Saturday, May 23, 2015

You Oughta Know!

Are you a technology lover? If you are, I think one of the coolest things You Oughta Know about is… PHOTO STORY 3!
Photo Story 3 is a FREE computer program that allows you to transform your students' work into mini movies! It is super easy, fun, and your kids will love it!
We all know how important writing is in the classroom. My kindergarten students write 8 books throughout the school year, but not all of them love writing. I needed to find a way to get them all excited about writing. Well, when they heard that we were not just writing books for this unit, but we were writing books that were going to be turned into MOVIES, you bet they were all excited! 
We began this writing unit like any other: immersion, generating ideas, and writing a draft. This unit was all about how-to books, so we read a few how-to style books (How to Draw People, Making Vegetable Soup, Making Pizza, and How To Lose All Your Friends), and then we thought of a few things that WE could teach other people how to do. 
Once we selected our idea, we began writing our rough draft. Then, we edited our work and added either numbers or transition words. Finally, it was time to write our final copy! This copy was not in book form, but written as a script! My kiddos then created an illustration for each step of their how-to script. 
Next, the fun began! I collected all of the illustrations, and began taking pictures of them and uploading them to Photo Story 3. I selected transitions that I liked best, made a title page for each student, and timed each slide. My students chose a partner, and practiced their fluency by reading their script over and over. When they felt that they were reading fluently, they came to me to record their voice over.
The great part about Photo Story 3 is that you can record your voice over for each slide separately. This means that my students only had to record one step at a time, which allowed for easy re-recording if anything went wrong! 
Once their voice over was all set, I published the video and uploaded it to a private YouTube channel. I also had each student design a cover for their story to hang in the hallway. I added a QR code that linked back to their video on YouTube so that people can scan the code and view their movie!
At the end, we planned a movie screening and invited all of the other kindergarten classes to come. We wrote invitations, decorated tickets, and took movie star photos. The three other kindergarten classes all gathered in our room where we watched each how-to video while enjoying popcorn just like at a real movie! My kiddos had a BLAST, and they were SO proud of themselves! {I was like a proud mom, too!}
Want to see a sample? This is the how-to video that my teammate, Barb, made. I wish I could show you one of my student's videos! Click here to watch the sample.
I highly recommend giving Photo Story 3 a try in your classroom! It is very user friendly, and adds an element of excitement to your students' work. I know I will definitely be using it again for our how-to unit next year! Click here to download it for free, and then hop along to see what other great ideas my teacher-blogger friends have to share with you!
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Addicted To Addition

I am having an absolute BLAST teaching addition and subtraction this year! I thought I'd take some time to share with you my FAVORITE addition resources! (If you're already done with school {not fair!} don't forget to pin this post to read later!)
I started by talking about how every number can be made by combining two smaller numbers. We explored this for a day or so using number bracelets and Tara West's recording sheets. (At this point, I changed the recording sheet to say __ and __ make __ because I had not introduced equations yet.) My kids BEGGED to do this activity. I then put this activity in our practice zone. The students were able to choose the number bracelet that they wanted to work on, and find the corresponding recording sheet on their own.
 Then I introduced GUS THE PLUS and addition equations! We spent about two days on each addition strategy so that I could meet with all of my guided math groups for some extra strategy practice. (The cute vocabulary cards are from Deanna & DeeDee's Guiding Kinders units)
The first strategy that we tackled was using manipulatives to solve addition equations. To practice this strategy, we used my ladybug addition mats. Students rolled a dice, and placed that number of counters on one of the ladybug's wings. Then, they rolled again, and placed that number of counters on the other wing. They recorded these numbers on their recording sheet, and added them together. {You can grab these for FREE here!}
We also used one of my favorite activities… Shake and Spill! Students chose a recording sheet, and placed that number of counters (in this case, 5, as indicated in the top corner) in their cup. They shook their cup and spilled the counters out. Then, they recorded how many red and yellow counters they got! If they repeated a combination, they had to try again!
Next, we moved onto drawing pictures and counting on your fingers. There are SO many resources out there, and you can even make up your own addition story problems. I pretty much made up addition story problems about Dexter because my kiddos are OBSESSED. I also let them make up their own story problems for the group. They loved that! {No picture, sorry!!}
The last addition strategy we practiced was using a number line. Don't you love when you hear your students say, "Math is so much fun!"? That is all I kept hearing during this lesson! We used a life-sized number line to practice this strategy. One student wrote an addition equation on the board. Another student chose what number they should start on, figured out how many steps they should take, and then walked along the number line. They were so engaged that they each got to have two turns! This was also a go-to activity for my fast finishers throughout the week.
Two more activities that I added to the practice zone during the next week were crowd favorites as well. My kids went CRAZY over magic dice. (All that's in the bottle is some water, food coloring, and two dice! *Make sure to hot glue the top on the bottle so that there are no accidents!) This was a great kinesthetic activity; shaking the bottle definitely helped my kiddos who need a lot of movement! Who knew you could have so much fun practicing your addition facts! {I did not create this recording sheet- I don't know who did! If it was you, please let me know so that I can give you credit!!} 
Finally, we've been working on our fact fluency with some I Spy! Right now, we are focusing on numbers 1-5, but soon I will put out some 5-10 mats. These are always a class favorite, and the kiddos don't even know they're learning!

I hope I gave you some fun ideas for addition! We have been on a roll with subtraction as well, and I can't wait to post about even more goodies then!
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Preparing For a New Year!

Do you HATE taking days off because of all of the time it takes to prepare for a sub?! I know I do! I always panic about what if I am really, really sick, and can't even write lesson plans in the morning. Last summer, I worked on creating an editable sub binder for this exact reason, and I am IN LOVE!
My favorite part about having a sub binder is that literally EVERYTHING is inside it! Routines, procedures, emergency information, rules, schedules… you name it, it's in there! By doing this, I don't have to re-type this information every time I make sub plans {and it's one less thing for me to worry about if I have to take an unplanned day off}. All I change is the lesson plans section. Let's start at the beginning...

Start off on the right foot by telling your sub all that they need to know about your class! I like to leave the phone extensions of my kindergarten team, when to call the office with attendance, and when literacy, math, and special ed paras will be in my room.
Next up, keep your class list handy so that your sub can take attendance, or have it incase of a fire drill!
This section is packed full of important information for your sub to know!
1. List all of your amazing student helpers that your substitute can go to for help. Even in kindergarten, I have 3 trustworthy "student teachers!!"
2. Make sure to give your substitute important school info like office extensions, your email, and your room extension.
3. For your deceiving creative little ones, draw a sketch of your classroom's seating chart so your substitute knows exactly where everyone should be.
4. Help the sub out by leaving a run down of any behavior management plans that you have in place. Being a sub can be challenging enough, they don't need the added burden of missing behavior plans!
5. Let the sub know when he/she should be expecting teachers to push in or pull out of the classroom. This is especially important if your students are expected to remember and walk down on their own!

Having once been a building sub, I know that it is much less overwhelming to have routines and procedures in a separate place from the lesson plans. Seeing paragraphs of recess routines amidst the lesson instructions is scary! For that reason, I separated all of this "stuff" into its own section for easy access.
1. Outline your arrival, attendance, and morning work instructions so that the morning runs flawlessly.
2. Leave all of the notes that you need for lunch and recess procedures. I know that I always have many "if this, then that" instructions to leave!
3. Leave your classroom rules in black and white to make sure that they know exactly what is acceptable and unacceptable. {There are templates for 4, 5, and 6 rules.}
4. Have a line order? Make sure that those "creative" kiddos don't try to pull one over on the sub. Leave the line order list for him or her so that s/he can be a step ahead!
5. The end of the day can be very chaotic. Outline your dismissal plan to cut down on the chaos! List who takes busses, walks, is a parent pickup, and the specific days of each! {There is a 4 option and 5 option template- completely customizable to your school's dismissal choices}
Going to be out for a few days? Leave a daily schedule for each day of the week AND a specials schedule! These things can get lost in between all of the lesson plans too!
Keep all emergency information in one place! Write out plans for things like fire drills, lockdown drills, evacuations, tornadoes, earthquakes.. anything important to your area! And don't forget to leave that important allergy and medication information! You don't want your sub to be searching for the nurse's phone number to get information in an emergency.
Wow! We finally made it to the only part that you thought would be in the sub binder.. lesson plans! I've included two different lesson plan templates for you to choose from. One is simply the subject and activity, while the other also outlines time and materials needed. You can also customize your plans by adding a date {especially helpful if you know you're going to be absent for more than one day}!
Story of our lives, right?! Want to make sure you're never too sick to write lesson plans? Keep a set of emergency lesson plans {labeled with EMERGENCY instead of a day and date} so that you never have to worry about an unplanned day off! Everything your sub needs will be right there when your teammate pulls out this binder for them! Isn't it nice to have one less thing to worry about!?

Do you think that this is a must have for your classroom next year? Grab it for only $2 in my TPT store! Click the image below to head on over now!

Let the countdown to summer begin!!
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Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week {Giveaway!}


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! I'm so excited to be teaming up with the girls from The Primary Pack to bring you this fabulous Giveaway! We really want you to know how much we appreciate you and how amazing we think you are. Teachers are the most dedicated, hard-working people around, and we want to celebrate you! So we are each giving away a gift card to one of our favorite places to shop. But we didn't stop there! We are also giving away one big GRAND PRIZE on The Primary Pack blog!
Here at Miss Peluso's Kindergarten, I'm giving away a gift card to MY favorite place to shop… TPT! Whenever I need a printable, lesson, graphic organizer, or idea, I head straight for TPT. There are such amazing teachers on TPT, some of which are my closest friends! I KNOW you can use a gift card to fuel your shopping addiction, so enter the giveaway below to win! The giveaway will run through Sunday, May 10th. 

Now for the grand prize!!! Over at The Primary Pack, we are giving way a 250.00 gift card to Tieks! That's right, Tieks! The most COLORFUL, comfortable, Italian leather shoes around! We know how much money you have undoubtedly put into your classroom this year for resources and supplies--so this giveaway is all about a splurge just for you! For 250.00, you can even get a fancy pair! To enter, click HERE or click on the image below!
And don't forget to visit each of our blogs for chances to win even more great prizes!

And don't forget to visit me on TPT starting tomorrow to snag everything on your wish list for 28% off!! Happy shopping!!
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