Thursday, September 8, 2016

Creating Magic the First Week

So it is always fun to do something the first day that leaves a good impression with your students. I had found a recent blog post where a teacher had told her students that if they were going to have a great year their magic bracelets would transform when they went outside.
The clear beads were not very exciting for the kids until I told them they were magic beads and then the excitement began. They began to string them onto the pipe cleaner and we each had a bracelet to go outside with.
Some students thought for sure that the magic was not real and that there was no way their bracelet would do anything. I promised them, that as long as they were going to have a great school year their bracelets would in fact transform. The students went outside and their clear bracelets started to change color, the students jumped, gasped, their faces dropped in awe, they were absolutely delighted. One student said, "I didn't think it was going to work."
"See I told you, you were all going to have a great Kindergarten year!"
Hooray for the excitement of Kindergarten! Plus the power of science and UV beads, which for a moment were magic :)




Thursday, August 25, 2016

GoNoodle Ambassador

I am proud to announce that I have been selected as a GoNoodle Ambassador for the 2016-2017 school year. As a teacher who has seen the benefits of the GoNoodle brain break programs for the last few years in my school and shared the love of GoNoodle with colleagues, parents, and students, I am delighted to be chosen for this exciting venture. One of the perks of being an Ambassador is that my class will get to use the GoNoodle plus program in our classroom free for the year. GoNoodle plus allows me to customize classroom curriculum while incorporating it into movement activities. In addition to this feature I will have activities and opportunities throughout the year to increase GoNoodle use! I look forward to keeping you all posted on how you can use GoNoodle at home to increase physical activity and learning at home as well!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer Reading

If you are trying to get your child to read and they are not interested there are many ways to encourage even the most reluctant reader to pick up a book.

Incentives:
Look around for companies that offer incentives for summer reading. TD Bank is offering 10 dollars for 10 books read. Our local library is offering free books, prizes, and sea dogs tickets. Is your child hoping for some sort of prize, make a reading bingo board and have them earn different bingo patterns, diagonal, 4 corners, blackout, to earn different rewards. Ultimately the reward is lots of practice reading, but sometimes it is all about the buy-in. Also you can reward books for reading books. If your child reads 10 books reward them with a trip to the bookstore to pick out a new favorite read.

Read to Your Child:
This seems obvious as most of us do this already, but making sure that you read to your child and that your child sees you reading are two very important ways to get your child motivated to read. It doesn't just have to be a bedtime story either. Start your day with a book to create a day of adventure. Going to the beach, great, read a favorite book about the Ocean before you head out.

BYOB: Bring Your Own Books
Are you going on vacation this summer? Be sure to pack lots of reading for the kids while they sit in the back and ask, "Are we there yet?" How about putting in an audiobook for the ride so that they whole family can listen? Many libraries have age appropriate audiobooks that are perfect for long car rides. Have the child follow along with the copy of their book as they listen.

Most of all make reading fun! The more fun kids see that reading can be the more motivated they will be to pick up a book. Find a favorite series, a new graphic novel, a funny read aloud, whatever it takes! Happy Reading!!

Links below to Printable Reading Bingo Boards:

Link to Make Your Own Reading Bingo

Color Bingo Board

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Vacation and New Adventures

So this summer I have a new adventure to navigate, my Master's Degree. Yes after 15 years of teaching I thought, hmmm....I should go and finally get my Masters, I only have two children age four and one, a full time job, and other responsibilities, this is the perfect time! Well much like anything there is not a perfect time, but there is that moment when you realize that it is time to go and do it. So I asked my husband if he wanted to take on more Dad responsibilities for two and a half years, he said sure, and with his blessing I have now started on this journey. My first course is officially behind me only 10 more to go, I've got this. My next course starts July 11th and goes until September 4th. Since my course is a writing course, I thought it would be a good time to try to reconnect with my often neglected blog posting. While I envisioned my days of blogging being a daily share with other teachers and delighting readers with my funny anecdotes and great ideas, suddenly I realized wow this is a job, like a full-time job, wait I already have one of those.
So if you happen to stumble on this blog and like it feel free to keep me motivated to post by leaving a comment.
Happy summer everyone and enjoy all the small moments, because those smalls will then become big and you will wonder where the time went!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Welcome to my classroom

Hopefully you have stumbled upon my classroom blog after finding out your child will be joining my class next year. I am so excited to have your child in my classroom and I know that we are going to have a great year.
For those of you who don't know me here are a few bits of information about me to share with your family and child.
I live with my husband and two daughters, Stella who is 3 and Libby who is nearly 6 months old. I have been teaching at Durham for 12 years and teaching for 15 years. I have been a Kindergarten teacher for 14 years spending my first year as a reading/math specialist for grades 4-6.
I went to college at the University of Vermont where I got my degree in elementary education with a major concentration in communication sciences and disorders (speech/language therapy). I also had a wonderful summer job as a respite worker for families who have children with autism. My background in speech therapy and autism has greatly increased my knowledge of best practice in a classroom and differentiation of needs throughout my day.
The one thing I really want you to know about me is that Kindergarten is fun. One of my students once told me, "why do you let us be silly Mrs. Frost?" I told him, "If we can handle the serious then we can have the silly."
I have a positive only approach to classroom management. Students are recognized for positive choices throughout the day. I also end each day with a sunshine award to recognize one student for their positive contributions to our classroom. I have used this management system for five years and added components throughout the years. I am a whole brain teacher and I use the components of whole brain teaching to manage my classroom effectively.

Whole Brain Teaching Website

I hope you enjoy your summer vacation as I spend my days enjoying time with my family and preparing for a new batch of Kindergarten smarties. Please if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Like Riding a Bicycle

So coming back from maternity leave was bound to have its ups and downs. Leaving my 3 month old in daycare while I went back to work was certainly a difficult decision, but I was thankful that I was leaving her with a trusted friend. I was so surprised at how smoothly the transition went this first week back. It seemed like I had never left, just doing the routines like I had done before I went on leave. The students knew exactly what to expect and did everything that I asked of them and more, as we launched a new reader's workshop and writer's workshop genre.
The one thing that I have learned as a teacher is the importance of community, more so than the academics that you teach each day, you want to teach your students to care about each other. It is evident that this sense of community was fostered during my leave and continued during my first week back. The amount of kindness and patience that each of these students has and displays each day is beyond what I could ever imagine. I know that the weeks we have together are dwindling, but I am so excited for the weeks ahead. Getting back to work is just like riding a bicycle, no matter how long the break, you just get back on and keep traveling.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baby Libby is Here

I just wanted to send out a quick blog post to announce the arrival of my daughter Libby Evelyn Frost. She arrived late, with an expected due date of December 27th, and her arrival on January 6th at 12:24 am. She weighed 7 lb. 15 oz. and was 21 in. long.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday break and the routine of school is going well. Hoping to visit after flu and cold season!!

Libby Evelyn Frost    1/6/15

Our happy family 

My daughter Stella loves her little sister Libby

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bullying Awareness Week and Peaceful Bus

This week the DCS student council will be handing out bracelets and stickers to students in an effort to remind them that we are united as a school to be bully free. On Wednesday they are asking that all students and staff wear Orange to show that we are bully free. If you don't have orange, be creative, maybe something orange, scarf, headband, etc.

On Wednesday morning, we will also have our 2nd Peaceful Bus meeting. The first meeting was a great success and we are looking forward to following up with students to see how things are going on the bus and working on some team building activities.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Next shape CIRCLES

We have collected a lot of great triangles for our triangle collage and now we are in search of Circles. I am hoping that this will be an easier task then the triangles!! If you have time please cut-out pictures that are circle shaped that we can add to our new Circle collage!!

Home Book Bags

Some of you will start to notice Ziploc bags coming home with leveled books and sight word cards. Typically I wait until Parent/Teacher Conferences to send these home, that way I can go over them with parents, but I really wanted the kids to start their work earlier this year.

So if your child has their Ziploc bag of books already here is what that will consist of:
Between 2-4 books (depending on level) A-B books I usually send 4 because they are quicker reads, higher level (D-F), less books because they are longer reads. Of course I don't ever tell a child they can't bring books home, so if your child is an eager reader and they take home 6 books then that is just fine. Just know that when parent volunteers or I check in with them we will only have time to read one book with them.

Currently I have a volunteer available on Thursday and Friday that can read and then I will be doing the bulk of the reading. So to make things equitable I will be sending home a schedule when your child should return their book. If I notice that I am getting through books quicker then I will re-adjust the schedule. If your child forgets their book, no problem, we will just choose a book and review sight words. Your child will always read on the day they are assigned to. Also your child can always exchange books no matter the day that they are assigned to. So if your child read with me on Monday, but wants to have different books by Wednesday, that is fine they can book shop at any time!

How to help at home:
Preview the book with your child. Have them tell you what they notice in the pictures. Have them match their sight word cards to their book.Read the first page if it is a patterned book, then see if your child can carry the pattern from page to page.

First we work on patterns and matching, next we work on figuring out the unknown words, so for instance I would prefer that your child knows that each page says I like the.... but then they may stumble on the last part, have them use the picture, the sounds, any clues that will get them to the word. Make sure that they are pointing to the text as they read so that they can match their words as they read and also keep track of their reading. By Level D we would really like to phase out of finger pointing and use more tracking with the eyes. If your child is unable to track with their eyes we will stick to finger pointing until it makes sense to change.

Go over sight word cards with your child. Play games, lay them out of the table and see how quickly they can find them. If they are really struggling to read them, lay them out and you tell them the word and they try to find it. Then have them ask you to find one of the words. Students get five words at a time and when they are mastered they will earn another five. Please leave cards in the bag, as students will need to read old and new cards. A hard copy of all the sight words will go home with each child, use this as a guide to track how your child is doing. By the end of K we would like to see students reading up to list 10 or 50 words.

This is the beginning of an amazing adventure for your child, they are going to learn how to read! At first for some it will seem slow, but remember by the end of Kindergarten we would like to see students at Level C/D, so don't worry if your child seems to be on A or B for a long time, we will find out what works best for your child. Higher levels require higher level thinking and more word work. So please don't worry about how quickly your child moves through the levels. We never need to race to Z, your child has a lifetime to read!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dry Erase Marker Help!!!

So we have been working in our FLEX groups since day one in both Math and Literacy. Some of the favorite activities we work on use dry erase markers. Unfortunately, dry erase markers often have a short life span, overuse, missing caps, etc. If you have any dry erase markers at home or happen to notice a good deal on them, we would appreciate any donations of dry erase markers!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Warm Fuzzy Rewards

A good sign of a positive classroom community is when my students are earning warm fuzzies faster then I can reward them. Each time the class earns all of their warm fuzzies, 5 more are added to the bowl. We always start the year with 25 fuzzies, so the first few rewards will be quicker to earn and more motivating.
So as a reminder the students have now earned 3 rewards. The first reward was extra recess time. The next two rewards will be special days for them next week. On Monday students can wear a favorite hat to school in our classroom. On Friday students may wear slippers/crazy socks, or both in the classroom.
Just a reminder that on Friday we have Gym, so please make sure that the slippers are packed to wear and students have appropriate footwear for gym class!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Peaceful Bus

Today as a school K-8 we met with groups to communicate with each other about what makes our bus ride more peaceful. All students met with their afternoon bus route and worked with older students to get their ideas down.
The participation was amazing and the students were really engaged in the work. We will be meeting two more times this year to check in and make sure that things are going well. Everyone had a positive experience today and my favorite part of the day was hearing the kids say, I met a kid that is upstairs and he helped me and he was nice. In a K-8 school it is great to have K students work with older students so that we can truly feel like a community!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ordering Books From Scholastic

Even though I have a due date for Scholastic books you can order at any time online. Ordering books online is simple and you can use a credit/debit card to purchase them. Our classroom code is GJVWN.
When you place an order we earn bonus points and these points are used for a variety of reasons. I buy books throughout the year to replace damaged books, and I also buy gift/reward books for students. Every month there will be a new book order sent home. Twice a year we will host a book fair at the school, on these months I will only send a book order to those who wish to have them.

I encourage you to check out the site even if you are not going to place an order just to see the different options that are available for your child this year!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Technical ISSUES, BOO!!!

So we recently had our laptops updated with new hard drives. Well on Friday while trying to use my laptop a big blinking folder popped up with a question mark, I thought my computer was a goner. I called our tech person and he said that randomly the computer is searching for the old hard drive. AHHH!!!! Random, is never a word that should be uttered to a teacher that likes things a little less random and a lot more routine. So he fixed it just in time for me to type my weekly newsletter. I sent the newsletter to the copy room and head down to pick it up, and surprise, surprise, NO newsletters have printed. The copier was flashing data but nothing was spitting out. Not the best way to start my first week.
The icing on the cake was after putting the students on the bus I was walking back to my classroom only to notice a pile of papers on the copier. My newsletter had printed finally, only just a tad too late. So the newsletter will be going home on Monday. The best laid plans are never truly fool proof especially when technology is involved. I appreciate everyone's patience as we work through the issues that are often out of our control!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

5 Things a Teacher needs for the 1st Week of School

Thinking about going back to school on Tuesday and I was wondering what 5 things I will need to survive my very 1st week in Kindergarten!

1. Coffee and tons of it (well as much as this pregnant mom is allowed)
2. Patience for myself and my students, we are all going to be on a learning curve those first few days as we learn about each other
3.Time to fit everything in that I have planned
4.Laughter and plenty of it, I want to laugh at the funny, the silly, the mistakes, and the awesomes!!
5.Fun, no matter whether we are working hard or getting our sillies out I want to make sure that our 1st week is fun!!

See you all VERY SOON!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Countdown to Day 1

I'm sure many of you have friends and family that have already started their school year. I have seen several 1st day photos posted on Facebook. As our 1st day quickly approaches, there are always tons of emotions from students, parents, and even teachers. My husband said, I don't know how you can be so anxious about your job, you have done the same thing, the same grade, and been at the same school for so many years. What he fails to realize is that yes I have always been a Kindergarten teacher and yes, DCS has been my home for a long time now, about 11 years, but every group of students is different and every teacher wants to do what is best for EVERY child in their room. Finding that balance for a new class is an exciting adventure, but it can cause even the most seasoned teacher to be a bit nervous about the 1st day of school.

So as you begin the journey of picking up last minute supplies, folding new school clothes, putting together lunch packs, and starting those earlier bedtime routines, just remember, your teacher is doing ALL those things too, and more often then not with nervous anticipation, hopefulness, and a SMILE!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

About Your Teacher

So every year I like to do an About Me section! Hopefully this will give you some fun inside info about your teacher!!

Favorite Food: Watermelon
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Children's Book: Anything by Mo Willems (Piggie and Gerald)
Favorite thing about summer: BBQ's
Best thing I did this summer: I moved to a new house and we took my daughter to Storyland
Pets: One cat named Kolbie
Favorite place I went this summer: My local library, they had so many great books for my daughter and I to look at!

Best part about being a teacher: Getting to meet new students and teaching them how to read!
One thing I am excited about this year: Stella becoming a big sister, I am having another baby at the end of December.

I am so excited to see everyone at the Open House!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Smell of New Crayons

The process of getting a classroom together before school starts is truly a labor of love. Today I went into my classroom to truly get things done. I got all of the nametags done for the cubbies, tables, and wearable necklaces. Out went the old dingy supplies and in went the new, newly sharpened pencils, new notebooks, new reading books, and more. I was beginning to have one of those, wish summer wasn't ending moments, as I opened a new box of crayola crayons. Suddenly, like magic, I was back to school. The smell of those crayons made me realize that yes, I truly am ready to go back and start at day 1.

So as your children are picking out their back to school essentials, maybe just take a moment and smell a box of crayons. Perhaps we will all start to feel like we are ready for back to school!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Break and Back to School Countdown

So I have really been enjoying my summer vacation with my daughter. We have had lots of opportunities to explore our new surroundings as we moved to our new home at the end of the school year. It is amazing the amount of time it takes to re-settle yourself. My garage still has packed boxes as we try to do some renovations to a few rooms before we move things in. Amid the chaos of a new home I am preparing for back to school. Next week I will spend two days learning about our updated Math curriculum. I am very excited with the changes that have been made throughout the years so it will be great to see what improvements have been made.
As we are now just weeks away from school starting it is time to start catching up with your child to make sure they haven't lost any of their end of year K skills as they prepare for 1st grade.

Entering 1st graders should:
Know all letters uppercase and lowercase and letter sounds, including the long and short vowel sounds
Know the sounds of blends and digraphs (sh, ch, th, wh)
Be able to write full name in correct upper and lowercase letters
If your child is writing at home please have them start with an uppercase and then use only lowercase for the rest of their writing as it makes sense to do so. Teaching them that the sight word I is always uppercase no matter its placement in a sentence is an important skill.
Reinforce number recognition

Entering K students should:
Know at least all of the uppercase letters and may still confuse lowercase letters
Beginning letter sound knowledge (use the movie Letter Factory from Leapfrog if your child is very behind in letter recognition and sound.)
Count to 30 with no errors
Identify numbers 0-20
Write numbers 1-10
Be able to write at least their first name

If your child has this as a foundation they will have great success starting in both K and 1st grade.
See you all very soon!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

We are in the TEENS

So we are nearing the end of the year. The excitement of summer vacation is just as anticipating for the little ones as it is for the staff that plans out their adventures. I must admit that it is always hard for me to say goodbye and I do my best not to shed a tear, but I will make NO promises!!

So a couple of dates to keep in mind as we get to the end of the year!

June 13th-Step-Up Day
Your child will be told what classmates and teacher they will have for 1st grade. PLEASE do not contact me to find out about your child's placement. I am not aware until we send them off and you will get a letter that day stating what classmates and teacher your child has.

June 17th-End of year field trip! An all day trip and a long bus ride. If you have to transport your child because they get sick via bus, please let me know.

June 19th-Last day of school! Half-day for students and we will have Field Day. So I will need parents to volunteer to take students to each activity while I work at my station.

June 20th-RELAX!! Enjoy the beginning of your VACATION!!

Top Ten things I will be doing this summer:
1. Moving into my new home!!
2. Painting, rearranging, prepping, and making our home the home of our dreams.
3. Finding out about my new surroundings and what new adventures my daughter and I will be having each day.
4.A trip to Storyland
5.Trip to the ocean
6.Pinteresting my back to school wishes!!! Honestly this is my professional development during the summer, I should get credit for it.
7.Reading, I have many books on my list to get through.
8.A trip to the Drive-In, one of the best times!!
9.A night out with friends Paint Nite maybe????
10.I will leave 10 open to whatever falls into place for my summer, because it is good to have an open space :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

WINTER BLAHS!!!

This is the time of year when kids are less likely to be enthusiastic about learning. It is never that they don't like school, or that they are not having fun, but days upon days of cold, snow, and gray skies, make for less than happy students. So I just wanted to give a couple of suggestions to help survive these WINTER BLAHS!!

1.Have conversation! Sometimes talking through the tough times is helpful. They may have had an awesome day at school, but they are not reflecting that when they get home. It is easy at this age to stew on the small things. I had a great day, but lunch wasn't very good. Suddenly a great day becomes a bad day because of one thing.

2.Be mindful! Transitioning from an extended vacation, where schedules are more flexible, sleep times change, trips are exciting, it can be less exciting to come back to school where routines are in place and I don't have the bells and whistles of a trip to Disney!!

3. Down time! Kiddos need to decompress, maybe don't push the homework, let them take a break for a bit when they get home. When they have had so much unstructured activity around vacation, going back to the daily grind is tiresome.

4. Smile!! Just know that this is just a stage of learning!! Nothing new is happening at school that is causing stress for your child, your child is just exerting their independence and enjoyed their time with you when on vacation. All we can do as parents is listen, smile, and remember that this is just the first year in their journey of education and it won't be the last time you hear, I don't want to go to school :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Update on 100th Day and Valentine's Day

Given the weather and the snow days we will celebrate the 100th day and Valentine's day when we get back from break. Please plan on a 9 am parade on the Monday we return. We will hand out valentines in the afternoon at 2:30. After lunch we will watch the reward video that we had planned to do on the Friday before vacation.

A few things to do over break, if your child's books are still at school. Go to starfall.com, plenty of fun resources and activities for the kids to do. Also you can get a free trial membership at readinga-z.com. With the trial membership you can download leveled books based on your child's current level. These are printable and great to keep in a box for extra practice. Printable activities are also available on teacherspayteachers.com. These activities vary from free to paid, printable worksheets and more.

Write down any sight words that are tricky in books you read at home and add them to your list of practice words.

Count forwards up to 125 and backwards from 25 to 0. Practice your coins and their values. For writing have students practice spelling their first 25 sight words.

Remember these are suggestions not requirements. Hopefully a short February means that we are out of the woods with awful weather for the rest of the school year. I can't imagine how those schools in the South feel having had so many snow days.

Enjoy your vacation with your kiddos and I will see them soon!!!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

A New Year in K

As we finish up our winter break I am beginning to mentally prepare for going back to school and getting the students excited about learning again. The winter can be a challenging time, very cold, snow, unexpected days off and more.
When students return to school the first week will be going over expectations of the classroom again. We will review our classroom rules, go over our daily schedule, and continue learning along the way. The cold weather can also mean that our classroom can be a bit too hot or other days too cold. Please make sure that you send your child with layers, and PLENTY of warm outdoor gear. We will NOT go outside if it is too cold, but when we do all students should have proper outerwear.

One of the biggest things coming up in January is our formal reading assessment. It will be the first formal testing for our students in reading. Other reading assessments done to move students between levels is much more informal. This data is going to be used as a report card grade for reading.

So what can we do at home to prepare:
Sight word work: Some students will not be familiar with texts that are on their level because of sight words that they have not been introduced to. Write down any tricky sight words that are in your child's take home books so that you can practice them.

Read as often as you can. I am checking in with students as quickly as I can so I don't always get to sit down and really analyze books as much as I would like with students. In the back of the Rigby books that come home there are questions that you can pose to your child about their reading. These are great practice after you finish reading a book. Remember a student who can read words fluently isn't necessarily comprehending the text and therefore may not be at their word reading level. How we can make the two align is by practicing the literal and the open-ended questions.

I send letters home after all tests have been completed with the following information:

Level that student reads at independently
Whether this does not meet, partially meets, meets, or exceeds the standard
Next Steps in Reading

In the back of the Sails Rigby collection there are questions for you to pose to your child. Do these every time you read for better comprehension

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Importance of Letter Sounds

After parent teacher conferences this week, I noticed a big theme, the Importance of Letter Sounds. It is always amazing to me how fast Kindergarten students learn their letter names. Often by the end of October even my kiddos that came in knowing only a few letters can identify their uppercase and lowercase letters.
Sounds however is a trickier concept for many students. There are a lot of misconceptions about letter sounds and parents can find them especially difficult to teach to their children. So below are a few of my recommendations for letter sound teaching.

Tips to letter sound teaching at home:

1. If you are unsure of how to produce sounds in isolation you are not alone. Many adults, even teachers, struggle with producing sounds in isolation. Isolation means that the sound stands alone. For instance a common misunderstanding in sounds is when students produce the initial sound and add the "uh" sound following it. So when a child says "puh", "tuh", "kuh", "vuh", etc., they are actually saying the sound incorrectly. Producing a sound in isolation means that you are only producing the first sound and not adding any additional sound. If you notice your child adding the "uh" sound to their letters, give them a gentle reminder. You said, "tuh", if we say the word tap, do we say "tuh"-ap or "tap", let's stretch it t-a-p. The sound of T is "t".

2. The letter name doesn't match the sound. So how many times have you heard your child say the sound of C is "s" and the sound of W is "d". This means that your child is relying on the letter name to help them determine the sound. A reminder that letter name and letter sound are different is helpful for students as they learn those sounds.

3.Vowels are tricky at the Kindergarten level and some programs don't require solid vowel sound recognition until 1st grade, especially vowel understanding in writing. The tricky part about vowels is that when they are produced the mouth, lips, and tongue move in a similar way. So the difference between the short sound of "e" and the short of "i" is minimal in mouth movement. Using the reminder that I is "icky" hands on head and  E is the "old man saying eh" hand to ear is very helpful. Also understand that vowel recognition is especially tricky when writing because vowels can be changed by the consonants that follow them.

Resources to look at:

Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD-I use this in the beginning of the year to introduce the letters and sounds. This DVD provides visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (body movements) to teach the sounds. So every letter has an action to match it to help remind kids of the sound. This DVD is very reasonably priced at your local Target and Wal-Mart. If you want to join your child in learning the sounds to teach them the correct sounds this is a go to video.
Starfall.com
This website is free for most resources that would be valuable for you at the letter sound level. When you go to Starfall.com click on the ABC's. It will list the letters and you can do all of them, they make the sound, share words that start with that letter, and have games to reinforce letter and sound recognition. The students and I have used this before and it is a fun way for kids to play and learn about sounds.

Of course the biggest thing I can recommend as a resource is my knowledge as a teacher. If you are noticing that your child is having trouble with a particular sound ask me for some strategies. It is always a challenge to write my thoughts without the audio which would be beneficial for you to hear what I was thinking :) 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Teacher Wish List

So the year has started and we are off to a great start. As we continue throughout the year I often find that my stock of supplies from years past is slowly dwindling. I am looking for a few items to add to my classroom that will help support learning. Sometimes your soon to be trash is our classroom treasure. If you have anything that is on this list or know of anyone that has these items we would greatly appreciate your donations!

Farm Toys-Tractors, Animals, Barns, (my farm toys have been destroyed and I have had no luck in finding replacements that I can afford)

Plastic Silverware-Preferably Spoons and Forks, we have a lot of pudding, applesauce, and yogurts that show up at snack and sometimes a spoon is needed.

Plastic/Paper/Styrofoam cups

Envelopes/Plastic Baggies-Often students bring in money for milks or lunch and I have to baggie loose change or bills and label who brought it.

Coloring Books-Preferably age appropriate interest (Angry Birds, Strawberry Shortcake, Dinosaurs, Current Movies, My Little Pony, etc.)

We thank you in advance for any donation even if it seems small to us it means the WORLD!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How to Help Your Early Reader

We have been reading daily in Kindergarten and by reading I mean looking at books, telling stories using the pictures, trying to identify words, letters, and patterns as we read, and developing reading stamina. As students bring home bags of books these are some helpful hints for how to help your reader.

Beginning readers don't know a lot of sight words so always read the book with them first. Point to the words as you read to show them how to do that as well. Pointers are also helpful for kids it makes reading fun. You can use fun drink stirrers as a pointer, a finger puppet, or a point fingernail (sold during Halloween time).

After you read the book with your child now read the book together. This is called choral reading. You can also echo read, you read the page then they read the page. Remember to point as you read and have them point as well.

The last reading of the text should always be an independent read where they read the book to you. If they are stuck try to have them sound it out, think it out, decide what makes sense, or skip it, before you give them the word. Students who use a variety of strategies to figure out tricky words will ultimately become better readers because they will have a bag of tricks for the "trickies."

The key to successful reading is having the kiddos read books that are not too hard. That is why books that come home for practice may be much easier then the books they are practicing at school. Practicing books that are "just right" creates a love of reading and helps to scaffold strategy use.

If your child is still developing letter recognition always focus on that first and guide them with books. Reading to your child or with your child is one of the best ways to create a positive reading experience!
Martian/Monster/Witch Pointer fingers for reading

Pointing to each word as you read with a pointer finger

Laser Lights for pointing to text as you read

Make your own popsicle stick pointers 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

North Woods Law

My brother Kris MacCabe is a Game Warden and he is one of many Maine Game Wardens featured on Animal Planet's North Woods Law. The new season is premiering on October 3rd. If you would like to meet the Game Wardens that star in the show they are having a meet and greet at Gray Animal Park on September 28th.

NORTHWOODS LAW DAY

Date: September 28, 2013
Time: 9:30 AM
Saturday Sept. 28 NORTHWOODS LAW DAY Meet the Maine Game Wardens of the popular Animal Planet TV show ‘NorthWoods Law’. At least 8 of this season’s wardens, some with their canines, will be on hand to sign autographs and have their photos taken with their fans. (9:30am-11:30am; 1:00pm-3:00pm) animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/north-woods-law


Uncle Kris with Stella 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Science with 1st Grade

I love working with other classrooms in the K-2 wing and this year I wanted a science link. So Mrs. Maunsell's 1st Grade class and our Kindergarten Smarties had our 1st shared science experience on Friday. We used the Steve Spangler Science site to come up with a very fun activity to focus on how to make good scientific observations.
What we did:
We put plates of milk out and added four different food colors to the milk. Then we had the students draw their observations on small disks that looked like the plate of milk. Then we went back to our plates and added a q-tip of dish detergent to each bowl and suddenly the bowls were mixing and moving colors all around the plate. Our rainbow milk was changing before our eyes. Students then went back and drew another picture about what the plate looked like when we added the dish soap.

We are looking forward to this once a month shared science experience with our 1st grade friends. The students did an amazing job, sharing materials, helping each other out, and most of all being great scientific thinkers.







Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The First Weeks and the Best Laid Plans

We are in full swing at my school after starting the 2nd week. My students are beyond AMAZING!!! The students act like typical half day kiddos, they ask when the day is going to be over by noon, but I love that they keep on working. The bulk of our academic time is in the afternoon. This can be tricky for kiddos that are used to half days, naps, etc.
I have been really impressed with my students and their ability to be flexible and go with the flow as we work out some kinks with a new schedule. Last year we had special in the afternoon, this was a great experience for both the teachers and the students, but due to scheduling conflicts things had to be shifted. Now I am the FIRST to admit that I am a stick in the mud when it comes to my routines and I like things to be just so. Change is always more of a challenge for me then for my students.
I suppose my mantra this year will have to be, "make it work", because that is what is going to get me through the rough patches.What amazes me is the amount of flexibility that my students have and that they are willing to work through the bumpy parts as well. So as each day finishes I feel very accomplished. I LOVE that my students are problem solvers and enjoy figuring out what is going to work best for us. I guess that is what great teachers do, they make it work for the present group and not for the routine of what worked best in the past.
So we will keep on pushing through and remember that the Best Laid Plans sometimes are those that have the little bumps along the way!