Thursday, April 26, 2012

Long /a/ and SUPER E Smartboard FREEBIE!

It's been a while since my last post.  I definitely wanted to update sooner, but I've been so busy!  Being a 2nd year teacher (1st year in kindergarten) makes for a lot of work to make and plan everything for the first time.  I wouldn't trade it for the world, though!  :-)  I love what I do, and seeing the excitement on the children's faces as well as their immense growth throughout the year make all those really late nights totally worth it!  Let's just say I've consumed way more Dr. Pepper to get me through the days this year than I care to admit.  I have some big plans to get back in shape this summer...

This week we are focusing on long /a/ words, and our friend, SUPER e was formally introduced!  My kinders have known about SUPER e, but we didn't spend a significant amount of time talking about it until now.  They are LOVING the SUPER e song that I found on youtube.  

I am just amazed at how well my kinders are picking up on long vowels.  It's crazy to think that some of them came in not being able to identify all of their letters and many of their letter sounds, and they are now reading and distinguishing between short and long vowel words and their spelling patterns!  

I am interested to know how many of you teach long vowels and super E in kindergarten.  What other phonics skills do you address?  How much time to do you spend teaching the letters of the alphabet and their sounds?  

The following slides preview the Smartboard activities I created for this week.  They are FREE to download at my TpT store! 
If you do download, please provide feedback!  I'd love to know how I can improve or how they worked for you. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bulletin Board Display and I've been TAGGED!

The following bulletin board display comes from Christie Lamb's Spring Fever Unit on TpT.

The kids had fun writing what they would put inside the easter eggs and where they would hide them if they were the Easter Bunny.  They thought the chicks were so cute!  I love seeing my kids' faces light up when they see their work displayed in the hallway.  I wish I had more bulletin board space, but I make do. :-)

On a completely different topic, I have to share a funny conversation I had with one of my kindergartners today.

Student:  (walks up to my desk with a serious look on her face) Miss Murray...I'm feeling really burned out.

Me:  (pause to take in what she just said) What do you mean by that?

Student:  Well, from being in school so much, for more than 100 days.  It's hard to be in school that long.

Me:  I know, it's hard to be in school for a long time.  But, guess what?  The year is almost over, and then you'll be on summer vacation.  Plus, school is fun!  You get to learn all kinds of new things! (Hoping my little pep talk was enough to satisfy her.)

Student:  Well, will you please just let the nurse decide if I feel good or bad?

This cracked me up!  It was all I could do not to laugh!  Kids say the funniest things!  I thought to myself...girl you don't know what's ahead of you!  

Okay, now I've been TAGGED!  This is the first time I've been tagged and I'm so excited!

Here are the Rules:
* Post these rules.
* Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you.
* Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag.
* Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged!)

Questions Marie asked me:

1.  What is the one item in your classroom that you could not live without?

I can not imagine living without my Smart Board.  I use it every day, many times throughout the day!  My students complete a Daily Calendar Book each morning as part of morning meeting, and I model how to fill in their books on the Smart board.  I create interactive literacy activities on my Smart Board for literacy centers and whole-group activities.  My students watch the Decorah Bald Eagles every day on the Smart Board.  My list could go on.  I LOVE this amazing piece of technology!

2.  What is the last "teacher book" you purchased?

I recently purchased two math books after attending the Ohio Kindergarten Teachers' Conference and getting some wonderful math ideas from the presenter who swears by the practices in these books.  I plan to spend some time this summer diving into these books and creating the activities in them.  I have already used some of the ideas and they have worked so well with my kinders!

3.  How long have you been blogging?

I've only been blogging for a couple weeks, so I'm a newbie!  I'm still experimenting and learning how to upload my documents and make my posts look cute like all the amazing bloggers I follow!  All of you inspire me!

4.  What is the best teaching advice you have ever received?

The best teaching advice I have ever received is to keep it fun.  Teaching is stressful and tiring and requires a lot of patience, and if you don't keep things fun and exciting, you'll get bored and so will the kids. 

5.  Do you have any big summer plans?

I'm so excited to be attending the 2012 National Kindergarten Teachers Conference in Las Vegas this summer!  My mom is going to come with me and we'll check out all the cool sites while we're there!  I'd love to meet up with some fellow bloggers while I'm there- let me know if you're interested!

6.  What do you give your students at the beginning of the year?  Do you give them a goodie bag?  What's in it?

My students come to school with their parents the night before the first day of school to check out their new classroom and meet me!  I give them all a treasure hunt paper, and they go around the classroom with their parents and search for the items on the page- their table spot, coat hook, attendance chart, etc.  I've never done a goodie bag for the students, but I'd like to do something fun like that for this upcoming school year.  

7.  Do you have plants in your classroom?

No, I would probably forget to water them regularly!  At the beginning of the year I had the students plant their own bean plants inside a wet paper towel in a plastic baggy so they could see the roots as their beans grew.  

8.  Do you remember who YOUR favorite teacher was?  Why were they so memorable?

Yes, I remember my favorite teacher very well.  Her name was Mrs. Ruh and she was my 2nd grade teacher.  In fact, right before I graduated college, I went back to my elementary school to visit her and shadow her for a day.  I wanted to remember what it was that made her my favorite so I could try to be that way for my students.  She was a very nurturing teacher, and I was a sensitive kid, so she eased my nervousness about being at school.  She truly cared about each of her students, and I felt that from her.  She is just the way I remember her!

9.  What is your go-to lunch that you pack for yourself?

Store-bought chicken salad with Ritz crackers, or a Lean Cuisine frozen meal.

10.  What is the hardest part of your job?

I would say two of the most difficult parts of my job are staying organized (I hate when things are out of order, but I haven't quite created my ideal organized classroom yet), and finding enough time to fit in everything I want/need to teach each day.

Ok, now here are my questions!

1. Do you assign homework to your students?  How many days each week and what do you assign?

2. What is your organization system for sending papers between home and school?  Do the students have two-pocket folders, a binder, or something else?  I'm looking for a better approach next year and would love new ideas.

3.  What is your favorite "teacher" book that you've read?

4.  How do you teach sight words to your students?

5.  Do you teach guided reading groups during literacy centers?

6.  What is one way you incorporate technology into your teaching, besides having students use the computer to play a game?  I'm looking for some new unique ideas!  If you don't have anything to share for this, it's ok. :-)

7.  What is one blogging tip/secret you have for a new blogger?

8.  Do you utilize parent volunteers in your classroom?  If so, in what capacity?

9.  Do you teach half-day or all-day kindergarten?  Which do you prefer?

10.  What are your favorite student websites to use with your kids?

Bloggers I'm tagging!

Deeanna @ Golden Gang Kindergarten

Vickie @ Mrs. Plant's Press

Mrs. Blakely @ Kindergarten Tales

Vanessa @ Kinder Love

Katie @ Kindergarten Simplicity

Jennifer @ Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Angela @ The Daily Alphabet

Caitlin @ Kindergarten Smiles

Pam @ Can Do Kinders

Mrs. Kazanjian @ Mrs. Kazanjian's Kindergarten Blog

I'm excited to see what these bloggers have to say!  It's so much fun to share and connect with other teachers! :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Letter Yy Smartboard Freebie!

This is going to be a quick post, because I need to get to bed, but I wanted to share my latest Smartboard files with you that I've been working on.  Below you will see what the slides look like.

I also created a worksheet to go along with the Consonant Cluster Blends slide that looks just like the Smartboard slide, so students can complete it on the carpet with clipboards while one student manipulates the Smartboard.  If you'd like a copy of it, leave a comments and let me know!  I will upload it as well.

I have lots more to share, and I promise to update tomorrow!  I'm excited because I was tagged by Marie Cote (The Hands On Teacher) from to answer some questions and then tag some bloggers to answer my questions!  I will respond to my questions tomorrow. :-) 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Decorah Eagles Journal Freebies

Well...spring break is over for me!  It was nice to have a chance to get a bunch of things done and cross off items on my to-do list, but I missed my kiddos!  I'm excited to find out how many students observed the Decorah Eagles over spring break and if they got to see any of the eaglets hatch!  Scroll down to my first blog post if you need explanation about what the Decorah Eagles are.  Now that the eaglets have hatched, we will be observing them closely on the webcam!  I created an observation journal cover as well as a journal page that I'm going to use with my students.  Here's a screenshot of what they look like.  If you like them, copy the link under each picture into your address bar to download them for FREE at my TpT store! 

I've been busy purchasing some new units on TpT for my literacy and math centers, and of course laminating and cutting to get them ready!  I just LOVE all of the amazing activities that are created by some wonderful teachers!  All of you inspire me and get my creative juices flowing!

Here are the awesome center packs I bought recently.  I can't wait to use them in my classroom!

I just LOVE DeeDee Wills' writing work stations!  She creates a new packet for each month, and my students get so excited when a new work station packet is unveiled.  Go to to get this packet!

 Christie Lamb's Spring Fever unit has the cutest graphics, and many engaging math and literacy games!  The games are challenging and keep kids interested!  She doesn't have a blog, but here's the link to her TpT store.  

Another download from DeeDee Wills!