And the winners are...

Congratulations to the winners from my New Blog Design Giveaway!  I hope these goodies will help your school year go smoothly and help your sweet little students with their learning goals.  Thanks so much for stopping by to participate!

The winner of the Fall Favorites:  Kari

The winner of the Foundational Skills Packs: Lorena

The winner of all three of my Print and Go! Bundles: Laura D.

I will be contacting each of you later today by email to give you your prizes.  Yahoo for you!

Happy teaching!

Five for Friday! 9-25-15

Hi there!  I am so happy to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.

My blog has a new design and I am having a giveaway to celebrate.  There are three prize packs!  My store has been on sale all week too!  I still have everything 20% off today!  You can go grab a good deal if you need something for your Kinder or First grade classroom.  The giveaway is going on until tonight 6:00 pm Eastern time.  Let me know what you think of the new design.

I promise that I did not plan for  the pocket chart to match my little birdies... just a happy accident!  Ha ha!  So, we did this as a whole group activity and then I taught my kiddos how to make tally marks for this page from my Print and Go! Back to School.  They did a great job and I felt like this activity was a big success.  It was a perfect blend of what we have been doing in ELA and math.  Woo hoo!

OK, and can I just say how much I love my kiddos' names this year... and my kiddos too, of course!  I have some truly amazing little people in my classroom.

This is an image of what the page from my pack looks like:

We did two math lessons with these cards and cubes this week.  We reviewed number order, counted forwards and backwards, wrote numerals and then did the worksheet from my new math program that related to the concepts.  I changed up the lessons to work a bit better for our classroom.  I appreciate a lot of things about this program, but I need to make it work for my classroom.  I thought these materials helped my kids solidify the concepts being taught better than the lesson as it was written.  My kids totally demonstrated mastery on the worksheets, so I think this worked great!  I did this as a center with small groups.  Sometimes the lessons work fine as written, but sometimes the transitions required to pass out materials for the whole group wastes so much time.  I am doing more of the lessons as centers instead of whole class.  I also feel like I get a much better picture of who is "getting it" and who needs help.  This is my first year doing this new math program, so it is a learning curve for me.  But, I am up for the challenge!  You can get those number cards here.

We also did a lesson where the kiddos were telling stories about teddies and I modeled writing number sentences.  Then they did a flower picture and wrote their own number sentence.  We just did this with small numbers.  Since we told teddy stories for 3,4,5, I let them do flower stories for 3,4, or 5.   We did this lesson with part/part/whole (2+1=3) equations and then did another lesson later in the week with whole/part/part number sentences (3=2+1).  So far, my kiddos are keeping up with the pace and getting the concepts.  Although the worksheet for the whole/part/part number sentences was tricky! 

My Print and Go! Back to School pack is sure coming in handy.  I needed a letter sound independent center that my kiddos could handle.  This was perfect!  They LOVED using Do-a-Dots to stamp the answers.  Woo hoo!  I love it when they are doing serious academics and feel like it is fun:)

And I just have to say this, because as kindergarten teachers, this is a constant line we have to walk.  I am very concerned about the balance of academic rigor with developmental appropriateness.  My students PLAY every day in my classroom.  EVERY DAY, and I'm not just talking about recess.  The way I do my centers has open ended play and exploration built in.  It works great!  I just felt like I needed to mention that because this post is so academic.  Even though my kiddos are doing very important learning, they are also doing very important playing, as they should be!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Don't forget to go check out all the other great blogs on Doodle Bugs Teaching.
Happy teaching!

New Blog Design ~ Celebration and Giveaway!

Woo hoo!  What do you think?  I have a new look thanks to Kassie Garlock at Designs by Kassie.  She is wonderfulKassie is great to work with and very creative.  If you ever get your blog re-designed, put her at the top of your list.  I hope you like the look as much as I do.

So, in order to celebrate, I am having a 20% off SALE all week in my TpT store (through Friday) and you can enter to win some great prize packs from my store as well.

If you go visit my Facebook page to enter the contest,  consider clicking the LIKE button and following my page.  I post daily with free ideas, inspiration, flash freebies, and more.  If you are a fb person, you will want Mrs.Byrd's Learning Tree in your feed.

Here are the goodies you could win:

Prize pack #1:  Print and Go! packs for the entire school year.  You can win all three of my Print and Go! bundles: Fall, Winter, and Spring.  Woo hoo!  Enter to win below.  This giveaway will last until Friday Sept. 25th at 6:00pm Eastern Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prize pack #2: Some great products to help you tackle foundational skills in your classroom this year.  You can win my Print and Go! CVC Bundle, my new Number Cards 1-20 pack, and Color, Cut, Sort Numbers 1-10.  Enter to win below.  This giveaway will last until Friday Sept. 25th at 6:00pm Eastern Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prize pack #3:  Get ready for fall with these fun packs for Halloween and fall themes.  You can enter to win Print and Go! Halloween, Print and Go! Apples, Pumpkins, and Leaves, and What can I be for Halloween Emergent reader and Literacy Center.  Enter to win below.  This giveaway will last until Friday Sept. 25th at 6:00pm Eastern Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will announce the winners on Saturday Sept. 26th.  Good luck!

Thanks so much for stopping by and helping me celebrate!  Hope you have a great week.
Happy teaching!

Five for Friday!

Hi there!  I am soooooo glad it is Friday.  I had another busy busy week and I am looking forward to sleeping  the weekend.  I had Back to School night on Wednesday so...  you know how it is.  I know that at some point in the future I will feel caught up and on top of my game.  Still have too much on my to do list to say I am there yet.

1.  This is what my main bulletin board in my classroom has looked like the first two weeks of school.  I finally got it up last weekend to get ready for Wednesday night.

This is how it turned out.  I am pretty happy with it.

The kiddos did name puzzles and I also traced their sweet little hands on the first day of school as my center (job).  It brightens up our room.  Now I need to think about what I want to put up to replace it... hmmmm.

2.  This is bulletin board number two.  This activity was done on the second day of school after reading The Kissing Hand  By Audrey Penn.  This board is actually bigger, but this gives you a good idea of how it looked.  I have 20 kids in my class right now.

This is the response page that the kiddos filled out with my help.  I covered up the name on this one, but you can tell the name would go on the top line.  I wrote in the feeling word or words each student wanted me to write.  This little guy didn't want me to write a feeling.  He just wanted his little heart.  Who am I to argue?  It's fine with me for the second day of kinder...  Nice job on the hand tracing, right?   He did it all by himself.  Woo hoo!  You can get a response page like this one for FREE here:  Kissing Hand Freebie!

3.  I finally opened up my new set of flair fine tip pens.  I bought these especially for my thank you notes.  I often add a little doodle in my notes just for fun.  I had seen some other teachers talk about these on Instagram and I am such a sucker for fine tip pens in many colors.   LOVE them!

4.  Speaking of Instagram...  I am so happy because I finally figured out how to post on Instagram at my school.  We have a website blocking system for kiddo safety and unfortunately my school is out in the boonies, so I don't have enough juice on my phone to post without using wi-fi.  My school secretary told me how she was able to use the fb app so I tried it with Instagram on my phone and it worked!!!  Yay!!!  I wanted to post some fun things going on in the classroom this year.  This was my first post from my actual classroom this week.   If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me right here: @mrsbyrdslearningtree.

5.  I have been fighting my first bug of the year.  I had a sore throat first.  So I fought it off with these goodies among other things.  I am a believer in coloidal silver.  I always use it whenever I feel something coming on.  I just drop it right down in my throat.  You can drop it down your nose too!  I also had some ginger tea with honey and lemon.  YUM!!!  Nothing like that to soothe a sore throat.  Zinc lozenges are a must.  My husband is an acupuncturist, so we use lots of natural remedies for all the cold and flu symptoms throughout the year.  He really likes olive leaf extract, too.  That is what is in the little green and yellow tincture bottle.  I took a dropper full in a little water three times per day.

I also took some of this.  I ALWAYS take this when I feel like I am sick or getting sick.  It is the best stuff ever!!!  Diagnosis with Chinese medicine is totally different than western medicine.  I usually take this with some other Chinese herbs as well, depending on my symptoms.  Since my hubby is a licensed acupuncturist, all I have to do is ask him what to take.  If you are considering taking Chinese herbs or other natural remedies, I strongly urge you to talk to a professional health care provider that you trust before you take anything.

They did the trick and I was feeling much better...

...but there are LOTS of snotty noses in my classroom right now.  OMGoodness!  I have been helping babies blow their noses!  So, now I am sneezing and feeling a bit congested.  Time to start back with the herbs and tea again.

I never should have stopped taking them.  (This week kicked my butt!)

Why is it so hard to take care of myself when I am teaching???

I think I will just sleep all weekend.  Ooohhh that sounds so good.  Sleeeep...
I might do laundry too.

But, that's it.  Sleep and do laundry.  That's my agenda for the weekend. 

Make sure you go check out all the other great blogs over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for the linky!
Thanks for stopping by!  Hope your weekend is way more exciting than mine.
Happy teaching!

How do you teach the ABCs? Part Two

Hi there, I am back again to talk about how I teach the ABCs in my classroom.  This is the one thing I do that I think helps ALL kids become fluent with letters and sounds.  It is really important for kinder students to become fluent with using letters and sounds for the real purpose of reading and writing.  I think this product more than any other helps my students master letters and sounds.  It is a Kinesthetic Alphabet with a character and movement for each letter.  I teach each letter explicitly with the movement.  When all letters have been taught, we do the chant every day until all students have mastered letters and sounds.  It takes no more than 5 minutes of instructional time to do the chant.  This is by far the most powerful instructional method for teaching letters and sounds.  Period!

I have been doing some version of a kinesthetic alphabet since my very first year teaching kindergarten (eighteen years ago).  It is kind of an obvious thing to get your kids moving while saying the letters and sounds.  It really helps address the various learning modalities of your students and it is FUN!

These are some examples of the teaching posters.  You can also see an example of the back side with directions and a scripted lesson for each letter if you choose to use it.  After I teach this alphabet to my kiddos, we then use this alphabet chart for reading and writing.  Always!  The kids go from using the chant and motions to remember the letters/sounds to eventual fluency.  It works!  The chart is free in my TpT store.  You can go grab it there.  Just click on the image below.

I will try to add a video of me doing the chant with my class as soon as I can.

If you would like to add this set to your language arts program, you can go get it in my TpT store.  Just click on the image below to go grab it.

Happy teaching!

Five for Friday

Hi there!  Whoo-eee!  This tired teacher has been a busy bee.  My first day of school was August 26th.  Here are a few fun things we have done to get kindergarten in Room 5 off the ground.  I love my little class.  I have some really neat students this year. 

1.  This project is close to my heart.  I write the kiddos' names on poster board in black marker.  The sweeties then glue on black beans to cover the letters as they learn or review them with the teacher.  It is a perfect first week of kinder activity.  The three center sessions to make the self portrait people are also great for fine motor and setting up procedures and expectations for art materials.  This project is great because it becomes a permanent reference for students' names in the classroom.  They use it all year long to write each other notes during choice time.

2.  This was a quick set of weather cards with a little graph I made to use during calendar time.  I am trying to get the NGSS into my routine this year  even though implementation for CA is a year or two down the road.  This is not something I made to sell.  Notice it doesn't even have snow as a type of weather.  Just did this for my little classroom.   It's pretty basic stuff.  I had a chart we were using to track the weather each week.  But the cards were UUHGG- LEEEEEE!  I couldn't stand them anymore.  So I made these new ones and the graph to go with it.  I LOVE that we are recording the data from our daily observations.

3. We got our September calendars done and sent home.  This was one of my few sweeties who already had some experience with writing numbers.  She got to 14 with a little help and then I did the rest for her.  Do you like the apple?  This was my vision when I planned this art project.  The kids painted card stock with apple colors.  I demonstrated a somewhat painterly version, but this is the first week of kindergarten, so what was I thinking?   Most of them were chunky stripes of color.  We had a wide variety of interesting apples when they cut them out and added a stem and leaf.   If you want some monthly calendars for number writing and pattern practice, you can get them here: Calendars for Number Writing - Perpetual

4. On the third day of school, I facilitated a conversation with my kiddos about rules and why we have them.   Together, we decided on these for the year.  (They are always the same.  Wink, wink.) I have never had a situation that didn't fall under one of these rules.  I actually think these rules work for everyone at all times, even adults!  They are my life rules.  They work for my classroom and my kiddos.   I also sent home a paper explaining each one and the behaviors that are covered with each rule to the parents after we made them.

5.  I don't often get gifts on the first day of school, but this was absolutely precious.  There is a special reason I got this Kona coffee as a gift.   This little boy is such a cutie patootie!  Boy, he sure knows what a teacher really needs the first week of school, right?  Totally HIS idea.  Got it in Hawaii this summer.  Lucky ducky!  (I have NEVER been to Hawaii)  But I LOVE this coffee.  And I LOVE him!

Make sure you go check out all the other great blogs over at Doodle Bugs Teaching.

Hope your school year is off to a great start!
Thanks for stopping by.
Happy teaching!