Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pre-Test Goodies for Kids and Teachers:)

It's that time....the state testing starts this week with our writing test and math and reading to follow in just a few more weeks....ugh!  My kiddos have been working hard and I want them to RELAX and know they have nothing to be nervous about:) 
They will be greeted with these little notes tomorrow morning:)

I added the little foam star stickers:)
These are a freebie at my TPT shop HERE.
There's a bookmark option too:)
AND....when we're talking about testing, you sure can't forget your teacher friends!!  I made these little Pre-Test Prep sets for my team:)

Chocolate cures everything, right?! 
I posted these on Instagram and had some requests for the tags, so here they are:)
If you would like a copy of the tags, you can grab them by clicking on the pic below:)
(I hope the link's been a while since I've used google docs to share...if it doesn't, please leave me a comment:)
I also FINALLY found some scented playdoh:)
I have been looking EVERYWHERE for this!!!  We are going to spend tomorrow afternoon before dismissal SQUEEZING out any worries we have:)
If you're testing this week, good luck:)  Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Word Rings - Growing our Vocab!

A few weeks ago I posted about something new I was trying in my classroom....Word Rings:)
Well, here's the kids LOVE this!  They ASK for it for homework:)  That's a dream to a teacher:)  So here is what we've been doing.  One to two times a week I give the kids a card to take home to use for their word.  Part of their homework is 20 minutes of nightly reading...during this time they are to find a word for their vocab card.
Once they do, on one side the draw pictures and/or word clues of their word.
On the other side they write their word and definition.
The next day when their cards are "due" I have my teacher's assistant go around in the morning and punch holes in the cards so the students can add them to their rings.  Any free time we have we go over our new words....I call on a student and they go up and put their card on the ELMO.  Then the students take turns guessing from the picture and word clues.....if they are having trouble, sometimes I give them a first letter.
The kids really look forward to this and are really enjoying making the clues!
As I said in my previous post....I had/have several hopes for this activity:
- that the kids will expand their own personal word knowledge....maybe even come across one of these new words on one of the tests and remember learning about it with the word rings activity
- that the students will learn new words AND use them in their writing
- that the students will use a higher level of vocabulary in their writing responses and their essays
- the kids will have fun learning and sharing their words...I have some shy kiddos so this has helped them in that area as well
I do have one rule with this activity....I ask that the words are not "easy" words....we are going for higher level vocabulary and have had many discussions about that.  Their guesses also can be "silly"/easy word guesses.....and let me tell you, they are quick to call each other out if someone is being a "lazy" guesser:)
The students also have used their word rings with some of their writing.  Our state writing test is next week!  EEK!  I'm hoping this has made a difference in helping them come up with better words to use in their essays as well. 
I do have one regret though......that I didn't start this a lot earlier in the school year:/  I will definitely be doing this earlier next year:)  It only takes a few minutes a day:)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Made It - February

Time for Monday Made It:)  I have quite a few things to share this month so here we go...
My first made it was Pinterest inspired of course;)  It's a home made it!  I LOVE me some succulents!  When I saw a pin of succulents in a bird nest I had to try it:)
Got the little bird nests at Hob Lob:)  They're only about 3 inches wide.
The best thing about this only purchase was the little nests.  They are tiny and so I took little baby succulents that are starting from my main plants:)
I can't believe it BUT I got my kiddos Valentine's day goodies done early!!  What?!
Each little goodie bag got a heart straw, some large conversation hearts, and.....
 these super cute Valentine's day rubics cubes:)
I have a crazy busy week....formal observation is this week...EEK!  So thankful this is done and one less thing to worry about;)
These next made its are some FAB products from some great friends of mine!!!  So, no I didn't make them....I printed and laminated and cut them out and that counts:) 
So here's a little product plug for my girls!!
First up, from The Teacher Studio:)
 She always has fab, and I mean FAB Math activities and is great at differentiating them for all learners!!  Can't wait to try this this week with my class:)
 Next up is my girl Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade!
Have ya checked out her Six and Fold activities?  They are great!  Great for math workshop or homework. 
We did our first one last week and the kids loved them:)  Already have more printed for this week:)
Finally, I got this amazing product from Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching
I can't wait to try these this week with my kids!!!  They are going to love them.  I love the interactive piece, and the posters, and the graphic organizers!!!  Gonna be using these during my observation.  Love it all!!

So there ya have that!!  3 great products from 3 incredible ladies!!!  Check them out!!
My last made it was another inspiration from Pinterest!  When I saw this, I KNEW I had to make it.....let me tell ya.....EVERY morning I have a little list on the board for my students to do before the bell rings......EVERY morning one of those items is SHARPEN 2 PENCILS!!!!!  AND EVERY DAY the same 2 students interrupt my instruction by getting up and sharpening it just my class?!?!?! 


Hopefully this will stop the sharpening noise while I'm teaching....maybe....
So that wraps up my made its for this month!  Hope ya find something here you like that may inspire you!  Link up anytime during the month:)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Do You Smuddle?

Here's a quick and cheap little motivation/reward for your classroom:)
What's a Smuddle you ask?
A Smuddle is a smiley face on a little glass puddle:) 
Smile + Puddle = Smuddle
The little "puddles" I picked up at the Dollar Tree and just used paint markers to draw on the faces.  You would be amazed at how wonderful this kids think these are and always ask "How can I get one?"
That part is up to you:)  I give Smuddles for all kinds of reasons, BUT, I don't give them out all the time...does that make sense?  The other day I gave one out while the kids were working in partners for our "Prove It" time in math.  (I blogged about this HERE.  It's just a few minutes but those minutes have become very precious!  We do it right after Morning Math Meeting and just before Math Workshop:)  Anyway, I was listening to their conversations and one of my littles was struggling and her partner was so sweet and patient in explaining it AND making sure she understood.  That called for a Smuddle:)  I might give one for being a helper or going above and beyond in their day.  You can give a Smuddle for anything but I'm telling ya....for the majority of my kids, they are like little gold nuggets:) 
If you decide to make some Smuddles, I would love to see them:)  Shoot me an email or leave a comment with your blog link:) 
I'm having a little Super Bowl sale too today and tomorrow;)  Everything in my shop is 20% off:)
Have a blessed Sunday!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Words, Backwards Flashlight, Giveaway

We started something new the end of last week and I'm kinda excited about it:)
Let me back started with this pin from The Balanced Literacy Diet.  They recommended that the student find 2 words in their reading and then become masters of those words making a card with pictures and clues for that word.  Then their classmates try to figure it out.
There's so much I love about this!  So, we made our first card last week.  I made it part of their homework.  They have to read every night so I told them while they were reading to search for great vocab to make a card on.  Here are some pics of some of them:

The word for this one was reluctant.  Love that pic:)

They did a great job for their (and my) first time doing this.  We are going to do it at least once a week.  For the next one they have to have the definition with the word on the back:) 
They really enjoyed taking turns putting their pic on the ELMO and having their classmates guess:)  I am hoping for several things by doing this:
- each student will expand their personal vocabulary by looking up and illustrating words from their reading
- each student will expand their vocabulary and learn new words during the sharing with their classmates
- these words will "stick" and some be used in their writing to strengthen it:)
- we will have fun while learning and sharing
The kids really got into this and I am sure next week will have some super challenging words:)  I am going to give each kiddo a ring so they can keep all their cards on it and have it handy for writing:)
Thanks to Head Over Heels for Teaching, Flashlight Friday is a huge success again this year!  The kids love it and can't wait for Friday to have some flashlight reading time.....except last week!
Hard to tell in the pic but there are 23 littles on the carpet in from of me!  This time I had the flashlight for a read aloud!  Their idea....all because they are HOOKED on this book!!!
and I mean HOOKED!!  I LOVE that they LOVE to be read to:)
I'm ending this post with a little giveaway:)
Since Valentine's day is just around the corner, I am giving away my 2 V-day themed sets.
Ends at midnight:)  I'll choose 2 winners to win both each:)
Have a blessed Sunday!

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