Saturday, July 4, 2015

Teaching with Intention Chapter 5 - Book Study

I'm a little behind the game, but I was so glad to find this book study on one of my favorite books by Debbie Miller today.  Debbie totally got me fired up about intentionally teaching comprehension strategies to my students several years ago.  So, when I found out Mr. Greg and From Kindergarten With Love were hosting this little book study I decided to join.
Chapter 5 focuses in on the reason it is so important to use schema/maps and charts with your students.  It helps the little ones make a connections between something they know and something they're going to be learning about.  They provide a great opportunity for classroom discussion, not only between teacher/students, but between students/students.  What a perfect way to introduce nonfiction to children and to get them excited about learning!! My students are always excited to share what they think they knew about something prior to diving into our research.  They are often amazed by the new information gained through our reading,  photographs and using online resources.  Sometimes, it is difficult for them to give up on an idea and move it to the misconceptions part of our chart.  I think it's because they've believed it so long, they just thought it had to be true, lol. 

I loved trying to make our schema charts look like the creature we were learning about. When introducing spiders to my little kindergarteners I hung up a giant spider web.  Prior to our discussion each child had created a spider.  During our classroom discussion each child shared something they "thought" they knew about spiders.  I wrote these tidbits onto their spiders' body.  We attached all of their spiders to our giant web titled "What I Know About Spiders" with "Sticky Tack" for easy removal.   As we began our study on spiders, we found out through the evidence in our books and information gained online, that some of our information was a misconception.  We moved these tidbits to a different web for misconceptions.  As we learned new information about spiders (during "Art" Center they were able to create additional spiders for our "New Information" web) we wrote the new information down on the spiders and added them on to a web titled "New Information".  Just a fun way to excited your little ones about learning!!  So what we want!!  Love it!

 Thanks for letting me tag along!!  Love Debbie Miller!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

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Goals for the Summer!!

When school ended for the summer, I had several goals in mind to accomplish this summer.  I know the summer is well underway!  Jeesh, it's already July and I'm still trying to get into a routine!! But, I am working on my goals!!!

Goal #1 -  To get our house plans drawn well enough that my husband and his class could start building in the fall (well, they're kind of done) :0)   Currently, we are waiting for Ameren to come move our transformer and underground electric line

Goal #2 - Revamp my blog!  I can honestly say this goal is well underway!  Yeah, thank you Dani over at Crayon Box Designs!!  Can't wait to see my new look!  This is something I've needed to do for a long time, but just kept putting it off.

Goal #3 - Look over my TPT Store and redo some of my earlier units and packets.  So far, I've redone about 5 of them.  Who knew this would be such a process, lol.  My fault I know because I want them to be eye catching and appealing.  And, most of them are "freebies"!!  You'll have to check them out!

Goal #4 - ????  I have so many ideas floating around in my head it's hard to sleep sometimes!  I'm afraid to write down more than 3 goals.  I don't want to neglect any of them.  Maybe once I get one checked off the list, I'll share my next ones with you!!

My students love playing "Hedbanz" by Spin Master Games and this game reinforces "questioning" and "inferring" two of the comprehension strategies we work on throughout the year.  So, I created the following cards for a "holiday" version of the game.  Playing is quite simple.  After dealing one card and three chips to each player, take your card and place it in your adjustable headband without peeking.  You could also just regular cotton elastic headbands and paper clip the card to the front.  When it's your turn, ask each player a question about who, or what, you are ("Am I a food"?)  If you get stuck, the sample question cards offer tips on the types of questions you might ask.  A variation of the game would be for the child with the card to give clues to his/her classmates one clue at a time.  Each child guesses who, where or who the person giving clues might be.  If no one guesses after the first clue the child giving clues gives an additional clue to the group until someone guesses the correct answer.
 Understanding how to infer or make an inference from text is often difficult for children.  However, children make inferences all the time without realizing exactly what they are doing.  It is important to share with them that making inferences is like being a detective.  You look at all the evidence or clues and put them together to come up with an idea about a situation.  I explain to my students that often writers do not state the way a character feels or what's happening in the story explicitly.  Instead, they include details and we as readers must use these details to make inferences about what's occurring in the story.  When you infer, you use observations, prior knowledge, experiences and details from the text to make connections and come up with ideas.  The following movement cards are a great way to introduce children to inferring!

This activity is similar to charades with students pantomiming or acting out a word or phrase on their movement chard without speaking.  For example, "catching a fish".  The child might pretend to be casting out their line and then reeling in a fish.  The child pantomiming the action calls on his/her peers to infer what they think the action is, based on the clues of the movement.  For example, the child might answer, "I infer you are fishing, because you were casting out your line and reeling in a fish".

For now, enjoy these 2 updated "freebies" by clicking on the pictures!  The picture will take you over to my TPT Store.  Please leave feedback to earn credits!!

Have a great day!!  And, if you live in Illinois enjoy the sunshine!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Hello sweet friends!!  This week's challenge is "Dare to Dream"!  

First up on my "Dare to Dream" list, is spending more time with my family.  Both my "real" family and my former "school" family.  I have six little grandbabies and a newbie on the way in early September.  So, I know I won't be lacking for fun and exciting things to do.  This year will be a whole new experience for me, as I recently retired from teaching! That doesn't mean I won't still be involved with little ones.  My daughter is going to be teaching Pre-K and I plan on visiting my dear friends at my school I just left, as well as visiting my grandkids for lunch, etc.  Yeah!! 

Next up, is helping to build our new home along with my husband's Building Trades class this next school year.  Each year my husband's high school class helps to build a home in our community.  This next school year it will be our very own home, that is, if we get our utility service moved and the basement poured.  It is so hard waiting around on other people to get their jobs done!  But, it will be okay!  When you're retired there is always tomorrow, lol! 

Finally, I have been a part of TPT for the past 3 years and would like to spend more of my time creating and learning how to social network with others like you.  I have to admit I haven't been a very good blogger over the past year and I need to make a much more concentrated effort to share with you each week.  I also need to learn how to use the social networking sites better.  I'm learning how to use "Instagram" and "Facebook" a little bit more each day.  Maybe by the end of summer I'll have the hang of it!  Let's hope!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015




   It's fun to go back and see what I thought was a "cute" unit when I started on TPT and see what appeals to me now.  So, to help me do this I'm joining the TPT Sellers Challenge!   I am very excited about working on some older units this summer and spicing them up!  This challenge gives me the opportunity to share with you these improvements (or at least I feel they're a little cuter)!  If you'd like to join the "challenge" you can click on the picture below!!

I have three revamped or updated products so far!  First up my favorite,  "The Three Little Pigs and B. B. Wolf".  I love the new look and I've changed almost all of the pages a little.  I hope you'll check it out over at my TPT store.  But, here is a little sneak peak!!

Thanks for stopping by!  You can check out 2 little writing "freebies" by clicking on "freebies"!!  Enjoy!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Splish, Splash Ducky Math!!
Today we began new Math Centers. I think this is going to be a favorite. It was so simple to make and the little group today loved it. Their job was to choose 2 duckies in the pond (Each momma duck and baby had a number written on their bottoms between 1-6). Next, they turned them over and decide if they were going to add the numbers on the bottom of their duckies together or subtract them. Then, they recorded their number sentences and solutions on their recording sheets. After they solved their problem they returned the duckies to the pond and chose 2 more.
I bought the little duckies and pond (a giant blue bowl) from the Dollar Tree. Total cost $5!! And so much fun!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I have not been a very good blogger this year.  I don't really know why, but I've just felt a bit swamped!  I have a great group of little people this year and they are so busy learning.  We just started our Community Helper unit this past week and had our very first visitor.  Officer Arnold!!

Officer Candi Arnold came to share all about her career with us. The little cowpokes were quite fascinated with her taser, handcuffs, pepper spray, etc. Before Officer Arnold came to visit, we did a lot of reading and writing about police officers.  Below are a few pictures the children's final writing and samples of the different emergent readers I've created to help us learn about these important people in our community. Next week we have several more community helpers coming to visit. I'm hoping to get my community helper graphic organizers posted for you to see real soon.  You might want to check out my little emergent readers over at my TPT store!!  You can click on any of the samples below to take you to the link in my store.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Whew!  Whooo!  It's a Spring Sale!!

Wow!  I can't believe how fast this year has flown by!  It's Spring already!  There are some great sales over at TPT celebrating the coming of spring!  I know here in Illinois we're all excited about the snow melting and warmer temperatures headed our way!  Hope you'll check out all of the great buys!!