Friday, June 29, 2012

I Can Be a Good Listener! FREEBIE

Whew! The heat is on in Missouri...107 yesterday & even hotter today! I ran outside only long enough to take my lil pooch out {cuz she loves company in the backyard} & to turn the sprinkler on to try to save my poor flowers {not lookin' so good...} And even though I had to listen to my kiddos say "Mom, I'm bored...what can we do???" about a million bazillion times, I still managed to get my "Good Listener" posters finished. Yeah!!!
I am just all over those bright dots this year {but still have a love for my zebra print} so, I'm working really hard on mixing zebra with some dots this year. I really love to use ribbon to display/hang charts & posters! What do ya think?

Well..if you would like a copy of got it! Just click HERE for FREEBIE or the pics above to download your set. These posters also coordinate with my Bright Dots Classroom Kit & Word Wall Words. If you like this set, leave me a lil shout out & go ahead and PIN-IT!

Winner of the HearALL Assessment Recorder...

A big CONGRATS to Holly! She is the winner of that awesome lil product from Learning Resources-The HearALL Assessment Recorder! Yeah!!! {She also has a fantastic blog-Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade!}A big thank you goes out to everyone for entering the contest and to LEARNING RESOURCES for hosting this awesome giveaway!!! Be sure to check out all of their great classroom products...I just LOVE their stuff!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bright Chevron & an AMAZING Giveaway!

Well, here it is... The Bright Chevron Classroom Kit- bright teal, green, pink, yellow & purple chevron backgrounds! Thanks so much for all the great comments & emails on my Bright Dots Classroom Kit & requests for a chevron-themed kit. I've just posted the Bright Chevron Classroom Kit in both Traditional Print and D'Nealian Print. Click the pics below to check it out!
example from Tradition Print version
example from D'Nealian Print version

I promise to post the Freebie Word Wall Words with the chevron background very soon!

Now, for this great giveaway from Learning Resources...Have you seen these handy lil things? The HearALL Assessment Recorder is very similar to the Easi-Speak Microphone except it just sits on the table & it can record several students at once. {Click here to read my post on the Easi-Speak Digital Microphone.} Here's the product description from Learning Resouces:

"Hear way beyond! Authentically assess students’ skills and participation in small groups. Designed with 4 omni-directional microphones to capture clear recordings with dramatically reduced background noise. Play back, download and share files (WAV or MP3) with specialists or parents, or upload to portfolios. Records up to 4 hours of audio from reading groups, learning centers, listening and speaking activities, speech therapy and more!"

I was super excited to be able to try this out during my small groups. It is compact and has 4 separate microphones so it really picks up the kiddos voices. I couldn't believe how clear the playback was. I love how I can play it back so the students can hear themselves. After hearing themselves read on the Hear All, they really paid close attention on the next reading! One kiddo said, "I have to be a super reader now because this thing could make me a star!" What a hoot! Hollywood get ready, here she comes!! I feel like I'm not missing any of the students reading. I can focus on one student while it records the others. {Also, very good at keeping those students focused because they know they are being recorded!} Not only is this useful during guided reading groups, but also is very useful at centers and during partner reading to moniter participation & verbal interactions. Oh my! Almost forgot to tell a BIGGIE....NO BATTERIES folks! Now that is a huge plus! Just connect this handy lil thing to your computer & it charges up! You're good to go for 4 hours!

I am looking forward to having my reading groups record various stories that they will be able to listen to later in our listening center. How excited will they be to hear themselves reading the story!!!
Now for the part you've all been waiting for...How can you win one of these super products for your classroom??? Well, it's super easy...Just leave a lil comment saying that you do the following:

That's 6 chances to win! Be sure to include your email address on each entry. Contest ends Thursday, June 28th-winner will be announced on Friday! Good luck!!! Sorry, contest has ended.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Word Wall Freebies, Classroom Kit & Crate Seats!

 Hey! Hope everyone is enjoying summer! {I just LOVE summer!!!} Well I've officially been on break for 4 weeks-Woo Hoo! So how sad is it that I'm already getting stuff together for the fall??? That darn Pinterest! I'm hooked!!! My classroom is zebra-print with some bright polka dots and this year I'm redoing some of the stuff that I didn't have time to do last summer. I've just finished up my word wall words-click the pic below if you would like to download a FREEBIE copy of any of these sets! {I also made bright pink & blue dot word wall cards for my students names. Let me know if anyone is interested in these & I will post them also.}

The 3 sets above coordinate with my "Bright Dots Classroom Kit". Just click the pic to check it out! It's loaded with over 100 pages of signs, charts, labels & more!

Ok, back to my Pinterest addiction inspiration...I think I've found a bazillion pins of  stuff that I want to make. {Ohhh! I can see my "To-Do List" grow by the minute!} I sooo love those adorable lil crate seats but never got around to making them last year. {Hello girls! This is the one I want to make on our next "summer craft day"!!} Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade posted a pic of her super-cute crate seats last summer-ADORBS huh?!? She even put a handy lil ribbon tab on the edge to make it easy to lift the seat up. Can you say storage space??? Adorable AND practical!
I'll post pics of my finished seats as soon as I can run to Target & Walmart...wait! they're open 24/7 right?!? Gotta go!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Drumroll please! The Winner is....

 The lucky winner of EASI-SPEAK Digital Microphone from LEARNING RESOURCES is.....

I want to give a super big shout-out to everyone that took part in my lil giveaway! Be on the lookout-I've got another super product from Learning Resources to giveaway coming up very soon! Congrats Melissa K.!

"Superb Writers" in First Grade!

Hey bloggin' friends! I am sharing my love of the written word as a part of the Superb Writers’ Blogathon. In partnership with Grammarly grammar checker, this series is conveying new and exciting helpful hints for young writers. I love to watch the skills of young readers and writers blossom. I believe that young children want to be writers, don't you? I have proof on my living room wall-there is a beautiful "H" scribbled on the wall where my 3-year old son so proudly revealed his newly acquired skill. "This is my name Mom!" Hunter proudly told me.  Well, 5 years later it's still on the wall. {I just can't bring myself to cover it up.} He was soooo proud & excited about his accomplishment! We know as teachers, it is our goal to keep that spark of excitement and confidence alive as we continue to guide our students through the writing process. This can also be a very big challenge. In order to promote good writing skills in my first grade classroom, we write for a variety of purposes each & every day. One of the ways that I incorporate writing with my first graders is through the use of interactive writing. In first grade, we are constantly working on spelling patterns & word families. By creating large anchor charts, I am able to "share the pen" with my firsties. Here is an example of some interactive writing from my classroom:
R-Control Vowel Anchor Chart
Another way that I use interactive writing is to have the students come up with a daily sentence using one of our spelling words. We say the sentence together, count the words in the sentence & then write the sentence word by word making sure to discuss each part of the sentence as the students are writing- {capital letters, word spaces, puntuation & rereading to make sure that we have written all of the words of the sentence.} Here is an example of our daily sentence writing:

Through the use of Writer's Workshop & the writing component of The Daily 5 my first graders work on various independent writing projects. Sometimes they are asked to work on a specific writing topic & other times they will work on their choice of writing. I have found that the "spark of excitement" that motivates very young writers is so important. If a student is excited and interested in what he/she is writing about, it will definitely show! When the class works on a specific writing project, I make sure that it is something that they can relate to & is meaningful to a first grader. During our dental health unit, the subject of tooth fairies came up. {I know! Not really part of the whole dental health curriculum, but there sure are a lot of firsties missing teeth! lol} I decided to run with the students enthusiasm. Wah-lah! Some of the best writing that I've seen from my firsties!
Awww! Isn't this just the sweetest lil story!?!
If you would like to see more on our "Tooth-rific Writing" click the either picture to read that post.

Here are a couple of resource books that I am constantly referring to-excellent writing resources!

Donna over at Kinderglynn has also made some super-cute writing strategies posters that I will be using this year-I just love Pete the Cat! I think he's gonna be showing up in our classroom quite often!
Click the pic to check out these great posters!
 ...I think a student who is motivated & enthuastic about writing will most certainly become a SUPERB WRITER! So, what do I think makes a Superb Writer?....Happy writing friends!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Check out this "Easi-Speak" Giveaway!

Have you seen these little things yet? Well if you haven't, you need to check it out...they are AMAZING! I was super excited when LEARNING RESOURCES asked me to try out their product.
Fun MP3 recorder in the shape of a microphone invites students to talk!
 What is it??? Here's the product description from the Learning Resources website:
Fun-and-easy wireless recorder encourages even reluctant students to speak up! Just one button to record, then simply play back and listen (up to 4 hours of audio). Extended uses across the curriculum—oral language, fluency, phonics, speech therapy, intervention, math facts, podcasts and more. Built-in USB to charge via your computer and download (PC, Mac). Upload student-created files (WAV or MP3) to digital portfolios for authentic assessment, or share with other educators or parents. Integrated speaker offers quality playback for instant self-assessment.
My 8-year old couldn't wait for me to get it out of the box!
Let me just start by asking....What kid doesn't love to get their hands on a microphone? And this EASI-SPEAK USB RECORDER is just the perfect size for little hands. My first graders could not wait for their turn to "read with the microphone"-they did not want to put this nifty little thing down! {I think that it makes them feel like a famous rock star! lol} I was very curious to see how some of my shy/reluctant readers would feel about using the EASI-SPEAK. Amazing!!! Using the microphone actually made some of those kiddos feel a more comfortable reading aloud. I love that I can play it back & really hear how they read. I just hate to keep asking my firsties to read louder when I know that they are uncomfortable doing so....thank you EASI-SPEAK!!!! Problem solved!
And do you have those kiddos that are super readers, but get a little careless? With the EASI-SPEAK, those students seemed to be instantly challenged to sit up tall & show off their best reading. When one little guy listened to himself read he said, "Dang! I used some good expression in my voice!" Too cute! I love how easy it is for them to play back/listen to themselves & self-assess their reading.

Now, as a teacher you know that there are bazillions of products out there that are really cool, but OMigosh are they complicated! Some are not even worth bothering with....not EASI-SPEAK! This has got to be the easiest thing ever to use...(guess that's why they named it "Easi-Speak"! Ha ha!) Seriously, all I did was plug it straight into my USB port on my computer to charge it up. Yep! That's right...NO BATTERIES or CORDS!!! Woo Hoo!

The possiblilities are endless...I'm planning to use this as part of a digital portfolio for my first graders next year. It will be super easy to record a reading sample from each student at the beginning, middle & end of the year. It's great for sharing student progress with parents & other teachers also. Another use... I'm going to use the EASI-SPEAK to record some of our favorite stories for students to listen to at the reading center. They're gonna be so surprised to hear my voice when they put those headphones on!

Want to learn more about this FAB-U-LOUS product?? Just click here-LEARNING RESOURCES EASI-SPEAK USB RECORDER or check out these links also:

 Contest has ended...
Want to WIN one these nifty products for your classroom? Here's the scoop on the GIVEAWAY...
Just leave a lil comment saying that you do the following:

That's 6 chances to win! Be sure to include your email address on each entry. Contest end Sunday, June 10th-winner will be announced on Monday! Good luck!!! CONTEST HAS ENDED