Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bird Unit: 50% Through the Weekend

I so LOVE spring!  Truly...the grass turning green, the azaleas blooming, and the songbirds singing.  Thus the inspiration for this non-fiction unit all about SPRING BIRDS!  I did TONS of research for this non-fiction unit and learned so much in the process.

Where do birds live?
Most people answer "In a nest!" ...including myself when I first started my research.  But alas, I was wrong!  Kids will be excited to find out so much new and engaging  information about hummingbirds (They are the ONLY birds that can fly BACKWARDS...no joke!), wrens, woodpeckers, chickens, finches, and robins.  The unit has REAL photographs throughout to keep kiddos' interest!

Here's a peek at some of the goodies you'll find!

We tried to make the unit super simple to use by breaking down each of the activities into categories:
Pre-Assessment
Building Knowledge
Recording Information
Checking for Understanding
...and Free Choice!

There are TONS of resources and teaching tools...over 100 pages!  


This unit will sell for $8.00, but it will be discounted through the weekend for $4.00!

If it looks FUN and ENGAGING to you...please leave a comment!  We'll choose 2 of you to WIN this pack!  Be sure and leave your email in the comments too!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ready for Springs---Awesome Workshop

We were loving the spring weather!! The temperatures were in the 70s and 80s!! Now, all of the sudden, the temperature dipped back into the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Ahhhh!! We want our warmness back!!
Spring Break is just around the corner!! We are working hard to keep kids engaged, learning, and having a blast!

Last Friday was a teacher work day at our school and it was awesome! We had our first ever EduGator Camp (what the heck?? Our school mascot is the gator). Anyway this workshop was for teachers by teachers at our school and it was amazing!! 
We had several teacher leaders present workshops on something awesome they use in their classroom!! Check out our schedule below. Teacher attended a meet up and were supposed to attend a wrap up, but the sessions we so engaging, no one was ready to leave the last workshop. 
We had teachers present on weebly (making a class web page), GoFormative, Kahoot, Symbaloo, Coding, Mystery Science, and Discovery Ed. These mini 30 minute workshops were engaging, informative and inspiring!! We were all energized and ready to light the fires of our students using engaging resources!
We learned so much from our amazing staff! WE can't wait until the next one. If you are looking for a way to earn a level 4 on tkes or if you are at a school with awesome teachers, you should have your own educator camp. What would be the name of your camp??


Thanks for reading!!!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Fractured Fairy Tales Learning Celebration!!

One of the greatest things I learned from my friend Cristy was how to get parents into the classroom to see what their kiddos were doing!! She called it a "Learning Celebration." A learning celebration is an end of the unit project where parents and guest are invited into the classroom to see what the kiddos have been learning about!!

Cristy recently studied fractured fairy tales with her kiddos. The students loved all of the versions of these awesome tales. After several weeks of reading stories, discussing parts of stories along with story elements, Cristy had students prepare for a learning celebration. 

What did this entail? The kiddos chose their favorite fractured fairy tale to act out and retell. Students gathered costumes, props, and practiced lines from the stories. Then what????

 Cristy invited parents in to see all of the awesome presentations. Learning Celebrations are awesome!! In my book, there is no better way to show parents, other teachers, and administrators the level of instruction that is taking place on a daily basis!! 

Check out these awesome kiddos with their awesome teacher!! Having left the classroom 2 years ago, this is one of the things I miss most!! I loved working with kiddos to show their families the awesome things we were learning every day!!! 


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Photo Booth and More!

If you want some fun, new ideas to liven up your St. Patrick's Day with your kiddos, then check this out!  You'll find photo booth props to turn your little cuties into mischievous leprechauns and much more.

You'll find writing, reading, and math activities, games, and more that help you stay focused on the standards while still letting your littles be little and celebrate this FUN holiday!

Be sure and snag this St. Pat's Day FREEBIE while you're here too!  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bakery Classroom Flip: Part TWO!


So we'll pick back up from Part One!   Here's where we left off....the CONTENT!

Here are the standards that we chose as the focus for the flip!
*With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
*Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
*With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. 
*With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
*With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

When the kiddos entered the room, the Italian music was playing, the room had been transformed, and their teachers had been replaced by chefs for the day!  (That would still be us, just decked out in wigs, chef coats, and strange new accents that were supposed to be Italian...but somehow migrated towards "Southern", "Jamaican", and "Irish" throughout the day! :)  For the record, the kids didn't care!  They were HOOKED!

Next up, we began the day with the actual baking.  We were, of course, in a bakery for Pete's sake!  We chose a simple recipe that could be made on a hot plate and did not require baking just to speed up the process.  We made Oatmeal Chocolate Bars (similar to these) but with ONE.SUPER.HUGE recipe adjustment.  I told them I didn't like things that were too sweet, but more recipes that were salty-sweet.  So I changed the recipe and left out 1/2 of the chocolate that was called for and used 1/2 CUP of SALT (you read that right) instead of BROWN SUGAR!  I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you what THAT did to the recipe.  I'll just let their faces tell you instead!
It was NOT good people.  It was AWFUL.  It was INSANE.  We had to SPIT.IT.OUT!

That was how we began the lesson!  Now you KNOW these people were ALL in.  So we talked about how that did not work AT ALL and maybe we should try it again and FOLLOW THE RECIPE with out leaving out any ingredients and without changing the recipe.

We decided to wait until later in the day.  We had WORK to do.  But this baking fiasco got our CONTENT kick-started.  We talked about WHY the recipe was a disaster...left ingredients out, changed ingredients that didn't fit...  Then I tied that all in to how BOOKS are a lot like RECIPES.  They have certain ingredients (story elements) and they follow a recipe (beginning, middle, ending).

Next up I read a story.  But being the busy chef that I was, I only read the beginning and the ending.  They were like "Well, that didn't make sense.  What the heck happened in the middle?"  Again we talked about stories needing to "follow the recipe" to make sense.

Next up we read When Will It Be Spring?  The WHOLE book this time!
We used story sequencing cards from Heather Cacak.  To make it fit our bakery flip, the kids used pie pans to order the "ingredients" into the pans using plastic tongs.  The whole table had to work together with each person taking turns to add "ingredients". 
 When all groups were finished, we got to play the PIE FACE GAME!  (It's a tradition in Chef Valenti's Bakery, don't you know!!!)  We just let each kiddo come up and have 1 click so as to speed the game along AND make sure everyone got to have a turn.  We were CRACKING up I tell you!!!
Next up, we came back together and made our own RECIPE for a GREAT STORY on the Activboard.  Now we are really tying in the FUN with the CONTENT!
Next up, the kiddos worked with a partner to complete a story elements interactive notebook page from Deanna Jump's Reading Interactive Notebook K-2 pack on TpT.  The kiddos did an outstanding job looking for all of the elements and details in our book.
Whew!  That's enough for tonight.  We'll finish up the day in Part Three!  Check back soon!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bakery Classroom FLIP! Part One!

Oh...my...word!  We LOVE what happened in our room today!  I will be forever grateful to Hope King, Kim Bearden, and Chris Pombanyo for their CLASSROOM FLIPS inspiration!  If you don't follow these fantastic teachers...DO....IT...NOW!  :)
If you are not familiar with a classroom flip, it's basically when you totally change your room into a new environment to build student engagement with a specific content area in mind.
For our BAKERY FLIP, we were focused on Language Arts and specifically how stories are much like "recipes".  They must follow a particular order (beginning, middle, and ending) and have certain ingredients (characters, setting, problem, and solution).  We spent quality time on 5 standards throughout the day in reading literature, not too mention some additional math standards!
We'll highlight each standard that matches each activity!
So...we began with the invitation to the kiddos.  We sent this on the Friday before the flip on Monday.  That gave them all weekend to wonder what they heck was going on in their classroom!!!
Tips to get your kindergarten kiddos overflowing with motivation by flipping your classroom!
















Next up, we had to FLIP the classroom and turn that sucker into a bakery!!!
Tips to get your kindergarten kiddos overflowing with motivation by flipping your classroom!





Now of course before we planned all of this decorating, we began the WHOLE FLIP with our content as the real FOCUS!  That's truly the most important part of any flip!

We'll end this post for now.  We plan on blogging again soon with the CONTENT for this flip. For now, here are the standards we taught during the flip!

With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. 
With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

Check back soon for more great photos and information about this amazing day! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Daaaang....that's a deal!

TPT knows exactly how to get the year started out right!  Their BE INSPIRED sale started today and ends tomorrow.  Perfect timing to help get us all motivated and pumped up for a new year ahead with our littles!  Oh the possibilities!!!

Here are some great deals that are available in our store.  We have some HUGE savings on bundles and some great deals on 100th day activities, winter units, and more.




We hope you find some great deals!!!!