Jan 27, 2018

Write The Room Fun & A Freebie!

Can you believe I am writing a post! Yes, it has been a while, but one of my resolutions for 2018 was to get back to one of my loves, blogging. So here goes!

It's January and I always have so much fun with winter activities in the classroom this time of year. We study all all about snow, polar bears & penguins. One of my students' favorite activities right now, really all through the year, is Write the Room. I love using real pictures in our learning it really helps the students to make a real world connection to the vocabulary. These winter pictures are just the perfect vocabulary for everything we are studying this month too.

This is one of the anchor activities that we use every week in my classroom. I teach the students the procedure at the beginning of the year and then each week I just change out the pictures and they know what to do. Another reason I love this activity is that it keeps my students engaged, having fun and it is easy prep for me too! I hang the picture cards around the room and my students search for the cards, write the words on their recording sheet and then use at least one word in a sentence. I like to add fun glasses too, it just makes it even more fun!

In this resource I have 12 real picture cards, 2 different recording sheets for differentiated instruction-making it usable by grades K-2, directions and I can cards. 
Once my students used this activity they begged to do it every week. So, I came up with 20 different themes to use through out the year. This little video gives you a preview of all of my themes.

Here is a full list of the themes included in the bundle:
All About Apples, American Symbols,
Back to School, Camping, Christmas,
Community Helpers, Dinosaurs, Easter,
Fall, Farm, Halloween, Insects, Ocean, 
Space, Spring, Summer, Valentine,
Weather, Winter & Zoo

Each set is available individually in my TpT store, or if you want them all you can save significantly by buying the
You can even give my Write the Room Activities a test drive for FREE. I made this fun Math shapes write the room activity that you can download. Just click the picture below.
Hope your students enjoy it as much as mine do. If you do download the freebie I would really appreciate your feedback! Have a great week ahead!

Aug 22, 2017

Back to School with ESGI

Have you gone back to school yet? We are on day 4, and are just starting to get our routines down. My first task up next week will be to assess my new Kindergartners. Well, thanks to ESGI, I will be able to get my pre-assessments don't quickly. I can't even imagine having to assess with paper and pencil. The hours, and sanity, I save by using ESGI are priceless. Well, I have great news for you! You too can save time with ESGI with a free trial and complete your assessments quickly, easily and you could possibly even win a $50 Amazon gift card too!

ESGI is a total life time saver. I have been using ESGI for the past 3 1/2 years and I can't imagine not having it. If you haven't heard of it before, it is an online assessment system specifically made for pre-K to 1st grade teachers. There are pre-loaded assessments for you to use, total time saver. You can make your own, if you prefer. You administer the testing online with a laptop or iPad. No more shuffling papers and and trying to aggregate all your data, ESGI does it all for you.

After giving your assessment you can easily review your data. There are bar graphs showing how many students were correct/incorrect. Making it easy for you to plan your lessons. You can view these reports whole class, for individual students or by groups. After my initial testing I put my students into like ability groups in the program that way I know what to focus on when we meet for Guided Reading or RTI groups.

You can also look at an overview pie graph of all categories tested. This also can be viewed by whole class, individual students or groups.

In addition, they have a classroom management component that you can set up. I use it to track homework, forms turned in, book orders, etc. Plus you can print name cards, cubby labels, class lists, as well as many other items.

Honestly I could go on and on with how great this program is. If you want to read more about the specifics of how I use it in my room check out the post I did a few months back by clicking HERE.

However, if you are ready to give it a try ESGI is offering a very special deal for back to school that you don't want to miss! Here the the must have details:

1. New members can sign up for a FREE 60 DAY TRIAL by clicking on the button below or using my promo code B7284 during the special back to school window (August 1st-September 30th)

2. If you fall in love with ESGI, you can purchase a one year license using my promo code and save $40!

3. As a bonus, just for being a trial user you will be entered into a raffle to win one of ten $50 Amazon Gift Cards!

What have you got to loose! You get to try out a fantastic program, save $40 off if you decide to purchase the program and possibly win $50! 

Be sure to share this exciting info with your teacher friends and teammates so they can get the great discount and chance to win too!

A huge shout out of THANKS to ESGI for being such a great supporter of teachers everywhere!

If you have any questions,be sure to leave them in the comments below, or send me an email and I would be happy to help!

Mar 10, 2017

St. Patrick's Week Fun and Freebies!

Are you looking for some fun and meaningful activities to do with your students this next week for St. Patrick's Day? I have got just what you need. 

The first activity is a fun math counting activity. Students choose a number card and place it on their work mat. Then they build that number on the twenty frame using coins, mini erasers, snap cubes, you name it. This is perfect for a center, small group or partner activity. It's easy prep too. 

This pack can be found in my TpT store by clicking the picture above or here. It includes number cards 1-20, a math mat and an I Can...card. You get one set in color and one set that can be printed in black and white. If you like this set there is also a growing bundle so you can have a fun counting center every month of the year.

Today we made this cute Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow crafts. A few years back I saw two different ideas on IG and incorporated the two, thanks @mrsjumpsclass and @mrsmelissadailey for the inspiration. 
I made patterns for the pots and clouds, you can download yours here for FREE.  Thanks to Creative Clips for the cute pot graphic and KG Fonts. Just copy on white and black cardstock.

We then wrote what we were lucky to have, and then they cut them out. Their answers were just so sweet. Next we made a rainbow chain. I had 1 1/2" X 11" strips of paper pre-cut. My para and I stapled them together to save time, rather than gluing them. Yes, I am aware they are not in scientific color order. Then the kiddos cut out their pot and used gold paper to tear into "gold pieces" they glued on it. Finally, use a small black strip, 1" X 6" , for the handle on the pot to attach to the rainbow and you've got it! It was a great discussion about everything we have to feel "Lucky" about and it was fun too!

Are you looking for some fun science activities too? I've got you covered there. My sweet friend Andrea from Always Kindergarten has this super fun Color Science pack that is perfect for March. 
You can watch her video that is the perfect preview of all the fun investigations you and your students can experience together. 

This next week we will also be completing this fantastic FREE directed drawing by Jennifer at First and Kinder Blue Skies. My kiddos always have a blast and they come out super cute. These are some samples from some prior classes.

Finally, what would St. Patrick's Day be without a fun treat? I put these snack bags together filled with Lucky Charms and added this cute FREEBIE bag topper from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 

I hope that you have gotten a few fun ideas you can use this next week. Have a great St. Patty's Day!

Oct 15, 2016

Punchbowl Celebration Hop! Ideas, Freebies and a Giveaway!

I am so privileged to be a part of the Primary Punchbowl girls and our collaborative blog is celebrating its first anniversary. Hard to believe that it has been a year already. Time flies when you are having fun!

To celebrate we are having a blog hop of fun celebration ideas to use in the classroom. As well as, a freebie at each stop, sales in our stores and the chance to win a $50 Target gift card! Who doesn't love Target, it is one of my favorite places to stock up on classroom essentials.

Often times a celebration in the classroom means CHAOS! It strikes fear in the hearts of teachers everywhere, well maybe not quite that dramatic! I for one, cannot deal with craziness, so several years ago I started running stations for my parties/celebrations.  You may be saying to yourself, that sounds like work? Well let me me tell you, that the little bit of preparation time that I spend before the party makes all the difference in us having a fun relaxed event, and me wanting to pull my hair out.

I choose to have 4 stations for each party. One of those is a food station. We usually decorate cookies, or cupcakes, or gingerbread, or even with fruit if you are required to keep it healthy,  you get the picture. They love it and with only having 5-6 kiddos at the table at a time it doesn't turn into a huge mess.

Once they have decorated their treat they get a juice drink and go to another table to eat their creation while I start with the next group.

Another station idea is some type of coloring or writing activity. I know you are probably thinking, this is a party are you for real. Well, my kiddos really love it. It could be the fact that I put all kinds of fun markers, colored pencils and watercolors at this station for them to use when illustrating their picture. For our Halloween party last year, they drew a picture of themselves in their costume. They wanted to actually stay extra time at this station. For Christmas, they drew a picture of what they wanted from Santa and wrote about what they wanted and why. For Valentine's, I threw scraps of construction paper in a bin, gave them scissors, glue and markers and they made cards. Krista Wallden of Creative Clips offers several sets of themed color pages that work great too! The possibilities are endless.

For my third station I like to have a hands on activity. One of my favorite activities is a pin it activity, the kiddos love this one too, and it is awesome fine motor practice as a bonus. They have a picture made of dots on a paper that is stapled to a piece of construction paper. Students use a pushpin to poke into the paper on top of all the dots. When they take the top pattern off it makes a neat picture when held up to the light or hung on a window.  Last year I found some fun halloween themed lacing cards in the Target dollar spot that we used for our hands on activity for that celebration. You could even just put out a bucket of legos, some idea cards and it would be a STEM station. Let your imagination run wild.

For my final station I usually offer a math type activity. Typically it is a candy graph. I have a baggie of goodies for each student. When they get to this station they grab a bag and a recording sheet. They sort and graph their candy, fill in their recording sheet and once they have competed that they can eat their candy.  I don't usually count out each bag exactly, I just throw a few of each item in and zip it up. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

If you want to download this free recording sheet to save for Valentine's Day just click HERE!

There you have it my secret to stress free classroom celebrations/parties! People are often amazed when they come in our room during parties and we have festive music playing and all the students are engaged in different activities. Hope you found something you can use to make your parties run smoother.

Now for the fun part! My store will be on sale for 20% off during the celebration hop which ends on Monday at 8pm EST. Below you can download my candy corn letter/picture matching activity that will be part of my Fall Literacy Centers pack to be released this week. But be quick, this freebie will only be available during our hop.

Next Click Mrs. Baker's Button to continue through the hop to collect your freebies from each of the punchbowl girls and for your chance to win a $50 Target gift card! Just enter the Rafflecopter on our Punchbowl Blog in the hop! Good Luck and Happy Fall!

Aug 3, 2016

My Top 3 Pinterest Finds for Back to School

Can you believe that it is that time already. How can it be August 3rd and I start back to school in just 1 week! Wow, this summer has just flown by. I have enjoyed time with family and relaxing, but I have also been thinking about my classroom and some new things I want to try this year. 

I am excited to be linking up once again with Ashley at Just Reed, Lisa at Pawsitively Teaching and Marissa at Inspired Owl's Corner for this month's Pinterest Pick 3. This month it is all about back to school. I am so excited to share with you some of the things I have found!

I know there has been a lot of talk over the last year about flexible seating. In fact I myself got rid of all of my tables, except for my guided reading table, last year and I absolutely loved it. My kiddos were more engaged and on task than ever before and I will never go back. I have bath mats, yoga balls, scoop rockers and crate seats currently in my room. With that said, I still wanted to find some additional creative seating options. Here is what I found.

(Click the picture to view the original pin). I thought these tire seats were a fantastic idea. So cute and totally doable, especially for me. My husband has several old tires laying around at our Auto Body Shop that I could take for my own. I haven't made any yet, but it is on my list. I may not have them for the beginning of school, but I figured it would be fun to introduce them when we come back from fall break to kick things up a notch. 

Another area I want to incorporate into my room this year is STEM. I did do a few select stem projects last year, but I would like to have it be a weekly thing in my room. But I just wasn't sure how to really accomplish that. Then I came across this pin.
(Click the picture to go to this pin). Brooke Brown shows you exactly how to set up a STEM center in your room and how to utilize it. This totally made it seem doable and easy for me to have STEM be an integral part of my room. I can't wait to see what my kiddos create!

I saw this pin and thought this was just perfect for back to school! We all need to have a little emergency kit and this one is just adorable!
(Click the picture to be taken to the original pin) I do keep a little box with most of these items she includes and a few more. I add a bottle of Tylenol, feminine hygiene products, some Starbucks Refresher Via, and a few protein bars. Are you sensing a theme here? Yes, I need snacks! There is a free printable included in this post too. This would make perfect teammate gifts or even for your child's teacher!

Hope that you found something that you can use to make this the best back to school ever. Hoping you all have a wonderful year! Now be sure to check out the other posts to find more great back to school ideas!

Jul 3, 2016

Fun Classroom DIY Projects

I know what you are thinking...It is summer, I am on vacation, I am not in school mode yet. I get it I really do, I am just one of those crazy people who can't figure out how to turn it off! I have been officially out of school for 4 weeks, and although I have done my fair share of lounging around the house and hanging out with my boys, I have also been thinking about some things I want to do in my classroom for this next year.

Today I am linking up with Lisa at Pawsitively Teaching, Ashley at Just Reed and Marissa at Inspired Owl's Corner for this month's Top 3 Pinterest Picks. 

I am constantly multi tasking, I can't help it, I just cannot sit and watch TV. So I am usually on my phone or laptop checking out IG, my favorite social media, Facebook or Pinterest for ideas I can use in my classroom. My Top 3 picks this month are things I am going to make for my classroom this month.

First up is a sensory table. I actually first pinned this idea over a year ago. I will even admit to the fact that the supplies to build this table are in my washroom as we speak and have been there for a good 8 months. So I am committed to Get. It. Done. this month. 

I want to be able to have my kiddos use this is class each week as a word work center. I will have either, rice or beans or pasta, etc., I plan to change it up frequently,  and there will be sight words on laminated cards in the bin as well. They will find a card record their answer and keep digging. I think they will love it. Click on the picture to see the original pin and get the easy directions to make your own!

Next up is this great idea for another word work activity. Just paint a Paint stick, or leave it natural your call, add some magnetic tape and Voila, you have a fun activity!

However, when I saw this pin, my wheels started turning. I just picked up some cute magnetic numbers in where else, the Target Dollar spot, and this would be perfect to practice math equations with my new numbers too! I am so excited, not to mention this should be a quick 30 minute or less project to complete. Sorry to say this pin lead to a dead end, but you can click on the image to go to the original pin if you want.

My final pick this month is for this cute, yet highly functional close reading toolbox kit. We have been doing a lot of talk and had several PD's at my school about the benefits of close reading.

Click the picture for the original pin. This blog post contains step by step directions to complete this, plus a FREE download, and who doesn't love free, of the adorable labels to make it. Not to mention I already have these little boxes in my stash. I just can't pass up using a Michael's coupon for 50% off. I knew I would need them sooner or later.

Hope you got some ideas you can use and that you make the most of your summer, whether you are getting to the end of it or just beginning. May it be unforgettable!

Now be sure to check out some of the other great Pick 3 posts for more fun ideas!

May 18, 2016

3 Easy steps to go Paperless with your DRA Testing

Don't you love giving reading assessments? I am sure most of you are shouting a resounding NO in your mind! I totally agree with you. I love seeing the results when I finish though, and I am always so excited and encouraged by all the growth my kiddos have made. However, the process itself is not my favorite. Well, I am here to show you how you can go paperless, thus making the process a bit easier for you. We use DRA in our school, but you could use this same process with any reading assessment that your school is using.
All you need is access to an iPad, the ability to scan documents to your computer, Google Drive or Dropbox, the app Notability, and you're all set. I promise if I can do it, you can too!
The first step is to get the test recording sheets into your computer. I used my printer and it has the feature, scan to email. I just scanned each sheet in and it was sent to my email. Yes, it was time consuming. However, it will never have to be done again. Each time we test I have to make copies of all the recording sheets and it is time consuming too. Not to mention then you have to file those recording sheets somewhere. Now all my test results are neatly filed in a folder in my Google drive. UPDATE: (I have now discovered that there is a CD with blackline master copies of each test in PDF format. So to save even more time find the disk with your testing kit and save a copy of each test that you need directly into a folder in your Google drive or Dropbox. Then you don't have to combine the pages either, they are already together in one file, so if going this route skip to step 2)

You will want all pages of each assessment in one PDF. I have adobe pro, so I just combined the individual scanned files into one complete file for each level.
You can also scan groups of pages together so all relevant pages are in one document. You need to then save those files to either Google Drive or Dropbox so that you can access them from the app.
Next, you will need to download the app Notability. Yes, it is a paid app at $5.99, but I feel like it is totally worth it, since I use it in many other ways as well. There are some other apps that would do the job as well, one being Seesaw, but I have been using Notability for a few years and was already familiar with it so that is what I use.
Once you open the app you will need to get your DRA tests into the app. Click on Import in the upper right corner, then choose either Google Docs or Dropbox. You can choose multiple documents to upload at one time. Once you have your tests in the app you are ready to begin.

Tap on the test you need to give and then tap on the title of the document and add the student's name that is being tested. This will make it easy to save and keep organized. Then administer the test as you normally would except that you will be making your notations on your iPad. I use the Adonis Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus (click here if you need it) as it makes a fine line which makes it easier to make notations on the form as opposed to a regular stylus.

You also have the option of recording the student reading during the test. Just click on the microphone in the upper right corner.

Once the test is complete and you have scored the student you will need to save it by sending it back to your Google Drive or Dropbox. Just click on export and choose where you want the document sent. Now it is saved in my drive with the student's name in the title, since I added the name prior to giving the test.
Now that I am ready to move on to another test level or another student, there are a few options. You can import a blank test again from your Google Drive/Dropbox or what I currently do is just quickly use the erase feature in the Notability app. Then after it is erased I just click on the title and put in the new student's name.

There you have it! I am loving using this paperless system to test my students. It is so much easier to prep for test giving and it is so much easier to file and track the data since all of my tests are saved in one digital location. Not to mention, I can easily and quickly share those results with administration or additional teachers. If you have any questions regarding the process or getting started I am happy to answer them. Just leave me a message below or email me via the contact tab at the top.

Have a great week and a fantastic end of the year!