Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Back to School Books

Friends~Here are my top Back to School Books! Every school year,  I start back with some great books to review and teach character education.  I thought I would share some of my very favorites! 



I use a book a day during one of our shared reading times.  I love these books because they are silly and fun but also teach great lessons.  This year I will be adding them to our Morning Meeting Time: If you haven't added MM to your classroom routine,           U MUST! It is an awesome time to create a classroom community!  

This year,  I am going to start with the book: What Does it Mean to be Present? by Rana DiOrio
This is a beautifully illustrated book that touches on the idea of seize the day!  It will start a wonderful discussion on appreciation for what we have and to live to the best in life.  I can't wait to hear what my little first grades are going to say about being present in class. 

Another one of my favorites is Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester.  I love this book for when we talk about how we treat each other and how we respond to each other.  Plus, I just LOVE Fragility the hippo!
A total must have is Helen Lester's Listen Buddy!   Teach listening skills with my fun FREE Follow Directions Listen Buddies.  
I love All for Me and None for All when we talk about sharing.  Totally by Helen Lester too!  Gruntly makes his a big entrance as a ball hog, snack hog, and a treasure hog.  Your kiddos will be cheering at the end when Gruntly finally learns how to share.  (Plus, I love hearing my kiddos all remind each other not to be a Gruntly!)
My newest find is called Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne C. Jones.  This book is another book that hits the nail on the head about listening to others and being present.  Not over talking but paying attention to what your friends are saying to you.  Total adorable Owl character!!!  I can't wait for my kiddos to make their Lacey Walker owls with speech bubbles in class.  You can check out my newest file for this book below.

What are your favorite back to school books????  
Let's compile a list in the comments below!
(This add contains affiliate links for purchasing the books mentioned.  I have purchased all of these books and many in hardback because the are must haves for my classroom every year.  Totally worth the investment!) 



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Monday, April 20, 2015

The Reading Game

Friends~I am so excited to tell you all about this new guided reading game we have been using in class. I absolutely LOVE it.  The game is called The Reading Game!  Check it out below! 


It is so simple to use and my students are crazy about it.  In each set, you get sight word cards to use in a game of memory, quick read cards and books. Students work in sets of cards with 5 different sight words.  After mastering a set of cards, they move to the quick phrases.  These phrases are made from the sight words cards the students worked on.  
This is a sample of the quick read cards.  The pictures are super clear and sharp.  I really like that the sight words are bold for the students to zoom in on.  

Just look at the smiles on these kiddo's faces!  
      

I am most impressed with the fact that my students can then read a book based on the sight words they have mastered.  The simplicity is so refreshing for our busy classrooms! 

The students felt immediate success after working with the cards and books!  It a wonderful way to take the memorizing of sight words and make it fun!  

You can read more about this fantastic learning game by clicking below.  Check out all the video tutorials!






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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Technology in the Classroom

Friends~I am so thrilled to share some new technology that I am using in my classroom!                              Touchtronics!!!! 
As soon as I saw this product in action, 
 I knew it had to be mine!  I love that it combines two of my favorite things.  Technology and hands on learning!
Touchtronics is available for the iPad.  It includes 26 letters, consonants in blue and vowels in red.  The supporting apps are available in the iTunes Store for FREE!  Yep, all you need to purchase is the letter pieces.  
  

It is so simple to use.  I love that it starts by having the student unlock the game using the letters so that they are familiar right away how to work through the game! It is filled with eye catching visuals and pictures.  

I just got 6 new iPads for my classroom and I am hoping that we can purchase a larger set like the class set below! Each classroom kit comes with 10 sets of 26 letters and storage trays for each set.  
Click the picture to check it out! 

Check out one of my firsties building words with Touchtronics!  It has been such a hit in my classroom.  They all want to get their hands on the letters!


The funny thing about this video is he was sitting on the vowel O:)

They even have a math app with numbers to work on basic addition, subtraction, and place value!  

  

The place value app is in my rotation for next week's centers!  I just know it is going to be a HUGE hit! 

The best technology I have purchased for my iPads!  I love that Touchtronics brings the physical and digital world together in a must have learning tool!  




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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Zaner Bloser I Read to Write

Friends~Do your kiddos love to read but struggle with writing?  Do you kiddos love writing but never want to read?  Well, I found a great resource to pump up both areas and make amazing connections! 

This week in guided reading groups, I have been using I Read to Write Responding to Sources by Zaner Bloser. Check out this introduction video below!

I love that this program teaches students to read like a writer and think like a writer.  It introduces students to the world of how reading and writing are connected.  
I can Read to Write covers not only reading and writing but also math, science, and social studies! 

This week, I used the first text included in I Can Read to Write for grade 2. 
It is titled: Earth Water Planet!
I love that it is set up in a predictable sequence for the students to follow.  
The students first READ the text and answer the questions by citing from the text.   
They then THINK and answer the comprehension questions. 
Finally, students WRITE
They are able to choose from 
NARRATIVE, INFORMATIVE, OPINION.  
I love that the text offered a variety of writing graphic organizers as well as close reading prompts for citing text evidence. 
I am so impressed that there is a Narrative Traits of Writing poster in the back of the book for students to use as a resource.  
I can't wait to see how my kiddo's writings turns out.  They are loving being able to go back to the text to add details! 
Good NEWS!  You can request a FREE sample of the booklet by clicking HERE!

Click the image below to check out the booklet that I used in my classroom! 



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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Teacher Must Haves: EDExpo Atlanta


Friends~I can't wait to share all the fun goodies I found at the EDExpo in Atlanta.  I had the best time connecting with new bloggers and exploring the huge selection of teacher products. 




 Check out my top 10 Below!
1. Touchtronic Numbers and Letters from Junior Learning 
This game is amazing!  I have access to ipads in my classroom and I just know that my kiddos are going to be sooooooo engaged using Touchtronics.  I am totally pumped to add it to my math center routine. You can click the video below to preview and the click the image to head to Junior Learning. 




2. The Reading Game
I am currently using this game in my classroom in a small group and my firsties LOVE it!  I love that they are able to be successful very quickly.  The repetition is a key component!  Check it out below in action! 
3. Say It! from Felix LTD. 
4. Fidgets from Endless Possibilities
I love the fact that the Fidgets help with the "fidgets" in any classroom.  They supports self regulation and attention.  Plus, they are just plain fun!
5. The F.U.N. Empty Numberline from Learning Advantage
Absolutely AMAZING!  This product is all about fluency and understanding numbers.  It taps into student's thinking about number sense.  I love the visual display of numbers and the representation of them with this simple tool.  Made for grades K-8!
6. Ultra Safe Scissors
No MORE haircuts in class!  The Ultra Safe Scissors put a sharp cutting blade into a safe cutting tool for students.  Perfect for grades PreK-1!  Be sure to check out the fantastic pencil grips too! 
7. Cool Circuits
Do your kiddos love puzzles????  Well, here is a show stopper!  Cool circuits tap into spacial reasoning and abstract thinking.  There are 40 different ranges from student to expert.  I am going to be honest in saying I struggled with the student version and used the cheat mode a bit:)  Be sure to check out the online game too! 

8. FlipChex 
I love that these FlipChex cards are self checking.  
Their science systems are just perfect for little learners.  I can't wait to get my hands on the body system one! 
9. Grotto Grip
The Grotto Grip was my favorite pencil grip from the whole EdExpo!  It was created by an occupational therapist.  It is perfect right down to the grove for your nail to rest.  

10. Spot It
This game is serious FUN!  I love that they have the game for letters and numbers too!  Students can even work on basic sight words.


If you are interested in any of these fantastic products you can check them out at the EdMarket
Or just click below!





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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Teaching about Sled Dogs and the Iditarod

Friends~I love teaching about sled dogs and the Iditarod this time of year!  The Iditarod race begins on March 7th! Check out the site above to watch the leader board and see a count down to the race.  There is even a teacher on the trail with great blog posts for students. 


This is the movie that sparked my passion for the great race!  When my daughter Lily was little,  her favorite moving was Balto.  I think I may have watched it with a thousand times over and over! It tells the journey of the famous Balto and how he and the other sled dogs saved Nome, Alaska from an oubreak of diphtheria.   Check it out below!
As a class, we began our journey reading The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford. It is an awesome book that spreads out the tale for young readers.  I have a created a unit to go along with this book perfectly!  Check it out below!
  

I love to take this unit a step further by bringing in a real live sled dog musher!  She has come the past 2 years and my kiddos are always swept into the frigid world of -30 degrees and the dedication of the sled dogs and the mushers! 
The musher's name is Jjay Levy from Parrotsleds.  
She brings her dogs that have run the Iditarod.  Her truck that she halls them in.  You can see the little cages above.  She even bring her sled for the kiddos to try out! 

This picture gets me every time!  Below are dog tags from the Iditarod.  Each dog that races get them.  
I still can't believe my first graders is holding them!   A party of HISTORY!!!!
She even bring in musher gear for them to try on!  Those a polar bear mittens!!! 
Look at the sweet face poking out of that furry hood.  I love that she talks with the class about why mushers use fur.  She explains that when an animal is killed the whole animal is used.                    Nothing is wasted!

Just after Jjay the musher left, we had recess and it totally melted my heart to see my first graders playing sled dog musher with jump ropes and scooters at recess!  
  I totally piggybacked on their excitement with this fun musher activity from my file above! 
Be sure to grab a free copy of my huskies so that you can do this with your kiddos! Click below!
Happy Mushing!
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