Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ESGI for the New Year!

I'm once again sharing my love of ESGI with you, because when I go back to school after break, I'll be diving in with my iPad, ready to assess my class and get a great starting point for each of them after their time off.

Assessing students with ESGI is not like other tedious, time consuming assessments.  Using ESGI allows me to quickly assess each of my students during free choice time- without piles of papers and messes of past assessments to file through and compare.   All past assessments are saved online.  As I call a student to the table to check shapes, or number recognition, or sight words, or letters  and sounds, it's a quick process - and that new data is saved along with any past data.  No paper. No mess. No stress.  The kids can't wait to come work with me. It's a game to them to come use the iPad with me.  We all love it.

Assessments weren't always this way.  Before ESGI, I had stacks of papers that I would rifle through to try to find someone's previous assessment to compare. I would have one from September, October, November, December- and I would have piles to go through.  Or papers with different colored ink that I tried to use to make it easier to keep track of the latest assessment.

Here is a reenactment:  (This is probably me...)

That all seems so frustrating to me now since I use ESGI.  I love the clean, easy, no fuss assessments- and the clean, orderly, no mess data.

We all have enough paperwork that we HAVE to have and keep- we don't need the children's assessments mixed in that mess.  This year before my subscription was updated, I thought I would just check some of the children's letters and sounds.

 By the time I got going and looked back at what I'd done, I had lots of papers- and some confusing information to then organize and decipher.  This is what I used to do all the time, but once I was spoiled by ESGI, it was really hard to go back to it.  I just stopped screening, and waited to get my subscription! I knew it would be so much quicker and easier-and give me much more usable data to use my ESGI.

I use many of the assessments that are available from ESGI, like the letters and sounds, shapes, and number recognition.  ESGI offers so many great assessments that are already made!  I wanted to make a specific sight word assessment, using our specific  word list.  It was SO EASY to make.  And if I can do it, believe me... you can easily do it.

For ME to say that I don't ever want to assess without using ESGI on my iPad ever again, says a lot.  It says that ESGI makes it SO EASY and SO QUICK.  And then gives SO MUCH assistance to teachers to help with students' areas of weakness.

Not only done, but "meaningfully done."  By that I mean that after I assess my students, I can quickly see the what they have mastered and not mastered.

This time of year, I will be printing out sight word flashcards to send home with my students each week.  I keep one set at school to use for RTI when I have a few minutes or if I have another adult available to work with a student.  The kids can even work with each other with the flashcards! Here is a sample of flashcards for one of my students.
ESGI provides parent letters that you can print, with exactly what areas need to be worked on at home! Talk about a time saver! Here is a sample parent letter for the Letter ID assessment.

You can also edit the letter to parents.

Another favorite part of ESGI  is the Class Management tools.  I can print pages for name tracing, cubby names, table name plates, class lists... you name it! What a time saver this is!  I have several students still need some name writing practice.  I can print out name pages for those students to practice with one click!  So easy. I use these all the time in the beginning of the year for whole group practice, center time, and extra help at home.

As the year goes on, there are more and more benefits of ESGI.  If you want to learn more about ESGI and to get a free 60 day trial of the software, click here and try it out for yourself! Our district bought the subscription for our grade level.  It's so easy to show your administrator the benefits of ESGI.  We are encouraged to use more and more technology, so this fits perfectly into that, too.

I posted ALL about the benefits, bells and whistles,  and some examples of what ESGI offers 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. 

It has made me actually enjoy assessments now, because I know I'm not going to be wasting time. It's quick and neat! The results are easy to see and the materials for RTI are already made for me!

I always like to get special opinions when I do an ESGI post. Here's a little visual story to explain the difference of assessing with and without using ESGI featuring some Disney Princesses if they were Disney Teachers...

Disney Teachers who just finished assessing without ESGI...

 Those SAME  Disney Teachers who used ESGI to assess their students!

Can you believe it?  I KNOW!  Give it a try.  I know you'll love it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Five for Friday December 18

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Kacey for her wonderful Five for Friday Linky to share some favorite holiday fun from this week. Thank you, Kacey!  

I LOVED this picture from Mrs. Russell's Room!  

Anyway...  We don't.

The kids are so precious and excited for Christmas. It's a fun energy to be around. It's just lots and lots of energy to be around and try to gear toward learning until December 23rd!  

Here are some ways we found to make it fun last week!

The kids had so much fun with Snowball Pass! Since we don't have any of our own REAL snow, we  made some of our own.   Each child got a piece of scrap paper with a sight word written on it.  

Once they read their word, they crumpled it into a "snowball."

When I said, "Pass," they passed the snowball.  Sometimes I said it fast- sometimes slow.

When I said, "Read and Wrinkle!" they had to open and read their word to their neighbor, then wrinkle it back up to go again. 

When we were done, I said, "SNOWBALL FIGHT!"  After they threw their snowball, they had to pick one up and read it to me before they could go to their seats. 

Here's some more fun with sight word practice.  We love practicing sight words with our Rocket Word activity!  It's a great brain break- simple/fast/fun- and requires nothing but little bodies. The kids really have to think how many letters they are going to be saying and how low they need to go!  Here's a little sample.

It's one of the ideas in my book with Dr. Jean, by the way...
Dr. Jean`s Reading Recipes

Our math book comes out in January.  I'm so excited!  I love the ideas we put together for math, too!

We don't send homework home at our school with the kindergarten students.  We send a book home to read each night, and sometimes we send a special activity to complete.  When I send home an activity, I like to put something special on their paper when they return it.

This was one of the holiday homework pages that I sent home.  I sent this paper with a special Christmas paper plate to eat dinner on, and then the children  had to draw and label what they ate.

This is a fun activity to do anytime of the year with any paper plate- even a plain white one! 

You can get the worksheet that I used HERE with my other holiday homework ideas.  (It's Number 5 on that week's Five for Friday- so you can just scroll down to that.)  

I put on a star Post-it with a Starburst stuck in the middle with double sided tape when they brought it back.

My kids are having so much fun with the Vet Center.  They make appointments, take care of the sick pets, weigh and measure the pets, feed them, and write a report about each pet they take care of.  I love, love, love that it is so real to them. They learn so much working together and see why knowing how to write is so important.  They need to get down all the information about those pets!  I love switching out my free choice centers.  

And sometimes the little animals just need to have a story read to them! 

Here is the little vet sheet that I made for the kids to use.  I have clip boards for them to use or just these sheets on the table so they can write about the pets they see. If you would like a copy, just click the picture below!

Here are some of the reports from last year's vet center that still make me smile. 

"Her head is bleeding.  Puttin pressure in and stitch and put on a bandaid."

"She is dying in 54321.  Use every tool in the world."

This one is pretty self explanatory...  he's fat and needs kitty liposuction. 

But this one may be my favorite... It was on my desk after free choice. 

We have been working on writing true stories during Writer's Workshop. Here are the anchor charts that I made.  The bottom "playground scene" idea is from the Lucy Calkin's books.  

Thank you for stopping by!  If you are off for break, enjoy every second. If you have three more days, hang in there. We can do it!  

Merry Christmas to all of you!

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