The Stars of the Alphabet

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Teaching the littles is so much fun!  I love introducing the vowels to my literacy kiddos.  



Welcome to another edition of...



I don't know how you teach the vowels but we refer to them as the STARS 🌟⭐ of the alphabet!  When I introduce the vowels I get all 'extra' and over the top and make a really big deal about how 'famous' they are... I talk about rolling out the RED CARPET for these special letters/sounds.


They are typically very curious at this point and want to know what in the world I could possibly be talking about.


Enter in....





I make a large star and write one vowel on each of the POINTS of the star then in the center write 5 stars of the alphabet.  I have 5 small stars like the ones on the pencils up by my wall alphabet too so they see them there all year.  Then I also make 5 stars like the ones you see and place them on popsicle sticks or pencils as props.  We talk about how they are so special because every word has a vowel 

( the 'y' as a vowel lesson comes later ) and how they are so lucky because they make 2 sounds and are super important to our alphabet and words.



This time around since we are virtual teaching and on zoom I actually wore this star as a badge.  It was pretty big and obnoxious but I got my point across with it.

One of the early lessons is to write the kids names ( from your small groups ) on large chart/anchor paper.  Then I ask them where these 'famous' vowels are in their name...can they find them???


I give them the STAR WAND of course to use to find the vowels in their name. THEY LOVE THIS!










Keep the momentum  going throughout the year but especially these first few months reminding them that the vowels are the STARS of the alphabet.  They will soon learn to recognize them and refer to them as a 'star'.  Also the fact that a star has 5 points and a vowel is written on each point is very visual and helpful to them as well.  Have fun with it and let me know how you expand on these ideas!



This picture shows you that you can use this idea IN PERSON or ON LINE it doesn't matter, the point still comes across and it's a fun lesson on introducing vowels to the littles.



If you want to grab the song for yourself and other activities to reinforce this idea you can grab my short vowel pack here:






Happy teaching my friends!!!!

xoxo,



Shout Outs to build community at your school

Sunday, September 20, 2020

SHOUT OUTS are a great way to build community!  📣 🎉🥳


I'm no stranger to talking about and promoting community building and relationship building when it comes to school.  So why stop when we are in distant learning?!?!


I've seen time and time that teachers are afraid to try things in distant learning...  Yes, you can still have sharing, Friday Line up, Student of the Week etc.  Distant learning should be no different in this regard.  So if you are used to writing letters/notes, or having shouts you should still be doing that whether you are in person or online.

My site does a wonderful job of handling this...they treat it just like we were in person!  Go figure!  It can and (should) be done imho.


Last Spring when we were ( thrown into ) and...knee deep in EMERGENCY remote teaching my school gave out OWLL SIGHTINGS.  It was an award which stood for...

OUTSTANDING WEB BASED LEARNING LEADER ~~ how cute are my admin!?!?! 🦉🦉🦉





I received this award last Spring by my admin and was the first one to receive it.  I was shocked, humbled and incredibly grateful and encouraged.  If you haven't noticed --- I'm not so young. LOL  I grew up on dirtbikes and staying out til' the street lights came on in the 70's and 80's so technology doesn't come naturally to me.  I definitely have to work at it.

It was so encouraging to see that my hard work was paying off and even more so to be recognized for it.  We don't do this for the kudos but in an emergency state of learning and teaching I will say it sure picked my spirits up.


Guess what that little bit of recognition made me do!?!?!  It made me want to step up  my game even more...learn more apps, research how to be even more successful in distant teaching.  That's what encouragment does folks.  We all innately want to do our best for our students but great leadership doesn't hurt.  It has always made me want to be better and do better.


This time around ( we are still in the distant learning model ) our PTO has stepped in as well.  They are accepting SHOUT OUTS to students, families,  and staff.  What a fantastic idea!  They will share them on social media and at our Friday Line Ups each week.  I think rewarding people for their hard work, kindness and dedication is crucial especially in times like we are in currently.


If you are interested in a little shout out form that you can use in your own classroom or want to share with your site - I have some editable ones you can grab just by joining my email list.






See my side bar or the top of my blog to join!

Why not spread the love, spread kindness and find the good in all the hard work you see happening around you!?!

However you are currently teaching I wish you well...bless you my teacher friends and....happy teaching!

xoxo,

                                                                      




PAJAMA PARTY read aloud Distant Learning

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Welcome to another edition of ....


This week I want to talk to you about a way that you can connect on a deeper level with your student via Distant learning.


I have seen this a few times over the last few months and knew that I wanted to plan a time to have a Pajama Party Read Aloud with my students.  When I saw that my friend Christina made an invitation I thought, why not now.


Having a PJ party read aloud is easy, fun and endearing to your students and families.  It sends a very CLEAR message to both your students and families that you want to connect with them.


Distant learning naturally creates a little bit of distance no  matter what you do to build relationships.  You aren't in person, you can't give hugs and high 5's , there's not that face to face  interaction that is so meaningful...so anything you can do to build relationships with your students and families is sure to be a winning combination!


Last Spring, I invited my literacy students to a read aloud on a Friday night and the invite made sure to let them know they were to wear jammies and bring their favorite stuffie.


I brought my fave stuffie and wore jammies in fact I wore a giraffe onesie!!!  There was no mistaking that I was going ALL OUT for this pj party! 😂🦒


The kids started to show up and we laughed and shared our stuffies and blankies.  I could hear the parents laughing in the background and it felt like a family affair.  Why not get everyone involved...building a community is so important!


Here is the link to my friend Christina's invite :   https://www.missdecarbo.com/a-pajama-party-story-session-for-distance-learning/




Here are some pics from our very fun, memorable pj night!  My students weren't surprised one bit that I showed up as a giraffe and read a book about giraffes.  We had a night that surely won't be forgotten.  





I encourage you to try this out...your students will love it and it will be very worth your time.  Building relationships with your students is never wasted time.

Find me on Instagram or Facebook and let me know if you tried it out, I'd love to hear all about it.

 Go out there are do what you do, inspire kids!

Happy teaching xoxo,





Teddy Bear Picinic Fun for the Little Ones

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Over my 25 years as an educator I can tell you that my students REMEMBER the special days more than anything else.  The dress up, engaging, silly days at school....I've done that in so many ways.  


Once I dressed up as Miss Viola Swamp from Miss Nelson is Missing, that was SOO fun!  I pretended I left early and my 'sub' finished off the day - I was the mystery reader...it was GREAT!



Of course - 100th day and 101st days come to mind as well as Where the Wild Things Are and so much more.



So...I'm kinda obsessed with dress up days if you didn't notice...in fact for several years I was the student council advisor.


Dress up days, engaging, memorable lessons some of your students will indeed remember but most importantly your students will remember HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL!  Never forget that ~ the most important thing you can do in your classroom is build relationships.

With all that being said I want to share a very fun, special day that your littles are sure to enjoy and remember!

Have you heard of the Teddy Bear Picnic?  It is the perfect way to sneak in important ELA and MATH standards without them even realizing it.  It's a great day or ( couple days ) which includes math, writing, ela, speaking and listening and sharing too.  Kids are naturally comfortable because they bring their favorite 'friend' to school.  It lends itself to engaging activities and exploration!  Perfect for little ones.



Here are some of what's included in this product to help you have a wonderful day with your students.















It has LOTS of options and most teachers tell me they couldn't get to it all so it is jam packed!  I have sold almost 1,000 of these and they are well loved among the teaching community!  Used year after year with their classes.


If you try it, let me know by commenting here or leaving feedback after you purchase.  Thanks so much!

Happy Teddy bear day  my friends!

xo,



Math and Dice hands on activities

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Math is so fun because it lends itself to being very hands on for kids!


Welcome to another edition of ...



Math didn't use to be my favorite thing to teach...I've always had a love / hate relationship with math.  Also, I've always been a strong reading teacher and very interested in phonics and reading instruction.


However, over the years I've played around with manipulative use more and found ways to get kids up and moving in math and I've come to really love it.

I've found ways to get kids EXCITED about math and that has brought me so much joy!

For instance:

1.)  Having students take part in physically being part of a bar graph.

2.) Having students walk outside and explain Area and Perimeter by having students spread out and stand AROUND the lunch table area and then have them stand inside the painted area of a basketball court.

These are just a few examples....but I want to share some games you can have your students play that involves using die.  It's perfect either as a math warm up in small groups or as a center rotation if you are using math groups.

This page has your students working on place value and expanded form

     


 this next sample page in the FREEBIE is Rolling and adding 1 to the sum.



  


The freebie included by joining my email list has a 7 page product.    If you like this you may be interested in my math dice games activity pack on TPT that you can find here: 

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-dice-games-4054780

    

So, be sure you are signed up for my email list ( look at the top of my blog or to the right to sign up ) NO SPAM - mostly tips and freebies for  you ~~ so you don't miss this.


This is perfect for in person or online.  I know for one I don't want my students to be looking at a screen all day.  This can be a printable option for families ( that have access of course ) be  mindful of that. ♥  

Happy teaching my friends, hope this is helpful to you!

xo,





Hands on Learning ( Math and ELA )

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Hands on Learning


Welcome to another edition of...




 Let's be honest friends paper and pencil worksheets are becoming less and less engaging.  Even before COVID worksheets have become 2nd to anything hands on or involving technology.


If you have been following me for any amount of time you know how I feel about too much technology. 😒😒


I've had admin from the past push technology and I get it, however...  I've always struggled with knowing some of my students would be on Minecraft, Roadblox, etc for hours after school or well into the night so the thought of having them on for a few hours at school was hard for me.  { struggle 🚌🚌 }


NOW with COVID that is our reality!!!  I'm just not a fan of all this screen time for kids.  💻 We don't even know the kind of damage it can do to them - eye twitching, 👀 attention issues, obesity, the list goes on and on....


With that being said, you will notice if you visit my store - I've started in the last 6 months or so creating more activities rather than worksheet packs.  For instance, sensory bin packs, dramatic play activities, pin art, and YES even some techie packs with movable pieces too.



One of the things I love to offer to parents is a way for their child to learn or use something that isn't paper and pencil that can still teach or reinforce an important concept or skill.  With that my 'sliders' were born....I have them for ELA and MATH.


My ELA slider is for story retell - sometimes kids just need a visual and something to keep their hands busy as they are talking...this serves both purposes!  

Click on the pictures to get a closer look at the products below:



Just hole punch the ends, add a pipe cleaner and a bead and you are all set.  I ran on card stock for durability!  The kids LOVE these - I also used astro brights.


I noticed a few years ago that my RSP 2nd graders needed some scaffolding in regards to addition and subtraction during group lessons.  So,  I created these and they kept such good care of them, I had one little friend that took it everywhere because he loved having the hands on approach and it was so visual for him.  We finally had to tell him he didn't need to bring it out of the room for speech...such a cutie!





The other math slider that has worked AMAZING as well with my kiddos ( even 3rd graders ) is my rounding sliders:




Just a few examples of how you can make learning a little more hands on for your students no matter where they are ( home or school or even in the car ).


This is so much more engaging than a worksheet and they really do enjoy using them.  

Wherever you are teaching my friends - hang in there!  You are still making a huge difference and touching lives.  I hope these come in handy for you as you work to keep them engaged.

Happy Teaching...




How to assess students one on one in Distant Learning

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Welcome Back to ~~~




Who would've ever thought we would STILL be teaching remotely in August?!?!  Definitely not me!  I was so naive I thought after Spring Break I would be back teaching in the classroom last Spring!  

Well, here we are starting the year off remotely and none of us ever could've imagined it would come to this!  

My assignment as a Literacy Specialist for the first few weeks of school has been to assess ALL first graders by giving them a DRA.  So I set up 1/2 hour time slots with Sign up Genius and have begun this task.  It seemed daunting at first as I don't know these kids...so I thought - I have to spend a couple minutes getting them to warm up to me and then dive right into testing...ugh! 

But, it has actually been really fun getting to know these kids on line and assessing them.  I've learned a lot in a short amount of time in regards to 1 on 1 testing on line.

I thought I would share some tips that make it much easier!

Google Meet:

Be sure to visit the Chrome extension store and grab Dualless.  It will give you options for sharing your screen easily in Google Meet.

Once you have dualless selected - it will have a drop down menu - select the ratio that will work best for your assessing.




This allows you to EASILY see the child and the child can effortlessly see the text to read.  



Another thing that has been super helpful is this ring light.  It easily attaches to any device with a clamp and has different brightness settings to choose from...


You can grab yours here if you are interested:  https://amzn.to/3lmFR67 { affiliate }


Another amazon product that has been super helpful is the computer stand...for a few reasons!  One, your students aren't seeing up your nose...not that they were before but it does give you a much better angle for your students viewing.  For me though, it has relieved pressure from my shoulders.  I found that I was hunching a bit without even realizing it - now the computer is eye level and it has made all the difference.





If you are interested here is the link: https://amzn.to/31uE7ji { affiliate }

Now onto Zoom which is super easy for adjusting your screen sharing...


If you are using phonics assessments or a benchmark assessment through F & P , DRA, etc.  you can have the book or phonics assesment page ready as a tab to share and adjust as needed. 

 I usually have the book large for the students but still want to see the student to see if I can pick up on any strategies they are using that I would normally notice easily in person but have to dig a little deeper to notice on line.  I did see a child this week point to the screen to be sure after the repeated a word and used 1 to 1 correspondence to remedy the situation.  I also noticed a child counting out syllables and finger spelling a cvc word to help them. 

 So, if you are able be sure to look for those behaviors so you can better assist them in your reading groups.

Well... there you have it, I hope this helped you out whether your district uses Google Meet or Zoom.  Let me know how it goes for you in Instagram or fb  or in the comments below.

Happy { virtual } teaching my friends,