Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Stock Up

Hi friends! I am super excited today to be joining forces with some fabulous TPT sellers to bring you our Summer Stock Up event! This weekend, you will have a chance to browse through tons of teacher-authors' favorite products, check out how they use it in their classroom, and download a free sample! If you fall in love with the product {which I'm sure you will}, you can head over to their TPT store and grab the WHOLE thing! What's a better deal than try it before you buy it?!
Today I have for you one of my absolute FAVORITE products from my store! Better yet... I just completely revamped the whole entire thing {and I literally mean JUST... I just finished!}!!! This product is one of my biggest sanity, time, organization saviors in my classroom, and I created it out of need. In my room, my students rotate through the Daily 5 workstations. I was STUMPED as to what to have my kindergarteners do for Work on Writing. As the year progressed, I knew I would have journals for them to write in and some other fun and authentic writing opportunities, but until then, I had no idea what I would put in a Work on Writing workstation for students who can't yet WRITE!?
After buying and trying countless resources on TPT, most of which I loved, but just didn't EXACTLY fit my needs, I started making things for my own students. A few months later, I decided to compile all of them into one pack to share with other teachers. It is 168 pages FULL of differentiated, common core aligned, and most importantly, meaningful practice for kindergarten and first grade students. Let's take a look, shall we?!
Before we begin, I need to let you know that these activities will save you from constantly making copies and updating activities day after day. I print one copy of each page, and place it in a sheet protector. (You could also laminate it or use one of the dry erase pockets from Lakeshore/Really Good Stuff) My students write directly on the sheet with a dry erase marker. I keep them accountable for their work by having them take a photo of their completed work next to their name tag with the iPad. If you don't have an iPad or camera available to your students, you could have them show you their work quickly between rotations before they erase. This is one of the things I love best about my writing center!
I will just show you a few of my favorite parts of this Work on Writing pack. These spin and trace activities are what I introduce first in our Work on Writing workstation. I add new letters as we learn them in class, and my students have a blast. I think anything with a spinner gets kids excited! My kiddos also love having a choice of what letter they get to work on. Because we use Fundations, I usually add 3 letters at a time.
Our first writing unit is all about writing a list book. These vocab cards are the only thing that I change out monthly. I like to print them, laminate them, and put a magnet on the back (the ones pictured here are from the old version... the new ones have updated clipart and fonts!). Then, I display them on a cookie sheet, and my students can easily take them off and put them back. You could also store them on a binder ring to save space. I like that the vocab cards don't only get used at the beginning of the year for listing; students refer to them all the time when their journals are introduced, and even at other random points during the day. It's like a seasonal word wall... they know exactly where to look when they need to find a word.
This is the newest part of the pack. I wanted my students to have exposure to as many sight words as possible, not just the ones that our district mandates. I took the words from the Dolch pre-primer list, and created these Build a Sentence mats. Students spin (love it!) and use the word that they land on in a sentence. Then, they get to use the checklist to edit their sentence. I also keep some mini voice recorders in the writing center for my students to record their sentence so that they can play it back to themselves when they go to write it.
^(Here's one of my students hard at work in her journal this winter.  My mini writing office is pictured here)
What else do my students do during Work on Writing? Check out what's in the whole pack!
Want to try a FREE SAMPLE of this Work on Writing pack? Click on the image below to hop through and grab some amazing FREEBIE samples, including this one!
Like what you see? Click here to buy the whole pack! On sale for 20% off THIS WEEKEND ONLY!
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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Makeover Madness

I was SO excited when I heard the announcement for the TPT Seller challenge! I started my TPT store exactly one year ago today (Happy TPT-aversary to me!), and I knew NOTHING when I first started! There is still so much for me to learn, but I have learned a tremendous amount in just a year's time. So, for the past few months, I have been slowly updating all of my earliest TPT products. This TPT Seller Challenge came at a perfect time for me. 

The latest series of products that I have been working on updating are my Write the Room packs. Not only have I given the covers a serious face-lift, but I've updated all of the products as well! As of today, I have revamped and updated my Write the Room packs for March, April, May, and June. 
As I began to sell on TPT, I started investing in quality fonts and clip art. These investments have really changed my products! Now, my updates all have new clip art, fonts, recording sheet layouts, and even a new recording sheet option. The rest of the updates are the first thing on my to-do list now that it is summer break! I can't wait to finish them all!

Here's a peek at my cover makeover for Write the Room: June.

I can't wait to see what the TPT Seller Challenge has in store for us for the next few weeks! Happy summer, everyone!
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Monday, June 8, 2015

Reflect & Refresh {Part 1}

Are you done with school yet? I have 9 days left! With the school year winding down, some of my blogging friends and I decided to take some time to take a look back at this year, and a look forward into next.
Welcome to Reflect and Refresh, a two part linky party where teacher bloggers share their reflections on the 2014-2015 school year and ways they are planning to refresh their teaching in 2015-2016. 

Communication
Last year, I started using EdModo to communicate grades with parents. EdModo is an online grade book that allows parents to look at their child's grades and ONLY their child's grades. After each assessment, I went into EdModo and updated student grades. At a quick glance, I was able to see who I needed to move around in math groups, who needed extra support, and who needed a challenge. Better yet, parents were able to see what their child needed to work on at home. I received nothing but positive feedback regarding EdModo, and I used it this year as well. I think it is an amazing communication tool and helps keep parents in the loop! For more information, visit EdModo.

Organization & Classroom Management
Each group of students is a whole new ballgame in classroom management. What worked for you one year may be a complete failure the next. This year, I decided to implement The Super Improver Wall from Whole Brain Teaching. It was a godsend! Each of my students was working toward their own "goal," and was in competition with only his/herself. My students FLIPPED when they "leveled up" to a new color. Who knew that changing a piece of construction paper would be so meaningful! I wanted to keep parents in the loop too, so I began to send home little leveling up notes that the students filled out to a loved one at home letting them know of their accomplishment. This has been such a great positive INTRINSIC motivator in my classroom! To read more about The SIW, check out my post here.
Content
I was really proud of my writing instruction this year. Last year, I definitely taught by the book. Even though I didn't abandon our curriculum resources this year, I definitely did more planning for what my students' needs were. I wanted to make writing FUN, and not just a subject that I had to teach. I definitely think I accomplished this because my students are BEGGING to write stories all day long! They even sigh in disappointment when we have to skip writing! Want to see how I got my students to be independent writers? Check out my writing offices here.
My Big Summer Project
We are moving to a HOUSE this summer! I can't wait to have more room, but most of all, I can't wait to have an office!!!! There was a linky party going on this weekend with Ashley Schroeder from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd, and it got me SO darn excited to start planning and decorating my office! I am very excited to finally be able to have all of my TPT things organized and not taking over my dining room table. I also hope that I will be more consistent with blogging once I can have a calendar that is not hidden by papers. Fingers crossed!
Want to join in on the Reflect and Refresh fun!? Link up below!
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