Just wanted to share a couple GREAT ideas!

On Constitution Day we learned about the Constitution, wrote our own (as a class), signed it, and made little self portraits to display by it.  Turned out pretty cool!

I believe physical activity is so important for kids.  Research provides a very strong link between physical activity and positive academic performance...  (if you want to know more about that, I actually wrote my thesis on it last year and condensed all the most interesting parts into a short little document and added in a bunch of practical fun ways for teachers to get kids moving in the classroom HERE!). I teach half day K this year so we're only together a brief time, but I still make sure they get 15 minutes of "recess" because I have always learned "play is children's work!"  Anyway- we like to get outside if whether permits, but when we're stuck inside on rainy days, we get out the trampoline and they love bouncing away!  It's the most popular thing!  You're probably saying- I don't have a trampoline- but just tuck this idea away and keep your eyes out for one and you'll find it ... I found this one at a garage sale for $3!  THREE DOLLARS!  I let them wear their shoes (to keep it simple) and they each gets  1 minute turn to bounce their little hearts out.  
 I taught them how to use the second hand on the clock to time for 1 minute... and my para also had this slick 1 minute timer form lakeshore so we've started using that, too.  Great for teaching turn taking, timing, and most of all- getting some energy out! btw, when we're not using it, I store it sideways behind a bookcase it it's not even noticeable.  

Do you have your emergency sub plans set?  Want to get a week's worth done just in the time it takes to make some copies???  My BEST SELLER on TPT is a wonderful week's worth of sub plans... do yourself a favor and check it out!  I put all mine together last week (see the picture below for some of them, all bundled up and ready to roll) and wow- it was so simple and such a relief to know that if I have a kid get sick in the night (I have 3 little ones so it totally happens), or if I'm suddenly not well, or even if I have a planned absence and don't have time or energy to make up something fabulous,  the last thing I have to stress over is sub plans!!  I have a binder that explains the procedures and basic schedule of my room and then these plans give the sub and students plenty of quality, meaningful, fun stuff to work on!  I feel SET for the entire year!

Listen to what other teachers are saying, just in the past couple weeks about these


"A GREAT way to work smarter not harder!!! Easiest emergency sub plans ever!!!!"

"As a parent of young kids, it is so nice to know I have amazing sub plans set up in case I need to be out. What a huge time saver. Thank you!!"

"Very thorough plans. I love that I can simply print and copy and I'm ready for a sub. I appreciate all the hard work that shines through this resource."

This zipped file will provide you with 5 entire day's worth of projects and educational activities that you can easily leave for a sub. These 5 days could be consecutive OR spread across the entire school year... it's just nice to have some activities laid out and ready to go if and when those last minute emergencies or sick days pop up. I always keep a set of Super Speedy Sub Plans in a folder on my desk all ready to go... just in case! It's a huge stress-reducer!

Plans are based around 4 popular children's books you probably have in your classroom library or you could easily find in your school library:
1. The Mitten by Jan Brett
2. Pinkalicious by Elizabeth & Victoria Kann (2 days worth!)
3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.
4. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Everything is appealing, VERY clearly explained, and spans across many subjects/skills: math, reading, writing, health, listening, art, teamwork, class books, and even games just for fun!

I've personally used all of these in my all-day K classroom with subs and they've been a huge hit! I taught 1st grade for 9 years and know these would transfer well to 1st grade, too. 

Okay, one more great idea worth sharing!  I got this from some super experienced pre-school teachers who I was teaching VBS with over the summer and I thought "Wow!  I can't believe I never thought of this!"  So here ya go!  Any time kids were cutting, they put ice cream buckets in the center of the table for them to drop their scraps in!  No excuses for not cleaning up and no need to walk all around the room.  It's a LITTLE thing (like I never thought having kids simply walk to the recoiling bin was a big deal) but it's actually really convenient and saves some time!
So far, I've just been using some little plastic containers and we call them the "mini recoiling bins."  Kids love it... works like a charm!  
one of our "mini recycling bins"
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Word Wallets and more!

The teachers at my school and I are LOVING the new Popcorn Word Power Packs!!  They come with everything you need for the entire year of teaching sight words!!  

And what are other teachers saying about it? 

"Thank you so much. A true time saver!"

"Great way to motivate kids to learn their popcorn words!"

"This is just what I was looking for. Can't wait to use it in my classroom!"

I did a lot of research to make sure I included all the most commonly occurring words- the ones that would be most valuable and helpful for little readers to learn first!  

Words are arranged in order... beginning with the most frequently occurring words first (including 78 of the first 100 Fry words and well over half of the beginning Dolch words). They come organized month by month so you can introduce 2-3 new words per week/10-11 new words per month.

Words included are:
month 1: I, am, a, at, an, go, to the, this, is my
month 2: see, me, can, we, up, look, and, like, will, you
month 3: do, it , how, has, had, in, on, big, be, his
month 4: run, as, would, are, here, come, have, one, happy, new
month 5: he, she, said, with, him, her, some, them, for, all, so
month 6: little, not, love, from, they, went, of, into, was, what
month 7: there, where, what, that, way, fun, play, time, word, but
month 8: then, put, make, out, over, more, use, other, if, were, about
month 9: two, by, many, yes, or, no, their, each, very, which 

One of the cool things that comes all ready to go for each month's words is a really fun little “word wallet” complete with “dollars” for each popcorn word.  We finally got these out a few weeks ago and my class was LOVING IT.  They couldn't wait to take their wallets home and practice.  It was also impressive how honestly they assessed themselves (putting the words they know on one side and words they don't on the other).  

Here they are reading words to each other/ helping each other.

Also included is:
* a bracelet for each week with the words of the week on it
* a trace, write, mix & fix, glue and color page to go along with each word (all of that on one page per word)
* a word search for the month’s words
* a word detective coloring sheet (see below... my daughter is a Kindergartener and she loves this- I think her teacher put out extra for the kids to practice if they want and she does it a few times per week!)
* a roll-a-word dice game (my class was SOOOO excited playing this- it was adorable- wish I had a picture of that!)

ALSO included, you get...
* several assessment options… 
* one you can send home to keep parents in the loop about their child’s progress… 
this is my daughter's hanging on the fridge... 11/11... yesss! :)

* and 2 different styles of helpful tracking sheets for you so you’re able to easily view & use student data to drive your teaching.  Here is an example from one of my classes... kind of messy, but it took about 2 minutes to look through their assessments and add check marks onto this grid.  I decided a check mark means they DON'T know the word.  So then I can really simply and quickly look and see who needs to work on certain words... I was surprised so many of them didn't know "at" and "this" so I'm planning some special things this week to focus more on those words.  I LOVE how easy it is! (sorry for the side-ways pic, but I think you get the idea!)

To get a sneak peek of what these look like, check out the preview!! :) OR if you REALLY want a good preview, download the first month for FREE! Click here to check it out!!

Oh, and I even made the cutest little emergent reader books to go with the first 2 months worth of words... they are AWESOME!!!  I'm just giggling every time I use them cause I love them so much (and the kids do, too)!  (see a picture in the previous post)

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