Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Heart of a Reading Conference

Before we get started with the nitty-gritty of a reading conference...go check out how Andrea over at Stepping Into First Grade adapted my "If I Was a Snowman" art activity!  {My daughter is the} 

Don't forget to come back here...I have some more "Kate" wisdom to share with you.  If you haven't been with me very long, you will want to type in "Kate" in the search option to your right to read more about our amazing district reading coach!

Once a month or so, Kate comes to our staff meeting to present on a reading workshop topic.  This past week, it was on conferring...the HARDEST part of reading workshop in my opinion!  Our morning staff meetings are only 25 minutes, so it was a quick overview/reminder of what we should be doing during a reading conference.

When you meet with a reader, you first have to decide what you are going to teach during your 5 minute (approx.) conference.  Once you decide what you are going to teach, you can go about the teaching 3 different ways.  We'll start with the easiest and move to the hardest...

1.  Coaching/Guided Practice:  the teacher can remind the child of a previously taught strategy, the reader tries the strategy, the teacher prompts and gives tips as the reader tries the strategy.

2.  Example and Explanation:  the teacher chooses a strategy that has previously been taught and reminds the reader of the example from the previous lesson about that strategy, the teacher can then show the child another way to use the strategy or how to come at it from a different angle, the reader then tries it on his/her own.

3.  Demonstration (this is the hardest for teachers to execute properly):  the teacher says to the child "I am going to teach you {insert strategy here} and watch me as I {blank}."  The teacher could use a mentor text to think aloud through the process.  The teacher is the reader, IN the moment.  The teacher then restates what the child should have noticed.  The reader then can try this strategy out on his/her own.

I like to use the demonstration teaching option when I am working on fluency with a child.  For example, I would say: "listen to me read these 2 pages (I would read), then "let's read it together" (child and I will read the same 2 pages together), then "let me hear you do it on your own now" (child reads the same 2 pages alone).

To help me remember the 3 different options of teaching during a conference, I made this:

You can click on the image to download it using Google Docs if you are interested.  I am going to put them in the inside cover of my conference notebook to help me remember.  I  made the most important one the biggest for an extra reminder!

I know this post isn't all glittery and crafty, but sometimes I feel like I have to get my #1 passion out there...teaching reading to little ones...I hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'm On a Roll With Snowmen

Our hallways were looking pretty bare after all of the holiday decorations came I had to think of something, and think of something quick!  : )

With a quick search on Google, I came across Deep Space Sparkle where I found these adorable snowmen.  The directions say to use tempera paint, but if you know me...paint and my name are hardly found in the same sentence at school! 

I couldn't bear to get the paint out, so I opted for our oil pastels.  I modeled how to draw a snowman up close (just like Deep Space Sparkle did).  They colored in all of the white first so it didn't bleed with the other colors.  Everything was outlined in black oil pastels when they finished.  To make it a little more academic, I added a writing piece which you can download for free by clicking on the image below.

If I was a snowman, I would be still as a statue.  I would sneak around at night.

Don't you just love this one?!?!?!?

No matter what we are working on, this little one always manages to fit in the pink lips, some bling and flowers.  {SMILE}

I think this art project is a keeper!!!  Let me know if you try it!!!  : )

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Freebie and a Whole Lot of Randomness

First, I have to THANK all of my blogging friends who took advantage of my "insane" TPT sale!!!  And, the best part of the whole thing...the sweet comments from friends who told me how much they appreciated it...that made it so worth while!  Oh, and the feedback left on the items that were purchased...priceless!  So, here is a little freebie as a thank-you...

Snowman Soup the picture to download.  After you download, come back here if you want to read some more randomness...

And if you care to read about is some complete randomness...

I'm getting ready to head back to work tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.  Alarm is set for 5:10, the kids clothes are set out for grandma and grandpa's house (my daycare) and I still need to go shopping for my lunches.  These breaks always fly by, but I am secretly ready to go back.  WHAT?!?!?! you scream?  Yep, it's time.  My husband has been off of work for 1 1/2 years on disability and I'm going a little cuckoo.  It's hard being on break with extra body in the 'em to death, but work is starting to sound more like vacation.

Is it horrible that I have NOTHING ready for tomorrow?  I mean, I know what I am doing, but walking into a classroom after 2 weeks is a little scary.  I am sure I have a few Christmas decorations still hanging around, I know the December calendar is still up and the custodians like to play tricks on us and move furniture around.  And...I need to get there early enough to print Cara's New Year unit, cut it out and get it in the math tubs {& laminate later}!  YIKES, especially when you have ONE color printer in the building that is so darn picky.  You have to literally stand there and feed it one piece of card stock at a time.  Not even kidding...

And since we only have that ONE gem of a color printer, I have to get my math tub stuff printed and made WAY ahead of time.  That's why I made this pack of 6 math centers for Valentine's Day.  Yep, Valentine's Day.  Let's see...26 pages, feeding that printer one page at a time...that should take me about 2  And I never have a spare minute in a school day to stand around feeding a printer one piece of card stock at a time...see what I mean...Valentine's Day doesn't seem that far way now, does it?

Click on the pic to check out the center pack. it ok to bribe you with a little something?  If you purchased my Chinese New Year Activity pack, it is feeling a little left out.  There is no feedback on that item yet.  : (  Maybe you need to try it out with your kiddos first, or maybe you just don't have time for feedback...  So here is your bribe.  If you purchased the pack (or if you go buy it now) and you go and leave feedback, come back here and be one of the first 5 to leave me a comment with your TPT user name, I will send you an item of your choice from my store.  You will need to leave your choice of item and your email address as well in the comment.  : )  Why do I care so much about feedback on this item?  Well, the competitive side in me is out in full force.  When I originally posted about this unit a few days ago, I was the ONLY one who had a lower-el Chinese New Year Pack out there!!!  And a few hours after that post...yep, you guessed it...a few more units popped up!  Holy Cow, does word travel fast!?!?!  I love my TPT friends, but I man, I thought I was kinda nice being unique for just that one moment...   : )  Silly, huh?

And another piece of randomness...totally not school related...I got a few iTunes cards for Christmas and I ventured into the app store for my iPod.  I think I was the last one invited to the Angry Birds party.  Can you say ADDICTED?  Blogs are addicting, but omiword, this darn game has me hooked.  My 5 year old and I fight argue over who gets to play next.  I secretly practice so I can beat his score...that kid has got an aim!!!  The funny thing is that he says to me (mid-game) "mom, now I know what those big bird pillows are at Meijer!"  Every time we would go to the store, he would ask me what those Angry Bird pillows were.  He's not in the dark any more...and neither am I.

One more, and I'm done babbling, I promise.  Yep, there is another party that I haven't been invited to and it is totally by choice (I guess).  I don't have a facebook account and I probably never will.  But, that leaves me wanting Pinterest even more.  Somebody needs to tell MR. Pinterest that it is dumb you have to have a facebook account to join (it's gotta be a guy that would do something like that...sorry guys).  So guess what I did?  I hijacked my mom's facebook password (with total permission) so I could invite HER to the Pinterest party and now I'm in the loop...kinda...with her profile and my boards.  Make sense?  Her facebook friends probably wonder why a retired teacher has so many school crafts and ideas all over her boards.  Funny, right?

Ok...I'm done...time to get ready for the craziness of tomorrow.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Insane Sale!

So my retired teacher mom said "you did WHAT?!?!?!?!" when I told her about the sale I just posted on TPT.  I have marked everything in my store down to $2 or less!!!  Yes, even my $8 mega packs!!!  Everything will stay $2 until I get a free moment tomorrow to put it all back to original prices.  Enjoy!

Click here to go directly to my shop!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter Reading Incentive & A Freebie

I'm gearing up to go back to school on the about you?  As soon as we get back, it is time for my annual Blizzard of Books Challenge!  If you live in a place where you get snow up to your knees and temperatures that would scare a polar bear, you know how often your kiddos get outside to let off some steam in the winter.  They get all holed up inside playing the Wii or watching TV when we are praying and wishing that they would {just this once} read a book.  My Blizzard of Books has helped spark the love of reading in my students for the last 10 years!!!  Even if they only get fired up during the months of January and February, it is totally worth every minute!  And then, thankfully, comes March is Reading month to hold them over for one more month.  : )

Click on the picture below to find out more!

And for a little freebie for those of you who need a quick and easy math center for Chinese New on the picture below to grab it up!


Happy New Year!!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cupcakes and Chinese New Year! {& My Top 3}

So cupcakes and Chinese New Year have nothing in common except for the fact that I have just added a Cupcake Contractions Activity and a Chinese New Year Activity Pack on TPT.  : )  Click on the pictures below to check them out!  : )

I'm pretty darn excited about my Chinese New Year Activity Pack because there is nothing similar on TPT.  I think it is due to the fact that there is NO clip art available for this theme.  I found a sweet girl from "across the pond" in England to make me some custom Chinese clip art so I could put this pack together.  : )  Gotta love Etsy!!!

Fern Smith is having a linky party for us to list our top 3 blog posts of 2011.  Here are my 3...

1.  My Common Core Standards Posters post...sadly I think this is the top post because it includes a little bit of blogging DRAMA.  People just love to read drama...right?

I'm currently sold out of these in my Etsy store, but if you are interested leave a comment in the comments with your email and what you are interested in.

 2.  My Secret Santa post...too late for you to benefit from this post this year, but you could tuck it away for next year!

3.  My Easy Folder Holders post...these have popped up all over Pinterest since my post.  Have you made them yet?  : )

Can't wait to see what 2012 brings!!!  Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011


Jen, I will be emailing you your prize pack!!!   Thanks to all of the donors and bloggers who played along!!!  I am so glad to have made so many new "blogging friends!" 

Friday, December 23, 2011

While You Are At The Store...

Today, the kids and I made cookies for Santa and our 90 year old neighbor, but we were missing one important detail...the SPRINKLES!  So...since I knew my hubby was already at the store, I called him and said, "While you are at the store, please pick up some Christmas sprinkles for the cookies."  I had to give him a little direction as to where in the world a store might keep sprinkles, but he agreed to the task.  (My husband is the type that doesn't venture into the grocery side of a store very often.)

So....30 minutes later, he arrives with THESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The last time I checked, it wasn't Easter or the Fourth of July!!!!  My 5 year old even said, "Those don't look like Christmas sprinkles!"  I thanked the hubby for trying and we ended up with cookies that look like this:

Notice the "candy canes"... I managed to make them with the only sprinkles I did have on hand in the cupboard.
Pretty sad...but I know Santa won't mind and Mr. Morris, our neighbor really won't mind.  : )

If you have any Christmas craftiness left in your bones, you might want to give these guys a try!  Super easy and they don't require sprinkles!

Put the stick into a large marshmallow, dip in chocolate and lay them down on your already broken pretzel antlers.  Quickly add a red M&M for the nose and miniature white chocolate chips for the eyes.  Leave them laying on the wax paper until they are completely dry.  They are darling wrapped in a clear treat bag with a little curling ribbon.  I made these for friends at work, and they seemed to be a hit!

If you haven't entered my BIG giveaway yet, you have until midnight on Christmas Eve to do so.  You can click {HERE} to go straight there! 

I am sooooo looking forward to candle light service on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my 5 and 3 year old babies!!!!  Have a wonderful Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let's Get This Party {Giveaway} Started

I am knee deep in emails, pdfs, links and units (and Christmas shopping), but I wanted to get this party started!  I recently hit 600 followers and couldn't be happier!  I have learned so much in my blogging journey and have become a better teacher by being an extreme blogstalker.  I have "met" some amazing teachers along the way and I am so excited to bring you this HUGE giveaway!

Eighteen (18) TPT sellers have donated a favorite item from their stores!  To enter, you will need to follow the blogs and TPT stores and leave a comment for each store/blog that you follow.  The giveaway will end at midnight EST on Christmas Eve (December 24th).  One lucky winner will be randomly chosen and their winnings will be sent via email shortly after Christmas Day.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE leave your email in your comments so I can easily send you your huge pack of units/games if you win!  Remember to leave a comment when you follow a blog or store (one comment for each).

Here we go....

1.  ME!!!  Follow my blog (to your right) and follow my TPT store (link to your right as well).

2.  Andrea from Stepping Into First Grade and her TPT store

3.  Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class and her TPT store

4.  Jenaya from Lesson Plan Diva and her TPT store

5.  Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants and her TPT store

6.  Linda from Primary Inspiration and her TPT store

7.  Shelley from Teaching in the Early Years and her TPT store

8.  Karla from Life in Special Education and her TPT store

9.  Lisa's TPT store (no teaching blog)

10.  Heather from Hojo's Teacher Store and her TPT store

11.  Anna from Crazy For First Grade and her TPT store

12.  Donna from Peace Love Learning and her TPT store

13.  Amanda from A Special Kind of Class and her TPT store

14.  Michelle from Creative Classroom 123 and her TPT store

15.  Hilary from Rockin Teacher Materials and her TPT store

16.  Carolyn from The Wise Owl Factory and her TPT store

17.  Mel from Seusstastic and her TPT store

18.  Jodi from Fun-In-First and her TPT store

WHEW!!!!  Did you get all of them?  Isn't this amazing!!!  I am so excited to use this weekend to pick a winner!!!!  Thanks for playing along!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Tree Snack and More!

Are you looking for a fun, but healthy snack for your holiday parties?  Try this one!!!  You will need a Styrofoam cone, red and green grapes, a star fruit and toothpicks.

It is fun to put it on a plate with some shredded coconut for the "snow."  What fun food do you have at your celebrations?

Remember this post when I posted our parent gift idea?  Well, here are a few from my kiddos.  I thought they turned out pretty darn cute!  My room smelled like a paint factory after school today...but it will be so worth it when they are good and dry on Monday morning.

And one more was like Christmas today in my room when a mom showed up with this:

A whole bunch of goodies for our classroom!!!!  I have a little "donation" display out on our lockers, and she fulfilled a ton of my classroom supply wishes!!!  I was soooooo excited!  If you are interested in my Sweet Donations pack, click HERE

5 more wake-up days and then a well needed 17 days off!!!  Can't wait!!!