Tuesday, August 25, 2015

LOVE my team!

On Thursday of last week, all of my co-workers loaded up on two charter buses, and headed to Charlotte, NC. The kiddos were out of school on Friday, so we could attend a region wide conference for our charter schools!

I was awarded New Teacher of the Year for our school (and had to go on stage to accept an award (ah!)...it was a little awkward BUT, I have to say I was very proud of myself!  Such a great motivation to have another fabulous year!

The most fun thing about going to the conference, though?? I had a BLAST with my lovely co-workers!

I'm so thankful for a team who is so loving and fun!  They're such a huge support to me, and I couldn't ask for anyone better.  Here's to a fantastic year with a great kinder team!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Student Led Goals w/ Kinders!

I shared this post as a guest blog earlier this month, and wanted to share with you, too!


I teach at a charter school, and student-led goal setting is a HUGE requirement for us.  Last year, I was super skeptical about how I would even make that happen with my kinders, but as the year went on, I realized it was totally possible, and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

I wanted to share what I use and how I'm adapting it this year to make student-led goal setting a REAL thing in my classroom!

WHAT I'm using:

*spiral notebooks
*Miss Ricca's Goal Setting Packet
*Super Improvers Wall
*"Goal Met" Lanyards
*colored stickers

HOW I'm using them:

Students are working on three goals at a time.  These goals can be academic OR behavioral.  For example, the first week of school, ALL students will are working on the same goals: "I can share with my friends", "I can write my name", and "I can work quietly".  This way, they can learn how to use their goal setting notebook, and we can incorporate those goals in to becoming successful students.

When the student accomplishes a goal, they can check it off in their spiral notebook, pick out a new goal with you, and wear a lanyard around the school for the rest of the day.  This allows them the opportunity to brag on themselves!

The students get SO EXCITED to wear their lanyards around the school.  Our staff is really great about asking the students how they met their goal, and cheering them on as they meet a goal.  I love it!

{I have my lanyards hanging on a command hook, right next to our Super Improvers Wall.}

Once the students have accomplished FIVE goals, they'll get a sticker that coordinates with the "level" at which they just moved up the Super Improvers Wall.  (For the behavioral goals, I'll need to "sign off" on them performing the designated goal FIVE times before they can check off that they've accomplished it.)

{The left side of the board is reserved for Sight Word progress!  The sight word tracker was actually added on Thursday, and I forgot to snap a picture.}

**You could have students literally move up the wall, but I find it's easier to keep their "markers" (caterpillars in my case, which haven't been added to my board yet) where they are.  That keeps the board display neater, and let's be honest, students love stickers!!)


Stay tuned to see more examples of how I use goal setting in my classroom!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Our Classroom Promise"

I pride myself in having a classroom with a positive atmosphere.  Even though I teach kindergarten, I want my students to be involved in the "role" writing, because I feel it's VERY important for them to have some buy-in.  Besides, in my classroom, we're a family...we take care of each other, and do what's best for everyone!

So, thanks to Pinterest, I came up with a fun way for us to write our classroom rules promise together.  On the second day of school, we brainstorm ideas for how we want to act in OUR classroom.  We jot the ideas on the white board, and keep them up all week long.  As the week goes on, we edit those "rules" to best fit our classroom.

On Friday, we had nailed down our promises, so I wrote them out on paper to display.  Again, I wanted the kids to take ownership in them, so {with the help of a silhouette machine} the kiddos created their own faces to frame the promise. 

I had the faces already cut out using the silouette machine, and then provide the children with small red rectangle to cut out the lips.  Yes, I just gave them a rectangle...they did EVERYTHING else on their own!  I provided blonde/brown/black rectangles for hair, and again, they cut their hair pieces all by themselves. We drew on eyes and a nose, and voila!

I just absolutely love how it turned out!! I mean, look at the personality on those faces!!  And the classroom promise?? The kiddos love it, and are so proud of what they've written together!!

Do you use something similar? Do your students help you write the "rules?"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Kissing Hand - FREEBIE!

{I guest blogged on The Kissing Hand earlier this week, but wanted to share this freebie with YOU, too!}


I wanted to share some of my favorite activities that go along with the book, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  It's one of my favorite first day of school stories!

Our first day of school was Friday, so I read the book with my students, and we discussed the differences between Chester's school, and our school.  (Of course, I wasn't able to snap a picture because...well, first day chaos).  The kids LOVED it though.  They thought it was so silly that Chester went to school at night, and that his teacher was an owl!

After we created our T-chart, we discussed how Chester felt before he left for school, and once he got to school.  The kiddos participated in "turn and talk" and shared how they felt before coming to school with their neighbor.

When I was planning, I just felt like there was something missing to the lesson.  So I decided to create this cute little page so the students were able to interact and draw!

{Grab your non-blurry version here}

The kids did a FANTASTIC job writing about how Chester felt (sad) and how they felt before school (sad, happy, tired).  That last one is my favorite!! Those kiddos were so tired after our long day!! We even had one fall asleep in car pool that afternoon!  Poor thing...

Have you gone back to school? Do you read The Kissing Hand on the first day of school?  What activities do you do with it??  I'd love to hear all about it. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Student Led Goal Setting

I'm SOO excited to stop in and tease you about how I help my students set their own academic and behavioral goals!!  The awesome Abigail from Lovin' Our Chaos has graciously allowed me to guest post and share all of my secrets...along with my awesome "I Met My Goal" lanyards that I'm so proud of!

I'll give you a sneak peek of my data wall, but I've explained it a bit more on her blog, so make sure you head over to Lovin' Our Chaos and check it out. :)

You can grab your very own "I Met My Goal" lanyards from my TpT store here.

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