Saturday, August 16, 2014

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?!

I know teachers everywhere are mourning the end of Summer. Let's look on the bright side....the beginning of school means that Fall is right around the corner. Fall means many things for me...jeans, sweatshirts, and HUSKER FOOTBALL!! I am a huge football fan.

My district uses Reading Street for our reading program. In Kindergarten, we introduce 40 sight words with that program. What we are running in to is that those 40 words are not enough. We want our Kinders to be at GRL C by the end of the year. So, I found that we need a little extra sight word practice. Last year I started using the Dolch words. I wasn't sure if my students would be able to read them or not. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. They exceeded my expectations. Several of my Kinders were reading all 220 words by the end of the year. I figured...let's roll with it.

I have created a few football themed things to go along with the Pre-Primer list. We will work on the Football words for the 1st quarter.

Here are some word wall cards. You could introduce each word and then add it to your word wall. You could also print a set, put on a ring and add to your writing station. These are also perfect for guided reading groups.

The first word work activity that I introduce is play-doh. They are already familiar with it and they love it! It takes little time to teach expectations for this activity.

The next word work station I introduce is stamp a word.

This is a fun game that I created for my parents and parent volunteers. I send it home with my students. They are to "teach" their parents how to play. They love the thought of being the teacher.

I do have a few other items that I am working on for the Pre-Primer words {sight word readers, magnetic letters, secret code, qr codes and more}

Saturday, August 9, 2014

School Supplies {community or individual}

My first week back is over. I got my room "Open House" ready. There is still so much more that I want to do. I am making my list and will do what I can...when I can! Word of come to my NOT open the cabinets. You open at your own risk! I am not saying for sure, but it is POSSIBLE that a FEW things might come tumbling out (hanging head in shame). I had every good intention with those dang piles, but it just got to close to Open House...let the shoving begin people!

This post I want to talk about supplies. I have tried community supplies and where they keep their own. I will be honest...not completely happy with either. I felt like the kids that were responsible with their things were getting the short end of the stick by having to share with the kid that constantly chewed on everything, forgot to put the lids back on the markers, or simply used half a glue stick on one worksheet! This year I have come up with a combination of both!!  Crossing my fingers!

Our supply list! We ask for a lot! YIKES! Here is the low down on our requests...small tool box, 4 boxes of Crayola 24 crayons (one a quarter), 12 glue sticks (we usually run out), 3 boxes of Crayola markers (1 for community supplies/stations and 2 for students), 2 bottles of Elmer's liquid glue (1 a semester), pencils, 2 erasers, scissors, 1 crayola watercolor set and dry erase markers. They bring all of these supplies at Open House. I have a sheet that explains what they need to do with everything. This is usually what it looks like when I leave that night....

Inside their toolbox (which they keep at their table spot) goes 1 box of crayons, 1 glue stick, 2 pencils, 1 eraser, and their scissors.

I spend the next morning organizing the supplies. I use the Sterilite 3 drawer organizers to store all of their extra supplies. The rest of their supplies go in these drawers. I have them labeled by number. This way I don't have to change them each year.
Now, for the community supplies at their tables. I use the colorful containers from Really Good Stuff. Each table has a color. There is one caddy and two smaller baskets. In the caddy, I put 2 pencils, 2 glue sticks, 1 box of markers, and 1 bottle of glue from each student that sits at that table. The glue and the markers are only used for special projects. The pencils and the glue sticks are there for those students that seem to "eat" their supplies. Please tell me that you have those students. You give them something and two days's gone! I's just GONE. Where did it go? I don't see it in the room ANYWHERE! They ate it, right?! (wink wink) I will also put their lunch choice sticks in these baskets (not done yet lol)

You can get my supply drawer labels in my TpT store.
student numbered supply drawer labels

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back To School!

I am heading back to school TOMORROW! As I sit and look at my schedule for the week, I wonder how in the world am I going to be ready....FREAK OUT TIME!! I still have so much to do before Open House on Thursday. I really wish that they would build in staff development during the year and not the first week. Give me what I need to know to start the year and let me work in my room for Pete's sake! FRUSTRATION!!!

Anyway, I know that you spend as much of your own money as I least let's tell my hubs that, OK?! TpT is having their big Back To School sale on Monday and Tuesday! You can save up to 28%! You will find everything that you need to get started!! This adorable button was made by my good friend Annie over at The Moffatt Girls

Here are my bright posters!! I love the colors! I have just never been one that can stick to a "theme," but colors...I can do colors! I like polka dots, stripes, and chevron! So, I use them all! :-) This set includes: alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors.

These are my schedule cards....that are EDITABLE!! You can print the ones that I use, OR you can type in your...bam...your schedule board will be totes cute ( I have spent waaaaay too much time with my teen daughters this Summer)

These are my helper cards and guess what....EDITABLE!!!!

I created this power point slide show to play during Open House! You KNOW how crazy it can families coming in, past students coming in to say hello and give hugs, and just trying to get to everyone...can be stressful! This has helped me a TON! It answers several questions that new families have for me. Hey, hey, hey and guess's E.D.I.T.A.B.L.E!! Woo Hoo!!

I created this next packet for my parents. I print it off and send it home with them at Open House! It is my ABCs of Kindergarten. There is a page for each letter. I type in important information that will help my parents throughout our year together. I will give you three guesses what I am going to tell you next :-) It IS editable.

This is a set of calendars that you can send home with parents OR use for yourself! Print and put it in a cute frame on your desk and use a dry erase marker to write in the dates, meetings, etc!

These newsletters match the calendars! I like things to match! :-) I use these newsletters as general info reminders. Basically, I bullet the things we will be learning the following week in each area.

I will be honest with you...totally in love with this next product! I use a facebook group to communicate with my parents. They love it! I love it!!

I love start outing my year with the next two big books!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Parent Communication {Newsletters and Calendars}

This is my last weekend before I have to report back to school on Monday....sigh. This time of year is like no other though, is it?! I feel anxiety about being ready, excitement for meeting your new students and their families, and hopefulness about starting organized and ready to try all of the new things you have found on blogs and pinterest (wink).

I started a post last week about communicating with parents. I showed you how to start a Facebook group. Today, I want to go a more traditional route. Let's talk about newsletters and calendars!

 I do still send a weekly newsletter home in Friday Folders. However, I use it mainly as just giving quick info. For example, I will bullet the skills that we will be working on the following week.

I do NOT print each family a color copy. I print one and then make copies front/back. I try to print them on the same colored paper each week. This way parents know what to look for.  You can also save your newsletter as JPEG and upload it to your Facebook/Instagram as a picture. I usually upload my newsletter to Google Doc and then share that link on my Facebook group too. This way parents can print the newsletter off at home, if they need to. 

My newsletter pack is editable! You can use the version that has the headers already there OR you can add your own on the completely editable set! The only things you can NOT edit are the placement of the boxes or the clip art that is already there. You can get this set in my TpT store by clicking the cover below.

Editable Newsletters

The last Friday of each month I send home a calendar for the following month. I add special days, specials schedule, and any other important information that parents might need to know throughout the month. I print the calendar and then copy on a different color than my newsletter. You can also save this a JPEG and share via web, just like the newsletters! 
I have an editable calendar pack that matches my newsletter pack! You can add your own dates and information. 

You can get this set in my TpT store by clicking the cover below.
Editable Monthly Calendars

Monday, July 28, 2014

Parent Communication {Facebook}

I don't know about you, but I loooove the convenience of technology! As teachers, we have so many options to keep the lines of communication open with our parents. When we communicate consistently and effectively...we build strong relationships with our families. Parents know what is going on, what is being taught, and what is expected of their children AND from them.

Let's talk Facebook! Facebook is growing each year. Chances are the majority of your parents already have a Facebook account. Let's take advantage of that!

First decide whether you want to set up a group or a page. I personally have a group set up. I will gear most of this post towards that option, but please know that you need to choose the option that best suits you. 

I have created a couple of FREEBIES to help you get this set up! Here are two printables that you can use. Simply click the images below to download your freebies.

FREE parent communication FB printables

FREE parent communication Facebook printalbes

Now, decide what you will use Facebook for. Facebook is NOT the only thing that I use. I want to make sure that all parents are getting information. I love it because this way is easy to share photos easily.

Here is some information on creating a FB Page. These are OK too, but if you are concerned about privacy, then a group might be your best option.

 I have a new pack to help get you through the year! You will be able to remind parents via Facebook and Instagram of upcoming events. Some events included are: conferences, class parties, spirit days, tests, library days, and more! To see a full description of what' included click on the cover page below.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Parent Communication FREEBIE

Good evening blog surfers! It is a Saturday night and I sit on my computer...EXCITING! When did I get old and boring? How did this happen? Is it happening to you too? LOL! 

This week I have been reflecting on my last year and thinking of what I want to do this year. I think that as teachers, we are so lucky...we get a fresh start every year. We change furniture arrangements, add decor, scour pinterest and the blogiverse for ideas! When I think about this year and things that I want to do....I also ask myself what do I want to share with  you? What are my strengths as a teacher? As you know, I am co-founder of Freebielicious with my dear friend Crystal. We work with some pretty talented and amazing ladies. I think that I use something from each of them in my classroom. Back on track Tammy....I think I am good teacher. I love my job and enjoy coming to work each day. If I had to choose one are that I think is a strength of mine...parent communication and building relationships with parents. 

I want to share with you ways I keep the communication going in my classroom. SOCIAL MEDIA people! Wow! We have so many options now. Here are some of the fabulous things that you can do in your classroom. 
I am going to use my classroom blog like a virtual newsletter. I will post on Friday (or weekends) and share what we did throughout the week. 

I had a private Facebook group last year and LOOOOVED it! :-) I use Facebook for reminders, post documents (via google docs) for parents to be able to download at home. Most of what I post here are pictures...even the reminders. 

I haven't used Instagram before, but plan on using it this year. 

This is a FABULOUS app! I am a softball coach and use this to communicate with parents continuously. I can send group messages and parents don't have the option to reply no umpteen million group text replies. :-) 

Next week, I will post about each one of these options individually and have some free resources for you to use too. I hope that you will come back!

I do have a freebie for you today to get you started with great parent communication! A new binder.....
with lots of cover options.....
Date: I always mark the date the contact happened. The PI and the TI stand for Parent Initiated and Teacher Initiated. I simply circle the appropriate choice. I check the method and the reason. As for the action, there is a reason for a contact...what am I going to do to follow up? What are the parents going to do? I hope you can use this. 

I am teaming up with my Freebielicious gals and throwing sale! I know that lots of you are getting ready to go back to school. I only have one more week (sob) before I have to report back! My entire store is on sale for 20% off!! Click the image below to go to my store!
For the next two days, I will be putting some of my back to school things on sale for 50%, but it will only be for a limited time! Make sure you follow me on Facebook to find out which items and when...FUN! :-)