Five for Friday

Hi everyone! I know it's been forever since I posted, so I thought I'd link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of school stuff to post. I do have a few things that I've been working on, but nothing quite post-ready. I officially report back to school on Monday. Today was my last day of summer. I feel like July just started, and now we're at the end of August! I hope to have some good blog posts for you once I get  back into school with the kids. I need them for my inspiration!  

Okay, here's my very RANDOM Five for Friday:

Random #1: I finally got new glasses! Long overdue my friends. If you've followed me from the beginning, you might have heard my story about why I can not wear contacts. It's not really a story actually. It's simple. I faint. Totally out. For minutes. Out. About  10 seconds after they touch the eyeball, I'm passed out on the floor. I've tried and tried. Not gonna happen folks. So, I'm destined for glasses for life. Obviously picking a good pair is important. I had those frameless ones for the past 6 years thinking that they were less obvious or something. Now I'm embracing the glasses with these babies. 

Random #2. We took Shawn to the movie theater for the first time. I think the popcorn may have been his favorite part. Look how sleepy he looks! (This was taken after the movie). I so love going to the movies with him. Kid movies are actually quite good. :)

Random #3: We just had our patio/table finished. Our friend/old neighbor did it all! The patio, the benches and the table. I LOVE how it turned out.  He had the idea of making it triangular. So clever!

Random #4: This little guy is going to pre-k in one week. He'll be all day every day. What a big boy.  Tear!

Not so Random #5: I'm going back and putting all common core standards on all of the literacy menus. It's taking me forever for some reason! I started doing it I think last March? So that means I have to go back and fix Aug-Feb. I have finished Aug-Nov already and reposted. If you own those, you should definitely go back and re-download so you can get those common core menus! I also gave a few centers a little make over where needed.
Can you see those little letters and numbers at the top of each box? Those are the standards. :)

I'll be back next week with some freebies, classroom pictures, and hopefully something good!

How Full is Your Cart?

Holy good gracious, my cart is way too full! I have the longest wish list of all time so I'm trying to knock some of that off. No way I'm going to be able buy all of my wish list items today, but I'll chip away at it for sure. I have to be sort of tame because I also got some great things at Teacher's Notebook during that sale. Sheesh! Dangerous I tell you. :)

I thought I'd give one more preview with what you can find in my store so you don't miss out. I didn't include my literacy center menus because you've probably seen enough of those!

Happy shopping!

Best & Most Linky

I'm linking up with Christina over at Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge with my "Best and Most".  It was hard to decide, but I chose based on this point in the school year. You can click on the picture to get to my TPT store. There is a lot there! I now have 100 total products in that store. I can't believe that! 

I am in the process of adding the common core standards to every literacy menu for first and second. I am also working on kinder centers. I seriously have been using these center menus in one form or another (it's been years of trial and error) for almost a decade! THey are for sure this teacher's pet. :) 

For Most Likely  to Succeed, I chose one of my short vowel packs. These really help my students, especially the struggling readers. There are tons of hands-on activities to use in these  short vowel packs, along with decodable stories. 

For Best Couple, I chose two of my rubric packs. I LOVE these and they are packed! The writing rubrics is my best seller. I also created a pack just right for kindergarten (and perfect for early first). 

In my store there are science packs and ready-to-go literacy packs for every season and holiday. 

Okay, that's my sale's pitch.  I hope it wasn't too obnoxious. :) Happy shopping!

You can get these at my TPT shop and my TN shop.


Literacy Centers for Kindergarten (and great for first grade too!)

Hi everyone! Since I'm in school mode, I'm looking forward. I had a lot of requests over the past year to start making kindergarten literacy menus. I studied the common core standards, talked to a few kinder teachers, thought back to my days when I taught kinders in a pull out setting, and practiced on my son. I'm a little nervous to post since I'm not a kindergarten teacher, but I think they will work well. I want to preface by saying that center in september for kinders can be tough. They are just starting school and you have some that are ready to get going and others that maybe don't have any clue how to hold a pencil! So, these centers can be used in small group setting if your class isn't ready for centers. 

For August starters, these are even better because your students  will already have been in school for a little while before introducing these. For September starters, you might use these differently. I would use these as an introduction to centers for my students. You want your students to be trained how to do centers and use this menu for later on in the year. I would use this to walk them through the process. You could even just use these for small group activities too. Ideally, you would have yourself, two parent helpers and a teaching aide. Ha! In a perfect world! 

I actually have been using these with my son, who's going into pre-k. He loves doing them! They've been great one-on-one activities for us to do together. Here are some pictures of the centers in action:

Match picture to letter (initial sounds)

Letter Bus: matching different fonts of the same letters

Matching upper case and lower case letters


Rhyme Match up: 
Side note: I was surprised at how hard this was! We've actually done this a couple times together. I guide him along and it's getting better!

Where's the Sound
Deciding if the /t/ sound comes at the beginning or the end of the word

Syllable Sort

A second option for a worksheet: cutting and pasting

Flip a Word: 
color in the pictures as you make the words

This is his favorite! He wants to do a few words every evening before bed. So cute! 

Fill a word: 
Adding the first initial consonant to the words

Word Sort
sorting word families

with two worksheet options

That was tough, so I made another option for this center: word or letter sort

And of course there is a kinder menu with the common core standards included on it:
I chose to do two because I thought, for most kinders in September, 9 centers would be plenty. I wanted to give the other option of 12 centers because there are some kinders who might be ready for the challenge. The smaller menu doesn't have the word work section since that one is all about sounding out words. 

Notice the headings are different than the 1st and 2nd grade menus. For September through November (or December-haven't decided yet) the menu will be:
~letter work
~Word Sounds 
~Word Work

Then for the rest of the year the headings will be the same as 1st and 2nd:
~word work
~sentence building

Here's what is included:

You can get this at my stores:

PS. These would be great for some first graders too! I think there are MANY MANY firsties who could use these instead of the more challenging first grade centers. You could really differentiate with the kinder, first, and second menus. Just saying:)

You gotta love those Early Finishers ;)

Today I thought I'd do a little post about those early finishers. This has got to be one of the hardest things to manage in first grade. Some kids zip right through assignments, while others need extra time. The ability levels in first grade vary SO much! While you are setting up those routines and procedures during those first few weeks, maybe these can come in handy. I made these during my first year teaching first grade. Well not these exactly with the cute borders and background. I used different clip art (that I'm either not able to share or that is not as cute as what we have available now), but the concept is the same. They are Early Finisher visual cards.

I also included blank templates so you could add your own!


 Here are two ways to display these: 
1. I had a little bulletin board with about 8 of these cards hanging from short, colorful string. I started by using tacks but those fall out easily, so I switched to little screwable hooks. 
2. Put magnetic dots on both sides of the posters. One side will show the pictures and the other will be blank. Place them on a magnetic white board and you can flip back and forth. 

How to use these:
I would start out by having the cards facing the wall (blank side up). When students started an assignment, I flipped over only some of the cards. I would flip over only the cards that showed the class what they could do if they finish early. For example, I might flip over only two (read a book or write) if I don't want a lot of commotion. If I knew it might be a longer assignment (for some kids), I might choose several of them to flip over. 

Using these visuals the kids know exactly what to do when they finish early. They learn to look up at the board to see what their options are. It's SO nice! Sometimes I only use these for the first part of the year and then as the year goes on I faze them out (depending on the class) and they only read or white when they finish early. What do you do with your early finishers? I'm always up for ideas! 

Happy weekend everyone!

First Day... Last year- Throwback Thursday

I just barely made Throwback Thursday. I have a couple hours until it's Friday. :) This post is just in time for many of you starting school right about now. I had my first day of feeling anxiety today. I was doing so well staying calm and enjoying my summer. Now I have 3 weeks left and I am feeling that anxiety creeping in. Time to get into the classroom. I hope this post finds you calm and enjoying your Thursday evening (not stressing or losing sleep over the first week of school).

This was originally posted on September 8, 2012. 

Isn't the first week always the longest? It's so fun to meet my adorable batch of new firsties, but oh. my. goodness. It is a long week! Just a few short months ago I was rolling with my students, routines and procedures second nature, reading and writing like crazy... I have to remind myself to put on the breaks and slow it down big time this week. I always think of the first week as super exciting but also a little dull. Anyone out there agree? There are so many routines, procedures, rules, and little bits and bobs here and there to teach your new group. I don't know about you, but I just want to jump in and start teaching! We do mix in some fun for the kiddos so they don't get too overloaded.

Here are a few of the activities we do during the first week to shake it up a bit:

  • Friend Search: click on the picture to download

clip art by melonheadz, scrappindoodles, graphic factory, and KPM doodles. Font by Miss Tina; frame by sweetpickles
  • Morning message: I write a short morning message with a few letters left out. The kids love to help me add in the correct letters. The names are glued on after we read the message. I have them color their names for morning work. It's nice to have an easy thing for them to do for morning work that requires little to no explanation. 
  • Skittles math: using skittles to introduce math in "real life" (sorting skittles, adding skittles, greatest, least, problem solving). I go really slow with this one! I sort out the skittles ahead of time and put in little snack pack ziplock bags. 

click on the picture to download. 
  • Birthday Graph: The kids put their name and date of their birthday on their cake and then put it on the correct month.


    clip art by scrappindoodles, thistlegirldesigns, and melonheadz

    You can get the month cards and graph here if you want to make your own birthday graph.

    • Wemberly Worried: Classic, right? There are so many fabulous first day books out there, but this will always be a favorite. (Plus it's a great introduction to our author study on Kevin Henkes.) After reading this story, we make our first text to self connection by talking about how we feel on the first day. They all drew pictures of their adorable little faces to add to this graph. I can't for the life of me remember where I saw this idea. If you know, please tell me so I can link to that blog.
    Sorry it's so fuzzy. Want to help me convince my husband I NEED a new camera? :)

    Go check out other Throwback Thursday posts by clicking the image below.

    If you have posts about your first week, please leave them in the comments. I love reading those posts!!