Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hello TBR! and a Genre Freebie

Hello!  I am so excited to join the wonderful teachers on TBR!!  I have been learning a lot and getting a ton of freebies.  I really liked the idea that Molly from Lucky to Be in First had about speed dating for bloggers:)

First of all my name is Kristy and and I blog over at the Phonics Phenomenon.  Here are ten facts about me so you can get to know me speedy quick!!

1.  I am a total HGTV addict.  (Luckily for me my little bro runs a Sherwin Williams)

2.  I am on level 90 of Candy Crush Saga and wish I could stop my addiction.  (I got my hubby addicted too be that good or bad:)

3.  I have taught intervention for 13 years K-5.

4.  I was a late bloomer:)  The book Leo the Late Bloomer could have been written about me.  Several years out of high school then everything clicked for me.  Maybe that is why I understand at risk kiddos so well.

5.  My kids are 10 years apart which was totally not planned and I enjoy every moment of being their mom.  ( at least most days)

6.  I have a horrible sweet tooth and love all cookies, candy, etc

7.  My husband and I finally went to the darkside and got a Toyota Sienna this winter.  I always said I would never own a mini van but I totally love it.

8.  I am Wilson trained and have a ton of phonics knowledge bouncing around in my brain.  It is pretty funny because I was taught NO phonics as a child.  Everything I know I learned as an adult.

9.  One of my favorite places is Charleston, South Carolina.  Historic and the beach all rolled into one.

10.  I am one of four siblings and grew up in a three bedroom house with only one bathroom.  I am still trying to figure out how we survived:)

Right now I am in full classroom organization mode!  I have moved rooms two years in a row so I feel lucky to be staying put this year!  One thing I struggle with is remembering what books I have for all of my intervention groups so I have been trying out the app ibookshelf and so far so good.  One hundred down and not even sure how many hundreds left to go.......hmmm I many have forgotten to mention that I have a total book addiction!

Here is a peek at what the app looks like.

One of the things my new app does is sort books according to a genre.  As an interventionist, I have been trying to talk to students about genres as early as kindergarten.  I was amazed that kids really can understand and "get it" at such a young age.  One of the things that I have done to aide in this process is using visual genre cards.  I have changed them several times and I think I am finally happy with this version.  I can't wait to hear what you think!

I hope you enjoy this little freebie:)  If you would like the full version it is available at my TPT store(the most current version may not be up yet but it soon will be).  Make sure you check out PHONICS FRIDAY on my blog the Phonics Phenomenon!!  I would love to have you stop by!!

Until next month:)  

The Phonics Phenomenon

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Can You Get Your Student Loans Forgiven?

Now that summer has finally started for many of us, you might want to see if you qualify for student loan forgiveness! (You must have completed five or more years of teaching, but read ahead to see if you qualify!)

There is a real program out there that will give teachers student loan forgiveness of $17,500 or more! I personally received over $2,000 in Perkins loan forgiveness and another $5,000 Stafford loan forgiveness for teaching in a low income school for five years. 

You will want to read the official websites provided here as I am not an expert and had to utilize these website a LOT!

Federal Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans -

Getting the loan forgiveness did take a bit of work on my part. I had to keep  my address up-to-date at the colleges I attended, and there was paperwork to fill out yearly. So I had to bug my administrator/s each year to get them to sign the proper forms and I also had to keep myself organized so I could prove that I had copies of all the paperwork. I also had a bit of a run-in with one of my loan holders, but thankfully the DOE helped me work through that issue.

In my opinion, it was well worth the paperwork, phone calls, headache, etc to get over $7,000 of student loans paid off! {Who doesn't like FREE money!?!}

If you'd like to read even more about this process, head over to my blog where I give you my student loan forgiveness process in detail. There's also quite a bit of discussion going on in the comments section at that blog post. It's definitely worth reading! And if you have any questions, ask away! I'll do what I can to answer them or point you in the right direction!!

This post is not a guarantee that your student loans will be forgiven. I was not given loan forgiveness in exchange for writing this post. It is a real government program that may allow teachers loan forgiveness. Go to the Federal Student Aid website for further details and limitations. I wrote this post because the letter I received stated, "We hope that this payment will allow you to continue in this noble service and that you notify other eligible teachers about this program." I hope other teachers can benefit from me writing it!

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's So Nice to Meet You!

It's finally my turn for my first post here at Teaching Blog Round Up and I'm so excited!  I want to use this post to introduce myself.
I'm living in rural Ohio (where it is cold and rainy on this Memorial Day!) with my husband and our two kids.  They are 12 and 9 and keep us running!  They are active in soccer and 4H.  I just finished my 14th year of teaching.  Most of my career has been spent as a Reading Intervention Specialist, but this past year I made the switch to Kindergarten and I loved every minute of it!  Teaching blogs helped me so much as I made that switch and because of that, I decided to start my own a few months ago.  It's still definitely a work in progress, but now that my summer vacation as begun, I'm planning on blogging a lot and working on lots of things for my classroom that I will definitely share with you both here and at my own blog.  You can also visit my TpT store here.   Like my blog, it's a work in progress, but by the end of the summer I hope to have it filled up!
As a Reading Intervention teacher, I've had a lot of "extra" training in literacy.  I'm a Reading Recovery trained teacher and I also have used the Wilson Fundations program for many years.  I use the Daily 5 in my classroom, as well.  Because of all of that good stuff, you will probably find that most of my posts are literacy based.
OK, enough about me.  I wanted to leave you with a couple of products that you might want to use in your classroom.  If you are still in school for a few more days, you might want to use this Blend Hunt Activity.  The best part is IT'S A FREEBIE!!
This was the first product that I ever made!  I used it in my classroom as a Word Work activity during Daily 5.  It's a "write the room" activity.  Print out the cards, place them around the room and give the kids clipboards and the recording sheet.  My kiddos LOVE write the room activities.  At first, I thought it would be crazy time, but they are really pretty quiet because they are intent on finding the cards!
If you are already out of school and beginning to think about next year, you might be interested in my editable word wall cards
I don't have a lot of space for a word wall in my classroom so these are made to be approximately the size of a 3"x5" index card.  The words included are a mix of dolch and the words taught by our Literacy By Design reading series, but this is an editable powerpoint file so you can add any words you choose!
Thanks for checking in to Teaching Blog Round Up!  I'm really excited to be a part of this and look forward to making new blogging friends!  I'll see you on the 27th of every month!  Next month, I'm going to fill you in on why I love, love, love The Daily 5!  If you don't want to wait until next month to visit me, head over to my blog!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer TIME!

Hi guys!  It is Teresa from Fun in K/1!  I hope you are all enjoying the Teaching Blog Round Up!
Summer time is here! (or almost here for those like me who still have a few days left of school)  Now that I have finished my math series, I love having time to teach the kids additional math.  Time is always fun to teach and the kids have a ball learning how to tell time.  Here is one little tip I have to help the kiddos when they are first learning to tell time and doing time telling skill sheets.  I always have them find the little hour hand first and circle the number it is pointing to or just past.  Then we write the hour.  Now for the minutes I have them write the minutes by 5 around the outside of the clock.  (This also gives extra time skip counting.)  Then we figure out the minutes.  Here is a Summer TIME freebie for you.  Click HERE to download it or you can pick it up free at my TpT store.

An introduction to elapsed time with word problems is also included.  This is often a tough concept to grasp, so starting out early is a good thing.

Speaking of summer, I just wanted to share a few summer reading incentives out there.

Books A Million is offering a Summer Reading with Carl Hiaasen program.  Kids will read 6 books from the BAM summer reading list, parents will sign and then bring it to any BAM store to receive a free Hoot or Chomp backpack.  The list includes some great books to choose from.  Click here for more details.

Barnes & Noble has a fabulous free reading incentive as well.  Students read ay 8 books, complete the B&N journal and bring it in to receive a FREE book (from a selection of books).  Click here for more information and the form.

Scholastic is also running a Summer Book Challenge.  Teachers log their students in and then they track their minutes online.  They have a school wide program as well.  Click here for more information.

I can not wait for the summer to read!  I will hopefully have more time to read for pleasure , even without a summer challenge!  What are planning on reading this summer?  

Don't forget to add Teaching Blog Roundup to your summer reading list.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How Lucky It's Finally Friday!

Hi Everyone! I am SUPER excited that it's finally the 24th {and it's my turn to blog on Teaching Blog Roundup!} What an awesome collaborative blog Teresa has created! I am so grateful to be a part of this. I love "meeting" new bloggers and it has been so fun to read everyone's posts {and snag a ton of awesome loot!} 

Oh, maybe I should introduce name is Molly and I blog over at Lucky to Be in First! Before I share with you an end of the year goodie, let me tell you a few random things about me. {It's like speed dating for bloggers!}  

1. I can sing with my mouth closed. 
2. I have taught first grade for 10 years in Northern California.  I can't imagine living anywhere else {or teaching any other grade!}
3. I love lime in everything! 
4. My favorite color is green {and my favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day!}
5. I have seen every episode of Friends no less than 20 times. 
6. My sister is my best friend. 
7. I'm the crazy person who goes to the gym at 5 a.m. 
8. I talk to my mom, dad and sister at least once a day. 
9. I love to watch sports, but it stresses me out so much that I sometimes need to turn off the TV! 
10. Despite living in a small condo, I have 170 pairs of shoes. 

Okay, now that you know a few things about me, let's move on to the freebie! 

As our school year is drawing to a close, I thought it would be neat {a word not used nearly enough} for the students to create a keepsake book for one another. So, I created the Friendly Facts Mini Book

 It's a great way for the students to practice writing and using adjectives while they're reflecting on the fun times they've had with their classmates! 

Click on the picture below to snag a copy! 

I copied the cover onto a colorful sheet. While the rest of the class was working on their Friendly Facts, the student of the day was able to decorate their cover. 

Please note that in the attached file, I've also included a copy without this year's date. 

Each classmate circled three adjectives about their friend, wrote their favorite memory, and drew a picture to go along.
There are two versions included, so make sure to pick the one that suits your needs! 

My hope is that the students will hold onto their Friendly Facts books and remember their memorable 1st grade year! 

I'd love to hear from ya! Leave a comment below or pop on over to Lucky to Be in First to check out the adventures {and sometimes craziness} of my classroom! 

See ya next month!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hoppin' in From Fantastic First Grade Froggies

Hello there!  I am Renee from Fantastic First Grade Froggies and I am so excited to be a part of this collaborative teaching blog.  I can't wait to learn and share with everyone involved with this site.   I will be checking in on the 22nd of each month.

So, has your summer began?  Or, are you on the countdown?  I am on the countdown, but am already thinking ahead to it.  I love summer.  I love the laziness, but I also like to keep a little structure in my life.  The last few years I have made a summer to do list for my son and I.  I call it our bucket list.  This list includes simple things like

sidewalk chalk
bake cookies
go on a bike ride

but, also includes things like

a road trip
local museums
professional baseball games

I love this list.  We don't always get to everything, but if it is a day where I need to find something to do, we look on the summer list.  I have mine copied as a 16 X 20 inch poster size print at Costco and then we hang it up.  My son loves to check things off.

Would l you like to make a summer bucket list as well?  Click below for a blank jpg of this file.

Well, after I made this I thought about how I could incorporate this into my classroom.  So I came up with a bucket list for my first graders.  I thought we could brainstorm bucket list ideas and they can write them down and show them to their parents.  I will be sure to talk about what is a realistic bucket list vs. a dream bucket list.  I will also explain that we don't always get to everything on our list and that is okay.  So here is another freebie for you.  This is a bucket list you can use with your class.  Click below to download.
Graphics from KPM Doodles and Fancy Dog Studio

Do you have a summer bucket list?  If so, what are some things that you have listed?  I would love to hear how others fill their summer. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

A sweet welcome from Laura Love to Teach

Hello to you from Laura Love to Teach :] I am so excited to be a part of the Teaching Blog Roundup.  I hope you become a follower and stay tuned for fun freebies and creative ideas from a range of wonderful teachers and bloggers.

I am currently a grade 3/4 teacher (I looped up with some of my 2nd/3rd graders from last year.)  I live in upstate New York and I am very fortunate to have a wonderful boyfriend, family, and friends (which includes all of my wonderful blogging buddies!)
I wanted to share with you some math fun that I have found and experienced with my kids in the past week.  First of all, do you know Hopkins' Hoppin' Blog? Well, he is also a contributor to this blog, and has a lot of great products at his store! I just recently used his Cell Phone Multiplication Activity! (with our own twist).... there is no color ink coming out of my printer right now, so I did use a little more paper than I wanted so each student had their own copy (but with 7 students, I can't complain about copies!) But if I had the color, I would've definitely used it and laminated it for a math center.  The kids had so much fun figuring out the different codes! Check it out!

Centers, Common Core, Smart Phone
A FREEBIE that I have made especially for ALL OF YOU is up and running on Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers!! It's called.. Bubble Gum Multiplication :]
I couldn't resist the cuteness of Graphics from the Pond Bubble Gum Clipart! It's a 9 page freebie (including title and reference page) that has multiplication practice, fact family creations, and another creative activity that has your children coming up with as many multiplication problems as they can think of! Sometimes I think that math can be "dry" so I like to think of things for kids to do that builds their creativity and that help make math more fun.

Last but not least, I bring you a website that my students LOVE... It is called ABCYA.  There are a lot of fun math games (separated by grade level) and one favorite that my students love is Pacman Multiplication and Division.  It also comes in addition and subtraction so it can be used for many grade levels.  And who doesn't love Pacman?! ;]

I can't wait to get to know each of you.. I hope you stop by on the 20th of each month and check out my post :) Also you can click HERE to follow my blog as well.  Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guess My Shape! {Attributes Freebie!!}

Hi there! My name is Erin and I blog over {here} at Little Miss Primary. 
You can also find me (newly) on Instagram: 

I am SO excited to be a part of TBR and will be sharing ideas, activities, and other fun stuff on the 16th of each month! My heart is with the primary kiddos (K-2ish), so most of what I will post will be geared towards that level--though I am a firm believer in differentiation and adapting ideas to fit the needs of my kids! Hopefully you'll be able to do some of that, too. 

Right now, I'm working full-time on my Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. I really miss being in my own classroom, but I am so thankful for all that I am learning--education is a gift (I had to remind myself of that over and over again during finals!!). Most of my teaching experience is at the first grade level, but I've also taught second and a third grade math pull-out. 

A bit about me: 
I was born and raised in the Lone Star State.
I love red polka dots, sunshine, and all things colorful.
I'm a bit of a math nerd.
I looove children's literature--Loreen Leedy stopped by my blog yesterday and I just about fell out of my chair (!!!!).

Okay, that's enough about me! Today I want to share with you a really simple but powerful activity. It is a great way to formatively assess your kiddos and will also get them thinking!

I recently attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference in Denver, Colorado, and a lady from one of the sessions briefly shared a similar idea. I cannot remember her name at all, but know that she is a first grade teacher from Florida--she was just as sweet as could be (if "she" is you, please let me know! You deserve credit!!)!

I'm calling the activity Guess My Shape! 
In essence, your kiddos will draw a shape from a paper bag and use attributes of the shape to describe it. They can also use real-world examples, too! The purpose is to describe the shape so well that a partner can guess it correctly.

For this activity, you'll need:

Fold a piece of construction paper in half--hamburger style. A lined paragraph is glued on the front of the paper, and a single lined strip is glued on the inside. After pulling a shape from the paper bag, students will glue it on the inside (without showing their partner/small group!!).

Your kiddos will then describe the shape on the outside--attributes, real-world examples, etc. 
This is where you will get a chance to assess your students' understanding! 
Did they use attributes as well as real-world objects? 
Are their examples accurate?
How detailed was the student's description?
Is there evidence of confusion?

salty cracker = saltine cracker :)

The inside of the construction paper will have the shape and the name! In partners or small groups, students share their descriptions and the classmates try to guess the shape.

You could also use the idea with place value!
Have students draw numbers from a bag and describe the digits--the number in the tens place is more than number is an even number...etc.

See? Super simple. 
No crazy materials needed and it can be adapted for so many levels (think 3D shapes!).

Want to use this in your own classroom??
Download the activity packet FOR FREE by clicking on the picture!

I love free stuff. Don't you?! 

Thank y'all so much for stopping by TBR today! I'm grateful for a chance to share with you and am excited for what my co-authors have in store for the rest of the month! I loved Jennie's {post} yesterday about the end of the school year and was so excited to read about one of my favorite books, Measuring Penny, in a {post} by Sara! 

If you get a chance to use this activity or am able adapt it to fit your own needs, please share! We love hearing your ideas!! Keep checking in for great ideas from all over teacher blog land, and please stop by my blog and say hello (just click the button below)! 
Happy Thursday, y'all!

The Teacher Wife

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

End of the Year Tips and a FREEBIE!

Howdy Partners!  My name is Jennie and I am a First Grade Reading Specialist.  I was extremely excited to be asked by Teresa from Fun in K/1 to be a part of this blog!  When I first checked it out, I had all sorts of fun memories pop into my head.  I love the "cowboy" theme.  It reminds me of some fun college times- Tuesday nights at Marks.  It was always country night and we would line dance the night away!!  
Come to think of it, my hubby and I just did that last weekend.  We were out on the town and heading down some back country roads.  A great two steppin' song came on the radio and he asked if I wanted to dance (as we were in the car).  Of course, I decided to play along and said "SURE!"  Well, my friends mother was driving us around so she pulled over on the back road and let us get out.  I couldn't let him win, so here we are two stepping in the middle of the road!  

We even have the spotlight from the headlight!  Sorry for the back end shot, it's the only picture we got;)

I will posting on the 15th of each month and hope that I will be able offer some teaching tips and some freebies to you.  Today I have a few end of the year tips that you may find helpful:

1.  Go outside and let them play all day.  (OK- don't do that, you may lose your job!)  But, you could give extra incentives for some extra recess time to help keep them from running all around the room calm for the remainder of the school year.  Don't ever under estimate bribery!

2.  When I was teaching in the "regular classroom," I would always have the students write a letter to their next year's teacher.  Even though they didn't know who their teacher was going to be, they could tell a little about themselves.  I would have them write about their families, what they like/dislike about school, and something that they wanted their teacher to know about them (interests etc.).  This is a great way for the teachers to learn a little about the students before meeting them AND it provides a writing sample:)  Here are some writing papers for you to use if you want:)

3.  ALL KIDS ARE JUST AS EXCITED FOR SCHOOL TO END (as we are).  Truth is, this is NOT true.  Many kids are ready to be done with school and enjoy the summer.  But, there are also many that really love school and don't want it end.  Have a talk with your kids about what to expect for the summer months.  Let them know that it is okay to be excited about summer and it is also okay to feel a little sad that school is going to be out.  Some kids also get nervous about change (don't we all) and aren't sure what to expect at the next grade level.  Talk a little bit about the teachers that they will have next year.  Maybe you can even take a little "tour" to their classrooms and introduce them to the teachers.  This may help with some anxiety issues.

4.  Lastly, we want them to have some memories from the year.  I don't know about you, but I pretty much remember NOTHING about Kindergarten, First, or Second Grade.  I know, as a teacher, we think they will remember us forever.  I'm sure most won't, but if we can provide them with some proof that we were with them for 180 days of their lives- lets do it!  I whipped up a little memory book.  It isn't anything too fancy. It is simple and will provide them with some memories.  The book has covers for Kindergarten, First, and Second.  Click on the picture to download it!

I hope you have a great end of the year (those of you that are about done).  I would love for you to stop by my blog sometime!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Big Hello from Angie at The First Grade Scoop!

Hi all! This is Angie from The First Grade Scoop here! I'm so excited about this collaborative blog and getting the opportunity to share with you and learn from others here, too! A little bit about me... I'm in my sixth year of teaching first grade in an urban school in Chicago, and I LOVE it! The little ones are truly where my heart is. (Although, confession: My first year of teaching I taught eighth grade departmentalized science. Yikes!) I married my high school sweetheart (our eighth anniversary is this August) and I have two sweet kiddos of my own at home - Avery, who is 2.5 years old, and Declan, who will be one on June 1st. When people say time flies, they mean it!

I thought I'd stop by to share with you a little about how I use my clip chart, which believe me, is my saving grace at this crazy time of the year. (What is it about warm weather that makes us all a little crazy sometimes?!)

(Excuse my messy closet! This is dangerously close to my corner. You know how some people have a junk drawer in their kitchen? The corner this is near is my junk corner!)

I tried having kids flip cards a couple of years, but I struggled because I didn't feel there were enough opportunities to really reward kids who did a great job in class. And I tried tickets for good behavior, but then I always felt kinda sad when the kid who earned one ticket all week got their name pulled for a prize and the kid who had like 1,352 in the tub didn't get picked.

So I made my clip chart, and it's worked wonders!

I printed my clip chart (snag it FREE here) and glued it to a couple pieces of black posterboard, then laminated it. At the beginning of the year, I labeled clothespins with kids' names (I prefer just numbers, but my kiddos this year really struggled to remember their numbers... Hence the name label also). I have 29 students, and they all fit on the chart if I put half of the clothespins in each direction. Kids can move up for good behavior, or down for poor choices. The beautiful thing is, it allows students the chance to recover from a mistake.

In my room, getting on pink is a BIG DEAL. So those kids get to stick on a rhinestone (Jo-Ann or Michael's carry them) as a sign they've reached the top.

At the end of the day, my students color a calendar they keep in their homework folder with the color they ended on for the day.

(See more about these calendars here.)

If you're interested in these communication calendars, stop by my TpT store to snag them for free!

Hope this was helpful! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to learning more from you all and posting more soon!