Thursday, September 24, 2015

Personal Word Wall for Kindergarten Writing

A personal word wall is a great tool to help kids write independently.

Teacher Ink Personal Word Wall for K

This personal word wall is a one page printable.  Kids can fold and glue it into their writing notebooks, or place it in their writing folders.

It’s an easy way for kids to reference sight words, high frequency words, content area words (social studies, math and science), and high interest words that they might use in their writing.

There are many uses for a personal word wall

  Writing assignments: Quick and easy reference for kids; glue the word wall printable into their notebooks or place it their writing folders.
  Learning Centers: Post a word wall at the writing center for easy access.
  Homework: Helps parents to review sight words with their children. You may assign one word, or several words that begin with one letter, for children to use in sentences and illustrate.
  Whole Class review: Open the word wall PDF on your Smartboard.
  •   Partner work: Kids take turns reading the words or read them chorally.
  •   Early finishers can review the words or use them to write sentences.

    Cool tips for a personal word wall
       Kids can highlight their most-used sight words (the, and, I, went, to…) with yellow crayon or marker
  •   Kids can highlight words for a special project with a different colored crayon
      Kids can draw a correctly colored dot next to each of the color words.
Jazz up your personal word wall

   Print your word wall on colorful Xerox paper for high visual appeal.
  Glue onto colorful oak tag and hang on your classroom wall.
  Print on poster sized paper for your class word wall.  Many office supplies stores such as Staples will print large sizes.  Ask for pastel or neon paper for extra zing!

The personal word wall shown here is perfect for K and 1.  Just click and print.  It’ll save you a couple of hours of labor, so you can skip right to the fun stuff—the writing!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Relax in One Minute

Relax...It's a must, and you can relax in one minute.

In the middle of my insanely busy day, I take at least one precious minute to relax. 

When my to-do list grows much faster than I can check things off...When everything seems to be a top priority….When working lunches are not eat-and-run, but more like eat while I run...

Relaxation is a must.

I blast one of my counting songs on the Smartboard speakers—the new age instrumentals are hypnotic.  I put my feet up on the desk, cover my face with my hands, breathe deeply, lean back and float away for a minute or two.  Afterwards, I look like a happy zombie, so I’ve been told!   When the kids return from lunch, I have them do the same—happy little zombies, all.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dance in Your Classroom Tips!

Do you want to dance in your classroom? 
Dance in Your Classroom

You’d better, like your life depends on it—because it does!

Scientists are looking closely at dance, because it engages both the intellect and the emotions, and so it’s been shown to boost your brain, and even stave off memory loss.

Of course, your 5-year-olds don’t care about that.  All they know is dancing is fun.

Visit Rachel Lynette’s Mind’s In Bloom for more Tips for Dancing in the Classroom

If you’d like to see some really cool tips and links for dancing in the classroom, I’ve written them up in a guest post at Rachel Lynette’s blog, Minds in Bloom.

And if you’ve never been to Minds in Bloom, you’re in for a treat!  You can get lost in those hundreds of useful posts, by Rachel Lynette and guests. 10 million visitors will attest to the wonders of that blog.

At Minds in Bloom I'll show you exactly how to get started, starting with dance safety rules, and move on to free-dancing in the classroom---a beautiful sight to behold!  You’ll get a link to my free poster, Dance Rules in the Classroom.

You’ll also find ideas to integrate dance with your curriculum—Reading, Math, Science and Social Studies.

More than anything, I want you to check out the look on your kids’ faces when they dance.  The ear-to-ear smiles are priceless.  And finally, as if you need another benefit, it’s a great one: you get to dance in class, too. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Kindergarten Teacher: 3 Big Tips

Are you a new kindergarten teacher?  Here are 3 big tips to help you succeed in the days ahead.

New Kindergarten Teacher - Tips for Success

1)      Be nice.  Yes, that’s my number one tip.  Why?  Because I believe that kindness is the most important thing to bring to almost any situation.  And in kindergarten?  Think about it.  Many of your kids are coming to school for the first time.  They’re tender, uncertain and scared.  Even if they’ve been to pre-K, this is often their first full day, or their first full-on academic year in school.  I believe that teaching is instruction AND inspiration.  It’s up to the teacher to set the tone, and show kids how nice school can be. 

So should you smile on the first day of school?  Of course!  Smile from the depths of your soul, when appropriate.  Remember, you’re not just teaching the 3 Rs, you’re teaching social skills, too.  If you’re kind by example, you’re teaching the children how to be kind too.  After all, you want kindergarten to be pleasant for everyone, including yourself.  It’s win-win, all around.

2)      Be firm.  Sorry to break it to you, but you’re probably in big trouble if you’re ONLY nice!  Be nice and also firm.  Show the kids exactly what’s expected of them.  Show them step by step and have them practice.  Give them feedback—thank them when they’re helpful, and gently correct them if needed.  Discuss why one way is better than another, so kids internalize the rationale.  And accept no less than their best.

3)      Have fun.  I’ll repeat: HAVE FUN!!!  Hellooo…Kindergarten means child’s garden.  It’s a place to learn through doing, dancing, singing, playing, exploring, creating…and of course thinking.  Every time you bring life to your lesson, you’re honoring the spirit of kindergarten.  So don’t just teach the writing mechanics (start with a capital, use lowercase, leave a space between words...) sing the writing rubric in a song.  Don’t just count to 100, have kids dance to a counting song.   Let kids make number chart robots, and have kids write or copy a sentence about it.  Create bulletin boards that are as creative to look at as they are to make.  In short, create a child’s garden.

If you’re a new kindergarten teacher, you’re entering a wonderful world!  If you’d like tons of tips for new kindergarten teachers, along with step-by-step scripts, rules, posters, printables, songs, and many other resources that you can use all year, take a look at my Kindergarten Mega-Bundle.  I think it will help you on your journey.