Monday, July 21, 2014

I Teach K Highlights - Part 2

I am back with my second installment of my I Teach K Highlights.  I really hope you enjoyed the first part!


Session 1 - Morning Meeting Inspiration from Harry Kindergarten with Peter Harry
My students absolutely love, love, love the videos from Harry Kindergarten, so I was excited for this session.  I loved Peter's idea of a scrolling screen.  He uses PowerPoint to make a variety of slides that change daily.  These slides may have anything that is important for the day - field trips, what's for lunch, sight words, etc.  He then has this play continuously as the children are doing morning work.  Great idea!  I also liked his three rules/guidelines for song time: 1.  Stay in your space.  2.  Don't touch your neighbor.  3.  Be involved.  Peter also played one of my students' favorite songs from the past year.  Do you know this one?  Listen to it once, and trust me, you will be singing it all day!  {Don't ask me how I know.  haha}

Session 2 - First 30 Days for Literacy Centers! with Kimberly Jordano
Kimberly shared how she begins her literacy centers at the beginning of the year.  An "ah ha" moment was when she shared that she uses a completed work basket that students place their work in when finished.  I know, I know.  Simple right?  Apparently not for me since I've been doing it the hard way for the past few years.  I think I might try this this upcoming school year.  I usually quickly check center work in between rotations.  This could save several minutes each day that I could use teaching!  I also loved her table displays that she shared with us.  These displays showed what the work should look like when finished.  I may have to think of a way to do this!

Session 3 - Be Cool With Back to School with Cara Carroll
If you ever get a chance to go to a session that Cara is giving go, do not collect $200, just go.  I had so much fun listening to her stories.  She shared tons of cute and fun ideas to begin the school year.  If you have been a follower for any amount of time, you may remember I am the proud resident of a room with eight doors.  Cara shared about putting command hooks around the room and hanging anchor charts on them.  Hello eight doors, you now have a job!  I really don't have a lot of "wall space", but my door space will work quite nicely.

Session 4 - Teaching with Your Interactive Whiteboard:  Real, Learner Centered Fun with Julie Brinkley
 Julie shared how she uses "bundles" with her interactive whiteboard.  She shared how to use the Smartboard Notebook program to link videos and how get videos off of Youtube in case your school/district limits access.  A good website that she shared use is KeepVid.  I had heard of website that could do this several years ago, but had forgotten the name so I was happy that Julie shared it!


Session 1 - Reading, Rituals & Routines:  Engaging Every Child in Literacy with Greg Smedley
Greg shared a lot of great ideas that he uses in his classroom.  I liked his system of practicing sight words and the idea of "60" views of each word each week.  I especially liked the sight word grid that he shared.  I really need to step up my sight word game next year, and I may incorporate some of Greg's ideas.  I also liked how Greg had his students do an activity before they could start their center work.  This would be a great way to differentiate for students!

Session 2 - "I'm Done.  What Do I Do Next?"  Managing Your Early Finishers with Crystal Radke
Crystal shared lots of great ideas to keep those early finishers busy.  She gave a great list of items to have handy such as legos, tangrams, flash cards, etc. especially at the beginning of the year when students are still learning routines.  An idea that Crystal had was to always have counters and dice ready to go so that students can grab what they need when they need it.  Brilliant!  She also shared a ton of fun skills based games for students to play when they finish their work early.

Session 3 - Start with the Sounds: Phonemic Awareness, Activities & Fun with Amanda Bristline
I really enjoyed this hands on session with Amanda.  She made a great intervention bag with a ton of activities to do to work on phonemic awareness that we were able to take home at the end.  Amanda touched on all areas of phonemic awareness and shared basic ideas, hands on ideas, and online resources.  Many of the websites that she shared were ones that I had never heard of before.  One website that I really enjoyed was Professor Garfield - tons of fun games!

Well, that is the end of my round up of the I Teach K conference.  If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend attending.  You will learn lots of great ideas and have loads of fun!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Teach K Highlights - Part 1

Wow!  I can't believe it's already been a week since the conclusion of the I Teach K conference!  I dug out my notes, and I am ready to fill you in on lots of things that I learned.  Today's post will be about the sessions I attended on Monday and Tuesday.


Keynote - The Keynote speaker this year was Marc Brown.  He was so wonderful to listen to!  I loved how he framed his presentation in the form of questions that children have asked him.  Mr. Brown also shared a few of his upcoming projects.  I can't wait to see them once they are completed!

Session 1 - Early Interventions:  Just-in-Time Word Work with DeeDee Wills
I was a smidge late  getting to this session.  The Keynote ran a few minutes late, but I still got lots of great ideas.  First of all, I have to say that DeeDee is funny, like really funny.  She seemed to be having so much fun during her presentations.  There were two ideas that really stuck out to me during this session.  The first one had to do with cookie sheets and magnets.  She made a set of cookie sheets that have the letters written on them and put magnets on top of that.  She has these set up ready to go to make words during her groups.  Great idea to have them to ready at all times!  Another great idea that I loved was to have students listen to you say sounds, blend the sounds together, and then draw the matching picture.  Brilliant!  What a great way to assess whether the students are able to blend the sounds or not!

Session 2 - Assessing on the Go! with DeeDee Wills
DeeDee started out this session with the following video.  I thought it was hilarious!  If you've never seen it before, take a few minutes to watch it.  Trust me!

Ok, now that that is over, I'll continue with my post. ;)  DeeDee shared a great app called Running Record Toolbox.  This app is available on both Android and Apple devices for $.99.  I think that it looks like a great way to quickly calculate your students' reading levels.  So much easier to plug in the numbers and let the app do the work!  I loved her writing goals chart where her students picked the goal that they felt they needed to work on.  I am definitely going to implement this idea in my classroom this upcoming school year!  I also liked the idea of putting the skill that you are assessing on an address label and walk around while students are working to see if they are mastering the skill.  Another great idea to implement!

Session 3 - Reaching Gifted Learners with Catherine Kuhns
I really enjoyed this session.  The session description changed a bit from when I signed up to when the conference actually happened.  I'll be honest - I wasn't quite sure this was the session for me, but I learned a lot about the gifted population as it pertained to Kindergarten students.  I know this sounds simple, but a trick that that she gave when questioning in the classroom was to do a high order question, then a low order question, then a high order question, and so on.  That way the gifted students are still challenged and engaged while the non-gifted students can also be successful.  She shared a great list of characteristics of gifted children that I thought was very helpful.

Session 4 - A Circle of Learning:  Differentiated Whole-Group Games for Little Ones with Kathy Griffin
This was a great session!  I just loved Kathy's presentation and positivity!  She is so super sweet!  I just loved that her circle of learning idea took approximately 5 minutes of the day, but packed so much into it.  She shared some great songs and activities with the group.  I loved her idea of Battle of the Bands - so fun!  She also shared her "Did You Ever Have the Wiggles" video that I will be using at the beginning of the year.


Session 1 - We're Ready!  Guiding Your Little Ones Through the Writing Process with LeAnna Wolkis Goldstein
LeAnna is a such a fun presenter to watch.  She has loads of energy and tons of great ideas!  I loved her idea of cooperative sqiggle drawings.  Each student has only one crayon.  The students decide as a group what they want to draw.  Then each student draws a different part of the picture.  So fun!  I also liked her idea of have a basket for publishing that students could take back to their tables to complete the process. Great idea!

Session 2 - Language Arts Interventions for Little Learners with Deanna Jump
Deanna is a great presenter and super sweet and humble.  She shared so many great ideas for working on phonemic awareness.  I loved her idea of putting magnet counters down to segment words and then using a magnet wand to swipe the counters as the child blends the word together.  She also shared ideas on how to build alphabetic fluency and how she has her her students help keep track of their fluency progress.

Session 3 - Good Morning, Students!  Starting the Day with Positive Vibes with Kathleen Pederson
Kathleen did a wonderful job in her presentation!  She shared how her class completes their morning routine.  I loved that the students had "jobs" to do when they came in each day.  Her chart she made was so cute!  She also shared her favorite morning meeting ideas such as using cards with students' pictures and names to do a greeting.  Such a great way to have students be able to greet their friends even before they can read!

Session 4 - Dice, Dominoes & Decks of Cards...It's Math Time with LeAnna Wolkis Goldstein
This was another great session from LeAnna!  My pen didn't stop jotting down great game ideas during the whole session.  A great tip that she gave was to cut the tips off of markers so that students can easily make dots when showing a math problem.  She showed a ton of games to play with dice, dominoes, and cards.  I can't wait to teach my students some of these wonderful games!

Wow!  That was kind of long, but I hope you enjoyed my highlights from the first two days.  I'll be back in a few days for Part 2!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord

Once again I am linking up with up Michelle at Fabulous in First for her fun Sunday Smorgasbord linky.

I had such a great time at the I teach K conference last week!  One of the highlights was meeting Marc Brown and getting a book signed for my son.  My son was so excited when I got home with his very special book.  {You may have already seen this picture if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram.}

I ordered these super cute shirts for my Kindergarten team while at the conference.  Being that we teach in Las Vegas, I thought they were perfect for us!

There was a huge Teacher Blogger Meet Up on Wednesday night.  It was very crowded, but lots of fun!  

As we walked in, there were tables with some great free items and who doesn't like free?  I can't wait to try out the Scentos markers!

Yesterday, I ended my 19 day streak of no candy.  My son has been into Willy Wonka and really wanted to go to a chocolate factory.  Well, my husband and I remembered that there's a fun little chocolate factory in Henderson that had a self guided tour.  Colton was absolutely thrilled from the minute we pulled up and had a great time.  Since it was a chocolate factory that gave out free samples, my no candy thing kind of went out the window.  ;)

Thanks for stopping by to check pout my Sunday Smorgasbord!  I will be back very soon with highlights from the sessions I attended at the I Teach K conference.  See you then!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Teach K Conference Handouts

This morning was a very busy morning.  First , my husband and I dropped off my son at ESY.  His ESY site is my school this year so it's kind of fun for him to be at "Mom's school" for the summer.  {He attends a different school during the regular school year.}  Then, my sweet husband went with me to get my fingerprints done for my license renewal.  After that, we went to the Dept. of Ed office to turn in all of my paperwork.  My husband then had an eye doctor appointment across the street.  I hung out and played on my phone.  We then went home and he may have taken a nap and I may have watched some judge shows {guilty pleasure - haha}.  I think we were both worn out!

Anyway, this evening I decided to get a little organized for the I Teach K Conference next week in Las Vegas. I decided that I wanted to put the handouts from my sessions onto Dropbox so that I could pull them up on my phone or Kindle.

First, I made a section for each day in my "I Teach K Conference Handouts" folder. 

I then saved each session in my folders by labeling it by which session it is, the title of the session, and who the presenter is. 

I am very happy with the way my "project" turned it!

Are you going to the I Teach K Conference? 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Currently

I have not participated in a Currently in forever, but I decided to jump right back in this month!  Thanks Farley for this linky!

Listening:  I am watching a rerun of NCIS Los Angeles.  I love this show.  Fun Fact:  Chris O'Donell is married to a teacher!  How awesome is that!

Loving:  I have been super lazy this summer and have enjoyed every minute of it!

Thinking:  I am so lucky!  I have a wonderful husband and son.  I have a beautiful home.  I have a job that I love.  What else could someone ask for?

Wanting:  I really want a pedicure.  It's something I haven't done in a long time, but I'm longing to have one.

Needing:  You know the lazy days I mentioned before?  Now, it's time to buckle down and gets some things done around the house and for my classroom.

4th Plans:  We are not doing a whole lot this year.  I'm sure we will just hang around the house and do a little swimming in our pool.

Thanks again Farley!  I hope everyone has a wonderful July!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord

I am linking up with Michelle over at Fabulous in First for her fun linky - Sunday Smorgasbord!

So, there's been a lot of just "stuff" that's been going on in the past few weeks so I thought this would be the perfect way to do it!  Thanks Michelle!

This is what my classroom looked like after I cleaned everything up during our last teacher work day.  Can I say how excited I was that my principal said that we could leave things up that we were going to use next year?  It was so nice to not take everything down!  I might change up my theme this next year, but at least I have a base to change things up instead of starting completely over.

We went to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure a few weeks ago, and I have to say this is one of my fav pics from this trip.  I just love when my husband catches my son signing.  Plus, this shows how big my son is getting.  Can't believe I'm going to have a third grader!

Last Monday, I weighed myself and it was not pretty.  I thought "Hmm, I wonder if all the candy I've been eating has anything to do with it."  Now, if you've read my blog for long you might remember that I love candy.  No, I don't like candy - I love it.  I decided that I should probably hold off on it for a little while and see what happens.  I haven't had any candy since last Sunday, and I've lost 5 pounds!  I thought I would loose a little bit, but never thought it would be that much!  I can't say that I won't ever eat candy again, but for right now I'm happy to stay away from the yummy stuff.

Last night, we had a little camp out in the backyard.  My son and husband roasted marshmallows and made s'mores.  {No, I didn't eat any smores - remember the no candy thing. ;) }  My son didn't actually eat his s'mores.  He doesn't eat candy or graham crackers {he has some food aversions due to Autism}, but he had a blast making it! After s'mores, he got his jammies on and jumped into the tent.  We all got in and read some stories before bed.  I then left my husband and son to sleep, and I went inside.  Now, we didn't think Colton would actually sleep in there all night, but he did!  We were so proud of him!  Now he wants to go camping for real. That probably means I'll have to sleep in the tent too.  ;)

I have two camping/s'mores freebies over on my Freebies page if you're interested in jumping over to grab them.

Thanks Michelle for this fun linky!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

End of the Year

Today marks two weeks since my last day of school.  This year had its ups and downs, but it definitely ended on a high note!

We had a fun filled last 3 days of school.  On Monday, we had our annual Kindergarten Promotion program.  I don't know why I stress about it every year, but I do.  My Kinders did such a great job singing and signing our 5 songs.  Our school got an awesome new principal in February.  At the program, he said such nice things about me and my bestie.  It really meant a lot to us.

On Tuesday, my class and my bestie's class went out to watch the Teachers vs. Fifth Grade kickball game.  It was fun to see how grown-up some of my former students were.  The teachers were fun to watch too!  The best part was our principal playing in his suit.  Yep, he came out to watch and ended up in the game.  The teachers won and remain undefeated!

Our last day was so much fun.  We watched our slide show, had donuts, did the hula, drew with chalk, blew some bubbles, and had some ice cream.  Basically, my Kinders got to be kids.  The playground looked great with all the chalk drawings! {In my defense of the sugar high, I wasn't planning on donuts and ice cream. A student brought the donuts for her birthday.  :)}

I leave you with this picture.  This was a page from one of my student's portfolio.  It reminded me that no matter the ups and downs, the students are the most important part of teaching.  All of the other stuff is a distant second.

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