Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten List: Tell All Tuesday

Good afternoon!  We are back for another "Tell All Tuesday" post! 
Diana and Jayme had us share our "Top Ten Things Teaching Has Taught Us."  We had so much fun coming up with our very own list.  We took a lighthearted approach and had fun sharing you some of the most honest lessons we have learned…among many others.  

Without further ado…and, in our very best David Letterman voice….

FLEXIBILITY is your friend…even if you end up twisted like a pretzel!

The "magic" in the Magic Eraser is beyond Science!

Many five year olds know as many curse words as a seasoned sailor.

It IS possible to consume an entire lunch in under a minute…just ask a kindergarten teacher during the first week of school!

Even if you didn't wash your hair that morning, your kinders will still think you have beautiful hair…and, when one kiddo compliments you- at least thirteen others will, too!

Never store your EXPO markers within 30 feet of your permanent markers…just trust us on this one!

Herding 100 cats is definitely easier than getting 18 kinders to walk in a straight line during the month of August!

One student getting up to grab a tissue is a contagious virus that at least eight other students catch immediately.

You always have at least one student who has the amazing gift of conversing with even a pencil…he's fluent in "Pencil-ese!"

In all honesty, the greatest lesson we've learned is that there really is no better profession- teaching changes you…everyday!!!

Thank you to Diana and Jayme, again, for another fun topic!  
If you would like to link up, click on their button to find out how.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spotlight Saturday

This week we are so very excited to be able to join Erin at Kindergarten Dragons for her linky party, "Spotlight Saturday!"
This Saturday, we would like to "spotlight"
the author of  the "Mrs. B's First Grade" blog, Sarah Barnett, who is from Highland Park, Illinois.  Sarah has been teaching for ten years: five in kindergarten and five in first grade.  She is the only first grade teacher at her school!  (Bless her heart!)  In 2011, Sarah began blogging about her classroom experiences.  

During the first "Two Truths and A Lie: Tell All Tuesday" we were fortunate to have guessed Sarah's lie correctly and won her, "My Reading Toolbelt" pack!
 Included in this pack is:
1. One full-page, student resource with the eight strategies listed
2. Two bookmark-sized, student resource with the eight strategies listed
3. One two-page explanation of each of the eight strategies

Sarah has used some of the cutest ideas for teaching students reading strategies.  We just LOVE the idea of having students "reach into their toolbelts" for strategies to help them figure out tricky words.  

The strategies Sarah gives to students to put in their "toolbelts" are:
1. Look at the Picture
2. Look for Words Within Words 
3. Stretch and Reread
4. Cross-Check
5. Chunk Letters or Sounds
6. Flip the Sound
7. Look for Word Families
8. Skip the Word and Go Back/Back Up and Reread
We have been super eager to begin using these in our classrooms.  We have planned out how we are going to use these resources this year.  Below are our ideas for teaching and using them.

A) Small Group Resource Bins and Classroom Poster - Whole Page Strategy Resource

B) Table Resource Bins and Reading Briefcases - Bookmark-sized Resource

C) Parent Resource - Explanation of Strategies

As we teach our students to read, it is critical that they have many resources to pull from.  Knowing where to look to find answers, helps build the confidence of beginning readers.  We give our students many resources and often will respond to questions with, "Please look at your resources!"  It is a MUST for our students to know how to search for answers on their own.  By knowing where to look, our distractions are minimized, their confidence is built up, and students can more quickly "get" an answer; rather than having to wait for us to stop our instruction and give the answer.  Sarah's packet is a fabulous addition to our long list of class resources!

We are just so excited about implementing these strategies and resources into our classrooms this year.  Sarah, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your hard work and for constructing such a high-quality packet.  

If you would like to take a look at Sarah's "My Reading Toolbelt", please visit her TPT store here:
This packet is only $2.00, and is worth every cent!  

Also, Sarah has several other fabulous creations for sale in her TPT store.  Please stop by and take a look at what she offers.  There are some really awesome things!  She has created some AWESOME QR code Read Aloud activities…along with many other great packs!

Take a minute to stop by and visit Sarah's blog: Mrs. B's First Grade.  Follow her on Instagram by finding @MrsSarahBarnett.  If you are on twitter, follow her class account by following @Mrs.B'sFirstGrade.  On Facebook, "like" her page, Mrs. B's First Grade.  

Thank you to Erin, at Kindergarten Dragons, for hosting such a fun linky party!  If you, too, would like to spotlight one of your favorites; please visit Erin's blog to find out how. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


This may be one of our most favorite link-ups!  What a fabulous idea…to stop and reflect on our many blessings.  We are seriously so very blessed!  There are so many things that we could start with.      
These are a few of the things we are incredibly thankful for…
But, the two things we are MOST thankful for this summer are our two little "buns in the oven!"

Ashley and Nick's Little One:

Brooklynn and Chad's Baby Girl:
She may or may not be flipping off the tech who kept pushing down on her! ;0)
(She gets that from her Daddy! HA!)

We hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and a fun and safe 4th!  If you are interested in linking up with us, please click the button below to visit Becky's blog to find out how!

WINNER WEDNESDAY: It's a Zoo Around Here

Winner, Winner- Chicken Dinner!
We are linking back up with A Dab of Glue Will Do for another Winner Wednesday!!!!!
This month, we are giving away our Zoo unit: It's a Zoo Around Here.
This is not really a "beginning of the year" pack.  But, it is a great resource to keep in your back pocket until second semester when your Kinders have a good grasp on all letters and sounds.
This unit is packed with activities to reinforce blending CVC words, reading using blends and digraphs, place value, addition, subtraction, and LOTS of sight words! 
Our kiddos love to "Roll and Read."  This is such great practice for fluently blending CVC words.
 There are a variety of different activities to practice High Frequency Words. With these cards, the opportunities for center ideas are endless!  We love the dollar store trays, and our kids do, too!  So building sight words seemed like a no brainer to us!
 Kids never seem to tire of magnifying glasses! This is a year long favorite for our classes.  Here, students pull an animal card and magnify the sight word!
I'm not Lion... our kids LOVED this center!  There is something about a missing letter that makes the challenge fun.  They feel so successful at "spelling" CVC words.

Place value is something we never thought our Kinders would be able to master.  Boy, were we wrong!  They ate it up!  They amazed us with how quickly they began to understand the concept of composing and decomposing double digit numbers.

Enter below to win It's a Zoo Around Here!

This contest runs for TODAY only! Winner will be announced tomorrow!

Congrats, Becka Lisa!  We've emailed you the unit!  Thank you to everyone who entered!