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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Themed Behavior Clip Charts

Have you seen the Clip Charts that are all the rage?  Check them out here at The Polka Dot Patch. She also has some very nice calendars and a parent letter, too. You can see some more examples here, and here. This is a simple management system to promote positive behavior developed by Rick Morris.
 You can read about it here.
I've made some thematic ones (okay I made a lot- I like to be prepared for any theme that catches my fancy!) and compiled the materials into an organization/ parent packet that includes the poster labels, a tracking form, parent letter, and a quick n' easy note home. I also made some matching pencil labels -or you can use them as stickers. I used clipart from DJ Inkers, Lettering Delights, and DigiWeb Studio.
Just click on the theme you like below.
Please let me know if you like them! :)

Bear Theme     Bear Labels
Castle Theme     Castle Labels
Coconut Monkey Theme     Coconut Monkey Labels
Cow Theme     Cow Labels
Crayon Theme     Crayon Labels
Frog Theme     Frog Labels
Frog Theme 2     Frog Labels 2
Frog N Monkey Theme     Frog N Monkey Labels
Frog N Monkey Theme w/ Awesome     (no need for different labels) :)
Giraffe Theme     Giraffe Labels
Gumball or Polka Dot Theme     Gumball Labels
Navy Theme     Navy Labels
Owl Theme     Owl Labels
Pumpkin Patch Theme     Pumpkin Patch Labels
Raccoon Theme     Raccoon Labels
Sailor Theme     Sailor Labels
Scarecrow Theme     Scarecrow Labels
Zebra Theme     Zebra Labels

***Update: OMG! Several of the theme packs were missing the "Think About It" label! It just up and disappeared on me. GGGGRRRRRROOOOOAAAAANNNNNN They are fixed now and I am SO SORRY if I wasted your time/ink. Please forgive me. :)***
Happy Clip Charting!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Picture Drawing Rubric/ Anchor Chart

Jenn at Finally in First has done it again! She posted the greatest Picture Drawing Rubric! What a head slap moment for me. I know I always encourage drawing details and we do talk about it, but to have it up througout the year as an anchor chart? Not until this year! She's so positive, too. I love how she encourages her kiddos to rise to the challenge by asking what they can do to make their picture a 4! Seriously, if you're not following this lady, go there now!

Happy Drawing!

Lettering Delights Sale!

Do you love the fonts and clipart you've been seeing on cute projects and freebies in blogland? Want 'em for your very own?
Hurry over to Lettering Delights! They have an unbelievable sale going on right now. Lots of great stuff for 50 cents!!!  The sale ends Sunday, July 31 so hop over in a hurry!

I emailed them about their terms of use (I don't speak "legalese" so I do this a lot) and got a super quick and kind reply that said:
"If you create items, using our products, for your classroom and share with a few teachers, that is just fine. However, once you start to sell those items you have created, then you would need to purchase the commercial version of our products. If there is a product you want to you that does not have a commercial version, please let us know and we will create it for you (there are a few restrictions like 3rd party artist products, etc - we will let you know if you request one of these). If you purchase a product with a regular license and then later want a commercial license, you will need to repurchase the commercial version.

The cost of the commercial version is very reasonable at $12.95."
That IS reasonable! Hop over to Lettering Delights, sign up for their newsletter, and get some great free stuff as well! Become an affiliate, put their button on your blog, and let everyone know about this fantastic company!
Happy (super cheap) Shopping!

Teacher Blog Etiquette

I am pretty new to the blogging world and have been seeing lots of posts from other bloggers about their pet peeves and frustration with those who are unfamiliar with the rules (spoken and unspoken) of blogging. So, I decided I would research the topic and see what I could find.

Here it is along with some of the resources I used when compiling this list:
Posting and Creating
  • Celebrate your Followers! Offer a giveaway or a freebie every so often. :) I've seen many follow the general rule of offering 10% of their creations as freebies. That being said, some teachers don't sell anything at all and offer everything for free! I am somewhat torn. I would love to offer everything for free and just share, but I am currently unemployed... so there you have it. :/
  • Post ideas, free items, items you have posted on Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher's Notebook.
  • Post pictures of progresses and successes you have had in the classroom.
  • DO NOT post pictures of children or give their names. You can cover their faces with blurring, smiley faces, hearts, or some other icon to keep their identity safe.
  • Post your own pictures, not someone else's.
  • READ the TERMS OF USE for fonts and clipart, etc. Some allow their items to be used only for the sharing of free items, some allow only for selling items in a certain format, some allow for a few freebies, some allow use of some of their items under one use and others under completely different rules. Almost all ask that you state "Font by___", "Clipart by ___ " on each and every item or page and offer a link to them on your blog.
  • Just because you see someone else using clipart that you thought was not allowed for their purpose, doesn't mean they are wrong OR that you can do it, too. Many sites offer the exact same clipart/fonts under different terms of use and for different prices. DO YOUR RESEARCH!
  • Posting should be respectful to all people at all times in all situations. It is okay to express frustration towards a SITUATION, not a PERSON. It is okay to ask advice on how to handle a SITUATION, not make complaints or attacks on a PERSON. Confrontations should take place privately and only between the parties involved.
Linky Parties
  • Link up to Linky Parties, but be sure to follow the Party Host's Rules. This gets visitors to your blog and is a GREAT way to build your resources and share with others.
  • Link up to Linky Parties ONLY if you share something regarding the Party's topic. Linking up just to "plug" your own blog is in bad taste.
  • Link up to Linky Parties by linking the post that describes the topic- NOT directly to the home page of your entire blog. Again, this is considered bad taste because it's more of a "plug" for your blog and it makes it difficult/frustrating for readers to find the topic they clicked after in the first place!
  • Be sure to give a wink and a nod to the Linky Party host by including a link back to the host's blog and thank them for hosting the party- hosts often offer an easy way to link back to their blog with a "button code"- it's like a backstage pass you add by copying and pasting their "button" into the "HTML" tab on your blog's post.
  • If there isn't a "button" to add to your post- mention them by name and link their web address to it. ALWAYS find a way to link back to them.
  • For more information regarding Linky Party Etiquette, visit Jen at Finally in First and read her post about Linky Party Etiquette.
  • The Teacher Wife also did a nice post on her personal Pet Peeves regarding the Do's and Dont's of Teacher Blogging.
Inspiration vs. Stealing
One question I find asked most often on other blogs, but never really answered is taking someone's idea as inspiration and tweaking it to meet the needs of your classroom. We all know there's nothing new under the sun. Believe me, many bloggers (even top, seasoned bloggers) are biting their nails and losing sleep over this as illustrated in some comments I have read- and made! I have found it frustrating to see this question not answered so I guess I'll try. Here's what I've been able to gather so far:
  • It is okay to make something similar to someone else's idea BUT YOU MUST LINK BACK TO THE ORIGINAL IDEA and give proper credit or "much props". :)
  • It is NOT okay to basically copy someone's work and pass it off as your own idea.
  • It is cause for a lynch mob to be gathered in your honor if you take someone's idea without linking back to them and sell it- especially if they are giving it away for free! (That will get you sent directly to jail, do not pass go...) Phew! You thought Mama Bears were fierce about their babies- just try to steal a teacher blogger's "idea baby"!
  • If you like someone's idea and design, but want the same thing in a different color/theme- it is okay to create it yourself as long as you link back to the original designer and do not offer their idea lumped in with yours- just link back to them OR ask the original designer to create one for you by leaving a comment on their post. Most are more than willing to accommodate you.
  • There is still some gray area regarding making something and offering it for free that the original designer is selling. In general, it is considered bad taste and undercutting, but the argument is why would you pay for something when you can make it for free? Basically, it has to be a significant change- not just making the same frog clipart in purple instead of green. Do you get my drift?  ALWAYS CLEAR IT WITH THE ORIGINAL DESIGNER AND LINK BACK TO THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN.
  • If someone takes an idea of yours and you don't feel proper credit has been given or the changes were not significant enough, it is your right and responsibility to POLITELY let this person know that you would prefer them to change the item more or give you credit. Always assume that the person did not mean to offend you and is not aware of blogging etiquette. We don't automatically assume our kiddos are evil at heart; the same terms should apply for our peers.
The Bottom Line

The main theme I have seen is to celebrate each other's successes and ingenuity, just like we do with our students in the classroom. You wouldn't take some kid's drawing and say you did it, but you may say, "I really like what so and so did in his/her picture and I'm going to try to do it THIS way. If you would like to see it or learn how to do it, ask so and so. They are the expert (not me)".

Everyone likes to be praised and teacher blogs are a forum to praise one another and spread the word that someone has something that will make this job a little easier for everyone.

If you have anything you would like to add, please feel free to leave a comment. I would really like to make this post a one-stop resource for new (and seasoned) bloggers! :) 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 6: The Critical Role of Language in Learning: Using Language to Learn

Here are my reflections on Chapter 5 of the Literacy Beginnings Book Study Blog Party hosted by Vanessa Levin of Pre-K Pages.
Pre-K Pages

My favorite quote:
"Before they begin school, children have had conversations with others in their homes and communities, but the words used in these contexts are less varied than the vocabulary they will encounter in school. Prekindergarten opens up the world of language for young children."

The authors describe 4 kinds of talk-
  •  Narrative: This is "storytelling talk". It's important to praise all attempts at storytelling as successes because, " Children come to prekindergarten with their own familial and cultural backgrounds, and they may understand stories and story sturcture in different ways." When I taught in Japan, I had the cutest little girl in my class who did not speak a lick of English! She was silent for MONTHS! I just kept modeling and allowing her the opportunity to interact with other students (she was very shy- as is often the case with ESL students). The following year, her first grade teacher stopped me in the hall one day and laughingly complained about this little chatterbox!  A few ways to expand on youngster's Narrative talk is by using wordless picture books and encouraging the kiddos to "tell me more about that". Also, after reading a familiar story several times, be sure to make it available during Choice Time so that shy ones can practice without a huge, scary audience!
  • Explaining and Seeking Information: Prekindergartners love to report what they have learned, but often lack the syntax and grammar skills that make listening to a story easy. That's why it's important to have them practice! Activities like Show and Tell,

    sharing a Class Mascot journal entry after they take the mascot home, hosting a Scientist of the Week program (find more about this here), and sharing or talking about inquiry project observations can encourage skill development in this type of talk. These activities are easy to tie into predictable charts and making class books as discussed in the last chapter.
You can also use these projects to tie into an Oral Language Interview in the Round activity by passing the microphone around the circle and having students ask, "What is your favorite (plant, rock, pond animal)?" and having the next student answer in a full sentence, "My favorite (plant, rock, pond animal) is...". Continue around the circle allowing each student the opportunity to ask and answer. For Thanksgiving, have kids ask each other what they would like on their plate or practice manners by having them say, "Please Pass the___" and "Thank you" as well as "You're welcome". Teach kids to say these words in different languages

- my kids LOVE this! Also, when kids remember to say these words, I always get a giggle and a whole bunch of politeness when I make a big deal over one student by replying, "You're welcome, kind Sir/Lady!".

  • Oral Performances and Responding to Performances: This goes great with Share Time activities. Start out small by modeling and then having students state their favorite part of the sharing Author's work, then two things, then two things they like and one thing they would like to see (Two Stars and a Wish). You can also use this practice as a quick assessment by having students show off a new skill they have learned such as reciting a Nursery Rhyme from memory, counting, singing a song, participating in Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? chant, etc. Hosting an Author's Tea at the end of the year can connect this practice between home and school. Shared Reading activities are a form of responding to performances as are Listening Center reflection journals like these for free! I also like to have students recommend books to their friends and share in front of the class why they think this f

    riend will like the book. There's a form for that included in the reflection journals download above. Be sure to read your focus texts over and over to give kids the chance to internalize story language and you will soon hear it in their everyday talk and see it in their own writing.
  • Giving and Understanding Directions: This is something we model and practice quite a lot, especially in the beginning of the year! Kids often need you to provide the words to express what they cannot. "Stop! I don't like when you___. Please ____ instead." Encourage answering in complete sentences, but be sure to model what that sentence is! :) One activity to help develop this skill is "How To" writing. Remember the oldies, but goodies like Red Light, Green Light, Mother May I, and (Simon) Says!

Hand over the power!
After modeling what Calendar Time looks like, have the Leader of the Day help you. By the end of the year, students will be able to conduct Calendar Time almost completely by themselves!

It's also important to model and practice the Rules of Conversation:
  •  Take turns (use something tangible like a stuffed animal for the speaker to hold)
  •  Look at the speaker (remind children to turn and look at ___ when a raised hand is called upon)
  •  Respond to the topic or signal a change of topic: "We are writing/drawing/talking about (bears). Should I see/hear about a (giraffe)?" The kids always giggle and say, NOOOOO! :)
  •  Getting a turn in a polite way: Provide "I Need Help" signs and here and here for posters, or footprints to stand on when waiting for the teacher's attention, model saying "Excuse me" and waiting for the person to look at you.
  •  Use polite language and encourage students to do the same.
  •  Address people by name: those name games in the beginning of the year can be used throughout the year as well.
  •  Adjust the tone of your voice to fit the setting: Noise level posters, Leader of the Day can monitor the line for talking.
  •  Build on other's comments: add to the story activities.
  •  Ask questions to support dialogue: ask open- ended questions rather than questions that can be responded to with a simple yes/no/one word reply.
  •  Choose topics that expand vocabulary and show new learning: Have a Directions Director for students to go to if they forget or don't understand, encourage new vocabulary with themed word walls, use proper terminology in the classroom (stem, root, duckling, calf, etc.) Click here for lots of vocabulary words to focus on from Carl's Corner and here for themed word walls from Vanessa Levin.
  •  Clarify meaning: "Tell me more about that.", ask questions before, during, and after reading, model thinking aloud. Encourage students to make Text to Self, World, Book connections when reading.
  •  Have a point when speaking: tell 'em what you're going to teach 'em, teach 'em, tell 'em what you taught 'em, ask THEM to tell YOU what you taught 'em.
  •  Inform others and be informed: (discussed above)
  •  Negotiate responsibilites: Role play ways to take turns. Provide visuals as reminders like here.
  •  Express opinions and feelings: Model and practice problem solving. Here is an excerpt from the Conscious Discipline website modeling how to teach conflict resolution and providing children with the words they are so often lacking at this age:
(3-4 year old) Being bullied on the playground:
Your preschooler runs over to you at the playground, whining, "He pushed me.” Your child is focused on being hurt. You can focus on an assertive solution. Ask him "Did you like it?" Then instruct him to tell his playmate, "I don't like it when you push me." Encourage him to practice saying it. Teach him to use an assertive voice because either an aggressive voice or a passive (whiny) voice will invite further aggression. (An assertive voice sounds like “just do it.”) Practice with your child. Tell him to make his voice match yours. When his voice sounds assertive, support his success with, “There you go. You did it!”
(5 year old) Bullied in Kindergarten:
Your child wanted her friend's blue marker, so she smacked her friend and took it. Rather than highlighting poor behavior by admonishing your child as a first response, focus on a solution by teaching new skills. Go to the victim. Console him and ask, "Did you like being hit?" Then turn to your child and say, "You wanted a blue marker so you hit your friend." Resist the urge to judge the action as mean. Instead, see it as an opportunity to teach communication skills. Say, "You didn't know the words to say to get the marker, did you?" Tell her directly, "You may not hit. Hitting hurts. When you want a marker, say 'May I have a turn, please?' Say it now, for practice." When you handle the situation this way, your child is seen as someone who didn't know better. If she seems remorseful, she may apologize. Whether she apologizes or not, your goal is to focus on teaching her the skills needed to behave acceptably the next time.
The Early Childhood classroom should be humming with conversation!
However, it IS important to teach volume levels. Dr. Jean's Rules Rap and singing familiar songs in different voices can help build volume awareness. Although, don't expect every child to internalize this- some kids only have one volume- LOUD! :D Noise level posters click here, here, and here can help illustrate volume levels for visual and ESL learners.

The bottom line: if you want kids to write, let them write.

If you want kids to read, let them read.

If you want kids to improve literacy overall, let them talk!

Happy Talking!

Eyecatching Round Supply Labels from Ladybug

Check out these large and small ROUND labels that Ladybug made.

She also includes one of her handy-dandy tutorials for cutting circles easily. Very cute! She's inspiring me...

Happy Labeling!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fantastic Blog!

Hop over to Lesson Plan Diva- she is amazing!

Her freebies are great and her TPT stuff is VERY reasonably priced.

Happy Blog Stalking!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Day of School Beginning-Middle-End Journal Page


posted a very cute idea for recording First Day of School Memories.

It's a neat little graphic organizer/ journal page/ keepsake for their Portfolio using Beginning, Middle, End. For older students, have them draw, then write sentences about their day. For younger ones, you could either have them dictate or cut off the bottom and just have them draw.

I loved the idea so I made lots of 'em to match different themes. Remember, my interests tend to hop around a lot? So, I needed them to match all possibilities. :D
Hers has the cutest kid clipart so hop over there to download it. I have included some of the themes here for free, but you can access ALL SORTS of themes- over 46 pages! -
on my TPT page.

Here are some free ones!
Air Force Theme

Army Theme

Flag and Ship

Owl Theme

Explorer Theme

Marine Theme

Navy Theme or Sailor Theme

Camping Theme

Happy Keepsaking!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 5:Using a Framework for Language and Literacy Teaching

The Literacy Beginnings Book Study Blog Party hosted by Vanessa Levin at Pre-K Pages is going strong.
Pre-K Pages

Here are my reflections on Chapter 5:

This chapter read like a literacy based How To for setting up an Early Childhood Education program. It gives the reader a basic framework for a typical prekindergarten instructional program that is easy to read and understand.

One thing I liked in particular is that the suggested framework was divided by 3 year old and 4 year old classes. If you haven't had the experience, take it from me- there is a BIG difference between a 3 year old and a 4 year old!

However, both programs have similar activities that should take place every day in a high quality
Early Childhood Education program:

Morning Meeting
Circle Time
Snack Time
Bathroom Breaks
Outdoor Play
Literacy Activities/Centers
Choice Time
Inquiry Based Projects/Experiences
Story Time

Book Based Activities
Phonemic Awareness
Letter/Word Study
Phonics Activities
Library Time

Oh, and don't forget Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Computer, Music... LOL.

The authors do acknowledge that there is a LOT to fit in each day. They suggest incorporating multiple subjects across the curriculum to be sure you get it all in. Tying a favorite Read Aloud into interactive and independent writing and reading, inquiry projects, science experiments, cooking activities, book-making, social studies, math, art, etc.

Books are the glue!
The chapter goes on to emphasize 3 Essential Literacy Activities:

Interactive and Shared Reading
Library Time
Book Activities

These activities are an absolute requirement for your program.
There are a few of my go-to resources for conducting these activities listed throughout this post. You know, one or two. :)

The chapter then focuses on each Essential Literacy Area that takes place in a high quality early education program:

Interactive Read Alouds: Before, during, after reading questions, think and talk about the text together as you read. I really love reading Robert Munsch books. They are incredibly easy to make interactive- something Robert Munsch believes in very strongly. (He came to our school in Japan for a workshop. Such a nice man!) Robert Munsch's books are full of repetitive text and onomatopoeia (sound effects).

Shared Reading: Reading in unison, concentrate on concepts about print, lots of repetition.

Interactive Writing: the teacher and the students share the pen. Students can add letters, sight words,
names, punctuation, etc. Model and practice coming up quickly and sitting down quickly.

Shared Writing: the teacher is the scribe. You can write Thank You letters, mini lessons for Independent writing can take place here, predictable charts, etc.

Independent Writing/Drawing/Bookmaking: This is where Writer's Workshop comes in. Start with procedures, labeling pictures, stretching/writing the sounds you hear, craft lessons, focus on what students can nearly do. Remember the ZPD?  (Zone of Proximal Development)

Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: Songs, fingerplays, rhymes, name activities, etc.

ABC/Word Study: In the beginning of the year , you will focus on letters while the latter part of the year focuses on words.

Choice Time: I LOVE that the authors backed up the importance of introducing centers slooooowwwly and no more than 1 a day. Turn or cover those shelves before school starts, teachers! We've got sound backup to support it now! :D

Circle Time: the authors describe the whole group meeting area as "the hearth of your community". So nice! make it spacious enough for all to sit comfortably, inviting, and cozy. The authors also mention the importance of having a short share time for any important news the kids would like to share with their classroom family.

Library Time: Provide a variet y of seating choices, organize with labels on containers and shelving, teach proper book handling procedures- I love reading Mr. Wiggles books for this, and include class made books.

Book Activities: respond through literature through drawing, writing, dramatic retelling, art activities, cooking, etc.

Writing Activities: A good suggestion was to place interactive writing/drawing just before independent writing/drawing to act as a mini lesson.

Family Connection/Communication: The authors are sure to note that,

"Parents and Caregivers are your partners in supporting children's development."

Begin before school starts with a leter, postcard, or phone call to introduce yourself to your new students and their families. Keep up communication with newsletters, emails, notes, meetings, and phone calls. They also add a nice little How To on writing a newsletter.

I hope you are enjoying the Book Study. It's not too late to join in!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Free Label for Funny Moments Keepsake Journal

Mrs. Dillard at Oh The Places We'll Go has the cutest Linky Party goin' on:

Out of the Mouths of Babes! 
Super simple: just add an anecdote of a funny moment/comment you have had in class with your little ones. I have been LOL'ing and ROFL'ing and just plain tickled pink with tears rolling down my cheeks at these stories!

So, here's one of my favorites: My first year of teaching we made Gingerbread houses with graham crackers. While the kids were at lunch, I carefully removed each student's roof and placed a Gingerbread Man inside.The kids were sooo thrilled to find they had caught a Gingerbread Man. A few of my little ones had been pulled for Specials so I informed them that we would keep watch over their Gingerbread Men so they could eat them when they got back. One little cutie comes up to me a few minutes later, pleased as punch, to inform me she had eaten the legs off all her friends' Gingerbread Men so they wouldn't run away! LOL Good thing I had extras! Now, I'm sure to place any goodies well out of reach should we have to save them for friends- Lesson Learned! :D

Mrs. Dillard also expressed a very common issue with remembering to jot those LOL moments down before they fly out of your head at the end of the day. Thank goodness I'm not the only teacher with an extremely short-term memory! Solution: I thought I would make a journal to keep handy. Of course, it has to be cute so I will remember to reach for it! :P
Click on the picture below for the link.

I set up these Journal labels using Avery 5168 labels to stick on a Composition Book. I uploaded this as a Word Document so you can adjust the label to match your name, your grade level, and the school year. I love the idea of being able to go back and read them year after year. This would also be a great wait time activity to set out during conferences. As always, feel free to use or improve and please leave a comment below if you like them!

Happy Memory Making!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Snack Procedure Sign

A fellow teacher asked about Snack time tips on Pre-K Pages' Facebook page. There were lots of good ideas.
I like to use small, lidded pitchers with juice, milk, or water and place them on a tray to contain spills.
I like the trays from Discount School Supply for this:
Click on picture for link.

 I have used these in the past from Lakeshore:
Click on picture for link.
 Set of 6 for $19.95

I also found these on Amazon for way cheaper: 
Pouring is a very important skill for children to practice. I think the downfalls of messy spills are outweighed by the independence gained when this skill is mastered. However, I also believe that if a child spills, they should also be allowed the opportunity to clean it up- not as a punishment!!!- as a responsibility. Of course, helpers are always welcome. :)
Be sure to have cleaning supplies handy like a dish of soapy water (changed out at least daily) and sponges or rags as well as small dustpans and brooms. You can get all of that at the Dollar Store.

Here is a procedure sign to promote independence during snack time. It's also a great way to use ordinal numbers! Please leave a comment below if you like it.
Click on picture for link.

Here are some snack counting signs. I put mine on book rings to make an easy flip book. This helps kids practice one to one correspondence and counting skills.
Click on picture for link.
In the beginning, you mayare not grabbing handfuls of Cheez-Its instead of counting.
Yes, I'm speaking from experience! :D

Happy Snacking!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grade Level Blog List Linky Party

The Smarty Smart Smart
Primary Connections
blog is having a linky party and it's an easy one! All you have to do is link up your blog under the appropriate grade level list! This list also has an Early Childhood list for vague folks like me. ;) I'm super excited to participate and have such an incredible resource list of amazing blogs! Hurry! Hop on over and check it out. Oh, and they mentioned something about a giveaway... :D

Armed Forces Noise Level Posters

As you may know, I am a Military Spouse. So, in honor of our brave Service Members I made 5 different Noise Level Posters to share with you!
There is a poster for each of the major branches of the military as well as a mixed Armed Services poster.
You can use them year-round or for all our patriotic holidays.
U.S. Armed Services

U.S. Air Force

U.S. Army

U.S. Marines

And I saved the best for last. ;)

U. S. Navy

Please leave a comment if you like them!

Also, be sure to hop over to Mrs. Bee's Kinder Garden. She made the cutest Pirate themed Noise Level Poster and has a very useful How To on making these into posters for
FREE(+ shipping) using Vista Print!

Happy Poster Making! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 4: An Organized, Engaging Environment for Learning

I know I'm dreadfully behind in the Book Study blog party hosted by   
Pre-K Pages
but I refuse to give up! Now that I have passed my Praxis test (with flying colors thankyouverymuch!), I will have more time to devote to this wonderful collaborative learning opportunity! If you are just discovering this, click on the button above to find out more.

This post is my reflection on Chapter 4 which is being hosted by Karen at

Chapter 4 of Literacy Beginnings is all about Organization and Management. This is not an area that comes naturally to me. J However, I love the sense of empowerment that I feel when I am finally organized in some area that has been an "unmade decision" for so long. You wonderful teachers have helped me tremendously in the classroom and a website called The FlyLady.net  is helping me at home. The main theme of organization is doing bits at a time consistently to form habits so that, eventually, it doesn't even feel like work. My mom always told me, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!".
Clipart from www.digiwebstudio.com

There are so many things I have learned about organization and management from so many incredible resources. I will be listing a few of them in this post for you.

The quote that struck me in this chapter is:

“Children learn to inquire or search for information, regulate their own behavior, work with and appreciate others, build curiosity about the world and others, and expand language to new and more complex levels.”  Tons of ideas were popping into my head while reading this one sentence!

Inquiry and searching for information made me think of The Wonder Book and KWL charts as well as placing book bins in the different learning areas rather than confining them to one Library area. Put number and shape books in the Math area, home and family books in the Housekeeping area, color and weather books in the Science area, pet books in a bin near the Class Pet, building books in the Blocks area, etc. Also, house the Leveled Readers in an area all their own. This not only puts books in the proper frame of mind location, but it also takes care of any traffic problems you may encounter by keeping the books in one spot. The whole point of having a literacy rich environment is surrounding children with language; helping them see that words are everywhere and help us learn more about our world.

The Wonder Book is simply a binder of questions (illustrated for emergent readers, of course). Whenever you come across new information that has been “wondered” about, feel free to have a student draw/write the answer in the Wonder Book. However, the purpose of The Wonder Book is not necessarily to answer all the questions you and your class come up with. It’s there to demonstrate that there is value in questioning alone. At the end of the year, you can review the Wonder Book and have children explore possible answers to those questions that did not get answered during the year or make a copy for students to keep and continue to add to as they grow.

Regulating behavior: this is a biggie in Early Childhood. The discovery of Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey was the Aha! moment I needed desperately. If you haven’t read it, go there now! It never felt great sending a child to Time Out as punishment. The Safe Spot is NOT a punishment. It is a place for reflection, gathering composure, or just a spot to be alone for a moment. The Safe Spot includes pictures illustrating different methods for calming down, relaxation techniques and aids, seating and other objects to provide comfort, activities to encourage proper expression of emotions, etc.
Safe Place Breathing Icons- free printable poster from http://ConsciousDiscipline.com

Working with and appreciating others is a big part of the Early Childhood classroom. Celebrating special moments such as the birth of a baby brother or sister, birthdays, classroom leaders and helpers, exciting news, or simply enjoying the specialness of ourselves reaches into all areas of learning and ability. My favorite resources are I Love You Rituals by Dr. Becky Bailey and , of course, Dr. Jean.

Expand language to new and more complex levels: Math talk cards, modeling and practicing conflict resolution, circle games used to introduce each other, themed vocabulary word walls, etc.
Check out ABCteach.com for several word walls with pictures or just google and you will find tons of free resources. :)
Another point made in this chapter is to change out certain areas of the classroom to keep interest levels high. Areas such as Dramatic Play, Sand/Water tables, an area to feature books related to your current theme, Author Study feature area are easy to change out and keep things enticing. 
The key to keeping things orderly and in one piece is to Introduce, Model, Practice, Introduce, Model, Practice…
Here's a free idea form for keeping your sensory tables new and enticing:

Lea McGee’s Transforming Literacy Practices in Prekindergarten: Research-Based Practices That Give All Children the Opportunity to Reach Their Potential as Learners by Scholastic states that the number of books should equal 5 times the number of children in the class!
# of books = 5(# of children)
Do you hear that, honey???   

Now that we know we can include so much in the environment, we need a little reminder that it is also important to

The fabulous book The Cornerstone by Angela S. Powell,

and Debbie Diller’s book Spaces and Places,

and the amazing blog:
Clutter-Free Classroom

have all helped me tremendously in this area. The biggest tip for a visual learner like me was to choose a color scheme for the classrooom. I cannot tell you how this simple idea has helped the kids AND ME feel calmer. It's so ... (sigh)... :). So remember, monochromatic isn't just about clothes!

Also, you don’t need a lot of froufrou in the classroom. Avoiding all the cutesy wall fillers leaves plenty of space to feature student work. Invest in some dollar store frames or fancy scissors to make paper frames to feature the masterpieces of their minds!

Make your classroom inviting by using rugs to define areas, cushy pillows for a comfy reading spot,

 lamps for ambient vs. fluorescent lighting,
LOL! Just checking to see if you were still listening. ;)
and plants to keep the air clean and fresh!

What an inviting place to learn through play!

Happy Organizing!

Counting Coconuts freebie from Peace, Love and Learning

Here's a great game that can be played lots of ways-
Go Fish style, Pull a card and find the match, Concentration or Memory.
The games can also be differentiated-
Low: Cards 0-5 or 0-10, Target: Cards 0-10 or 0-15, and High: All Cards.

Hop over to Peace, Love, and Learning to get yours now!

Happy Happy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom-ing!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mrs. I's Class: More Writing Paper Version Requests (freebie)

Love this! A built in rubric reminder for journal pages, books, centers, etc. Just cut, paste and copy.
You gotta follow this blog! It's got tons of great stuff.

Mrs. I's Class: More Writing Paper Version Requests (freebie): "I had some other requests for changes to the writing paper so here you go. Here are both versions of the paper turned to be horizontal. ..."

The Kissing Hand Spin & Graph Freebie!

Oh, you are going to love this lady!

She has the most adorable Kissing Hand themed Spin & Graph activity that's just great during Math Workstations for Probability.
 Hop over and check it out!