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I love anchor charts!

   Teachers and students love anchor charts!  I love anchor charts and use them for everything! They are amazing for reading and writing to remind students of routines, procedures, and important information they should remember. They are also great in math for helping students remember different strategies and concepts. Anchor charts are helpful in the primary grades because it can be difficult for students to remember several steps in a process. Being able to reference anchor charts around the room really helps to continuously reinforce the content that has been taught.
    I personally love making anchor charts because I like creating the pictures and attempting to write in a nice font.  I always say I have the handwriting of a 5th grade boy, so the writing part takes major focus.  Anchor charts are a wonderful interactive activity that students should be engaged in.  My students always share what pictures they want to see, or they contribute to the pictures as well.  Here are some anchor charts for reading that we have hanging from a clothesline in our classroom.

The kiddos picked their favorite storybook characters to be included on this anchor chart which helps to make it more memorable.

*Have fun with anchor charts!  They don't have to be a masterpiece, just effective.
*Add book covers, photographs and other familiar items that might spark the kids interest and help them remember the concept.
 *If you can't add all of your content onto one chart, keep adding on to one and then tape the next one to the bottom, or hang them next to each other.

I could plaster my classroom walls with anchor charts, but after awhile too many will look cluttered and lose their effectiveness.  When we move onto a new topic I like to hang smaller anchor charts, or put them in centers for students to reference.  

Do you love anchor charts as much as me?  What do you use them for?

Fiction and Nonfiction Bulletin Board!

Oh, bulletin boards...a love/hate relationship.  I love doing bulletin boards, but sometimes things get so hectic it becomes tough to change them every month.  With that being said, I am pretty lucky because I don't have an actual bulletin board, I have these metal strips that hold student work.  It's nice because when I don't have time to get real creative, I can just slip some recent student work into the strips.  The part that stinks, is that when I want to do something fun and festive I have to get out 20 pounds of sticky-tac and adhere everything to the wall.  This month we have been really focusing on identifying fiction and nonfiction.  This is a tough concept, but we have been having a lot of fun learning with songs, center activities and much more.  We decided to showcase some of this work in the hallway with the help of a few snowy friends.  Sorry the pictures are a bit blurry, but you get the idea :)

My son is obsessed with Frozen and I haven't been able to get the songs out of my head all week!  "Do you want to build a snowman?"  My students love the movie as well so I just had to find a way to get Olaf up on that wall.  I love hearing the kids freak out when they walk by him in the hallway, I even caught a little girl hugging the wall yesterday haha.  So cute!

The student work displayed consists of various pages from our nonfiction retelling books and a sorting page for pictures of books we cut out of Scholastic Book Club magazines.  You can check out these products for more fiction and nonfiction fun!

Soapy Sight Word Fun

I am totally in love with word work this year!  I have always enjoyed it, but this year I am trying extra hard to make every day totally hands-on and loads of fun.  One activity that my students and I love is creating our sight words in shaving cream!  It is super fun, the kids get a ton of kinesthetic practice with their sight words and our desks look sparkling clean afterwords.

Just a few tips before your begin:
- Use unscented shaving cream, unless you want your room to smell like a men's locker room for a week.
- Have students roll up their sleeves, they will get messy :)  Good thing it is just soap and it will come right off, and usually fades by the end of the day.
- When finished, have students rub the shaving cream around until it disappears and then use baby wipes to clean off any residue.

        I usually start by prompting the kids with phrases similar to "write a sight word that starts with an L and rhymes with bike" or "write be, now erase the b and make it an m, what word do you have now?"  You can make up any fun riddles that you would like.  I also like to have them race to write the entire word wall from A to Z and write and share their favorite words with their friends.  The kids love getting messy and playing with their words, and so do I!

What is your favorite word work activity?

Tracking Reading Levels

Happy Friday!
      I hope you all had an amazing week!  We had a three day week due to Presidents' Day and a teacher work day on Tuesday, so my week was awesome :)  In our classroom we chose to update assessments this week and it went so well.  I am so impressed with how far some of our little kindergarten munchkins have come.  I know as teachers we track student progress in a million ways, but I love seeing the different ways that students can track their own progress.  We have a beach scene set up for students to show off their reading levels and to give them a visual of where they need to be by the end of the year.
  I am happy to say that after assessing this week a lot of our kids moved up a reading level, and they just love seeing their names climb up the wall.  How do you showcase your student's reading levels?  I have seen a lot of really cute ideas around our building.  Did you notice the pool?  The kids love sitting back, relaxing and independent reading in there.   I know I love reading in comfy spots and I love creating that same feeling for my students.  We had really cute pool inflatables in there from the dollar store, but they only lasted half of the year haha.  Oh, kindergarten.
  I am off to find a comfy spot to relax and I hope you find many peaceful moments this weekend.

Classroom Management - Time for a refresher!

Happy President's Day!

       I am enjoying my day off and taking some time to reflect back on this past week.  Did anyone else feel like their kids were a bit nutty?  I know the past few weeks have been crazy with the 100th day of school, Valentine's Day, field trips and a full moon on top of that!  Time to crack down and get all of those sillies out.  
       In our classroom (I co-teach with my BFF) we have the coolest behavior bulletin board that we were so proud of during the first half of the school year, it totally rocked!  It is in addition to our regular behavior chart, it is more of an incentive thingy than anything.  Since coming back from winter break we have kinda veered away from it but now it's time to crack down haha.  
Here is the board I am talking about:

Our school has a school wide color change system.  Students start on the color green at the beginning of the day and with each warning/rule broken, they go down a color from green down to blue.  Check out the smiley and frowning faces on the colored pieces of paper.  Unfortunately, once you go down you cannot go back up, so we have other incentives in place to keep kids motivated.  Now, to my two favorite parts of the board.  

On the left you will notice stars with all of the students names on them.  Students stay on the wall as long as their behavior is green, if they break too many classroom rules their name comes off the wall (notice a few missing stars?).  At the end of the week the students who are still on the board get a special treat like stickers, popcorn, treasure box, or even ice cream!  We always base the awesomeness of the reward on how many kids are still up there.  If they stayed on green when a lot of their friends went bananas then they deserve to be rewarded big time.  

I love the other side of the board too.  I saw a similar idea on Pinterest over the summer and thought it was just genius!  You randomly pick a students name to be the "Mystery Student", and if that child is on green at the end of the day, they get rewarded.  You can reward them with treasure box, stickers, an extra job the next day, lunch with the teacher, etc.  Anything you think your students will absolutely love.  The kids love trying to guess who the mystery student might be, and I love reminding them to check their behavior because "you never know if your name is inside the mystery student bag."

This week I am going to focus on making sure I review this board and keep these incentives in place.
What are some motivators that you have in your classroom?  Do your kids respond to incentives or do you have other tactics to maintain a cool, calm and collected classroom?
Have a beautiful week filled with perfectly behaved students!

Football Withdrawal **Freebie!**

Happy Sunday!  I hope you are enjoying a 3 day weekend like me, or if you are super lucky, winter break!  With that being said, Sundays feel so empty lately.  Are you missing football season as much as I am?  Even though my Steelers were a bit off this year (putting it nicely) I still long for those fun and exciting Sunday afternoons.  Well if you need a little more football in your life, this freebie is for you.  My students enjoyed some football themed measuring fun during our math rotations this past month.  They were able to use these football measuring sticks to figure out the height and length of various football themed pictures.  This activity can be adapted for many grade levels by changing it from a non-standard measuring center to standard measurement practice by using rulers.  I hope you enjoy it and it helps tide you over until pre-season begins in 6 months.

                                          ****Click the picture****

Hello Everyone!

I am so happy you have found my little corner of cyber space :)  I look forward to sharing my thoughts, ideas and teaching adventures with all of you.  Education is such a wonderful field and collaboration is one of its many positive attributes.  This blog is where I plan to share and learn with my teacher friends and to continue to grow as an educator.  Chat with you all very soon!