Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cyber Monday Blog Hop Stop #16

Primary Powers and GoNoodle have created the dynamic duo!  We are sharing all of our best ideas on using GoNoodle.  You have landed at hop stop #16.  You can also start from the beginning!  :)

We have used GoNoodle in so many ways in our classroom, but an idea I had this year was to use it after fire drills/tornado drills/lockdown drills.  Some of my first graders have a hard time readjusting after such an intense interruption.  Others have just gotten off task and have a difficult time settling down again.  Those situations can either be scary or exciting for students.  Therefore I turned on GoNoodle after these drills to give them a couple minutes to bring them back and help settle their hearts and minds.

Imagine going from this...curtains drawn, doors locked, students huddled in a corner... turning on this!  Did you know GoNoodle offers calming and relaxing videos and exercises?  There are several options so that you can find something to best suit the needs of your students.

I watched this video again to get some screenshots and I wanted to fall asleep.  ;)  

These GoNoodle videos have done wonders for helping my students cope with the stress of different drills that go on during the school year.  Give them a try!  There are so many options with GoNoodle that help my students in SO many aspects.

Now that you have yet another idea on how to use GoNoodle in the classroom, let's move on to the swag!  Want a chance to win this FUN GoNoodle tumbler???  I drink out of these all the time at school. ;)  Enter through the Rafflecopter below!

So what are you waiting for?  Keep hopping!  More great tips, free swag giveaways on each site, and a great last stop!  Your next stop is Ashley's blog at Flying High in First!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

BOB BOOKS Giveaway!

Have you heard of BOB Books?  I first stumbled across them in a Scholastic book order.  Now I keep seeing the everywhere!  BOB Books offered to send me a set of books to try with my students.  I ordered Set 3, Word Families because I have some students who really struggle with vowel sounds.  I thought they might be good to use with those kiddos and may give them some additional support.

In this sweet little box is a set of 10 books.  8 books focus on different word families.

I started out with this book.  I love how they fit so perfectly in their hands.  They are so simple and I LOVE simple!  The font is just the right size and the simple pictures really helped him focus on the text while still having that picture support.

I noticed my student was having troubles every time he came across the word was, so I used some of my highlighting tape and placed some over the word each time in the book.  It really helped!

Each book has a list of words used on the last page.  It was helpful when I was trying to figure out which book to use with him.  He needs a lot of practice with short vowels, so this quick glance was perfect in helping me make my decision.  It also gives a list of sight words in the book, which I love as well.  You could also easily perform a running record with one of these books!  It even has the total number of words listed.  :)

The last 2 books are small activity books.  If you purchase these for your own child, they can write directly into the book.  I prefer to make copies so that I can use them year after year.  ;)

I was so in love with this set that I purchased the sight word set!  Each book has a few sight words that it focuses on, with the words listed at the front of the book.

Instead of activity books, the sight word set comes with a set of flash cards.  The words are printed on one side and are used in a sentence on the other side.  I'm a huge advocate of practicing sight words in context, so I was totally surprised and in love with this feature!  They are perforated so that you can easily tear them apart.

I honestly can't wait to get my hands on more BOB Books!  They are so perfect for RTI and my students love them!

How would you like to win a set???  BOB Books and I are teaming up to offer one lucky winner a set of books of their choice!  Enter through the Rafflecopter below!  In the meantime, check out the BOB Books website so that you can decide which set you want!  The winner will be announced on Wednesday, November 26th.  Good luck!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SUPER Thankful!

It's the time of year when I tend to get very stressed out.  With parent-teacher conferences, report cards, holidays, field trips, cold weather setting in, the year being in's just all very stressful for me.  I have to be very intentional about being positive and thankful for what's right in front of me.

I'm linking up with my gals over at Primary Powers for a Thankful Linky.

A lot of these are very cliche and very standard answers, but they are honestly what I'm truly thankful for.

  • My family:  I'm sitting here staring at my husband lounging in bed watching "The Goldbergs".  Sawyer, my one-year-old, is playing with the remote control.  Rowan, my three-year-old, is watching "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" on the iPad.  Kids and their technology.  My heart is so full with these 3 guys.  My life just wouldn't be the same without them.  

  • My home: We have another polar vortex, or so they call it, coming through Ohio right now.  Thank goodness it's November, otherwise we'd be looking at temperatures below zero right now.  Instead it's just 30 degrees.  Tell me again why I didn't stay down south?  An inch or two of snow is expected on Saturday night.  I HATE winter.  It makes me SO thankful for my home.  Full of warmth, comfort, and love.  When I'm protected from the elements, I'm even more thankful for it.

  • My faith: Without God in my life, I don't know how I'd even be here today.  Having a future to look forward to is the only thing that keeps me going some days.  This earth is not all there is (thank goodness!).  I'm so far from perfect and mess up in so many ways each and every day, but yet Christ forgives me without question.  He gave His Son (and when you become a parent, that becomes even more remarkable) so that I can be forgiven and be given a one-millionth chance.

  • My coworkers: Let's face it.  Our coworkers are like our second family.  Next to our immediate family, we are with them more than anyone else.  I'm so grateful to share life with them.  I love getting to know them, sharing ideas with them, and being there for each other when the tough gets going.  From losing loved ones to losing pets to having bad hair days to struggling with health problems, it's so nice to have a support group and friends that stand by your side and are willing to help you at the drop of a hat.

  • My friends: High school friends, college friends, blogging friends, church friends...we need friends.  We need encouragement.  I'm so glad to have some gals (and guys) in my life that stay in touch, plan playdates for our kids, send a text message to show they care, get excited for each other, and just encourage each other in life.  Life is so tough sometimes.  Reach out to those around you and be a blessing.  We need each other.

  • My students and their families: I was watching my students run around on the playground today with pure joy all over their sweet faces.  Innocent, cheerful children.  I'm so grateful to have the honor of having a moment of their life to help mold them and shape them for their future.  We had conferences last Thursday and last night and I just love meeting with parents and hearing the encouragement seeing their faces light up when I praise their kids.  Even if their child is struggling and I have to relay that information, I think it's so powerful to sit and plan together as to how best help their child.  The parents I've had are so wonderful and I'm so blessed to have such wonderful students and parents.
In the midst of the craziness that is starting to unfold during this time of year, I hope you're able to take a moment to breathe and think about all the ways you are blessed.  :)

Don't forget to check out the other Thankful threads from Primary Powers!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How We Do RTI good and so frustrating, all at the same time.  Kind of like the Ole Miss vs. LSU game I'm watching right now.  Excitement, frustration, good plays, bad plays, flags, unsportsmanlike conduct...I feel like it all applies across borders!  ;)

I know the whole RTI process looks so different everywhere.  Last year we started something new in our building.  We take the Tier 3 students and divide them up amongst teachers with their reading endorsement or Masters in reading.  Tier 3 groups are no bigger than 4 students.  Our building has "RTI time" from 9:10-9:40.  The students can cross grade levels, depending on the skill level they need help with.  For example, I teach phonemic awareness.  Students who struggle with phonemic awareness come to me for 30 minutes and we do exercises and activities built around increasing their phonemic awareness skills.  We progress monitor weekly to keep data on the students.

In order to determine the exact skills a child needs help with, we use a tool I created called, Finding the Root of the Problem: An RTI Assessment Probe.  This helps us determine how to place the students in each group.

During this 30 minute block of time, I inherit 4 students.  We do the Phonemic Awareness Curriculum from Two Peas in a Pod.  Then I pull all sorts of resources that focus on sounds.

In the past, the rest of my class would've gone to another first grade classroom to work on grammar and handwriting.  Since I have no Tier 3 students this year and since our class sizes are much larger (24 students), that means there would be about 40 students in a classroom at one time.  No thank you!  We're talking crowd control at this point.  So this year I decided to keep my students and have them work at their own pace on their own reading level.  I purchased a subscription to Raz-Kids.  They each take an iPad, make themselves comfy, and read at their level for 30 minutes.  They love it and everyone is working at their own pace!

This is working so much better for my students and I feel like everyone is really learning a lot.  What I love most is everyone is learning at their level.  They are at a spot that's perfect for them.  This transition to more of a 21st century classroom is proving well-worth the effort!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Here! The Introduction of Primary Powers!

Friends, I can't believe today is finally here.  There are several of us bloggers who have joined together to begin a new collaborative blog called Primary Powers!

This has been in the works for MONTHS and today is the day that we can finally share the news and show you what we've been working on!  Words cannot express how excited we are to start sharing with you!  There will be a new post almost every single day of the month, so you'll definitely want to follow closely!  AND during everyone's first post, we'll EACH be sharing a freebie!  This first month will be so exciting.  :)

To kick off our grand entrance, we are hosting an AMAZING giveaway that you seriously don't want to miss.  There are over $300 worth of prizes to be won!

Seriously, check out all these prizes up for grabs!!!!  (Can I just say I'm a little jealous I can't enter?  Ok, maybe a lot jealous...)

Head on over and enter right away!  I'm so excited to be working with these ladies on such a fabulous blog.  I can't wait to read it myself, let alone help contribute! :D

One last thing we have up our sleeve is an amazing Educents bundle!  We have each contributed one of our products from our TPT stores and combined them together for you

And the news gets even better because we are celebrating the launch of Primary Powers with an exclusive deal with Educents!

21 instant downloads, over 1,000 pages of materials that are ready to use, and variety of topics to pull your through months of teaching!  $100.75 retail value available for a limited time for $29.99 which is 70% off!  Extreme value alert!

Concepts covered are:  addition, subtraction, graphing, time, money, reading, fluency, spelling, writing, close reading, grammar, story element in fiction and nonfiction, and much, much more!  

Products are thematically correct for the upcoming seasons!  
- spiders and camping for October
- turkeys, Thanksgiving, scarecrows for November
- winter, penguins, the holidays, and New Years for December

Other great items include:
- a calendar that could be used as a parent gift
- a data folder to track student growth
- literacy and math centers
- printables
- units of study

Check out the previews below....

Eeek!  I can hardly contain my excitement about all of this!  I sure hope you'll check it all out.  Be sure to follow Primary Powers on Facebook and Instagram, too!  :)  Happy Hump Day!  We're almost through the week already!