Tuesday, August 30, 2016

4, Fresh, Fab, FUN, Fine-motor Finds! (+ a FREEBIE)

You won't believe the one we do EVERY day!

Looks like trash, but it develops small muscles.
READ ON to find out how.

My first favorite fine motor activity:
It is a center that my students loved from day 1.
You can use yarn or long pipe cleaners. 

I got some cake cooling racks at The Dollar Store, cut up some strands of yard, and let them have fun.
I taped the ends of the yarn with clear tape to prevent fraying.

Some of the students loved weaving patterns, others just wove random colors, but everyone was working on their fine motor skills!

My second favorite fine motor activity:
It is a sight word center. It looks like spaghetti and meatballs, but the students had to match the pairs of sight words! You can make this out of large wooden beads, but I made mine in kind of a funny way. 
This center works best when two students can help each other find the matching sight word. 

Our PTA gave me a bag of Dum-dum candy pops for my class. I didn't want to give them candy, so I bought them a basket of organic blueberries and I was going to throw the Dum-dums away when I got this idea. 

I unwrapped them, cut the sticks off, and applied pieces of torn brown tissue paper with Mod Podge. (You can find Mod Podge at a craft store like Michael's.) 

I never did tell them that their were candy lollipops inside these meatballs!
Then, I applied a little piece of paper to each "meatball" with a sight word printed on it. I made two matching meatballs for each sight word. Last, I gave the meatballs one last coat of Mod Podge and let them all dry. 
Add extra bowls to collect the matching meatballs.

The next day, I placed the meatballs in a small colander with a handful of rubber bands. I didn't even bother to cut the rubber bands! I added a pair of tongs, a checkered tablecloth & two chefs' hats and that's it! 
You don't need a fancy colander. You can just use a plastic bowl.

This center was a favorite!

My students took turns grasping a meatball with the tongs and having their partner find the matching meatball in the pile of spaghetti! They LOVED it!

My third favorite fine motor activity:
It is my PIN LETTER CARDS. I ran these dotted letters on card stock and let my students place one card on the carpet. Then, they used a push pin and poked a hole through the card and into the carpet until every dot was poked. Then, they could take it home to tape to a window and let the light shine through their letters! They loved making one of these each week for 26 weeks and they strengthened their fingers while having fun!
They wrote their names on the back before they began.
This Pin Letter Set also comes with number cards!  You can grab a set by CLICKING HERE.

My fourth favorite fine motor activity is the one we did EVERY day!  
In fact, we did it several times a day! This is how it worked...
I always asked my students to try to create only one scrap whenever they have to cut anything out.
This is from my Pocket Locket set.
Students create a locket or a pocket watch with the letters from their sight words.

This took pre-planning and lots of thought, but wait, it gets better...

(These are my my SIGHT WORD POCKET LOCKETS. Once made, students may wear their sight words home as a locket around their necks or as a pocket watch in their pockets.)

Then, I asked them to always fold their one large scrap as many times as they could. Now, I think that any piece of paper, no matter how large or small it is, can only be folded a maximum of seven times*, but my students always tried to fold their scrap even more times. 
They would fold, press, and squeeze with all their might!

We called this our "finger exercises" and, since we did this several times each day, it did actually build up the muscles in their fingers!
They made their scraps as small as they could!

The added bonus was that our trashcans did not overflow with large scraps of paper. :)

Your trash cans won't look like this!

*Disclaimer: In January 2002, a junior in high school, Gallivan, demonstrated that a single piece of toilet paper 4000 ft (1200 m) in length can be folded in half twelve times. 

Did you like my Sight Word Pocket Lockets? You can find them by clicking HERE.

I also have two you may have for FREE by CLICKING HERE

You may visit my TpT Store by CLICKING HERE

Well, that's it for this month, my friends. Look for my next post at the beginning of October.  :)


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Who can use a FREE laminator???

I Am In Love With This Laminator!

Enter to win one of these laminators at the bottom of this page.
It's my new favorite thing! 
So sleek, so smooth, so cool!

It heated up so quickly and was so easy to use too. 

All you have to do is slip the items you want to laminate into the plastic pouches. 

Click the image.

Then, slip the pouch into the input slot and let your Scotch Laminator do its thing. 

It will slowly pull the pouch into the machine and what comes out on the other side will make you smile!

I also laminated the backpack so it would hold up at my newest center. 

All of the pieces were laminated and I know they will last for years because this lamination is nice and thick. 

Students loved getting to fill their paper bag backpack with the items like liked most. 
If you like this set, click the image. 

I made extra cards for each piece so students may "buy" more than one of each item.

Did I mention that the laminator is super quiet too? Well, it is and I love how all of the colors pop when they are laminated. 

The best part is that they had fun while learning and sharing about their choices.

If you would like to see this Back To School Set,

You can win a Scotch Thermal Laminator for your classroom by entering the Rafflecopter below.  The Rafflecopter runs through August 6. The winner will be announced on my blog, KFUNdamentals,  and on my Facebook page (facebook.com/kfundamentals/) on August 7. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, if you like this give-away, you can also enter my other birthday give-away this week: 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Time To Win A "Show & Tell" Apron!

Enter here to win the best teaching apron ever!

You can click on the options in the Rafflecopter to earn entries and win a beautiful apron from 
"Show & Tell Aprons"

The raffle will run from June 14-21.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 22.

Each option is worth one entry.
One option, the "secret code" is worth 5 entries.
The code was given to 
attendees at my most recent professional development. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I'm The Last Blogger Standing... So here is my Simple Guide To Guided Reading

Here is my Simple Guide to Guided Reading:

It looks like I'm the only blogger who continues to blog here, but since I still have quite a few followers, I'll continue to post around the 1st of each month. Here is a post I recently wrote for a private Facebook group. I hope you like my Simple Guide to Guided Reading:

First, you have to set up your Guided Reading Table:

Children love routines. It makes them feel safe and comfortable. But they also seek novelty and their motivation to learn is peeked when we present information in different ways. That said, I like to keep my Guided Reading routine the same each week, but each day I toss in some fun, new ideas.

Since Guided Reading is taught through small group instruction, and is designed to provide differentiated teaching that supports students in developing reading proficiency, I begin by assessing my students (see more on assessment below)and meeting with them in small, homogeneous groups. These groups are flexible and change as often as needed.

So what does a typical Guided Routine look like?

Basically, I like to plan my small group lessons around these concepts:

Monday: Alphabet Work: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and letter recognition.

Tuesday: Sight Word Work: Reading and spelling sight words (I limit my lessons to one or two sight words.)

Wednesday: Reading Strategy Work:  Discussing and practice reading strategies such as blending, segmenting, stretching out words, etc.

Thursday: Comprehension Work: Practicing comprehension strategies such as digging deeper, looking for evidence, and re-telling stories.

Friday: Writing Work: Practicing writing by completing the writing prompt that relates to the story or topic that week. 

How to bring novelty into your weekly Guided Reading routine?

Monday: Alphabet Work: (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and letter recognition)

We might focus on initial sounds by placing a cube on each image that begins with a particular letter. 
We might use clear and colored spoons to practice word families or onset rimes. This cute idea came from Heidi's blog:  http://blog.heidisongs.com
And we reinforce letter recognition by using alphabet pin cards, laminated letter tracing cards, and bingo markers that help us practice letter formation . 

Tuesday: Sight Word Work: (1 or 2 Sight Words) 
Click the image to grab the set of Pocket-Lockets. 

We create Sight Word charts where students use the sight word in a sentence, the teacher writes the sentence, and the student gets to sign their sentence.
We use my Pocket-Lockets set to create a pocket watch or a locket by spelling a particular sight word with letter squares. Students get to wear their pocket watch or locket home. 
And we use choral reading to read our Sight Word Mini Books together.
We use laminated Dragonflies in First's cute  iPhone templates to copy sight words or write a sentence using a sight word with dry-erase pens.

Wednesday: Reading Strategy Work: (Reading Strategies) 

Click the image to grab this cute, FREE set of posters. 
We use multiple copies of small trade books, phonetic books, or familiar literature books to practice reading decoding strategies together. We discuss the strategies found on these FREE posters from Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten and share how we used them to read. 
Students also practice partner reading their book during this time. 

Thursday: Comprehension Work: (Comprehension Strategies)

Students use their trade books, phonetic books, or familiar literature books to discuss new vocabulary, look for evidence in the illustrations or text, and re-tell parts of the story. Concepts of print, such as identifying characters, the setting, the problem, the solution, or sequencing parts of the story are also addressed. 

Friday: Writing Work: (Writing Component)
Click the image to grab the American Symbol Flag Writing Template. 

Students respond to a writing prompt that relates to that week's story or a concept of print, such as the characters, the setting, etc. I use my Writing Prompts every Friday. We also used my Career Writing templates after reading about community helpers and my American Symbol Flag template after reading about our national symbols. 

A Word About Assessments:

I have used ESGI for the past 8 years and it has saved me hundreds of hours assessing my students and using the amazing data to drive my instruction and RTI. It's easy, provides you with so much useful information about your students, and you students will LOVE it so much they will actually beg you to test them! Really!
Click the image above to grab your FREE trial!
Remember to enter your code: KFUN.
You can learn more by grabbing your FREE 60 day trial (no credit card necessary) by CLICKING HERE. Add the promo code KFUN when you grab this FREE trial and you will automatically qualify for a $40 discount off of your 1st year! This is a GREAT company. They won't try to trick you into enrolling for a year. Use their built-in tests or create your own to meet your own school's assessments. After you try it, you will love it.

There you have it! I keep the routine the same, but I change out the way I teach each lesson or the materials I use. Sometimes I dress the part wearing a wig and windshield wiper sunglasses if we are discussing the letter W. And sometimes we will play an Onset Rime Hopscotch game. Keep it fresh and new!
Leave a comment and let us know about some great ideas YOU have for making Guided Reading fun!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

You Won't Believe Where I'm Off To Now!

I'm Presenting in Ontario, Canada!

I am so excited to be traveling to Canada to present at SDE's Conference for Ontario Full-Day Kindergarten Teachers in Hamilton, Ontario.  Click the green photo to see the entire brochure:
Click the image to see the entire brochure.

I'll be giving away prizes at ALL of my sessions! 
Teachers will have a chance to win one of my very favorite teaching tools, a Show And Tell Apron!

You can teach so many things with this adorable apron: letters, phonics, numbers, and even story sequence.

Sandy, the inventor/designer of this amazing apron, also makes tons of teaching cards that you can use every day with your students.

You can find the aprons by clicking HERE and tons of cards by clicking HERE.

I'll also be giving away:  a FREE YEAR of ESGI to 14 lucky teachers!

This amazing online testing site will have your students BEGGING to be tested! Seriously, they will beg you! And did I mention how much useful data this site will generate about your students? Well, it will! You can instantly see who knows each skill and, more importantly, who doesn't. Can you say, "Instant RTI?"

And you will love the instant flashcards and parent letters (in English AND Spanish).

And for anyone who does't win, and for YOU too, you can use my code to get yourself $40 off of your first year at https://www.esgisoftware.com.
The code is KFUN. Just enter it when you start your 60 day FREE trial. No credit card is required to start your trial, so what are you waiting for?

I'll be presenting a Make & Take Science session where the attendees will be able to try out science experiments and create a cute life-cycle project.  This is one of the images from my presentation, but we won't be trying this one out!

Here is a picture of how I set up my assembly line for making the little kits each teacher will get. They will also get a tiny bottle of bubbles and a tube of glue to use too. 

I'm also presenting "From Re-telling Stories to Writing" and that's also a Make & Take session. Teachers will get to make my cute paper bag cottage for The Three Bears and they will see how to make a fun "re-telling" project that goes with the book Harriet Can Carry It, by Kirk Jay Mueller.

You can find this beautifully illustrated book on Amazon or by clicking HERE

Next, I'll present "Learning Centers: Keeping 'Play' In Your Busy Day" which is one of my favorite sessions. Teachers will get a link to my free classroom signs that communicate the importance of "play" in a child's day. This is how my presentation room usually looks. I like to bring a huge suitcase of samples for teachers to see and touch:

I'm also presenting "Building Academic Language and Literacy" which includes a variety of language acquisition techniques.  Here are some of the teachers who are watching a short video clip that I included in one of my sessions:

Whew! That's just April 7. On April 8, I'll begin the day with "Phonics, Sight Words, & Writing, Oh My!" I'll be sharing my Instant Writing techniques and fun sight word projects.  Click the image of the writing template to grab this set which will make EVERY child in your class a successful writer:
Click the image to grab this set of cards & writing template page. 

Then, it will be time for "Don't Wait, Early Intervention Strategies For Your Littlest Learners". Teachers will discover a new way to look at intervention and the logistics involved in creating a successful program.

My next session is also one of my favorites: "The Amazing Classroom" more than an idea a minute! Seriously, during this 75 minute session I share over 75 ideas! It's a fast-paced session that is tons of fun. 

My last session is on Close Reading. I have simplified the process for kindergarten so teachers will feel confident creating Close Reading lessons for almost any book. 

I can't wait to meet the teachers in Ontario and share my ideas with them. 
The best part is that taking my sessions to Canada will officially make me an international presenter! 

Be sure to visit this blog at the beginning of May when I'll be posting once again!