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Monday, February 6, 2017

Share the Love Blog Hop: (2) $40.00 Giveaways!


We are joining a collaborative effort to "SHARE the Love."  We have teamed up with Crazy Daisies to offer a fantastic giveaway!    You'll want to follow the links below for Free Valentine Activities and don't forget to hop to the next blog to collect more fabulous FREEBIES in our effort to SHARE the LOVE with you this Valentine's season! 

INFO ABOUT CRAZY DAISIES:

The Crazy Daisies is part educational resources, part clip art! We’re putting our heads together to make learning fun for our students and YOURS. Amanda Smith of Daisy Designs is a 2nd Grade teacher in Florida. She also teaches Musical Theater and Dance at a local theater. She’s passionate about reading and is a total dog-lover! In fact, Daisy is the name of her 5 pound chihuahua. She has a 5-month old son, Isaac. Jodilyn Blake @DaisyADayDoodles has been teaching for 8 years on the Indian Reservations of New Mexico. She has taught as a reading specialist, 2nd grade teacher on up to Middle school Language Arts. Her TPT shop has teaching resources along with her artwork. She has been doodling since she was 12 years old for fun. However, her doodles became digital creations in May 2015. She is relatively new to the clip art world, but she loves to share her joy. By our powers combined, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day with free valentines featuring Jodilyn’s art and Amanda’s witty puns.
















Enter the Rafflecoptor Giveaway  HERE!





Don't stop HERE. Click the image below to take you to another great Valentine FREEBIE!


Click below for more Valentine cuteness and fun!







Happy Valentine's and don't forget - SHARE the LOVE and pass this Blog hop along to all your teacher friends!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Putting Stuffed Animals in TIME OUT - and how it worked to mold behaviors



Molding student Behaviors


I always think I have nothing to say or teach or share that is important enough or that you haven't heard it already.  I am finally starting to let  my guard down and share more freely as a way to help others.  Sometimes the solutions are great, sometimes they are okay, and sometimes they don't even work at all.  They might not work in my or your current situation but in another situation they may.  In this post I am sharing a tool or strategy I tried to get the hardest to control kids to do some thinking.  Were they cured - of course not! It takes time.  But they listened and they started recognizing their own behaviors.   The first step in fixing a behavior is realizing you're doing it (I think so anyways).

Here's the background.  Last year toward the end of the year I agreed to do an after school social skills class with students from different classes in kindergarten.  These kids were chosen by their teachers and essentially it meant they were the hardest behaviors in kindergarten.   Imagine that! Yea, the first day I was ready to send half back to the after school program they were in but then I quickly reminded myself that was the reason they were there.  I could hardly get them in the door or let alone to be quiet for 1 second so I could instruct them on what they were going to be doing.   There is a lot more behind this entire program we did but I am just focusing on one thing here.

I quickly learned to get their attention we would have snack and a drink while they watched a Wiggle Bottoms videos that had the same lesson we were focusing on for that day.  After the video we went to the carpet and (I got this idea from the kids - they are so smart)! They were getting into the stuffed animal bin and touching each other, laying on the carpet, wouldn't stop talking, and on and on.  So we turned the stuffed animals into a game which ended up being their favorite part of our time together.

Here is how it worked:
1) Each of the 14 students picked a stuffed animal
2) Each student had to hold their animal in their lap until the end of the story/activity
3) Any time the student did follow the rule (touching, not criss cross, laying down, throwing the animal up in the air, shouting out, making noises, not raising hand, etc.) I took their animal away and it sat out on a time-out.
4) The only way they could get it back was to tell the stuffed animal the right thing to do or the opposite of the rule they were not following.  
Example:  You need to crisscross applesauce and put your hands in your lap.
5). With this group, I did have them do it immediately and I would take multiple animals away at a time and they would have to tell their stuffed animal what to do right then and there.
6).  I did have the student who kept their stuffed animal the entire time earn a prize for their self control.
7). Stay consistent with putting the stuffed animal on time-out and having them repeat the behavior.  
8).  Choose 1 or 2 students to focus on using the stuffed animal.

This is the one thing that worked for keeping behaviors together on the carpet when nothing else worked.  If you try it, leave a comment and let us know how it worked - or didn't. 

QUESTIONS?
I suggested to the teachers who had these children in their class to let them bring a special stuffed animal to class to hold and repeat the activity.  They were concerned about all the children wanting a stuffed animal.  This is where you discuss fair is not always equal.  It would be impossible to teach or have every student have a stuffed animal.


Social Stories QR Codes

This year I did make QR Codes for the Wiggle Bottoms Lessons so that way if I needed a student to review a certain lesson they could scan it and listen to it.  HERE is a booklet you can download. They are great to send home too!

If you need more classroom management help, check out these posts:  Classroom Management!

Classroom Behaviors

Setting Classroom Goals


Happy Teaching!
Tonya Leslie





Saturday, November 12, 2016

I am THANKFUL and We've Stabilized!

So this difficult situation of a classroom has stabilized or I have adjusted.  Let's just say we have met in the middle. I want to come back to address the rocky start of the year with an update.  I still have 3 Adults in the class and have learned to utilize the help I have when I can.  I have put more trust into my parent helpers and enlisted their help with Interventions.  We have worked extra hard to get kiddos up to speed due to a rocky start and over the last month I have learned to have fun with the kids! Hooray! 

I took a step back and through much reflection, I am Thankful to have been able to meet the two aides who help with 2 students. They go out of their way to help with others when they can.  I have learned to deal with the room arrangement and switched out some tables so I can have one of the aides sit at a table and help with other students  - if possible at that time.  This is how we are catching up! It all good - I GOT THIS!

I am back to finding what my kids need and addressing their needs. I ended up adding beginning sounds, same and different, and more games to a Thanksgiving unit from last year because I have a lot of English Language Learners this year and they need support in these areas as well as vocabulary building.

If you need vocabulary support but are short on time for integrated thematic type units and foundational skills these activities may help you get that accomplished.

Thanksgiving activities for Kindergarteners


I usually do Daily 3 or 4 or 5 but like I said - I have enlisted the help of parents so this coming up week I have a different parent come in every day for an hour at the same time so I will be having them help with the build a graph activities, and with the games. They wlll do 3 different graphs over 3 days. 

Same and Different

I'll be able to address the students who still need same and different and beginning sounds  with the same and different cards.  The kids will then go and show what they know on the independent activity sheets.  I think I'll have the children take turns putting clothespins on the cards for same and for different.   I am doing same one day and different on another day.  There are 10 cards total.  I can always add this to a center later.
Fall Beginning sounds

I will be using the beginning sounds cards and letters for a "Mix and Mingle" activity each day after we say each name for each picture.  Children will walk around and find the matching beginning sound. I will use the independent sheet as an assessment at the end of the week.

thanksgiving Vocabulary
After using post-its on a simple Thanksgiving read aloud to model cross checking, children will complete one of the cross checking activity sheets.  Here they will work on sight words is and are and singular and plural.  They understand it more after you bring their attention to the fact that these are pattern sentences.  Then draw their attention to the word that is different.  Highlight the beginning sound with a yellow crayon to help find the vocabulary word.  They then cut and glue the matching picture next to the sentence.

Children also practice cross checking with 2 student readers and count how many letters are in each vocabulary word. 
Thanksgiving Games


I don't have pictures of the games yet but there are 6 games to help meet the different ability levels.  I need all 6 but you may not.  My parents will also play the games with the students and then they can play them independently.  They are set up to be played independently or with a partner.  I prefer the kids to play with a partner so they can learn from each other.   The card covers are pictured above but I'll post pictures of the games when I can.

We will be busy, busy, busy, but the children will have fun while learning important skills with hands on activities, games, and lessons.  If you think these activities will help you and your students you can find them HERE or you can click on the pictures.

My classroom will be changing again soon. Once I am updated on the situation and changes are made -I will update.  Happy WEEK before Thanksgiving break!




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Truths: It's not all Roses

Well, after a stiff drink I am on round 19. I mean day 19 of school. It has been a tough year from the start and it is just one of those years where you wonder what the hell you did last year to have Karma come and kick you in the A?? like this?

So, don't get me wrong - I love kids and I'm always up for a good challenge.  I love every single one of the kids in my class and I would do anything to help each and every one in anyway I could.  I do the best I can even at the expense of my own family which is not healthy by the way or even fair to them (my family that is).  But the truth is . . .

this year, by day three I swear if I had money I would have flat out resigned.  By day 5, I was crying in my car after school.  I held it together in spite of everything that happened but it was the sweet note and new purse my husband left in my car that had me burst into tears after such a difficult day.  He couldn't have had better timing.   By day 5, the school psychologist, sped teacher, counselor, principal and assistant principal had all been in my class (all at once and multiple times) and 2 Emergency SST's were put in place.

So by day 8 I was fully mentally exhausted and sick with bronchitis.  It took 8 days this year to completely take everything out of me. A RECORD.   So, to bring you up to speed, by day 10, regular visits by the principal and assistant principal along with a 1 on 1 aid,a walkie, several parent meeting with separate parents, behavior specialists and another 1 on 1 aid request - let me just say, I have never had more difficult situation(s) in 1 year. I have definitely had my share of difficult students, autistic students special need students but this year - no modification is working and wrong placements with 60 day wait periods is beyond torture!  The support has been more than I could possibly ask for but it doesn't change the extreme amount of stress, hours, and  guilt of being unable to teach my students due to the situation(s) in my class.  Things have been ripped off walls, furniture broken, things thrown, and lessons untaught. It is a constant struggle with issues beyond your normal/typical hard behavior kids.

My classroom is getting messier and the set-up is no longer working now that I have 3 adult bodies and 25 K students in 1 regular ED classroom.  I now need to rearrange the room.   I am not whining I am simply stating it is is not always ROSES and teachers are not always in a utopian atmosphere where they can decorate their rooms, teach as planned, and go to work every day happy because they have a job.  I try every day to do the best I can but I have broken down several times already (I am not an emotional person) because I cannot help the student(s) that were entrusted to me and they are only 5.  Everyday I feel like we are falling further behind where we should be academically.  I am tired. I am exhausted. and you know what really urks - when your fellow teachers walk by with their kids all in a line, all quiet and listening.

No Pinterest room or Grand TPT unit Behavior Plan/Charts or goals will change what is happening in my room.  Pure patience, love, understanding, and time is the only thing that will help at this time.  I try to remember what I was once told, "If you had a hard day then the child had an even more difficult day."  The fact is, is that no matter what the student(s) do, once I can sit with them and look them face to face, my heart melts and feels for them.  I want to cry due to the mere fact that life has been so difficult for them up to this point that they act out in such a way.  I want to just hug, hold, and talk with them for a while but I can't because I have other littles looking at me waiting for guidance. Hopefully this will be all sorted out soon and like I said, the support staff is great and I have an awesome principal so I trust this will be resolved soon.So, here's to day 19 and any teacher facing difficult situations this year.
Gotta go! Can you watch my class? I have a runner!










Friday, August 5, 2016

Back to School Tips, Routines, and Procedures

Kindergarten Routines and Procedures

I go back on the 17th with kids so I am in full swing of thinking about everything related to back to school!

In the midst of all that thinking I made a video. It's my first face to face video.   I talk about some activities I plan on using to help teach routine and procedures.  I'll just show you and stop talking now.  You can also download a clickable linked file below with routine and procedure tips.  The file is useful even if you don't want the activities.

I will be adding more detailing my planning and back to school activities in hopes of helping others.  I don't know about you but I love reading other teachers "Back to School Plans and Activities."      
Back to school routines and procedures

HERE is a file you can download with clickable links for the routines an procedures mentioned in the video. It will take you to Google Docs. 

HERE is the unit in that video if you are wanting it to begin your school year.

On Monday I will be going into my classroom for the first time this summer. This is the absolute latest I have ever went in.  Wish me luck! 

Warm regards,
Tonya Leslie

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Project and Go Center?

The first thing I did for school this summer was make some activities for the beginning of the school year. You can read about them HERE.  

With that being said, I was making some centers that came to mind and got stuck.  I realized I need a microphone.  I am at a learning curve with what I have in my head to do and am working out the kinks.  I think you will love the centers I have in my head but they are just not ready yet.  They are easier then print and go (easier on the teacher as far as time that is) and engaging for kids. Any suggestions on a good inexpensive microphone? I do hope to have them ready before school starts.


A little about the centers I create:
I am finding that when I go to make a center it isn't a center to go with a theme necessarily (though it might), and I don't make it for the sake of teaching a skill (though it will), but I design them to address some issue I have run across with the implementation, engagement, differentiation, or issue I personally run across with my students in my class.  I hope that the centers I create not only help children focus on a skill but that your students get the most from the time spent on the activity whether it be academic, social, or constructive use of their time.

Here is yet another center that gives you so many options for using it.  Instead of making each one of those words little cards kids had to read and color I put the words all on one sheet.  Again - No little cards or pieces to lose! Plus kids can scan and check their answers and you can use it as a mini-lesson on patterns.
Project and Go Centers

It is as easy as "PROJECT and GO!"  Can I say that?  I am so used to seeing Print and Go I figured "Project and Go" will work.  If you are in a bind you literally can project the activity card and children complete the recording sheet.  Great for subs and 10 minute time fillers but you can also use it as a traditional center.  My plan is to get the entire phonics collection up soon in this format because I can see myself using this - a lot. 

Project and Go Center

You can download one of the short a activities to try HERE for FREE. Tell me what you think.  I'd love to here your thoughts on this activity or the way you plan on using it. 

You can also get the Unit HERE .



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Best Back to School Year Ever! Comment to WIN!

Best Year Ever Giveaway TPT gift card

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter and comment.   



It's that time of year when I stop and think about what I failed miserably at in my class or the things that bothered me most.  I pick the ones at the top of my list, reflect, and try to find a solution for the following year. Because . . . guess what?  If you don't fix it, the problem is going to be there the next year too.  Don't make that mistake.

I'll post the full list in its entirety but for the sake of a NOT so long post I am going to tell you about my center problem in case its your problem too. Plus I needed to start my summer on the lighter side.
First things first.  Know Thyself.  Hee, Hee, Hee. Seriously though.  If you keep searching for cute center ideas for your word work, writing centers, any center for that matter and try to implement them because they look great in someone else's classroom, sigh - Pinterest, you might be setting yourself up for failure before your kids ever start to use the centers.

Here I am working backwards so Part 2, and Part 3 , and however many parts come after that will examine and discuss the actual implementation. Follow me HERE if you want to be updated when I post them otherwise this blog will be lost in the blogosphere abyss.

Watch then Read on.  I have to break up all these words with something so hang tight.



Problem(s):  I cannot manage little pieces (My Problem/My Weakness).  I cannot stand the amount of set-up time it takes kinder kids to set-up a center with lots of pieces.  I mean, really. Have you ever did a rotation and a pair of kids in a center just get started as the timer goes off to clean-up?  UGGHHHHH! Micromanaging the actual center is not for me.  I need centers that are easily accessible, easy to set up for the youngest of kids, require little prep but are still a meaningful activity and NOT a worksheet (sometimes a worksheet but in the form of a recording sheet - I am okay with that).  Follow the same format so I am not reteaching EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  Can be differentiated (beginning of the year they will not be because I need all kids to learn the system first).  I will differentiate later and in small groups once the kids are independent enough to not interrupt and work and work together.  
Organizing Centers
So I know, NO matter how much I like a center I see and NO matter how CUTE it is, I think twice about it and 
1st does it suit the needs of my students 
and 
2nd does it fit my teaching style in other words, "WILL IT DRIVE ME CRAZY?" 

Honestly, I had to come up with something that would work for the beginning of the year in kinder that fit my checklist.  Here are some I have so far. You'll have to come back and check as I adjust and think out loud on this blog (feel free to comment with your suggestion(s).  There is always room to make things better.

Here is my ABSOLUTE favorite.  My kids love them too and the format of the games stay the same the whole year - the skill changes.  I am only going to show you the alphabet because right now I am working on beginning of the year word work centers.
Centers for Kindergarten
                     {Alphabet Center Games Link}
Children match the letters that are the same, matching capitals and lowercase, and beginning sounds for the letters of the alphabet. 
The games can be played independently or with a partner and you can use them for differentiation later.  Notice the cards are attached. Kids just open and play.  They use cubes or whatever markers you desire.  The kids love them.  You can find them HERE.  
Alphabet Activities


But HERE is a the link to 5 FREE Alphabet Games for you to try yourself.

I am working on rhyming, alphabet sequence, ending sounds, and middle vowel sound games but I do have CVC games and Simple sentences HERE, and CVCe games HERE and more difficult phonics games HERE.
I have math games in this format HERE.  Tried and true so I am keeping with them all.

Then I have the center(s) below that I made after I reflected on what another teachers response was to using centers.

She said, "I don't really like centers because in kinder you don't know if they are doing it right and if they can't read the words then they are doing it wrong and if they can read the words then they don't really need to be doing it." Hmmm.  Okay.  Valid point but I see value in centers for 3 Reasons (probably more but here are 3). 

1).  Children get to work together and learn social skills.  Kids teach each other what they may not have learned from me.  Plus there is research that supports one of the first steps in students self regulating is peer support or partner work.  Plus the research behind games and learning is huge.

2).  Children have the opportunity to get out of their seats, move around, and typically have fun while working. We know kids need to move.

3).  It enables me to work with children either in their activity or in guided work/reading groups based on skill or ability while the rest of the children are practicing skills they learned and doing activities that are meaningful and will engage them.

Beginning Sounds Center
                    {Beginning Sounds Center Link}
I really am thankful when people have a different view on things because it pushes you to reflect and either abandon an idea or make it better.  

There was definitely a problem with children not knowing what a pictures name was (lacking vocabulary).  How can children complete the center if they don't know the picture name?  Here, to eliminate children coming up to me (after they asked their partner and 3 before me and they still didn't know a picture name) I added a self-checking piece but in reality it's like a minute to minute and a half visual mini-lesson and activity. I did include large self-checking cards if you don't have access to QR code devices.  

I would only include the alphabet letters you are working on for the week and then add each week as you go.   This binder makes it easy to pull later on for RTI , small group, and storage.  You could always laminate and put on a ring but I just can't. It won't work for me.  

    Here are more binder centers I just posted too!
Handwriting Practice

Okay - so Rainbow write and Play-dough Words are not new.  I know, but here is why I made these.  I NEED THEM IN THE SAME FORMAT.  I also do not like the loose cards everywhere or the amount of time it takes kids to find a specific letter, and so on.  This just simplified it.  However, I also wanted children to practice rainbow writing and forming the play-dough the way the letters are formed so the cards inside actually have lines, numbers and arrows to guide them. 

 I do have videos (20-30 seconds each) correct letter formation using the cards but haven't decided if I want to add them to these centers or make it a separate "Write the Room Center."   Any thoughts on that? 

 Well, I ended up making a "Write the Room."  I like it and I think the kids will too!  Just so you know, when I reflected on what I needed to improve on I decided I didn't do a very good job on letter formation and handwriting.  So I am attempting a fun fix for the kids with these activities rather than a "drill and kill."

How it works:
Each letter has a QR code with a picture for that beginning sound.  Children scan the QR code and a short video on forming that specific letter is played.  Children then either write the capital and lowercase or find the letter in their alphabet booklet and trace the capital and lowercase 3 times (dependent on which recording sheet you choose).  But . . . if you are working on 5 letters for the week the you can choose those 5 letters and put them in a booklet form or the other recording sheet has space for 5 capital and lowercase letters.

Here is a short video that shows you what the kids see after they scan the QR code (I have put these in quietyoutube and Safeshare so they are ADD FREE and you can test them to see which you prefer.

I hope I made it better for me and for you!  If you haven't watched the video, you might want to go back and watch it.  I hope to be posting once a week on centers and how I implement them.  It will be interesting once school starts because I will update on how the centers worked well and what didn't work so well but for now, I hope you found some useful ideas.  Don't forget to follow (Click HERE) if you want to read more on "Getting Control of Centers." 
Back to school Activities
and you can get the whole Back to School Beginning of the year Bundle HERE.

Don't forget to comment on any of these centers or any center in my store to WIN!

  

ROCK YOUR BACK TO SCHOOL!

Happy Teaching,

Tonya Leslie














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