Sunday, June 30, 2013

We have THREE winners!

Before heading off to bed yesterday, I had the boys in the house pick three random numbers.  Here are the lucky winners!

Congrats ladies and check your e-mail tonight.  I will be sending it your way some time tonight. 

* Thank you to everyone that entered and that is now following this blog and my TPT store.  I really appreciate it! 

Check make tomorrow for something I am making for part of my number sense routine.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wishlisted TPT Item Linky!

I'm going to post a second time today.  My little man is happily playing in the living room with the tools that mommy found in her school totes, which had been packed away from my first year teaching.  YIKES!  That was a cry for some serious organization and purging that needs to be done in this house of mine.  :)

I had been seeing these cute buttons all over my blogger feeds and thought it would be fun to link up.  So follow me and click on the button to head over to Classroom Confections blog to see all the greatness that awaits.

I am relatively new to the whole TPT scene, so I have a limited number of products listed in my store.  Don't worry though, my creative spark has ignited and I have a list of items to work on.  Make sure you are following my store if you would like to know when those new things have been added.
The idea behind this linky is to list your TPT store item that has been wishlisted by the greatest number of people.  That item for me is
Click on the picture to take you to the product on TPT.
Make sure to head over to Classroom Confections to check out all the other amazing products that are being listed and get a jump start on filling those carts for back to school!  :)


Have you heard about CampusBookRentals?

I received an e-mail early this week from this amazing company called CampusBookRentals. 

Here is a little background on the company, they are one of the original companies to offer the option of renting textbooks, which started back in 2007, they have people available to help you with whatever you many need as close as a phone call away, and if you change your mind about a textbook you have 30 days to return it for a full refund.
Now those pieces alone are fantastic, but here is what hooked me into this site.  I am not a college student and I do not have to take any courses at this time, so I decided to look around and see what professional development titles they might have to offer.  Every title I entered in and every larger focus area I typed in was there or had similar titles to look at.  Some of the titles were not available at this time, due to limited amounts but checking back frequently will allow you to snag them when they are restocked. 
Another great part is that you can highlight in the books as you need.  Please keep in mind, that if you are returning the book and another person might get your book with all the highlights or you might get a highlighted book.  This is a personal preference.
I also like that you get a bubble envelope with a prepaid shipping label to put the book back into when you are returning it.  No EXTRA cost later on!
The last great point is that if you decide you like the book or would need it in the future, you have the option of buying the book.  You would only have to pay the difference between the rented fee you already paid and the cost of the book.  Not to shabby!
With all of this greatness, how could one site have any more to offer.  Well hold onto your hats!  They offer another program called Rent Back.  Basically, you can send your old books and they will rent them out to others and you get the money for it.  This could make you two to four times more money than just selling the book back to the campus bookstore.

Click on either icon to take a look at the different options!  I highly recommend it if you are in school at this time.  Textbooks are always so expensive and this helps cut some of the cost.
Also, don't forget today is the last day to enter my 100 follower giveaway.  The 3 WINNERS will be picked tonight.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Learning with a muffin tin

Today the little man and I made a trip to the nearest Dollar Tree to look around.  I had a few things in mind that I wanted to pick up but it never hurts to look around the whole store, right?

While we roaming up and down the aisles, I spotted this super fun item!

Table Tennis Balls!
As soon as I spotted these, my creative light bulb switched on!  We finished looking around, made our purchase, and headed home.  I jumped on my laptop quickly and whipped these together.

Click on the link and grab your own set of muffin tin letter cards.
Now on to how to play!  Before I start with the directions, let me suggest giving the owls some time to just play around with the table tennis balls to get that sort of silly play out of the way.  If they get it out of their system, you will most likely see a more productive level of work with the table tennis balls.  I placed one letter card in the bottom of each muffin tin.  I would suggest laminating for durability because they will get moved around during the game.  Each owl should have his/her own table tennis ball.  The owls should take turns GENTLY bouncing the ball into the muffin tin.  After the ball has landed, the letter should be read/identified out loud.  It takes a little while to get the hang of bouncing the ball into the tin, so you might want to say three tries and then the next owl is up. 
This is what it would like after a couple bounces.
The owls would say, "I landed on the D or I landed on the E."
For the beginning of the year, I will be putting the letters into the muffin tin in order.  This will allow the owls to go back and say the alphabet in order to find the letter landed on.  After some time with letter work as a whole group and with the game, I will mix the letters up to offer a challenge.
I just logged into my facebook page and saw that Julie Lee has a Muffin Tin product with lots of great ideas.  Please click here to head over to here TPT store!
Don't forget tomorrow is the last day for my 100 follower giveaway.  Click here to make sure your name makes it into the drawing.  The boys in the house will be picking THREE WINNERS!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A reminder and an update

Hi all!  I am currently enjoying the quiet that is known as nap time at my house.  My little man had so much fun playing at a friend's house today that he tuckered himself out.  Extra long nap means mommy gets some time to work.  :)

First, I want to remind you all that my 100 follower giveaway is still going on.  You have until this Saturday, June 29 to enter.  Click here to go to the original post for the details.  There are some amazing products in this giveaway, so you won't want to miss it!

Second, I am super excited to let you know that I have updated one of my first products I posted onto TPT.  I have been on such a math kick lately, I found it only fitting to improve upon a pack that my little owls adored last year.  If you are looking for something to get your boys excited about addition, this is the pack for you.  It has lots of super hero action that no boy can resist.  Click the picture to see it over on TPT! 
Yay!  It's almost the weekend.  What do you have planned for the weekend?


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Number Sense Routines- Chapter 3

I'm linking up again with Tara from Little Minds at Work to share some of the highlights from the book, Number Sense Routines, by Jessica Shumway.

Make sure to click on the button and head over to read Tara's post on this chapter as well.  She has some great insight into this topic and some great ideas as well!
This chapter discusses the idea of subitizing and the two types of subitizing.  Now, I will be very honest with you at this point, I have heard these terms before but prior to reading this book, especially this chapter, these terms were a foreign language to me. 
The two types of subitizing are
* perceptually subitizing- to visualize and recognize amounts
* conceptually subitizing- to recognize small amounts and combine them to see the whole unit.
For example, a little owl at the beginning of the year might see this on a dot plate

The teacher will hold up this dot card for a few seconds and then turn it down.  At this time, the teacher will ask what the owls saw.  Now here is the important part, the teacher will ask how the owl knew the answer was four.  At the beginning of the year or for an owl with a weaker number sense,  you will hear because I counted the dots.  However, what you want to hear the owls saying is a group of 2 dots and another group of 2 or even a group of 3 dots and a group of 1.
At this point, I was asking myself, "Well this sounds great, but how do I get my little owls to that point without frustration."  Insert the quick images dot card/plate routine.  At the start of math, during calendar, or wherever it fits best in your day, each day for a period of time, quickly flip through a series of dot plates.  Make sure to ask two questions, How many dots do you see?  and How did you get that answer?  Always check to see where their thinking/understanding is.
To stick with my obsession with owls, I created a set of owl themed dot cards that could be used during a quick images routine.  Click on the picture to take a look!
The part that I loved most about the quick images routine is that you can do the same type of routine using ten frame cards as well.  Again the object is to get your owls to see the groupings of the dots.
Since I had the owl themed dot cards already made, I decided to also make a set of ten frame cards.  I included cards for numbers from one to twenty.  I liked the idea of the teen frame cards for later on in the year for more of a challenge.  Click the picture to take a look!
Hope you were able to get some new knowledge from this post.  I know it is a lot to take in!  :)


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bloglovin' Blog Hop

At this point, I'm certain that most of you, if not all of you are aware of the big change with Google reader.  I will admit I was one of those people that didn't want to change.  I was just getting use to this whole blogging experience and then BAM! something new to learn.  Let me tell you, Bloglovin is amazing and super simple.  I love the fact that I can organize the blogs I follow!  How wonderful is that?!?

I'm joining Tori's Teachers Tip linky to make sure that you are not only following this little blog here but are also following all of the other amazing blogs out there.

So what are you waiting for, head over and start following all the amazingly awesome blogs out there!  :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Cool Cat

Over this past weekend I attempted to do some organizing of my school "stuff."  I was focusing primarily on the mass chaos known as my book collection.  I started this last year out by placing colored dot stickers on books based on their themes, but that lasted only a few short months.  For organizing this time around, I decided to gather books that I will use for teaching purposes not just for stocking my classroom library.  I pulled together all of my back to school books and set them off to the side.  While I was doing this, that cute and loveable cool cat kept smiling at me from the front cover.  I read the book to my son last night and he was immediately hooked.  He loves anything that has a sing song feel to it!  :)

From this adorable cat stemmed my newest TPT creation.  I have put together a beginning of the school year letter sorting pack.  I included all upper and lower case letters and nine different fonts for each letter.  I'm planning on using this to introduce the various letters that go with our reading curriculum during those first couple of weeks of school.  Once the owls have had a chance to really work with the letters and the idea of sorting, I will place the practice letters in a literacy work station for further practice.  This will also give me a great opportunity to see how the owls will work together.

Click on the picture below to head over to my TPT store!  It will be on sale through tomorrow night!



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gearing Up for Next Year

My little man decided to put himself back to bed this morning, so I thought it would be a good time to do a bit of updating on one of my TPT products.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it is just the dreary weather that we are having right now and not that he is getting sick.  :(

Last year my little owls LOVED playing a whole group version of Splat using our sight words.  If you would like to read more about how we played this game in the classroom, click here.  As I am trying to put together my list of musts for the beginning of the school year, I thought that using this much loved game with upper and lower case letters would be fantastic.  I want to introduce more games at the beginning of the year that will allow for natural progressions to occur over the course of the school year (ie letters to sight words.)  With all of this in mind, I took my Splattin' Bugs game and added upper and lower case letter cards and a recording page!  If you are interested in a fun game to get your owls hooked on learning, please stop by my TPT store and take a look at it.

Don't forget about my 100 follower giveaway!  Make sure to click here to check out the details and to leave your comments for a chance to win some great prizes.  Three winners will be picked next Saturday, June 29.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five for Friday- Summer Vacation Style!

This was my official first full week of SUMMER BREAK!!!!  I'm pretty content with the pace at which summer is going right now.  I've gotten some cuddle/nap time in and had a couple little man adventures thus far. 

I'm going to link up with Doodle Bug's Teaching today, to share with you my five random moments from this week.

1.  I finally am getting around to doing some professional reading.  I tend to buy books with every intention of reading them and then I get completely side tracked.  Not this summer!  I have already finished Debbie Diller's Literacy Work Stations and am in the process of reading Jessica F. Shumway's Number Sense Routines.  I'm actually participating in a book study about this book.  Click here and here to read about chapter 1 and 2.

Click on the book covers to head over to amazon to take a better look at what these books are about.

2.  I have reached over 100 followers and am having a GIVEAWAY to celebrate the milestone.  Please click here for the details.  The giveaway will end next Saturday, June 29.
3.  I've spent this whole week with my little man.  We went to the park and wading pool on Wednesdy.  This momma got a nice sunburn!  We went to the zoo yesterday.  Here is a picture of him on the choo choo making his infamous silly face.

4.  I was able to do a little creating this week as well.  Please make sure to stop by my TPT store and check out my new creations.  Hint- dot plates got a little makeover!
5.  Now this last one doesn't fit into something that has happened this week but it is definitely something I am looking forward to.  The I Teach K! conference in Las Vegas is less than a month away.  Last year, some fabulous bloggers worked together to host a blogger meet up.  It was amazing!  Since it was such a hit, Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants is organizing another one this year.  If you are planning on attending the conference, please click on the picture below and look at the details for this event.  You won't want to miss it!!

button made by Lindsey Erickson (The Teacher Wife)
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

100 Follower Giveaway!

Oh my gosh!  I cannot even express in words how grateful I am to have reached this milestone on this little blog of mine.  I appreciate every single one of you who stop by, read, and leave some love!  This blog has become my way to share my passion for teaching the little owls and to connect with teachers from all over.  It is something that I am so glad that I started and look forward to all of the great places it will take me in the future!

Now down to business!

Background by Ashley Hughes
The rules of the giveaway are as follows...(WOW!  I sounded very strict there!  :O)

* You must follow each of the blogs that are generously donating to this giveaway along with my blog as well.
It's "OWL" Good in Kindergarten
* Heroic Addition, Splattin' Bugs, Owl and Mustache Dot Cards products

Mrs. Albanese's Kindergarten Class
* Nursery Rhyme Literacy and Math Centers
Little Minds at Work
* Summer Writing Send Home Pack
Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten
* iLetters and iSounds:  A Common Core Aligned Letters and Sounds Unit!
Kreative in Kinder
* ELA Heroes
Clearly Kindergarten
* Apple Math and Literacy Mini Unit
Keepin' it Kool in KinderLand
* School Tour-First Day of School Scavenger Hunt with the Cool Cat
Polka Dot Kinders
* 1 item of Winner's Choice
* Leave a comment letting me know you are following each of the blogs.  (Leave a separate comment for each blog to give yourself some extra chances of winning.)  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address as well!
* For a bonus chance to win- follow my TPT store and leave a comment!
* I will have the men in the house pick three random numbers next Saturday by 9 pm.  Yup, you read that right.  3 WINNERS!

Good luck,

Number Sense Routines Book Study- Chapter 2

Before I get into my findings from chapter 2, I wanted to share my bloglovin' link with you all.  I am in the process of getting as much switched over as possible.  Click the below link and make sure to follow me over there.

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Keeping my fingers crossed that works. 

Onto chapter 2...

This chapter was about establishing routines in the classroom, which we all do already.  This was more specific to establishing a routine where number sense is the focus.  I am completely in love with this following quote, "Routines provide feelings of belonging, ownership, and predictability, which make the classroom a place to take risks, try new things, and be successful" (Shumway 13.)  I felt this was a powerful line, because developing one's number sense truly involves taking risks and putting yourself and your thinking out there for others to see and hear.  However, if we, the teacher, provide a specific time each day to work on number sense, our littles will be more than willing to dig deeper and explore further due to the routine element.

The chapter provided examples of a number sense activity in action and discussed how different littles were at different number sense levels.  I found the following line also important, "Students need quick, explict, daily experiences wiht number sense concepts" (Shumway 18.)  I am certain most of us include some kind of number sense in several parts of our daily routine, but this book is making me realize that these additional practices are not always of the intentional kind.  We need to make sure that the number sense routine is purposeful.  Once that happens, we will begin to notice the great teachable moments that surround the deeper learning of number sense.

The chapter wraps up with a large chart mapping out the rest of the book.  I am beyond excited to dig into the specific routine activities that this book has to share.

While I was reading this chapter, I started looking back on how I can start my year with a stronger number sense routine.  I have used dot plates in the past and love how easy it is to include them at any point in the day.  However, my owls became a tad bored with the dot plates after a while, so I decided to give them a makeover.  If you haven't already guessed, I am obsessed with owls.  Insert owl themed dot plates!  These are my newest creation on TPT.  Click the picture to take a look!

Check back tonight for my 100 follower giveaway!  (Shhh...don't tell anyone that I'm breaking the blogging rules and posting twice in the same day!)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Number Sense Routines-A Book Study

Today I will be joining Tara over at Little Minds At Work to discuss Chapter 1 in the book, Number Sense Routines, by Jessica F. Shumway.

In this first chapter, the author outlines just what number sense is.  It is important to tell yourself that number sense, in and of itself, is complex and that it has many layers.  As you work with your littles in your classroom, you will see each working at a different level of number sense. 
A little with strong number sense will demonstrate the following...
- A sense of what numbers mean.
- An ability to look at the world in terms of quantity and numbers.
- An ability to make comparisons among quantities.
- Flexibility, automaticity, and fluidity with numbers.
- An ability to perform mental math.
- Flexibility with problems.
- Automatic use of math information.
- An abiltiy to determine reasonableness of an answer.
- An ability to decide on a strategy based on the numbers in a problem.

As you can see from this list, number sense is something that takes time to develop and strengthen.  The author states that it is a goal for students to "build understanding and to become numerically literate."  We, the teacher, want our littles to apply number sense and to know when to use skills and strategies. 
Chapter 1 wraps up with a brief section about the need to give littles ample oppotunities to work on their number sense.  This means to use number sense in general and to discuss their number sense ideas and strategies with their peers.
Tara posted a few questions for us to answer after reading this first chapter.  Here are my answers to those questions.
1. What is your current comfort level with teaching number sense?
Number sense is where my owls struggled the most this year, at least, this is what the data collected from MAP testing showed.  At this point and with reading more about number sense, I am now aware of how complex it is.  I feel like I will be able to provide my owls with more direct support, but am not 100% comfortable with all that is "number sense."

2. What have you already started in your classroom to build number sense?
This year, we did play around a bit more with dot plates, five and ten frames, and just brainstorming the different ways to display numbers.  I have a feeling that this is just the tip of the number sense iceberg.

3. What have you considered adding to your classroom that will give your students that much needed "multiple exposures" component?
As I read this first chapter, I'm thinking that my calendar time or even morning work time could use a good number sense push.  A daily piece that focuses on the qualities mentioned above.
Make sure to stop by Tara's blog to read what others have learned during this book study or to share along with us.

Monday, June 10, 2013

End of the Year Picture

This is going to be a quick post, because this girl is beat.  Monday kicked by butt!  Tomorrow I am going to quickly snap some pictures of my little owls holding this adorable frame to mark their end of the year.

We are not having a completion ceremony this year.  We have decided to take all of the Early Childhood classrooms across the street to the park for a picnic and play day instead.  Full day celebration packed with play or walk across the gym to get a certificate, hmmmm?  The teachers picked picnic and play! 

Due to this change, we have had some families asking about the "ceremony."  In hopes to keep them happy, I will take a picture of each owl with the above frame, print them up, and send it home with report cards and awards.  I, personally, think a picture is a better keepsake than a paper certificate.  (my opinion though!)

* The frame idea stemmed from all of the first day frames that were posted at back to school time.*


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Long and Short Vowel Practice

The sunlight at the end of the school year tunnel is finally shining through.  We have three more student days and one teacher/records day left.  Then it is SUMMER BREAK! 

In order to make it through the next few days, I am setting up my work stations as reveiw stations.  They were basically this already, but I really focused in on the skills we wrapped up the past two weeks with.

One of the literacy review work stations is a vowel sorting activity.  The owls will work in groups to sort the pictures according to the vowel sound.  My owls are doing really well with long vowels but some are still struggling with short vowel sounds.  I'm hoping this activity and working with others will get them to a level of understanding that I'm comfortable sending them to first grade with.  If you would like a copy of this activity, click on the picture and download it from my TPT store.  It is my newest freebie!  Please make sure to leave some feedback and to follow my store while you are there.

Be on the look out for my fairy tale books list and a 100 followers giveaway in the next week.  Thank you so much for helping me get to that major milestone.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this!  I'm both honored and grateful for all of you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fairy Tale Writing-Round 2

We have been continuing our journey through fairy tales.  This week is The Three Bears.  The owls are loving every minute of our fairy tale addiction. 

I wanted to stop by quickly and share some of the writing we have done to go along with the fairy tales we have read.  I found the original ideas for these writing pieces on Pinterest, but every time I go to find the source, it twists me farther away from where I was.  Some of the posts, I can't even find anymore.  I really need to get a better handle on my Pinterest boards.  That, however, is a whole other blog post.  :)

This was our prewriting piece.  We took pictures of the the three items that Jack stole from the giant and put them in order according to a couple of the books we read.

The owls then worked on sequence writing.  This was my clever way of getting them to write more than one sentence without tears by them or me.  We "shared the pen" first as a whole group and wrote some example sentences.  We talked about word choice and focused on our writing rules.  From there they were given their own writing paper.  Love the borrowed the harp in the last sentence!  :)

Each owl did have to start their sentences with a first, second, or third.  The skittles on the periods were a cute ideas from Pinterest.  (Again, couldn't track down the orginal source.  Ahhhhhh!)

"If I found Goldilocks in my bed... I would bonk her on the head."
"If I found Goldilocks in my bed... I would play with her outside.  I would play hide and seek with her.  I would show her around the house."
I saw a similar imaginative writing piece like this for Jack and the Beanstalk.  I really liked this idea, so I just changed it to fit the book we were currently reading.  Let me tell you, some of their writings were hilarious.
Tomorrow is field day for me.  Keep your fingers crossed that we don't get the rain that is forecasted.
(If you know any of the original sources or these are your ideas, please let me know.  I want to give credit where it is deserved.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fairy Tales-Math Style

Today we stared our readings of The Three Bears.  We started out with Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall.  Since today was our first day, I read the book and then the owls named the characters, the setting, and we talked about the plot.  We will build upon this information each day as we read other versions of this fairy tale.

For math today, I started our whole group portion with the construction of a graph.  We graphed, Which porridge would we eat?  The owls could pick from hot, cold, or just right.  They used their knowledge from the story and made a choice from there.  Each owl got a little porridge card to write their name on.  We then took turns sharing our choices and adding our name to the correct place on the graph.  For the final step, I had the owls analyze the data independently!  We ususally do this step orally.  I felt it was time to cut the teacher strings and to let them have a real go at it.  Most did well but there were a few owls that were lost.  :(

Here is our graph and a data page up close.

At math stations time, the owls worked on my recently posted Golden Subtraction.  You can click here to grab this freebie.  In this activity, the owls grab a money bag card, count the number of dots, roll a die, cover over the matching number of dots with jewels, and then write the subtraction problem.  My owls rocked this!  Engaged the whole time!
This next station is my newest freebie on TPT.  My owls have worked with tens and ones a little here and there, but I was still worried about how strong their understanding was.  I put together this activity to help them practice the skill a little more.  The owls grab a number card, identify the number, on their work mat they build the correct numbers of tens and ones, count it to a friend, and then record it as groups of tens and ones.  I was super happy with the level of work and understanding that my owls were showing.
They counted out ten sticks and then rubber banded them together for the groups of tens.
If you grab this freebie, please remember to rate it and follow my store.  It is always appreciated and helps me to create the best activities I can.
Hope everyone is having a great start to their week! 


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Is it REALLY June?

Oh my word!  Where did May go?  Since it is already June, it is time for me to link up with Farely for her montly Currently party.

Right now I am listening to the loudness that is associated with my little man playing with his tote full of cars.  It may be a ear piercing loudness at times, but it is also the sweetest sound to me.  I love hearing him use his imagination and to get excited while playing.

I'm in love with the idea that I have only 7 days left until I can begin my glorious summer break.  This year has been a roller coaster ride and I definitely need some time to relax and refuel.

At this time, I am just a couple of followers away from hitting the big 1-0-0!  I cannot believe that I am so close.  I'm extremely appreciative to those that are following and for those that stop by and read my randomness.  Big hugs to you all!  :)  (Also be on the lookout of a giveaway coming soon!)

I would really like a clone of myself who would be solely responsible for cleaning and laundry all summer long.  This would really let me get some relaxing done.  If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know ASAP.  :P

A few more hours in the day would be nice at this time.  My to do list is getting a bit out of hand. 

The three things I must have on vacation are my ipod (cannot live without music,) some aloe because no matter how much sunscreen I put on, this girl will burn, and a book.

Hope all are having a nice, LAZY Sunday!  We all deserve one of those, right?


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Subtracting Gold

While I'm attemping to multi-task on a beautiful Saturday, I came up with a great subtraction station that I will be adding to my lesson plans this final week of school.

On Friday, we finished our readings of the various Jack and the Beanstalk books that I could find or had collected over the years, so I wanted to include a Jack and the Beanstalk themed math station this week.  I have uploaded this subtraction station to my TPT store as a FREEBIE.  Click the picture below and stop by to download your copy.  If you have finished school, as I know many have, just save it for next year.  :)

(If you grab a copy, please rate the freebie and follow my store while you are there. :0)
 Pictures of this station in action to come next week.