Saturday, November 8, 2014

Five for Friday {November 8}

I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs teaching for Five for Friday.

I am fortunate to have several parents this year who currently serve in the millitary or have at some point in the past. I definitely wanted to do something to honor their service and thank them for the sacrifices they made for our country. I remembered saving Simply Kinder's Military freebie and knew that I just had to make a display with that this year.
Here is the finished product. I seriously love the way it turned out! It pulls at my heart strings to see how blessed my classroom is to know and love so many veterans.

We also read the book Hero Dad and a few exerpts from Letters to a Soldier.
Please don't forget to thank a veteran not just Tuesday but everyday! They deserve every bit of honor and gratitude!
This week, I dipped into how I teach phonics and some resources I use when teaching letters and letter sounds. To check out that post, click here.
The Mister and I closed on our first house Thursday and we are so excited to make that house a home! We aren't moving in until next weekend so we are spending this weekend cleaning, painting and dreaming of all we can do to make this house ours! Pictures will come soon but here is a quick pic of us Thursday night!
This is SO me right now. I'm tempted to set up all of my Christmas stuff before we even move our furniture in the new house! I have never had a real Christmas Tree and the Mister thinks that is ridiculous so we are going to have two trees this year! How many trees do you put up? 
 The Mister and I got pictures done a week and a half ago with my sweet photographer friend Amanda Castle. She was our photographer for our wedding and she is seriously amazing! Check her site here. She posted a little sneak peek on Facebook the other day and I love it! Absolutely cannot wait to see the rest!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Phonics Fun

In Kindergarten, how letters are taught or introduced can be a touchy topic to discuss! I have seen everything from people swearing by the letter of the week philosophy to teaching multiple letters in a week to not teaching letters individually but doing more of an approach where all the letters are taught.
The county that I teach in adopted Fundations which is a phonics curriculum created by Wilson. Last year was the first year of implementation and like the first year of any curriculum, I was definitely overwhelmed. Fundations is a strict program that lays out 30 minutes of phonics instruction daily. This was the first encounter I had with a script-like program and honestly, it rubbed me the wrong way. The "Fundations gods" told me exactly what to say and when to say it. That's SO not how I do things. However, I followed the curriculum and noticed that the kids were really picking up the letters and their sounds so I couldn't really complain too much. :)
Each letter in the alphabet has a keyword and as we review the letters during Fundations time, we say the letter-keyword-sound all the time. For example, we would say "a-apple-/a/." Here is an example of what one of our posters looks like so you can see the keywords.
 Fundations teaches the lowercase letters first and then uppercase later on. When I realized that, my mind was blown. Why in the world would you separate uppercase and lowercase letters? It was a big mystery. Thankfully, after some additional training, that mystery was explained. Did you know that uppercase letters make up only 10% of print? I had no idea! So Fundations focuses on lowercase first and then teachers uppercase at a quicker pace. Also, if a child knows any letters when they enter Kindergarten, typically they know uppercase letters.
(Just so you know, my kids are still very aware of the uppercase letters. We typically sort uppercase and lowercase letters and practice writing uppercase letters as well. Don't tell those "Fundations gods!")
Fundations also teaches two letters a week most of the time. The first week of school there is only one letter taught and last week there were three letters in one week. We all made it out alive! ;) Before Fundations, my grade level taught one letter a week. One letter a week sounds nice because you can revolve all your centers, crafts, poems and all sorts of thing around that letter. In reality though, if you teach one letter a week students won't be introduced to all of the letters until 3/4 of the way through the year. That is way too long in my opinion! I am loving teaching two letters in a week now! The kids can totally handle it!
Outside of our Fundations time, we do a lot of things to reinforce the letters that we are learning. I have an ABC center like the one below. Kids get to sort the letters and pictures based on the first sound.
I use Cara Carroll's Interactive Alphabet Notebook and seriously love it! Check it out!
As a class we come up with a list of words that begin with the letter sounds and I obviously work with the letters in small groups too!
A few weeks ago, I searched for some fun videos about the letters that we were learning about because honestly, Fundations isn't always very fun. I found ABC Mouse's letter videos on Youtube and I just love them! I think we have watched the video for every letter we have learned since then! The kids are totally engaged and get so excited when one of those videos come on. Here is one that we watched today!
During the video, every single one of my kiddos said "ewwwww" in unison when the word kiss was mention. I love me some kinders.
Do you do Fundations? I would love to hear how you teach the letters in your class!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

It's November already?! Seriously? Where did October go?
Although I am in utter amazement at how fast this year is going, I am thrilled to link up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for November Currently!

The Mister and I are about to close on our first house this Thursday so I am listening to him pack up our guest room while he is listening to Pandora! Don't worry, I am going to help as soon as I am done with this post! We aren't moving in completely until the following weekend so we have some time before everything has to be packed up! Completely excited and amazed to start this fun new journey in life with him!
Y'all, North Carolina fall is no joke. It is seriously beautiful here! On the way home from church, the color of all the leaves were practically screaming to be adored! The cooler weather has added to all the fun too! Bring on the fleece lined leggings and caramel apples!
I need some more blogging in my life! I was going to not even mention how long it has been since I posted on Chalkboard Charm but I am hoping that calling myself out will somehow motivate myself to find some time to share what I have been up to lately with my Kinders. The past month has been a whirlwind of parent teacher conferences, Open House Night, report cards, creating, and house searching!
Since our new house has a fenced in backyard, we have started to look at possibly getting a dog. It is so exciting to think about having a furry friend at home but obviously it is a huge responsibility so we are taking our sweet time before getting one of our own!
With the move right around the corner, I have to start getting myself and our apartment organized! Organization is not a quality that I bring to the table! Ha! I am hoping I will be a little more motivated to keep our new home organized and cute since it will be ours!
Y'all, I'm just going to keep it real. I am not reading absolutely anything currently. I'll be honest and say that summer is the time that I spend the most time reading. I can't hardly find any time to read during the school year. Well, that is unless reading teacher blogs count! :) I do somehow find a way to do that!
I hope you guys have an awesome week! I promise you will be hearing from me more soon!