Friday, July 31, 2015

Five for Friday July 31

I'm linking up with Kacey for Doodle Bugs Teaching for  Five for Friday! As always, thank you for hosting, Kacey!

I made this simple little back to school journal that I use as we begin Writer's Workshop. If you would like a copy, just click on the picture below.  I did a page or two as a whole group, but then worked on some pages in my small groups.  I love activities like this in the beginning of the year in small groups, because they are very non-threatening. They give me a chance to get to know my little ones better and just listen to their stories as they draw and write.

 I found these wonderful freebies from Common Core Galore and More.  They are CCSS Cheat Sheets- all the standards on one page- one for Math and one for ELA- for all grades!  I made one for my lesson plan book last year with all the standards on it, but the font was so super tiny- I love this more.  It's great to include with your lesson plans, and you can even highlight the standards that you are going to be working on for the week. They are awesome!

                  Kindergarten Common Core ELA Standards CHEAT SHEET (ALL stKindergarten Common Core ELA Standards CHEAT SHEET (ALL st
Common Core Math Cheat Sheets for Grades K-5...ALL Standar

As the new school year approaches, I wanted to share again how much our kindergarten team has loved using ESGI as an assessment tool. I was so excited to be able to meet some of the wonderful people from ESGI  this summer in Las Vegas. I finally got to meet my friend Melinda in real life. You can just tell the quality of this ESGI program from the quality of the ESGI staff.  Everyone was so kind and helpful- and I have to say, the ESGI booth was the place to be!  It was hopping with stars!  I met Heidi Butkus and Deedee Wills there ( to drop names... ) because both of them are friends of ESGI, whose assessments are offered with the program.  It's saying a LOT  when you are in LAS VEGAS, and the place to be is the ESGI booth! But, that's the truth! 

Our kindergarten team is in the process of creating all new report cards, and creating new assessments for ESGI.  That is one of the beautiful parts of ESGI, assessments are provided with the program, but you can also create your own (easily, I might add!) to match your report card assessments perfectly.  Here's a little explanation of the beauty of ESGI!
I know that we all have running records, benchmarks, and other "tests" that we must give to our students. Some are useful, some- not so much. A few years ago, I think all of the us in our district felt like all we were doing was assessing, which was taking away from our teaching time.

This past year, our district bought ESGI for our kindergarten team to use, and it has saved us so much time. ESGI is an online assessment tool that lets you choose the assessments that fit exactly what you need- or let you create your own. You give the assessment right on the iPad (or computer) and the data is stored there- forever- to be accessed from where ever you need it.

No paper, no mess, no losing anything, no looking for the assessment sheet you need for this child or that child.
The data is available in all different ways at the touch of a finger. It's usable and practical. And the kids lovvvve doing it with you. It's like a game for them.

That is my favorite part of ESGI. It was created by a kindergarten teacher, Greg Gorman - and you can tell. ESGI has all of the components that a teacher would think, "It would be great if..." It generates flashcards for areas a student needs extra help with that you can print.

It creates parent notes to inform parents about areas they could work on at home. YOU don't have to do it. It is done!

I KNOW! And just when I thought it had everything I could think of, they added MORE.
I'm in a Kate Middleton kind of mood, so let's see how Kate feels about ESGI, shall we? Here is my Kate Themed Review! 

Yeah, it's pretty clear...

I would imagine a conversation with her would go something like this:

Me:  "Kate, what if you could NOT  use ESGI to easily and effectively assess your students?"


Me:  I know!  Me, too!  Now, how do you feel knowing that you CAN use ESGI- and even try it for FREE for 60 days to see how well it works for you?


Me:  Oh, I'm so glad!  Now, how do you feel about people who don't want to give it a try?


Well, she's a woman of few words, but I think her point came across loud and clear.  

I posted ALL about the benefits and some examples of what ESGI offers HERE. If you want to learn more about ESGI and to get a free 60 day trial of the software, click here. If you like using it and want to purchase the program, you can use my special PROMO CODE B1119 and receive $40 off your purchase for the first year. The price is usually $199 a year, but with the promo code, it will be $159 for the first year. Check with your administration because they may be able to purchase it for you. They can use the code and get it for $159 for the first year, too.  It's a great time of the year to try it out. 

This week I found a few wonderful reminders for the new school year that I wanted to share. Here is a little picture story for you.  

When your day starts like this:

And keeps going like this:

Just remember...

And remember that, no matter what else happens in the day, we LOVE teaching children. 

And if you are putting your students first, teaching what they need to learn, having fun with your students, and enjoying your days with them, then you are doing something right!  If something isn't working for you or your students, you can find something that will be just right for all of you! Don't be afraid to try new things!

And when it comes to  adults, remember...


In other, less fancy, more harsh,  words...

Finally, for sticking with me through all these picture stories of the week, I wanted to share my Fun in Fall Prezi with you for FREE this week at my TPT store.  I put together lots of videos and links that you can use with your class on the Smartboard for Fall! I use it so many times- for actually teaching (lots of science) and for making those "extra minutes" throughout the day productive.  

I'd love you to leave me some happy feedback on TPT  if you can use them! Enjoy!


Thank you so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

LOTS of Character Education!

This post has been updated HERE!  So all the links work and freebies are still free!  And I added some new things.  Enjoy!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Five for Friday July 17

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! Actually, it's going to be a Lucky 7 for Friday- even though that makes no sense- because I want to share some freebies with you, and five just wasn't going to be enough.  Maybe it's still left over from Las Vegas- either way, here are my Lucky Seven!

I had a wonderful little break this week with my sweet friends Amy and Holly. It was perfect.  We shopped at the Destiny Mall near us and went to a comedy show.  The mall is HUGE. It was always special because of the carousel inside, but now is even so much bigger with a ropes course, race track, bowling alley restaurant, and ... every store ever (except Charming Charlies, we discovered, which we may need to open there).  So of course, we ended up in Michael's buying school supplies.  Yes. We actually did for a while.  Then, we snapped out of it.  

Speaking of that, we saw a hypnotist for a dinner show- and still aren't quite sure if we all believe it. We all felt exactly the same, which was skeptical, so we're not sure.   Holly got right up there, and we knew that we would then know if it was the real thing.  But she wasn't about to be bossed around by anybody wasn't really receptive to his voice, and was one of the ones that came to sit back down. Hmmmm. We were suspicious.  That, however, didn't in any way stop us from having the best time and laughing... a lot.  For two days. Perfect! We got matching coasters to remember it. 

So, I was in a happy mood to share some freebies that I have made or found that I hope will be useful to you as you begin a new year!

Dr. Jean and I made these FREE Kindergarten CCSS I Can Statement cards for ELA and Math last year. I wanted to share them again in case you didn't get them and wanted them.  They're great to use to start the year.  

You can copy the center cards (2 cards per page) on card stock, and cut them in half.  Hole punch at the top, and secure each strand with a book ring.  Flip through the book, and display the goal you are working on at the learning center.  You can also put magnets on the back to display the cards if that works better for you.  Feel free to adapt these cards so they work best for you and your students. 

Here are some ways that I used a few of the cards.

I put magnets on back of the Speaking and Listening cards, and put them up on my easel for rug time, because that is the time I focus on many of these standards. 

Dr. Jean made an activity to go with each and every CCSS, and has them FREE at her site!  You can find the Writing and Math Activities HERE .  

and the Reading activities HERE

You can make her fabulous center activities and use the cards at each center.  Dr. Jean is such a wealth of amazing ideas. I am so excited that she shared all of this work putting these Common Core activities together in one place.  Her website and blog are just full of fantastic ideas. She shares gifts of great ideas every single day at her blog
Kindergarten Lifestyle shared these wonderful I Can Cards for your block center. I can't wait to use these with my class.  The kids will love them, and they provide such a wonderful academic play center where the children can work together to discuss, plan, and build these buildings. 
Blocks Center : I Can List

Blocks Center : I Can ListBlocks Center : I Can ListBlocks Center : I Can List

You can do as much with this as you want.  You could take a picture of the building and have the children write about what they built or use the building as a setting for a story.  You could have the children describe how they built their building and tell what they used to build it and why.  You could make a classroom book of the buildings, even putting the picture card on one side of the book and the photograph of the children's finished product on the other side.  My classes always love looking at our classroom books.  

If you haven't gotten these great activity cards from Dr. Jean,  just click on the picture or HERE to download them! Dr. Jean wrote the great ideas, and I just added some pictures to go with them.  

There are 60 fabulous, fun learning activities to do with children that would be perfect for over the summer.  It's a way to really engage with your child and make some wonderful memories together. You could send these to your new little students in your class for something to do over the summer, OR pin them and save them for next year to send home with your students at the end of the year as a gift. 

Mary Amoson from Sharing Kindergarten remade Dr. Jean's Cheer Cards.  I use Dr. Jean's cheers all the time.  I printed them on card stock and put them on a ring and hang them right on my easel, so I can flip through and find a fun cheer easily.  

It's great to celebrate the children and for them to celebrate each other any chance you get!   You can teach a new cheer each week- or flip through and find one anytime you want something different. The point is... go ahead and CHEER!

These FREE Pattern Block Cards from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler are FABULOUS!  I can't wait to use them next year for centers. I'm printing them on cardstock and laminating them so they last.  My kids love working with pattern blocks, and having these cards to help practice numbers and letters will be wonderful.

 She also shared these great Alphabet Pattern Blocks Printables! Thank you, Erica!

and just one more...

 I love these free Retelling Sticks from Keeping it Captivating's TPT store. I use them all the time.  They are a cute way to reinforce so many skills that we work on as we read.
Freebie: Retelling Sticks
I hope you found some things you can use in your classroom. Thank you for stopping by! Have a perfect weekend. 

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