Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TpT Teachers are Heroes Sale - What's in my cart?

You gotta love a good sale!
And every once in a while, TpT throws a great sale where almost every store is 28% off!
So today I'm linking up to share what's in my cart ready to go for tomorrow!
First I need a few things to create more fun activities for my classroom:
Some awesome digital papers from Creative Clips!  I love these bright colors and think they would make great borders and backgrounds for classroom labels and things!

I love to label all my classroom supply baskets and have acquired quite the collection of bingo daubers this year.  (My kids love them! I even have these sparkly ones from Amazon) So of course I need an excuse to buy this cute clip art set from Whimsy Clips to label my supply basket.  Totally justified in my purchase, right?


Next up are some things to make an addition and subtraction set!  I have been planning this set for awhile now and my idea list has become huge.  I keep getting more and more ideas on how to introduce and practice addition and subtraction skills, so my list of activities keeps getting longer and longer.  I plan to start to working on this set during Spring Break.  But I thought I'd go ahead and buy some fun counting fingers and dice clip art to use for the set while they're on sale! 



I see lots of possibilities for this next set! So you may see this clipart in a lot of my future products!


Next up are items that I want/need for my classroom:
I've used and loved Marsha Maguire's CVC Word Families Galore all year.  I really think it has helped my kids recognize word family patterns in words, thus making them better more fluent readers.  So of course I have to buy her CVCe Word Families Galore for when we start working on words with long vowels.  If you are a little surprised at the price, don't be.  These sets are huge!!! And totally worth it!
Next up are these journal prompts from the Moffatt Girls!  She started these journal prompt sets in December, and yep, you guessed it, I have all of them!  I love them!  I love that they focus on seasonal writing, have room for kids to draw pictures and that you can use the version that includes or does not include a prompt. My kids love checking off the boxes on the ride hand side to show if they've used punctuation, spaces, etc. 
Check some of these out in action here.
A TpT sale is a great time to buy those things you know you'll want later in the year.  So I'm buying this next product with the plans of using it as one of our Mother's Day activities.  It's adorable!
And lastly, I thought this "Cruisin' to Summer!" set will make the cutest May bulletin board/craftivity.  Yes, I'm thinking way ahead.  But you know how crazy the end of the year gets.  So I figured I'd plan those things out now.
So these are the things in my cart ready to go for the big TpT sale tomorrow!
If you are also getting ready for the sale, don't forget to leave feedback on your recent purchases.  You get points towards future purchases just by leaving feedback!  Score!  So then you would not only get the 28% off, but can also put your points towards purchases!
My store will also be 28% off tomorrow, so don't forget to stop by!
And I finally bundled my Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives set! 
The bundled price is 25% off what you would spend if you purchased each set separately! 
Have a great sale and I hope you find some awesome goodies!
If you find some awesome things that I could use in my classroom, please share in the comments!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine's Day

I know I'm a little late on the Valentine's Day post.
But I've had a sinus infection and we've been having snow-mageddon in TN.
No for real,
TN has declared a state of emergency because first we had an ice storm, then it kept snowing.
(Can you tell where the road is?)
So all the beautiful snow you see, has at least an inch of ice underneath.  Then you add in all the hills and "hollers" of TN and you have some pretty scary road situations.
On a happy note, due to our snow-mageddon, we have enjoyed a snow week. 
Not just a snow day,
but 4 snow days in a row, we were already out Monday for President's Day.
Anyways.  Back to Valentine's Day.  Not the real Valentine's Day, that was on a Saturday this year, but we celebrated on Friday instead!
And we started off our awesome Valentine's Day with...Spiderman!

Because you can't have Valentine's Day without Spiderman right?
Haha, just kidding.
Spiderman was actually supposed to make an appearance on this little guy's birthday last month.  But we had a snow day.  So we rescheduled for Valentine's Day because I figured this was going to be a wild and crazy day anyway, might as well add a superhero.

I really thought my kids would go wild.
But I think they were in shock when he walked in.
Then they finally warmed up to him and told him how much they liked his movies, asked questions about the movies, and asked about Mary Jane.
Then we made these fun marshmallow dipped treats.
I got the idea on Pinterest here.
These are so super simple.
All you need are:
- marshmallows (I went with pink ones)
- sprinkles
- Wilton's Candy melts (I used vanilla)
- and some lollipop sticks (or whatever else you have)
- oh, wax paper is a big help too

All I did was heat up the candy melts in the microwave, stick the marshmallows on the lollipop sticks, and label the wax paper so I would remember whose treats were whose.

I called my students back by tables, showed an example of what to do, and let them go for it.

Then we let them dry while we went to lunch.

The treats laying crosswise were my examples.  I shared a few with other teachers and then ate two myself.

And then what did I do with all that extra candy melt?
Ate it of course!
Just kidding.

I actually had so many left over marshmallows and candy melt, that I donated them to my teacher friend across the hall, so that her kids could make marshmallow treats too.
They really were super easy!
I just called the kids back while they were doing independent work.

Yep, they enjoyed them!

We played in centers before parents arrived for our party.
So a few early bird parents and I helped the kids pass out their valentines.
I learned this trick a few years ago.
We would spend all of our party time passing out valentines, and there was no time to enjoy them or do any extra fun stuff.  Plus it was a madhouse with 20 kids trying to pass out their valentines at once.
So a few years ago, my kindergarten team and I decided to set all the valentine's boxes out at each student's desk and then call up 2-3 kids at a time to pass out valentines while the rest played in centers.  This way, you can spend your party time, we only get 30 min, enjoying and looking through the valentines, and doing other fun stuff. 
Because lets face it, most of my kids have trouble reading each other's names.  Several of mine could, so I let them pass out their valentines all on their own.  But others needed help, so my parent volunteers and I helped them read the names.
I didn't get a picture of the passing out though.
Then it was party time!

We kept this party simple.
All I asked for were plates and napkins, capri-sons, un-frosted cupcakes, frosting, and sprinkles.

I have a wonderful parent volunteer who called a few kids over at a time to my reading table and helped them decorate their cupcakes while the rest of the students looked through their valentine boxes.

I always love looking at the valentine boxes. 
Some are store bought, some are homemade, and some were probably forgotten about until the night before or the morning of the party (like the tissue box in the picture below)

And then others are just plain adorable!

Hope you had a happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Kindergarten Assessments - Halfway through the Year

Back in August I did a blog post showing how I use my Kindergarten Beginning of the Year Assessment to determine where my incoming kindergarteners stand in different academic skills.
At the beginning of the year, my kindergarten team and I give this assessment to all incoming kindergarteners.  That way we can get a snapshot as to what skills each student has mastered and which need some more work.
So when it came time for our winter conferences, instead of reinventing the wheel, I decided to pull these assessments out and reassess my students on skills that they missed at the beginning of the year, just to see how far they've come.
Click here to see my full blog post about these assessments.
Oh and did I mention it's a freebie in my TpT store?

I used a different color marker this time (blue was used in August, purple in January) so that the parents and myself could see their child's growth in each area, or lack-thereof.
The kids were so excited to see how much they had improved during the first half of the school year!

This sweet girl is struggling to count to 100, but can recognize all the numbers to 20.  Go figure!
She has made so much progress, still has a long way to go, but is improving!
Aug - counted to 3
Jan - counted to 12
Aug - wrote numbers to 1
Jan - wrote numbers to 10
Aug - could not touch and count objects to 10
Jan - was able to touch and count objects to 10
Lots of progress going on here!
And it makes such a difference when you see the 2 assessments together on one page, as opposed to flipping back and forth between 2 different ones.

Here's where things got really good!
Aug - recognized 2 letters
Jan - recognized 43 (upper and lowercase)
Aug - identified 0 letter sounds
Jan - identified 14 letter sounds
Yay!  This little one's parents have been rocking the letters and sounds practice at home.
So even though this is called a "Beginning of the Year Assessment."  It is totally appropriate to use throughout the year.
Especially to see growth in those fundamental kindergarten skills of your struggling learners. 
Being able to see for myself and show the parents and child how far they've come is awesome!  And this little girl has started working so much harder because now because she has seen for herself how much she can improve!

This next piece to my winter conferences was a new find!
A student self evaluation!
What a neat idea!
My kids were hilarious filling these out; we did them one-on-one.
They really did try to think out each statement and they didn't even try to fudge on their rating of themselves, because they knew I'd call them out!
This is a blog freebie from A Teachable Teacher.
Check it out here.

In August, I met with every family.  This time I only met with family's that I needed to speak with, if you catch my drift.
My parents really enjoyed seeing the progress that their child was making, compared with the beginning of the year, and the student self evaluations were a hit.  The parents loved them!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Classroom Valentines

The search for the perfect Valentine cards!
For the past 8 years I would try and find the best/most fun valentines I could for my students.  Every year I've done a different valentine theme for my cards. I believe, my first year was Kim Possible, then Care Bears, some Highlight's Hidden Pictures, the black scratch off ones with rainbow underneath, stickers, etc.  I seriously can't remember them all.
But every year there were always one or two cards or sayings that I didn't really like.  Plus I would always end up with a ton of extras that I would think "Oh, I'll use them next year," and then when next year came I would go with something totally different.  So this year I decided to make my own.
My Valentines started off with a trip to Target.
I love Target, but the closest one is about 45-60 min away, so I don't get there very often.

I didn't buy a ton of stuff, just "essentials."
And by essentials I mean Fun Dip!

Cute pencils!
So far, we've only used yellow no. 2 pencils because I was trying to keep pencil arguments to a minimum.  But I decided these were way too cute!
They were from the Target dollar section.

What is better than Fun Dip!?
A sugar stick that you dip into sugar powder? 
Especially because our party is at 2pm and the car riders leave at 2:35.  Haha!
Sugar 'em up, and send 'em home!

Fortune Cookie erasers!
My kids will probably have no clue what these are, but they were too adorable!
These were from the Target dollar section too.

I had to have cute bags to put everything in. 
Now came the best part...making Valentines!
Probably the whole reason I wanted to make my own Valentines this year was so that I would have an excuse to buy cute Valentine clip art!
Well I ended up finding way too much good stuff, because I actually made 4 different sets.  I didn't know which set I would use this year, but figured I could just rotate through the 4 sets over the next 4 years.
What can I say, I like to plan ahead!
Click below to check out the other sets:
I teach in a town where sports are life so I thought about using the sports ones.  But then the animals ones crack me up with their cute puns.
But as you can tell, this year I went with superheroes!

I love my laser printer!
Beautiful color!, I had no idea what a difference it would make in the colors of my printables.

My awesome parent volunteer sharpened all my new Valentine pencils and then snapped this picture before she packing everything into the bags.
If you ever give pencils to your kids as gifts, you need to sharpen them beforehand.  Otherwise, the first thing they're going to do after they open their gift, is ask you to sharpen it.
If you give a kid a pencil...
Hmm, sounds similar to a few books I've read :)

I decided to write each child's name on the back of their Valentine tag.

Then I punched a hole in the corner and attached them to my gift bags with some cute ribbon I got from Hobby Lobby awhile back.

My kids are going to love their superheroes Valentines!
Check them out here.
Happy early Valentine's Day!