Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Teaching With QR Codes

I'm super excited to have my friend Mary from Sharing Kindergarten guest blog for me today. I saw Mary's amazing presentation on QR CODES in Vegas at I Teach K and couldn't wait to share her mad ninja skillz with you!

I am so excited to share with you guys the first item off my summer "to-do" list! I have been working on this throughout the school year and I am glad to say they are now... 
Let me introduce you to the newest QR Scan & Learn item, 

This is a fun way to use technology to learn.
This pack contains 26 initial sound sheet, 
covering each letter of the alphabet on its own sheet. Essentially... this is print and go! 
No prep needed.

You also get a set of directions, shown here,
detailing what you need, 
how to use, 
and a little more about QR Codes.

And before you ask...
You can use these sheets in your classroom without the codes. Because they all follow the same pattern of activities, your little learners can quickly pick up on the purpose and task of the activity.

But, let me detail how the QR Code aspect works.
Print out the desired sheets for your students.
Your students will also need a smart device, with a camera and wi-fi.

Next, upload FREE QR Scanners onto your device. Here is my favorite techie trick... 
I always upload a few different one, although I-nigma is my favorite one.
{It is free and very FAST with scanning codes.}
Why do I put more than one scanner?
Sometimes certain ones don't work.
So the rule is... scan THREE before me.
If you scan the code with all three scanners and it still isn't working, then you can come see me.
Then, I put the apps on the bottom of my devices, called the dashboardThis makes these apps show up on each page.  The apps are easy to find and therefore easy to use.

Next, open up the scanner and scan the code...
 Once it scans, you will hear and AUDIO FILE 
and your students will hear me READING the sheet and directions to them!
They can pause, rewind, and repeat the directions as needed...
and you aren't the one who has to keep saying it over and over again!

Each file is between 3 and 4 minutes long.
They are easy to follow along with and they help guide learning.

Is it hard for some of your learners to complete?
YES. Those that struggle following directions will have trouble here too,  but what a GREAT WAY TO WORK ON THIS SKILL.
Since this is print and go, you don;t have any prep work for this activity.

 In fact, you can easy collect data on independence of listening and following directions skills 
using these sheets.

Others will have no issues. 
My highest students love these so much that they often listen to the audio file
 a few times because they enjoy it. 
{Remember I have been making and using these activity sheets 
throughout the whole school year.}

These sheets focus on the short vowels sounds.
There are not sheets for the long vowels in this pack.  Another question you might ask is about those letters that can make more than one sound...
So the letter G sheet focuses on the /g/ sound in grapes, 
letter Y sound is for /y/ yarn, 
and X is the /ks/ sound IN THE WORD
{X is the only letter that doesn't use the initial sound, 
but I know must of us do the same in our classrooms.}

You can pick up your copy of the QR Scan & Learn~ Initial Sound here..

Stop by my blog and see me. Feel free to email me with any questions too! ~Mary

Sharing Kindergarten

Monday, July 27, 2015

#25DaysOfColor-It's Good To Be GREEN

If you know me, you know I LOVE color. I am not afraid to wear it, decorate with it, or fill my world with it. I am thrilled to team up with the amazing company Astrobrights Papers this summer.  They are working hard to give teachers some amazing tips and ideas for bringing color into their classrooms. Color paper can add creativity to everything we do in our classroom.  

For 25 days, Astrobrights Papers will feature a project using a different color of Astrobrights Papers, providing ideas and inspiration on how to #ColorizeYourClassroom. “For more ideas on how to Colorize Your Classroom, be sure to follow #25DayysofColor, Astrobrights Papers social feeds and visit 

It's Good To Be Green!

In this post, I am using Terra Green paper to create my Student Information forms.  Each year, I print these on Astrobrights Papers card stock and have parents fill them out at Meet the Teacher. I alphabetize them by first name. I then punch a hole in the corner and put them on a ring that hangs right next to my classroom phone.  This way, if I need to call a parent, I do not need to pull up the information on the computer. I just grab my ring and the information is right there.  It has come in handy for discipline phone calls, sick students, or even on field trip days when someone has forgotten their lunch. I don't have time to scramble, look up or heaven forbid the internet be down again. This bright, beautiful color makes the cards easy to see and keep organized.  

You can grab these cards and print them out too by clicking here. Print them front and back. 

I used my cameo to cut the cards since I am working from home and didn't have a paper cutter handy. 

 Parents fill out the front information. I do call at semester and make sure all of the information is still current. 

On the back side, there is a communication log. I can check the box to state if the communication was via phone call, parent conference or email. I also have a place for notes. 

After all cards are filled out, they will go on a ring by my phone. Easy peasy and saves me so much time!

Since I was already working with my Astrobrights Papers, I went ahead and printed out my birthday certificates for the year too. I always print these in different colors of Astrobrights Papers and fill them out before school starts. I keep these in my birthday box so when there is a celebration, everything is already in the box and I just need to grab it. I try and prep as much as I can before school starts. 

“Post your own project using Astrobrights Papers with the hashtags #25DaysofColor and #ColorizeYourClassroom for a chance to be featured as the Colorize Your Classroom project of the week.”

If you'd like to see the links to the other #25DaysofColor posts that have run so far, they are below!

Kinder Craze:

A Modern Teacher:

Fun in First Grade:

First Grade, Blue Skies:

A Cupcake for the Teacher:

Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits:

 Terrestrial Teal

I'll be posting more fun ideas this week on my Instagram and Facebook. Stay tuned and best of luck Colorizing Your Classrooms!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wonderful Idea Wednesday

Here are two of my favorite easy peasy lemon squeezy things I do in my room. They aren't  anything genius so don’t be prepared to be mind blown. Haha!

First, I don’t do classroom jobs. Gasp! I know. Deep breathes. You can keep reading. I have had ten jobs and even twenty-two jobs in the past but I was always forgetting who did what and when.  I felt like I was chasing my tail. Then, my I noticed how my genius teaching partner handled classroom jobs and it was like LAAAAA….(cue in angelic light and music). She had a Super Star of the day, and ONE kid held ALL jobs. What?? How could this work? I would only have to remember one kid's name for jobs each day? She had star die cuts on a ring hanging on her calendar wall. She changed the star each day. So, I ran over to my room and dug in my die cut basket thingy. No stars. Bummer. At last…hearts. I can do that, right? Cue in the Sweetheart of the Day. Genius! 
At the very beginning of the day I give clues as to who the sweetheart is. Clues can be "this person is a boy", "this person's name has three syllables" "this person's name starts with the same beginning sound as fish", etc.  The Sweetheart of the Day takes the lunch count to the cafeteria, runs notes to the office, passes out papers, helps with calendar, picks our “special” song of the day, etc. The cool part is that the sweetheart gets to pick one friend that is obeying the rules at that moment to help them. They must alternate between boys and girls and no one can be picked twice in one day to help. The kids LOVE it!

My second favorite idea is my Birthday Box.  Birthdays can be a hassle sometimes. Let’s be honest. Birthdays are important though. Sometimes the only celebrating kids do is the one at school.  I often don’t have brain power to be on top of birthdays AND teaching. Imagine. I know. So, I keep a birthday box. During the summer, I purchase certificates and sign all of them ahead of time. I put them in the box along with a birthday banner, birthday stickers, readers (ones I have gotten with scholastic points or found as a dollar deal), and “treasures”. Each student gets their own book, certificate, treasure, and sticker to wear. We sing the normal Happy Birthday song and then a special birthday song. Birthdays are no longer stressful in my room because all I have to do is pull down the box and wha la, everything is there and ready.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Now, I told you this wasn't rocket science but I hope you liked one of these Wonderful Wednesday Ideas.  The ideas don’t stop there (aren't you relieved? Haha!). Make sure you stop by Freebielicious and hop to all of the linked posts. You can even link up too. 

Happy reading. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Must Have Monday

I'm super excited to link up with my friends at Freebielicious this week for some back to school fun. I'm not going to lie, typing the words "back to school" make me a little nauseous. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job but man, oh man, has this summer flown by.  Currently, I am healing up from having my gallbladder removed last Thursday which totally wasn't planned but ended up being immediately necessary. Yeah, I don't do lay on the couch and watch t.v. for days well. 

I have made several lists of things I need to conquer and buy as we near the end of July.  Really back to school will be here before we know it. So, what are my classroom must haves?

FLAIR PENS! These are my absolute favorite pens and completely necessary for taking notes, writing notes, etc.

Pip Squeak Markers & Golf Pencils:  I don't give my students full size pencils at the beginning of the year.  All students write (trace) with pip squeaks and golf pencils. It is SO much better for their little hands as they are building those fine motor muscles. 

ASTORBRIGHTS COLORED CARDSTOCK: There are a ton of things I will make for Meet the Teacher, back to school, etc. that I will color coordinate with my Astrobrights paper.  Make sure you stop back by next week for my special posts on projects for this fun, colorful paper. 

Each year I have to restock our Read to Self Materials.  This includes glasses (I pop out the lenses) and martian fingers.  At the end of the school year, students get to take their special reading glasses and fingers home with all of their books. This is a reoccurring expense but it's so worth it to help my students have a fun learning experience when learning to read. 

My last must have item is small play-doh containers.  I put these in each student's supply box and it comes in very handy when I need to help a student who may need me longer or when we finish an activity a few minutes later. Kids love play-doh.  This is an absolute must have all year long.  

That's all I've got for now. Make sure you stop by Freebielicious and check out our Linky.  I'm sure I'll be adding several things to my must have list by time I'm done reading.