Great self-portrait templates

Saturday, September 17, 2016
At the different times of the year I like to have my kids draw themselves using these templates.  It is so fun to watch how they change and grow over the year.

Here is my new class of kindergartners in September.  This is how they looked in the first week of school.  I love how telling these drawings are.  Aren't they cute?

Self-portrait templates

I also use these templates for literature activities.  The kids use them to illustrate characters.  
It surprises me how often I use these.  

I can think of so many uses for these portrait templates!

Click on the pictures to grab these for yourself.

Starting School and Stocking Up Sale

Sunday, August 21, 2016
Have you started your school year already?  Some friends of mine have, but I still have a week to set up my classroom and attend district meetings.  I've spent some time over the summer planning for the new school year, but I mostly gave myself the summer off to recharge my batteries.

With school starting one short week away, I've got my head back in the game and I'm busy prepping and planning my heart out.  With that being said, I've been scouring TpT and making a HUGE wishlist of items that I think will be perfect for this year.

You can imagine how excited I was to hear that TpT is having a one day sale- TOMORROW!!

I'm going to use that sale to my advantage and get some of the things on my wishlist.  Hooray!!

Of course, I've set everything in my own store at 20% off as well so stop by and take a look.

My Animal Facts Comprehension Sheets are great for young readers.  They are filled with fun facts about different animals and they have two different comprehension sheets to go along with each non-fiction reading passage.  My high readers are really engaged and ask for them all the time.

Non-Fiction Close Reading Comprehension Passages

You might also like my Just a Dot- Not a Lot Pack.  It's full of fun songs and chants to help with classroom management.  We sing the songs when we are lining up, walking down the hall, glueing projects, coming to the rug, etc.  I have the songs posted in different areas of my room so substitutes can sing them as well.  I find that helps the day run more smoothly when I'm gone.

How much glue do I need?

Even though it's sale time, I have a ton of great free stuff as well.  Looking to get organized this school year?  Try these great binders labels.  Organize by month and planning is a breeze, just grab the binder for the month and everything is at your fingertips!

Helping Emergent Writers With Spacing

Thursday, July 14, 2016
I love teaching writing to new writers.  It's so fun to watch them move through the writing process.   I've been teaching writing FOREVER so I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve.  One of my "tricks" is Spaghetti and Meatball Spaces.

What are those you ask?  Well, I have cute posters that I hang up in my writing center and sheets that I put in their writing folders to help kids learn how to space letters both in words and between words.
It's a fun recipe for success.  (yeah, I went there)

This is a poster that I put in the writing center
 Spaghetti and Meatball Spaces- Great idea!

To begin, I use a stick of spaghetti to show how the letters in a word are right next to each other, but they don't actually touch.  These small spaces are called spaghetti spaces.  We then practice spaghetti spaces by writing our names a few times on white boards.  We squish the letters together, we spread the letters out, we use perfect "spaghetti" spacing.  It's a fun mini-lesson.

This is the sheet that I put in their writing folders.
 Great tool for Correct Spacing

For another mini-lesson, I write a sentence or two with no spaces between the words and I have kids try to read it.  We look for high frequency words, sounds that might make a word, etc.  It's really fun and really tough, but it demonstrates the need for spaces between the words.

Once that the kids understand how important spacing is, I give them their very own Meatball Stick.  They keep this in their writing folders and I have a small basket of them by my small group table.  I show the kids how to place the meatball after a word to help them leave the big (but not too big) space between the words.

 Great idea for leaving spaces when writing!

These Meatball Sticks are super easy to make.  Just take a box of large craft sticks (tongue depressors) and glue a brown pom pom on the end.  The pom pom is the meatball.

Kids love the novelty of using the Meatball Sticks and find them very helpful when they are learning to write.  I can   quickly remind them to use the Meatball Stick and then they are practicing the skill the entire time they are writing.

 Use a "Meatball Stick" to help with leaving spaces when writing

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