Friday, August 8, 2014

Five for Friday

Let's see if I remember how to blog!  I feel like I haven't blogged in forever.  We went to Florida, and it was such an awesome break from everything.  I am recharged!  Finally.  At first when I got home, I was afraid I would never want to do anything again- like clean, cook, or work.  But unfortunately  luckily, that has passed.

I thought a Five for Friday link up with Doodle Bugs was a great place to start again.  Thank you, Kacey!
First of all... Florida. AHHH.  My family has been going to Florida since I was in 3rd grade.  It is really like a second home to me because I feel so comfortable and "right" there.  Jeff and I got married on Fort Myers beach 27 years ago.  We returned to the scene of the crime for a picture of the beach.

We started out in Venice, finding sharks' teeth.  That is my favorite thing to do.  I could still be doing it if we didn't have that darn plane to catch and things like work and responsibilities. Anyway- that is where I truly feel closest to God.  I know there is the saying:

And for me, it is walking on the beach, looking for shark teeth.  There wasn't a saying for that yet. But now there is.  We had the best luck on Manasota Beach, near Venice.
This was only our first night!

 Here were some favorites.  Jeff likes the serrated ones because he thinks they look "tough."  

The reason the saying isn't just being on  ANY beach for me, is that one day we were taking a walk, trying to get to this bridge in "record time" on Map My Walk.  The bridge is about 4 or 5 miles down the beach.  I was sort of dragging anyway, that day- and Jeff was in rare walking form.  A thunderstorm was looming on our way back. I was SURE it was going to stay away (which it did, by the way) but he thought we should "hustle."  I was hustling.  My fastest hustle. I had been hustling.  Finally, I gave up and said, "Save yourself."  He slowed down to appease me, but I knew he really wanted to get off the beach faster than my little legs were going.  All that to explain that that was not a "close to God on the beach" moment.  Although that poster does say, "sitting" by the beach.  Yes. Sitting.  Much better.

After that, we had some perfect walks, sunsets, relaxing times in the pool- all by ourselves!- and some great food and fun!

We did have to laugh at rule #7.  Really?  Also the wording of #3.  We're easy to entertain.

We do need some work on selfies. Oh my gosh.  Good thing it wasn't FILM and flashbulbs! It took us a while to get a decent one.  By the way- if I were on Twitter I would put #totallysoberjustincompetent.
When I got back, I got right back into some school classes.  One day, we decomposed the Common Core Math Modules.  By the way, there isn't a sign that says, "Heaven feels a little closer when you are  decomposing Math Modules," either.  Hmm, wonder why?   Speaking of math,  I wanted to share Dr. Jean's FREE math and writing ideas to go with each Kindergarten CCSS!  She is amazing.  She made these to go along with the cards that I made for centers. All FREEEE!

While we were talking math, we got side tracked, (surprise!) and were talking about how to help our new little ones learn their lunch and computer sign in numbers.  They get a 4 or 5 digit number that they need to punch in at lunch and to use to sign into the computer.  Last year, I drew a little replica of the keypad on cardstock that the kids punched their numbers into, and they practiced each day after morning work, and other times during the day.  Well, this year, we went all out!  We took a picture of the keypad and printed it out on card stock for each child, so when they practice, it will be on something that looks just like the real thing. I am going to write the child's number in the display area. You can laminate them and save them if you wanted. They'll love it.  My kids learned their numbers so quickly.  Kids are amazing, aren't they? They better get used to numbers, though. Don't you feel like you have a zillion different numbers and passwords running through your head?

After our day of "work", a bunch of us went out to dinner and had a fabulous time.  That's another reason summer is so awesome.  You can actually go out to dinner and not fall asleep there. Note who is NOT taking the selfie (or groupie or whatever it's called).

I taught the other class we had this week.  It was an Assessment Class for all of the Kindergarten teachers (8 of us) to all be on the same page.  We have random assessments from years, papers here and there, about 4 different sight word lists, and other random things floating around. None of us knew exactly which ones each other were using. I just wanted us to decide WHAT we were all using.  I had piles.

We all decided to use ESGI this year for our report card assessments.  We're really excited. All of the data and screenings will be done with our iPads- and stored right there. NO PAPER.
Since I used ESGI last year, I showed everyone how it worked and we watched the Overview Video. It was love at first sight.
We started talking about all that we could do with it.  Then, we spent the next couple hours going through the test bank and finding assessments that matched each of the topics on our report card.

If we couldn't find an existing test that fit just right, I actually MADE tests to use. For example, we have a list of 35 sight words that were a little different than the tests already in the bank.  I made 12 tests!  ME!  I know-  I was shocked, too.  It's so easy to use.  My tests actually are now in the test bank now for anyone to use. I made one with our sight word list, same/different word, our CAP questions, graphing, beginning sounds, sorting and classifying, whole/part, recognizing numbers to 20, letter sounds, 2D and 3D shapes, and identifying colors.

In the bottom section of the picture of the Test Management Area above, you can see how you can organize the tests that you want to use.  I organized the tests right in order of how skills are listed on our report card.

You can decide if you want to share them or not, so of course I shared them just in CASE anyone can use them.  I was really having fun making them.  Really! There are some great tests in the bank to use, and lots for assessing Common Core skills.  Just click on "Test Explorer" on the top of the page.  We are going to change our report cards this year, so I am sure I will be going back to check out different assessments as our report card changes.

For example, we still have Recognizes Colors as a skill on our Kindergarten report card. (We really need to update or report cards..)  I made a quick test for that.  Here are some of the questions so you can see them. I used different colored toys.
 (Apparently I love animals with sweet expressions.)

If you haven't checked it out, you still have time before the year starts. I started using it toward the end of last year, so I haven't really gotten to use the data like I wanted to yet for instruction and RTI.  I was just trying it out.  I can't wait to start using it right from the beginning of the year. And have only an iPad instead of a heaping pile of ... data. They added a Classroom Management Tool which I also cannot wait to use!  I posted all about it HERE.

We are lucky because our district is going to buy the program for all of us to use.  If you want to buy ESGI, you can use this  PROMO CODE  B1119 and each save $40, so it costs $159 for a subscription instead of the $199 for the first year.

And finally...
I just read some article about some Polar Vortex and early snow and El Nino returning blah blah blah. So I am going to just SOAK up what's left of these sunny, warm days.  You do the same if you live where it gets cold.  If you don't, you can start taking reservations because we will all be willing to pay good money to come stay where it's warm!

Happy Weekend!


  1. It looks like you had a blast on your vacation!!! You deserve it!!! :) Those pictures are beautiful!

    Have a fun weekend!
    A Sunny Day in First Grade

  2. Hi Carolyn!

    Looks like you had a really wonderful holiday. :) I agree with your quote about the beach. I guess I'm very lucky to live a few minutes walk away from a gorgeous stretch of beach - I can hear the waves from my couch. :)

    I wish we had something like ESGI here in Australia... collating assessment is my least favourite thing to do.

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!

  3. I have never seen so many shark's teeth! That's amazing! I'm impressed with all your work on the assessments! Your team will be very glad they have this all in place! Have a great school year!

    Learning at the Teacher Table

  4. Love to hear about your life both in and out of the classroom, but the best thing in this post for me was the treasure trove of shark teeth... are you kidding!! I pinned it with the location! Don't get to Florida often, but am hitting it up next time I'm there. Just how many sharks are out there anyway??? I am about to start giving some PD, too... a little more than I thought... stress city here I come... looking forward to October when the rush is over. Have a great start! Kathleen
    Kidpeople Classroom

  5. The selfies made me laugh. I love them!

  6. Love your beach pics - looks like so much fun! And then reality does set in, doesn't it? I've shared your kinder CCSS with a 2nd grade teammate who is moving down to K this year. I think they are so good!

  7. Your vacation photos are breathtaking and it looks like you had a fabulous time. How fun finding shark teeth. We go to the beach, but no shark teeth here in Cali where we go. I too love ESGI the best thing I found last year! Looks like you guys are going to have a great year!

    Luv My Kinders


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