Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shiver Me Timbers...

Holy pirates Batman! We had a great time last week reading pirate books. There are some really fun (and non-violent) pirate picture books. Check out the list below for what we read! We review predicting as a comprehension skill (some of these book really lend themselves to prediction!).

Pirate Treasure Hunt! by Jan Peck is a "call and response" book - very similar to We're Going on a Bear Hunt. My kiddos loved it and we read it at least 5 times!

We completed lots of fun activities too! I thought you might like to share in the Pirate fun - so here are some treasures for you. :)

We practiced short a words with this CVC game:

We practiced reading our sight words with pirate themed sentences:

For Writer's Workshop, we took some time to respond to these pirate prompts:
We sorted ch and sh words:

For math, we played Pirate Roll and Cover - complete with gold coins!

Click on any of the pictures above to grab your copy! Shiver me timbers bloggy friends - hope you enjoy your "treasure"! As always, if you use or like, I'd love to hear about it!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Linky Parties - and You Are Invited!

Remember how you keep adding to your blog roll and it's getting out of control a little bit overwhelming? Remember in the hallway on Monday when another teacher told you about a fabulous blog but you can't remember the name of it now? Remember when you were supposed to be doing grades and report cards but you were blog hopping instead (uh, that's me today!)?

Well Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle is well aware of all of these questions and created a fun linky party! At last check, there were 184 K-2 bloggers listed.

Click the picture above to go straight to the linky party. Click the "Kindergarten Lifestyle" link to go Jeannie's fantastic blog! While you are there, link up! It's a great way to have all kinds of Primary Blogs listed in one spot.

If you read my last post, you know I'm all about anchor charts. Ms. M created a party just for that topic!! Genius. Check out Ms. M's blog for awesome ideas - with lots of pictures and explanations for practical use in the classroom!

Click the picture above to go straight to the linky party and see lots of K-2 anchor charts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Anchor Yourself

So, please bloggy friends tell me that you are in the throws of report cards, assessments, parent teacher conferences, and who knows what else at this point? And nevermind I am still teaching. You know, that side job that I do during the day? Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Okay. Now that this is out of the way!!! I am currently in the process of thinking/planning/creating for 4th quarter and anchor charts are one of my favorite things to use and make. There are so many great ways to use them - what's important is that you actually use them. Last year, I had charts all over the place - but my kiddos couldn't really tell you about them...

This year, I've made a conscious effort to create ones that I will use and that will actually "anchor" their learning. We refer to our charts all of the time. Pinterest has some great ideas for charts. They don't have to be fancy-schmancy either - it's what you feel comfortable with. Again - the whole idea is that kids can actually use them and refer to them to help with their learning.

So today, when I should have been filling out conference forms I took pictures of some of my favorite ones from this quarter and began to think about 4th quarter (don't worry, the thought that 4th quarter almost equals summer did not cross my mind one.little.bit.)!

Remember when I said they don't need to be fancy-schmancy? This is my 3-D shapes chart that we used when learning about shapes. Simple but a nice visual for them to refer to.

If you haven't checked out Fran @ Kindergarten Crayons, please do. She has practical ideas, offers good teaching tips and just plain.knows.Kindergarten. (I don't even know her - but her blog is seriously awesome!)

When we did out Teen Numbers Unit, my kiddos did the teen number book that Fran gave as a freebie. I took her book and made it into a chart that we still use daily!
 Kindergarten Crayons Teen Numbers Book

3 Ways to Read to Self (um, please ignore the lovely view out my classroom window...). There are tons of these on Pinterest too - so you can make it to fit your needs.

Story Structure Chart: Another Pinterest find. We use this to tell all about the stories. What's nice is the visual reminder that it gives. It helps all of my students remember story elements (just in case their little brains are on overload!!)

We learned about Fairy Tales/Folk Tales this quarter. And don't be surprised - saw one like this on Pinterest and had to make one similar. 

We compared the Fairy Tales and summarized the characteristics of each one. Post-its are a great way to "write" on your charts and reuse your anchor charts year to year - without having to worry about wiping off marker. 

We've been learning about non-fiction and recording our learning about Space. I love the schema charts. One way I keep the kids interested is by asking if I can write their name on the post-it. I make a big deal that the Principals/Administration love reading who is learning and what they are learning. It (usually) helps keep them focused and interested!

Reading strategies - good readers visualize. Don't be jealous of my mad illustration skills. 

We use the Phonics Dance, so I made smaller sizes of the picture cards and made a chart of them. Easy-peasy. This is displayed close to their desks - and they can refer to it when they need to during Writer's Workshop. 

From the beginning of the year - still up and displayed by the classroom library. Parts of a Book chart. I used a book that was familiar to them so it would help them to remember the parts better.

Some stay up all year, some come down depending on what we are learning. Good rule of thumb - if you haven't referred to it in a month, take it down. I'm sure we can all find something else to put up on the wall right?!? What do you do for anchor charts?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Keep Calm and Conference On

I figured I might as well jump on the "Keep Calm" band wagon...haha. Our Parent Teacher Conferences are two weeks away and we are right in the beginning stages of prepping for Spring Conferences.(and I'm prepping for Spring Break...what?!?) Lol.

It can be is really overwhelming getting 22 sets of information ready to go. My team and I have tried to simplify the process with lots (and lots) of forms.

We try to make it as simple as possible. We have a 1/2 sheet form that we send home asking for a.m. or p.m. preference. When we get that back, we start scheduling. I have found that it's easier to schedule all of my parents and tell them their assigned day/time. On my scheduling letter, I give them the option to change the time too - in case it won't work for them.

I keep track of how many times I've contacted them as well - and count paperwork that I send home as a contact too. If I don't get forms back, I send home a flyer that has "URGENT!" at the top.

Usually I get to meet with about 80% of my class and hold 2-3 phone conferences. We are required to meet with parents in both the Fall and the Spring - so it's important for me to have everything together and organized. Definitely involves some bribing encouragement of the kiddos to get the forms back...

***Random side-note: The bribe encouragement is bring back your papers and you will get a small prize/treat. One of the last times I put mechanical pencils (I had several donated with supplies and we don't use them in K...) in a bucket and this was their reward. You would have thought it was Christmas!***

Some of my forms are serious overkill - but I'd rather have everything together on my end in case there is ever a problem!
I am uploading these as a Word Document - so I know the fonts won't all come through. They will probably look a little crazy!

I wanted you to be able to edit them to fit your needs. The fonts are AI Dancing Egypt and ABCTeacher. I don't endorse these sites - but they came up when I did a quick search for the fonts in Google. :) Dancing Egypt font download ABCTeacher font download
Assessment Tub
File for each student
For conferences I have a container that I keep all assessments in. I add writing samples and the completed conference information form to the file. I don't normally go through all of the assessments with parents - but I have them there in case there is a question/concern.
1st Quarter Sample Work
The conference information form is what my team uses to keep the conference on track and to make sure we are consistent in what we are sharing! It really helps out and serves as a great snapshot of the child's accomplishments and areas of concern. 
Information Snapshot
We change/update it for fall and spring conferences - so it reflects the skills we have worked on as a class. The stages of writing are a combination of many sources. How do you tell your parents about writing?
What do you do for PTC's? Do you involve your students at all? Leave me a comment - I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Assessments will.get.done.

Even with all the planning that my team and I do, I still get wayyyyyyyyy behind on assessments. I can do some whole group testing, but the majority of it is one-on-one.

*Please use visualizing skills to imagine 21 Kinders entertaining themselves working hard on whatever Mrs. Ketchen throws together so there is at least some extra time in the day to assess* -end scene-. Haha.

I know there are several calendar time assessments floating around out there - so this is just an extra one to add to your files!

I break the skills up into quarters - and we focus on different skills (beyond counting) throughout the year. Each quarter I assess counting (page 1 of the document) and the skill(s) taught during calendar that particular quarter.

I added a recording sheet so that it's easy to see how a student has progressed throughout the year. The recording sheet has 2 sheets per quarter - in case you are a super teacher and have time to assess calendar skills twice in a quarter (kudos to you - I'm jealous!)

Side note: We haven't adopted the CCS at this point - so this assessment includes skills from my schools specific objectives for kindergarten (money, time, etc.)

Click the picture to grab your copy!

Monday, March 5, 2012


What's on your mind right now? Link up @ Farley's Currently for March!


I'm working on a project that I think you'll stay tuned. It's coming soon to a blog post near you...!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


We had a great day yesterday - but it was definitely exhausting!

We started the day reading the Cat in the Hat and doing a fun color by letter from Living Live Intentionally :

We read Green Eggs and Ham and learned what a recipe is. The kiddos were super excited to make green eggs and ham - and seriously thought it was the best recipe okay...haha!

We went to lunch (which was amazing to my kids - because they were in awe that they got 2 lunches that day - Green Eggs and Ham and regular school lunch haha).

We did a fun real/nonsense word sort from Kindergarten Lifestyle:

In the afternoon we read One Fish, Two Fish, made aquariums and had a fun snack:

Followed up by a reading of Fox in Socks and playing a hilarious game. The kids took off one shoe (this in itself was super funny to my kiddos!) and then got ready to play. Each student had 30 seconds to put on as many socks as they could. We had a mix of socks ready in a pile at the carpet.

After the timer went off, we graphed how many socks they were able to get on their foot! Check out my previous post for the graph headers if you want to grab them for next year!

We calmed (tried to anyways!) down by playing a fun roll and cover game from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives.

Finished the day out with a real and pretend animal sort from Living Life Intentionally:!

The other for real fun part of the day was our door decorating contest. And I am serious when I said the competition.was.fierce. I am lucky to work with such a great group of talented teachers. The kids loved the doors and it made for great conversations throughout the day!

Here's a peek at the doors:

2nd Grade Team:
The kiddos are listening in the pics...sooooo cute!
Kiddos with hats on in the pics - adorbs!
One Fish, Two Fish...Check out those waves and fun fish!!!
 1st Grade Team:
Seuss was definitely on the Loose! Love the trees!

How can anyone not love the Lorax? Love it and this door!

Kindergarten Team:
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! How adorbs is the cake?!?!
One Fish, Two Fish cute.ness! Kids hand prints into fish - love!
 I'm pretty sure Dr. Seuss would have been proud. :)
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