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Hey Indiana Teachers...

Do You Teach Near Indianapolis?

Then, you will want to read this!
SDE is coming to your town on Dec. 3 & 4 and you won't want to miss us!
Click the image above. 
Join Kim, Palma, and Matt!
Get inspired, excited, and amazed!
Learn new techniques to bring back to your classroom!
Enjoy a fun-filled day or 2 of learning!
Re-discover the joy of teaching!

I'm So Excited To Be Part of This Conference...

Join me at my sessions:
How would you like to teach math skills through shopping? Seriously, why not have students pretend to "buy" the parts for their next project? I will show you so many ways to make math FUN & how to manage these fun technique that will motivate your students to develop their math skills. Top it off with a wide variety of "shopping centers" for your classroom and you have...
"Take An Imaginary 'Shopping Trip' Through the Math Standards!"




Tap into my 37 years of experience and learn new ways to organize & manage everything from student data to student behavior. Keep students engaged, eliminate behavior problems, and teach more efficiently with the tips and tricks you'll discover in my session...                                                    

"The Amazing Classroom"


Are you wondering how to get your kindergarten students to develop their descriptive, informative, opinion, and narrative writing skills? Let me show you an easy approach that is both developmentally appropriate and crucial to your students' success in writing. Check out my session...


"They Can Do It! Creating Successful Writers in Kindergarten"




And what ever happened to nursery rhymes? Discover how to teach so many foundational ELA skills at this engaging "Make & Take" session! You will leave with so many samples to use in your classroom. All materials and tools are provided, so stop by and have fun in...
"Mother Goose on the Loose!"



And that's just day 1. On day 2, have fun at my keynote presentation:



Start your day with a big spoonful of motivation, a pinch of inspiration, and a handful or two of laughs and giggles. Leave this keynote with a smile on your face and empowered to make a difference in this changing world, one child at a time. Join me for...
"Ingredients For Success!"



Collect tricks and tips on how to create inexpensive or free ways to design centers that meet a wide range of abilities. Turn your classroom into a plethora of playful learning. Stop by and find out how at...
"Learning Centers: Keeping 'Play' in Your Kindergarten Day"



Are you drowning in assessments, data, and making sense of all of the testing you have to do? Well, fear not! I'll show you efficient ways to test, record, and analyze your data. Find out how at... 

"Fall In Love With Formative Assessments!"



Do you want to trigger curiosity, ignite excitement, and create life-long learners? Come and learn the 4 basic steps to inquiry-based learning. Discover how at...


"Inquiry-Based Learning: Let Your Students Drive Your Instruction!"


If you read this post and come to this amazing conference, find me and tell me that you saw this post. I always carry prizes for my followers and I love to give away FREEBIES at all of my presentations!  :)
for more info about this conference. 



My #1 Best Beginning of the Year Tip:

1. Your ESGI Code NEVER Expires!

Click the code above. 

So, you used my ESGI code, KFUN, and got:
~  a FREE 60 day trial
~  $40 off your 1st year
~ to save 400 hours/yr
Click the Superhero for more info.

#2.  My BEST Back to School 

Tip for Teachers:

Click the image of me to see my quick video & discover my #1 Best Back-to-School Tipplus ESGI info. 


Back to ESGI...
Did you know that your ESGI code is still good if you know anyone else who wants to use it!
Or, if your school or district wants to get ESGI for several teachers, you can have them use my code, 
and they will qualify for even more discounts.
They can also contact ESGI and mention my code to get a customized quote! 
CLICK HERE
to get more info.
Click the happy teacher.
Click the image of me. 
Bonus: If you sign up for ESGI before Sept. 30, 
you will be automatically entered to win one of 11 Amazon gift cards valued from $50 - $500!!!


So, give it a try today. 
Sign up for your FREE trial HERE.
(No credit card is required.)
Enter my code, KFUN
and when your FREE trial is almost over, 
you will be asked if you want to sign up for
ESGI with the $40 discount. 
Here are some funding ideas for you too:
for funding ideas.

I know you will LOVE 
ESGI as much as I do!

Back to School Tips Part 3

Setting up the best classroom EVER!


Here are a few time-saving, "make my life easier" ideas that I like to do at the beginning of the year:

First, I take a photo of each child when they come in for pre-testing.  I hang up some fabric and use it as a background for the photos .  Then, when I attach their photos to the inside of their cubbies, they all coordinate with the bulletin board above it and the red checkered theme I have in my room.

Photo spot.
We will write about our favorite sandwiches on a sandwich
template and pin them on the plates.
Their photos, with the checkered background ,
will replace the old photos inside the cubbies.
I print the photos in all different sizes to use in different ways.
One way is to attach a 2" X 3" photo to card stock, laminate it, and add a sticky Velcro dot to the back.
Then, we use them to graph all kinds of things on a huge graph I made that has Velcro in each square.

Front of graphing card.
Back of graphing card.

1st Day Certificates:

Next, I printed up our 1st Day certificates:
This year, I had to change my master to "first day of TK".
Click the image to get the certificates for K.

1st Day Photo for the Memory Book:

 We took our "First Day In TK" photos!  I am hanging the frame on the bulletin board and placing the individual photos all around it for Back-To-School-Night!

That's all for now.  
Hope your new school year is awesome!

Have you signed up for your
FREE 60 day trial of ESGI yet?
Use my code, KFUN
to qualify for $40 off your 1st year.
Sign up for your FREE trial by Sept. 30
& you'll be entered to win one of 
11 Amazon Gift Cards 
valued from $50 - $500!
CLICK HERE 
to get started. 

Check out my:
FaCeBoOk:  Click Here to see my Facebook. 
(Tons of FREE ideas.)

PiNtErEsT:  Click Here to see my Pinterest Boards.  
(Oh, the ideas on these boards!)

TeAcHeRs PaY tEaChErS:  Click Here to see my TPT Store 
(Did you say, "20 freebies?!")

Find 20 FREEBIES in my
TPT STORE !

My 3 Best Back-To-School Tips:

Getting Ready For Day 1:

Here are my "Top 3 Tips" to help you have the best 1st day EVER!
I will post one tip each day for three day. 
Does this look like your school on the 1st day?
Tip #1:
Pre-Test Your Students:
If you can possibly meet your students prior to the first day of school and administer a mini pre-test, that would be PERFECT! 
My in-coming students LOVED testing with ESGI.

I can't emphasize enough how valuable pre-testing prior to the the first day of school is. Not only do you get to meet your new students individually, you get to meet at least one parent, and you have the time to test each student on the most critical foundational skills.  Most of all, you can quickly print up an assessment letter for the parents which indicates which skills their child answered correctly and which skills they need to work on:
Each letter is individualized for each student!
But that's not all! You can also print up a set of flashcards for parents to take home and work on prior to the first day of school!

Flashcards are labeled with the date tested, the child's name, and the skill tested. 

You'll be able to plan your initial groups, plan your lessons based on data, and your RTI will be up and ready to go on Day 1.

(I usually set up 30 min per student and I take their photo too!)

The Perfect Photo Op Time:
Set up a cute background and take a quick photo of each child. 
First, I set up a background for the photos. 
Then, I take each photo
in front of that background. 
I print each photo in different sizes.
This one is for our class graph. 


I stick Velcro on the back and
use these photos for our class graph. 

I also place one photo inside each child's cubby to help them find their cubby on the first day. 

But I know that not everyone can do this. If you can't, you will have to take some time from each day, for about two weeks, so you can pre-test each child individually during class time. 


I know, you are thinking, how can I EVER do this when I have so many needy students? Let me suggest a few tips:

Test one child while the others work around you at your reading table or at their work tables. 
The students around me are working on a simple activity while
I'm testing one child on just a few skills

 Print a class list and include a grid so you can enter scores in the boxes by each child's name.
The shaped were added after pre-testing and indicate which academic group each child is in.
The colors indicate which table each child sits at.
These can change as needed. 

If I pre-test prior to Day 1, this data is already done before the 1st day of school. 

Test only the most important skills: 
Letter names (stop testing if they miss 5 in a row), Letter sounds (consonants only)
Number recognition (0-5 only)
(This should take from 5-15 min. per student.)

If you have time:
Naming pictures of common objects. 
Naming the 8 basic colors
Visual discrimination (matching pictures)
Counting up to 5 objects
Reading up to 5 sight words 
(This can add an additional 10-15 min per student.)

-Record the # of letter names, sounds, and numerals correctly identified by each child's name. 
-Record the additional skills, if tested, with a ratio such as 5/8 for a student who named 5 colors correctly out of 8.

You might be wondering why I didn't record each individual color and when do I find time to test students while I'm teaching and managing all of my brand new students. That's because I used ESGI, an online testing site, who took care of all of the details for me!
Click the image to grab your 60 day FREE trial. 

All I had to do was show each student the screen of my laptop or iPad and click "yes" or "no" as my students identified letter names, sounds, numerals, colors, common objects, sight words, counted 5 objects, and matched pictures. 
The student identifies the word and I click "yes" or "no".


ESGI tracked which questions each child answered correctly and which ones they didn't. And just take a look at this bar graph. You choose from the tests listed at the bottom of the page:


Click the image for more info. 

If you click on the grey part you see the names of the students who did not get that question correct! Can you spell RTI??? There it is for you!

ESGI also tracks each individual student's progress. The grey circles turn green as each student masters the skills on each test. Your students LOVE to see their circles turn green, so they will often beg you to test them! 


Click the chart for more info. 


Visit esgisoftware.com
and begin your FREE 60 day trial. 
And... if you enter the code
KFUN
you will automatically qualify for 
$40 off of your 1st year!
(There is no CC required for the FREE trial.)
Bonus: If you sign up before Sept. 30, 
you will be entered to win one of 
11 Amazon Gift Cards!
to get started.

Click the image for more info.
Now, if you can't pre-test prior to the first day of school, you can still call students up for 5-15 minutes each while everyone else is completely a simple table activity and exploring the manipulative materials you placed on each group table. 
I will be blogging about that tomorrow, so stay tuned 
for part 2 of this 3 part series. 
Tomorrow's post is all about 
My Day 1 Schedule and Activities!

Back to School Part 2

Tip #2: 

This is part 2 of a 3-part series. 
You can view Part 1 by CLICKING HERE.

Plan Your "Day 1" Schedule & Activities:

Day 1's Schedule-
A simple, generic plan.

Literature:
There are the classics like
The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. 
I liked starting my day with that book. 

But, keep these other two books on hand for later in the day:



I am Absolutely Too Small For School 
by Lauren Child
Click the image.
It's a cute book about how feeling 
not-quite-ready to start school. 

Or there is...
Harriet Can Carry It,
by Kirk J. Mueller
Click the image. 

 An adorable story about Harriet and her little son, Joey. She is a kangaroo who wants to spend a day at the beach. Harriet is asked by her friends to carry everything from a surfboard to a pair of swim fins. 
If you bring in a beach bag  this story can become an interactive activity as your students place graphics of the items Harriet is asked to carry into the beach bag. There is also a cute activity you can create with this kangaroo:  
Click the image to grab your FREE kangaroo & beach gear. 
Or you can have your students make their own beach bag out of a paper bag:
Click the image.

Think of Harriet as 
a summertime version of The Mitten. 

Rules/Logistics/Tour the School:
I keep my rules short & sweet:

1. We use quiet voices.
2. We listen with our whole bodies.
3. We walk across the classroom.
4. We are kind.
5. We follow directions.

I even made a little poem about it.
It goes like this:
(And there are hand motions to go with it.)

We raise our hands before we talk,
(Raise right hand up.)
We listen, 
(Right hand cupped to right ear.)
we always walk,
(Fingers of right rand walk along the top of your left forearm.)
We're kind,
(Touch both pointer fingers to the sides of your mouth as you smile.)
We follow directions. 
(Clap, clasp your hands, and place them in your lap.)

Teaching logistics is easy if you explain what you want the children to do and then have 1 or 2 students model it. 

Explain how to walk to the tables, how to create the table activity, and how to use the manipulative activities at each table. Have 1 or 2 students model moving to the tables and YOU model how to create the table activity and use the manipulative activities. By the way, I place the manipulative tubs on the tables and students may play with them when they finish their work. Each day of the first week I rotate the manipulative activity tubs to the next table. That way the children get to explore different manipulatives each day. 


Here are 3 of my 5 tables.
I move the manipulative tubs from one table to the next at the end of each day. 

And take some time to Tour The Classroom & School. Take a group walk around the classroom, especially if you have a restroom in your classroom, and stop to model how to wash your hands at the sink. 

A cute idea is to find your class mascot (mine was always Boomer, the dog) by the sink. Then, tour the playground and, if you can get someone to slip your mascot on a swing or the slide, find your mascot on the playground and model the rules like walking on the blacktop or going down the slide on your bottom. (Although I have been known to go down the slide, you can have a student model that one!) I don't tour the entire school, only the parts that are adjacent to my classroom like the playground and restrooms. 
Here is Boomer! We found him by my Show & Tell Apron!
If you want a teaching apron like this one, visit http://showandtellaprons.com.


Take-home Activity:
Something simple like this hat is perfect for the first day of school because they can wear it home. 
After they cut it out and glued on the red band and white star, I called them up to take their First Day Photo. I used this laminated hat for all of the photos. 
The words on the red band:
I had a superstar day in kindergarten!

1st Day Photos-

I put up a red checkered background for each photo. 
Or you can use a frame like this one. 

Recess & More Literature:
This classic book, Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate, can be too long to read on the first day. I just start the book, focus on the letters "A" and "a", and we look for those letters in each name as I show their name cards on my SMART board by using my digital camera. On day 2, we take this book out again and focus on the letters B & b. 

We list all of the names that have an "A" or an "a", count how many we have, and fill in the first page of our class Letter-Name Book:
Click the image to grab this Letter-Name Book. 

CLICK HERE to grab my Letter-Name Book. 
It is also part of my 
CLICK HERE to grab that bundle. 

2nd Table Activity:
Chick-Chicka-Boom-Boom, Welcome To Our Classroom! This activity stays at school to create a cute bulletin board. 

Give students the random letters or the letters in their name. 

Isn't this a cute bulletin board?

Here is a 2D version of this activity.
It makes a great page your your memory book too!

Lunch/Fire Drill/Group Activity:
After lunch, practice a fire drill and then do a group activity like a movement song or a game.

Literature & Daily Diary:
Annabelle Swift, Kindergartener, by Amy Schwartz is a great book to end the day with. 
Click the image. 

Then, have the class help you to complete the first page of your daily diary: This re-caps the day and helps your students remember what they did in school that day so when their parents ask them, it is fresh in their minds. 
Click the image. 
to grab your Daily Dairies for the entire year!
This set is also part of my 
CLICK HERE to grab that bundle. 


Have you signed up for your 
FREE trial of ESGI yet? 
Use my code, KFUN
to get $40 off of your 1st year 
and you will be entered to 
win one of 11 Amazon Gift Cards 
valued from $50 - $500!

Stay tuned for part 3 of 3 when I blog about making your First Day the BEST it can be tomorrow!