I was creating some new items for Teachers Pay Teachers today and my daughter came up and started asking me questions about it. She wanted to know what I was designing on the computer, so I showed her the process of finding clip art, resizing and formatting, adding fun fonts and text boxes. Here’s what we were working on today:
She was fascinated when I printed out what we had just made and she could hold it in her hands!
She gave me some ideas and did the page as a sample for me! We had a lot of fun, and even expanded my original idea into a whole bundle of worksheets!
Then I *tried* to explain to her how it works when I sell resources on TpT. The whole abstract concept of a digital download is a little confusing for a six-year-old. But you know what she does understand? CASH. She has now come to the realization that money can buy you things, and that money is not free.
So I decided to use this as a “life lesson.” Since she helped me so much with this resource, I’m going to give her a portion of each sale (that is, if it sells!). Why not start teaching her the value of hard work and creativity now, right?
If you’d like to check out this bundle, you can find it on my TeachersPayTeachers store here, along with many other winter-themed resources!
Need a quick math center? My students loved these kind of “roll and record” math centers. It seems like part number sense, part coloring page. I used them all the time- centers, transition times, math games, whenever. I hope you find them helpful!
They are super easy to use- print it and forget it! You just need dice! These are two that are good for the holiday season! Enjoy!
Thanksgiving is over and we are on to my favorite time of year! There are so many fun things to do in the classroom during winter. Here are some fun, easy to use resources for the month of December! I hope you find something that is useful for you!
This is a bundle of 3 printable one-page writing prompts, with cute clip art, thanks to Sarah Cooley and NinjaWoman! Also included is a blank prompt so you can create your own. Just print, copy, and you’re ready to go! Great for the days when you need something to fill time, but you want a useful lesson as well. Check the link for CC alignment and more details!
Kids love little printable reader books that they can write on, highlight and color. I used these for guided reading, for all levels from my lowest readers to my high group.
This download includes:
-Level A Reader, ready to print
-Level B Reader, ready to print
-Level C Reader, ready to print
-Level D/E Reader, ready to print
-Teacher/Parent guide for each reader highlighting skills to promote learning in guided reading.
-Guided Reading Skills Checklist for Levels A-E
-All readers are winter themed, with snowmen, and no holidays mentioned.
-They are each 9 pages long, with a cover, parent/teacher guide, title page, and 6 pages of text.
-Text is approximately this level, based on Fountas and Pinnell’s leveling system. Text is decodable and uses picture clues when possible. Tested with real kindergarteners, who loved it!
This is a simple graph to track the four kinds of winter weather- snowy, sunny, windy, cloudy. Also, the second page, is a graph to track the temperature. It works well with the K Foss Kit Unit on Weather, but could be used by any grade. Enjoy!
This is a 12-day winter-themed unit. We use it the 12 Days leading up the winter break, in kindergarten. It could be used for any grade K-5, with some modifications!
Included are directions for each day.
You would need to have the book 12 Days of Winter by Deborah Lee Rose. Each day has a winter theme, that goes with a page in the book.
On the first day of winter, my teacher gave to me…
-A Birdfeeder in a Snowy Tree- Theme is what animals do in the winter and the students learn about animals who stay. They make a bird feeder!
-Two teddy bears- Theme is hibernation. Students help create a bear cave in the classroom and read books in their “cave.”
-Three penguins- Theme is penguins. Students play a math game to create penguin.
and so on…
– Parent volunteer directions
– Recommended titles to support the learning
– “I Can” statements that support Common Core for each day’s theme.
– Directions for each day’s project and theme.
I hope you enjoy this unit and this book! It’s a great way to get the kids excited about learning about weather, seasons, animals. And it makes a fun end to December!
What are some of your favorite winter theme plans?
Hello teachers! Happy fall! It’s the time of year for apple orchards, boots, falling leaves, and PUMPKINS! And why not incorporate such a fun season into the curriculum?
This is a fun math unit my team came up with over several years. It uses a REAL pumpkin to teach math measuring concepts! We edited this unit and tweaked it over many years. We created it for kindergarten, but it could be used for grades Pre-K through 3rd. Here are the details!
This is a 3-page printable math lesson using REAL pumpkins! Pick up a huge pumpkin and a tiny pumpkin and you’re set! I have done all four parts to this in one long lesson, or I have split it up over 4 days. Use as you’d like! It covers:
• Weighing the pumpkin- We visit the school nurse with our pumpkin and have her weigh the pumpkins on the large scale. I also have each student predict the weight.
• Measuring the circumference. I hold out a length of yarn and each student cuts it to the length they think will go around the pumpkin. Then we measure the actual length and each student finds out if their guess was “shorter,” “longer,” or “just right!”
• Count the lines on the pumpkin. We have found the easiest way to count the lines is to designate a front and back to the pumpkin, and then count each side. Then they have to add the two numbers.
• Count the seeds. This is so FUN and MESSY! Give yourself plenty of time for this! It took my K class about 45 minutes. I have the kids sit at tables, then scoop (or let the kids grab!) a scoop of pumpkin guts. They separate the seeds into piles of ten, then we count by tens as a class. Large pumpkins generally have around 600 seeds!
Students counting seeds!
It is also aligned to Common Core Math. Here is one of the standards it covers, for kindergarten specifically.
Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
If you’re looking for a break from the normal math curriculum for a few days, this is a perfect fit! It also would be fun to do on the day of the Halloween party, because we all know that not much actual learning happens that day! This would be one day to redeem the day!
It’s the end of the day… Do you know where your student is heading?
Those first few weeks of school, I always found it stressful as the end of the day approached. So many students, so many destinations! It is absolutely imperative that the teachers knows where each student is going.
Several years ago I made this template for dismissal since I had students going different directions every day for dismissal- some to after-school classes, some getting picked up, some bussing. It ended up being so useful that most of my school started using it too.
Bulletin boards! Meet the Teacher Night! Class Lists! Labelling! Laminating!
And on top of it all, they throw a few new curricula at you! Yikes!
I have been there. I have been teaching for eight years and not a single year has gone by without at least one new curriculum or program added. That is a lot to handle, especially when you oftentimes get handed the books just days before you’re supposed to teach them.
To help us handle the overload of different curricula that we needed to teach, my team developed this Scope and Sequence Planning Chart. It’s a basic excel document, but it will save you so much trouble!
Why you need it:
-With big teams of teachers (mine was five teachers per grade!), it is imperative that we all stay on the same page, teaching the same units at the same time.
-With several curriculum per unit of study (two language arts, two math, one social studies, etc), it can get very easy to get behind.
-Starting with a laid out plan will save you from getting to May and realizing you haven’t taught a unit yet! Yikes!
-With a plan in mind, you can work the units around the quarters (or trimesters), school breaks, testing windows, and school events.
-It will make you look super organized to both administrators and parents of students.
It’s that time, when teachers get antsy for school to begin. Don’t get me wrong- we LOVE summer. But we love teaching too. And it is the natural rhythm to begin thinking of our back to school to-do list at this point in the year!
So I am sharing a must-have for back to school: The First Day Folder Packet. This is a packet filled with information about your school and classroom. I have revised, developed, and edited every year since I started teaching. I feel like I have a solid product to offer now!
This is a packet that is meant to send home on the first day of school, to answer as many questions that parents may have at one time. You could also send it at open house or “Meet the Teacher” too.
It WILL need to be edited, of course, for your information. You may need to delete or add sections. But I hope having this template to use will make the process easier for you.
It covers these topics:
-Communication: Email, folders, directory, website
-Drop off/Pick Up routines
-Rest/Nap time (specific to Kindergarten, may need to be deleted for other grades!)
The format is easy to read, with bold headings and short paragraphs. At the end, I also include a daily schedule and a form for parents to fill out so they can receive my emails and photo sharing posts.
I hope you enjoy this product and find it easy to use! Now, get back to your summer and enjoy those last few weeks!
One of my summer resolutions was to add some new quality products to my store! I was thinking today about what I could create that would make back to school a little easier for us all. I thought about how stressful those first few weeks are, and how it is nice to have some short, filler lessons and activities. Sometimes these activities can be last-minute and are not very valuable, so I wanted to create something worthwhile.
I think any kind of writing time is valuable. I love printable writing prompts, because they are handy to use when you are teaching a specific skill. I use them to work on writing conventions: punctuation, capitalization, spaces between words, complete sentences, and so on! They also are great to save for conferences or portfolios, so show growth in their writing over the months, without having to pull out a big writing binder or notebook.
I did the hard work for you and correlated this to Common Core Standards for grades K through 3. I hope that helps! I know the stress of finding a standard to go with your lessons.
Guided Reading. It’s the most wonderful time of the day!
I do love the time of meeting together with small groups of kids to teach them how to read. Kids learn reading through many avenues, but guided reading is one of the best strategies to methodically, purposefully, intentionally teach kids how to read.
Also, in most schools, it is a required part of the literacy block. So let’s do this.
Here are some strategies for beginning and maintaining guided reading. I did the leg work with my kindergarten team. Now you can benefit and run with it!
Assess: Get a solid handle on their skill level- not just their reading level.
Use whatever assessment system works for you- we always used Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level Assessment- and get a formal reading level for every kid, as soon as you can. Don’t delay! But don’t forget to keep in mind other kinds of assessments that may come in handy. For example, you may have a student who has a really high reading level for the age group, but is missing some foundational skills (rhyming, alliteration, letter sounds). Consider all those assessments when making groups. I always did between 5 to 7 groups, depending on my class size. I never wanted more than six in my group.
2. Schedule: Make a timeline of when you will meet with each group and stick to it.
I know it is hard and things come up, but you have to think of Guided Reading as priority number one in literacy block. Don’t skimp on it. Don’t let it get frittered away. You have to pick a system that works for you. I decided on doing one group per day, and giving it a solid twenty minutes. That meant that I would meet with every group one time per week, plus one on one conferences throughout the week. I also pulled my lower groups occasionally to focus in on them more. If you want a sample daily schedule (FREEBIE!), check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Miz Riz Kindergarten Resources!
3. Gather resources: Books, books, books.
You need books. Texts. Articles. Poems. Big books. This may be the most daunting task. But you will be glad you put in the work on the front end to have a good text in front of your group. First, this is the time to think through your objectives, because that will drive your book selection. Yes, teaching kids how to read is the main objective, but what specific skills are you going to focus on for this specific group on this specific week? To help with this process, my team and I created a set of Guided Reading Recording Sheets for Reading Levels A through N (approximately kindergarten through 3rd grade level). These check off sheets keep you focused on what skills correlate well with each level, and they build upon each other so you don’t miss any skills! Here’s a preview!
4. Follow through: Don’t let guided reading get stolen from you!
Here comes the fun part- actually teaching the lessons you planned! Gather your group, plan for what the other kids will be doing, and get to business teaching them the skill you’re focusing on that day!
Also, follow through by letting kids bring home the books you read or similar books in book bags, so they can read them to their families! Use this book baggie letter to explain the process to parents!
5. Assess as you go: Checklists are a lifesaver.
Don’t just teach it, assess it. Formatively assessing means adjusting as you go. If a student is totally not getting what you’re teaching, jot a note right away on the above Recording Forms. Or if a student is flying through a level and you think it may be time to reassess their level, write yourself a note! You think you will remember, but you won’t! Write everything down as you go, so that you can revisit your notes in the next step!
6. Regroup: Both literally and figuratively.
Literally, don’t keep the same groups all year. Regroup based on skills you find lacking or growing, or based on group dynamics, or based on kids needing fresh faces in their groups. Figuratively, regroup as well. Every few weeks, take a mental step back and really think about how your groups are going. Are some not making the progress you’d like to see? Are some strategies challenging and need to be retaught? It will help a lot if you can take a moment and refocus your energies.
Guided reading is a big task, but it is so worth the time investment. I hope these tips make it a little more enjoyable for you!