Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mindsets in the Classroom Wrap Up!

We are wrapping up our Mindsets in the Classroom Book Study over at Hello Sunshine. If you read along or haven't had a chance to read the book yet, check out all of the great posts for inspiring growth mindset in the classroom. There are lots of free posters to print out as well! (including this one!)


Monday, June 15, 2015

Crayons!

We use them everyday, we talk about how to use them, how to take care of them, but rarely about where they come from or how they come to be! Once in awhile I do a fun little "How it's made" activity with my kids. I have done one about crayons many times, but I decided I wanted a little more to go with the lesson so I wrote one of my Little Learner News Articles about Crayons! I can't wait to try it with my kids! This way I can tie in some print awareness with something we are already doing!
We will read the article and then they can "report" about what they learned. They are so curious about how things are made, this is going to be so much fun! I'll update with some reports eventually!
Here's a fun video from Mr. Rogers to learn about how crayons are made too!






Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Happy Books = Happy Librarian!


Happy Books =  Happy Librarian! We all want our librarian to be happy right? 
& of course want our kids to take care of our books! You know the old saying... "If the librarian ain't happy, nobody's happy!" . . . .Well, something like that anyway! 
Librarians have a big job! I think so anyway... keeping it clean, inviting, up-to-date and ready for each person that walks in there is a huge responsibility! Not to mention all the stuff they know! Amazing!  Last year we began using Our Library RULES! book that I worked on last year. We needed a kid friendly way to teach the rules of the library & book care. Our librarian made a large, color printed out version for herself, and she printed copies for every kid in the school! She used the slideshow version for teaching, and the kids loved having their own little emergent reader to take home and share about the library! Mrs. B. used her version all through the year to refresh and remind students about book care and library behavior, and kiddos that came in new to the school got their own copy of Our Library RULES! upon visiting the library for the first time. Mrs. B also share with  me that some special students (wink, wink!) got an extra copy of the little book as a gentle reminder when library books came back a little too used if you know what I mean! If your library needs help spreading the good word of book care and library etiquette check out this resource! (Description below)

Product Description:

ONE SCHOOL SITE LICENSE included with purchase!
Use it for this year and all the years to come!

Get books in the hands of your kids on the first day of library!
"Our Library Rules!" is a positive, informative, fun, and student friendly text to build community and share school wide with students to teach about using the library, proper book care, and celebrate the fact that their library is the best! In fact, it rules!
It is perfect as a shared story! Copy enough for each student in the school to learn about and review library rules, proper book care as well as literacy promotion!
(The play on words “We need library rules so our library can rule!” teaches multiple meaning words too!
(CCSS ELA: Language Standard 4, Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.)
Our Library Rules is VERY EASY to copy and prepare! It can be single sided, OR copy double sided to save paper. Simply copy (on your copier choose the staple twice option on the left side), cut with paper cutter, and done! If you have a printing department at your district office they can make even quicker work of it when preparing for the whole school!
Our School Librarian copied the pages onto extra large construction paper, and spiral bound it to make herself a big book for instruction and review!

Included in this Resource:
•One School Library Site License
Zipped file includes:
•Student half page Our Library Rules (black and white) (EASY to Copy and Assemble!)
•Student half page Our Library Rules (color) (EASY to Copy and Assemble!)
•Quicktime Movie/Slideshow for whole group instruction and review

Our Library Rules is intended for purchase by a school administrator, individual teacher, or librarian with the intent of copying and sharing with each of the school’s teachers and students. In other words, the purchaser is granted a SITE LICENSE for ONE SCHOOL / ONE SCHOOL LIBRARY. Permission is given to share this resource within the walls of ONE school with ONE library, no additional license purchase is necessary. If you are interested in a district wide site license, please contact me for pricing.

Thanks for visiting Little Bird Kindergarten!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Mindsets in the Classroom

I am so lucky to be teaming up with the fabulous group of teachers that make up Hello Sunshine!  We have teamed up for some fantastic online professional development with the Hello Sunshine teachers?  Join us  as we read Mindsets in the Classroom and learn together how we can move our students, staff and communities to a growth mindset. This is such a great read to help your own mindset as you mentally prepare for new kiddos in the fall!
Head on over to Hello Sunshine for details about the book study and our chapter "take-aways" as we go through the book.

Get the book HERE 

Visit the Mindsets website for more helpful tips and info HERE


Book Study Photo

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Notability! Inside the Classroom and Out!

If you’re going to professional development this summer or attending a conference like I am (Helloooo Vegas!), I have a fun and hopefully very helpful tip for you!Depending on the event, you may or may not receive handouts.I have found a GREAT note-taking app called Notability. ($2.99 in the app store, and SO worth it!) I used it last summer on my iPad mini and it was FaBuLouS!!

It allows you to mark-up/write/ draw/doodle right onto the PDF’s that you download onto it! And best of all….you can even take pictures and insert them into your notes! 
A m a z i n g!! 
Last summer I had already printed all of my handouts and put them into binders, but I didn’t end up using them or even taking them to sessions with me because I ended up LOVING using this app. That being said though… I am still very much a paper pencil, cute-planner type of girl, so I did take a small notepad with me to take paper/pen notes when people were talking super fast and sharing tons of great information! When all done I took a picture of my  notes from that session and added them to the PDF’s (you can add blank pages right in the middle of the PDF!)

There are lots of great tools on Notability . You can capture audio clips to add to your PDF’s as well!
As with any other app, it really takes time to explore, play and get comfortable using it in order to use it to it’s full potential!
If you’re thinking about trying it I would recommend giving yourself time to play before you get down to serious note-taking with it! (Just like we do with our little ones, they need that explore time, and so do we!)
I was sitting in a workshop last summer and started talking to the teacher next to me, she was interested in the app, so she downloaded it right then and there and started using it! You can save your notes and e-mail them to your friends too, so you can divide and conquer the sessions and share notes with each other!
This app has so many potential uses!
I have used it in my classroom to help me with writing conferences. It is particularly great for writing because you can take photos of their writing to provide evidence of their growth!
Documenting growth by:

•Taking notes about where they are at in the writing process and what their next steps are.
Photos of their artifacts (So, so cute!)
This is such a powerful tool for writing instruction!
•It is so empowering for students to see their work being recorded in this way! It is a proud moment for them and it really helps them to visualize their next steps in order to create goals.  :o)
•It is, in a word, INCREDIBLE for data collection. It’s all right there!
Whatever you need to make sure you are recording to support evidence of:  Growth :o)  OR  Lack of growth :o(   {hopefully not!}

Organizing files and folders is easy as well! Each student can have Their own folder so that you have a running live record of their work!

I shared it with my principal, and she uses Notability on her iPhone 6+ for doing teacher evaluations now! She takes pictures and notes during the lessons and then uses it to help her in scoring, writing, and follow-up conferences!

For the notes in these photos I was sitting close enough that I could take pictures of the presenters slides. I did this a lot! It really helped me to recall information and I even added additional notes to these later on as I reviewed them. It’s easy to type, draw, write and highlight on the note pages or PDF’s. The camera tool is easy to use – you click on the + in the tool bar and it will give you the option to add a photo, take a photo, or even add a link from the web! When you select a picture you can easily crop it or move it around on a page.
I hope this little post inspires you to try Notability if you haven’t already! (I don’t know the Notability people and I’m not being reimburesed in any way for writing this, I just like the app and wanted to share!)
Here is a link to a little tutorial that I found too!


Thanks to my sweet & smart friend Emma at Clever Classroom who encouraged me to write this post!! ;o) Have fun using Notability and when you come up with great ideas for using this app please come back and share in the comments!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy Summer!

I hope this finds you sitting with your feet up, sipping your favorite beverage and enjoying some well-deserved time off! I have been working on lots of things since I have been off, but it has been so nice to do what I want to do, not what I have to do! I have a notebook full of ideas to create and can't wait to get them done to use them for next year and share them with you!

I have about ten things started and it's hard to know which to finish.. but I do best when I just go with what I am inspired by in the moment, so here's what I've been working on this week!

I have wanted to create a simpler version of close reading for a long time. I have made a few and used them with my class and they really loved them. I have been doing lots of reading and research and finally got the ball rolling to make quite a few of these. Essentially they are little kid friendly "articles". They are very age appropriate, great for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and some first graders. They are especially written for pre-readers, but are also perfect for little ones with emerging reading skills.
I am crafting these articles to share facts, introduce vocabulary, and answer questions, providing authentic print awareness experiences. Print awareness is the understanding that print on a page has meaning and is related to the spoken word. Young children are not wired to naturally understand that
print on a page has meaning and that all of those funny looking symbols on a page actually mean something!

Gaining familiarity with the printed word and the different ways it can look requires many different interactions to feel comfortable with it and understand that print is helpful to us in so many ways. Print awareness focuses on how text is used rather than how to read it. Research tells us that children who have a greater understanding of print awareness will be more deeply skilled at comprehension, thus more successful at reading later on. I think my little learners will LOVE having their very own “news” to learn about, share at home, and report on! I would use the resources for a one day mini lesson, over several days, or to integrate and enrich thematic learning. 


Multiple ELA, writing, speaking/listening, and science standards are addressed, but these resources are really intended to enhance learning skills by providing an easy, accessible way to integrate print experiences into themes and scaffold print rich activities for students to naturally and easily become aware of print!


If you have used my Close Reading resources I bet you'll really like these!

They come with:
Full page article (color, newsprint, b&w)
Half page article (color, b&w)
Quarter page article (color. b&w)
The small sizes are great because they save paper and ink and are great for take home copies 
and ELA or Science notebooks! 
There are 3 different reporting/writing prompts, open ended and also come in color and b/w.
There are also Anchor Chart elements for creating a class chart to discuss the article, and 
vocabulary cards to teach about the media sources used for non fiction.

I have plans for many more of these, so check back soon! (The picture below is a link)!





Now... I'm off to dangle my feet in the pool for a few minutes! Happy Summer to you!