Sunday, September 28, 2014


Hi everyone! I have been off the blogging world for a couple of weeks now and I think I'm finally back! I forget what the first few weeks of kindergarten are like every year, but really I have been working since July (and sometimes my own expectations... are well my own)... and just now the dust is settling in! PHEWWWW!

Anyhow, this week I start tutoring in our after school program and begin working with lovely 3rd graders! Anyone know of AWESOME 3rd grade blogs I can follow? I picked one of our 3rd grade teacher's (WONDERFUL BRAIN Mrs. Gonzalez) this past week and she shared great ideas with me, one of them a "keyboarding" website, that I will shortly be sharing with you all.

In a nut shell, I always tell myself, that I WILL NEVER BE A TEACHER that TEACHES to the TEST! Instead I want to give and teach students, standards, strategies, resources, ideas that will help them solve problems and find solutions ("Teach HOW to THINK, Not WHAT to THINK") ... in my world if I do that; give them ANY MANDATED TEST and VOILA they will be successful! And this is my case right now. Last week I sat in our meeting where we were explained and told what the after school expectations will be and what needs to be "taught." None the less THE PARCC assessment was stressed and how it is crucial for us to help our students prepare for the test!
This is the first year our school district and many other school districts across the nation will be using this standardized test to evaluate student growth and teachers alike.
In order to be proactive and help decrease stress levels for both teachers and students, I have a list of  3 websites that you can use in your own classroom to prepare your students with computer literacy lessons and activities! Parents, you can also use these at home to help better prepare your students if you would like to.

1. This first website; helps students with basic and intermediate keyboarding skills. It is arranged by grade level beginning with kindergarten. The PARCC Assessments is 100% online where students will be expected to type, copy, and paste to answer questions! Let's get them started with a strong foundation in Computer Literacy Lesson! No need for setting up an account, just click on the lesson or unit you want your students to work on. It's that simple, fast, and convenient. Click below to explore the site :) and use it with your students.


2. This next website links you to "games" that students can play. All games and sites linked from this site have been found to support Common Core standards for Math and Language Arts (cited directly from their home page.) I have personally used this site at home with my 5th & 7th grader at home and they like it. It does re-direct them to other sites, so I have to re-direct them back to the original site.

 PARCC Games

3. Lastly, the actual practice Tests for PARCC. Parents and teachers, I really encourage you to take a look at these tests and try "practicing" them yourself and with your students! Then comment below with your thoughts, ideas, opinions!

I will keep you posted on how my 3rd graders will like and use these sites. In the mean time, I will only have 10 students three times a week for an hour and fifteen minutes. this is what my schedule will look like. I'm planning on using "2 center rotations between me and their journal activities" and no more than 5 to a group. Mini lesson will be based on student needs and test/assessment data. 

3:15 to 3:35 - Homework Time

                        3:35 to 3:45 - Reading Mini Lesson (Tuesday)
                                               Math Mini Lesson (Wednesday)
                                                                  Word Problems Comprehension (Thursday)
                              3:45 to 4:15 - Guided Reading or Guided Math &
                                          Interactive Journal activities
                 4:15 to 4:25 - PARCC Readiness Lessons

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Interactive Journals in Kindergarten

How many of you use interactive journals in kindergarten? I do, I do!!! They come in so handy during parent teacher conferences and are perfect for quick, fast, effective, formative assessments! If you are new to interactive journals, are considering using them, or don't know what they are, well this  post is for you.

I began using journals for "writing" and "math" 6 years ago with my kindergarteners to "keep track" of writing and "work samples" for grades. Honestly they were pretty boring and not very useful. They were just plain NOTEBOOKS!!! My first year teaching my mentor used them with her 3rd graders and I really LOVED how she used them as portfolios and formative assessments. I guess I was trying to do the same thing, but not very successful :( I just couldn't figure out how to really implement them at a kindergarten level. Until 3 years ago, the light bulb finally went off! Thanks to Common Core! Common Core gave me a clear road map to what exactly my Kinders needed to learn by the end of Kindergarten, and now here I am sharing them with you!

  • This is what you will need: Two composition notebooks: one for reading, one for math, painters tape (7 Different Colors,) envelopes. colored labels or not.

  • Next you will divide notebook number 1 into 6 sections ( for Reading)

I count 16 pages, label the 17th one, so students have 16 pages to work on for each Common Core Strand.

Reading Notebook
    1. Print Concepts
    2. Phonological Awareness
    3. Phonics and Word Recognition
    4. Conventions of Standard English (L.K.1)
    5. Conventions of Standard English (L.K.2)
    6. Text Types and Purpose 
  • Then you will divide notebook number 2 into 5 sections (for Math)
I count 16 pages, label the 17th one, so students have 16 pages to work on for each Common Core Strand.

Math Notebook
    1. Counting & Cardinality
    2. Operations and Algebraic Thinking
    3. Number & Operations in Base Ten
    4. Measurement & Data
    5. Geometry

To look like this

At the very end you will staple or glue a yellow envelope for "unfinished" work. Often times students  do not finish their "cutting & pasting" work or activities and magically disappear! Or maybe just in my class, but I tell my students, that when the timer rings, or if they did not have time to finish one of those activities to place them in their "NOT FINISHED FOLDER" for later.

And TADA!!! Interactive journals for Kinders! Now you can make your own activities and have students work in the particular standard they will be learning about that week, day, or month. I'm currently working on compiling all the activities we use in these journals and will be sharing some more on that later. If you want these templates you can purchase them on my TPT store. But for tonight ONLY, I will leave it open for free download for an hour, while I go on my afternoon RUN!! Hurry up and tag some FRIENDS!! Just click below!!

If you have any questions please email me or ask!