Monday, August 3, 2015

Reflect and Refresh {Part 2}

Welcome to Part 2 of Reflect and Refresh, a two-part linky party where teacher bloggers share their reflections on the 2014-2015 school year and ways they are planning to refresh their teaching in 2015-2016.

Today I'll be sharing with you some ideas I want to implement/improve upon this year.


I've been using homework folders (some people call them take home folders or communication folders) every year. But every year I find myself unhappy with one part or another of the folders. So I've thought long and hard about what I want to include so I'm not using my conference period midway through the year to change them.

Here are the contents for the inside:

Labels for the pockets indicating what paperwork needs to stay home and what needs to be returned to school. 

You can download the Keep at Home labels {here} and the Return to School labels {here}. Just FYI, there are NOT borders on the labels- I just put them in the picture so you can see them better. You will need Avery Labels 5160/8160. 

This is a new thing I'm trying. I work in a very low socioeconomic demographic and many times my students don't have supplies at home to do their homework. I bought these zipper pouches at Dollar Tree and I'll be putting a glue stick, scissors, pencils and 8-pack of crayons inside. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of "Can you please send scissors/pencils/glue sticks home with Johnny for his homework?" letters I get from parents. They're also a good place for parents when they need to send money to school. 

Next are various handouts I want my students to have handy for review either at home or while they are waiting for morning assembly to start. 

I love this pack of alphabet charts because there are so many different versions to choose from. I will use the version with all the different phonics sounds so I won't have to print and insert new ones during the year. I also use these for guided reading so the kids have consistency between school and home.

I also go ahead and put a blends/digraphs chart so I don't have to later in the year (it never hurts to start exposing them early either!). 

I use a couple of pages from this pack- the combined upper/lowercase letter formation page, the days of the week/months of the year page and the shapes/colors page (I use the black and white version so the kids can color the crayons themselves to get that extra bit of practice). 

Next, our district uses a system for sight words that has 100 words per page, all on different colors. I start out with just the first page-once a student has mastered all 100 words I will add the next list behind it. I don't have a picture of them, sorry! Just imagine bright sheets of Astrobrights paper with 100 words on them. :)

Finally, I'm going to keep their guided reading books and a reading log in a manila envelope in the back pocket. I will affix a cute name tag label, as well as {this} information for parents, on the front. {This} reading strategies bookmark will go on the back, then I will laminate the envelopes.

Organization and Classroom Management

I started reading Whole Brain Teaching near the end of last summer but never got around to finishing it. I've seen more and more teachers using the Super Improver portion; I'm all about students taking control of their learning and using their progress as motivators so I'm going to try it out this year. 

I made these star trackers for my wall. Feel free to download {here} and use if you'd like! The font used is Hello Asparagus.


Like the Super Improver Wall, I keep seeing posts about close reading all over the place. However, many of the posts were for upper elementary and not appropriate for Kinder. I searched TpT and found these amazing looking reading passages from Tara West that I'll be using.

My Big Summer Project

My ginormous task this summer was to prep my Making Words unit so it's ready to go this year. You can read about it {here}. I'm proud to say it is 90% complete; What I'm struggling with is how to organize all the bazillion manilla envelopes. I have a couple of ideas in my head but if you have any suggestions I'd be glad to hear them!

Whew! That was a long post! If you're still here, thanks for sticking it out with me! Now head over and read some MORE great posts from some other great bloggers!

Use the image below if you'd like to link up and share your ideas!

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