Monday, June 29, 2015

An honest post to the teacher blogger community: We put pressure on each other without even knowing it

I don't know about you, but my brain never shuts off when it comes to teaching.  I'm always thinking how I can make things more efficient, coming up with new to do lists, and thinking up with ways I can use things from the Dollar Spot at Target, in my classroom.  I'm thinking of blog posts and taking a million photos.  I'm planning teacher meet ups and connecting with other teachings in the bazillion teacher Facebook groups that I'm part of.  It's really, really hard for me to shut the teaching side of my brain off and relax.
Come see how we put pressure on each other without even noticing it over at Easy Teaching Tools.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Leadership Roles In The Primary Classroom

The end of June is approaching rapidly. This terrifies me a tiny bit because that means I need to start seriously thinking about moving my stuff into my new classroom and set it all up. I want to soak up summer as long as I can though. For those of you that are getting ready for the upcoming school year, I thought I would share a post that I originally posted on my own blog a few months ago. You can find it here. Or, you can just read it below :)


Hi friends! I'm happy you're here to join me today. I'm sharing with you how I hold leadership roles in the classroom and how my firsties apply for these roles.

So, I posted this picture on Instagram last Friday and it got some attention! So, I thought I better blog about it and share the application for FREE of course!

If you have been following my blog for awhile, then you know already that I teach at a Leader In Me school. You probably also know how important I feel it is to teach my students to be leaders for themselves and for others. You see, we have leadership roles in the classroom. These are similar to classroom jobs, but we don't call them jobs. We don't want our kids to think of them as something they are required to do, but yet something that they can be leaders of. Something they can set an example to others when they perform this role. 

This past Friday was the first time I have had my kids apply for a role. They will hold the role for a month and then apply again. They may choose to apply for the same role or they can pick a different one. If you look closely at the pictures, you'll see my students highlighted their number one choice, and then wrote a 2 and a 3 by their second and third choice. I noticed many wanted the more popular choices, such as Line Leader and Pencil Leader, so I asked them to add their second and third choice as well. 

We will definitely be working on how to write about our strengths. I didn't include on the application for them to write why they want the role or why they should have it, but yet to explain the strengths they have that may help them excel in this role. I think that's really important for kids to acknowledge as early as we can get them to- their strengths. There's so many times where I feel like they are completely aware of what they "can't" do (but that's a whole different post and I need to get off my soapbox before I start a long rant!), so we need to make them aware of what they succeed in. Anyway, then they draw a picture of them performing their role that they want. 

Anyway, if you want to pick up this application, click the picture below!

The roles are mostly pretty self-explanatory, but I'm going to include the picture from my clip chart product that explains the leadership roles:

{Thank you Cara Carroll, Melonheadz Illustrating, MTF Fonts and Teaching In A Small Town for the fonts and graphics}

Here's how I display my my leadership roles in the classroom:

I use this as a clip chart and clip the students on their given leadership role. If you're interested in this editable clip chart, you can grab it in my store by clicking on the pictures below. I have a bubblegum one and an beach-themed one.

Thanks for reading my post! I hope it was helpful to those of you creating leadership roles in your classroom!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Writing in the Early Childhood Classroom

Hi Friends! 
It's Amber from Mrs. Masters Kinder Love, and I am so happy to be sharing with you today! 

  I've been wanting to do a post on writing for a while because in talking with so many early childhood teachers, I've learned that there is a lack of consistency when it comes to what our students are expected to produce. 
Today, I am going to share how writing works in my kindergarten classroom! However, it is completely applicable for all early childhood classrooms! 

There are 4 major types of writing that take place in my classroom:
1. Shared Writing
     2. Interactive Writing
    3. Writing Workshop 
        4. Independent Writing

What is Shared Writing?

Shared writing is when the students and teacher work together to compose a piece of writing. This piece could be a story, message, letter, etc. The teacher's role during this process is to be the scribe and to draw attention to things like letters, sounds and words as well as modeling how the writing process works.  This is also a great opportunity for students to see that their ideas can be translated from oral to written language.

What is Interactive Writing?
Just like shared writing, interactive writing is a process where the students and teacher work together to compose a piece of writing. The difference in the two is that the students are more involved in the writing process by "sharing the pen" with the teacher. During interactive writing, the teacher is not the sole scribe. Students come up and write letters, sounds, chunks and words in the collaborative piece.  The teacher's focus during this time is to guide students through the process of planning the writing, model and support students in breaking words into letters and sounds, demonstrate strategies and concepts of print, and to bring attention to the connection between writing and reading. We use our classroom word wall during this time to help us with words that we already know. Interactive writing pieces should be read through multiple times with the students. They should also be available for students to read independently.

What is Writing Workshop?
I am often surprised by the number of teachers I meet that do not use the Writing Workshop model in their classroom. I feel very fortunate that I was trained in Literacy Collaborative at Ohio State and therefore these components are in my blood. If you and your students struggle with writing in your classroom, I highly suggest starting with Writing Workshop.

Writing workshop is an approach where students compose individual writing pieces (narrative, opinion/persuasive, informational) with guidance and feedback from the teacher and even their peers.   I use the Lucy Calkins Writing Units of Study to guide my lessons during this time. Writing Workshop includes
three key components.

1. Mini-lesson (5-10 mins.)
A mini-lesson is a short, focused lesson that focuses on procedures, strategies/skills, and the writing craft.

2. Writing/Conferencing Time (20-30 mins.)
During this time, all students are working on their writing. Students may be a different places in the writing process, and that is okay!  The teacher spends this time conferencing with students to help them move forward with their writing piece. This is also the time that the teacher could pull a small guided writing group and focus on skills that are appropriate for those students.

3. Share Time (10-15 mins.) 

All students gather together and a couple of students share their "in progress" writing pieces or their "final" pieces. This a great way for students to receive feedback on their writing and practice conferring with their peers.  It's always a good idea to choose student writing samples that relate back to what you taught during the mini-lesson that day.

Here are a couple of pics of my kinders sharing their "how-to" stories with our second grade buddies!

What is Independent Writing?
Independent writing is when students use the resources in the classroom to engage in writing opportunities across multiple genres. During this time, very little teacher support is given. It's important for teachers to analyze student work during this time because it can help guide the direction  of future mini-lessons.

In my classroom I provide a Writing Work Station during my reading block. This is a time that students can independently work on various types of writing. The writing station is always one of my students' favorites!

It is currently discounted 50% until Sunday night!! 
Click the picture below to go to my store! :)

Have a fabulous weekend and can't wait to meet so many of you in Vegas at the TPT Conference!! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Summ"(er) Creative Reading!

Hi All!
I am going to apologize in advance for this 'short and sweet' post... 
I am still read that right!   
Our last day is Friday June 26th (2 MORE DAYS) and this teacher is VERY ready for summer!

Since most of you are already enjoying your summer vacation, I tried to think of a summer fun activity that not only feeds the brain....but fosters some creative juices too!

It was actually my last Scholastic Book Club order that helped inspire this post!

I ordered a Peter Reynolds pack.  It included:

which all have to do with drawing, painting, colors and being creative!

If you have not read any of these books I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them!
They are GREAT as mentor texts and I used The Dot this year when I started Writers Workshop since in kindergarten our first 'stories' are told through pictures.

It came with a box of glow in the dark sidewalk chalk which I have on my shelf just WAITING for summer to begin so my boys and I can head outside and create some glowing fun!

But it also reminded me of 2 summers ago when we made homemade sidewalk paint!

It was EASY to make and SO MUCH fun and the boys had a blast:
(look at how little they were!!!)

We are fortunate to live on a dead end street off a cul-de-sac so we get NO TRAFFIC!
My little one is literally sitting in the middle of the road!

I used foam craft brushes that we had, but wide bristle brushes work great too.
You will need a fat brush- the little 'watercolor' brushes don't work at all.
And plan on NEVER using that brush for anything other than sidewalk painting again because it gets filled with sand and pretty abused!

We even practiced color mixing to make new colors...and he was only 2!!

So how do you make it?
Here is the simple recipe we used and I printed it on a 'recipe card' for you to pin for future reference:

In lieu of paint you can also use food coloring, but the coloring does stain, so I opted for the paint!

So now how can we make this a productive summer learning opportunity?
Read the books to, or have your child read, the books and mark them off on your summer reading log (either for your school or library- our library lets us use the school one to count for theirs as well, so be sure to check if you can 'double dip' too!)

Then talk about colors, creating, looking 'outside the box,' etc!
Whip up a batch of sidewalk paint and get creating!

No sidewalk or street to paint on?
NO worries!
Black construction paper works well too!!

I can't wait to do this with the boys again this summer (last summer we tried out a bunch of other fun outdoor creative activities and never go to this!)

AND since I won't post again until July 24th and many of you will be getting ready to head back to school, be sure to check out:
Simply click the link and then click on your state- it will show the participating bowling alleys in your state.  If one is close to you, your child is entitled to 2 FREE games of bowling DAILY!!

Hate to type and run but summer and these 2 cuties are waiting for me to
We are so fortunate to have this as our 'backyard!!'
(and see how much bigger they are now- just 2 years later!!)

Hope to meet many of you in Vegas in 12 (to 15) days!
I will be flying in on Monday to attend the SDE 'I Teach K' conference Tuesday and Wednesday and then the TpT Conference on Thursday and Friday!

Wish me luck as I close out the 2014-2015 school year!
Until next post,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

10 Must Read Summer Books

Summer Reading list for adults
Teachers and Moms and Teacher-Moms:
You need a break during the summer! No professional development. No parenting handbooks. No curriculum guides. Just fun in the sun.

And while you're chillaxing, I recommend these TEN amazing books. They're my absolute favorites and I hope they will be yours too! 

Click HERE to read the TOP TEN list.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Donuts for Dads

Hey y'all! Happy Father's Day to any dads out there!  It's Kourtney blogging from Mrs. Payton's Precious Kindergarteners.

This was my first year doing Muffins for Moms in my room, but I wanted to take some time to honor my dads also this year, so I decided to do donuts for dads also!

Being that it was the end of the year and I had a lot of expenses as it was, I ended up using a different picture and making coasters for my dads as well.  We wrapped them in tissue paper and put them in white lunch bags. I printed tie clip art and the students cut them out and glued them to the front. We attached a label that said "Happy Father's Day! Love, ____"

(This is an example of one I used for Mother's Day - My Father's Day ones had a picture of them standing against a wall.  Who can't use a coaster though??)  You take a simple bathroom tile, add a layer of Mod Podge, add a 4x4 picture, add a layer of Mod Podge, let it dry and repeat about 2 more times.  One the bottom you can add sticky felt or sticky foam.

On the day of Donuts for Dads, I picked up Donuts from Krispy Kreme.  I used a card I had to get 2 dozen for free, so I only had to pay for 2 dozen.  I had already gotten apple juice from Sam's Club and had it chilled.

We covered our tables with navy blue bulletin board paper.  My awesome assistant made bow ties with tissue paper and used green masking tape in the middle and attached them to white lunch bags stuffed with bulletin board paper and then we used button stickers to make them look like shirts for our center pieces.  She die cut the letters for dad to complete our table decorations.

We placed all the presents and cards out ahead of time so that when the dads came in, they could open their present and look at their card with their child.  We called each table of students to serve their dad first and then themselves.

After all the tables had finished eating, we handed out questionnaires the students had filled out and let them read their answers to their dads which everyone seemed to enjoy.  We let the students stretch spell all their answers which was especially cute.

The dads really enjoyed being recognized and they deserved to enjoy a day like the moms!

If you haven't done Donuts for Dads before, give it a shot next year!

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Birthday Deals and Giveaways!

Come help me celebrate my Birthday! 

My bloggy friends and I have teamed up to give you some goodies on my BIG day!

There are some AMAZING $1 deals for today 6/16!!

Then keep scrolling for TWO HUGE giveaways!  Products from my friends and $50 Gift Certificate to Lakeshore Learning Store!  Woo-hoo!  Enter away!!

An InLinkz Link-up

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway