Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Blogiversary with a Few of My Favorite Resources Giveaway

It's my 4 year blogiversary!  I thought I'd celebrate with a Giveaway of some of my favorite things.  These are items which make my teaching life so much easier.  I hope you'll love them as much as I do.  One lucky person will receive all these items; valued at over a $100.00 for your classroom.  ;)

My Favorite Resources for Planning
I can't live without shopping at Target, ordering that last minute book via Amazon or finding that perfect unit on TPT.  I am giving away a $25.00 gift card to one of these places.

My Favorite Resources for Classroom Management & Assessment
My teaching life was made easier when I discovered SitSpots and ESGI.  Both have graciously agreed to sponsor a prize from their company.  Want to learn more?  Here are some blog posts about SitsSpots and ESGI that I've shared in the past.

Enter here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
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Please note: This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Becoming a 21st Century Teacher

Header with words: Becoming a 21st Century Teacher

This fall my school hopes to become a 1-1 school; a mixture of iPads and Google Chromebooks.  Although, this is an exciting time, it can be a bit intimidating knowing that you are responsible for fully implementing technology into your classroom throughout the day.

As a result, I have been taking an online course for a Leading Edge Certification.  The programs teaches you how to become an online and blended teacher.  Personally, for me, it has made me shift some of my 19th century teaching practices and move it to the 21st century.  I am halfway through the course and I have learned so much.

Photo of Voki Screenshot
It has challenged me to rethink what my classroom will look, sound, and feel like as we add this new dimension into our learning.  During the first weeks of school, we will model and work together with our technology tools. I plan to incorporate the computers during my math and language arts center time using the rotation model.  I really want to be conscious not use the technology in isolation.  So, I also plan to incorporate the 4Cs into our units of study.  Just the thought of this makes me a bit nervous.  But, I know that this change will be good for me and my students.

As I create my projects for class, I always have my students in mind. I know that they are digital natives but they are also emergent readers and writers.  Web 2.0 tools like Voki help me record directions for my students.  They can access their learning without needing to read or have me by their side.  I am excited to use Plickers as an instantaneous way to access students' learning. I plan to continue to use some of my favorite iPad resources like QR codes and iMovie.  But look forward to some BIG changes.

I am hoping to network with other teachers and classes, too. I'd love to create a classroom blog, Skype or even Tweet (if given permission by my administration) with other classes.  Let me know if you are interested.  I hope to hear from those of you who are 1-1.  What are some of your favorite apps?  How do you successfully integrate the computers into the classroom?  What are some of your challenges? Please share. I'd like to make the transition into 21st century learning as smooth as I can.

Happy Teaching!
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Monday, July 7, 2014

The Pout Pout Fish Goes To School

I love picture books and The Pout Pout Fish is a popular book in our classroom.  My class loves the repetitive nature of the book and of course, the ending.  SMOOOCH!

When I saw The Pout Pout Fish Goes to School, I knew it would be is perfect addition to our collection.

In this book, Mr. Fish goes off to school only to find that he feels out of place.  He thinks that he's not smart enough.  Or will never get it.  This leads him to feel that he doesn't belong and should forget about it.   BLUB.

Familiar readers of the Pout Pout Fish series will understand Mr. Fish's feelings of BLUB.

Thankfully, Mr. Fish meets Miss Hewitt who shows him that he does belong and that he is smart.  He just didn't know it.

For activities to go with The Pout Pout fish books, go here.

Happy Reading!
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dreaming of Summer


It seems like the days get longer as the count down to summer begins. It gets a bit harder each week as teachers and students from around the US begin their summer vacations.  (Just in case you are wondering, I have 9 more school days.) 

Here's what I've been up to while you all have been enjoying summer.

Sea Animals Research Projects
During the last month of school, we began our research projects on sea animals. Due to all the madness of the preparing for the end of the year, it really does take about a month to get all the learning and researching complete.  We started by making this cute craft.  I added the writing component.

Next, we visited Sea World where we saw many animals up close.

This week, we will present our research projects to our kindergarten friends and families.

Groups of students work together to make a presentation board. I guide them every step of the way.  They each create something for the board and will speak about their sea animal.  You can read about the books we used here and see how we create these boards here.

Field Trip Chaperon
One of the advantages of having your child attend your school is that you get to participate in class activities including attending field trips.  So, I've spent a few days away from my classroom so that I could spend them with my son while enjoying a trip to the zoo and the Children's Museum.

Teacher Finds
I'm not sure about you but TPT is my go to place for teacher finds.  With the end of the year testing, it usually means that I can't spend as much time as I like with my kiddos in small groups.  Here are a few great resources that I found to keep my kids learning while I am testing.

I began using DeeDee's Word Games with my intervention groups and they loved it.  So, I have integrated them into my Word Work centers.  The kids are engaged and busy practicing their blending skills.  For this game, I added fishing poles and a hula hoop to serve as a lake.  Instant hit!

Looking for something new to add to weekly Teacher's Choice center, I stumbled across this great resource! The kids can't wait to get to this center to have their turn at pinning the weekly sight word.  It was so quiet while they worked on the carpet! It was even intriguing to my 7 year old who had to make his own.  

This ABC chain is perfect for keeping kids busy.  I had each child make their own chain.  It did take some time.  So, next time, I would probably break this activity up over the course of the week.  The kids had fun comparing how long their chain was versus their friend's and worked happily.

Well, that's what I've been up to.  In the meantime, I'll be counting the days until I can have this view.  

Thanks, Michelle for hosting.

Dreaming of summer,

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Beginning Reader Nonfiction Books

I am so excited to be joining Mrs. Jump's Class book link party. I love books and am always on the look out for new ones.

Since the Common Core has a heavy focus on informational text, I thought I would share with you my favorite nonfiction books; Pebble Books or Pebble Plus Books.  Our school library has many of these beginning reader nonfiction books but recently I have begun purchasing more for my classroom library.

Although there are many nonfiction series, I like this one the best.  The text is easy to read for end of the year kindergarteners and first grade students.  I love that my students can not only enjoy the photographs but feel proud of themselves for being able to read the text.

Currently, Scholastic has some of these books for sale.  Just type on their search engine to see their selection.  I have purchase most via Amazon.  I assure you, once you start purchasing this series and see your kids reading them, I am sure you'll want more.

Happy Reading!
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Mentors, My Teachers

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought I'd share a bit about the people who influenced my life and helped me become a better teacher.

My Mom
My mother has to be the biggest influence in my life.  Like many moms, she would do anything for her children.  She sacrificed so much of her life for my sister and I.  But there was one thing that was different from my mom than some of the other moms.  She could not read well.  You see, my mom was a migrant worker during the days of segregation.  School to her was not a welcoming place.  Despite that, my mom was always an advocate for education.  She saw its value.  She taught me that perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.

Mrs. Albertson
Mrs. Albertson was my first grade teacher.  It was 1979 and my family had just moved to California.  I remember that she told my mom that she would take good care of me.  And, she did.  My fondest memory is of Mrs. Albertson sharing her sandwich with me on a school field trip.  I didn't have one because my mom had said that I could not go because she was afraid of me riding the bus.  Mrs. Albertson called my mom and changed her mind.  That act of kindness changed my whole life. I knew I wanted to be just like her; a teacher.

The Homestead
As a senior in high school, I decided to volunteer at a museum to beef up my resume before college.  I volunteered throughout college and later worked in the Public Programs department.  While there, I learned about public speaking and interacting with people of all ages.  The Homestead taught me about computers, design, how to coordinate events, set up and clean up events, and more.  I still use many of these same skills today as a teacher.   It was also here that I made lifetime girlfriends and said my I dos on my wedding day.

The Office of Admissions
As a first generation college student, leaving home and going away to college was huge.  My University's Office of Admissions took care of me not only as a prospective student but more importantly afterwards.  The Office of Admissions became my home away from home.  I would volunteer as an Admissions Host and later, work as Admissions Intern.  The Office of Admissions taught be real world skills such as etiquette and discourse.

Mr. R
Mr. R was my first principal.  He took a chance on me.  He saw my potential even when I may have not seen it in myself.  He allowed his teachers to take risks as learners and to make mistakes.  He also believed in his staff.  During my first year teaching, he told me that he believed that I had ganas or the desire to be a good teacher.  At the time, I didn't really understand what it meant.  But over time, I have learned that it does take ganas to make it as a teacher.  Without it, it just becomes a job.

I am so thankful to the mentors and teachers I have had in my life. I am a teacher because of them.

I've learned that teaching isn't about reading the scripted lesson.

Kudos to teachers!  You do make a difference!

Happy Teaching!
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