FF Mrs. Kinder-hearted : 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My BRIGHT Classroom Tour

You know what is sad? Super-duper-can't-believe-I'm-saying-this-kind-of-sad? I worked countless hours in my classroom over the summer preparing it for my Kindergartners... and have been down-right too BUSY to share it with my followers! That is what I call a crying shame. So, here it is, beginning of November (over three-months into school for me) and I'm just now getting around to it. I call that Kindergarten Teacher priorities.

So, here it is, a little too-late.. My fortress. My happy place. My home-away-from-home. My ( depending on the moon phases and student behavior) zoo-house. My classroom.

If you ask me the theme, as many have, I just like to make it simple and call it BRIGHT.  If I saw something bright, I threw it in there somewhere. :)

Here was a clear shot on the first day of school. Because of my deep, deep need to move things around pretty constantly, it actually looks quite different than this now. "Hello, my name is Toni and I like changing the layout of my classroom every few weeks." I know, I'm weird. Thankfully, my classroom helper shares in my strange addiction. :)

Here is one of the MOST IMPORTANT elements of my classroom. THE RULES! I plan to upload a video soon of my rule routine. This little line of posters can make or break my whole school year. This year, reviewing these guidelines is a priority routine. Nothing gets in the way of it and my kids know these rules better than any content I've ever shown them. Sounds like I'm a little crazy? Well, I'm also obsessed with classroom management. You can click HERE or on the image to see my rules on TpT. :)


I love my Whimsy Clips! I wanted to make my room more multi-cultural and these kids did the trick! 


My back wall is a mural and it is huge. And time consuming. Imagine me, locked in my classroom all summer, stenciling this baby on the wall. You were probably resting and enjoying some sweet peace while I was doing all of this. Who is the real winner here? You! hehe.Those are my favorite alphabet posters ever hanging up there. I went through quite a few sets before I finally learned to make my own! You can find a whole blog post about how they changed the Letter/Sound fluency in my classroom. Look right HERE and you can watch a nifty little VIDEO. You can also click on the image below. 

 As if my classroom couldn't get any brighter, I went all crazy with the AstroBrights and made this sight-word data wall. Remind me and I'll give you my whole system for Rainbow Words sometime soon. It was a summer project and it has saved me hours of time this year. P.S. MY KIDS LOVE RAINBOW WORDS! 

Here is a calendar shot from back in September. Yes, this too has changed but some components are still the same. The number posters up at the top have been a real game-changer for my little struggling learners during Math time. The picture and ten-frame combo help them locate numbers easier and apply it to their work. You can find them HERE in my store.


Here is my newest LOVE. Math Works Daily. I promise to have it in my store ASAP. I'm just swamped for now. :( I do promise you though, it will be worth the wait!

Want to add a little color to your classroom on the CHEAP? These banners came from Wal-Mart and they are 97 cents per pack! They add a great dimension to my classroom. They also have polka-dots and other patterns. Momma loves bright-colored CHEVRON! :D :D 

And of course there is the rocking chair that I never get to sit in. Any other Kindergarten Teachers notice how little we actually get to sit down? Only during Read-Aloud and money collection for me.

Then there is the fence that I love so dearly. That the man that I love so dearly so dearly installed for his dear wife. Yep, he works for me over the summer in addition to his own job. Any of your husbands know the feeling? Teacher-husbands need their own support group or something. I love my handy-man. <3 

I'll end with this first-day morning message. I like for those to be colorful too!

I hope you have enjoyed snooping around in my classroom. That is seriously one of my favorite things to do. Call me nosy, but I love stealing ideas. :)

I'll post again soon, promise!

God bless you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Daily Write-It: Dictated Writing Routine


So, after 18 SNOW DAYS in my district this year, I am doing anything and everything to keep from catching the dreaded CABIN FEVER. (It's spreading around Facebook like crazy. It is REAL!) So, I've been trying to stay motivated and remember that there is life out there beyond the walls of this trailer. I do have 26 little ones that still need to learn when all of this mess melts away. Plus, I've thoroughly enjoying this special time with my 6-month-old. She is a great buddy to be trapped with. :)

So, after contemplating about my students and their needs, this is what I have created. Daily Write-It, a dictated writing routine. This set focuses on Simple Sentences containing only Pre-Primer Sight Words and easily decode-able  CVC words. So, what is Daily Write-It?


 What are some of the benefits I expect for my students:


I love using my SMARTBOARD any time possible, but I also thought about those of you that may not have one. There are actually THREE versions of this product in the download:


One of my FAVORITE aspects is this dandy way to format the Student Response pages. I love laminated file folders for this. So handy, durable and of course, RE-USABLE. I loath print costs! 

Check out this video of me describing the routine. I tried to be quick and to-the-point. If you aren't accustomed to Eastern Kentucky accents, this may be ALARMING in some way. I hate the sound of my own voice but I'm proud of my mountain heritage. :)

 Here are some up-close pictures of some of the aspects described in the video. 

These are the pages you will project on your SmartBoard or Document Camera. I think the picture cue aids visual learners and also makes it a little more visually-appealing (or just down-right CUTE, you could say). 

At the end of the routine, you'll scroll down to this page. There are two versions, one with pre-written sentences for your students to compare their work with AND one without sentences so you can manually write it on the board. 

Don't be too jealous of my beautiful hand-writing and artwork. hehehe!!

This is a peek into the Student Response Folder. I love the sight-word reference sheet here. Students can circle words and compare when spell checking as I did in the video.


Like I explained in the video, this space is on the front of the folder and allows students to close up their sentence when they are finished and illustrate. I LOVE THIS FEATURE. It makes it easy to quickly determine who is finished and who needs more support.  

By the way, don't be too jealous of my beautiful artwork. hehehe!!

 I also love the self-check portion. After a few weeks of this routine, I know sentence revision will be a breeze for my little-bitties.


This product is available now on my TpT store. Just click on any image to check it out. There is a great preview file that gives even more info. 

I can't wait to hear what you think about this! Please share your thoughts with me and any suggestions you have that might improve this resource.

God bless you and yours!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Word Works Daily: See the Reading Skills Routine in action!

(This is a transplant post from my former blog, My Kindergarten Obsession. This was actualy written in July 2014.

 I remember so clearly the incredible sense of fear and happiness I felt when I found out that I was going to be a Kindergarten Teacher. I felt so blessed to be among the few people I graduated with that actually found a job that summer. I also felt a distinct need to grow a beard, obtain a fake passport and fly to a remote island to escape my fears of teaching a grade level I knew nothing about. It was weird. Bipolar moment for sure.


Where am I going with this? Bored of my yapping? Yeah, me too. So, the point I'm trying to make is this: It would have been nice to see some Kindergarten teaching in action. That is why, when I created this resource (WW Daily), I knew I wanted to demonstrate it for those newbies that may not know what in the World to do with something like this.

So, here it is. Me, my deep-mountain accent and six incredible kids that I taught at Summer school this year. This isn't a true representation of a full classroom (I had 27 darlings this past year) but it does show the routine. I definitely could have benefited from this when I first began!
Hope you enjoy! Leave me a comment and tell me what you think! :)  


Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to Increase Letter & Sound Fluency in Kindergarten

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! (Effie style, minus the whole Reaping Day thing.) This is my very-first post here in my new blog. I'm crazy-excited! I hope you like it! 

You are probably here to learn how I SIGNIFICANTLY improved my student’s letter/sound fluency this year. Mind you, I did write SIGNIFICANTLY in capital letters for a reason. I’m screaming it at you: SIGNIFICANTLY!!!!!!!!

This great change came after our incredible Reading Specialist suggested that I add motions to our letter/sound practice. She actually told me this last school year but I waited too long to implement it. Sad face. :(  So, I jumped on board head-first this school year. In all honesty, it was the BEST change I've ever made.

After practicing for only two weeks, I noticed that my new Kindergarteners were already latching on and internalizing their letters and sounds! It was amazing, and I’ll never do it any differently ever again.

Watch this video and then I’ll explain a little more later down the page.

 If you are interested in trying this (which I highly recommend with all of my strongest, tingly-est, most heartfelt Kindergarten vibes), I’ll explain my process. (If you have a better way, I’d love to hear about in the comment section. I love new ideas! :D)

First, I created the posters. I actually printed two sets: one for my wall and one for flashing when we practice. You can check them out HERE on my TPT store, or you can easily create your own motions using any set you may already have. 


On the first day of school, I explained to my students that in our classroom, we use a lot of “secret signals.” We are… after-all… super, stealthy Ninja kids. “Even our letters have signals! Isn’t that awesome! Today we will learn a few of them.”

I go on to explain that each letter makes a sound, and we make the sound while we do the signal. “The first letter is A. A makes the /a/ sound.  Our picture for Aa is apple. Have you ever had an apple? What does it look like when you eat it?” (Students demonstrate.) “Perfect! While we pretend to eat an apple, say ‘A, apple, /a/,/a/,/a/. Great! Let’s practice that again!”


Connecting the motion with something students are familiar with really helps them recall them later on. (I’ll explain all of our motions below, in case the video left you wondering what in the World we were doing. hehe) Also, holding a poster with the letter and picture helps students begin to identify the letters in written form. I constantly remind students to focus on the actual letters when we go over them to assist in this identification. 

I went on to teach my students 5 letters/sounds that first day. After teaching each individual letter, I would go back and repeat all preceding letters until all 5 were taught. I did 5 new ones each day (while repeating all previously taught) until we had covered them all. 

After two weeks of daily practice, at least 85% (of my 26 students) already knew the entire alphabet! I felt like it took me months to accomplish this same milestone the year before. It was a great feeling!


We continue to have this as a part of our routine each day even though students have already mastered them all. I notice the more we practice, the quicker they can access this knowledge when decoding and reading words. Plus, they wouldn’t let me forget a day of this practice anyway. They just love this routine!

We also do an extension to this routine with Blends & Digraphs. I will post a video demo of this very soon too. You can find those posters HERE. On a side note, I always add motions to our SIGHT WORD PRACTICE and our CLASS RULES too. You just can’t go wrong with some fun ole’ hand motions.


I hope you found something useful here today! God bless you and yours! <3