Valentine's Week {Centers, Parties, and Positive Behavior Support}

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Have you seen these adorable felt Valentine envelopes in the Target Dollar Spot area?  They are actually only $1 and when I saw them, I knew I had to incorporate them somehow, somewhere!  They have the large ones above, as well as the smaller ones like in the picture below in the holiday section.  I wanted to share a couple ideas with you I had for this cuteness and hear your ideas on how you would use or are using these envelopes.

My little ones are so into working for little treats and rewards.  I thought it would be so cute if when they came in in the mornings, Cupid would have left them a little love note with a little treat!  And the Cupid's Love Note idea was born!  

I made up some love notes with all different kinds of compliments on them from academics to friendship to great behavior.  I printed them all out and have them stowed away with the envelopes.  I select a few students per day to receive the note so that by Valentine's Day, they each have received a fun note.  I also make them understand that they can keep the note but not the envelope because Cupid needs those to leave more notes the following day. :) I can't let those things out of my sight!

I include a little treat with the note.  I found the items below at Walmart in the holiday section, but I am also doing the conversation hearts and Valentine candy corn to mix it up.  It also looks like magic Cupid dust when you sprinkle the candy.  I will have to post those pics on Instagram so that you can see!!!

I am also using the envelopes for centers.  The centers below are the ones I used in second grade last year.  These were perfect for our ELA center time.  They are super easy to put together if you need something for next week.  Just print, laminate, cut, and stuff into the envelope!  You can click any of the pics below to grab the centers.



And if you have followed me for a while, you know that it's a yearly tradition to have a Valentine's Sock Hop Party.  If you need your party all planned out for you, you can click the pack below and grab it for FREE!  Everything you need is there, except for the food and game gear, of course.  It's one of my favorite things we do all year.  


Below are our Valentines from last year.  The penguins were my favorite, but the boys were all about those rockets!  They turned out so cute!  If you need some Valentines to make with your class, you can click the pics below to check those out.  I used a lot of scrapbook paper for them that I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

If the sock hop is too much for you, you can grab this party letter below.  It's for a more simple party with Valentine Trail Mix and Cupid Floats.  Just send this letter home and you are ready to go! 

I hope you have found some helpful ideas for Valentine's Week!  I am all about making it easier for you!  Let me know if you have some cute ideas for those envelopes by commenting below!  Have a great week!

Teacher Talk YouTube Channel and Periscope

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hey there!  I am so excited about something fun we have going on!  Three of my besties and I have teamed up to form a collaborative Periscope and YouTube Channel to talk all things teaching.  We have taught together for years, and we want to share the good, the bad, and the funny that has happened to us during our time teaching together.  We are now at different schools, except for Holly and I, but our friendship has only grown stronger!  We are here to chat, share, and just vent about all that goes on in our classrooms!

We have been periscoping for a little while now.  We try to scope every Friday, but as you can imagine, sometimes it's hard to get together with crazy schedules.  We are planning on scoping this Friday from Rayann's first grade classroom.  She is an AMAZING teacher, and I can't wait to see what she has to share!  Two weeks ago, we got to see Alysia's adorable library and last Friday we had a little snow day fun at a local coffee shop chatting all about Class Dojo.  You can subsribe to our Periscope so that you don't miss out on all the fun!  You can find us @teachertalk4.

We are super excited that Holly has launched our YouTube Channel, too!  Right now, we have three vidoes posted taking you through all the details of team teaching.  We get real about the ups and downs of it, as well as how it all comes together.  We have another video in the works of how we teach letter sounds to our kindergarteners.  Be sure to subscribe to our channel!  You don't want to miss this crazy effective strategy!  It blew me away!

You can find each of the videos below.  Excuse my raspy, southern voice.  I had a cold at the time.  ;) Our amazing Holly Harwood put these together!  

We hope you join us on our teaching journey!  We have more exciting things planned for you up our sleeves!  Be sure to chime in on Periscope and feel free to ask questions on our YouTube videos.  We will get back to you with anything you want to know.  Happy teaching!!!

A Peek At My Week: New Year

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Winter Break has come to an end.  We head back tomorrow, and I feel like it's always a chance to restart the year.  I use the first day back to go over rules and expectations, as well as to set goals for the upcoming semester.  It usually takes a little time for students to get back into the routine, so I have rounded up a couple of ideas to help you and your students ease back into the schedule.

I love Amy Lemons's New Year's Fun pack.  She has some cute craftivities, as well as this fun countdown.  It's used as a behavior incentive for the students.  Each hour, if students had great behavior, you open up a bag.  I picked these bags up from the Target Dollar Spot.  There were 8 in a pack for $3.

I definitely think you should hurry over and get this pack for this week!  It has always been a student favorite!

I like to pick up party hats on clearance each year for a little table competition.  Every thirty minutes I choose a table that exhibited the best behavior, manners, work ethic, etc.  That table gets to wear party hats for thirty minutes before I choose another one.  They're either paper or plastic so I don't worry about the spread of anything. ;)  They love wearing the hats!

These are my plans from last year in second grade.  You can read more about them HERE.

I incorporated clocks and time into our first week back.   The first day, I assigned each student a time during our day and had to illustrate and write a sentence explaining what we do at that time.  I turned it into a banner to hang with our other craftivities.

Students partnered up and played sparkling spinners together.

We also did some I Spy around the room, a flapbook, and a matching activity of analog and dialog clocks.


Another fun thing you can do with your class is to make a time capsule.  I picked this box up from the Sugar Paper line at Target.  

Students filled out the questionnaire, put it in the box, and we put it away until the end of the year.  It's fun for them to look at it the last week of school to see if their choices have changed.  

We also made these fun little craftivities to go along with our study.

This year, I am in kindergarten, so my plans are super different.  I am really depending a lot on Deanna and DeeDee's math and reading units.  They have been great for planning and instruction purposes! 

I am linking up with Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten this week.  Be sure to head on over to check out everyone else's plans, too!  Have a great week!

Snowball Fight Formative Assessment

Friday, January 1, 2016

A couple of years ago, I took part in a STEM course at a local university.  While taking the course, I was introduced to this book, Mathematics Formative Assessment by Page Keeley and Cheryl Rose Tobey.  

The purpose of a formative assessment is to inform and provide feedback to students regarding their learning.  They should be purposeful, planned, and a variety of techniques should be used.  You can use the usual exit tickets for a quick formative assessment, but the new wears off quickly for students.  I love that this book provides 75 different strategies that are very easy to implement into your everyday instruction.  

I wanted to share one of the strategies used in the book that is perfect for these cold, winter months.  It's called Commit and Toss.  It's an anonymous technique that makes the students' thinking visible to the class.  

Students are given an assessment probe.  For example, you may be working on double-digit addition with regrouping in math.  You could show a problem for students to write down on a scrap piece of paper or actually give them the problem on a piece of paper.  Each student will solve the problem independently.

Now for the part where your students will look at you like you're crazy the first time you do this!  Have them crumple it up into a ball!  

When you give them the signal, have them throw the ball across the room.  I call it a snowball toss or fight.  This is hands down their favorite formative assessment!  

Afterwards, have them pick up one of the pieces of paper.  Students take the paper and share the answer.  The answers are anonymous and they do not present their own ideas.

My take-aways from this assessment and from the book:
-students have to commit to an answer that best matches their own thinking
-you can have students also provide an explanation for why they chose their answer
-students recognize during sharing that it's common for students to have different ideas
-it builds confidence
-it gives the teacher a quick read on ideas across the class

I highly recommend this book to help add some variety to your formative assessments.  I hope you can use commit and toss during your lessons.  It would be great for a formal observation, too!  My principal loved it.

I am linking up with some of my favorite second grade bloggers!  Grab a cup of coffee, get cozy, and read the rest of these amazing blog posts!  Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas Activities Galore!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's the busiest time of the year!  And I just love it!  The Christmas tree is up, lights are twinkling, and your room is filled with child created decorations.  I wanted to drop in to share some Elf ideas and some Christmas activities we have been working on for the past few weeks!  I team teach Kindergarten, so we actually have two elves.  We wrapped each up in burlap and added to cute tag and letter from The First Grade Parade.  The office called down to let us know we had a special delivery.

Holly was lead teacher that day, so she read The Elf on the Shelf book to them.  And yes, we wear a headset!  We got the voice amplifier from Amazon and it has been a lifesaver.  It's especially great when you are teaching 40 kindergarteners in one classroom!

We had two elves to name, a boy and a girl.  Frosty and Elsa won.  I tried really hard to convince them on voting for Snowflake for the girl's name.  No such luck...

We did a directed drawing of this precious little elf from Learning with Mrs. Parker.  They were super cute and easy!  I just love directed drawings!

In the free Elf pack, there were these little elf circles for a sight word game.  We also used the elves for our table captains.  We clip the the elf to a nameplate at each table.  That person is the table captain for the day.  They pass out and take up items throughout the day.  We rotate the elf each day.  We call them our special elf helper.  

Another cute freebie I found is by Teacher to the Core.  She has some great classroom management ideas, like this cute little jar.  You have to check it out!

Our students really loved Turkey Trouble during November.  I knew they would just love Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano, too.  This book was a great transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

We used the book to practice making predictions.  It's perfect for that skill.  Since it's kindergarten, most students illustrated their thinking.  We have a few who are beginning to explain their thinking with sentences.

Holly took our turkey labeling anchor chart and Santa'd it up!  Is that even a word?!!

We made these fun Turkey Claus craftivities. 

Another fun, new book we tried out this season was the new Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! story by Doreen Cronin.  

In the story, Duck is at it again and decides to go down the chimney on Christmas Eve.  It's almost time for Santa and Duck get stuck in the chimney.  This book was great for problem and solution.  After the story, we put together these Duck crafts.  The kids thought they were hysterical!

Do you have this book?  It's the cutest!  It sparked the most fun conversations between the students.  It's perfect for a how-to writing activity.  Our kinders weren't really ready for that quite yet.  So, we just did a fun craft and attached this little sentence strip.  It was a much-needed quick craftivity to decorate our hallway.


Saxon Phonics is mandated in our district.  Our letter of study last week was the letter R.  We do a four day rotation for each letter.  So, on the fifth day, we usually do an art project related to that letter.  We thought it would be perfect to do this Rudolph directed drawing from ARTventurous.  We used black crayon to outline the pencil and filled in the rest with watercolor paint.  They turned out really cute!

So, those were a few of my favorites from December in kindergarten.  Christmas break has officially begun!  I am still in my pajamas and I'm loving it!!!  Have a great time off and a Merry Christmas!!!