Sunday, September 30, 2012

ABC Practice

Wow, I have not been here in a while!  School has been CRAZY these past few weeks!  I don't know about you, but implementing the Common Core has made my lesson planning time triple!!!  I know we'll get the hang of it, but for now it is really killing me taking up a lot of my time!

I have a few kindergarten friends who really REALLY need extra practice on their letters, so I've been working on a pack for them.  Thus, the Ultimate ABC Pack was born: 

I can't wait to try it out on my kinder friends tomorrow!  For now, I have a 4 year old and 3 year old here who are begging me to print it out for them.  That's a good sign, right?

See you soon!
(like days, not weeks soon!!!)


Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Kid-Created" Alphabet!

Hey everyone!

I want to share with you one of my favorite activities that I have done so far this year.  I have to start by explaining that I firmly believe in having students create or at least take part in creating most of the things that hang in my classroom.  I am trying to move away from commercially-bought products and focus more on things that we create in class together.  Which leads me to my new alphabet line that I am completely in love with!  I can't take credit for the idea, I saw a student-made alphabet line in one of my amazing colleagues rooms who teaches 3rd grade and I fell in love with the idea!

I had been using this alphabet line (pictured on the right) for the past few years, and it was fine, but the kids didn't have a connection to it.  I feel like anything that is already hanging on the walls when the kids come to you just becomes part of the background to them and they stop noticing it.  That is why I chose not to hang an alphabet strip for Meet the Teacher Night and the first few days of school (gasp, I know!).  They have their own personal alphabet strip on their name tags anyways so I didn't think it was the end of the world, and now I'm definitely glad that I waited.  When they saw their very own alphabet hanging on the wall, they were so excited!

Here are some pictures:
I LOVE how colorful they turned out!  When you walk into my room, it is the first thing that your eyes are drawn to, and the kids are so proud!

If you would like to do this project with your own class, click HERE or the image below to download the alphabet cards for free from my TPT store!  All I ask is that if you download, please follow this blog and my TPT store!

Thanks!  Happy teaching!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

GIVEAWAY!!! and Teaching Blog Addict's Open House Week (Monday and Tuesday Edition)!

Open House Week
Hey everyone!  It's Open House Week over at Teaching Blog Addict! I'm getting really excited about all these link up opportunities.  Yesterday I did my first Link Up with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade and I think I'm addicted!

Here is this week's events:

Monday: Meet the Teacher- tell us all about you and your teaching style!
Tuesday: Classroom Photos
Wednesday: Handouts for Parents
Thursday: Bulletin Board Photos

So I'm going to do Monday and Tuesday today, since today is really like a Monday anyways ;)

Monday - Meet Mrs. Keefe

For those of you who don't know me in real life, I am the proud momma of 2 amazing little boys.  They are my pride and joy, the loves of my life, the reason the sun rises, my whole life!!!  They are 4 and 3.  My 3 year old starts preschool tomorrow, and I can hardly stand it!  Where, oh where does the time go?!?!  My husband is a former-middle-school-teacher-turned-second-time-college-student.  He decided that his heart just isn't in teaching middle school, so he is now going back to college for Computer Information Technology.  I'm proud of him for following his dreams!  

Here are my sweet little men.  Mr. Soccer Player is my 4 year old, and Mr. Frozen Yogurt is my 3 year old!  Aren't they sweeeeeeet!

This is my 3rd year at the school I am currently teaching at, and I love it!  I taught a k/1 combo my first year, then 1st grade, and now I'm back with another k/1.  Ya know, I knew what I was getting myself in to when I hesitantly said "yes" to the combo but here I am.  I will say, it's a lot easier this time around!!!  But, I FORGOT about what the beginning of kindergarten is like.  Kindergarten teachers, you are A-Mazing!!!  Thank goodness for the 8 amazingly sweet, hard-working, conscientious 1st graders I have.  They really are my saving grace!  They have taken the sweet little kindergartners under their wings and LOVE showing them the ropes!!!

Tuesday - Classroom Photos

I am so guilty.  I have not taken a single classroom photo since my sweeties started last week.  By the time the end of the day rolls around, I am just too tired to think about anything other than getting ready for the next day and gettin my little self home!!!

Here are some pics from before school starts.  I will DEFINITELY be back with some pics of some of the beginning of the year anchor charts that we have created.  Here's what I have for now:

Back to School Bulletin Board in the hall:

Classroom Library
Word Wall 

Classroom job chart

PBIS Behavior Clipchart

Well, that's all the pictures I have for now.  I'll be back with some anchor chart pictures in the near future!

And now for the giveaway!!!  (dut dut dut daaah!)

If you have come to this blog from Teaching Blog Addict, then I want to give you a treat!  All you have to do is become a follower of my blog, and also a follower of my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and you can have ANY of my TPT products for FREE!!!  Just leave a comment here with your email address and what product you would like and I will email it to you ASAP!!! 

Thanks friends!  Happy Teaching!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September "Currently"

Hey Friends!

I'm popping in for a quick second to share my September "Currently" from Oh' Boy 4th Grade  I love reading blogs for older grades.  (It's always good to have an arsenal of great blogs to refer never know when you may need it!!!)

Anyway, this is the first Link Up that I've ever done, since my blog is all of...a few weeks old!  Head over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade to link up too!!!

Here is what I've got goin' on "currently"  :)

Alright, I MUST finish lesson planning.  I think I can, I think I can!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What a Week!

First week with kids is complete!  I.AM.TIRED!  I think I went to bed at 8 every night this week!  I'm definitely feeling the stress of teaching a k/1 combo right about now.  I forgot about what a beginning kindergartner is really like.

This week was full of anchor charts, teaching rules, practicing routines, modeling behaviors, and making more anchor charts.  I love anchor charts! :)  I forgot to take pictures in all of the craziness, but I will take some next week.

Here is a look at some of the activities we did this week.  The first picture is showing one of the ways that I differentiated for the kinders.  We read The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill on one of the first days.  We read it once to focus on playground rules and how to be a friend.  Then we read it again the next day to focus on characters for the kinders (Common Core Standard RL.K.3. With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.) and we focused on "who, what, where, and when" for the first graders (Common Core Standard RL.1.3. Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.)

Click here or on the picture below to grab your own copies of these differentiated response sheets:
I had the first graders do a fun little writing prompt about how they would help a kindergarten buddy this year, and their responses were adorable!  They have really gotten excited about helping.  It makes them feel so mature ;)  Some of the responses include "helping them make a lunch choice," "writing them stuff," and "showing them around, helping them with their work, and having fun!"  The picture on the top left is my favorite.  Notice how big the first grader drew himself compared to his kindergarten buddy!  So cute!

The last thing I want to share is our first attempt at CGI this year.  If you do not know about CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction), you should invest in this book. It is mathematical GOLD!  CGI is not a program, but rather a framework for teaching children's mathematics.  I'm definitely not an expert by any means, but I attended training last year and tried it out with my kids and I saw some amazing growth in math!  I'll post more about CGI in the future, but here is a little peak at what my kiddos did on the first day.  I gave them a word problem that required them to join two sets (5 and 3).  I set out some manipulatives and let them go to town.  The whole point behind CGI is to allow students to explore on their own to figure out problems, then share their strategies.  This is what a few of them came up with:

That's all for now!  Happy teaching everyone!!!