Thursday, December 20, 2012

Teachers Supporting Teachers Linky

It's been a week since the Sandy Hook tragedy and it is still difficult for me to talk about. I cannot even begin to imagine what the Sandy Hook students, teachers, and families must still be feeling or going through.

Kristin from Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten is hosting a linky party for our friends from Sandy Hook. She is encouraging all of us who sell items on TPT to donate a portion of our proceeds over the next couple of weeks to Sandy Hook Elementary. She is also encouraging everyone in the blogging community to shop from the stores of those who link up. To show my support for all of those at Sandy Hook I have linked up with Kristin's Teachers Supporting Teachers linky and I am encouraging all of you to participate in any way you can- If just to show those at Sandy Hook that we are thinking about and praying for them.

For more information on the Sandy Hook Fundraiser, to link up your TPT store, or to see where you can shop for units to contribute to the cause check out Kristin's post Teachers Supporting Teachers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Success Kit Winner

The winner of Donna's December Success Kit is Mrs. Reinartz. Thanks again to all of you who entered and to Donna for graciously agreeing to give the unit away.

As a side note I am sorry that I have been a bit absent in the blogging world lately. I am a little overwhelmed with work and trying to find time to research and write on my dissertation.  I am also having trouble uploading pictures. I am getting a message about space being full. Does anyone know anything about this?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Success Kit Giveaway

I am a new fan of all of Donna's Success Kits so I am happy to have the December Kit to giveaway!!

The December Success Kit contains over 300 pages!! I really appreciate the fact that the kit has color as well as black and white options because sometimes I need to print quickly and save ink. The activities are perfect for large group, small group, and literacy stations. I also like being able to use the games with my students and then having a recording sheet for them to fill out as an assessment piece I can hold on to.

I am making this a quick giveaway so that I can get it out to teachers to use before the end of the month. The giveaway ends at midnight Wednesday December 12th. I am not going out of town any time soon so I promise I will announce the winner next Thursday.

To enter the giveaway:
1) Follow Chalk Talk
2) Follow Kinderglynn
3) Follow Donna's TPT Store

Leave a comment for each requirement you fulfill. Don't forget to leave your email address.

New Pete the Cat Readers Coming Soon!!

Just came across these!! They release in February 2013! Yah!! The kids will love them! You can pre-order them on Amazon here.

And in May just in time for a beach or ocean animal study...

Giveaway Winners Announced...Finally!!

I am so sorry for getting behind in announcing my giveaway winners and making posts. I went out of town last week for a research conference and just got back. I am also having trouble posting images right now so I am in the process of trying to find out how to fix that.

The lucky winner of Donna's November Success Kit is Megan Reynold's!! Congratulations Megan!! and the winner of the Pick and Draw game and book is Jessica from Teach on a Limb!

Thanks again to all of you who entered and sorry again for making this post so late and not being able to post the number generators to show the winners :(

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas/Winter Bulletin Board Contest

A few years ago when I taught at Moseley I was known my some as the "Bulletin Board Queen" because I had adopted the motto "the more bulletin boards the better!" I loved to display student work!! I had about 8 bulletin boards going at my peak. Anyway... all of that is to say that I heard about a fun Christmas Bulletin Board Contest sponsored by MPM School Supplies and I wanted to share the news with all of you.

It's simple and it could earn you up to $100 to spend with MPM School Supplies. Here is how it works...

1. Contestants snap a picture of your Christmas and/or winter bulletin board design(s) and email it to  (

2. After you post the picture, they'll email you with a link to your unique entry page (along with a 10% discount code to MPM School Supplies as a thank you for taking the time to enter!).

3. Then you get your family, friends and colleagues to vote for your picture by 'pinning' it on Pinterest and 'liking' it on Facebook.

*The picture with the most combined Pinterest 'Pins' and Facebook 'Likes' when voting ends, January 4 at 11:59pm ESTwins a $100 MPM School Supplies gift card. 2nd place wins a $50 gift card, and 3rd-5th place win $25 gift cards! And EVERYONE who enters the contest will receive a 10% discount they can use on their next purchase from MPM School Supplies!

To get started and enter to win click here. Good luck everyone! I know you all have lots of great bulletin board ideas to share.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Flat Gingy" - A Fun Gingerbread Man Craft and Project

Just came across this unit on TPT and I LOVE it!! It's called "Flat Gingy" and yes... it is a spin off of the lovable Flat Stanley. "Flat Gingy" is Flat Stanley's Holiday Cousin :) Christie from First Grade Fever has created a fun and inexpensive take home writing project. Student's make "Flat Gingy" at school, take him home for some holiday fun with their family, then write up something about their adventure together. You could easily modify this project to meet the age of your students. They can write one or two sentences about the adventure or a whole page. They can even dictate their story if your students are very young writers. You can check out Christie's unit here. I already have it in my cart to purchase tomorrow during the big TPT Cyber Monday Sale.

Kinderglynn Success Kit Giveaway

I wanted to share a resource by Donna Glynn that has been extremely helpful to me... it is her Monthly Success Kits. The activities included in each success kit are perfect for covering my state's standards. I first introduce the games and activities in whole group. We play the game for several days giving everyone multiple turns and practice with how to play the game. Then I use the game for small group work, tutoring practice, and when we have some extra time and need to revisit or practice a skill.

The November Success Kit has 249 pages!! It includes color and black and white versions of the activities. You can easily use the games for quick oral practice or add the recording sheets for accountability when the student's use the games independently.

Donna has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her November Success Kit to one lucky follower. I know November is almost over but the games are perfect for targeting the skills I need to teach and practice so I plan to continue using them as long as I need them regardless of the month we are in and you can easily do the same.

To enter the November Success Kit giveaway:
1) Follow Kinderglynn
2) Follow Chalk Talk
3) Follow Donna's TPT Store
4) Leave a comment of comment for each requirement you fulfill.

The giveaway ends at midnight Sunday, December 2nd. Good luck everyone! Don't forget you can check out Donna's TPT Store (as well as many others) tomorrow for the big TPT Cyber Monday Sale. Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 19, 2012

100 Ideas to Inspire your Holiday Photo Cards

This is a random post and completely unrelated to education, but I just found this blog post and thought it was so cool I had to share. It is 100 Ideas to Inspire Your Holiday Photo Cards and it was posted by the Harvard Homemaker. This post has some of the cutest holiday card ideas I have ever seen!! Check it out!!

Here are a couple of my favorites...

Oh Christmas Tree

Santa Baby

Star of Wonder

Candy Canes
These are just a few of the ideas. There are so many more!! Families, couples, kids, new babies, pregnancy... whatever you might be looking for. Some of them might even make cute classroom pics. 

The Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities Giveaway

I am SUPER excited because the Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities is finally for sale on Amazon. Last school year I had the good fortune of getting to know Rich Davis and being introduced to his Pick and Draw game. I used the game in a classroom to get kids talking, drawing, and writing. The kids loved the game and it was a great day to teach them how to draw with detail and how to show emotion in the characters in their stories.

The exciting news about the Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities is that I had the privilege of writing a chapter for it!! You can preview the book and the Pick and Draw game here. The book is full of ways to use the Pick and Draw game in a variety of ways and settings.

In honor of my first publication I am giving away a copy of The Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities and the Pick and Draw game to one lucky winner!! 

All you have to do to enter is:
1) Check out The Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities and comment that you did so
2) Leave a comment about the book, the game, or how you might use either in your classroom. Don't forget to leave your email address

The Big Book of Pick and Draw Activities giveaway ends at midnight Sunday December 1, 2012. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Listen to Reading

We started Listen to Reading this week. My kids now have three choices but they only do two a day because of time. I am still rotating them through the stations, but once I have all five rotations going well I will allow them to choose where they go each day.

Here is the chart I am using for now. There are six students in each group. I keep their pictures in the same place and rotate only the Daily Five picture icons at the top of the chart.

I have a basket with books and CD's and a basket with CD players. I placed one book and one CD in each zip-loc bag and one CD player in each zip-loc bag. I placed the baskets next to the computer that I am also using for listen to reading. I am using TumbleBooks and PebbleGo on the computer. These are both paid sites but I am fortunate that my district covers that cost. Storyline Online is a great free site to use. 

I got my CD players online from Target. I really like them because they are easy to use. There is one large button for opening the player and it is labeled "open". I taught the kids to look for the "o". The only other brightly labeled button is the "play" button. The volume and other buttons are not labeled the same so they do not stand out as buttons for the students to push. 
First I modeled for my students how I wanted them to take out the materials, lay them out while they worked, and put their materials away. 

After I modeled the process, I had several students take turns modeling it. I did this each day all week long. 

For this first week I had students who were doing listening to reading stay on the big carpet so that I could assist them as needed. I made shortcuts on the desktop for the computer sites. This way the kids can get to them quickly and easily. 


Our Wall of Self Portraits

College and Career Week

This week was National Career Development Week so we spent the week celebrating colleges and careers. Each day we did something different to celebrate. Here is our week's schedule. 

Wear Blue for "Setting Our Goals Sky High"
Dress for your dream job
Wear Yellow for "Shooting for the Stars"
Wear a graduate cap, Teachers wear caps and gowns (we made cardboard graduation caps)
Wear a college t-shirt or jersey

We also decorated our doors and made bulletin boards supporting our Alma mater. My class made a bulletin board for the University of North Texas. We used the book Go Away Big Green Monster since North Texas' nickname is "Mean Green."

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Today we read my favorite Thanksgiving story- A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting. Then we turned and talked with our partners about our favorite parts, used interactive writing to write about it, and drew turkeys.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Duck for President

In honor of the presidential election this week we practiced the voting process by voting on where we wanted to read the book Duck for President. The stage was the winner so everyone got to sit on the steps of the stage while I read the book to them. Thanks for the idea Jessica.

Shopping For Books

This week in the daily five we worked on shopping for books from my book bins. This is how I have set up book shopping so that it is easy to manage.

I have 5 tables of students in my classroom so one table will shop each day. Now that we have practiced for a week I am going to let them shop first thing in the morning when they come into the room. I am having them shop at this time to save class time.

This week we only worked on shopping for "look books." At this point we have three "look books" in our boxes and 2 "good fit" readers. I will add shopping for "good fit" books in another week.

I had the kids sit their book boxes on my table, decide which books they wanted to trade in, lay the books they were trading in on my table, then choose that many new books from my bins. At this point I am not having them put their books away. I will teach them how to do that later. They can choose their new books from the ones people are trading in or from my book bins.

They loved being able to pick their own books from my bins. I can't wait to add "good fit" books to their shopping. 

I had to snap a picture of this little one because has was just too cute. He was so tired he fell asleep in the middle of work on writing. 

Dog Loves Drawing

Today in writer's workshop we read the book Dog Loves Drawing. Then we drew pictures of whatever we wanted and labeled them. The kids loved this book!

CAFE Strategy- Retell Stories Using Pictures

We added another strategy to our CAFE board this week- retell stories using pictures. Our fairy tale for the week was The Three Little Pigs. We made a flow map with pictures to retell the story. These pictures came from Little Miss Kindergarten's We Can Learn About Story Elements! Unit.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Then and Now Student Sort Download

After doing the whole group Then and Now Venn Diagram I have my students work in small groups and do their own. You can download the pictures for the student sort here and the titles for it here.

Here is the whole group Then and Now Venn Diagram. You can download the words free here and the titles free here.