Tag Archives: teacherlife

Winter Theme Resources for Kindergarten!

Hello teacher friends!

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!

Winter Theme Writing Prompt

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!

Winter Theme Leveled Reader Pack (Level A-E)

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!

Winter Weather Graph

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!

Winter Theme Unit:  The 12 Days of Winter

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.

url.jpg

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…

Included
– 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?

Laura

Vocabulary Cards! Easy to use template!

Hey teacher friends!

Teaching vocabulary is built into most curricula, and we know it’s an important part of reading.  But I have always struggled with how to teach it in a fun way.   So I just created these easy to use vocabulary cards.  They are meant to be used as flashcards that the kids create.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-9-37-36-am

All you have to do is download, copy onto heavy paper, cut, and show the kids how to use them.  The kids write the word, part of speech, a sentence with the word, and draw a picture.  Then, you can use them however you’d like- as flashcards, test practice, games, etc.

I hope you find this useful and fun!

-Miz Riz

Dismissal Template- “How Do We Get Home!”

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.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-9-07-02-am

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.

Here it is for you in one handy download!  Enjoy!

-Miz Riz

*Must Have* Class Roster!

Yes, every teacher has to have a handy roster.  We use them constantly- for attendance, for keeping track of forms, for assessment and grading, for email addresses, whatever!  I seriously go through dozens of these each year.  One handy download, and you’re set.  And better yet, you’ll look like you actually put some time and thought into making a cute roster, rather than the basic, computer generated ones given to you by the office.  Enjoy this quick download to make your back-to-school week easier!  🙂

 

-Laura

Meet the Teacher Introduction Note!

“Who’s your teacher?”

“Have you found out who your kid has for a teacher?”

“What class is she in?”

 

It’s that time of year!  Kids are getting their letters, revealing who their teachers are for the upcoming year.  They want to know as much as they can about their teacher before the first day of school. Who is this mysterious person who will be in charge of my life at school for the next nine months?

Here is a simple printable for teachers and subs alike to introduce themselves to students and their families.  You can send it with their letter telling who their teacher will be, or you can give it at Meet the Teacher night.

I made it in a simple word doc so you can edit the pictures and info.  Enjoy!  Pass it on to your teacher friends!

-Laura

 

 

Back to School: Curriculum Overload!

It’s back to school time!

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!

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.10.10 PM

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.

 

Here’s what you do:

-Download this planning chart for your team.

-Set a planning meeting with your whole team.  This will take at least an hour.

-Set the basic parameters of the planning chart, editing in Excel.  Add in your notes, trimesters or quarter breaks, and your curriculum titles at the top.

-With your team, physically collect and lay out all the curriculum you will be expected to teach this year.

Unknown

-Decide as a team what units you will aim to complete each week, month, and quarter.

-Print and save!  Stay on track all year!

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.10.19 PM

 

Check out this and many other useful resources at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Miz Riz Kindergarten Resources! 

-Laura

 

First Day Folders!

Hello, teacher friends!

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!  Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.07.23 AM

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
-Lunch/Snack options
-Birthday routines
-Volunteering
-Specialist schedule
-Homework
-School forms
-Rest/Nap time (specific to Kindergarten, may need to be deleted for other grades!)

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.08.31 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.08.38 AM

I hope you enjoy this product and find it easy to use!  Now, get back to your summer and enjoy those last few weeks!

 

-Laura

 

Back to School Writing Prompts: Making your first few weeks easier!

Hi teacher friends!

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 4.32.32 PM

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.

Also, a quick shout-out to Namely Original Clip Art!  I love her trendy style.  Check out her store.

So enjoy this quick and easy download!  And stay tuned: I have more writing prompts in the making!

Enjoy your summer!

-Laura

To the Autism Moms

I am not an autism mom, but I’d like to think I’m the next closest thing. I’m a teacher that works with students with autism. I observe, interact with, communicate with, and most importantly, deeply respect autism moms.

I teach in a school district that is undergoing major changes in special education, and specifically in our ASD programs. It is very controversial and the parents, especially the moms, are in full “parent-advocate mode.”   They are fighting for their kid’s educational rights like it’s their JOB. They are amazing!

To honor them, and any ASD moms that may read this, I made a list of characteristics I admire about autism moms.

  1. They fill in the gaps.

They want their kids to be accepted and understood, and for a child with a communication disability, that often means filling in the gaps. They meet with teachers, other parents, sometimes even the whole general education class to help everyone understand their kids. They are creating the dialogue about autism in the schools and they have such a huge influence.

  1. They fight… I mean, they educate. I mean, they advocate.

Well, at times it may seem like they want to literally fight. Throw some punches. But seriously, even the most mild-mannered autism mom will stand up to high-powered district officials if it may help their kid. As a kindergarten teacher, I have interacted with hundreds of moms, but there is something so strong in autism moms. So bold. So ready to do anything for their kids. It is a force to be reckoned with!

  1. They didn’t sign up for this.

I have sat in tiny kindergarten chairs with moms who related their child’s diagnosis experience through teary eyes. I have sat at conferences with parents who didn’t even know what an IEP was. I have been in the room when the “a” word was first spoken to nervous parents. They are thrown into this world of special education without any parent class or “Autism 101.” I feel their confusion and stress because I felt my own version of it as a general education teacher with students with autism thrown in my class without any training offered. They didn’t choose this (except for the exceptional ones who adopted, which is another story!). However, that doesn’t stop them from diving in head first. Which brings me to the next, related thing I admire:

  1. They are self-taught autism experts.

Want to know the latest autism strategy? Want to know the special ed law? Want to know the details of their child’s IEP goals? Want to know the current research on causes of autism? They are experts. I truly wonder how these moms find time to learn so much about the topic, but they are truly a wealth of information. I love asking autism moms what strategies they are trying or what is working at home, because they not only know their child best, but they understand the diagnosis and the spectrum in such a deep, meaningful way.

  1. They worry, but are deeply and unwaveringly optimistic.

Worry is a built-in emotion for any mom, but especially for an autism mom. What will the other kids think of my kid? Will the teacher know how to handle an outburst? Will he be independent eventually? These are the things I imagine must keep them up at night. But in the end, I have heard nothing but optimism. They say things like “He will meet his goals.” “She will make progress.”   “He has come so far.” Autism moms see the glass half-full and hold onto that hope!

  1. They do not give up.

Just as any mom would not give up on their child, autism moms do not give up on helping their child succeed, academically, socially, behaviorally. They have amazing energy and drive. A therapy didn’t work? Well, we will try another? Insurance didn’t approve that expense? Well, I’ll make a call? Nothing stops them!

If you are an autism mom, take this as a big hug, or as a high-five, or as a word of encouragement. I am in your fan club! You are an amazing mom! Keep doing what you’re doing!

Laura