Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Today was our last day before Thanksgiving break--we have a field trip tomorrow and are off ALL WEEK NEXT WEEK!  Naturally, we watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," which is an annual tradition in my first grade classroom.  However, this year, I decided to bring in the goodies that Snoopy and Charlie Brown had for my class!!!  I had popcorn, which I popped at home ahead of time, jelly beans (Kroger candy section), pretzels, and toast!  I used our lounge's toaster and it worked great!  The kids were sooo excited to see that their plate of goodies matched Charlie Brown's!  They were cheering and saying "Thank you, Mrs. Wheeler, Thank you!"  It was so sweet.  I wanted to share this quick post in case you have to work next week and need something fun to do!  Scroll to the bottom of this post for the links to the DVD and book.  Enjoy!!




Sunday, November 12, 2017

Favorite Thanksgiving Books

Hi, friends!  Tonight I'm popping on to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving picture books!  Hopefully you will find some new titles that you don't already have!  Enjoy!!!



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Watercolor Painting

It's hard to believe we are in November and Christmas will be here before we know it!  I don't know about you, but I have a decent amount of my shopping done and my house is decorated!  Haha!  I just love the holiday time and always decorate the first of November. 

Speaking of presents...recently, I stumbled across a terrific artist, Katie Jones, at a craft show.  She had a display up of her paintings and I couldn't believe how detailed they were!  She is SO talented!!  The paintings that caught my eye first were her custom watercolor house paintings.  I knew I had to have one and then a few more for gifts!  The process to get one was so easy--I just went to her Etsy store, KatieJonesStudio, and purchased the custom listing.  When the painting arrived about 2 weeks later, I could hardly wait to go grab a frame and hang it up!!!!  My husband was so surprised (early birthday present!)!! 

You know how I love sharing my great finds with you all.  I only share things that I truly love/believe in.  Katie's work definitely fits the bill!  I had to share this with you!  If you're interested in a custom painting for yourself or a friend/family member, simply click the links below.  Enter code "FREESHIP1" at checkout to get free shipping!  What a great deal!  Be sure to order by December 1 for Christmas arrival.  Katie only has 20 custom orders available, so get on it!  Be sure to tell her that Mrs. Wheeler sent you!

Katie Jones Studio on Etsy 

Katie Jones Studio on Facebook

Katie Jones Studio on Instagram

PS-Katie has tons of beautiful paintings and she posts them on her Instagram so be sure to check them out!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Bob Books: Reading Kit

If you’ve followed me for a while now, you know that I am a big fan of “BOB BOOKS!”  I have a book bin full of them in my library that many of my students who are not yet reading/getting ready to read will choose.  They feel confident with the books because the text is almost 100% decodable.  The books are small…perfect for little hands!  I also keep some of the books handy at my Guided Reading table.  The students in my groups can look at them when they finish reading the book we are working on that day.  

Recently I had the chance to check out two of BOB Books’ newest products, the Reading Kit for Beginning Readers and their new plush characters.  The reading kit is for those who are ready to start reading.  It contains a set of 12 books as well as flashcards, an 80-page workbook with 50 stickers, a parent guide, and two “Level 1,” full length story books.  You also get downloadable content from Bob Books!!  This is an incredible package for $24.95 at Costco.  There are also several other Reading Kits available.   The kits would make a great addition to your classroom, a great Christmas present for your child's teacher, or if you have children, a great gift for your own kids.  

In addition to the Reading Kits, I am loving BOB Books' plush figures!  They are so cute!  They have a clip/key chain on the back so you can clip them to a book bag or stroller.  I have mine near my Guided Reading table and my kids are obsessed with them!  To grab the plush figures, click the links at the bottom of the post!!



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Blog Series: Morning Meeting Sharing

Hi everyone!  Today's post is all about the "sharing" portion of Morning Meeting.  If you are new to the blog, be sure to check out part 1: What is Morning Meeting?  as well as part 2: The Greeting.   

During the share portion of morning meeting, students share news or information about themselves and their peers respond.  They can also share a topic provided by the teacher.  Sharing helps students get to know one another.  It also helps build community in the classroom.  It's a great way to strengthen language development and success in reading.  Students are practicing their speaking and listening skills during the share time.  It helps with speaking clearly, forming appropriate questions, maintaining eye contact and so much more!  There are several ways to do the share:

1.  Open Share:  This is where you select a few students to share about anything they'd like.  You can make a schedule for this or just go on the fly.  I like to keep track of who has shared so I keep a checklist.  I typically don't give my kids a prompt for open share...I find that kids have so much to say!  They love telling stories about things that are important to them.  During this time, I like to take notes on what the kids say and ask.  This helps me notice speech issues and gives me a glimpse into their home lives and the things they do over the weekend.  After the kids have shared, they end with "I'm ready for questions and comments."  This opens up the conversation and allows kids to find out more details.  This share is typically done later in the year, once kids have gotten comfortable with sharing.

It's important to teach the students about things that are appropriate for sharing and things that are not.  I've found that brainstorming a list of appropriate items to share about is key.  This list could include family, pets, sports, friends, vacations, and special memories.

2.  Circle Share:  This is a more organized share.  The teacher provides a topic and the kids respond to it around the circle.  This type of sharing is great for the beginning of the year and is non-threatening to kids who may be shy.  The topic can be anything you want!  I like to choose seasonal topics or topics that relate to what we're learning about.  When you're doing a focused circle share, you might consider brainstorming ideas first.  This helps give kids who don't have an idea think of one.  For example, if kids are sharing their favorite Thanksgiving food, you could make a web of all the foods people eat on Thanksgiving.

The circle share is a great opportunity for kids to work on forming complete sentences. You can even give them a sentence stem to start.  For example, if you want them to share about their favorite food, you can give a stem like this:  "My favorite food is __________."

3.  Partner Share:  This is where students pair up and have a discussion.  They sit knee-to-knee and discuss a question that you give them.  Again, the topic can be whatever you want.

It's important not to forget the job of the listener during a share.  The listeners need to keep quiet, and show active listening.  They also have to practice self-control.  The listeners also have to formulate questions and appropriate responses for the people sharing.  Kids often try to make the sharing about themselves vs. the person sharing.  It's very important for the teacher to teach kids not to do this.  If a share veers into something inappropriate, steer the child back and re-direct them into sharing about something else.

As with anything in early childhood, modeling is KEY!  Model each type of sharing.  Practice often.  Refresh/review as needed.  Particularly after a weekend or holiday break.

If you'd like to check out my Morning Meeting: Sharing packet, click the cover below!  It includes several resources to get your sharing portion of the meeting organized and flowing!

And in case you missed the Greeting pack, click below!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Blog Series: Morning Meeting Greetings

Hi, friends!  Today I am posting all about "The Greeting" portion of Morning Meeting.  In case you missed my Morning Meeting overview last week, you can click here to read all about it.  
The greeting portion of Morning Meeting is the first thing you do to begin your Morning Meeting.  It doesn't usually last more than a few minutes.  This is a time when students practice social skills such as eye contact and hospitality.  It also sets a positive tone for the day, helps students learn and use one another's names, and provides a sense of belonging.  Children love hearing their name each day!  Just watch the expression on their faces when their name is called during the greeting time! 

At the start of the year, modeling is KEY during the greeting portion.  Choose a student to help you model correct behavior for greeting time.  Explicitly show what you want students to do, like make eye contact with their peers, give gentle handshakes or fist-bumps, speak in a friendly tone, speak clearly and loudly, etc...Without this repeated modeling and practice, the greeting is meaningless.

You'll want to keep the greetings simple at the beginning of the year.  Teach your kids basic "Good Morning" and add a handshake.  As the year progresses, add in more movements and props like matching cards, a ball, yarn, etc...

I've compiled my favorite greetings into a little pack for you.  Included are 22 of my most frequently used greetings as well as an editable page for you to add your own.  Also included are my "Emoji Partner Match Cards," which I use about once a week for matching kids up during the greeting time of Morning Meeting.  Click the cover below to see more.

Be sure to check back soon for part 3 or this series:  The Activity/Game!