Saturday, December 20, 2014

Student Goal Setting & Data Portfolios

My biggest goal during the Holiday break is to revise my Goal Setting & Data Portfolios.  I have a few ideas on what I want to add to them, but I thought I'd put it out there and see what you'd like in the data portfolios, too.


Right now, I mainly have the goal setting forms that align with the common core standards.  There are a few data tracking pages, but not specific pages that align with assessments or skills.

My plan is to add more data tracking forms and more reflection forms.

What other things would you like to see in the Data Portfolios?  What's missing that you really wanted?

Leave a comment below, letting me know your grade level and what needs to be added to the product. Thanks for your help!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Whew. It's done.

The week before Christmas vacation, that is.  Doesn't that seem like the title of some outrageously horrific movie?

I have to admit that this year wasn't as bad as other years have been.  I think it part because my October and November were so rough, this week was pretty calm.  I also didn't plan a whole bunch of activities.  We have a high population of students who don't celebrate Christmas.  I feel uncomfortable doing activities that exclude those students.

We did do Holidays Around the World rotations and complete a Flap Book.


This week, we read and watched the Polar Express.  Today, we completed our Polar Express Flap Book, too.

We also did our Solve the Room Holiday, which is kind of like a scoot activity.  Students go around the room solving problems.



Students had fun discovering all the places where I "hid" the cards in the classroom.

On the home front, these two have been enjoying the rainy weather with a few indoor and outdoor activities.



Gotta love boys!

I hope your week before the break wasn't too exhausting!  The good part . . . now you're on break!  That is unless you have to teach on Monday and Tuesday.  No one has to do that, right?!?!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Apps We Love

Apps we Love :: What I Have Learned

I've been wanting to do this post for awhile now.  I keep finding all these great iPad / iPhone apps that my two boys (2 & 4) love playing, that my students (2nd grade) enjoy, and that I (as a teacher) go to all the time.  Some are paid and some are free.

My Two- & Four-year-old Love

My two-year-old asks to use the iPad daily.  He's pretty proficient on it's use, although he does get frustrated when he can't complete a game.  The four-year-old is learning letters and sounds as well as basic math concepts.  I love how the iPad games can make it fun for him!  He will enter Kindergarten next year, so we're not pushing letters / sounds yet, but just letting him have fun with it all.

Some of these apps may be good for elementary students, too.  They just happen to be the ones we use at home, but aren't quite appropriate for my second grade students.

Kids Trains and Boats is a problem solving app.  My boys love things that move.  In this app, the player has to connect train, car, and boat pathways.  The object is to get coins and connect the paths accurately.

Endless Reader, Numbers, Alphabet.  My two-year-old loves the monsters in these apps.  The three apps do different things, but the basic idea is matching letters, words, or numbers.  The monsters do cute and funny things when the child successfully matches the letter, number, or word.

TeachMonster: This is a paid app, but the web site version is free.  It is made by Usborne in the UK, so the narrator has a British accent, but it's still useful for most letter sounds.  The program leads students through different activities focusing on letter / sound relationships.

Epic! is a new app that we haven't tried out, yet, but playing around with it this weekend, I'm already seeing it's potential. Epic! is an app that has a ton of books that you can access and read with students.  From what I can tell, it's free for educators.  I've set it up at home for my son and will be installing it on our school iPads, soon.  In this app, readers can earn badges for various reading milestones.

Todo Math  Both my kiddos love this app.  My four-year-old can do it independently.  The two-year-old needs help.  It covers Pre-K-Second grade math skills.  I haven't had my students use it, yet, mainly because we have so many other things we use in the classroom.

FarFaria is another app with books in it.  These tend to be a bit more leveled and aren't trade books.  My kiddos enjoy visiting the themed islands and exploring the books.  There's a range of levels, interesting text, and it's organized in a fun way.

Bugs & Bubbles, Buttons, Numbers are another set of apps, all focusing on numbers and problem solving.  There's mazes, puzzles, and number matching.  The easiest is Bugs & Buttons.  Being a mom of boys, this fits right in with their interest level of searching for rollie-pollies in the backyard.

My Second Graders Love

We have 1:1 in our classroom.  There are a few web sites and apps that we use almost every day.

RazKids.  We have a subscription to the web site version and it links up nicely to the app.  Students can read books at their guided reading level and earn stars for their progress.  My students mainly love earning stars and building their rockets.  The books are nice, too.  I'm using them in small groups with one of my kiddos who doesn't fit well with any of my groups but still need some teacher time.  He reads books at his level through the app while I'm working with the other students in that group. This is a picture of their old logo, but the links will lead you to their app.

Someone just introduced me to Adobe Voice for story writing.  I have yet to introduce it to my students (I just found out about it a week ago), but I can totally see how it will revolutionize our writing time!

I Love

As for me, well, I use my phone much more than my iPad, but I do have a few apps that I use regularly.

One of the apps I use most often is Notability.  I can import PDF pages into the app and the write on the PDFs.  Since most of what I create or download from TpT is in PDF format, I'm able to write on it, type on it, and manipulate what I add to the PDF.

I use the notes program on my Mac all the time to jot quick notes.  Unfortunately, it's kinda like a jumble of sticky notes and all sorts of disorganized.  I've recently started using Evernote more to help organize my notes and ideas into some sort of cohesion.

I'm not going to go into all the social media apps that I use, but just know that Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram are not far from my fingertips!  I also use Rhonna and A Beautiful Mess to design and add to pictures for the blog and Instagram.

Educreations is useful when you want to record something that includes photos and writing on the iPad.  I've played around with it a bit, but haven't actually used it in the classroom with my students yet.

IPEVO Whiteboard is my absolute favorite screen projection app.  I don't have the stand that goes with it, but I love using it to project things with my iPad and write all over them!

I have a few other apps that are good for business and personal ones that I use almost daily, but the above are those that influence my teaching.

Do you have any awesome iPhone / iPad apps that you can't live without?  I'd love to discover some new ones!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Peek at My Week ~ Dec. 8 - 12

I know it's been awhile since I've created a Peek at My Week.  Life has been crazy and I feel like I've just been pulling resources, rather than really planning anything significant.  I sat down last week and planned a few things and pulled a few others.  So, here's what we're doing.  As always, click on the photo or this link to download the PDF with clickable links.


Reading Comprehension

I started reading The Boxcar Children to the students last week.  I've never read it before and heard it was a great book!  We're about 1/4 of the way through it and it's just okay.  It's pretty dated, but I'm reserving my final judgement of it until we finish the book.

Math

We're continuing our use of my Daily Math pages and Automaticity by Strategy packets.  We're also going to do some pages from my Cut and Paste Math Activities pack this week.  I have quite a few sub days this week, so it's an easy pull and photocopy thing to keep students on task.

Writing

Last week, we worked on Polar Bear paragraphs (with quite a few interruptions!), so this week, we'll finish the paragraph and start working on Caribou / Reindeer paragraphs.  I'm using this process that I used last Spring when writing expository paragraphs.

Social Studies

We're doing Holidays Around the World this year with this flip flap book.  I love how I can keep the students busy for 8 days and have a pretty cool finished product at the end!

So, how is your week shaping up?  Find more Peek at My Weeks on Mrs. Willis Kindergarten's blog!


A Few of My Favorite Things

It's that time of year!  I love the holiday season!  This year, I have the honor of participating in a blog hop with many bloggers.  Sit back and enjoy a few of our favorite things!

Because we value our followers and wanted to treat you to our favorite things Oprah style, we have put together the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:



So, what are my FAVORITE things?  Here are a few of them!


Restaurant

We have a lot of favorite restaurants.  Living in a suburban area means that we have a wide variety of choices.  If I had to pick one, I think our family's favorite would have to be AndalĂ©.  It's fresh food, healthy, and just plain good.  We eat there after church several times a month.




Beauty Item

If you are close to me, you know that I'm not a person who has favorite beauty items.  I'm all about connivence.  What is going to be quick.  Most of the time, I don't wear make-up and if I can get away without doing my hair, I try my best.  That being said, the thing that has helped me a ton this year has been this little tool:
It's an HSI Ionic Flat Iron. I've figured out that if I straighten my hair one day, it will last about 5 days without needing much styling effort in the mornings.  That means less effort on the days that I don't straighten it.

The other thing that I've figured out is that I don't need to use product in my hair, if I straighten it.  If I leave it curly, then it's just too messy.  But, straight, no product!  That means less money spend on stuff for my hair!

My sister-in-law keyed me in on a secret, too.  In order for the styling in this to last, the hair needs to be completely dry.  So, I usually style it at night and I'm good to go the next morning with just a few touch ups!


Teaching Tool

My favorite teaching tool is my classroom library.  I LOVE books.  I spend a ton of money on books for myself and books for my students.  Sometimes those lines are a bit blurred.


This is a picture after I reorganized my library.  I've since gotten more books and the library is a mess again!  How do you keep your library organized!  It's driving me nuts!

I have a higher group of readers this year, and it has been so much fun seeing them blossom as readers.

What am I giving away?  I'm giving away one of these.  We LOVE Amazon.  In fact, I think we did most of our Christmas shopping through Amazon.  You can't been the easy of delivery!


And, just to sweeten the deal, this product is 50% off from 12/7 - 12/14.


It's a BUNDLE of my Money Matching & Word Problems.  This is seven months / themes of matching cards with five complex word problems per pack.  I created these for high second graders and third graders.  It's great for fourth grade, too.  Some of those word problems are tricky!

If you search TpT with this term: #myfavoritething2014, you should be able to locate most of the products that are discounted with this blog hop.  I've linked the search above, but I'm not 100% sure it will work!

See this graphic below?  It's all the bloggers participating in this giveaway and link-up.  There's a TON of us!  Read below for all the prizes and links to other blog posts!



7 winners for 7 prize packs!














Come and enter the giveaway and check out my bloggy friends' favorite things:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Melissa & Doug on Amazon

Amazon has reduced some of the Melissa and Doug toys significantly.  Most of their toys are great for preschoolers, but I've found a few helpful in K-2 classrooms, too.  They're prices are basically 50% off.  If you're in need of some great activities for your word work or other learning stations, these would be great!


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Stringing Beads with over 200 beads

These would be great for word work centers.  My girls LOVE them.  The boys may be interested, too!


Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards

We've started working on tangrams lately as a fun exploration. These would be a perfect supplement to our resources!



Melissa & Doug See & Spell

I used these in my Kindergarten classroom and my two boys at home love matching the letters putting all the pieces in the right place.


 And, some great play dough toys.

What's on your classroom wishlist?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pick 3 - Pinterest Pins

I'm linking up with Lisa at Pawsitively Teaching for a new linky!  It's Pick 3!


I'm excited to be linking up and seeing everyone's Pinterest inspirations for the month!  Here are mine: 


I'm loving the color and simplicity of this. We've done a few watercolor things this year and I might have to do another this month!


This looks so cool! I don't really have an application of it, yet, but I'm sure I can figure out something!



This last one has been around for a while. Again, simple and easy. Do you see a theme?


So, what do you have planned for this month? See anything inspiring on Pinterest lately? I'd love for a link the comments so I can go check it out, myself!

Here's the other participants in the linky:


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Student Goal Setting & Data Portfolios

My biggest goal during the Holiday break is to revise my Goal Setting & Data Portfolios.  I have a few ideas on what I want to add to them, but I thought I'd put it out there and see what you'd like in the data portfolios, too.


Right now, I mainly have the goal setting forms that align with the common core standards.  There are a few data tracking pages, but not specific pages that align with assessments or skills.

My plan is to add more data tracking forms and more reflection forms.

What other things would you like to see in the Data Portfolios?  What's missing that you really wanted?

Leave a comment below, letting me know your grade level and what needs to be added to the product. Thanks for your help!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Whew. It's done.

The week before Christmas vacation, that is.  Doesn't that seem like the title of some outrageously horrific movie?

I have to admit that this year wasn't as bad as other years have been.  I think it part because my October and November were so rough, this week was pretty calm.  I also didn't plan a whole bunch of activities.  We have a high population of students who don't celebrate Christmas.  I feel uncomfortable doing activities that exclude those students.

We did do Holidays Around the World rotations and complete a Flap Book.


This week, we read and watched the Polar Express.  Today, we completed our Polar Express Flap Book, too.

We also did our Solve the Room Holiday, which is kind of like a scoot activity.  Students go around the room solving problems.



Students had fun discovering all the places where I "hid" the cards in the classroom.

On the home front, these two have been enjoying the rainy weather with a few indoor and outdoor activities.



Gotta love boys!

I hope your week before the break wasn't too exhausting!  The good part . . . now you're on break!  That is unless you have to teach on Monday and Tuesday.  No one has to do that, right?!?!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Apps We Love

Apps we Love :: What I Have Learned

I've been wanting to do this post for awhile now.  I keep finding all these great iPad / iPhone apps that my two boys (2 & 4) love playing, that my students (2nd grade) enjoy, and that I (as a teacher) go to all the time.  Some are paid and some are free.

My Two- & Four-year-old Love

My two-year-old asks to use the iPad daily.  He's pretty proficient on it's use, although he does get frustrated when he can't complete a game.  The four-year-old is learning letters and sounds as well as basic math concepts.  I love how the iPad games can make it fun for him!  He will enter Kindergarten next year, so we're not pushing letters / sounds yet, but just letting him have fun with it all.

Some of these apps may be good for elementary students, too.  They just happen to be the ones we use at home, but aren't quite appropriate for my second grade students.

Kids Trains and Boats is a problem solving app.  My boys love things that move.  In this app, the player has to connect train, car, and boat pathways.  The object is to get coins and connect the paths accurately.

Endless Reader, Numbers, Alphabet.  My two-year-old loves the monsters in these apps.  The three apps do different things, but the basic idea is matching letters, words, or numbers.  The monsters do cute and funny things when the child successfully matches the letter, number, or word.

TeachMonster: This is a paid app, but the web site version is free.  It is made by Usborne in the UK, so the narrator has a British accent, but it's still useful for most letter sounds.  The program leads students through different activities focusing on letter / sound relationships.

Epic! is a new app that we haven't tried out, yet, but playing around with it this weekend, I'm already seeing it's potential. Epic! is an app that has a ton of books that you can access and read with students.  From what I can tell, it's free for educators.  I've set it up at home for my son and will be installing it on our school iPads, soon.  In this app, readers can earn badges for various reading milestones.

Todo Math  Both my kiddos love this app.  My four-year-old can do it independently.  The two-year-old needs help.  It covers Pre-K-Second grade math skills.  I haven't had my students use it, yet, mainly because we have so many other things we use in the classroom.

FarFaria is another app with books in it.  These tend to be a bit more leveled and aren't trade books.  My kiddos enjoy visiting the themed islands and exploring the books.  There's a range of levels, interesting text, and it's organized in a fun way.

Bugs & Bubbles, Buttons, Numbers are another set of apps, all focusing on numbers and problem solving.  There's mazes, puzzles, and number matching.  The easiest is Bugs & Buttons.  Being a mom of boys, this fits right in with their interest level of searching for rollie-pollies in the backyard.

My Second Graders Love

We have 1:1 in our classroom.  There are a few web sites and apps that we use almost every day.

RazKids.  We have a subscription to the web site version and it links up nicely to the app.  Students can read books at their guided reading level and earn stars for their progress.  My students mainly love earning stars and building their rockets.  The books are nice, too.  I'm using them in small groups with one of my kiddos who doesn't fit well with any of my groups but still need some teacher time.  He reads books at his level through the app while I'm working with the other students in that group. This is a picture of their old logo, but the links will lead you to their app.

Someone just introduced me to Adobe Voice for story writing.  I have yet to introduce it to my students (I just found out about it a week ago), but I can totally see how it will revolutionize our writing time!

I Love

As for me, well, I use my phone much more than my iPad, but I do have a few apps that I use regularly.

One of the apps I use most often is Notability.  I can import PDF pages into the app and the write on the PDFs.  Since most of what I create or download from TpT is in PDF format, I'm able to write on it, type on it, and manipulate what I add to the PDF.

I use the notes program on my Mac all the time to jot quick notes.  Unfortunately, it's kinda like a jumble of sticky notes and all sorts of disorganized.  I've recently started using Evernote more to help organize my notes and ideas into some sort of cohesion.

I'm not going to go into all the social media apps that I use, but just know that Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram are not far from my fingertips!  I also use Rhonna and A Beautiful Mess to design and add to pictures for the blog and Instagram.

Educreations is useful when you want to record something that includes photos and writing on the iPad.  I've played around with it a bit, but haven't actually used it in the classroom with my students yet.

IPEVO Whiteboard is my absolute favorite screen projection app.  I don't have the stand that goes with it, but I love using it to project things with my iPad and write all over them!

I have a few other apps that are good for business and personal ones that I use almost daily, but the above are those that influence my teaching.

Do you have any awesome iPhone / iPad apps that you can't live without?  I'd love to discover some new ones!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Peek at My Week ~ Dec. 8 - 12

I know it's been awhile since I've created a Peek at My Week.  Life has been crazy and I feel like I've just been pulling resources, rather than really planning anything significant.  I sat down last week and planned a few things and pulled a few others.  So, here's what we're doing.  As always, click on the photo or this link to download the PDF with clickable links.


Reading Comprehension

I started reading The Boxcar Children to the students last week.  I've never read it before and heard it was a great book!  We're about 1/4 of the way through it and it's just okay.  It's pretty dated, but I'm reserving my final judgement of it until we finish the book.

Math

We're continuing our use of my Daily Math pages and Automaticity by Strategy packets.  We're also going to do some pages from my Cut and Paste Math Activities pack this week.  I have quite a few sub days this week, so it's an easy pull and photocopy thing to keep students on task.

Writing

Last week, we worked on Polar Bear paragraphs (with quite a few interruptions!), so this week, we'll finish the paragraph and start working on Caribou / Reindeer paragraphs.  I'm using this process that I used last Spring when writing expository paragraphs.

Social Studies

We're doing Holidays Around the World this year with this flip flap book.  I love how I can keep the students busy for 8 days and have a pretty cool finished product at the end!

So, how is your week shaping up?  Find more Peek at My Weeks on Mrs. Willis Kindergarten's blog!


A Few of My Favorite Things

It's that time of year!  I love the holiday season!  This year, I have the honor of participating in a blog hop with many bloggers.  Sit back and enjoy a few of our favorite things!

Because we value our followers and wanted to treat you to our favorite things Oprah style, we have put together the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:



So, what are my FAVORITE things?  Here are a few of them!


Restaurant

We have a lot of favorite restaurants.  Living in a suburban area means that we have a wide variety of choices.  If I had to pick one, I think our family's favorite would have to be AndalĂ©.  It's fresh food, healthy, and just plain good.  We eat there after church several times a month.




Beauty Item

If you are close to me, you know that I'm not a person who has favorite beauty items.  I'm all about connivence.  What is going to be quick.  Most of the time, I don't wear make-up and if I can get away without doing my hair, I try my best.  That being said, the thing that has helped me a ton this year has been this little tool:
It's an HSI Ionic Flat Iron. I've figured out that if I straighten my hair one day, it will last about 5 days without needing much styling effort in the mornings.  That means less effort on the days that I don't straighten it.

The other thing that I've figured out is that I don't need to use product in my hair, if I straighten it.  If I leave it curly, then it's just too messy.  But, straight, no product!  That means less money spend on stuff for my hair!

My sister-in-law keyed me in on a secret, too.  In order for the styling in this to last, the hair needs to be completely dry.  So, I usually style it at night and I'm good to go the next morning with just a few touch ups!


Teaching Tool

My favorite teaching tool is my classroom library.  I LOVE books.  I spend a ton of money on books for myself and books for my students.  Sometimes those lines are a bit blurred.


This is a picture after I reorganized my library.  I've since gotten more books and the library is a mess again!  How do you keep your library organized!  It's driving me nuts!

I have a higher group of readers this year, and it has been so much fun seeing them blossom as readers.

What am I giving away?  I'm giving away one of these.  We LOVE Amazon.  In fact, I think we did most of our Christmas shopping through Amazon.  You can't been the easy of delivery!


And, just to sweeten the deal, this product is 50% off from 12/7 - 12/14.


It's a BUNDLE of my Money Matching & Word Problems.  This is seven months / themes of matching cards with five complex word problems per pack.  I created these for high second graders and third graders.  It's great for fourth grade, too.  Some of those word problems are tricky!

If you search TpT with this term: #myfavoritething2014, you should be able to locate most of the products that are discounted with this blog hop.  I've linked the search above, but I'm not 100% sure it will work!

See this graphic below?  It's all the bloggers participating in this giveaway and link-up.  There's a TON of us!  Read below for all the prizes and links to other blog posts!



7 winners for 7 prize packs!














Come and enter the giveaway and check out my bloggy friends' favorite things:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Melissa & Doug on Amazon

Amazon has reduced some of the Melissa and Doug toys significantly.  Most of their toys are great for preschoolers, but I've found a few helpful in K-2 classrooms, too.  They're prices are basically 50% off.  If you're in need of some great activities for your word work or other learning stations, these would be great!


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Stringing Beads with over 200 beads

These would be great for word work centers.  My girls LOVE them.  The boys may be interested, too!


Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards

We've started working on tangrams lately as a fun exploration. These would be a perfect supplement to our resources!



Melissa & Doug See & Spell

I used these in my Kindergarten classroom and my two boys at home love matching the letters putting all the pieces in the right place.


 And, some great play dough toys.

What's on your classroom wishlist?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pick 3 - Pinterest Pins

I'm linking up with Lisa at Pawsitively Teaching for a new linky!  It's Pick 3!


I'm excited to be linking up and seeing everyone's Pinterest inspirations for the month!  Here are mine: 


I'm loving the color and simplicity of this. We've done a few watercolor things this year and I might have to do another this month!


This looks so cool! I don't really have an application of it, yet, but I'm sure I can figure out something!



This last one has been around for a while. Again, simple and easy. Do you see a theme?


So, what do you have planned for this month? See anything inspiring on Pinterest lately? I'd love for a link the comments so I can go check it out, myself!

Here's the other participants in the linky: