Shark Craft

Here is a little sneak peek of the craft I have planned for tomorrow.  I was inspired by this item.  

Go to PicMonkey to edit your photos for free.

What do you think?  
I think my kids will love the 3D teeth.  I know that I do.
Hope to have more to share soon.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Reading Stamina and Actual Reading

Have you read a book that makes you rethink your philosophy as a teacher?  Or reaffirm it?  Well, this book is challenging me as a professional and the decisions I make as a teacher of readers.  Allington suggests that "1 1/2 hours of actual reading" would have substantial gains for our struggling readers.  What would this look like?  Well, "research does not provide clear evidence that one type of reading is better than another.  In other words, increasing the reading volume of oral or silent or choral or paired read or almost any combination of these, has been shown to enhance achievement."

Graphics by Hoot and Crow
He argues that much of that 90 minute of reading time is spent on activities that are related to reading.  And that our most struggling students, do little, if any reading. I must admit, that I do not provide enough time of actual reading even though I teach a full day kindergarten my students average anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour of reading throughout the day.  Like the research stated, my students who read more are my "best readers." My struggling readers are usually "pulled" from my classroom during Independent Reading and have not had enough practice building reading stamina.  My goal/hope is to make all my students the "best readers."

Here are my plans:
I will "bless" more books at all levels to help motivate my students to read them.

I plan to meet daily with my struggling readers and watch them read.  I want to cheer them on as they build stamina.

I will provide them texts that they can read.  I want them reading a lot! So, they will need lots of texts to keep them on task.

As a classroom community, we will focus on building reading stamina.   We will make a goal.  If we meet it, we will be rewarded in some way that will encourage them to continue reading.

Click image for your copy.
I plan to increase the time that of actual reading.  I am going to modify my Daily 5 choices to include only reading tasks; buddy reading, listening center, independent reading.  We will do word study centers at another time.

Lastly, I want us to talk more about the books we read.  By us, I really mean, my students.  I need to stop some of the talking and listen.  This will be hard but so worth it.    

This has led me to wonder.  How much time does your class spend on actual reading? Please share.  I would love for you to join me in this discussion.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Things I Love Thursday

Have you heard of Maria Dismondy? She is the children's author of Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun and The Juice Box Bully; great character education books.  Today, she is hosting a linky party of Things I Love.

I have had such a great last week of spring break that I feel like I have a lot that I love.

Things I Love (in no particular order)
I love that my husband is home after a week away.

I love watching my son dance to HeidiSongs Singable Songs.  My favorite is the letter J.

I love Pioneer Woman! This is my go to pasta recipe and this is what we are having tonight for dinner.  YUM!

I am enjoying the extra time to read.  I am currently reading this.  We are restructuring our intervention program and this book leads itself to self reflection and best practices.  I hope to dedicate a post to this soon.   Have you read it? If so, what are your thoughts?

Lastly, my son and I have enjoyed watching a pair of birds build the perfect nest on our patio cover.  Science in our own backyard.  :)

What do you love?  Anything in particular?


Concepts of Print

I am busily thinking about what essential skills my students need before the end of the school year.  With that in mind, I am looking at my data and my school's benchmarks to determine which skills I need to focus on.

One area that I am going to tackle when we return from break is Concepts of Print.  For some reason, about a third of my students are not performing at grade level.  This may seem like no big deal but next trimester the benchmark is for each student to score 90% on this benchmark.

We use ESGI's Concept of Print as our assessment.  (Go, here to learn more about ESGI.)  So, I created this to help us.

Freebie on my Facebook Fan Page

In the meantime, here is a sample of the anchor chart I made for one of my most missed questions on this assessment.  

Graphics by KPM Doodles

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Words to Teach By

I finally watched The Help.  As I watched, I was struck by this quote,

"You is kind. You is smart. You is important."

Tears trickled down my face, as the words struck such a chord.  I couldn't help but think that every child should hear these words; daily.  I thought of the students I teach and those I have taught.  What could happen if everyday they heard this affirmation and they began to believe it themselves?  Research and common sense tells us that this could be a good thing.

Grab yours here.

I created this (grammar corrected) with hopes that you will use it in your classroom too.  My hope is that perhaps, more children begin to believe in themselves and dream of something bigger.

You see, I teach children who at times are so practical.  When asked what they would do with a $100, they answer - they would help their family pay bills or buy food.  When asked what they want to do when they grow up, they are unsure; perhaps, work at a fast food restaurant.

I feel it is my responsibility to show and teach them that there is much more "out there" but I can not do that if they do not believe in themselves.  I want to allow them the possibility to dream.  I say, this because I have been there.  If I had not had a dream of something better, I would not have the life I have today.  It all begins with a dream.

As a little girl, this song helped me dream.

Okay, enough of the mushy gushy teacher.  I hope you grabbed your copy of the quote. Happy Friday! One more week of vacation to go! :)

Happy Learning and Teaching!


"Greening" Your Classroom

Earth Day is only a few days away.  But I hope to give you some ideas that may help make every day "Earth Day" in your classroom.

Tip #1 Green Your Bulletin Board
When I first started teaching, my bulletin boards were butchered paper in every color. I loved it!  Over time, my needs have changed. This book helped me to think about the choices I made in my classroom. It lead me to rethink about my decor.

So, I changed it up....

I use fabric, a full flat sheet, that I tug tightly and staple onto my bulletin board.  Can you tell this is three years old?  What a time-saver and green way to decorate!  I have found that I like the "look" of my classroom because everything matches; black, white, and lime green.

Tip #2 Think Before You Laminate
This is a hard one especially with all the great resources I find on other blogs.  But, I really try to think, does this need to me laminated; knowing that over time I may throw it away and it ends up in a landfill.  Many times I use sheet protectors.
In this case, I wanted the Money Mat to be used and protected during its use.  The benefits of the sheet protector is that kids can write on it with a dry erase markers.  I can copy less if it is for a center and I can reuse the sheet protector again and again for other similar projects.

Tip #3 Keep those scraps
Not every paper ends up in the recycling can.  I save some in a large container.  These scraps come in handy for many types of activities such as practicing cutting skills with various types of scissors or for tear art projects.  I love to just give kids all access to this container and see what they can come up with.

How do you make your classroom green?  Share your tips.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

The Best of the Best and The Goldilocks Rule v.2

Have you heard?  TBA is celebrating its first blog birthday.  Each day, TBA will host a fun-filled, blog stalking event that will be sure to get you hoppin'.

Today it is:

So here it goes.

My most popular posts are:

Roll A Sight Word and Writing Over Time.

My personal favorite has its on page...Math Work Stations.  This summer book study has transformed my teaching and understanding of math. You'll find lots of goodies along the way.

Lastly, my most popular item for sell and third most popular post is this one....

It's the first day of my three week spring break and I was able to give this little beauty a much needed and a lot cuter facelift.  If you'd like a copy or previously purchased this item, go here.

Happy Learning and Teaching!
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