Thursday, April 24, 2014

Go Noodle!! Have ya heard?!

Okay ya'll, this is serious!! Have you HEARD of Go Noodle yet? If you are a brain-breaking classroom, then let me tell you, you are in for a serious treat. And I'm not even kidding. And if you are one of the lovely teachers that I work with, then you know that I am always emailing the staff with some annoying email about another fun brain break website that I found. BUT THIS ONE TAKES THE CAKE. (for real). SO DELETE ALL THOSE OTHER EMAILS AND SAVE THIS ONE.
Yes. This is me in my sweet Go Noodle t-shirt. All the cool kids have one. 
Which is really fun and all, except I made the mistake of wearing it to school
Now my kids are asking me every day "Mrs. Jonesssssss... why aren't you wearing your Go Noodle t-shirt??!" and "Can you tell my mom to get me a Go Noodle t-shirttttt
and all that. Sorry parents!

Go Noodle is like the brain-breaking mecca. It combines all sorts of get-up-and-move brain breaking fun with academics, motivation, and even calming and stretching built right in. Best of all... it is FREE and SIMPLE to use! Did you hear? FREE! All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a projector or white board.

Here is how it works:

Earn points to boost your champ to the next level by brain breaking. 
He morphs with each level change-- guaranteed to make your kids go BANANAS!

Here is our guy...
However just today, our good ole' champ Freckles was MAXXED OUT. Did you hear the screams coming from room 109? Thought so. That was Freckles reaching his highest level because, well, we are that good. And so, we voted on a new champ. Voting was serious. But it came down to the winner.... which I can't remember its name because I was really attached to Freckles and so it's going to take a while for this new one to grow on me. Moving on. 

So after you pick your champ... you just click and get to it! Any time your kids need to get some wiggles out... are dragging and feeling lethargic... need help focusing....transitions... a few extra minutes before dismissal... all perfect brain break times!

Here are some of my sweet little noodles in action.

If you need any more convincing, research shows that short bursts of classroom physical activity improve student performance. It's research people! Do it! Plus it is soooooo much funner than Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. 

If that is not enough to convince you to sign up for a free membership, my blogging buddies at the Primary Chalkboard are hosting a Go Noodle GIVEAWAY!

Go Noodle also offers an exclusive members only area of their site.
You can enter to win a membership here!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Playdoh + Geometry = Fun!

Hey peeps! I have been getting lots of great feedback about our Bright Ideas Link-up... so I joined in again this month to help spread some short and sweet, easy-to-implement teaching ideas that you can use RIGHT NOW!
This month's topic.... daaa daaaa duuhhhh!

GEOMETRY for Little People...using Playdoh and a butterknife!

Super simple and FUN!

Playdoh is perfect for teaching about shapes, sides, and vertices. 
Yes. You must give the "Butterknife Safety 101" course before beginning. 
Once you get that out of the way, pass out the Playdoh, the butterknives, and get into it!

Show the kids how to flatten the Playdoh.

Then carefully use the butterknife to cut straight sides. I showed the kids on my doc camera a how to cut a shape and had them copy me. After a while they were making shapes and having their friends tell them them name. Super fun, lots of smiles, and learning at the same time!

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Teachers Pay Teachers! :) 

Don't forget to visit the Link Up below for more Bright Ideas!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Earth Day for little people

Hey ya'll! I'm one of those "Earth Day every day" people. I am a stickler for reusing, recycling, and trying to live as green as I can. Needless to day, I {heart} Earth Day!

Are you interested in becoming a little more "green" too? It is really not that hard, and just a few little changes to your daily routine can help.

One bigger change I made last year was that I joined an organic CSA. A CSA is an acronym for Crop Sharing agriculture. Basically, we buy a "share" of a local organic farm. Ours is small and family owned. We pay a yearly fee and each week in the summer season (May-October) we get a big ole' box of organic produce that is grown and harvested right at our farm. We also visited a few times last year to pick. We are eating healthier, and feel good that we aren't contributing to unnecessary chemicals being added to our food and our earth. Here are some pictures of our weekly goods, as well as from our trips to the farm. What is better than pulling your own carrot from the ground, wiping it off, and eating it! :)
I would highly recommend googling "CSAs" in your area and looking in to it!

Back in the classroom, I like to show my kids how we can be green a little "greener" to help the Earth too!
I created this Earth Day mini-unit to show my little ones the importance of Earth Day, every day! 

Included is this super cute Mosaic Earth Day craftivity, which you can use some some of those scraps of construction paper up with. 

You can find it here in my TpT shop. 
Peace, love, and green!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Writing goals

I am back joining in with another Bright Ideas Blog Hop! 

In Kindergarten, we spend the first half of the year teaching about the basic mechanics of storytelling and writing.... that our pictures and ideas can tell a story!

Once we learn these basics, we start to hone our skills one skill at a time. We begin with correct capital usage, learn to use finger spaces, use sight words in our writing, about the different kinds of punctuation, and really practice stretching out our words.  After all of these skills are taught and practiced, I assess who needs to work on what and keep track of their goals on this chart:

I conference with a different table of 4-5 students each day. We talk about their goal, and I look back to previous days work to see if they are applying the skill independently. If so, we decide on a different goal. Nothing scientific, but it works and its easy for Kinders to understand! At the wrap-up of each lesson, I ask them to assess whether or not they met their goal on that given day. The chart itself is super simple to make, and I just use post-its cut in half for their names. Easy peasy!

Next up on the blog hop is Terri Browne from Terri's Teaching Treasures. Terri has an great post for you... all about recycling for art! Just click on the button below to check it out!

Alternatively, you can search by topic using the link-up below and move along to any
other blog on the blog hop!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Building Reading Stamina in Kindergarten!

I'm linking up with the fantastic Bright Ideas Blog Hop to share some great ideas! 
Building stamina takes lots of work in any grade level. In Kindergarten, our stamina goals change throughout the year... in September our goal might be to sit and listen at the carpet for 1 minute, by October it might be to work at a table task for 5 mintues... you Kinder teachers get me. BABY STEPS. Well, once we begin to for-real read, we start working on our reading stamina. Our district has a goal of 20 minutes of independent reading by the end of K. We are getting there, people!

I've had a few tricks over the years I've tried to help kids attend to print and keep pushing through. First is the *magic* reading wands! (Pros: Easy to make, cost pretty much nothing... Cons: The eyes fall off, so have extras ready)

Then came our recent crowd favorite, the finger lights!  (Pros: HIGH engagement and focus, easy to use, relatively cheap on Amazon...CONS: Lights don't last forever so get extras because these will be VERY popular!)

We use them for lots of things... independent reading, reading groups, and when kids are finished with their center work they can grab a finger light to help them stretch out and read all of their words or sentences. Can we just say LOVE!

And last but not least... who doesn't love a challenge?! We started to track our stamina on this chart last week. We had the "team" talk, and about how everyone has to be doing their part during reading time to stay focused in order to fill in another bar on our chart. Now, this does make the kids get all crazy and want to get right to 20 on day one. But we talk about how stamina must be built and practiced, and that its not just a one-time thing. We will get there and then have a big ole celebration when we do. :)

If you are looking for more great ideas, please visit the next blog on this blog hop, written by Tanja at Journey of a Substitute Teacher

She shares some great tips on quick, educational time fillers!  

You may visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. 
This is literally a goldmine of fantastic teacher ideas! Be sure to bookmark or pin to your heart's content. :) Thanks for visiting!