Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Technology Tuesday

Hi!  I am excited to be linking up with Marie from Once Upon a Classroom for Technology Tuesday.

Recently my students teacher's advisor came in and teamed up with Kayla to teach a math lesson.  We all decided that adding, and finding the sum, was a good lesson to work with our extended day kinders on.  Mike, or "Dr. C" to the kiddos, brought iPads from Pacific University for the lesson.  We have iPad minis, but he brought regular iPads and the students were excited to work on the large screen.  He introduced an app called Find Sums.  It turns out that we have this app already loaded on our school iPads.  We have so many apps on our iPads, but I don't have the time to explore each one - is anybody else in the same position?  So, I was glad to see this app in action and I will definitely be using it in my class more.

Here is what the app looks like when you want to start the program.

You press the app and then you see this screen.

Next, you can go into Settings and set the number that the children will be adding up to.  We started everyone off with finding sums to 10.  All you do is press the number and then the children are set up.

The great thing about this game is that it is played with a partner.  The kids loved it too!  They played this for about 20 minutes and stayed engaged the entire time!!!  And, it has the children finding sums in a ten frame.  They are so used to the ten frame and it helped them visualize the missing addend.  

Player A picks a number.

Player B sees 8.  Then has to think - 8 + ? = 10.  Player B makes a choice.

If the choice is correct, the screen will fill in with the appropriate number of apples.

If the answer is incorrect, the screen clears and the students try again.  

Once the kiddos got the hang of 10, we changed their settings.  Some children did Find Sums to 12, 15 and 20.

Here is what the game looks like to start off.  The bottom is full of numbers and the screen has empty ten frames.  As the children pick, the numbers disappear.  When all of the numbers are gone, then you start the game over again.

I was taking pictures at different stages so these do not all match up, but you get the idea!

We even had a couple of students who went up to 100!  It was so great to hear them counting by 10's and 1's.  YES!!!!
I love how this game:
  • self corrects
  • kept their attention
  • had them working on addition skills
  • encouraged partner work
In additon, at the end of their session, you can click Progress and check their stats.  If they did not have at least 85% accuracy, we did not move them up a level.  Those students needed to keep practicing at the their current level.  If they had 85% accuracy, then we moved them up a level and then checked in to see how they did.

And...............drumroll............this is a FREE app!!!!!  Woohoo!!!!  

Check it out.  You and your students will love it!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five for Friday!

Hi!  I am so excited to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a Five for Friday!  I haven't linked up in awhile and I am glad to be here.  I am also glad it is Friday.............that I will have blogged twice in a week (blogged yesterday about being awarded the Liebster Award!)..............and that I am posting a Five for Friday on a Friday!  It was a great week, but super busy.

We started out our week with a field trip to our local university - Pacific University.  It was such a good time.  We walked all over and the kiddos had fun, but they were exhausted.  Did you know this picture shows us walking up a big hill?  At least, according to my kinders.  They didn't know why we had to go up such a big hill!  Ha!  (It is a slight slant.)  

College students took us on a tour of the campus and talked about what it would be like if they went to college at Pacific.  They talked about different majors and showed us different buildings.  We saw the art building, the theatre, the cafeteria, the student union, the chemistry building (it was great because my hubby came out to say hello to us since we were in his building) and we even sat in a college classroom!

My school wants to plant the seeds of college and is trying to encourage our students that this is something they can do - and that college is possible!  This group of kinders will be the first group in our school that will visit a different college all 5 years that they are in our elementary school.  Yeah!

After we got back from the field trip, my amazing student teacher had the students create these beautiful stained glass butterflies for our window.  They are so cheery and brighten up our classroom.  She had the black butterfly outline precut.  She put contact paper down and then had the students stick tissue paper on it.  Next, we covered the other side with contact paper and then the students trimmed around the edges.  Now, we have such a lovely display in our classroom!  It was the perfect activity for after a field trip too.

That night (what a long day! Phew!), my husband and I sat down to grade.  He had just given his organic chemistry final (these college professors get out so much earlier than we do!) and I needed to grade our district math assessment.  We use pieces of Karen Jones' Kindergarten Common Core Math Assessment Pack.  I had been putting off grading and he actually motivated me to get started on it.  I cracked up looking at the difference of our work, but we have the grades covered in our house - from the beginning years, to higher education!

Wednesday I normally do 4 math center rotations because we have a long math block.  This past Wednesday I decided to mix it up though.  I had the children in their math station groups, but instead of rotating, we stayed with our groups and each group made a different zoo animal.  Today after school, my student teacher hung up their animals on my hall bulletin board.  It is so adorable!!!!  Seriously, I can't stand it.  These animal patterns come from Deanna Jump's Zoo Math and Literacy Fun packet.

I posted the lion pic (above) above on my instagram account on Wednesday.  I tagged Deanna Jump.  Well last night I screamed (literally) when I looked in my IG notifications.  I noticed Deanna Jump had not only liked and commented on my picture, but she started following me on IG!  WHAT?????  I am so flattered, honored, speechless, excited.............and just amazed.  Deanna Jump - TpT legend - is following my IG account.  Thanks so much Deanna.  You made my night, day, and whole weekend!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Make sure to check out the linky party and see what other teacher bloggers are up to :)  Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Liebster Award - Woohoo!!!!

Hi!  I am so honored to be nominated for a Liebster Award by two bloggers whose blogs I read and admire.  I am thrilled that Jayme from Teach Talk Inspire  and Chrissie from Undercover Classroom found my blog worthy of the Liebster Award.  This is an award given to bloggers with growing audiences and to help recognize wonderful and different voices in the blog world.  It is meant to encourage us and welcome us to this wonderful new terrain.  It is a huge honor to be nominated and I am excited to write this post!  Thanks so much ladies!

As an aside, the autocorrect keeps correcting Liebster, to Lobster - which cracks me up. Teehee!

When given a Liebster Award I need to answer the following 11 questions from my nominators in order to accept the award (I do!), and then I get to nominate some blogs, as well as pose 11 questions of my own.  Yippee :)

1. Why and how long did you start blogging?
I started blogging after *thinking* about blogging for a long time.  I have enjoyed reading blogs over the years and I would think - "Hey, I have something to say about that!"  But then other times, I would worry about the time commitment, or if I would have things to say.  Finally, in February 2015, I just got inspired and decided to go for it!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Openness.  This journey is all about sharing what I know and being open with my feelings and thoughts.  I love the collaborative aspect of blogging and meeting other teacher bloggers.  Everyone has been kind and welcoming and I am happy to be a part of this community.  I hope to share teaching truths and the fact that teaching is sometimes messy, and wonderful, and everything else in between.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?
Hmmmm.  I have been blogging less than 3 months so I don't know if I have had any big "A-ha" moments of what I wish I knew yet.  I have learned so much in this journey so far and know I still have so much to learn.  I look forward to this adventure and all that it brings.

4. What is your favorite pastime other than blogging?
I enjoy doing so many activities.  I love spending time with my husband.  We have so much fun together.  We love to travel, see live music, walk, hike, camp, cross country ski, watch movies, and just be together.  I also love getting together with friends and keeping in touch with family since we do not live in the same state.

5. How many hours do you dedicate to your blog/TpT?
Too many!  Ha!  I am pretty dedicated and it seems like I spend quite a bit of time each day working on something.  I enjoy it though so it doesn't feel like work. It is an outlet for me to create activities for my students to use, which I then like to share on TpT.  I would love to spend more time on TpT, but then I would never leave the couch!

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I like so many blog posts, but my favorite blog posts are when bloggers have pictures of their classroom and students.  I love seeing into another classroom and seeing ideas put into action.  It gives me ideas and inspiration while allowing me to visualize the content of the blog topic.  It is amazing to read so many creative blogs!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
My day to day classroom interactions!  Ultimately, that is where I get my ideas for my blog.  It is also inspiring to read other bloggers blogs because that might spark an idea that I have been thinking about but haven't put down in a written format yet.  I also get inspired from conversations with friends and colleagues, and different topics relating to teaching.

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I think my Rainy Day Art and a Freebie.  The art project is just darling and so simple.  However, I added a freebie through google docs and that was huge for me!!!!  I feel so accomplished having figured that out.  I posted it, but realized it was not correct, so had to go back and redo it.  I had the code in the blog, rather than the image.  I hope I remember how to do it again!  Ha! Ha!

9. Is there any post you've been planning to do, but have been postponing for a while now?
Yes.  I have a few posts started in my queue.  One of them pertains to a training I attended with Anita Archer.  There were so many great strategies I'd like to share............but I just have to finish the post!

10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
Meeting other amazing bloggers and making new friends!!!!!  This is such a wonderful world of friendly teachers and I am so glad to be a part of it!  Plus, there are so many wonderful ideas from blogs I read that I can implement in my own classroom.  I feel like I am challenged to be the best I can be and my students are the ones who get to benefit from my obsession with reading blogs!

11. Which idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?
I read a blog post in 2013 by Lucky to Be in First called Using iPods as Listening Centers.  I actually transferred all of my classroom tapes that have music on them to my iPod after reading that post.  Next on the list is transferring my books on tape.  It will take some time, but I'd like to make this a summer project.  I have some iPods that I can use, and I have loads of books and stories on tape.  Children today do not know how to use tape players, but they sure know how to use iPods!  I had my listening center tape recorder color coordinated with green (play), yellow (rewind) and red (stop) stickers, and it was still a challenge.  No more!  This blog post was so inspiring to me - now I just need to make it happen :)

Now for the tricky part.............yet wonderful part at the same time!  There are some great blogs that I would like to nominate.  There are many that I read, but these are just a few!  I am excited to announce some fabulous bloggers and new teacher friends for a Liebster Award!  Without further ado..............here are my nominees (in no particular order) for the lovely Liebster Award:
I would love for these bloggers to answer the following questions:
  1. Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging?
  2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog?
  3. How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog/TpT/social media?
  4. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
  5. What category of blog posts do you like to read best?
  6. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
  7. What idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?
  8. Salty or sweet?
  9. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  10. If you weren't a teacher, what career would you choose?
  11. What is your favorite grade to teach?
Here are the Liebster Award rules:
  • Link back to the blog that nominated you (me!)
  • Answer the 11 questions posted by the nominator 
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs (with less than 200 followers) and link to them in your post
  • Contact the nominees and let them know they have been nominated
Thanks again for the wonderful nomination Jayme and Chrissie!  I am grateful and happy!

Monday, May 4, 2015

We Love Teachers Giveaway

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  Teaching is such an amazing profession and I am grateful I get to work with 5 and 6 year olds everyday.  Kindergartners keep me busy and laughing.  I love this time of year because all of the hard work we have done is paying off and they are getting it - academics, routines, the works!  Woohoo!!!!

My friend Alex from The Kindergarten Connection and I want to celebrate teacher appreciation with you by acknowledging all of the hard and loving work you do each and every day.  It takes patience, planning, organization, love, and much more to be an effective teacher.  We hope this little bundle makes you smile - especially if you are the lucky winner!  To be honest, I want to win this bundle!  Ha! Ha!

Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 gift card bundle to some of our favorite places.  We hope you like them too!  One lucky teacher will win.......

$25.00 to Starbucks
$25.00 to Lakeshore
$25.00 to Teacher pay Teachers
$25.00 to Amazon

Wouldn't this be awesome to be the lucky winner????

In addition, make sure you stop by our Teachers pay Teachers store for the Teacher Appreciation sale that takes place May 5th and 6th.  We are both having a 20% off sale and if you use the code "ThankYou" you can get a total of 28% off!  You can visit our TpT stores here: Kindergarten Planet and The Kindergarten Connection.  Plus, many other sellers will be having a sale.  Make sure to stop on by and grab some great products :)

Happy Teacher Appreciation week.  I hope you are totally spoiled.........and thanked!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winner will receive all 4 gift cards via email. This giveaway is sponsored by The Kindergarten Connection and Kindergarten Planet.   Starbucks, Lakeshore, TeachersPayTeachers and Amazon are not sponsors of this giveaway. No type of compensation was received for this promotion. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Currently - May!

Hi!  I love the beginning of the month because it is like a fresh start every 30 days or so.  A new beginning, the changing of decorations, and in this case, one month closer to summer vacation!  It also means that it is time to link up with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for another edition of Currently.

Listening: I just got out of bed and came upstairs.  I am sitting on the couch with our sliding glass doors open.  It is a gorgeous day in Oregon and the birds are chirping and happy.  It's going to be a great day!  Now, if only I can stop this cold from getting worse I'll be in good shape ;)

Loving: Being Tribes trained.  Are you?  It is a great way to build community and relationships.  All of the teachers in my school were trained this year.  We had two days at the beginning of the school year, one day in the middle of the year, and then yesterday was our final day.  It was exciting to discuss things that we liked about it this year, to get refreshed on some of the strategies, and to look ahead to next year as well.  We were given about 30 minutes to come up with a culminating task for our class this year.  Here is my student teacher and my teammate hard at work in our planning session.  We came up with a great way to end the year! I'm excited to share it with you once we complete it.

Thinking:  How is it May already?  Is anyone else with me?  All of a sudden, it is here!  I just typed my May newsletter yesterday at work (wish I had a Mac at work!) and need to go in to work today or tomorrow to print it and stuff it in their folders.  Good thing I looked at it again for I just noticed a typo - please excuse it!  I typed up all of our end of the year events for the parents to see what will be happening in our classroom.  It is always such an exciting time, but also super busy!

Wanting: I want to get started on end of the year things now.  The end of the year is crunch time - right!?!?  There are so many things to fit in, projects to make, assessments and report cards to complete as well as field trips and end of the year memory books, award ceremonies..........and the list goes on and on.  I got started this week on some end of the year assessments.  My student teacher just finished her official two week solo and she did a great job!  I started pulling kids out into the hall in order to get some testing done while she was teaching.  It is always a crazy time of year when testing season approaches because I have to keep my kiddos occupied, while I pull them for one on one assessments. This was brilliant!  She was teaching, I was testing, and teaching did not have to come to a screeching halt!  I want to keep going while she is in my room and try to get as much done for the very end of the year now, so it won't seem so busy when June comes.  Here is a sweet picture of "Miss D." and me and our school carnival last night.  She is awesome and I hope a district snatches her up soon!  Isn't she the cutest?

Needing: I MUST write my birthday thank you notes this week.  My birthday was April 19th and it was a wonderful birthday.  I always love hearing from friends and family near and far, and just being thought of makes me happy.  It is a great day on Facebook too!!!!  I was blessed with some sweet gifts from family and friends and I need to reach out and thank them.  I do love writing handwritten notes............but I am a procrastinator.  I am actually looking at the pile of cards I have that I need to write in.............and I have been looking at them for days.  Oy!  I need to motivate.  This week.  I declare it here in cyber space - this week I will write them and mail them off!  Settled :)  Teehee.

Summer, yes, hope, dream:  Summer.............sigh...........sweet, sweet, summer!  Oh how I adore thee! May does mean that summer is in sight.  I am so excited for the summer this year as I have many fun plans.  I am excited to make the Teachers Pay Teachers conference this summer.  I get to meet and room with two lovely gals - Alex from The Kindergarten Connection and Becky from The Class Couple.  I know we will have fun, and learn so much this summer.  It is also time for my 25th high school reunion.  What????  Seriously, I have been out of high school for 25 years?  Do you remember how as a child time went by so slowly?  Now, it flies by.  Can't believe it!  It will be great to head back to Louisiana and visit with my childhood friends.  Some of us are all staying together (my friend Aimee is letting 3 of us +hubbies come invade her space) and it will be so great to catch up in person.  After the reunion, my husband and I are going to rent a car and travel to either Gulf Shores or Destin for a little Gulf Coast vacation.  My hubby has never been to this area of the country so it will be a fun, albeit hot and humid, vacation!  I just need to research and book a place.  I'm also hesitant to tell you that we have had our Ikea Ektorp couch for about 10 years now.  Finally, we are going to get a new couch this summer and I can't wait!!!  I am already looking online and look forward to curling up with my hubby, a good book, and/or my laptop and enjoying some of the relaxing days of summer.

Thanks for stopping by!