to enjoy a bit of time to myself.  Who am I kidding?!  I will be working on new things for my classroom.

Speaking of new things for my classroom, I just finished a new set of DIBELS prep bellwork.  I can seriously tell you this bellwork has SAVED my sanity!  It keeps my high kiddos challenged, and it helps my struggling kiddos practice the skills for reading and for DIBELS.

This is the front side of each day's bellwork.  The kids read nonsense words and letter names to their neighbor.  They complete phoneme segmentation for eight words.  Finally, they read a sentence and draw a picture to match the sentence.  This is my favorite part because I love to see the kiddos' illustrations. 

Three days of the back side of bellwork looks like this.  The kids read ten of Fry's high frequency words to their neighbor.  They write five Ayres words in pencil and in crayon.  And then they think of their own sentence using one of the words listed.  If you teach kindergarten at a Spalding school, the bellwork is aligned with spelling lists 14-20.

When I originally rolled out this bellwork, I was a little concerned about this activity.  It turns out that this is their favorite!  The kids unscramble the Ayres words at the top of the page.  I usually allow them to work with their neighbor.  They get so excited when they successfully unscramble a word.  They are pretty fast, too!
I usually use this paper on the day of our spelling test.  The kids must find their spelling words (the Ayres words) and circle them.  They LOVE finding other words that I sometimes sneak in there as well (sometimes I plan that, and other times it just happens).  Again, I have never seen kids so excited about bellwork.

Can you tell I am SO excited that I finished this?!  My students are engaged in meaningful work while I am able to pull students for RTI.  In kindergarten, it is so difficult to keep kids occupied for any amount of time.  This bellwork has changed that for me.  And I'm not just blowing smoke up your skirts.  It has made my life SO MUCH EASIER!

Well, I am off to fold clothes and get ready for the week.  The last week before break is always super crazy, so wish me luck!  Have a fantastic week!

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