January 13, 2018

Saturday 6

Hi there! It's the second week of Saturday 6 hosted by Megan from Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE glue sponges. We have been using them a lot in the first half of school. I realized I hadn't really brought out glue bottles for this group this year. I figured it would be a great time to introduce them this week as we reviewed expectations and procedures again. "Dot, dot, not a lot!" ;)
Along with going back to the basics after some much needed time off, we've been using Gonoodle to practice mindfulness first thing in the morning. We talk about feelings and emotions often and I love that these videos are quick and simple to practice our mindful breathing. They were so calm and quiet for a whole three minutes!
After seeing so many hauls from Target this week on Instagram, I just HAD to give in! I kept it simple and grabbed a few things to prep for next month. I'm guilty of hoarding those pesky $1 items and finding them the following year in a closet. Oops.
Speaking of Instagram, this week a fellow Texas Teacher highlighted some fabulous Texas Teachers to follow by setting up a Texas Teacher Tribe for Follow Friday.  I love Instagram because I'm big on visuals and it's helpful to see what others are doing in their classrooms. Check out some fellow Texas Teachers below. 
This week we kicked off our Jan Brett Author Study. After reading The Mitten, we practiced retelling the story with some vocabulary cards. We squeezed into our "wool mitten" aka red yarn because I couldn't find my white yarn, HA! You can get the vocabulary cards that are in my retelling printables by clicking on here or the picture above. 
Our campus is big on pushing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and something I've been trying to incorporate in my classroom is writing and drawing about how we feel every Monday back after the weekend. It's a great time to have conversations about things that made us feel happy, excited, or even sad when we were not at school. I sometimes get entries that include feeling sad about waking up early again, totally relatable am I right?!

That's it for today, thanks for reading. Have a great weekend y'all! 

Be sure to hop over to Mrs. Wheeler's linky party to add your Saturday 6 and/or catch up with other fellow bloggers!

January 6, 2018

Saturday 6 Happy New Year!

Hi there! It's been a loooong while since I have blogged. Welcome and happy new year. Let me reintroduce myself. I'm Crystal and before starting a blog myself, I found so many blogs as a source for inspiration and ideas from other teachers for my own classroom. I hope that I can share happenings in my classroom to do the same for other teachers. A new year goal I wanted to work on was blogging some more. It just so happened that Megan from Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade has started up a new linky party to share 6 things about the week. Perfect timing to work on my goal!
Join me every Saturday as I share with you 6 things from my week in K down in Texas!
I love having a PD day where we are given some time to work in our classrooms kids free. I was able to get some cleaning done and rearrange a few things to get that "new classroom" feeling again. 
Before I left for the break I sorted my library books in my closet. So this week I came in and pulled them right out to easily display in the library center. Working on updating my basket labels. 
In Texas we don't get snow, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying some fun books all about snow. I got this book in my December Scholastic Book Order. It's beautifully illustrated and all about a boy with an imagination. 
After reading Snowman Magic, we wrote about what we could do with our own snowman. This little learner used the front cover and sight words he knew in his writing. Love seeing that winter break growth!
This week I celebrated 3 years since becoming an official TpT Author! If you have been following me since the beginning, thank you for your support. If you're a new follower, welcome and thank you for joining me. 
Don't mind my hot mess list. I carried it around with me this week in my pocket so that when I thought of something I could just add it easily. I purchased these a while back from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and I love that they are editable. I update my "want to do list" regularly because realistically the list is never-ending. 

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for reading! 

If you would like to join the Saturday 6 linky party be sure to check Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade to grab the button and add your link!

December 11, 2016

December Fun

Whaaaaat three weeks left in the year??!! I totally feel like shouting that Kevin from Home Alone shriek many many times throughout the month of December with all its craziness!

At the beginning of every month, I send out a family project. As a grade level, we send out themed activities for our students to work on at home with their families. Our families get creative and our hallways are filled with beads, pasta, glitter, and more!

This month, we worked on creating a Holiday Fun-land. I send home our usual parent note explaining the expectation/purpose of our project. I copy front and back a gingerbread man template and an ornament template. I ask the families to choose one to decorate.

It's totally optional to participate, and I don't put any pressure to complete the family projects. Below is what I received this month, 13 out of 19 isn't too bad. I also have a large bulletin board so I use half to display our family projects, and the other half to display writing samples of what we've done in the classroom.

As the students bring in their project to school, we have a show and tell to share all about our project. I sent this project out on the day before Thanksgiving break so that they could work on it with their families during the week.
This little friend shared about how he didn't have brown paint at home. A cousin who was visiting during the Thanksgiving break shared with him how she had learned in her high school art class how to use food as paint. He shared with our class about how he used coffee as a watercolor to make his gingerbread brown. Impressive and very resourceful at using what they had at home already!
This little friend shared how he got the idea to decorate his gingerbread as a ninja from one of his favorite t-shirts.

We've been sharing our family projects since August, when we brought in our Family Tree Leaves, so it's incredible to see how their listening and speaking skills are developing.
Something that has been working well with our monthly projects is that even my most quietest students love to come up and share their project. They have a sense of pride when they talk about who helped them to work on the project. We work on active listening skills too. Before the presentations, we discuss being respectful and polite audience members while our friends present their projects.

I think back to my own kindergarten experience, I have great memories of my kinder teacher allowing us a Friday show and tell. It was an exciting time to bring something from home and just talk about it. In a time where teachers have a lot on their plate with the pressures of standards and such, it's nice to have something as simple as a show and tell in our classroom.

I'm in the process of putting up all of my monthly project printables that include the templates and parent notes up in my little TpT store. If you are interested in this Holiday Fun-land project, check it out here or by clicking the photo below.

November 27, 2016

Cyber Sale on TpT and Win a Gift Card!

Have you heard the big news? It's the Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale starting tomorrow!

Who doesn't love shopping from home?! I've been eyeing a few new things like clip art sets and some other bundles from some favorite sellers so I'm fixing up my wishlist and cart. Visit my little store and stock up on some goodies with big savings!

I would love to help you empty that shopping cart with a giveaway!

I'm joining 26 fabulous bloggers for a huge TpT Gift Card Giveaway and Blog Hop. For a chance to win a $10 TpT Gift Card from me be sure to complete the Rafflecopter below! Then hop over to the next blogger and enter again, that's over $200 worth of TpT mula!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Click on the mittens below to visit Reading with Miss B. for ANOTHER chance to win ANOTHER gift card. Follow each button and when you reach me, you've completed the loop. Best of luck and fill up those shopping carts!

November 25, 2016

Five for Friday Thanksgiving Style

Hi Friends!

I'm back after a short break from my blog. I'm joining Doodle Bugs Teaching's weekly Five for Friday linky party!

This was the first time ever in our school district's history to have an entire week off for Thanksgiving break. I am loving it! No traveling for me this time. Instead it's a much needed time to catch up on sleep, house stuff, and of course binge watching my favorite Thanksgiving Friends episodes!

Not all I've done has been laying on the couch munching on leftovers and snacks. I love anytime that I have time off to head to my favorite gym for a morning workout. This week I was able to get in four morning workouts! I'm a data nerd so keeping track of goals and seeing the bar filled up is an added bonus!

This year I changed it up from our usual disguise a turkey project and sent out feathers instead. It was so nice to see how proud my little learners were of their creative feathers that they worked on with their families. It spruced up our hallway bulletin board.

Lately I've been doing some LuLaRoe shopping online. I love getting happy mail, especially when all I had to do was hang out on pjs to shop. Today I received a new black Irma. Check out the cute packaging.

A while back I used some of my Scholastic points to buy this cute book I saw, Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins. Oh.my.goodness. It is adorable. It's a MUST read/MUST add to your library collection.
I love children's books but even this one is a fun one for adults. The illustrations are beautiful too! I whipped up a couple of printables to use with my class along with a craftivity. Check it out HERE or by clicking the picture below.

 Mother Bruce Read Aloud Printables Activities

Thanks for reading up about my week. Countdown to Christmas/Winter Break is on!

July 21, 2016

Take Home Folder Prep

Take home folders, communication folders, Friday folders. We have so many different names for the tool we use to send home important messages, notes, forms to our parents. My take home folders are one of my most useful yearlong tool in my classroom to communication with parents. Because of our school colors and a campus wide initiative, red is our go to/preferred folder color. There are so many different ways to put one together. Whether you're a new teacher or need a little refresher, I'm sharing with you today my take home folder.

1. Sheet Protectors- Our kindergarten supply list includes sheet protectors, but I like to purchase a set during the end of the year or in the summer to have these ready before the first day of school.

2. Ziploc Bags- I love Ziploc bags and my favorite type are the slider quart sized bags. There are just so many wonderful uses for Ziploc bags! Below I'll share my DIY pouches for my take home folder.

3. Labels- I am the #labeleverything type so I stock up on Avery labels from Amazon during the summer and have plenty on hand to label what I need. You just can't beat the price and bonus if you have Prime Shipping!

4. Two Pocket Folders- Any folder may work, but because these folders are used daily and travel back and forth from school to home, it's important for me to invest in sturdy ones. I love these Avery Two-Pocket Folders from Amazon. (I'm not affiliated with Amazon btw.) I maybe have to replace one the entire year because every now and then you get a little friend that was rough with their folder.

Set the bar early and make it clear how important this folder is for the student, the parent, and the teacher. I've received feedback from parents that praise the folder because they know their child can misplace things. And this folder keeps everything organized for them at home.

Some teachers use the LEFT/RIGHT labels or Back at School/Keep at Home labels. Choose what works for you, but label the areas in the folders so parents know what's expected.

As parents open the folder they immediately see on the left side any important forms that need to be returned to school. Most of the time these are things that require a signature or to be filled out by a parent, like my Student Information Sheets. (Click here to see my student information printables.) On the right side I like to include the Keep At Home Label so that parents know any papers on this side don't need to be kept in the folder or at school. This side usually includes school flyers, lunch menus, classroom newsletters. (Click here to see my monthly newsletter thats picture above.)

Keep it simple! Don't overwhelm your students or your parents with too much information or management in the folder. I use a clip chart system and I do have some parents that want a report of their child's behavior. For durability, inside a sheet protector, I use these behavior calendars.
With the quart sized Ziploc Bags, I use a hole puncher to add holes to the bottom of the bag and insert in the folder prongs. Throw a label on top of what's to be included inside and manage anything from money, notes, and even Box Tops!

I have planning right away in the morning, and when I do have a chance, I do a quick check to see if I have any important notes from a parent in the pouch. The pouch is great for little friends for field trip payments and book fair days. It really helps to avoid loose money in backpacks or pockets.

The first days of school is a lot of modeling on how to take care of our take home folder, where to put it in the mornings (baskets by my table for quick checks), and putting it in our backpacks to share with our parents. It's repetitive but sooooo worth it because eventually most of the kiddos are independent in managing the folders.

You can find all of these labels by clicking the picture below. There are more options to suit your class. Options in English or Spanish and English/Spanish.

Thanks for checking out my take home folder. Stay tuned, I'll be sharing with you my Take Home Binder soon that includes little readers, sight word practice, and more!