Monday, August 26, 2013

Class Books For 21st Century Learners

This week we are working on name writing, both ours and those of our friends. We are emphasizing the first letter capital and the rest lower case and using proper letter formation. To do this we always do a Student of the Day and each student draws and writes the person's name for a class book. Well, this year I thought I'd take the class book to a new level using a great app I discovered this summer. If you haven't already gotten it I HIGHLY recommend MyStorybook Maker. It is one of the most kid friendly book making apps I've found. Right now I am using it with my students making a whole group book. I take a photo of the student of the day with the camera on the iPad then import it into the book and type our sentence "Jenny is my friend". Super easy. I can add borders, change the font, add sound effects, or record my voice reading the story aloud. I can then e-mail it as a PDF when we are finished and print it out to put in our book center. It was not a free app, but it was well worth the money. (I think it was around $3.99?) I can't wait to use this app more and more throughout the year, eventually putting the technology into the hands of my students and having them creating their own books.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Items!

I've got some great new things I've created for the beginning of the year. This week we are introducing our first sight word for the year, "my", so I created an early emergent predictable book to use with my kindies. It's super simple and easy to decode so it's the perfect way to begin the guided reading block for the year. It's called "Me" and is a 2-word per page book of the things associated with the little girl. The file has 2 options: a 2-per page set for individual student books and a large, single page for a class book. You can grab it at my TPT store by clicking on the photo below.
I also created a simple Editor's Checklist for kindergarten that covers the five main areas of kindergarten writing development: capitals, spacing, punctuation, spelling sight words correctly, and sound spelling unknown words. It's visually appealing and has different clip art on each page to help even your non-readers learn the steps. It's a great tool to have in the classroom to use to reference during whole group writing and for self monitoring during independent writing.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Perch! It's Perky!!

I've been hard at work getting The Perch ready for students to come tomorrow. There are still some things to do, but I wanted to share my room with you. I'm SO proud of the way it looks this year. I have worked hard to create a happy, inviting and fun atmosphere that students will want to be. I want the emphasis to be on happiness and joy so that those feelings and emotions carry over into our work and enhance the learning. So, here you go!
Cute owl on my hall window

Sign above my reading center. Each center has one: Read, Write, Build, Create, Explore, Become

Reading center

View of the front. How do you like my $10 writing center???

Art center

House center

Close up of the $10 writing center. It was a headboard for a twin bed. I found it at a local thrift store.
 I added an oil drip pan to use as a mobile word wall and VOILA, an inexpensive writing center~

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Dry Erase Tables!!!

It's been a few weeks since my last post. We went on vacation and The Perch has been busy, but now it's back in gear for next year! So, here goes. First, my tables are coming together. I took off my super awesome, absolutely fabulous time saving miracle dry erase sad. But, they've been replaced this year! Last year my circles were made from Oracal 651 high gloss white adhesive vinyl, and they worked well for the purpose. By May they were pretty yucky. But, then again, we used them all the time. Last year was a trial run to see how it would go, and I loved them so much because of the time they saved. So this year I splurged and bought actual dry erase vinyl so that they will look better and be much easier to clean. Here's a pic:
Now, where did I get the vinyl, you ask? I got it from a company called AlumaPanel. We have the store in my town. They are a sign supply company that also sells to the public. It is a little bit pricey, but well worth the money. They sell it in a few different size combinations. My roll was 24"x6 yards, I think, and it was around $25. I know you're wondering why I decided to go with rectangles this year instead of circles, so here's the answer 1) Since the vinyl was expensive, I realized that I could get more bang for my buck out of the roll using straight lines rather than wasting so much cutting out circles, and 2) Doing them as rectangles is more like paper, so it will help with early writing skills. If you want to get your own dry erase vinyl they sell it in a lot of places online and on Amazon. If you don't want to splurge on the dry erase vinyl the Oracal 651 high gloss permanent vinyl will work in a pinch. BUT....I found that the Bic brand dry erase markers, in BLACK, work the best and leave the least amount of mess. Expo black is ok, but the colored expos leave a lot of mess. So, if you go that route try and use the Bic markers. If you're on a budget go Oracal. It's not the best results, but it will work and is fine. If you do have the extra money to spend I would highly recommend trying to get the dry erase vinyl. It will be well worth the money.

I might be selling these in my Etsy store later on after school gets started, but I'll definitely let you know. I'll post the rest of the room pics this week!