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Our Classroom has an Elf!!

Happy December (almost!) It is Molly from Miss K's Little Rays!!

There is no better time of year than the HOLIDAY SEASON!! I am a lover of Christmas and all that it entails, so obviously going the extra mile at school was a must ;)

Last year, I read my students Georgie the Gingerbread Fairy and had a gingerbread fairy that visited our room daily. She watched for students who had awesome behavior and displayed our school's core values!

To add to the mix, this year our class got an elf! And like any elf, he was delivered STRAIGHT from the North Pole! I had my teaching bestie (Beginnings with Baer) deliver the wrapped package this afternoon. We spent quite some time guessing what could be in it. I had a lot of students guessing it was a rock (not sure why we would get a rock!!) but the look on their face when they saw the elf on the shelf was PRICELESS! Unfortunately I was not thinking and didn't capture that exact moment! I read them the letter he had written and we read the classic book to go with it. We went over how we CANNOT touch the elf or he could lose his magic! I even explained to them that some of my teacher friends had elves that needed to go to the doctor after they had been touched by a student! That got their eyes big and bold!



We then gathered on the carpet and did a partner talk about possible names. We then came together as a class and discussed what we liked best! It came down to Ben, Twinkles, and Candy Cane. And the winner was....



We left for the day wondering of ALL the possible places Candy Cane could be when we return tomorrow. As long as he doesn't mess with my caffeine, I will be a happy teacher ;) Before leaving, I did have one student look at the Elf and say, "Hey, could you let Santa know that I am really a happy kid?"

Tomorrow we will begin our Elf Journal where we will document each day where we found Candy Cane and what he was doing!

Stay tuned to hear more about the Elf in Room 103!

What do you do for holiday fun in your room??

What Worked Well Wednesday: Writing Offices

Hello friends!  Heather from Learning with Mrs. Langley here to share what worked well for me this Wednesday!

This week I tried out something new in Writer's Workshop.  I read a great article about writing offices and decided to give them a try.  I had an alphabet resource and some other things but I've never put it all together in one easy place to use for my kiddos.  So I gave it a shot!

 I had a bunch of folders in different colors so of course I had to use those!  I color coded them so I would know what table they belong too.  I loved that they immediately worked as a privacy folder too.  My kiddos were not too caught up in playing with them either...which I was worried about. 

With the introduction of this new resource I had a new problem.  CROWDED tables.  Gosh they got crowded fast.  So to fix that I introduced writing around the room (which I did last year, but had forgotten about it!)

Here is how it works.  
Students. work. around. the. room.  
That's all.  
They don't have to sit at a table at all! 

Doesn't she look comfortable?  Oh my goodness the difference is amazing.  They are completely focused on their writing and they work the whole time!  That was happening before but it is even better now!  We use rugs to give us a designated spot.  If they want to work at a table they can still choose to do that.  It's all about choice!
Ok, what did I include in the stations?  I updated this freebie file with what I have included so far and you can get it for free HERE.  


Thanks friends!
And you can link up too!  Follow the Inlinks tab to connect the Kindertribe to your own blog post!  We'd love to hear from you! 

 

What Worked Well Wednesday: Successful Parent Teacher Conferences



 Oh, parent teacher conference time! Just thinking about them has always made me feel like...


Some are parents you've never met before. Some you've interacted with for years. Some will be incredibly protective and have their defenses up. You will have to have some difficult conversations about the most important people in their world. This is scary for all involved.

But over the last year or so, I've found ways to make conferences run smoothly and successfully for all involved. Today is our fall conference day, and I am using some of the things that have made conferences successful for me in the past.

Just like we spend time setting up our room for seamless learning for our students, put in a little time to set up for your parents.

The environment sets the stage, so make sure it is pleasant. I put on some soft classical music and ensure that the room is tidy and smells good. These little things can make a big impression. I swear by fragrance plug-ins. These Air Wick plug-ins are inexpensive and permeate throughput the room (a huge room I might add). When you walk in and notice that it smells great, you are already at ease.

I always set up a table and chairs outside my room for those who are waiting for the previous conference to end. On the table, I put some of our class books for students to read to their parents, and give them  a sense of what their kids can do. Our class books about our field trips (which include pictures and students writing about their experiences) are always a big hit.


When you walk in, I have a sign in table. I use picture frames from the Dollar Tree for the signs- it looks nicer and keeps the signs in good condition so they can be used again.


At each child's spot, I have a pile of all of their papers that I will go over with parents. It is easy for me to grab when they get there, and helps me make sure that everyone has a copy of everything. There are always a few parents who can't make it, and now I have everything ready for when I can meet with them. There are always several notes to go home, as well as student journals and portfolios. Our district kindergarten "report cards" are very basic, so I supplement with parent reports from ESGI and a talking points sheet.

I love this format because it reminds me of all the positives. When I sit down to fill them out, I think about what I've seen each child improve in, what they are really strong in, and what they struggle with. I leave the "goals" section blank and fill this out with parents. I love hearing what they want to see for their child, and what they are willing to put into this.  This helps solidify that we are a team, and helps us focus on what we want for that child.These talking points help me stay focused  as we confer. 

 Before leaving, I have a little treat for the families who came. Who doesn't love a little something sweet?


Doing these things has allowed me to make conferences seamless and productive. Going into it today, I feel at ease and well-prepared, excited to see parents beam when I tell them the great things their kid can do. Do you have any "must-do's" for conferences? I'd love to hear about them!


What's going well in your classroom? Link up and share with us!

An InLinkz Link-up

Simple Thanksgiving Craft

Hello, Everyone!
This is Kelly from My Fabulous Class. We have been have been learning all about Thanksgiving.

We have been reading all of these fun turkey books. You can find all of these books on Amazon. 

We made a Thanksgiving bubble map. I was hoping to get more out of them, but they were all distracted by the surprise snow storm.


Then, we made this adorable Thanksgiving book. It was so simple. The brown paper in just a piece of construction paper cut in half. to make the nose and waddle, we just cut scraps from the feathers. I had to help a few kids with this. You can get the feathers and the writing template FREE HERE

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Math Center Management

I don't know about you, but it seems that every year I am trying to streamline my math centers.  I want to not only make my life easier, but I also want to make it more manageable and meaningful for my students.  



This year I tried something a little bit new.  

First of all, I have my math center rotations on a SMART notebook so I can easily put it up on my SMARTboard.  No more finding a spot in the room for a rotation chart that we use once a day.


Each day I just move the circles to the next center and then save the changes to the notebook before I close it after center time.

Secondly, I bought these drawers last year and decided they would be perfect for my math centers.  I have them numbered.  They also easily come out.  I have my students take the whole drawer to their table.



Lastly, in order to make things easier for myself.  I have kept the centers somewhat similar in each drawer.  Here is what my math centers look like:



Center 1 - pattern blocks
Center 2 - matching game and/or CRASH
Center 3 - changes each week
Center 4 - iPads
Center 5 - roll & color games
Center 6 - spinner games

As you can see, my students know instantly what they are doing at each center each week.  I don't keep the exact same activity in the drawer every week, but they are somewhat similar.  In my pattern block drawer, I use Elizabeth Hall's pattern block activities from her B.U.I.L.D. math centers.  (You can grab them here)

The centers change with each theme I am teaching, but the way to play the games/centers is usually the same except for center three.  I like to have one that I can change up.  I always teach that center whole group before I ever expect my students to do it on their own.  

During the time my students are doing math centers, I am pulling small groups.  I pull a group who needs some reteaching and I pull another group for enrichment.  I love having the opportunity to pull these students.  

Do you do math centers?  If so, I would love to hear how you manage them.  Sound off in the comments below!




What Worked Well Wednesday: Nouns

Hey Kinder Tribe!

We have been learning about nouns this past week and I want to share with you a few things that I did with my class. I teach a Kindergarten and First grade combination class this year and so my classroom is a little bit different than it would be if I was full K but, both my Kindergarten and First grade students responded really well to learning about nouns this week so I thought I would share! I forgot to snap pictures of what we did, however, I will take them tomorrow and add them to this post later!

First, we watched the Brain Pop Jr. video about nouns. It's free so you can watch that here! My kiddos just love Annie and Moby! The video goes pretty deep with the different types of nouns so feel free to stop the video where you like!

After that, we came up with some ideas of examples of a person, place, and a thing. I listed them in an anchor chart so we can always refer back to it if we needed it!

In Phonics, we have been working on sounds spelling and tapping out words. So to reinforce that, I dictated a couple of sentences to my students and have them write it on their white board. They then had to go back and find all the nouns in those sentences and circle them.

I have some pretty awesome Kinders and they are always wanting to know more and go deeper, so I decided to introduce them to the concept of common and proper nouns. Annie and Moby mention it in the Brain Pop video but I wanted my students to have a little more exposure to it!

 I got some sticky notes and wrote one of the categories of nouns(person, place, or thing) on the top. I passed them out at random and the students had to write an example of a person,  place, or thing, depending on their sticky note. Once they did that, I had them come to the white board and decide whether they should put their sticky note on the common nouns side or the proper nouns side. I asked them some guiding questions as they were coming up: "Is there lots of these or just one? and Does it start with a lowercase or uppercase letter?." They did really great with it!

I am so excited to read about what has been working well in your classroom! Link up below and share!

Monthly Freebie Linky Party: November 2015

Hi everyone!

This is Yukari and on behalf of the admin team I'm here to bring you another Monthly Freebie Linky Party!


Each linky will be open for a month and the the linky for the new month will be posted on the 1st of each month.  If you have freebies that you have made this month that you would like to share with the Kinder Tribe members please do so here! 

If you are in the Facebook group please refrain from posting freebies there and post your freebies here! You can post more than one freebie a month!

Guidelines:

1. You can either link to a TPT product that is free or a blog post but please make sure it is going to a specific product or a specific blog post.  Your link will be deleted if it goes to your TPT store front or your blog homepage.

2. Please ensure you only post freebies that you have posted this month.  That means for this post you can only post freebies that you have posted in November 2015. (Nothing from November 2014, October 2015 etc. pretty please! Again links that do not follow this guideline will be deleted!)

3. You can link-up more than once a month but again please make sure that you are providing a link to your newest freebie and not just your generic blog or store address.

4. Links to blog posts with paid posts are ok as long as there is a freebie in the post as well.  If your post only contains paid products it will be deleted.



Happy sharing Kinder Tribe!