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Saying Goodbye to Our Dear Friend, Yolanda

The Blog Hoppin' family would like to pass on our dearest condolences to the family and friends of our own Yolanda Arnold (Oceans of Fun in First Grade).  Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. 
Comment with your favorite memories of Yolanda.  Whether you knew her in person or not, we'd love to know how her teaching influenced your classroom, your practice, and your students.   

Please join us in saying goodbye. 

Technology Tip: The Hour of Code

Hello everyone! Let me introduce myself real quick…. my name is Natalie and I blog over at What the Teacher Wants with my BFF Rachelle! (You can read more about us: HERE!) I consider myself to be a 5th grade teacher since I taught it (and LOVED it) for 7 years. After having two little babies, I made the switch to part-time teaching and this will be my second year as my school's computer specialty teacher. I miss 5th grade, but am overall loving my new job! Today I'm sharing a technology tip and something that I'm really excited about.

Last spring I got to attend an amazing technology conferece (UCET) where I was inspired in many different ways to implement technology in the elementary classroom as well as find new ideas to teach in my computer classes. The main idea I took away from the conference was: My students need to complete The Hour of Code!

Have you heard about it? Here's the short version: The Hour of Code is a fun and interactive way to teach students (starting at age 6!) how to do computer programming! Plus, it's completely FREE!

In today's world, knowing how to write and understand code is HUGE, and starting kids out at an early age will give them a great advantage! (Imagine writing on your collage resume that you learned to write code at the age of 6 or 10… pretty impressive, right?)

Have you seen this inspirational video? It's only 10 minutes and explains in a kid-friendly way why learning code is so important.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be among the 90% of schools that don't teach any type of computer programming skills.

And… here's just a two minute clip you should watch too. Hint: you should watch it just to see Ashton Kutcher. 

I have already mapped out my year and have decided to do The Hour of Code with all 700 of my 1st-6th grade students! I have planned to do this in three 30 minute sessions which will hopefully allow enough time to introduce the program, complete one hour of code, and talk about what we've learned. December should be a great time to fit this in since it's right before students leave for Christmas break. (Another great time to teach it would be at the end of the year after testing is all over.) 

I'm excited to try it and know my students will love it!!

Think this sounds like something you would like to try?
Would your students benefit from learning code?
Have you already done this with your students?
Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Hoppin' into RTI

Hello!  Holly, from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections, here!

School started for me in early August, and as always, the last few weeks have been filled with assessments, assessments, assessments as I seek to find out where each of my kinder-babies are in regard to their skills and knowledge.  Naturally, during this assessment process I have found that a few of my “littles” are a wee bit “behind” in terms of skills and baseline knowledge.  These students are in need of immediate early intervention!
Hello RTI!
As you know, RTI (Response to Intervention) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning.  Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction.

While RTI is necessary, let’s be real.  It can also be time-intensive to plan, organize and make realistically “do-able” on top of all of your other teaching responsibilities. Although I know that all schools have different procedures for carrying out RTI, I thought it might be helpful to share how I organize and execute the RTI process in my classroom.  For me, it’s all about keeping things simple, do-able and organized!

Step One – RTI Skill/Standard Folders
I purchase a stockpile of simple pocket folders.  You know, the kind that you can get during the back-to-school sale for just a few cents.  I then label each folder with a different academic standard. (See below.)

Here are the labels I use for my kindergarten RTI folders.

{I whipped these up myself...but there's nothing extremely magical about them!  You could easily create your own labels by typing in your standards!  If you are a kindergarten teacher and would rather save time than type them up yourself, click to download them as a FREEBIE!}

Next, I fill one of the pockets inside the folder with these RTI documentation sheets.

Step Two – RTI Instructional Intervention Resources/Activities
After I have all of my folders labeled and organized by category and standard, I fill each folder with instructional materials that can serve as RTI activities.  I keep it simple, people.  We all know that over-complicating things can sometimes make them impossible to carry out!  {At my school, I’m completely responsible for all of my own RTI, so while my system might not be as detailed as what a resource specialist could provide, it IS a system that works for me on limited time!}I simply place skill printables and instruction sheets for hands-on activities in each folder.  Now the RTI folders are ready to go!

Step Three – RTI Implementation
Set aside an hour a day to implement your RTI program.  JUST KIDDING!   If you are like me, I don’t have an extra minute in my days to fit in something “extra!”  THIS is the main reason that I implement the RTI program that I use! 

First of all, whenever you do any assessments (formative or summative) and you notice a kiddo who is performing below level on a skill or standard, go directly to your RTI folders and fill out an RTI form for him/her and stick it in the appropriate folder.  Even though you may not have time to “work” with that kiddo on that skill right at that moment, you now have his/her need documented. 

Now that my RTI folders are all organized and ready to go, I simply pull the folders during learning center time, math station time or ANY other time that my kinders are working independently for 2 minutes or more (literally!)  If you have your RTI materials organized, it’s amazing what you can get done in just a few minutes of time!  If you are fortunate enough to have instructional aides or parent volunteers, you can even have them go to the folders when they have time.  Simply pull a folder (any folder)…and if there is an RTI form with student info filled out, they simply grab a skill printable or activity sheet, grab that kiddo, complete the task and write a few notes on the RTI form.  Document the student’s performance, and if more practice is needed, return the RTI sheet to the folder.  If the child shows proof of skill mastery, I ask the aide to pull the RTI sheet and give it to me (or if I’m assessing, I do it myself of course!)  I then place it in that student’s individual assessment binder so that when I complete report cards, I have all the info I need! 

As the form indicates, increase duration and intensity of the interventions for students as need indicates onto Tier 2 and Tier 3.  For more details on RTI and the suggested intensity and duration of implementation of the various tiers, check out the RTI FREEBIE by clicking HERE.  If students eventually need to be referred for special educational services, you already have all the documentation you need!   Easy Peasy!  J

Interested in learning more about what materials you might place inside your RTI folders? 

Here is an example of one of the printable activities I place inside my CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.D (Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet) RTI folder.  It specifically was designed for students who have letter reversal problems.

Here is another example of an RTI folder intervention activity.  This is an example of an activity specifically created to address CCSS.K.CC.A.3 {Identify and write numbers from 0 to 20/Represent a number of objects with a written numeral}.

Some of my other Blog Hoppin’ “besties” have great resources that can be used in RTI folders too!


Check out these RTI folder fillers, by the sweet Babbling Abby!

Great source for K numeracy skills RTI!
{That Cara Carroll knows her stuff!}

Do YOU have any great RTI resources that you have created for TPT and would like to share? 
If so, LINK UP below!

Number Puzzles

These number puzzles make for a super fun math center activity that is engaging, fun and skill focused! Students will find the matching position for each section on their number shaped puzzle mat!

I've included:
  • number puzzle mats with keys to assist piece placement
  • blank number puzzle mats
  • color versions
  • blackline versions
A puzzle is included for all digits 1 to 20. Number words, ten frames, counting fingers/ tally marks, place value blocks (11-20)) and numerals are represented on pieces.

This activity can be used in a structured game rotation program, as a math center or in guided math. Once taught, it also makes a fantastic 'fast-finisher' activities for revision of key concepts.

You will need to print, laminate and cut pieces to use the puzzles. No other numbers will be added to this product version upon revision.

Alphabet puzzles are also available too!

Alphabet Puzzles

We love reading! Do you?

Hi! It's Megan and Kim from Kindergals. We are here today to tell you a little bit about teaching your little ones how to pick out a good fit book! The very first thing we do is teach our students how to identify all the different parts of the books. Here my children are looking for the cover, back, and title page of the book.

The next day we talk all about the cover and what things we will typically ALWAYS find on a cover. We discuss the title, author, illustrator, and cover image.

Then, we dive a little bit deeper into looking at the cover to decide if a book is right for us. The focus right now is not on ability level of the book but interest level. We want to get kids EXCITED about reading! In our mini lesson, we model how to look at the cover to decide if it is a book we want to know more about.

Finally, we teach our students how to look on the inside to see if the book is really right for us. If it is not a good fit book, we teach them to place it back in the bucket and pick a new book!

Here are some PRECIOUS shots of my kiddos during their silent reading time. I think the first step in encouraging life long learners is to establish a love for reading.

This has to be my favorite reader of all.....

As a mom, I always want Matthew to LOVE books. We have made a habit of reading to him every day. Now, the first place he goes when we are home is the table with the basket of books on it. Instilling a love for books is so important at an early age. I LOVE watching him learn to love books.

What do you do to inspire young readers to love reading?

Until next time...

Megan & Kim


Howdy friends . . . it's Kelley Dolling from Teacher Idea Factory!  I am here to bring you a fun little freebie today.  It started off as a for sale packet, but then I decided to make it short and sweet and offer it up as a FREEBIE.  

Here's the background on this collection.  The longer I teach the more problems I see on pop up on the playground.  Times area a changin' and I wanted to make a packet to try and head some of these issues off at the pass.  Instead of just reviewing our yard rules, we will explicitly teach our playground expectations this year.  We will focus on what it takes to have a fun and successful recess each and every day . . . when your teacher is standing guard and when he/she isn't.  

Let me offer a little additional insight on this freebie for you.  Each item is outlined below (I promise not to drone on forever - it's back to school time for goodness sake).

Recess Really Rocks Write - thought this would be a fun way to get into the recess spirit.  Once we get our babes thinking about things they love on the playground, I see a nice transition into manners and expectations!  

Playground Rules Poster - I wanted one of these, so I tossed it in for you too!  I am going to use this to help me construct a little Playground Manners Theatre. I am so excited about acting out situations . . . our kids are going to love it!

Yard Super Slips - this seemed like a fun and easy way to reinforce those desirable recess behaviors.  We (the teachers) are out during the morning recess . . . I am definitely going to be dishing these out to high-level babies. Hopefully, this will help cut down on the issues that occur when we (the teachers) are NOT on the playground at lunch.  

Recess Craft & Pledge - I wanted a simple cut and paste craft that served as a little behavior pledge for the year.  I came up with a funky slide.  It's quick, easy, and serves its purpose.  

Recess Rap - oh baby . . . this is my favorite thing about the pack.  I wanted a little chant to sing before hitting the playground, but I didn't have one.  It helps to have Ron Brown from Intelli-Tunes as your father as he whipped one up for me last weekend ... thanks pop!  This freebie comes with an MP3 and the lyrics in printable form.  

Alright, so there it is in a nutshell - Sliding into a Super Recess.  If you like the flavor of this character building packet, be sure to check out my Lunchroom Manners collection!  

Thanks so much for visiting today . . . I love getting to be a part of the Blog Hoppin' bunch (honored is more like it).  I'll catch you on my next go around. Here's to a stellar week with the babes!

Spanish {Printable} Awards!

Hey there Hoppers.
This is Alisha from The Bubbly Blonde.

I've officially survived 8 days with my new group of kiddos.
If you've started, how is it going?  If you haven't, good luck when it comes!
Many of you may know that I have changed schools this year.
The demographics of my school now include a very high ESL population.
I have my ESL endorsement and am excited to get to use it to it's full potential.

I love writing positive awards to send home on a regular basis to 
let a student know that I appreciate their hard work,
 great citizenship, fantastic listening skills, etc.
I want my kiddos to show their parents.
I want them to be proud of their hard work!
As I was handing out a few awards on Friday, 
I realized that many of my students would not be able 
to read the award on their own, yet.
And many of their parents would not be able to read English!

What good is it for me to send an award home that neither the child or parent can read?
Will it still have meaning?  Will my student still be proud to receive it?
Or will it simply be thrown in the trash?
I need/want a way to bridge the language barrier gap.

My solution, a few basic Spanish Awards!
You can grab them here in color and b/w.
If you'd like to print the awards smaller, print more copies on a page!
Don't worry, I did not translate these signs on my own!

Writer's Workshop - Sentence Scramblers

Happy weekend friends!  It’s Stacy from Mrs. Johnson’s First Grade to bring you a little snippet from my Writers Workshop! 
Let me start by saying I have 23 English Language Learners in my First Grade class this year!  All but 2 are labeled intensive and many are still acquiring the language.  It’s going to be a busy year!

As I introduce our Writer's Workshop, I start the students out by having them draw a picture and then move to words to describe their pictures.  This is when I realized they did not have much sentence structure or enough vocabulary to make a sentence.  I came up with a way to make sentences they could manipulate.  They LOVED this!
I used sticky back Velcro and the big dice you can find at the Dollar Tree.  I laminated 5 different
colored cards with white labels so students could write with a dry erase marker.  Each Di would have one of each color.  The students would make sentences using one color for each word in their sentence.  

I put the students in groups to work together.  Each group got a different color to work with.  Since we were talking about pets, I used pictures to help them as they wrote. 
After they finished the sentence, they put one word/color on each of the di.  We scrambled them and the students got to unscramble everyone’s sentence together as a whole group.
With the sentence scramblers being a foundation, our next activity was introducing Nouns and Verbs.  They got to choose another pet and work in groups.  

After drawing a picture for the Noun and Verb, they generated a sentence using the nouns and verbs they drew.  I'm planning to use this for centers and may write sentences for them to unscramble as well.
If you’d like the Noun and Verb page you can download HERE.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Meet the Teacher - WHAT FRIDAY - with a FREEBIE

Hi Peeps! It's Traci, from Dragonflies in First.

Today we are checking off the last component to our Meet the Teacher Back to School Linky week.

Today our focus is on WHAT we like to teach.

Is it hard for you to narrow that down? I thought this was going to be an easy post for me - but I really cannot easily name just a couple things.
If I had to pick, I'd choose ELA over other content areas. 

I am passionate about teaching literacy. Teaching kiddos to read is definitely the reason why I am obsessed with teaching first grade.

I also LOVE the challenge of teaching writing. I teach my kiddos how to create a writing plan for the various forms of writing and we use these plans consistently all year. This helps the kids focus on the task at hand - writing fabulous paragraphs!
Most weeks, we start with a lesson on Monday, write our plan on Tuesday, edit on Wednesday, do a final draft on Thursday and usually create a craft to go with it on Friday. Since the writing routine is usually consistent, the lessons can focus on the specific task and/or objective.
Click to check out "Me and the Beanstalk".
I also love using readers for all sorts of lessons. Often I use our science and social studies readers during guided reading - it's an awesome way to address various ELA skills AND the science or social studies standards covered in the reader all that the same time.

You can grab this little FREEBIE reader from my 1st Day Fun pack on my FAN FREEBIES tab on my FB page.

One thing I am looking forward to adding to my routine is sharing. I have been struggling to find a way to incorporate it without it getting to crazy. When our number of students jumped to 30, that was the first thing I had to do away with. I think these Sharing Pages by Fluttering Through First Grade will add the perfect amount of organization to this speaking practice opportunity.

What's your favorite thing to teach? What resources do you enjoy using? Link up below or leave a comment!

Teacher Week: WHEN

So a few years ago, Sarah Cooley shared this adorable visual schedule. I made one immediately! And I have used it ever since. I place one in each communication binder and one by the door for admin. As you can see, the fonts are older and so is the clipart for the most part. But I still think it's adorable! and useful for parents!
So here's my basic daily schedule:
I also wanted to share my very basic year plan. While you're reading this, my team is working on the details. This is just when we teach these units! and of course, this doesn't include all the holiday themed units either...
I start with fix up comprehension strategies from the CAFE book: look right, sound right. back up and reread. etc. If students need reading strategies, we do this is guided reading. 
I also am required to use Math Expressions for math, which is why you really won't find too much math in my shop! I use a few units to add a break from monotony and I have a few things I make that aren't "store ready" yet, but we do follow that program!
All of my science units are what I use to supplement the kits we receive. If you use FOSS kits, you will find my units fit nicely!
Here are a few units I use:
Supplemental adding and subtraction units from Amy Lemons
Supplemental time and measurement units from Amy Lemons
Supplemental money and place value units from Amy Lemons
(do you see a trend here...)
connections unit from Teacher's Clubhouse

Life cycles unit from me:
mealworms (the hands-on part)

I hope this gives you a small glimpse of my WHEN! this year!
Link up so we can scope out yours!
And I put my store on an extra sale an extra day in case you want to scoop up any of these units (and so did Teacher's Clubhouse!)

Teacher Week: Why Organization (free item included)

I have said this before... I am NOT organized by nature.  I am a stacker and shuffler.  I make stacks starting in August and I shuffle them until May... OY!

Someone had asked me over on my blog (a while back) how I organized my student work materials for math workshop.  

Honestly, I was not happy with my response.  I put them all in one container and stacked them.  Not really efficient... definitely not organized.  Time was wasted each day as I passed out the work mats and other materials.  Who has time to waste each day?  Not it! Who wants 5 and 6 year olds to have idle time?  Not it!

Over the summer I thought about what I could do to disperse materials more efficiently AND keep them organized.

Ta DA!!!
These can be used to organize any math tool resources, regardless of the program you use.
 During our math workshop, my students work in pairs.  So I created 10 tool kits for my 20 students.  Each set of partners will be assigned to one tool kit.
Each tool kit is numbered.
 Inside the tool kit, I have everything we will need (minus the manipulatives).   Math talk cards, 10 frames, and smaller pieces are kept in the zipper pouch.  The dry erase marker is also kept in this pouch.
 Each piece inside the tool kit is numbered.
Additional supportive materials can be included.  
I have included a 100's and 120's chart in the free download.
You can download for free version of the Math Toolkit binder by clicking HERE.

You can also get Oceans of First Grade Fun's FREE resources HERE.
Have a great teacher week!

Link up with your blog post of where you work.  Link back to Blog Hoppin' in your post.