Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful, restful and joyous Thanksgiving day.

I am thankful for all that you share and for your inspiration. My teaching has truly been changed because of you all.

Now the Vegan in me is begging me to tell you to save a turkey, eat some fruit, veggies, stuffing and pie!
Have a good one!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Map it out Monday: My lesson plans.

I'm going to interrupt your regularly scheduled...

because my plan this week are ummm, well not worth posting really. We have two kid days and one teacher day and I can tell you that on Tuesday we are watching and discussing Charlie Browns Thanksgiving and Mayflower Voyage.

However, I did want to share that I did mange to finally clean up, edit and post my personal lesson plans for purchase over on my sister blog, A Teacher's Plan. I know several of you have requested them, both Kinder and First grade but I only managed to get my First Grade plans up. I promise to work on my Kinder plans this long weekend. Cause you know I will NOT be going out on Black Friday, or Saturday and Sunday. I just can't take the crowds. I prefer online shopping. Soooooo, here you go.

This template is a one page week at a glace format. It includes areas for whole group instruction and independent practice, ie guided reading. It covers whole group and guided reading, writing and language arts. On the left hand side you will find a box for the weekly objectives, evaluations, ELL/ ESL strategies and a spot to jot down your small groups. The font used in this template is a clean and simple template called LD Elementary.

Want a closer look? Click on the images below.

Want it? Click on the button below.
Now I will leave you so that I can give my tenure class my full attention. I am a terrible student. You know how doctors make the worst patients, well I feel most teachers make terrible students. :P

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Welcome back to...
Today's resource is...
Haven't heard of it? I didn't know until a fellow ELL teacher started using it with her kids and shared. It is just like Facebook, but safe, secured and private. Take a look.

So you make you class and sign up your kids and your ready to go! This teacher is using it to ask questions about a novel she is reading with her kids. Although if you notice at this point the kids are greeting each other. LOL, it happens.

Another teacher is using it for Micro Blogging.  I guess the possibilities are endless. You and your kids can access it from home so homework can be assigned through this form. You could also do homework help in this form.

So what do you think? Interested? Any questions?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bulletin Board Tip & a Giveaway

Thanks for coming back for another installment of...
Today's teaching tip is something simple that I try to do whenever possible.
Create Bulletin Board Displays on the ground!
I don't always use bulletin board space for the million items I have up on the board. This board was not the final product. These anchor charts were placed on my board and were framed with ribbon. This board was them re-purposed for my guided reading groups display. But when I created it I knew I wanted it this size and I just had to make sure it would all fit.
 By laying it on the ground I was able to lay it all out and not not to staple or tape anything down. I have some commitment problems. LOL
 I was glad I did it this way though cause there was some tweaking involved.

 Sometimes, especially if it is a theme bulletin board and will only be up for a week or two, I just slap my students work on some paper and decorate that. Here is an example of what we did for the Election.
 Again I had to move work around until I got the configuration I wanted just right. Once it was all glued and taped on I just grabbed the sheet and slapped it on the wall.

And because I am just LOVING all my Instagram photo's here is a picture of my kinder kids eagerly awaiting our election results last Tuesday.
Photo by msk1ell
Want to follow? I am under... MsK1ELL

Obviously this is not an option for ALL your displays but it is something that you might want to do for those displays you want to get JUST right. I know it has saved me a lot of heart ache and pain.

On one last note, do you know Melissa from, Fashion Craze and Learning Days

You don't, well why not? Ok here is the deal, she is Kristen's sister. Yes that is right the fabulous Kristen from Ladybug Teacher Files. You remember that sister she is always raving about? The one that lays down the super wonderful contact paper on those fantastic tables? Yes, that is Melissa. She is equally fabulous and has a blog that I consider one of the best kept secret of the teacher blog world. However, I can keep the secret no longer, I have to spill the beans, as my kids would say. She is having a beyond wonderful (I am running our of adjectives here people) giveaway. I considered not telling so that my odds of wining were larger but this product is just to great to keep secret. So head on over there to check it out and enter. That is right I am not telling what it is. You will have to check it out.

Finally I will leave you with one of Melissa's other products, one that my ELL kids just absolutely adore. Her sentence frames. Can't tell you what a life saver they have been for kids that don't have the language to create full sentences on their own. And yes even my Kinder kids use them.

 Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Map it Out Monday: 11/12/12

Ugh, my internet was just NOT connecting today. This will be a short post. Now on to your regularly scheduled...
Theme: Thanksgiving
Phonemic Awareness skill: Onset and Rime
Phonics: Letter of the week: Cc and Vv (Alphafriend Callie Cat and Vinny volcano)
Sight/ HFW word: to,me
Vocab: gathering, feast, thankful, dinner
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

Theme: Thanksgiving
Phonemic Awareness skill: Blending Phonemes
Phonics: s blends, silent letter kn, gn, wr and short e review
Sight/ HFW word: friend, know, play, read, she, write
Word families: -ell and -est
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

Just noticed an error in this, word families, grrrr. I'll have to correct that later. Sorry.

2nd and 3rd grade Writing for week of 11/12/12
Topics covered: Descriptive Writing, adding details, using sensory words.
Focus on having complete sentence.
Have a great night!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Student Art Feature: Giraffs Can't Dance

Glad to say that I have spied some great art work around my school and have been snapping tons of shots. With great pleasure I get to say...
has returned.

Photo by msk1ell

Photo by msk1ell

Photo by msk1ell

Photo by msk1ell

Enjoy your Sunday night. I'll be working on my plans so I can share them tomorrow on Map It out Monday.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Teacher Tech in the classroom...

Alright Jennifer, from Rowdy in First Grade, and Greg, from Kindergarten Smorgasbord, did it... They convinced me to sign up. Ok, here it is. Because I have very little life now and I know that social networks would take up the little I have left for myself I have maken a conscious effort to stay away from them. That is right, no FB, no Twitter, no Pintrest. You read that right I am NOT on Pintrest. I do occasionally go on there and search my fav bloggers pins, but I myself don't have an account.

I do however have a personal Instagram account and just LOVE it. I love making all my pictures look fancy and what not. So when I saw Jennifer's and Greg's posts about using Instagram in their classrooms you know I was so there.

I also remembered a post of Greg's where he was talking about Tweeting out what his kids learned every day. I was so there too!

Today I did it, I set up two accounts. My Instagram handel is msk1ell and my Twitter tag is @MsK1ELL. So go ahead and...

Ok, I do have another social Network I do want to share, but I plan to post about it on Resource Thursday. Have you heard of Edmodo?
Come back Thursday to read about how a colleague is using this FB like, secure, social network with her ELL kids.

Now I will cross my fingers and hope that I don't get my Instagram accounts all mixed up.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Teaching in the hallway

Obviously I didn't made it back in time for Teaching Tip Tuesday. I had a another crazy long day where I got up early to go and vote before work, then put in a full day, plus had 2 hours of non stop parent conferences before I got to go home at 6:15. So today you get a Post Election day Teaching Tip.

Before I start I want to thank everyone for their vote.
I am really excited to share today's tip. I like to take advantage of every moment I have with my kids. This includes time in the hallway. I mean why waste 5 valuable minutes of possible instruction time? Especially if like me your dropping off and picking up kids all day long. 
So here is what I do with my kinder kids to help practice handwriting. Honestly, I don't have a lot of time to practice handwriting. It is not really part of my curriculum, but I just can't NOT address it. So it is something I have to squeeze in whenever I can. This is one way I do it. My school has a No Noise in the hall policy. That means no talking by the kids and very little from the teachers too. So when I pick up my kids I quickly (whisper) share the letter we will practice. I have previously pre-taught that they are to use their walking time thinking of how the letter is made and getting ready to make the letter.
When we get to our room, right outside my door I have a 8.5x11 sheet of paper with some blown up handwriting lines, on top of a scrapbook paper sheet. Both of these are laminated. See below.
When we get to my door, I quickly hope no one is looking and I review our handwriting strokes. The kids are reminded to practice this by using "air writing". They can air write the letters on the walls, floor, or ceiling as I write it on the handwriting lines.
Once this is done we walk into the room, but not before the kids finger trace the letter one at a time before they cross the threshold. Side note, I use a permanent marker, so when the kids trace it the marker doesn't rub off.
This gives me a quick look at who is still struggling with the letter formation, or it also gives me a little bit of time to talk with the kids as they walk in. You all know how they love to tell you stories when they first see you. This is a great time for it.

Total time is 5 minutes. Granted when we started it at the start of the year it was a little bit longer, but once they learn the routine it goes by pretty quickly. That is it! Easy right?

I have something different that I do with my 1st graders and other things I do on the way back to their Gen Ed classrooms but I think that I am a bit too tired to share all of that now. Know that I will be back with those.
 So next time your in the hall think of how you can take that time and use it for your benefit.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Map it Out Monday: 11/05/12

Looking forward to another crazy week. I think tomorrow might be my easiest day and we all know how smoothly Mondays go. Anyway, I have parent conferences to look forward to on Tuesday and Thursday. Not to mention that I plan to Vote before work on Tuesday.

Please people go out and vote. It is important. We can't run our mouths it we don't start by doing something ourselves. This is important. That was my PSA for the day. 

Now on to your regularly scheduled...
Theme: Election
Phonemic Awareness skill: Onset and Rime
Phonics: Letter of the week: Aa (Alphafriend Andy Apple)
Sight/ HFW word: a, at
Vocab: vote, election, president, ballot
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

Theme: Election
Phonemic Awareness skill: Blending Phonemes
Phonics: L blends, contractions with 's and short o review
Sight/ HFW word: come, family, love, people, your
Word families: -ock and -op
 Comprehension skill: Summarizing

2nd and 3rd grade Writing for week of 11/05/12
Topics covered: Review and practice Descriptive Writing. 
Focus on having complete sentence.

 Now I will leave you with pictures of two of my ELL kids practicing their math, all on their own might I add, during FREE TIME! It is unbelievable. I was in their room and was so pleasantly surprised I ran back to my room to grab my iTouch just to take pictures.
 Best part was that their work was correct!
 They were so into it they never noticed I was snapping pics. :P

Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Currently

So I had a hard time getting back on here after Tuesday. Not surprised really. However, I have TONS I want to share and know that I am writing it ALL down so I don't forget it. As much as I am looking forward to this coming week with my kids I am also kind of dreading it because we have conferences. Two nights and on Thursday I am at work until 8:00. Yikes. Anyway, I'll get through it. 

I am trying to schedule some posts for you all with limited success because I  keep thinking of 10 other things to do. What is new right? I decided just to leave you tonight with November's Currently by Farley! Thanks for always doing these. :)
Don't forget to hop on over and link up yourself.
Enjoy your weekend and see you soon!