Friday, June 27, 2014

"Appy Friday": Letters {June 27}

Today I'd like to share a series of letter/sound apps by Peapod Labs.  The first one I purchased is called ABC Food so I'll share a little more about that one.    It is normally $2.99 I believe, but when I looked it up today, it is on sale for free!

This app has a variety of foods on it for children to explore.  Each word is spelled out when you tap on it.  Each letter has a little icon that is a food that begins with that sound.

This is a portion of the main page.  You can click on a food or a letter from here.

This is what you will see after you choose a food.  You can click on each letter for the letter name/sound.

If you tap on the fish video at the top, it tells you to eat the fish. You "eat" it by tapping on it.  As you eat, you begin to see the bones with each tap.
The app starts with not all the boxes filled with foods.  As you work through the app, more foods "unlock" and fill the boxes.  My students enjoy this app, especially in the first half of the year.  Make sure you check it out while it is still free!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {June 25}

I'm linking up with Christina at Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.

This week I am helping out with Vacation Bible School at our church.  Our theme is outer space.

This is "the galaxy" (a coat closet hallway) complete with black tablecloth, neon paper decorations and black lights.  The older groups of kiddos have their drama (Bible story) time in a giant plastic bubble in here.  What would your dream story place/library look like (if money and space were no object)?  This place is pretty awesome!

Be sure to check out the other ideas at Sugar and Spice!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Building Connections: Connect 4

I spent my rainy afternoon yesterday finishing up a little project that has been on my "to do" list for a quite a while.  I have quite a few board games that I've picked up a garage sales and thrift stores and want to give them new life.  My first creation uses the game Connect 4.  Simply affix the pieces from the packet to your Connect 4 game pieces to practice math concepts.

Here are a few sample pieces I put together.

I put it on sale through this weekend.  Head on over to my store check it out!

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Appy" Friday: Math {June 20}

I'm back to share another favorite app with you.  In case you missed last week, I shared a bit about the app Hideout.

This week I thought I'd focus on math and share the app Park Math from Duck Duck Moose, Inc.  This app is good for the beginning of the year and for intervention (in Kindergarten anyway).  I think it would probably be good for preschoolers throughout the year.  It is priced at $1.99.

My students' favorite part of the app was the see-saw balance game.  Little mice are put on the balance beam, and students need to decide how many to add to one side or the other to balance the see-saw.

The app also covers: counting, addition, subtraction, ordering numbers, patterns and one-to-one counting.  There are 3 levels of play in each category, and changing from one level to another is quite easy.

Do you find these little app reviews helpful?  If so, please consider leaving a comment below!

***Disclaimer: I was not asked to review these apps by any company nor am I compensated for my opinion.  I just want to share with you what my students use and love!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Lovin' Linky: Butterflies {June 17}

I'm linking up with Deanna at Mrs. Jump's Class for her Let's Talk About Books Linky.

This week I'd like to share one of our (my) favorite butterfly books: A Butterfly is Patient (link to Amazon).  I was introduced to this book about 4 years ago at a science workshop I attended.  We received 16 different science units, many of them about animals, to use with our students.  This book was one that was covered during the butterfly unit.

The illustrations are beautiful!  Throughout the book, the main sentence of the page gives a characteristic describing a butterfly, then facts about butterflies are shared on each page.  My students loved the different facts throughout the book.

There are similar books for other nature topics: A Seed is Sleepy, An Egg is Quiet, and A Rock is Lively. What are some of your favorite nature/animal nonfiction books?

Be sure to stop by Deanna's blog to find some other great book recommendations!

Friday, June 13, 2014

"Appy" Friday {June 13}

We used our iPads in our classroom quite a bit this year, but I never really got to writing about different apps we use.  I'm always on the lookout for great apps to help my students out.  I'm planning to write about an app or two each Friday this summer.  If you have ideas, I'd love for you to share them with me (us) too!

Today I want to share the app "Hideout" with you.  This is a free early reading app created by Brigham Young University.

This is one of my students' favorite apps.  I don't remember where I discovered it, but when I first put it on the iPads, it only had 3 word endings.  It now has 6 different word endings.

This is the home screen for the app.  You choose your word endings from here.

The music is very catchy (think Carmen Sandiego) , and you will probably have it in your head most of the day :).  For each ending there is a little introduction where it tells you the sound of each individual letter followed by telling you sound the 2 letters make together.  There are then 4-6 words that you make for each word ending.  Once you've made the words, you get to play a game using those same words you just made in the previous part of the app.  After playing the game, you read about what you did during the game. You read by tapping each word; it lights up and reads the words to you.

This is the screen where it introduces the sounds of each letter and the sounds of the letters when put together. 
This app was a favorite of many students, but one would play this app any chance he had.  He had lower reading skills compared to his peers, but I noticed that through playing this app (and lots of intervention) he picked up on word families (as opposed to sounds in isolation) and was particularly strong with word families featured on this app.

I think it is worth a download, and you certainly can't beat the price!  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Apples & New Teachers {June 11}

I'm linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.

My superstar student teacher landed a job yesterday, so that inspired me to make a few things that she (and I) can use at the beginning of the school year.

Apple Order has apples with numbers on them (0-20) for students to put in numerical order.  It is a freebie. :)

Here she is working with a small group.

What is your best advice for the new teacher?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Lovin' Linky

I'm linking up with Deanna at Mrs. Jump's Class for her Let's Talk About Books linky.

 In May, I visited the Scholastic Book Sale at the Book Fair warehouse about an hour from our school. I've gone many times, especially when I first started teaching.  I picked up The Book Whisperer on a whim; it was half off after all!  I had seen blog reviews about it and decided it would make good summer reading.

My review: Why didn't I read this a long time ago?!?  I'm pretty excited about the idea of just allowing my students to read.  In the book, she talks about getting students excited about reading by giving them choice and finding the time to allow students to read independently.  I made the effort to give them more independent reading time this year, and I was thrilled when I had students say "Can I just read my books now" at various times throughout the day.  A few would have rather read than go to centers.  What?!?  While I did encourage them to go to centers, I realized that this is exactly the reaction I wanted from students about reading.

I look forward to giving students even more time to read independently next year.  Last year we started sometime in October.  Many of my colleagues thought I was crazy to give my kindergarten kiddos independent reading time in October.  Their love for reading and their reading abilities made me see that it worked and I will absolutely do it again.  Ms. Miller showed me that my excitement for reading and the time I allow for reading in my classroom will make a difference for my students.  I hope to make a positive impact of students' attitude towards reading and bring them as far as I can.

I would recommend this book to any reading teacher.  I'm hoping some of my colleagues and teammates will read it as well.  I'm planning to order Reading in the Wild to continue my journey with Ms. Miller.

What are you reading this summer?  How do you incorporate more independent reading time in your classroom?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five For Friday {June 6}

I'm linking up with Kasey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday.

This is my first week of summer break. I feel pretty productive this week!

1. I finished reading my first book.  I love Robin Jones Gunn's writing.  She writes Christian Fiction.  This particular one was a little sad, but if you are interested in her writing, check out the Sisterchicks series.

2.  I've been on a walk every morning.  The weather here this week has been beautiful; low to mid 70s and lots of sun (with the exception of one afternoon).  Looking forward to continuing my walks throughout the summer.

3. I spent the better part of an afternoon purchasing my new driving companion.  We'll be spending a lot of time together starting in August when we go 100 miles round trip from work to home.

4.  I planted a few flowers in a pot in front of my house.  Gardening isn't usually my forte so here's hoping these make it!

5. No photos of my culinary creations, but I made zucchini bread and strawberry pie this week.  Looking forward to trying some new recipes this summer.

What were you up to this week?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Critters

I'm linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.

We let our butterflies go the last day of school.  What "critters" do you have (or have you had) in your classroom?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Book to Love {June 3}

I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump's Class for her new Tuesday linky Let's Talk about Books.

I'd like to share a book I have read the past couple years in the spring.  I am a sucker for illustrations, and these are beautiful!  My book to share today is Whose Egg (links to Amazon) by Lynette Evans, illustrated by Guy Troughton.  This book has the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon.  The page gives a description of what is in the egg, then you lift the flap and see the animal inside the egg.  I don't have it at home for the summer as I store most of my books at school.

I believe I purchased this at a Scholastic book warehouse sale a couple years ago.  Have you been to one of these?  50% off...danger zone for this book lover!  This year I bought a companion book, Whose Nest?

Be sure to hop on over to Deanna's blog and check out some more great books.  What are your favorite books for spring?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday Made It {June 2}

I'm so excited to join the weekly Monday Made It with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics!  I found tons of great ideas last summer and can't wait to learn more this summer.

Today is my first official day of summer vacation!  My "made its" are few, but hopefully that will change as the summer progresses!

I "made it" a mess in my cubbies in an attempt to clean up for summer.  We are required to put everything somewhere, which will lead to some work in the fall.  This is the most empty these have ever looked for the summer.  I purged 3 Brute trash cans this spring, but you'd never know it looks at this picture!

My art materials are always a disaster. I can't find what I need and know that I have somewhere.  Our art teacher retired and we are not replacing her, so I will be my students' only art teacher next year (so help them).

My kiddos this year made short work of the wheels on the bottom of these carts (they lasted about a week).  I decided to try to stack them in this closet to hold art supplies.  Who knew; it was perfect!  Everything is neatly put away, organized and labeled.

I'd love some kindergarten art ideas if you have any to share!

During the last week of school, my kiddos peeled the paper off their crayons to make "reusable" crayons.  When we talked about Earth Day, we discussed things we could reuse and recycle.  They suggested crayons, they removed all the paper and broke them into pieces.  I melted them down in mini muffin tins (24 count tin for under $6 at WalMart).  Each child got one to take home and the rest are going to the local children's hospital to brighten a child's day.

What have you made lately?  Hop on over to Tara's blog and find many more ideas!