Monday, April 21, 2014

Literacy and Math Centers

So I usually keep my centers for about 2 and half weeks. I started this post about 2 and a half weeks ago. I took the pictures and did the slides and then realized I didn't have all my centers. But then we had end of the year testing, report card testing and other craziness so I didn't have a chance to take the last few pictures. I was busy testing students. (Joy) So I thought I should just share what I have because I would have some new ones after Spring Break.  So here are what our centers have been:

The kids also use iPods and play the Teach Me Kindergarten App.
One more center is pokey pinning with sight words. This is from From the Pond with 100 pinning pages. My kids love it and it is good fine motor practice.
So that's what we've been working on. We start testing when we get back from Spring break so it might be a little while before we have centers again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Five for Saturday

Oh my. It has been crazy busy lately and I haven't felt like blogging. We have had a whirlwind busy two weeks since I posted last. We did our end of the year testing (The Brigance, I hate this test. IT is so out of date),  report card assessing, then this past week we were videotaped for the local channel, watched the school play, had a spring fling and an egg hunt. Now today starts my spring break and I'm excited to have a week off.  So I think I took five picture this week. I really meant to take more but completely forgot in the craziness that is the week before spring break. So I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching.

1.  This was dinner Tuesday night. It was the only night I ate dinner all week. I started some new medicine and it was making me not feel so hot at night. But this was a delish dinner. Greek Pizza. (Here's the link to the recipe. I found the recipe on pinterest. If you don't follow me on pinterest, you should. I think I'm an excellent pinned. (

2. Wednesday my class was videotaped for this local channel. All the schools in my county have videos made about them and then they are played on the local channel. My class was videod using our promethean board and iPad and iPods. I was not excited about it. I get so nervous in front of adults. It just isn't my thing. Mostly I was freaking out about what to wear. I tried on about four outfits for Chris. This was what I decided on, but I texted it to my bestie first.
I'm so good at selfies. ;)

3.  By the time Thursday rolled around, my kids were crazy! We were having the spring fling in the afternoon and that is all they wanted to talk about. It was nuts. (Spring fling is a like a carnival put on by the 7th and 8th graders at our school as a fundraiser for their graduation at the end of the year) It is fun watching the kids have a blast but the before and after is hard. So we read the Pete the Cat Easter book and then did a directed draw of a bunny. This was the only picture I took. I had seen several things like this on pinterest but mostly I just made it up. We used pencils and drew the outline of the bunny. Then they used black marker to go over the outline. They colored the bunny with crayons and then did a background with markers. They turned out cute. 

4. Friday was a half day and we had an Easter egg hunt for the whole kindergarten. My class brought in 255 eggs.  The egg hunt was done in record time. But the kids had a blast and that's all that matters. 
5. Today my nieces were staying with my parents so Chris and I headed over there to take the oldest to an egg hunt. Here they are. It was not as nice of a day as I had thought it might be. Here's hoping tomorrow is nicer. 
Be sure to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and check out everyone else's Five for Friday. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Technology and Tutoring

I started this post last week but didn't get it finished because I ran into a couple of issues but I think I have it figured out now. Last week I had a great tutoring session with one of my kids and wanted to blog about it.
I tutor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One boy on Tuesday and then 2 girls and 1 boy on Thursdays. They are mostly my ELL kids that need a little more small group instruction. Last week I cancelled both days because I wasn't feeling that great and it makes for a long day. Plus the student I tutor on Tuesdays wasn't all that great the last time we worked together. He just wanted to play the whole time. Now I try to make things fun but we still have some learning to do. But today he was great and I think that's because we were on the iPad almost the whole time. I let him play whatever he wants to on the iPad while I'm out at buses. There are all learning games on the iPad so he's learning. He likes to play the Super Why app and Grandpa's Workshop. I like both of them  for him. Grandpa's workshop is really for younger kids but it works well with his language. Super why is an expensive app to me. It costs $3.99. But it is a great app for kids that works on letters, words, and reading. Grandpa's Workshop costs $1.99. (I was lucky enough to get a grant from my PTA to purchase some apps to use)
We usually start out with a sight word game. All we do is turn over a sight word flashcard and if he knows it then he gets a skittle. I use this to give me some words to work on. So at this point, we go back to the iPad. I usually let him use one of two apps. Either Doodle Buddy or Magnetic ABCs.
He writes or builds the words and then we use them in sentences. He needs a lot of practice with the oral language component too. After we've practiced writing the words and using them in a sentence, I'll use the magnetic letters to scramble the letters in a word and he has to unscramble them.
This picture is from a while ago but it shows the kids using the Doodle Buddy App to write the sight word. Here's a screen shot of the magnetic letters with a scrambled word.

 Usually we put the iPad away and work on some other skills. But today I was noticing how he was making a few letters and I thought it was a good time to try out another app I had found, Letter School. This was the first time I worked on this app with a student. We both loved it. You can pick from uppercase, lowercase letters and numbers. We worked on both upper and lowercase letters. The app won't let him make the letter the wrong way. You have to start at the top and you have to follow the path it wants you to. You practice three different times and each time the app makes them a little more independent. It was a great and fun way to practice handwriting that kept him engaged. I forgot to take a screen shot of this app but I did take a screen shot from the app on the app store. This app costs $2.99 but I think it's worth it. Especially for kids who are forming the letter incorrectly.

With this particular student I work on math as well. He still needs some practice with one to one correspondence and numbers passed 14. So we opened up the doodle buddy app again and used the stamping feature. I let the student pick out which stamp he wanted me to use and then stamped a set of them on the screen. Then he counted them and wrote the number. It was good because I was able to work on these less fun skills in a fun way.
Then we worked a little on addition problems. I wasn't sure if I should work on the addition since we've not quite gotten numbers 11-20 yet. But that's what we're working on in class and I wanted him to have some strategies when we work on addition. I wrote a number sentence and then he used the stamps on Doodle Buddy as manipulatives to solve the problem.
I love having my iPad in my classroom and sometimes I bring in my personal iPad. I let the kids play on apps when we have time but I love finding ways to use the technology in a little more meaningful way. It can be a novel tool to help students with skills that can be a little boring.  I have had several people ask me about the apps that I'm using in the classroom. I hope to make a list soon of the apps and how I'm using them. I'm not sure what apps are available in droid or kindle apps but maybe some of them will be comparable. I would love to hear what kind of technology you have in your school and how you use it.
I'm linking up with Techie Tuesday over at the Technology Tailgate. Be sure to check the party out.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five for Friday

Look at me posting on a Friday again. I was hoping to post more this week but it was kind of a busy week and I still haven't figured out what I needed to finish my technology post.  So meanwhile, I'll link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday party.
I wasn't sure I took enough pictures but I think I took at least 5.

1. First up is a picture of my sweet niece CK. Check out that face she's making. She's still sleeps a lot so I've gotta snap of picture when she's actually awake. I don't get to snuggle with her as much as I'd like. Her big sis keeps me on my toes when she's around or my mom has her. I got a text from my sister Monday that said she and CK were at my parents if I wanted to hold her. So I dropped what I was doing at school and headed over there.

2.  Monday night I had a movie night with my BFF Cassie. She had bought me this super cute coffee mug over the weekend. I have been washing it and using it all week. It cracks me up. On the other side of the mug it says, "Smarty Pants" and then on the handle it says "I like big books."

3. Finally something school related for you. This is part of the technology post I've been wanting to post. This is my student I tutor on Tuesdays using the iPad for math. We practiced one to one correspondence and writing numbers using the app Doodle Buddy. (It's free and a fun)

4. Here's a peek at one of my centers this week. It is part of my Garden Math unit that I've been working on. The kids use the pictures to write number sentences. If you look carefully, you can see we need a lot of practice with that. They were having fun using the dry erase markers directly on the cards. Chris is camping this weekend so I'm hoping to get this pack completed and posted on TPT this week. 

5. This week we've been talking about life cycles and plants. We read this great book, Oscar and Frog.  It was part of our reading series and I had never read it. But it talked about all different kinds of life cycles and animals that come from eggs and seeds. You should check it out if you are beginning  a unit on life cycles. 

 We were suppose to go on a field trip today to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, aka our backyard and look for wildflowers. So our week was really focused on plants. But there were thunderstorms this morning so no field trip. Our coordinator for our Park as a Classroom program came in and presented about wildflowers. I read the kids a book about the sunflower life cycle and then we made these. I think they turned out really cute. One of my fellow teachers had a sheet the kids painted and then cut out and glued down. I didn't really want to use my limited copies on that so I took the idea and had the kids use shapes to make the flowers. The middle part were real sunflower seeds and the roots were yarn. After we finished, they labeled the parts. It was a good project.

So that's a little peek into my week. Be sure to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and check out what everyone else has been up to.

I hope to be back tomorrow to tell you all about our centers for the week.