Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sight Word Brace Maps

This year I have a pretty low bunch of Kinders so I've been trying really extra hard to find fun and engaging ways to get concepts to stick with them. I LOVE using Thinking Maps in all content areas and since sight words are one of our struggles this year I made these brace maps to help my littles. This quickly became one of the favorite word work activities!

These are easy prep- just print, laminate, cut and they're ready to go! Using a fine tip dry erase marker works best. 

I have several kiddos with very short attention spans but even they stay engaged while using the sight word brace maps!

The words included are from the Dolch Pre-Primer through Third grade lists. I'm selling them all separately and in one big *discounted* bundle, which you can find here

So, you like what ya see?? Well, guess what- I'm giving a set away! For FREE! All you have to do is enter through the Rafflecopter below and when a winner is randomly picked I'll email you directly so you can tell me which set you would like (bundle not included).

Good luck!

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Deep in the Heart of Texas Blog Hop

Welcome to the "Deep in the Heart of Texas" blog hop!  Over 40 Texas teacher bloggers have joined together to share what we love about our state as well as ideas and freebies that we love.  You will also have the opportunity to enter to win TpT products and/or TpT gift certificates by entering using the rafflecopters included in each post.  Down at the bottom, you will see all of the blogs participating in the hop.  Just click and you will be taken to their posts.  We hope you love what you find.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Howdy everyone! I am so really beyond excited to be participating in this very special blog hop because those who know me know I've got Texas in my soul! There's a saying that goes "It's hard to be humble when you're from Texas." We have some of the most humble, generous people here (maybe you've heard of this one gal, Cara Carroll??), but when it comes to the pride we have for The Lone Star State, we can get a tad boastful. And why not? We have the tastiest BBQ, best country music and most beautiful and diverse landscape. Can you tell I love Texas?? :)

I currently live in the fabulous city of Austin. I'd been living in Arlington for the last five years but wanted to be closer to family so I moved back last summer. Austin is one of my top three favorite towns in Texas (Fort Worth and Nacogdoches are the other two). It is such an eclectic town that you're sure to find something here to suit your interests if you ever visit. 

My hands down favorite thing about Austin is Lady Bird Lake. During the summer, if you can't find me at home by the pool I'm most likely on a paddle board somewhere between the Congress Avenue and Lamar Street bridges. If you've never tried it before I highly recommend it! I was so scared I wouldn't even be able to stay standing but it is easier than it looks and a great workout too!

Sunshine, warm weather and patios are some of my favorite things in life, period, and Austin has many places where you can take advantage of all three. One of my favorite places to sit and eat and visit with friends is Uncle Billy's Brewery and Smokehouse on Barton Springs Road. This place has great food and a great atmosphere; and for you beer connoisseurs you can take your favorite beer home in a growler (bring it back next time for a refill).  For a list of more patio hangouts in Austin click here.

When most people think about Texas one of the things that comes to mind is two-stepping. I love finding a good dancehall that plays authentic country music to dance to. One of the most iconic places in town is the Broken Spoke. This is where I truly learned how to two-step. I recommend every person visit the Broken Spoke at least once in their life, even if you're not necessarily a dancer. The walls are filled with so much history and you'll be walking in the same footsteps as the likes of Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

This IS a Texas blog hop so the lesson I'm sharing has a Texas theme. The great thing about it though, is that ANYONE from any state can use it!

 I start off by reading Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman (click to order on Amazon). 

Then we compare and contrast the story to The Little Red Hen using a graphic organizer like this one from Welcome to Room 36.

After that we make these cute armadillos that are also from Jessica Williamson

To finish our unit I bring in "armadilly chili" for everyone to taste. We write about how to make the chili (open the can, put it in the crockpot, heat it up and eat- because ya know, THAT'S how to make chili) and graph whether we liked it or not. 

Since you've probably already celebrated Valentine's Day in your classrooms and have most likely prepped for any President's Day activities I thought I'd share some things I love to use (or will use) for St. Patrick's Day.

The first is this adorbs craftivity from A Teachable Teacher. I love this particular craftivity for a couple reasons. One, it's pretty simple to prep. I don't know about y'all but those crafts that require lots of pre-cutting are NOT for me (even if I have parents do it) since they not only take so long to prep but they take longer to make in class (remember I teach Kinder). Lindsey has included different options for you, so you can use construction paper or just the blackline and have the kids color it. 

Second, it's all in one piece. I like this because a) I've been scolded by administrators for making crafts that seem to have no "rigorous" value (even though I ALWAYS include a rigorous element, such as writing- and don't get me started on how the cutting promotes fine motor development) and b) it makes it so much easier to display on a bulletin board. 

Click the picture if you'd like to use this in your classroom. Make sure to leave Lindsey some feedback!

I recently downloaded this St. Patrick's Day edition of Would You Rather? from Rachel Lynette's TpT store. I thought this would be great to share since it can be used across multiple grade levels. I'm going to use it in two different ways for my Kinders. We all know about the speaking and listening standards (both CC and TEKS) so I will ask a WYR question, have my students discuss their choice and explanation with a partner then share as a whole class. We'll then transfer our choices to a graph and analyze the data, hitting those math standards as well. For the upper grades you can present the WYR question and have them compose a persuasive/opinion writing piece.  Click the picture to download. 

With Texas Independence Day right around the corner (March 2), this wouldn't be a true Texas blog post if I didn't include something for that very special holiday! Here's a little something from Oh Boy Fourth Grade. Click the picture download.

Like I said earlier, we Texans are a friendly and generous bunch so we've decided to have not one, not two, but four little giveaways! You can enter to win some great grade-level prize packs or one of eight TpT gift certificates! So go head y'all, start filling out those Rafflecopters!

After you've done that, visit some of my other Texas friends' blogs to learn more about the Lone Star State (who knows, you may find your next vacation spot) and find some other great lesson ideas and FREEBIES!

Happy Valentine's Day and God Bless Texas!

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Click on the buttons below to visit some other awesome Texas bloggers!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pinterest Pick 3 {February}

It's a new month which means it's time for a new Pinterest Pick 3 linky! February may be the shortest month in the year but that doesn't mean it isn't busy! Our class will be celebrating the 100th day of school, Valentine's Day and President's Day (pretty much one right after the other).

I have so many things planned for the 100th day. Some things that I've always done and some new things, like this one. It's a little time consuming (enter parent volunteers) but seems really fun! All you do is number Hershey kisses and hide them around the room (hopefully finding all of them). I'm going to have the kids match the kisses they find to a large hundreds chart. Then we'll have a lesson on fair share to divide them up equally and take them home (because I don't want them around or I'll want to eat them!). 

Next up is Valentine's Day. This is something I've done in the past and it always turns out really cute. The hardest part is getting the kids to understand the point of them standing there with their mouth open while you take their picture, haha! I learned to show them a picture of the project beforehand so they know why they're doing it. 

Then there's President's Day. I just found this *super adorable* pin and am so glad I did! Seriously, how cute is this?! And not hard to make, which are the best kinds of crafts! I would say I can't wait to show you how they turn out but I'll have to blur their pictures and that would take all the fun out of it. So maybe you'll just have to do it in your class too! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently {February 2015}

If you can't read a calendar here's some breaking news--it's February! Just four more of these Currently posts and school will be over! Makes summer seem a little bit closer by counting Currently linkys instead of how many days left of school, huh?? Am I right?!

Listening: I'm still in bed with an awful headache and Chip has decided to play with his squeakiest toy in bed too. Oh wait, he's gotten tired of the squeaky toy and moved on to one that doesn't squeak! Yes! My head thanks you Chip.

Loving: I'm taking two grad school classes this semester and am really enjoying one of them. I like the other one too, but this particular class is all about improving America's education system (and I know all of us teachers have strong opinions about America's education system). The professor is super nice and the texts and videos she's having us read and watch are truly inspiring. The class is making me re-evaluate myself as a teacher and how to do the best by my students, no matter what the state government says is the best for them.

I really want to buy this shirt and actually wear it to school.

Thinking: "I hope Megan doesn't think my idea for a blog design is completely and irrationally impossible or weird." I wanted a design that really showed my personality and I'm the worst at putting my thoughts on paper so I hope she doesn't end up hating me (not to mention I changed my mind from the previous design I had talked to her about). If you're needing a new look for your blog go check her out, she's very talented (and one of the nicest people I've met through the blogging world). 

Wanting: I went from living in a house to living in a teeny apartment and I'm starting to loathe it. There's hardly any storage space and about a square foot about counter space in the kitchen. Plus I feel really bad for Chip because he doesn't have a yard to run around in anymore. I'm not sure if I want to buy or rent but I do know I can't handle this cramped space much longer!

I'll take one, please and thank you!

Needing: I always need these, as I'm sure we all do, but especially lately. I'm struggling with balancing school with grad school and the rest of life, like cleaning my aforementioned teeny apartment and getting a good night's sleep. I had planned on going to Vegas this summer but I'll have to use what I had saved for that for Chip's upcoming vet visit (which is totally worth it, don't get me wrong). So yeah, an extra hour or two and a little extra cash would be nice!

Pageant Title: Haha, this is so random! I chose Queen of the Runner Ups because I feel like I'm always the last to know about things, whether it's things in my social circle, at school or what's happening in the world (I never watch the news because it's mostly depressing stuff). I also feel like I work my bum off at school and don't get much recognition for it (another problem I'm sure other teachers have- if not, I need to come work where you work!). Ironically, I actually was a runner up in a real pageant when I was in high school. 

This would probably be me! I walk better in cowboy boots than heels. 

Thanks for reading! Now go read some other Currently posts!