Sunday, February 7, 2016

Flexible Seating!

Big changes are taking place in our classroom these days.  I'm so exited to finally be trying out flexible seating with my kiddos.  Getting rid of my teacher's desk 6 years ago was easy.  Getting rid of assigned seating was not so easy.  Don't get my wrong....I've been wanting to do this for a while.  It was the silly things like giving up the chair-bags that everyone's family purchased and had monogrammed.  The what-ifs had to be worked out in my head such as what to do when specials classes like guidance are held in our room or parent meeting day at the beginning of the year.  When I thought about the pros of flexible seating all of this just seemed unimportant and I decided to go for it.

 I posted a project on Donors Choose with the following description.
It was fully funded within 3 days!  I noticed that many of the donors were not even families of my current students.  There are so many people that are excited for this leap into 21st century teaching who were fully supportive of my flexible seating dream.  Wow.  I have received several encouraging emails and visits from parents throughout my school in the last week as well.  It warms my heart to know that there are such sweet people out there that are supportive of our teachers and classrooms.

Our new items arrived on Monday morning!  That's right...Amazon prime shipping is amazing.  I went from posting the project to receiving my items in 5 days total.  Crazy, right?!?  I combined our new stability discs, wobble seats and balance balls with the items I already had.  I spent that afternoon rearranging furniture until I made everything work. Click on each picture to see the new item on Amazon.

Here are a few pics from our current new arrangement.  I realize this might change as we get more comfortable with our flexible seating.  The dice cubes were something I picked up a few years ago at Walmart.  The crate seats were made a few years back and the "buddy" bench is a yard sale find from 11 years ago.  :)
One week down and so far so good.  My kiddos LOVE choosing their "work space" and we have not had any issues.  I am so proud at how my students just fell into our new classroom arrangement and have used our new flexible seating to maximize their learning.  I'm sure there will be bumps in the road as questions and new situations arise.  However, I'm confident we can work through them.  I will post updates as we settle back into our routine.  For now, here are a few pictures from week 1.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Groundhog Grouping {FREE}

 Are your students working on composing and decomposing numbers 11 through 19 yet? We have been talking a lot about tens and ones in my room during calendar time.  I'm going to have my students complete this handout in whole group on Tuesday as part of our Groundhog Day festivities.  I'm going to ask my kiddos to circle the groups of ten on the handout so that they can see the decomposition in action.  I'm hoping that having them create each group of ten will move them further towards a solid foundation in place value. 

I hope you can use this freebie in your classroom as well.  Click the image or {here} to download this handout for free in Google docs.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

LOVING these Morning Messages!

I use my morning messages every single day.  LOVE!  It has made my mornings run smoother and I know that even if I pick a random message for the day it will still be packed full of learning.  Here are a few screenshots of February's morning messages:
 I realize there are only 28 days in February and that not all 28 of those are school days.  However, this pack includes 34 messages so you can pick and choose which ones to use this month.  As always, I've included a few messages that correlate with seasonal books.  This month I have messages for:

Check out the description on TpT to see the list of 30+ skills covered this month.  The themes include: Valentine's Day, Groundhog's Day, Presidents (Washington and Lincoln), Martin Luther King, Jr., Chinese New Year, Dental

Like with previous months I've included 2 greetings for each message as well as a color and black and white copy for each.  You download a zip file with all 4 documents inside the folder.

I have created Meaningful Morning Messages for each month of the year.  I use an old overhead projector to project the messages on to my white board so that my students can write directly on the board each morning.  It's easy for me....I just pick a transparency and place it on the projector...and it is easy for my kids to write on and wipe off.  Do you have to use an overhead?  Absolutely not! I do because it works for me in my classroom space.  You could also project them on a Smartboard, with a document camera, print and laminate them, etc.

February messages are also included in the 2nd Semester Bundle.  Check it out by clicking the image.

Happy (almost) February!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Arctic Animals QR Code Read Alouds {FREE!}

My class is really digging these QR code read alouds.  They love the independence of scanning the codes themselves during station time.  Since they have been such a hit in my classroom, I wanted to find some related texts to go along with our current study of the arctic.  I created 6 qr codes for my listening station for use with our ipads that can be scanned on any device with a free QR reader app.  These are linked to YouTube read aloud videos through a safe share service to limit advertisements.  Download them for FREE {here} or by clicking the picture.

Here are the ones from last month related to hibernation.  Feel free to grab them too {here}.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

3 Winter Activities- Fun and FREE!

Happy snow season everyone!  Here are a few snow-themed stations I plan on using this week.

Here is one from last year that was a hit.  I plan on putting the recording sheet in a plastic sleeve this year so my kids can use a dry-erase marker and then erase for the next group.  No reason to make a class set of copies!

 You could also use dry erase boards and forgo the recording sheet altogether.

Click on the cover image or {here} to grab your copy for free.  I pre-programmed some cards with a few sight words we are currently working on but added some blank cards as well.  Of course, you do not have to use this for sight words.  You could use the dice to review numbers, shapes, blending letters, etc.  I hope this is something you can use. ;)

I use the clear photo stacking dice but you can use any clear pocket dice.  Here are a few links if you are in need of some:

Here is the Old Lady game I use for January in my math tub.  3 different levels are included: Rolling 1 die and covering the number, rolling 2 dice and covering the sum, and rolling 3 dice and covering the sum. 

{Grab all 3 games for FREE by clicking the picture.}

Of course the games are based off of this fun book:

Make sure you download all of my other Roll and Cover games to go with this series.  You can find them all {here}. 

Here is another sight word practice game!
Do you follow my page on Facebook?  If so, all you need to do is visit the tab at the top of the page to head on over and download this freebie.  If you do not yet follow…no worries.  Just swing by and "like" the page and you will instantly be able to download the game for free as well.

I hope you are staying warm!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Winter is Coming! Hibernation QR Read Alouds {FREE}

Hello there!  I've begun to touch on hibernation and how animals prepare for the winter.  I thought I would incorporate a few related texts into our tech time.  I created 6 qr codes for my listening station for use with our ipads.  You can scan them on any device with a free qr reader app on it.  These are linked to YouTube read aloud videos through a safe share service to limit advertisements.  I hope you can use them in your classroom too! :)  Grab it for FREE {here}.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

All Aboard the Polar Express! {FREEBIE included}'s that time of year again!  Friday my class will be having Polar Express Day complete with a literature unit, art projects, movie time and "warm" hot cocoa!  To get us in the spirit we will be incorporating the Polar Express into our station time this week.  I created 5 ELA station activities that will be perfect practice for: real vs nonsense words, beginning sounds, ending sounds, rhyming words and sight words.  You can grab these too {HERE}.  Check out the stations below.

If you have been to my blog before you know that I'm a huge fan of roll and cover games! I put together a Polar Express version last year that I will definitely be pulling out again this week. I hope you can use it too! There are 3 versions to meet the needs of your learners. Click on the image to download your copy of all 3 versions for FREE.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Letters Alive: Student Led!

If you haven't heard of Letters Alive you better check out my previous post {here}.  It's awesome!!  It is an augmented reality program that brings the letters to life for your students. is now available on Donors Choose!
Confession.  I'm a teacher which means I LOVE control.  I was initially reluctant to let my students take a turn with the letter cards.  Not because I didn't want them to enjoy the interactive part but because I was nervous about them placing the cards in the right spot or knocking the camera over.  I took my time introducing them to the letter cards and the the colors and eventually began calling on them to lead our exploration time.  I will now admit that my students are far more successful with Letters Alive than I am.  For real.  Here's one of my kindergarten students leading the class on some sentence building.  You will hear the rest of the class chanting different colors for him to use.  He ultimately chooses brown, which makes the toucan change color.  It's hard to see on my screen through the camera but you can tell by the oohs and aahs when it happens.
A video posted by Mary Lirette (@marylirette) on
Pretty cool, huh?  As I get more and more comfortable with augmented reality I am letting my students take the helm with this.  It is absolutely amazing how they just know how to turn the cards to make things come alive.  I look forward to what else my students can teach me with this program.  :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gobble Gobble Fluency Practice and a Freebie!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here's a totally turkey sight word game that's perfect practice for this week.  There are 2 versions: one with sight words for practice and another with simple fluency sentences using sight words and short a and short i words.  Add the cards to a basket and you have a festive review game.  Click on an image for more info.  :)
Make sure to pull out this one this week too!  I included 3 different levels: Rolling 1 die {man...the singular throws me every time}and covering the number, rolling 2 dice and covering the sum, and rolling 3 dice and covering the sum.  Download it for FREE.  Enjoy!

Of course the games are based off of this fun book: