Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Organizing technology in your Classroom in just 3 easy steps {FREEBIE}

Are you lucky enough to have technology in your classroom?  If you are, you know how tricky it can be to keep it all organized, right?

I needed a place to store our chrome books and iPads on a budget so I bought these letter trays and spray painted them.  Just place them in front of an outlet and pull the chords in from the back of the tray.  A little tip: Teach your students how to use this organizational tool, how you expect devices to be outback, and your overall expectations.

So now that you've found a home for your devices, it's time to organize your actual devices.  In our class, we have five computers.  Students are assigned to different computers to keep things organized.  Plus, a few of our computers headsets get plugged into the back instead of the back and I was tired of kids coming to me every day asking where to plug in their headphones.  Assign them a computer and they'll know how to use it!  So, I solved this problem by creating numbered screensavers for up to eight devices.

You can use them for your devices too! They're photos so all you have to do is save it to your camera roll and set as wallpaper.  Easy!

Could you use these screensavers in your class?  Just snag it below!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Calm Down Bottles for the Classroom

At preschool we always have a few students who really struggle with self-regulation and high energy levels. Surely there are a few of them in elementary school too? One of things that we do to help these friends regroup is provide these simple Calm Down Bottles in our quiet space.

Click HERE to see all 4 bottles. Each has only 1 simple ingredient and the students love them! Keep reading...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kindergarten Reading Comprehension Passages {Freebie!}

Hi friends!
Kelly here from Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten.
I am excited to share with you today one of my favorite new ways to help my emergent readers gain confidence and practice their reading skills. If you stick around, there's even an exclusive FREEBIE for you!

While I may not be teaching Kinder this year (I'm teaching 1st) I still LOVE creating products for Kinder, and I like to be able to use these products for my low first graders as well. I teach a lot of students who speak English as their second language and I find that these kiddos get overwhelmed when there is too much text on a page! Some of my students just need simplicity.
I wanted to provide for my lower students basic reading passages that used only CVC words, & pre-primer and primer sight words. Thus, my new reading passages were born:

I use these passages in small groups and one-on-one with my low first graders. And they just LOVE them!! They feel confident, and really feel like they are reading independently!!

The tracking dots under each word are probably my favorite part. Students point to each word and don't lose their place as they go:

The comprehension questions on the side always include 2 fill in the blank questions as well as 2 multiple choice questions. Students can practice using the text to help them answer questions:

If I was still in a Kinder classroom, the options would be ENDLESS for these fun passages! They would be great to use whole class, as well as in small groups.
Thinking about how my old K classroom used to run, I would have LOVED to have used these stories in my weekly homework packets. Especially since students need to read each passage at least 3 times, these would have been perfect to send home with directions for parents as part of a weekly homework packet.

I decided that my ELL students could really benefit from seasonal comprehension stories that introduced new vocabulary words as well, so I created seasonal passages too:

The same tracking dots and basic words are included, but 2-3 new seasonal vocabulary words are introduced on the bottom. Students need to read these passages 4 times before answering the questions:

My students LOVE to highlight their new vocabulary words that they learned. The repetition of reading the passage 4 times really helps them to recognize those new words!

These stories have been such a hit with my low first graders as well as with several Kinder teachers that I know, that I have decided to keep making more! 

There will be a pack for each season: Spring, Summer, Back to School, & Fall, as well as one more Volume of the basic CVC stories. 
I recently added a GROWING BUNDLE to my store. If you buy the bundle now, it includes 3 packs and a bundle bonus story. As soon as the other packs are added to the bundle, you get to re-download the bundle for free and snag the new passages! How cool is that!?

Here are all of the packs that I currently have in my store as well. All three of these packs ARE included in the bundle! But you can buy them separately too:

These stories are some of MY favorite things, but don't just take my word for it!! Try it out with your students before you purchase!! I created an EXCLUSIVE FREE story for you that is not in my TPT store. Try it with your kiddos and see how they do! Click on the image below to grab your freebie. :) 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year sweet friends!! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter is SNOW much FUN!

Winter is upon us and so are some fun activities!! I'm all about having fun while learning, so I'm super excited to dig into my winter products. I just didn't even realize how many winter packs I had until my friends and I decided to do a mini winter promotion today! From write the room and sight word games to graphic organizers and writing to print & go and math task cards - the winter fun is endless!!

winter writing
We used my winter tree maps and winter writing pack to write all about reindeer in December. Both of these packs contain lots of winter writing topics to help your little learners with their writing skills in January and all winter long!

winter writing
My teammate likes using the snowman bubble map from my winter writing pack and a YouTube video on how to build a snowman to help her students with their snowman writing! Teaching and learning about snow can be a bit tricky when you live in sunny Florida!

winter activities
In January, my literacy stations are full of winter activities! This picture is from last year with some winter write the room fun and my winter sight word match up game. Like I said, living in Florida and learning about winter can be interesting. I try to do lots of winter activities throughout the day so my students can understand winter as much as possible.

There are over 40 printables for reading, writing, and math in my winter print and go pack! This math page helped my kiddos last year with number order to 50. Writing numbers can see be difficult for some of my kiddos this time of year, so this page lets them cut and glue the missing numbers.

Head on over and check out my winter activities! If you like what you see, grab some TODAY at 20% off!!
winter activities and products

Save on more winter resources from some of my good friends and fellow Primary Pack girls!

winter-sweet sounds of kindergarten

winter-missing tooth grins

winter-teaching with heart

Have fun and stay warm this winter!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Seasonal Organization FREEBIES

Last week I participated in a 12 Days of Christmas linky with Focused on Fifth. Topics ranged from products to get you through the busy month, bringing positivity to the classroom, and tips to keep you organized. Since organization is so near and dear to my heart, I thought I would share my seasonal organization freebies with you as well!

To read more and download a free resource, visit my post here

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fun Food for Your Festive Mood!

The holiday season is upon us and this means most of us are looking to Pinterest for ways to help our children enjoy this magical time of year! We like to make edible crafts in our classroom. The children LOVE to make the food crafts and of course eat them too! We found a few snacks that we thought we would love to try. We would like to share them with you too! Enjoy!

Who loves Rice Krispie Treats? These trees are a fun twist for your Christmas festivities in the classroom!
We followed the original Rice Krispie Treat recipe and added green food coloring to the marshmallows after melting them. We formed the mixture into a cone shape to create a green tree. 

The children did the rest...icing, ornaments, eating! (If your classroom is allowed to have peanut products, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are a perfect addition for the tree trunk.) This fun snack has so many possibilities depending on your toppings offered...several children even wanted to add a star. They loved these trees!

These were easy for the children to make and didn't require much prep, other than cutting some Mike and Ike's in half. The children loved creating their colorful string of lights!

The Mike and Ike halves stick right onto the almond M & M's...looking just like a large lightbulb!

Then, just arrange on the Twizzler Pull n' Peel string. We were going to have them attach the lights with frosting, but they didn't stick well, so we found it wasn't worth the hassle. :-)
Voila! Beautiful lights!

These were a cute idea and something pretty healthy, but a little harder for the children to create. They had trouble getting the bananas and strawberries to stay in a candy cane shape, possibly because the bananas are a bit slippery when sliced. However, they loved eating them!

First, we rinsed the strawberries:

Then we cut the strawberries:

Next, we cut the bananas:

The next step was to work with a friend to build the candy cane:

At last, our favorite part......time to eat!!!

These tasty Santa treats were a hit with our children and very easy for them to assemble! All of these food crafts are fun for the children, but they're also easy for teachers to see how well students listen and follow directions and use a model to help them also. 

We used graham cracker squares, red frosting (or pink, haha), white frosting, mini marshmallows, and a variety of items for his eyes and nose, such as M & M's, mini M & M's, gum drops, Red Hots, etc.

These were yummy and many children asked for seconds...and thirds!
We use Cool Whip, mini chocolate chips, and fresh strawberries.
Just slice off the top, creating a flat end of the strawberry. Then, slice the strawberry in half, creating a Santa body and a hat. Now, fill a layer of Cool Whip, put his strawberry hat on top, add another dollop of Cool Whip on top, add two eyes....and eat! 
(Tip: We used a piping bag for the Cool Whip after finding that Reddi-Whip from a can did not work well at all. Perhaps it was too light to be able to hold Santa's hat up.)

Here is another healthy alternative, a Banana Santa! You will need bananas, strawberries, tiny bit of frosting, mini chocolate chips, and mini M&Ms!

We saw a picture of one similar to this on Pinterest. In this one all the layers of Santa were stacked on top of each other and then held together with a tooth pick. We tried it this way first:

This proved to be difficult for the children. The pieces kept sliding around and falling off. They would get the hat on and then an eye would fall off. Then they would get the eye back on and the hat would fall off. It was a hot mess! Haha.
So, instead, we cut each of the pieces in half so it would lay flat on their plate. Problem solved! The children were able to make them very easily and then enjoyed eating them even more!

These reindeer brownies are just too cute and super easy! Excuse our brownies, we had a little trouble with them getting stuck to the pan, hahaha!! After mixing, we baked the brownies in a cake pan. You can do this at home before hand or mix them with the children. We are fortunate enough to have an oven in the shared area between our classrooms. The children did the rest! They added a red M&M for Rudolph's nose, two green M&Ms for his eyes, and then pretzels for his antlers. Lastly, the got to eat it! Yum! They were delicious!

Thank you for stopping by and reading all about our fun week of eating! We hope you can use some of these ideas in your classroom too! Enjoy the time with your students before your winter break!