Video segment about me, by the school district

Monday, April 28, 2014

Exploring Social Media

Hi, everybody. I've been blogging here for a while now, and my husband is trying to get me to explore other social media. So to try to get the word about my blog out, I created a twitter account! I'm brand new and I don't really know what I'm doing, but if anyone does twitter, maybe we can talk and you can give me some pointers. My Twitter name is @teachingwsight. I wanted to make it @teachingwithsight, but Twitter doesn't let you have a name that long! I hope to be able to post some of my stray thoughts, ideas, and stories in between blog postings. Let's connect on Twitter!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Down on the Farm

With the implementation of Common Core, I'm trying to expose my kinders to more non-fiction books.  In the carousel above, three of the books have really great science and social studies connections to things that come from farms.  It's funny how kids in the city think that ice cream is made at the grocery store and really have no concept that it actually comes from milk that's produced by cows.  The series by Lerner Publishing Group called "Start to Finish" really helps young children to see the process through realistic pictures.  The other three books in the carousel are fun and filled with nice rhymes and colorful pictures.

I just made some farm-themed vocabulary words that I'd like to share with you.  I'm going to place these in a pocket chart so my students can look at them to write stories and sentences independently.

I also placed on TPT a free Farm Writing Prompt that I'm going to use this week to help my children make more complex sentences.  If you like this farm prompt, you might want to check out my Spring and Fantasy writing prompts.

I think I'm also going to try some planting.  The warm weather really makes one think about blossoming plants.  Yay!  Spring is here, finally!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hi everyone!  I hope you're all having a very wonderful Easter.  Many shops are having sales right now on TPT, including mine for 20% off all products.

Since we're on Easter break, I was able to make a new product that I'm very proud of, called Writing Picture Prompts - Fantasy.  My students liked my spring writing prompts but were asking me for things like dragons, unicorns, princesses, 3 Pigs, etc.  All the research says that things are much more motivational when the ideas come directly from the kids themselves.  Hence the new writing prompts!

Ok, enough about that.  I want to tell you a little about my trip.  Poconos Stream is a destination honeymoon/couples resort.  Everything is especially designed with couples in mind.  The rooms are huge, and some of them have pools within your own suite.  Ours also had a champagne tower, star ceiling, tanning bed, steam room, sauna, and circular bed.  The pool area that was not in our room had beautiful waterfall jacuzzis.  There are all kinds of games during the day, as well as night-time entertainment such as comedians, beer tastings, trivia, and more.  The wait staff is so nice, you feel like you're a millionaire.  There was one waiter who was so sweet to me.  Each time he put down a dish, he told me exactly where he was placing it.  This was so nice for me, because most waiters don't even talk to me.  They ask my husband "What would she like?"  I asked our waiter if he had ever worked with blind folks, and he told me that he did work at a camp for kids with all kinds of disabilities.  I wish more sighted people knew that they can speak directly to a blind person.  Anyway, it was an absolutely fabulous trip.

I'd love to hear if you did something special for spring break!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter Inspiration

"Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure" Book Cover

This is an EGGcelent book!  Ok, I'm sorry, but it is about Pete the Cat helping the Easter bunny with eggs, so I couldn't help the pun.  We can't use candy this year at my school :-( so I decided to have the Easter bunny wrap a gift and leave it with a note for my students.  They had written letters the day before to the Easter Bunny, asking him to stop by our classroom.  Here are different levels that you can use with high, middle, or low kids.  Choose the paper that is right for your class.

I also wanted to do some patterning with my children, because I really think it helps with problem solving and logical thinking.  You're probably thinking "But it's not in Common Core, so why do it?"  I don't entirely agree that patterning should have been taken out of the kindergarten curriculum in the first place, and I know they still teach it in pre-k (at least in my school system).  We sang a song called "Everybody Do A Pattern" by Dr. Jean.  The song uses clapping, snapping and stomping, so it's very kinesthetic for wiggly kinders.  Then the children made different patterns by using pastel-colored, laminated eggs that I made the night before.  If you don't feel like cutting out paper eggs and laminating them, simply use the plastic eggs that you can buy in any grocery store around this time of year.  I think that would probably be better for the children anyway, but I just didn't have time to go to the store that day.  As an assessment to see if the children understood the lesson, I used this paper:

I also sent home these two different levels of sight word board games.  My higher students got the first grade board game, and my on-grade-level and below-grade-level students got the kindergarten board game.

Easter Sight Word Board Games & Worksheets

I'm going to the Poconos this week for a little rest and relaxation.  I would love to hear what all of you are doing with your students for Easter this year!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dear Diary

Diary Books
Hi all!  It's been a while.  I just finished a Lego Education presentation for Rainbow Station.  It went really well.  I wish I could present more.

I was doing a unit on writing letters in Writing Fundamentals, and I remembered that I had some books about diary writing.  I wasn't sure if Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin would hold the students attention - it's a pretty long book.  I was so pleasantly surprised, though, when we read it.  My kindergarten students got the jokes and were entranced by the worm character.  I thought that if the book worked, I would make diaries for all of my kids simply by putting the following cover on a composition book.

The funny, marvelous thing is that before I even mentioned my idea to the kids, they started asking "Can we do what the worm's doing?", "Could we write stuff like that?", "Can we have diaries?", and "Can you make us diaries?"  I thought for a second, and said "Well... I suppose, if you'd really like to write in diaries, I could make them for you if you're really good."  This was really one of those moments where I just wanted to shout "Yes!!"  I played it cool, though, and continued the week with Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly.  By the time I put 24 covers on composition books, my students were bursting with excitement to write!  I realized that it's important for my assistant and I to have diaries too, and to show the students what we are writing in them.  Here is a sample page from my diary that I showed my students to get them started.

I'd love to hear what you're doing for writing!