Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sight Words

I LOVE the Target dollar spot. Who doesn't? I found lots of things that I thought I may use in the future and I couldn't seem to pass them up. I found these different colored hands that I thought would be useful for something. I was talking to another K teacher in my school and she went to a conference a few years back that had a great idea for sight words. Each week I teach 1-2 sight words a week. I will blog about some more ideas that I use! This one I thought was really fun. I wrote their sight words on a hand and posted it by the door. Each time they leave the room they have to give it a high five and say the word. Yes, it makes the line take longer to leave the room, but it exposes them to the word each time they exit the classroom.

Each quarter our district has specific sight words to teach. There is no specific order, but I figured I'd start the year out with some basic words that are also letters. The kids are getting the hang of it and I can already see it helping!

Thank goodness for the dollar spot. What would we do without it? What is something fun that YOU do to teach sight words?
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Speech Bubble

My mom was shopping one day and ever since I began teaching, she has started looking at things in the store in a different way. We all know as teachers we use ordinary things in a non-ordinary way. There are so many clever ways to utilize your basic items you see at the store. Anyway, she was shopping around and came across a speech bubble dry erase board. At the time she was purchasing it, she had NO idea what I could use it for. My crazy, somewhat creative, brain started thinking of ways I could incorporate this into my classroom! I decided to post it outside my door so that I could write something on it everyday. I absolutely LOVE coming up with something to write on it whether it be for notes to parents, sight words of the week, etc. The possibilities are endless! I put my picture at the bottom as well so the kids would know that I was the one talking. Here are some of the ways I use it:
Great for reminding parents of special days, early outs, etc.
We spent an entire day working on Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities! Gives them a little sneak peek of the day.

This is a great way to get them excited about the new sight words for the week!

This is fun for other kids who walk by my room because the tests taken might be a school wide event. I always catch the "big kids"  check my speech bubble everyday!

Obviously, I know that Kinders can't read these words right away but I love when they catch a letter or a sight word that they know! It shows me that they are beginning to look at print and recognizing it. Soon, they will be able to read it all :) You can use this board in any way that you want. That's what makes it fun!

If you are interested in purchasing one, there are lots of different styles.
This one you can purchase at Kohl's for $10.99.

If you like this style, you can purchase this through Amazon.com for around $23. A fellow teacher has this board at my school and it's GREAT!

Do you have other ideas for using this outside my room? I'd love to hear from you!
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Monday, August 27, 2012

What is a Good Listener?

As I was looking on some blogs and pinterest, I was looking for a unique way to teach the kids how to be a good listener. I wanted it to be more exciting and engaging for them, rather than me just telling them. I wanted something that I could refer back to whenever I needed to. I found a GREAT anchor chart from Mrs. Jump's class. I went ahead and made my own version of it and then decided to have an activity to go along with it.

First, I typed up on Microsoft Word some of those specific things that being a good listener entails (eyes watching, ears listening, criss cross applesauce, etc.) I put them into a table so that I could pass out a row of these to each student and they could cut down the line. Easy as that! No, they aren't able to read them yet, but they did a great job of following along and telling me where to place them on their picture. It's a great reminder to them of how they are supposed to look when on the rug or wherever they may be! Here is an example:

Anchor chart from Mrs. Jump's class
The kids did a great job of telling me where to put each of these pieces! It was a great way for them to be more engaged in the lesson. You can get your own copy of this little boy here.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

We Pledge to..

I survived the first week of school! I kept asking myself, "Why in the world did I chose this profession?" over and over again. "I love my job. I love my job. I love my job." I'm pretty sure you were all feeling that way as well :) The first couple of weeks, and the first week especially, is just plain difficult. I look at the first graders that I had as kinders last year  and see how well behaved and "trained" they are. Ohhh how nice it must be to have them nice and ready for school! Anyway, I have great kids and I think we're going to have a great year. Just ready to get into a routine. Each day is getting a little bit better. It can only go up from here!

I sat the kids down on the 3rd day of school to create some classroom rules. I found a really great idea from Pinterest! We first read "David Goes to School" and talked about how David didn't follow the rules. We did a rough list of some classroom rules that they thought we should have in the room so that everyone got along. Here is what we did:

All of our rules on a flag! The kids pledged to follow the rules and got to stick their star on by themselves. 

The kids drew a self portrait and then told me something they were going to work really hard on this year!
These are hanging up around the flag in our classroom so it can be a constant reminder that they pledged to me they would follow the rules :)
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Classroom

Well..it's back to school time! After spending countless hours in my room after hearing only 2 weeks before school started that I got my job back, this is how my room turned out. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of what it looks like compared to my first year of teaching. Thanks to my mentor, Connie Anderson at Welcome to First Grade Room 5, my room looks the way it does. I can't thank her enough for all the help and support that she's given me these past 2 years! If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you're missing out! 

Anyway..here is my room. I teach half day Kindergarten and half day Title. I will be doing interventions in the afternoon so I decided that setting up my room for Kinder would be the best way to go. I have taken on an underwater theme so I hope you enjoy :)
Kitchen play area/Environmental print wall

Bulletin board for monthly work/themes
I found this paper plate idea from another blog. Once I find it, I will definitely give it credit! 

My fun window decorations

Tattle telephone..thank you Pinterest! This is GOLDEN.

Part of my reading nook 
Another view

I got this cute umbrella at Jewel Osco!

My easel with an alphabet pocket chart from Lakeshore Learning

Some of my calendar wall, many ideas thanks to Kim Jordano!

Writing Center

I made this octopus using purple trifold poster board. My octopus lost a leg last year so I had to improvise :)

I'm trying out this clip chart for behavior! 

My front door

This speech bubble is used to inform parents of upcoming events, a little note to say hi, etc. The kids love reading what will be on there everyday.

My data center/student of the week board

I found these crayons at the Dollar Tree...love them!

Beanie baby decoding strategies 
My "desk"..who has room for an actual desk anymore? :)

Here is a long shot of my room

The other side 

North facing side

I turned CAFE into the Face of a Reader board.  I'm very excited to try this!

My listening center

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Monday, August 20, 2012

All About Me

Well..I jumped on the bandwagon! I love getting on blogs, pinterest, tpt, etc. and I figured that starting my own blog would be a great way to share some of my ideas with the world. I have to admit, I use the easy way out and "take" a lot of the ideas that are already out there. I am so thankful for those extra creative teachers that I learn so much from. You have made my job easy!

If you are wondering why I decided to call my blog "Stories, Sparkles, and Smiles", it's really simple. I have stories everyday that I take home to share with my boyfriend or my family. I could write a book with the stories that I hear from kids, or just the experiences that we share together. If there is one thing that defines me, it's sparkles. I love ANYTHING sparkly. I have a sparkly lanyard, shoes, jewelry, double layer cup for school, headbands, etc. I'm kind of a kid at heart. I see a little twinkle and my eyes LIGHT up. Lastly, smiles. The kids really do know how to put a smile on my face each and everyday and I hope that I am also make them feel happy as well. We have a lot of fun in my room and in my few years of teaching, they have really responded well to what we are doing in my class. I can't help but smile when I see their faces everyday.

Anyway, back to a little bit about me. This is my 3rd year teaching at my school. My first year I was a Title 1 Teacher, last year I was a Kindergarten teacher, and this year I'm a mix of both! I have the English speaking Kinders (other K class is bilingual) in the morning and I will be helping other classrooms in the school by providing interventions. I just recently moved in with my boyfriend of 3 years, Tyler, into our very own house. It was an exciting experience, but now I'll have to find time during the school year to get some things done! We'll see if that happens :)

Another thing that I am very much involved with is dance. I started dance and tumbling when I was 6 years old and danced competitively until the age of 19 at a local dance studio. Now that I'm "too old" to be apart of it, I am now the coach. I absolutely love dance just as much as I love teaching. I feel that they come pretty hand in hand, although I teach mainly high schoolers there. It's nice to get a little dose of every age! Sometimes it's nice to teach the high schoolers at night when I've had a long day of 5-6 year old conversation.

My family is very special to me. I have a close knit family that all live fairly close. I can't complain! My mom and dad live only 3 blocks from me, my brother Alex lives 2 blocks away, my older brother Matt lives about 2 minutes away, and my brother Andrew lives about 10 minutes away. I feel lucky that they are so close and I'm able to see them whenever I want. Something special that many people might not know about me is that I'm a TRIPLET! Kinda crazy, huh? Everyone always asks, "What's it like being a triplet?" Well..I guess I don't know any different. We were in the same class in grade school because there was only one section for each grade at our school. Our lockers in middle school were all in a row. In high school I was about 10 lockers down from Alex and about 6 lockers down from Andrew. We all attended a community college together before moving onto a university. Alex and I graduated from Illinois State University and Andrew graduated from Western Illinois University. As you can see, I haven't managed to get away from them, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Last but not least, I have a dog named Megatron. For those of you that aren't sure where that's from, it's the "bad guy" from Transformers. Man, do my boys get a kick out of that! Here are some pics of the people that I've been talking about!
My family dog, Megatron

Tyler and I

My family (Mom, Andrew, Matt, Alex, Me, & Dad)
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