Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Differentiating With Dice Domes


Ya'll know how much I love to find tools for the classroom that can be used in a variety of ways to make differentiation easy.

Well, my new obsession are dice domes!   I found these at a conference a few months back and finally broke them out.

Ya'll also know how much I love Amazon so I found the dice domes for $11 on Amazon!

Click the image to see the domes on Amazon!

So the domes come with numbers and +/- symbols.  The bottom piece pops off so you can change out the cubes inside.

So I grabbed some foam cubes from the Dollar Tree.

Got out my trusty Sharpie.  

And wrote letters on the cubes.  I planned out my letters so that we could make CVC words in our domes.





The kids shake the dome and see if they made a word.  If they made a word, they can write the word.  If not they shake it again!

They can record their words on the recording sheet!  Click on the recording sheet to download your freebie!


So, how can we differentiate with the dice domes? 

You can...
Add a cube with the letter E to make CVC-E words
You can do word families
You can do sight words
You can do blends
You can do addition
You can do subtraction
You can do names early in the year!

So many possibilities!
















Monday, July 11, 2016

Dollar Tree Word Building



Ya'll know how much I love the Dollar Tree.  There's always so much amazing teacher goodness.

I stumbled across these trays on a recent visit and immediately thought Word building!!


I measured the trays and divided them into 3 sections.  Each section is 4" wide.   Of course I used glitter duct tape!  Glitter all the things!


I would use these in small groups to practice word building!  

I would say a CVC word and have students build the word using magnetic letters!




These could also be used for adding, making numbers, greater than/less than, missing sounds.  Divide the tray into 4 sections and you could do CVC-E words!






Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Growth Mindset Chapter 5


Chapter 5 of Mindset focused on business mindset and how businesses succeed and grow.  As I read this chapter so many of the lessons spoke to me as a teacher and what we're doing in our classrooms!


Are we willing to do what it takes to be great teachers and create great learning in our classrooms?   Are we constantly asking questions?  How do we respond to the brutal answers?

A few years ago we got a new evaluation system and I received 2s.  That was below average.  I was furious.  But then I set out to get better.  I researched...I learned...I found new ideas and strategies.  The next year?  All 5s!   Not because I'm great but because I asked questions and did it what takes to be better.  I wasn't afraid of my mistakes...I learned from them.

Are we trying to constantly improve?
Are we constantly questioning to figure out where you need to go?

What are we willing to do to be great?????



This really hit home with me.   If I were to step back and look at my classroom, our my students just carrying out my plans or are they actively engaged in their learning?  Do they have a voice in how and what we learn?    Is my ego getting in the way of learning?

When I read this I immediately thought of our hopes and dreams activity at the beginning of the year.  I ask students their hopes and dreams for kindergarten  We record ALL of the responses in a circle map.  Great.  BUT I use that circle map to show my students that their voice is valid because I take their hopes and dreams and try to fit all of them into our learning through the year.



(Click the image for my post on hopes and dreams and how we use it to make connections to learning and families!)

We've made rockets because someone said they wanted to build a rocket.
We made Chihuly sculptures because someone wanted to learn how to sculpt.

AND I rode a pig.  Because one of my students wanted to learn how to ride a pig.  (I tried really hard to get a real pig...but no luck!)

The point is that my students have a voice in their own learning.

Is this enough?  Probably not.  Do I need to give them more voice?  Yes.  

I always say if we want to have control we have to give our students control.  





In this chapter, the discussion is about great CEOs who drove their companies down because of their leadership.  They were brutal and self centered.  It was all about the CEO and not the company and it's people.  

We are the CEO of our classroom, so what kind of CEO are we???

Are we making our good classrooms great?  Are we student centered?  

Or are we destroying our classrooms because of our ego????




And finally are we open to ideas regardless of where they come from?

I am so guilty of this.  If I see ideas from certain places/people I immediately discount them.  Guess who I'm hurting?  My KIDS!!!    I need to focus on the ideas and not the sources.    Who cares where the idea came from as long it's benefitting my kids and their learning?!

Be open...be willing to step out of the box...take risks....try new things....be willing to fail!






Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ice Pop Letter Shakers!



Greetings from 30,000 feet in the air!   I have officially kicked off a month of nonstop travel!   Pennsylvania...Orlando...Las Vegas...Chicago...and I arrive home 3 days before teachers report for duty!!!!   EEK!  But I love having the opportunity to visit teachers and share my passion for teaching and kids!

One thing i'm passionate about is less work which means more time for learning.  I'm all about keeping things simple in the classroom.  That means more success and learning for our stuents and less prep work for us.  If you use my creations you know I create them to be done the same way all year.  The only thing that changes is the skill and the clipart.   This means you introduce centers at the beginning o the year and you're good to go for the rest of the year.  I also like to use weird items to make hands on centers (cuz I'm weird) with the same idea.  Those weird items can be adjusted to teach skills all year!

Enter the .92 cent ice pop makers from WalMart!



I bought 4 of these so there would be enough for all 26 letters.

I had some letter beads from other projects.  I mean who doens't have letter beads in their house...that's a normal thing, right?!



I put some rice into the ice pop trays.  Added beads and a little  more rice.



Snapped the lids on.  The lids fit pretty securely but I did add some tape so they don't pop open!



BAM!  Letter shakers!   Students can find the letter, identify the letter and use the recording sheets to color the letter!





And guess what?  This can be used all year!  CVC word building...CVC-E words...sight words...numbers...adding...subtracting!   And it only cost me $4 and about 30 minutes of work!

Fun!  Simple!  Engaging!   Low prep for teachers!  PERFECTION!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Smorgasboard Of Teaching Conference #1 Reflections



Five years ago I sat down at my laptop and set up a blog and wrote my first blog post.  I wanted to share my passion for making learning fun and messy.  I wanted to share some of the ideas we were using in my classroom.   And really, I just hoped someone besides The Mister and my mom would read what I was writing.  

Fast forward to now...and I can't believe I just hosted my first ever one day conference!   It's still surreal and exciting.  I was so blessed and inspired to spend the day with 200 teachers from all over the country.  Literally....California...Oklahoma...Pennsylvania...Tennessee...Michigan.    I mean I can't believe so many teachers chose to spend a Saturday in the summer listening to me ramble on all day long.  It was an amazing day of fun and collaboration and sharing and learning!

Seriously...it was a glitterific day!   (And I've never been more nervous than I was for this day!!!)

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO JOINED US!!!!!!!   You make me a better teacher and a better person!  Seriously...ya'll are GLITTERRIFIC!!!!   You make the world sparkle and you are doing amazing things in your classrooms and changing the lives of kids every day.  I am HUMBLED to call you all my colleagues and friends.






Besides being in my classroom with my 'staches, being around teachers and sharing our passion for kids and learning is my favorite!!!   I love sharing my passion and giving teachers new ideas and letting teachers know it's ok to break the rules and have fun in the classroom!!!  You can party and learn at the same time!























Thank you so much for the hugs and laughs and kind words.   







Of course, this day couldn't have happened without amazing friends who gave up their time to help and encourage and support us!

Bob Barker has Barker's Beauties....I have Smorgie's Sweethearts!  (Not pictured:  Nate!)

Seriously...they are the reason that the day went so smoothly and was a success!!!   I am so blessed with the best friends!!  HEART YA'LL!

And The Mister who coordinated all of the details...the venue, food, tickets, swag, schedule, materials....and ME!  And trust me, coordinating me is the hardest job in the world.  He's amazing and makes me a better person everyday.   I could not do all that I do without him!!!



And a HUGE Thank you to our sponsors:


ESGI (Online one on one assessment!  AMAZING MUST HAVE TOOL!)








Finn Books  (Check out these awesome sight word leveled readers!  My class ADORES these books!)








Alive Studios (Amazing augmented reality technology for reading and math!)



Here's the exciting news!   We're doing it again!   That's right!   A Smorgasboard of Teaching #2 is on Saturday, October 29 here in Nashville!   This day will feature our guest, Debbie Clement sharing her songs and dances and her books!!!  

Click the image to download the brochure and register for the conference!   I hope to see you all there!!


So, you missed out on all the swag?   No worries!   We have four swag bags to give away!!!!   Just use the rafflecopter below to enter!



a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover