August 25, 2015

Music, Poetry, and Fun... Oh My!

Show of hands...  How many of you use music or songs to build skills?  I know I use songs regularly, even if they are not actual songs, to teach my little learners skills.

It is no secret that I am pretty much obsessed with EVERYTHING my good friend Deedee Wills creates for the classroom.  I am pretty sure I own all of her products, and trust me when I say, they are worth the investment!  

I have used Deedee's poetry packs for four years.  We use them in whole group as well as during literacy station time.  In a word, they ROCK!

When I found out Deedee was creating a product that would put her poems to music, I was THRILLED!  Knowing how much we sing these poems, and the fact that I wouldn't have to do my best Broadway renditions anymore, I snatched those packs up as fast as I could!

There are endless ways you could use the music to enhance your poetry instruction.  In a whole group setting, you could, of course, burn the files to a CD.  To do that, it does take some technical skill, but this video explains the process beautifully!

Courtesy BestLaoSong's YouTube channel

I do not prefer to use the CD in my classroom; instead, I play them directly from iTunes on either my computer or iPad.  

I also use the music file to supplement my literacy work stations.  Each week, my students visit the poetry station.  While at this station, students have always read the poem, completed the word work activity that accompanies it, and read the poem again.  This is all great, but I was so excited to use the music to really beef up this station!

Here is how I do it:

Our school district uses an LMS called Canvas.  Canvas is used in all grade levels in our district, so naturally, I have chosen to use this with my students.  If your school does not have an adopted LMS, I would recommend using Showbie to push files out to your students.  Showbie is free to use, and pretty easy!

In Canvas, my students download the file to their iPads.  After the file is downloaded, students can listen to the poetry songs right on their device!  I love taking it a step further and having students create a ChatterPix of them reciting or singing the poem of the week!  

Make sure to check out this fantastic resource ASAP!  It's a must-have, for sure!

August 24, 2015

Peek At My Week: All About Our Friends

Real talk, people...

The first few weeks of kindergarten are very similar to having a newborn baby.

You don't remember how hard it is because it quickly becomes the most wonderful thing.

But dang... Last week was a reminder of how the beginning of the year really is, and how far these babies will come in the next 170 some days.

So, we got through a lot of what I had planned for last week, but I'm going to be honest:  We are doing a re-do of last week's stations.  The kids need more practice on those skills, and we need more practice on the procedures, so why prep anything new???

This week is all about our friends, so we will be starting on a digital book using Book Creator which is, you guessed it, all about our friends.  I will partner kids up, and the kids will author a book about one of their classmates.  They will use a template (that I haven't gotten around to making yet... more real talk) that I will push out to them using Canvas (our LMS) and add pictures, drawings, and kindergarten-appropriate text to write all about their new friend.  On Friday, we will share what I'm sure will be the most darling books you've ever seen. :)

We are truckin' right along in reading, writing, and math.  This week's book is Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon.  Pretty appropriate for our theme of the week, if you ask me!

Here are my visual plans.

Now, link up with Deedee for a Peek at YOUR Week!

August 16, 2015

I'm Baaaaack.... A Peek At My Week

I know it's been ages since I've blogged.  I'll be honest... I just haven't been feeling it.  It was a short summer, filled with professional development, presenting, and a little family time.  I think my avoidance of this blog stemmed from the fact that summer was so short and I wanted to soak it all in, and quite frankly, avoid school stuff for a bit.

We have been back to school for a week and a half, but before that, we spent a week with our new kindergarteners at Jump Start.  This week consists of a half day program where students can become acquainted with our school and the three teachers.  We already knew our class lists at this point in time, so we were able to get to know our kiddos a little better.

I am really going to make an effort to keep up with blogging this school year!  I love what I do, and I love sharing what we do.  There will be some changes to this blog that I'm pretty excited about, but more on that later.

Right now,  I'm here to share my lesson plans for the week!  I'm going to make my best effort to blog each Sunday about our upcoming week, and my good friend Deedee gives teachers the accountability with her Peek At My Week linkup.  

For those of you who don't know, I teach kindergarten in a 1:1 school district, meaning each of my students have their very own iPad mini.  The world is at their fingertips!  My instruction has transformed, and student learning has deepened.

Last week began our color study.  Each day, our students wear the color of the day, and we learn all about that color.  Using our iPads, we have gone on a color scavenger hunt around our school and made collages using the PicCollage app.

Red Day... This was our first PicCollage, and I really think they did GREAT!

We took it outside for our yellow PicCollage.  The kids are really getting the hang of using their camera!

We will continue with our colors through this week, and we will continue to search our school for the color of the day!  

We have always celebrated our colors to teach those who come to K not knowing them, but let's be real for a sec... 99% of my students know their colors.  I love incorporating how to spell and recognize the color words into this unit!  I adore my sweet friend Cara's True Colors pack to do just that!  We have using these resources heavily and will use most of these for centers this week!

This week's unit is All About Me!  Not me as their teacher, but the 22 sweeties that belong in my classroom!  We will be focusing heavily on NAMES!  I love teaching names, and another sweet friend (the one and only Deanna Jump) has created a fun, perfect-for-kindergarten pack that I am thrilled to pieces to use this week!

This year, our school district has allowed us to adopt Deanna and Deedee's reading, writing, and math workshop packs for our curriculum.  We started last week, and I am loving the results.  We are tweaking specific aspects of all three to work for our students, and, of course, adding lots of technology to the lessons, but we love the scope and sequence, the engaging lessons, and the fact that real teachers created it all.  

We also use these resources to beef up our alphabet instruction!

Homework also started last week.  You can find our homework bag instructions in my store!

We will also be learning a brand new app this week:  Chatter Kids!  

This was one of our favorites last year.  We use it often for story retell, making connections, and stating opinions!

This app makes relaying thoughts and ideas fun by taking an image (you can find one online or take a picture on your own) and making that image "talk."  It's P-E-R-F-E-C-T for little learners!  We will be using this app during Guided Reading this week!

Here are the rest of my lesson plans for this week.  Enjoy!