Full Moon Freebies

Thursday, 26 July 2018


Tonight there's a full moon, which reminds me of my favorite rhyme as a kid:

freebies for teachers

My mother and I would sing it and think of my grandmother, who lived in California, and only visited once in a great while (or should I say once in a blue moon?).

Even to this day, I think it's pretty cool, that all of us look out upon the same moon each and every evening.

So, in my effort to stay connected to educators from all over, I've decided to post a once-a-month, full-moon freebie for subscribers.

Sometimes these freebies will be new resources I've just created.  Other times it will be a current paid product that I will make free for a 24-hour period.

If you are already a subscriber, you are all set to receive this offering!

If not, all you need do is type your email into the box above, and the freebie link will magically appear in your inbox each month (don't forget to do all steps of the verification process, including clicking the link in email).

And be sure to do so before the sturgeon moon appears on August 26th.

freebies for teachers

In the meantime, there are several FREEBIES already in my TPT store, including these back-to-school goodies, that you might enjoy!

freebies for teachers


freebies for teachers

freebies for teachers

freebies for teachers

Have fun and don't go too "full moon crazy"!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Using Work Sample Portfolios to Show Growth in Kindergarten

Tuesday, 24 July 2018


kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Many years ago, I was advised by a veteran teacher to collect samples of children's work to share with parents at conference time.  What I collected were random samples of writing and artwork that provided a picture of the child's development in the moment, but failed to show progress over time.

I remember sharing tissue paper apples and random writing pieces with families and not really being clear about what they represented or why I was sharing them.

In later years, I became more intentional about the work samples I chose, making sure they demonstrated targeted skills, and repeated them at key points in the year to show each child's progress and development throughout kindergarten.

Here are the samples I now collect three times a year (autumn, winter, spring):

Name Writing and "Me" Drawing 


kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Coloring

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Cutting and Gluing

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Alphabet Writing

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

  Number Writing

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Dictated Word Writing 

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Dictated Sentence Writing

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Seasonal Free Write

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Self-Portrait and Hopes and Dreams

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

These samples have taught me sooooo much over the years, not only about each individual child's drawing, spelling, handwriting and overall fine motor abilities, but also about the developmental growth of a kindergarten child in these areas (something I did not know as a new K teacher!).

Having these "snapshots" of children's work can also serve as a great alternative assessment to use alongside standardized tests and provides documentation that is more meaningful and understandable to both parents and children.

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

They also make a great kindergarten keepsake and can be shared with families at an end-of-year event  as a way to celebrate children's growth!

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

You can find the work sample pages for all four seasons HERE.  It is discounted for just a few more days as part of my SUMMER SALE which is going on until the end of July!

kindergarten assessment using work sample portfolios

Thanks for stopping by!

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5 Steps to Creating a Kindergarten Kick-Off Plan

Sunday, 15 July 2018


First Day Back to School Beginning of Year Kindergarten Plan


When back-to-school time rolls around, I always have at least one teacher dream that reveals the anxiety I'm having about my new class and new year.

In my dream, I'm not a teacher, but a lone waitress (former occupation!), with a full restaurant to serve. And if you know how those dreams go, I wake up exhausted, from some magical dreamlike force that keeps pulling me back and making it impossible for me to take orders, serve food, and clear tables.

So if you are like me and your anxiety levels begin to rise at the sight of school supplies in Target's dollar spot, you might just need a solid kick-off plan that will leave you feeling confident, prepared, and well-rested to enjoy the last weeks of summer.

Step 1: Breakdown Your Program

Start by thinking about the different building blocks that make up your kindergarten program and create a list.

You might include: 

Materials   

These are school tools your children need to know how to use, care for, and clean up.

Routines/Procedures 

This includes step-by-step tasks such as unpacking, washing hands, lining up etc. 

Class Rules 

Often called rules, agreements, or promises, these form the foundation of your behavior management program.

First Day Back to School Beginning of Year Kindergarten Plan

Centers 

Any centers children will use including physical spaces as well as bins of materials.

Learning Blocks 

This is your daily schedule and the different blocks of time that make up that schedule.

Getting to Know You 

Activities that help you get to know your children and build strong relationships from the beginning.

Step 2: Create Notecard Decks

For each building block you have identified, create note cards for that category.  For example, with materials, you will make one card each for scissors, crayons, pencils, etc. and with learning blocks, you will make a card for math, reading, writing, etc.

On each card, record important information that you want to communicate to children.  Include clear, consistent language that includes step-by-step directions and systems/structures used.  Leave some blank space so you can add notes and reflections as you carry out your plan. 


First Day Back to School Beginning of Year Kindergarten Plan

Consider using a consistent launch routine so the children look forward to each new material, center, etc. Include songs, books, games, and activities that will keep children engaged as they learn about each new part of your program.

Color-code the cards for each element using different colored index cards, stickers, or markers.  This will help you put the decks back together, once you have used them to build your first day and beyond. 

Step 3: Build Your First Day

Choose cards from each deck to build your first day of school.  Go light on the first few days and keep your focus on creating an enjoyable first experience for your kiddos!  I use a grid to tentatively plan out what I will launch each day for the first two weeks. 

First Day Back to School Beginning of Year Kindergarten Plan

Step 4: Review and Reflect

At the end of the first day, reflect on how things went.  Remove cards that are no longer needed and add new ones to build your second day of school.  Continue in this manner until all systems are up and running! Take good notes as you go along of things you will want to remember next year!

Step 5: Reorder the Decks 

At the end of the kick-off period, sort the cards back into their original categories (i.e. materials, routines, etc.) and store them until next year! 

Creating these cards will take some time in the beginning, but you will find them invaluable in years to come. 

Not sure where to start, limited on time, or looking for a plan to work from? You can find my complete Kick-Off Plan HERE:


First Day Back to School Beginning of Year Kindergarten Plan

Wishing you a great start to your school year!

Thanks for stopping by!


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