Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Favorite Product!

How many times a day do you run to the copy machine?  How many times have you needed just one or two more copies and couldn't leave your room?  Well, if you are anything like me, this happened more times than you can count!

I started thinking about what I could do so children could still write, and I would never run out of copies.  I tried the iPad, and that works well, but my Kinders were not able to write very well with the stylus.  Then, I found these!



These are "ticket holders" from C-Line.  They are clear pouches that are made from a thicker plastic.  They come in many different sizes.  I purchased the 8.5" X 11" size pockets and the 5" X 8".  You may be wondering why 5" X 8"? Well, I ordered a smaller sized, placed plain white paper inside, and voila, I have instant whiteboards.



This purchase started out as a way to help me manage papers, and save some trees, and turned into a class set of whiteboards that are easy to store and easy to clean, are durable, and easy to store (did I say that one already?), oh and they are pretty inexpensive.  

I have been using these "whiteboards" during whole group, small group, and independent work stations.  I love them because they are small, light weight, easy to clean, and the list goes on.

I also love them because it is easy to slide a practice sheet into and you don't have to make a gazillion copies.  It just so happens that I have the perfect practice pages to fit into these fabulous pouches.  Just so you could see what these fabulous pages look like in these wonderful pouches, I took a few pictures.

The first set of pictures is my beginning sound practice pages.  You can find them in my TPT store, or by clicking the picture.

 

The next picture is of my syllable practice pages.  Don't they look great in the C-Line pouches?  I thought so!  If you are interested in these pages, you can find them in my TPT store, or you can get to them by clicking the picture.


In addition to these pouches, I have also developed an obsession with Crayola Dry Erase markers.  These markers work great for the C-Line pouches, but not so well with regular whiteboards.  

The reason for the change from a popular brand of dry erase markers, is this:



Many of my markers have "magically" lost their tips.  The reason, well I believe it is because of either putting the top on the wrong way, or pushing too hard.  With the Crayola Dry Erase markers, we have not yet lost a marker tip!



What is your current favorite product?

I am linking up with Kinder Tribe for What Worked Well Wednesday.  Please add your link, or comment below!



Friday, October 30, 2015

Trick-or-Treat


I am having a sale!!!  Everything in my TPT store is 20% off now through Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thank You!

I feel like I have been MIA lately.  September was filled with learning.  Students learning new routines, a new school, and most of all making new friends.  For me, I was learning not only about my new students, new families, and my new team, I was learning about myself as a teacher.

I have been teaching the same grade for 10 years, and love it!  Each year, I re-evaluate my curriculum, my teaching, and my materials.  But this year was different.  When I began teaching, I was all about hands on, play-based learning, after all they are 5!  Once our state adopted the CCSS, I became more standards driven.  This change made me loose my play-based style, and instead I became so focused on "looking" more academic.  I had lost my fun, and to be completely honest, lost my drive to teach.  

How did I get it back?  How did I get my drive back?

In one word, YOU!  I was lost, and I was stuck.  I joined TPT as a way to share my ideas and products, but most of all, I joined to be apart of a collaborative group.  I in turn, started a blog and found a group of teachers that is open to new ideas and is willing to share new ideas.  Because of this community, because of you, I am having a blast this year in Kindergarten!

As a way to say thank you, I will be holding a 20% off sale from October 14 {2015} through October 16 {2015}.

I hope you are all having an amazing year!  If you are feeling "stuck," don't worry!  Find your group, find others that will lift you up!   

Please leave a comment or email me at Meghan@Meghanspad.com.  I would love to connect! :) 



Monday, August 31, 2015

Literacy Centers and Organization

Hi Everyone!

I am Meghan from Meghan's Pad.  I wanted to give you all a sneak peek at what I am going to do during my literacy center/guided reading time this year, and how I have it all organized.

This week {tomorrow} I will have a new class of Kinders that will begin their year with me.  Each year, I feel the need to revamp an area of my curriculum.  This year, it's my center time!  




Centers are a great way, as we all know, to engage students in learning by providing them with hands on learning materials and the opportunity to regulate their learning needs.

This year, I am jumping back on the center wagon, and I couldn't be more excited!  The past few years I have struggled with having to use the district mandated curriculum, knowing that Kinders need more hands on, play based learning.  I have struggled with the early finishers, the no matter what I give you to do, you are going to refuse to do it, and the different learning styles and needs.

After much reflection, I have come up with a format that I think I am going to like, and a format that I hope my kinders will like as well.  Here it goes...




Each day I will gather the children on the rug for a small mini-lesson.  These mini-lessons are going to be based on the needs of Kinders.  These lessons can include alphabet, sounds, building words, rhyming, segmenting, strategies, digraphs, consonant blends, vowel blends, and the list goes on.  I will then have a "have to" activity that the children will need to do each day.  During the literacy block it can be an alphabet center, letter writing center, building word center, reading center, phonemic center.  Each day their have to center will switch, so by the end of the week each child has completed all the have tos.  

After the "have to" center is complete they will either turn it in, or will fill out a small exit slip, so I can quickly review their understanding, along with hold them accountable for doing the center.  Then the children will choose a "can do" center.  These centers will be a combination of old "have tos" and other centers that help to support that centers "have to."

Have I lost you??  I know it's confusing!  Here is an example:  A student on Monday will go to the alphabet center and complete the "have to" center.  Once they are done, they fill out and turn in their exit slip.  They then go to the alphabet "can do" drawer and grab a center, take it back to their seat {not assigned, just where they were working} and complete that center.  Once they have completed all the "can dos" that they want, then they can go to the alphabet "now what" drawer to work on those activities.

The "now whats" are going to be more independent activities that can include "worksheets," or reading.

My hope is that children will continue to be engaged, and will find the learning method that they prefer.




So now, the storage!  I love to organize, and love to buy bins.go inside of bins.  So these are PERFECT!  
         

I love to find bins that I found these bins at Joann Fabrics, and have been in love with them.  Each center fits perfectly inside these 4X6 photo cases {materials and all}!  

        

I am currently putting each center into a small container, and then each container into a drawer system.  This picture was taken before I labeled the drawers.  I have the "can do" centers in one of the drawers and the "now whats" in the drawer directly under.  Each is labeled with the center {alphabet, letter writing, word building, etc.}, and a number {either 2 or 3 for "can do" and "now what"}.


        


I am currently working on setting up something similar for math and our phonics time.

I would love to know how do you do centers in your room so you are able pull groups?  What do the children do when you are in a small group?  I can't wait to hear all the great ideas!!





Friday, August 28, 2015

Welcome to My Pad!


After viewing some of my pictures, I realized that I already need to update some!  Once things settle down, I will make sure to update.

I hope you enjoy the tour of my "new" pad!


My rug area is a place where we meet for our morning meeting, mini-lessons and read alouds.  



The front of my rug includes a big book stand {with storage}.  This is used for big books, and curriculum charts.  It is also a place where our learning target can be displayed.


I also have an easel {with storage}.  The easel is double sided and magnetic.  It is used for modeling, center work and mini-lessons.










Next to the easel is a set of drawers that hold CDs, clipboards and materials that are needed for mini-lessons for the week.


These chairs were purchased as an option for children to use while on the rug.  My hope is they will help children who need wiggle while sitting.  

These chairs will also help children who crave their own personal space, while helping others define theirs.

It will also help save my books!  Yes, save my books.  Over the years, it seems that no matter who sits in the back row, they cannot fight the need to use my bookshelf as a backrest.  These chairs are going to be solution!

In addition to using these chairs during our group time, children will also be able to use them during independent work time.






This is a view of my rug when you enter my room.









This reading area is awaiting a new table {a circle table or horseshoe table}.  This will be a table where children can work in cooperative groups, independently, or in small group with a teacher or support staff.











The reading area also consists of comfy chair to curl up in, a board with strategy reminders, materials to help children decode words, and a resource self.  This resource shelf not only serves as a resource shelf for me, but also for the children.  This shelf hosts extra supplies, folders, and district assessment binders.

Next to the resource shelf is a set of cubes that contain plastic bags, recess chalk {our school supplies everything else and is kept outside}, and extra winter gear {hats, mittens, socks}.










Along the wall, are leveled books.  These are books that children will use during read to self time, and read to someone. 


My teacher area houses my planning binders, group binders, curriculum, and supplies.This is also the area that received an additional face lift.

Can you spy my next project? {My file cabinet}  I would love to cover the drawers with chevron contact paper, and then paint the frame the teal blue color from my room.  

 
Not pictured is my small group table and my newly finished stools.  Picture coming! :)







These cubbies were made by my hubby and my dad for my classroom when I just started out.  They were created to hold binders, book boxes and other materials that were needed.  

Over the years, I continue to use them as a place to store book boxes, folders, headphones, and other classroom materials.  








This year, they are going to contain headphones, book boxes, and each child's work folder and interactive notebook.  Inside their book boxes I am going to have a zippered pencil pouch that will hold flashcards and book rings for listen to reading.













These lunch trays are used for attendance every day.  Each day the children place their lunch frog on either the trays that represent what type of lunch they are going to have for that day {either home lunch of school lunch}.












The tower was created by myself and my husband.  It has magnetic strips that can hold pocket charts, whiteboards, feltboards, and also includes shelving.  This tower is uses on a daily basis for center work and storage.














These table caddies were purchased and painted this summer.  They rotate and have 6 compartments.  They will hold scissors, pencils and glue sticks. I am also playing around with putting highlighters in so children can highlight their name.  

I also put washi tape on to distinguish between the table colors.












This is our alphabet reference wall.  These posters are used to help children with their letter sounds. 















My take a break chair.  This is a place where children can go to calm down.  It is self regulated, but I always tell them that I reserve the right to tell them to take a break, along with telling them when they are done {only if they are staying to long and possibly avoiding work}.







This is my focus wall.  The past few years, our district has put a focus on using a focus wall to display student learning objectives for each lesson.  I created and printed an "I can" statement for each standard, in each of the different areas.  I placed each section on a set of binder clips, and hung them on heavy duty magnetic hooks.  I also added a column for how they are going to be working/receiving the information, and then another for the materials they will need for the lessons and implementation.









These shelves host my centers.  These are where the "have to" centers are going to be located.  

In addition to the "have to" centers, the "can do" centers that have large materials to go with, will also be on these selves.







I hope you enjoyed a photographic tour of my classroom.  As I add things to the bulletin boards and continue to label and "live" in it, I will update the pictures.  

I hope you all have a wonderful school year! 




Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What Worked Well Wednesday

Hi Everyone!  

I am teaming up with Kinder Tribe for a linky party.  This linky is What Worked Well Wednesday, where you have the opportunity to share one thing that worked well for you that week.  

I have been busily getting my classroom ready for my group of Kinders.  As you know, this year I decided to completely make-over my classroom.  One of the things that I made-over was my lunch count tray.

Here is the before:


I made these last year by taking 2 cookie sheets (from the dollar tree), drilled holes, inserted grommets, tied them together with ribbon (and another ribbon to hang), and then made ten frames using white electrical tape.

Each morning, the children found their magnetic lunch card (naturally a frog) and placed in one of the boxes depending on if they brought a lunch from home, or if they were going to have a school lunch.  

It made it very easy for me to quickly see how many children were at school, getting a school lunch, and how many brought a lunch form home.

We also used these trays during large group math to help us solve story problems, practice subitizing, and work on comparing.

So after using the "plain" ole' ones, I decided to update and brighten.  This is the result...

The after:


I used the spray paint that matched the colors in my room, updated the ribbon, and used washi tape to make the 10 frames.

I am so excited with how these turned out!  I can't wait to show you the rest of my classroom remodel!

I would love to know how you take attendance in your room.  Please leave a note in the comments about what you.  Thank you so much!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sneak Peek!

With school starting in just a few weeks, I have been busily working on my classroom.


This is what I have done so far...


This is my new teacher space...


I am still decorating and bringing in new drawers.  I am also seriously thinking about painting the vowels in the alphabet {above} lime green.  I would also love to give my file cabinet a serious makeover {I am thinking teal, with teal chevron drawers}!


This area started out as an area for support staff, or volunteers could work at with students.  Last year they never used that area, so this year, I turned it into a reading area.


I still have to redo my bulletin board {the new boarders are hanging from the board, and new fabric is on the way}.  I have my leveled library on the shelves. Next to the library is a cozy reading chair.  {I am still trying to figure out what to put on the big white shelf} The stack of white cubes is going to be a place for extra winter gear, bags, and recess games.

The floating table {is missing it's partner} is going to be a place for children to read or work collaboratively together.  

And last, but not least....


The MESS!


And this is where my list of To Dos starts!  

First on my list....clean.  Once things are picked up, I am going to paint over all of my old colors, take down the rainbow alphabet, put up my word wall, paint and reupholster my stools, put up my focus wall, place my new table caddies, put labels on on my book boxes... 


What is on your To Do list?