Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keyboard Shortcut to Center Your Text!

I've decided to start a new weekly tradition... a "Technology Tip Thursday" post!  So many of you leave me such wonderful comments on my Technology Tuesday posts and I just love that!

I keep thinking that I have so many little tech tips that don't really warrant adding to the poll or writing a long tutorial on, so I thought it would be fun to post these little tips every Thursday in addition to my Technology Tuesday tutorial!

Most of the tips will be for Microsoft PowerPoint and Word... though some of them will work in other programs as well... just give it a try!

So... here's the first little trick!

Try it out and let me know how you like it! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Action Cup!

The action cup is one of my favorite routines!

I use the action cup in so many ways!  I have an "Action Cup Helper" as a job.  Each time we transition from one activity to the next, or from our carpet seats to our chairs, the action cup helper picks a student to choose an action, then the entire class does that action while they move to the next activity.

I also use the action cup to work on counting and skip counting daily during morning meeting.  The morning helper brings the cup to all of the boys or all of the girls to pick various actions to do while they count aloud.

I also love to use this to reinforce art topics... I'll have the action up helper decide what the "colors" for the day will be: primary colors, secondary colors, warm colors, or cool colors!

I start off the year with only a handful of actions in the cup, then add more throughout the year.

Every once in a while, I have the class pick new actions to add to the cup.  Here are the actions that were in my cup at the end of the year:

  • brush your teeth
  • clap your hands
  • cry like a baby
  • dance
  • do bell jumps (forward and back)
  • do criss-cross jumps
  • do jumping jacks
  • do outer space jumps
  • do ski jumps
  • do squats
  • do the disco dance
  • do toe taps
  • fly like a jet
  • gallop like a horse
  • growl
  • hop like a bunny
  • hop on one foot
  • howl like a wolf
  • jump like a frog
  • laugh
  • march
  • melt like ice
  • pop like popcorn
  • pretend to be a bird
  • pretend to build a house with sticks
  • pretend to climb a ladder
  • pretend to drive a car
  • pretend to eat
  • pretend to jump rope
  • pretend to read a book
  • pretend to swim
  • pretend to take a test
  • pretend to throw a ball
  • pretend your arms are spaghetti
  • pretend your legs are spaghetti
  • run in place
  • sit down
  • snarl like a dog
  • stomp like a dinosaur
  • stomp your feet
  • touch you leg
  • touch your arm
  • touch your back
  • touch your chin
  • touch your ears
  • touch your elbows
  • touch your eyebrows
  • touch your eyes
  • touch your hair
  • touch your head
  • touch your knees
  • touch your mouth
  • touch your nose
  • touch your shoes
  • touch your shoulders
  • touch your stomach
  • touch your toes
  • tremble
  • waddle like a duck
  • waddle like a penguin
  • walk like a dog
  • wiggle

I'd love to hear some new ideas for actions... leave a comment if you think of something I missed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Browse YouTube Safely in the Classroom!

It's Tuesday again, and we are finally getting around to the long awaited tutorial... how to browse YouTube Safely in the Classroom!

This has been a close contender in the poll for weeks, but this week it finally beat out the other options!

Now... I have to tell you when I first stumbled across this website, I had a "duh" moment!  I wonder if you'll have the same experience when you see the title of the website:

The website does have a disclaimer that it filters videos as much as it can, but that it might not catch 100% of them.  That being said, I've never had any issues while browsing it!  The site is pretty self-explanatory, but I typed out a quick tutorial for you anyway!

You can download this tutorial as a PDF by clicking this picture!
Note: This tutorial is hosted on Google Docs.  To save it from there, just open the file and click File > Download to save onto your computer!
For those of you interested in saving the videos from YouTube onto your computer, check out my previous tutorial, How to Download Videos From YouTube:
Now, for a bit of news... For those of you who happen to follow me primarily because of my technology tips, stay tuned on Thursday for a new technology feature, "Technology Tip Thursday."  I'll be posting a lot of quick tips here that don't require a full tutorial!
As for next week's poll, I'm going to add "How to Make Portrait Slides in PowerPoint."  Be sure to vote!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Organizing Your Literacy Manipulatives!

Today was my first day setting up my classroom and I am wiped out!  I'm loving it so far, and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to post when I'm done! 

In the meantime a lovely follower had a great idea... we all have our labels for our math manipulatives... but what about all of our literacy manipulatives? The magnetic letters, letter stamps, flash cards, etc.

I decided to create cute literacy manipulative labels that coordinate with my math labels... click the picture below to check them out!

Here are the math labels that coordinate with them:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Get Your Kids To Write Their Name on Their Work!

I'm starting to go through my plans for the beginning of the year and I found a bunch of things that I want to add to my blog... and many of them I'll be adding as freebies!  Soo... here's the first freebie! 

Years ago I learned the first verse of this song from a preschool teacher at my previous job.  So, my first year teaching Kindergarten, I obviously used it a LOT with my kiddos. 

I was absolutely amazed when my students added new verses to the song!  That's right... my students wrote the second and third verses of this song!  I absolutely love how creative they were and I use all three verses with my students nowadays! 

I added this file to TPT as a PowerPoint file so you can insert your own name into it, and I even embedded the font into the document so it should load up on your computer perfectly.  I haven't actually done the embedding before so I hope it works!

Click the picture below to download the song!

How do you get your kiddos to remember to write their names on their paper?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fight Against Fidgeting!

The number one way I have found to stop kids from fidgeting in class is to let them get all of their energy out another way! I make it a point sporadically throughout the day to do exercise songs in class!  It makes a MAJOR difference it getting kids to sit still the rest of the time!

I have a lot of exercise activities that I do with them that are academic in nature, but sometimes we just need a brain break!  I found a ton of songs on YouTube that are just perfect for this!

I used my little YouTube trick below to save these videos into a folder on my computer so I can pull them up easily on the Smart Board. 

Before you say it... I will: "When am I supposed to have time to do this in class!?  My day is already full!" Most of these songs are 2-3 minutes long... and I know that when my kids fidget I sometimes spend more than 2-3 minutes to get them back on task... so you're not taking extra time to do this, you're just re-purposing your time!

Anyway... here are my favorite videos for brain breaks!  I embedded the videos here, but the titles of the song will also link you to the video on YouTube if you want to save it from there.

This one is my absolute favorite!!!

Can you tell that I just love Patty Shukla's songs?!

This one is another one of my favorites!


That's 24 different songs to help your kids get their fidgeting out in a way that doesn't distract the rest of the class... in fact, it's actually in a way that benefits the entire class since they'll all be able to focus better after getting their blood to flow around better!

How do you get your kiddos to stop fidgeting?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Handwriting Book!

I'm getting geared up for the beginning of the year and I decided to make some cutesy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Handwriting pages!  You can click the picture below to grab it at TPT!

Each of the pages has directions to help the kids write the letters.  I can't wait to do it with my kiddos, I think it will be a cute little booklet for them to keep!

I'm so ready for the first week (even though it's not for a few more weeks)... even if I'm not ready for waking up at 5am! 

Is everyone else getting ready for back to school or are you back in school already?  I find it so bizarre that across the U.S. we're all on different school schedules, but I guess it all works out somehow!  Even if it means we get to watch people talking about "5 days left" on their blog while we've still got 2 months left!  Right!?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to Make a Collage of Pictures in Any Shape!

It's Tuesday again, so obviously it's time for another technology tutorial!  This one is definitely one of my favorite... how to make a collage of pictures in any shape you want!

This poll won by a pretty large margin, but there were definitely some other contenders... it'll be interesting to see what wins next week!

Now, onto the tutorial!  This tutorial uses the program Shape Collage, which you can download by clicking that link.

 You can download this tutorial as a PDF by clicking this picture!
Note: This tutorial is hosted on Google Docs.  To save it from there, just open the file and click File > Download to save onto your computer!

I have so many ideas for how I want to use this program in the classroom this year!  Primarily, I want to make a collage of photos of my students in the shape of the Cat in the Hat's hat... but I think it has tons of other uses as well!

My students always seem to struggle with the "Which one does not belong?" questions on a test, despite tons of practice.  I'm thinking I can make cute photo collages to use for this activity... for example, using all pictures of winter items in the shape of a winter hat, with a summer image placed in as well.  I think the kids will have a blast playing "I Spy" to look for the picture that doesn't belong... plus this shape will give them a hint as to the category it belongs in, which would make a great introduction point!

How do you think you'll use this in your classroom?

As for next week's poll, I did promise last week that I'd add how to add HTML code to a blog post.  I'm excited to see which one wins this time!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sight Word Cootie Catchers!

I am absolutely in love with these new cootie catches that I made!  I've been meaning to make this for a while, and I finally knocked it off my to do list!  Click the picture below to grab all of the Dolch Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade words!  This document has 71 pages and is available in black and white!

This set addresses the common core standards CCS:K.RF.3c, CCS:K.RF.3d, CCS:1.RF.3g, CCS:2.RF.3F, and CCS:3.RF.3d!  Click the picture below to download it at TPT!

Also, as a request from Erin I'm adding the frame for your own use!  You're more than welcome to use this frame for personal use or in your TPT paid/free items, just be sure to give credit to me for creating it!  Enjoy!

To save the file, just click the image to get to the higher quality picture, then right click (or Mac: Ctrl + Click) to save the image onto your computer! 

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Race Car Centers for Common Core & a Freebie!

Back in April I started to make these adorable race car centers for the common core standards but I never finished them!  So today I made it my goal to finish them... and I did!

There are five ELA centers:
  • Phonics Bingo (Beginning Sounds) (CCS.K.RF.3ab, CCS:K.RF.1d)
  • Middle Vowel Drivers (Middle Vowel Sounds in CVC words) (CCS:K.RF.2d, CCS:K.RF.3ab, CCS:1.RF.2c)
  • Race Through a Word (Reading CVC & CVCe Words) (CCS:K.RF.2cd, CCS.K.RF.3ab, CCS:1.RF.2b, CCS:1.RF.3bc)
  • Digraphs Keys (Beginning Digraphs sh, ch, wh, and th) (CCS:1.RF.3a)
  • Race to Read Words (Pre-Primer, Primer, and 1st Grade Dolch Words) (CCS:K.RF.1ab CCS:K.RF.3cd, CCS:1.RF.3g)

Math Centers:
  • Race for More and Less (Comparing groups of objects to 20) (CCS:K.CC.4abc CCS:K.CC.5, CCS:K.CC.6, CCS:K.NBT.1 CCS:1.NBT.2ab)
  • Road War (More and Less Using Numbers) (CCS.K.CC.4c, CCS:K.CC.6, CCS:K.CC.7, CCS:1.NBT.2ab, CCS:K.NBT.3

All the centers are available in color and black and white! :)
  • Skip Counting Race (Skip Counting by 10s, 5s, and 2s) (CCS:K.CC.1, CCS.1.NBT.2ac)
  • Time to Write the Room! (Time to the Hour and Half Hour) (CCS:1.MD.3)
  • Steering Wheel Addition (Adding Numbers to 20) (CCS:K.OA.1, CCS:K.OA.2, CCS:K.OA.5, CCS:1.OA.5, CCS:1.OA.6)
I had such a fun time making these I can't wait to print them out and laminate them!

Now, of course,  here's a freebie for my followers... one of the games from the set!!!  Click the picture below to download the game in color and black and white!

Note: This freebie is hosted on Google Docs.  Once you open the file, click File > Download to save onto your computer! 
And let's do a quick flash giveaway!
Can you guess which book I just started to read that I am loving?  
 I'll give you one hint: it's not a teaching book!

The first two people to get it right will win the whole set!  Be sure to leave your email address!

Thanks to everyone who entered!  The book(s) I'm currently reading is the Hunger Games Trilogy!  I finished the first one in two days and I'm on the second one now.  I was so nervous that they'd be gory but they're not at all!

Congrats to Tanya at First Grade is Fantabulous! and Deneise McGowan for being the first two people to guess correctly!  I'll be sending you the file soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Jobs!

There are so many possibilities for classroom jobs, and the kids just love them!  I always have one job for each student in my class!  They love being "in charge" of something... no matter how big or small the task!

When posting my jobs in the classroom, I wanted to be that they were clear for pre-readers to understand... with real pictures to help remind my little Kinder students what they job was.  The second I switched to this visual job chart, even my youngest kindergarten students were able to identify what their job was!

this cute job chart has pictures to help your students easily identify their job, even if they're not reading yet!

I ended up redesigning this job chart with to match a few different themes for some of my coworkers.  Honestly, the jungle themed set really made me consider switching to a whole jungle classroom theme! But I think I love my Dr. Seuss theme too much!

jungle themed classroom jobs with pictures... perfect for pre-readers and ELLs!     bright, neon job chart... so fun and the pictures will help all students be able to "read" the job chart!

bright and colorful polka dot job chart... love the visuals!  the pictures will make it perfect even for pre-readers to "read" their classroom job     black and gold glittery hollywood themed job chart... love the use of real pictures for pre-readers and ELLs!

Some of my favorite (and less common) jobs are:
  • Smartboard Helper: To turn on/off the smartboard when we use it.
  • Homework Helper: To stamp the homework and hand out homework folders when it's time to pack up.
  • Timer Helper: I love to use timers in my class!  I set timers for everything: 15 minutes for writing, 20 minutes for centers (through two separate timers... a 15 minute one for the kitchen/block center to play, then a 5 minute timer for them to clean up while everyone else plays for five more minutes).  The kids know that the second the time goes off its time to clean up and make their way to their seats! It's awesome!  I used to use a kitchen timer but just recently got the timer pictured.  It's expensive, but the kids just grab the red, green, or yellow timer when we start an activity.
This next one is my favorite!!!

Click the picture for an entire post about the action cup!
  • Action Cup Helper: This one of my kids' favorites!  Each time we transition from our seats to the carpet, or visa versa, they pick an action from the cup.  Some of the actions are simple, like "hop on one foot," some are silly, like "pretend your legs are spaghetti," and some are student created, like "fly like a jet."  We use these actions so frequently that the kids could "read" them by November.
  • Treasure Chest Helper: I use a color chart for the classroom.  At the end of the day, the students have the chance to get a prize from the treasure chest, a pencil, or a sticker.  The "treasure chest helper" sets up the prizes and makes sure that each student only gets one prize.

What are your favorite classroom jobs?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Save a PowerPoint Slide as a Transparent Image!

I am so excited to write this post because it is my 100th post on my blog and my 20th Technology Tuesday post!  I never expected to write 100 posts in the five months I've had this blog!  I really do enjoy it though!

Now, onto today's post... how to save a powerpoint slide with a transparent background!

This poll was a real nail biter!  I was really nervous it would end up being a tie!

Luckily, it wasn't a tie!  I'm really excited to blog about this fantastic idea that Mercedes over at Surfing to Success gave to me!  She has a ton of technology tutorials on her blog also so you should definitely check it out!

Surfing to Success” style=

Now, onto the tutorial!

And of course, you can have those two cute star images for free!

To download this tutorial as a PDF, just click the button below.  I decided to host the files on Google Docs instead of TPT and hopefully I'll get the other posts up soon!

Note: This tutorial is hosted on Google Docs.  To save it from there, just open the file and click File > Download to save onto your computer!

For next week's poll I had the hardest time picking what to add!  In my linky party below, the question came up as to how you add the HTML code to your blog when someone gives it to you.  Oops... I put the wrong thing on the poll!  I added how to make a collage of photos in any shape.  I'll add the HTML next week!  Be sure to vote for next week, and in the meantime, check out my linky party!

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to School Jitters Linky Party!

All of this talk about back to school and the big TPT sale has really got me thinking about going back... even though it will be weeks before I actually go back (the kids start September 10, but obviously I'll be back in before then!)  Anyway... I was thinking about the book First Day Jitters and all the crazy emotions we feel before then... and I decided to make a quick little linky for it!

Back to School Jitters Linky Party

Here are all of my back to school emotions!  I tried to focus on the positives!!!

Here is the picture so you can link up... but be sure to read the rules!!!

Rules for the Linky Party:
  1. Put your text over the picture above to talk about your back to school "jitters!"  If you're not sure how to put text over a picture, check out this link!
  2. Use the HTML code at the top of this post to link back to the post!
  3. Comment on the two blog posts before yours!

I'm excited to see what you link up!