Saturday, April 27, 2013

Success...What do you see?

The scores from our TerraNova testing arrived....
and they are good, very good.
Which makes the administration and board (and, I'll admit--me) very happy.

What the scores do not reflect is the intangible growth I've seen this year.
* The friends who could not hold a pair of scissors can now cut with skill.
* The little ones who sagged by the end of the day have adjusted to the rhythm of K.
* Bathroom accidents are now nonexistent.
* We think before we speak, most of the time.
* Heartprints are regular gifts among us.
* Illustrators have become writers.  Stories have been crafted and shared.
* Friendships have matured and blossomed where distrust reigned.'s not always what you see.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

iPad Fun!

This quarter, I've been able to add an iPad to our literacy and math stations!
These stations encourage independent learning while offering the opportunity to differentiate according to needs and abilities.  Every Friday, a fabulous website, SmartAppsForKids, offers free apps for a limited time.  Bookmark the site!  Below, I'm introducing you to several apps that we have used.  The pictures will not take you to the app store, but you can search the names and choose downloads for iphone or ipad capability.  Some may be available for PC, etc.

Paint Sparkles is the first app that we tried on the iPad.  
It is easy to use, fun to print!
I've taken screenshots of many finished products; some are very detailed and others show room for fine motor improvement.  This may be a glorified coloring book, but the children enjoy making choices!
The lite version is free;  the extended pages are worth the price.

A kindergarten colleague introduced me to Subtraction Lite.  Her class experienced success with subtraction mastery by practicing this game.  I tried it with our class and I am pleased with the results!
This is a free app!

Letter School is a new discovery, and I was able to grab it for free, through SmartAppsForKids!
I've noticed that some of my students are forming letters from the bottom up, or are adding curves after picking up their writing tool.  We use D'Nealian, and 
this app includes a D'Nealian set of letters and numbers!
I'll be using it over the next four weeks with the children, 
and I'm  encouraging the parents to use it over the summer.

I have not tried the next two apps, but both look relevant and interesting!

Need to know what NOT to do with an iPad?
Do you use iPads in your classroom?  Please comment and share the apps that are working for you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

TIME for a Giveaway!

I'm giving away a copy of my mini-reader

Each page is split in half.
The book is also divided for boys and girls, 
similar to my Fairytale Friends mini-book!
I've also included two pages of matching schedule cards, 
for customization and to use at a math/writing station.
My kindergartners have become pros at matching
digital and analog time, 
but need more practice with the concept of time passing.
This book would be an excellent addition to first grade lessons during the beginning of the school year.

What is your favorite time of the day, 
in your class schedule?
Leave a comment with your answer 
(and an email address).
A random winner will be chosen on Friday, April 19!
Need it now?  It's only $1 at my store!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Butterfly Photos, Field Trip

We wrapped up our butterfly study with a trip to 
The Butterfly House.
This week's study is in my top five for the year!
We read to the docents!
We all took a turn in the human cocoon.
After we decorated flowers and butterflies,
we demonstrated our knowledge of camouflage.
Blue Morpho
The butterfly blends in with the bananas!
The proboscis can clearly be seen in this pic,
curled up under the head.
Aren't the antennae fascinating?
This butterfly has hatched and is waiting for wings to dry!
Camouflaged Butterfly
The giant cockroaches are... interesting.
According to the docents, each roach has a unique personality!

A sweet mom made treats for the children:
mini Oreos and Ritz crackers.
In art class, we decorated the caterpillar side before
opening the template to reveal the butterfly side.
This was a fun way to illustrate symmetry.

We also wrote about our field trip experience, but I haven't photographed the writing!
Do you have a favorite field trip?

Now, a bit of wisdom from 
Krissy Venosdale at venspired:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Behavior Chart Update and 5forFriday

For weeks, I've intended to join this terrific link 
but life has had other ideas.
This week, although I'm late, I'm jumping in!

1.  I went commando with a visual behavior system in my classroom.  Yes, it felt like not wearing any underwear!  (Sorry for the visual, but it's the truth!)  However...I'm thrilled with the results of this experiment.  The children are taking ownership for their choices in a more thoughtful way.  I'm taking more time to get eye-to-eye as I facilitate understanding.  Next week, we will begin using a goal sheet to choose ways to improve and evaluate our progress.  Would you like to have a copy?  The goal sheet can be found HERE!  If you'd like to see what I told the parents, hop over to our class blog.

2.  This video is on my lesson plans for the week!

3.  My sweet daughter made the varsity dance team for next year!
She's headed to a Taylor Swift concert in this photo!

4.  The Easter Service at our church was superb.
You can watch it online at
HERE at The Crossing website.

5.  I'm working on a unit for telling time.  It should be finished within the week!  Keep your eyes open, I'll be giving away a copy or two!