Top 3 Wish-listed Items- Linky Party

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Are you looking for engaging reading passages to use for Close Reading?  I looked far and wide and decided to create these passages to use with my higher level readers.  Kids love animals so I made a list and asked my husband (who is really a big kid at heart) which animals he would like to read about.    I used his top picks and made challenging yet not too difficult reading passages for my kiddos.  I used them in my reading groups before putting them on TpT.  (After all, if I don't think it's a great product- it's not making it in my store!)

Next we have a great report writing resource that combines learning about farm animals with writing about them.  

I made these to use during our Farm Animal Unit.  
As you know, kids come in all sizes, shapes and levels.  I made this differentiated to scaffold the writing for my struggling students and very open ended for my confident writers.  There are directions for directed drawings of the animals, close reading passages to get information, differentiated rough draft and final copy pages, and so much more.  

These are a great introduction to report writing and research.  

And finally, here is my top wish listed science activity.

These activities are hands-on and really make the kids think.  They are given basic information about pushes, pulls and force and then they are challenged to complete different activities.  

These are perfect for cooperative groups!  Kids really need to work together to problem solve and come up with the solutions.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at some of my most sought after products.  

Cheryl Irick

Cyber Monday Sale (a day early)

Hi everyone,

If you are like me, you've started your holiday shopping both online and in stores.  I personally like online better, but that's just me.

I've been browsing TpT and filling up my shopping cart.  I have found some great things but don't want to wait until Monday to get them (I'm in an instant gratification kind of mood) so I thought I would let my followers get a jump on their own shopping too (just in case those one or two items are just what you need for school on Monday).

I'm participating in TpT's Cyber Monday Sale, but I've decided to get it started a day early.  All my items will be 20% off starting today.  Happy shopping!

Attribute Block Turkey Patterns

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Every year my kindergartners work on patterning.  

I have my kiddos build different patterns on the rug, and then I have them move the pattern to form a circle.  This reinforces that the pattern must continue uninterrupted.  You would be surprised how many kid really don't get that concept.

After we build our patterns in a circle I then send them to their desks and they rebuild that same pattern using paper pattern block pieces.  Luckily my school has a die cut machine with these shapes so prepping them is very easy.  We glue these to construction paper and that becomes a turkey tail.

We finish the turkeys by gluing on a turkey body, legs, eyes and a beak.  They alway turn out so cute!
The last part of the project is to count the shapes that we used and add them up. 

Easiest Costume Ever!

Monday, October 31, 2016
This year my staff decided to do a group costume.  Fine by me.

After perusing Pinterest, we agreed upon the M&M outfits.  Everyone was assigned a color based upon our school wide reading group colors.  I got green (lucky me) which happens to be my favorite color.  We sent someone to the store for t-shirts and then we had an after school sewing party where we traced, cut, and ironed the M's to our shirts.  

That was it!  Done!  

Best (and most comfy) group costume

And the best part about the costume was how comfy I was in it all day.  Usually I'm fighting my costume all day long- but not this year!  Black pants and boots and my outfit was done.

All day long the kids had fun spotting other M&Ms.  "Look!  There goes a yellow one!"  The kids had a blast!

I hope we wear these again next year.  (I've already started lobbying for this).

Happy Halloween!

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

Thanks for stopping by!

New York and Montreal

Tuesday, July 5, 2016
School got out for me on Thursday and I immediately jumped on a plane on Friday.

My sister invited me to be her plus one for a wedding in Montreal.  I spent Friday traveling and Saturday partying.   Not a bad start to a summer vacation!

The wedding was amazing!  White flowers and candles everywhere!  The food was fantastic and the entertainment was superb.

Seal was the surprise entertainment!   
(Are you kidding me?!)

After that we danced to one of Montreal's famous DJs.

Thank goodness for the flip flops that were available.  It's been forever since I've spent any length of time in such spiky heels, let alone danced in heels!

Such a fun night!

The next day we explored the city of Montreal.  My favorite part of the city was Old Montreal.  We spent the day shopping and looking around.

Then it was off to New York City!

We did all of the touristy things from the Statue of Liberty to the Metropolitan Museum.

Now my travels are over and it's "staycation" time in beautiful San Diego.

Butterfly Release

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Each year I get caterpillars for my classroom.  The students watch as they grow from tiny little caterpillars, morph into a chrysalis, and then finally emerge as butterflies.

The whole metamorphosis process is absolutely amazing to the kids (me as well) and they eagerly rush over to the enclosure each morning to take a look at the progress.

When all of the butterflies have emerged and we have completed our observations, it's time to set them free.

I've been doing this for a number of year (too many to count) and it's always a bit disappointing for the kids who desperately want to hold one, only to have them flutter away before getting a chance.  
That's usually what happens.

(The kids are eagerly hoping that the butterfly won't fly away before at least one child gets a chance to hold it on their finger)

Well, this year it was different!

One of our butterflies had a folded wing and couldn't fly.  I used this to our advantage.

This little butterfly made our day!  

I sat all my kiddos in a circle on the grass and we gently passed this little guy around one at a time.

All of my kiddos got a turn holding our new butterfly friend.  

They were so gentle (even though they were incredibly excited) and they noticed things about the butterfly that they hadn't mentioned when we were looking at them in the enclosure.

After everyone got a chance to meet our special butterfly, we took him over to our garden and set him loose on a flower.

He immediately settled in and my kids looked for him every time we walked past.

The whole process of METAMORPHOSIS is really amazing to watch.

Now whenever my kids see a butterfly fluttering around our campus they immediately think it's one of our butterflies and they squeal with joy.

I love the joy of kindergarten!

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