Monday, May 27, 2013

A Week of "Smartness"

So I wanted to share this teaching tip with you all.  I use my Smartboard for everything that I possibly can.  It makes it easier for the students to "see" what I expect of them.  I also post all Common Core on each slide so when someone walks in, they know what we are working on and why.   I take each worksheet, assessment, book, etc. and either copy it to, or recreate it in Smart.  If it is a sheet that they have to fill in, highlight, cut pieces, etc. I recreate it on the smartboard.  So I took this worksheet

Where the kids just highlighted the first letter, colored, cut, and put it on a sentence strip - to this

a Smart lesson where it looks like the worksheet and the sentence strip.  The kids match up a word and a picture on the Smartboard first, we read it together, and then they go back to their seats to complete the lesson independently.  I do this same thing with all my lessons so I end up with a file that looks pretty much like this:
It has all the lessons that we do for each week compiled in one Smartlesson file.  I put homework lessons on here and show the kids what to do ahead of time so they can complete them at home with or without assistance.  I put writing prompts, sight word practice, tests, sentence scrambles, etc.  I also link up with any websites that I may want to visit on a particular week.  The above week happens to be Ww.  I read a book called "I Looked Through My Window", so have a window frame on there that I made transparent, put different graphics behind the window to show then what to do, and then I gave each of the kiddos a window frame and they had to draw and then write about what they saw through their window.  I include a responder review lesson and link up to that on my computer.  I include a read it, write it, make it, draw it lesson to go along with our weekly sight words.  Anyway, it was a ton of work to put everything together this way, but once it is done, you just have to make minor changes each time that it is necessary.  I am just starting to prepare them for sale on tpt and hope other people see the potential in this method.  The ones for sale on tpt are zipped files that contain a handwriting slide to practice letter formation, a homework sheet, a mini book for the letter highlighted, 3 other complete books for letter, sound, formation practice, the accordion book above, a test, and a sample graphing sheet.  Honestly, organizing it this way saves me so much time and energy.  I open this file when I arrive each morning and I am ready to go.  When I do my lesson plans and make whatever copies are necessary, I open the file and check to make sure everything needed is included.  The zipped files for sale only include the items that would be common to everyone, not the pages that are unique to my school needs.  Please take a look and let me know what you think.  I hope to post all 26 letters and the common blends that we learn in kindergarten, but I want to see if there is a need out there first.  My students absolutely love anything to do with the Smartboard, so those of you with Smartboards will know what I mean. 
Oh, for the handwriting lesson each week, I move the tools to the bottom of the slide so they can reach all the pen choices like this
Then they practice our letter, their names, our sight words, whatever our focus is, and they stand in line for their turn because they love it so much. 
On this slide, I copy and paste all the common links that I use in the classroom.  I just insert this slide into each week of smartlessons.  It is ready to go when we need it.  I feel like such a "smartypants" with all my Smart lessons ready to go.  Haha!
So this is what the items in the zipped file look like.
Let me know what you think.  I am very interested in feedback so I can make it better. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hoosier Blog Hop!


Thank you to Mel D at  Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations for inviting me to join this creative Hoosier Blog Hop!  I love Mel and she is a constant inspiration to me.  


The Kindy 500 

Here's a way to really celebrate the Indy 500- have a grade level Indianapolis-like 500 race.  We call ours the Kindy 500.  The children make cardboard cars with the help of their families.  We turn our parking lot into a make believe race track using flags purchased from Oriental Trading.  We race walk the AUTOS four at a time and everyone gets a certificate (free below) and a ribbon.  Pepsi donated free signs.  We have gasoline alley for photos, parents bring in real race cars for picture taking, we tell them to stomp their feet when it is time to start their engines.  It is a blast!  

Click here for a free Race Certificate



I've been doing autobiographies in my classroom for a long time.  Kids love to write about themselves and this is a fun way to get it rolling.  It's the road to Writingville!



Start with a clipart automobile.  I have my complete idea at TPT.  Create pages for name, age, favorites, family, what I want to be when I grow up, etc.  Make a car for each child.  They fill it in, cut it out, and attach it to your bulletin board road.  
Take large black construction paper and cut it in half.  Use white or yellow chalk to draw dotted lines down the center for road lines.  Make street signs like...

Tell them that writing letters or words without spaces causes traffic jams in our city.  Injured letters or words must take an ambulance ride to the Helping Hospital.

Your city can include places like "Punctuation Point, Comma Curve, Capital Letter City Hall, Grammar Gardens, Letter Lake," etc.  Put up road construction signs that say, "Sentence Construction Ahead - Please Write Slowly & Carefully."  

To make the bulletin board letters, I cut black construction paper to 81/2 x 11, chose a font that was outline only, put one letter per page and ran it through my printer.  Then I added the yellow chalk lines to make it look like a "road."  

Next pit stop...Kady did doodles

Kady Did Doodles

End of the Year Kindergarten Book

If you are looking for a cute end of the year kindergarten activity, you might like this one.  I hand out one of these books to each student.  We discuss and write ideas for each page, then they get to work.  At the end they share it with their elbow buddies and then they take it home as a keepsake!  Super simple, super cute!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Catch Up" on your sight word practice with French Fry Words!

Omg!  I was walking through Target recently and saw these adorable French fry containers in the dollar section.  There are 6 in a package for $1.00.  So I bought them and got to work making sight word French Fries!  I was looking for a way to hook my students in to practicing their words over the summer.  The download is free and I left it as a Microsoft Publisher document so you are able to add or subtract words as you see fit.  There are 170 common dolch words in the free packet.  You can even use a fiskars scrapbooking crimping tool to make the fries look like crinkle fries!  Is that too cute!  If you have any questions or comments, please email me and I will do my best.  I went in to school this morning and have mine all ready to go for Monday morning.  Then I went to Target and bought out all the ones they had, so get there quickly!  My students are going to "eat these up"!  The only kind of fries I know that contain no calories!