Sunday, February 28, 2016

Flocabulary


I have found another great resource: Flocabulary!  This website houses songs and videos that cover all content areas.  My kiddos love the grammar songs.
I love that there are so many content areas and topics available.  Even more exciting than a site packed with great resources is a site that is easy to use.  The content areas are easy to access and topics are super easy to find once you pick your content area.

I love that I have been able to use Flocabulary to introduce new topics, but also use it to review with my kiddos.  
Grab this link to try Flocabulary out for a FREE 75 day trial.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mom Life: My Favorite App

As a new parent, I feel like all I do it try and capture every moment.  Therefore, the amount of pictures I take is crazy.  I have learned that having a smartphone is a blessing and a curse.  You can take pictures at any time, but they enter the blackhole of the digital world and you never look at them again.  Yes, some get posted to social media, but we all know that the mass majority never make it out of your digital device, until you need room for more pictures.
I found an end to my digital madness and downloaded the GrooveBook app.  Have you checked it out?!?!   Through this app, I can access my pictures and pick up to 100 pictures each month.

Every month is then beautiful documented and organized!  The pictures are turned into a photo book.  The best part is that the photo books have rip and share paper.  I can pull photos out to send to family members, or I can switch out framed photos.  The BEST BEST part is that these books only cost me $2.99 a month.  I can't ask for a better deal!


If you use my code GODESA10 you can get your first GrooveBook for free.

Happy Picture Taking!!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mom Life: Product Review

I very quickly realized after giving birth that I would no longer be the SUPER productive person I had always been.  For goodness sake, I couldn't even take a shower without assistance (someone watching little man).  I brainstormed every possible way to accomplish things with a child who wouldn't take decent naps.
The first tool that allowed me to get anything accomplished that the bouncy chair.  He would actually let me strap him in there long enough to take a shower.  This worked great for several months, until he was Mr. I am NEVER sitting still.
I started doing tons of research on alternatives.  I knew I needed something that would keep him in a space and entertained.  The thought of an exersaucer made my head spin.  I was afraid it would be too much stimuli for my little guy.  I also knew I wanted something that would grow with him.  I feel like all we do is buy things to use them for a month and that is it.
So after tons of research and countless trips to Babies R Us, we ended up with the FisherPrice Step n' Play Piano.  It has been an instant hit and the best part is, for now, I can get ready for work in the morning and know that little man is contained in a safe place.  I love that when he starts walking the seat can be removed and the table is a functioning music stand.

It was an instant hit!

It is nice to be able to slide it down the hallway and plop it outside the bathroom door.

I totally recommend this product to any parent searching for a way to contain an active child for a short period of time.  What product do use recommend for keeping your kiddos safe and entertained for a chunk of time?

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Mental Change

I quickly learned when I got pregnant that my "normal" work mentality needed to change.  I was no longer going to be able to stay at school until 6 o'clock at night, and spend countless hours on the weekend prepping and searching for materials for my students.  I was now going to need to focus on a new life.
I am happy that I realized this early on in the pregnancy, but now that I am back to work full time I am having a hard time not getting upset with myself for my never ending To Do list at school.  As I rush out the door to pick up my son each afternoon, I get this quick rush of anxiety as I try and figure out how I am going to get it all done.  Thankfully, the moment I see my son it all disappears and my focus is on him.
How can I be sad when I see this face?
I need to know, how do all of you working mamas do it?  How do you keep up at work and still be present at home?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Author's Study: Setting Ground Rules

Writers' Workshop may seriously be one of my favorite times of the day.  Even better, my students seem to feel the same way this year.  Just as with any procedure I made sure to set expectations with my students.  We spent time as a whole class and created an anchor chart to document what must happen in order to sign up for Author's Chair.
After students spent time practicing with their peers they did one run with me. Their name was then placed on the sign up.   Once I had about 5 students on the sign up, we took a break from our workshop time to meet on the carpet for each author's reading.
I am so proud of the growth my kiddos have made since I have been back from maternity leave.  They have transitioned to meet my expectations and are kicking butt!  Check out one of the readings that knocked our socks off today
video

What expectations have you set with your students to make Author's Chair a seamless part of your schedule?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Supporting ELLs with GoNoodle

Building confidence with my ELLs (English Language Learners) is one of my greatest challenges each year.  I work at a school where over 38 languages are spoken, 8 in my own classroom.  With dynamics like this integrating language throughout the day is imperative.
Let me back up a moment, those of you that have been following my blog for awhile know that I have been teaching for over a decade.  My experience started in Michigan, moved to California, and has made a home in Oregon.  I have taught 5th grade, 1st grade, and also kinder through 5th grade ESL.  My experiences have opened my eyes to the incredible diversity we are faced with each day.
My time as a K-5 ESL teacher strengthened my language skills as an educator and overall human.  I have had to become confident in my learning of languages and this is a skill I am constantly working on with my ELLs and EOs.
When I first started using GoNoodle years ago, I noticed and instant confidence among my ELLs.  I started paying closer attention to it and here is what I learned...
1. Song is vital for language growth.  We all know that singing songs is a great way to practice language, but singing and dancing with your peers is one of the greatest ways to feel included.  GoNoodle is packed with songs from Pop See Ko to I Like to Move It.  Who doesn't love to get up, move a little or a lot, and sing your heart out?
2. Word Jam and Bodyspell are the greatest brain breaks for reinforcing vocabulary and phonics.  Both of these brain breaks provide direct language support.  Word Jam teaches students new vocabulary while acting out the words.  We are all about fun Total Physical Response (TPR) in my classroom.  Even better is the fact that I can use the vocabulary words provided or customize my own.  I love adding new words from our PYP units to support my ELLs.
Bodyspell is whole body phonics practice.  I have this brain break on as students enter each day.  Plus, I have added each week's phonics pattern.  This way my kiddos practice their spelling words and phonics patterns every morning.  I have seen so much spelling growth since implementing this brain break daily.
Practicing this week's phonics pattern with Bodyspell.

Practicing our long u words.

Acting out some new vocabulary with Word Jam.

3. Learning needs to be connected to real word experiences.  We all know how important it is for students to transfer their learning from the classroom to the world and vice versa.  How about using GoNoodle to help?  My champs LOVE the Run With Us channel.  We have been working on measurement in math, so I figured I would connect the two.  We learned how to Long Jump and reviewed the importance of standard units of measurement.  We then became Olympic athletes and put our GoNoodle learning and mathematical brains to work in a long jump competition.  Students estimated their jumps and recorded their actual lengths on the sheet below (click on the image to grab a copy).
inches template



https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-Ap7B1EZ3xtUFhOWjI3R3ROZHM/view?usp=sharing
meters template


I am so proud of the confidence and language growth my students have already made this year.  I can't wait to see where our brain breaks take us.  I would love to know how you support your ELLs.  Do your ELLs love a particular brain break?
Be sure to head over to GoNoodle's Instagram account.  I am taking over so you can see my champs in action!