Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ready for Kindergarten???

As a teacher, have you ever been asked, "What does my child need to know before going to Kindergarten?"  Or, as a parent, have you ever asked that question? 

I have been asked that question DOZENS of times over the past few years!! Parents are starting to realize that kindergarten is not all playtime and nap-time anymore... a child's kindergarten year truly is the foundation to a successful elementary schooling!! In kindergarten, we teach many basic skills---everything from counting to matching to sounding out sounds and even reading! We also teach many basic social skills necessary for students as they start their school journey.  We teach sharing, waiting, communication skills and even friendship skills.  Whether it is educational or social skills, kindergarten is where students learn skills that used to be taught in upper grades.

Every year in the spring, my school hosts an 'open house' for incoming kindergartners.  This is a great time to answer many parent's questions and we address any fears or concerns they may have.  We get them registered to enter kindergarten and we give parents a simple checklist to make sure their child is ready for kindergarten in the fall.  Some of the questions included on the checklist are:

1. Can your child sit attentively for at least 10 minutes?
2. Can your child take care of their own toileting needs?
3. Can your child ask for help?
4. Can your child focus for 10 minutes or more?
5. Can your child listen quietly during the time a book is being read to them?

We use these questions, and others, as a guide for parents to gauge if their child is ready to be a kindergartner. While some parents may not be able to fully answer "yes" to all of our questions, if they can mostly answer yes, then we think they are ready for kindergarten.   

I also make sure that parents know that there are TONS of resources out there to help prepare children for school! We list out websites that have helpful resources and games to get kids in the "school mode" before starting school.  We encourage parents to keep practicing school appropriate skills with their pre-schooler at home such as listening quietly when a book is being read, not interrupting when someone is speaking and following direction when told something by an adult.  

Here are a few websites we love:

Students will love the bright colors, cute graphics and fun games provided on these websites!  I also make sure that parents know about Teachers Pay Teachers and Educents!  Both are great sites that provide parents and homeschoolers a great variety of games and activities that are free or very inexpensive!! 

In fact, Educents is now offering a WONDERFUL collection of goodies, which I am pleased to be a part of!! This bundle is made especially for pre-schoolers and homeschoolers!  It covers all of the basic skills and it is sure to have any preschooler ready for kindergarten!
For a limited time, it is $29.99 which is over 70% off from it's original value if all the items were bought individually!!  Take a look below to see all of the specific items that are included!!

Be sure to let me know what you think of the bundle!! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Addition Number Stories!

Happy Thursday! 
Anyone else glad Friday is right around the corner??
I am! 
This full moon week has reeked havoc on our kiddos!!

This week my kiddos have been working on addition number stories!
It's amazing how using food and animals as the main objects in my stories can really keep the kid's attention!

I found these cute ladybug mats here.  
They were free and perfect size for my kids!
We used them a ton and it was a great visual to be able to count the ladybug's dots.  I gave them the number of dots for each side, they put them on each wing, then slid them together to find the total number of dots!  It worked like a gem!! Everything in this first step was done orally only! It sounded something like this, "I had a ladybug who had 6 dots on her left wing and 4 dots on her right wing. How many dots did she have all together?"
I then moved to having the kids see the number equations. I did this after I was sure the kids understood the number stories that were done orally.  I wanted to ensure that they were not overloaded with the auditory and visual parts at the same time.  
A few days later we started just writing the equations on dry erase boards. A number of kids were having trouble with just the equation. I was trying to see if they would resort to using their fingers or mental math to count. A few kids did pop their fingers up and use them while others did try to use mental math. The kids who used mental math were off a number or two when they gave their answers. So, after I gave them an equation I gave them the suggestion to put dots under each number so they would still have a visual to count.  This worked so well for them all! 
 We will continue to practice addition number stories with sums up to 10.  
I think it's time for me to get busy on an 'addition number story packet'! 
Look for it soon!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

I have something to tell you...

Hi there folks!
I'm glad you are reading here today, but I must confess, this post will have almost no true education content! If you are still reading this bare with me while a ramble for a quick minute!!

Boy, I finally found a spare moment to blog.....who am I kidding, I have a list a mile long of things to do, dirty dishes calling my name and master's homework that needs to be done but, all that can wait!! I have something to tell you.

If you are loyal follower of mine or just a fellow teacher who stumbled upon my blog post today, you may (or may not) have noticed that I've been bloggy-absent for a while.... a month and three days to be exact, but who's counting, right!?! 

Well, I've been a bit busy, to say the least! 
Let me catch you up with what I've been doing... and not doing! 

About three months ago, my husband and I received some news.  If you've been following me for a while, you know that we are a military family.  My husband has been active duty Air Force for 11 years now. Well, sometime in September we were informed that yes, it was our time again---time to pack everything up and move! And not just any move...but a move that requires getting a passport and visa...yep, you guessed it....we got order to move overseas! In less than 90 days now, our family will be moving overseas to England!!  

(Deep breath, Liz, deep breath!) 
Before you ask, yes, I am very overwhelmed.  
My mind has been on overdrive for months and my mind is spinning! I am VERY uncertain about what the future holds, how everything will work out, how we will sell our house in time, how we will find a house over there, how my kids will handle of this, and the list goes on and on!!!! I am learning, everyday, that I have got to stop worrying. Everything will happen when it's supposed to, in the way it's supposed to....

 I think about it, pray about it, and try to let it go! 

I tell you all of this to let you know that I'm not sure what the future hold for me as a teacher, a blogger and a TpT creator! As of now, my plan is to take a year off from teaching in order to get our housing situation straighten out, travel like crazy and be a stay at home mom.  I will continue to blog, but instead of a teacher, maybe more of a volunteer in my daughter's school. And yes, I will continue to create resources for TpT. Since kindergarten is all I know, I imagine that's where I will continue my focus all of my creations! 

 As of now, we are due to leave during the week of spring break. I have a found an amazing long term sub who I am certain, will love my school babies the way that I do!

So, I hope that you will continue to support me as a blogger, TpT creator, teacher/school volunteer, and whatever else the future holds for me!

Thank you for all of your love and support over the past year and a half!! 
 I will keep you updated on my overseas journey and until we move, I will keep blogging about my classroom adventures!