Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Farfaria - A Great App For Back to School

I just discovered an amazing reading app for kids.
I haven't had the chance yet to classroom test it, but I did the next best thing - I just pretended to be a kid and explored. It is extremely easy to use and as a Teacher, I love that all their book choices are levelled from P, which is easiest, to level 4, most difficult and challenging. The level is displayed on the front of every book cover. Farfaria has over 600 titles and 5 new titles added weekly. Lots of variety is also a big plus for me cause I like to be able to give my kids as many book choices as possible. Each book has a Read to Me or Read Myself feature.
The app is geared for 2 to 9 year olds and there are literally all kinds of books to read, fiction, non-fiction, sing song books, fairytales and more. Your kids can explore the magical Farfaria lands like Fantasy Falls, Adventure Island and my personal favourite Mt. Make Believe. With the iPad, kids can choose their own genre of discovery and the library is always Open. 
One of the things I like best about the app is that it highlights and tracks each word as the child reads. This is a must have for my first graders. I am going Back to School with Farfaria. If you would like to give it a try, you can download the app for free here, but it only allows you to read one story. If you'd like a chance to win a 3 month subscription to Farfaria, enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Two Stars and a Wish - Tips for Back to School

Welcome to Two Stars and a Wish, hosted by Mandy's Tips for Teachers. This is a blog hop that will give you some great and very useful ideas ideas for Back to School.

My 1st Star Idea involves school supplies. Every year on the first day of school, my kids arrive with all their stuff. Piles and piles of it, it's overwhelming to say the least. I find it very difficult to sort through all that and still be dealing effectively with my new batch of kids and all that goes along with that. Here is a look at just a fraction of my supplies on the 1st day last year. 
I had so many other things to deal with that morning that I just left everything in a pile at the front of my room and ended up sorting it at the end of the day. Took me a long time. So…. never going to do that again. My Star Idea - This year, I asked my parents to make a quick trip to school in the days before classes begin, so that they can drop off supplies and give me any other information that they need to. So much easier and neither of us will feel rushed. It also gives me a chance to check and make sure that each child has what they need and nothing has been forgotten from the list. 
I try to be as organized as I possibly can on that 1st day. But, there is always so much to do. When I take a look at my classroom on those first few days back before the kids come, I start making list after list of things I want to get done. The list ends up being so long that I never get through it all. My 2nd Star Idea - this year I decided, before I left in June, that I would get cracking on my list right away. So this summer, I have taken a bit of time to organize my classroom from home and I know that this will save me time in the long run. Here is a bit of what I've done.
Getting my book baskets ready. I have some now, but they really needed a facelift.
Getting my reading folders and notebooks ready, labels and all.
And finally, getting my Teacher planner ready!
My wish - to improve my ability to assess my kids quickly. I've noticed that it takes a while to really size each child in my class up, so that I know what kind of learner or reader or thinker or little person I have in my possession for that year. This school year, I hope to get on that more quickly right from the first day of school. I use this Pack to help me find out what interests my kids and it gives me an idea of how they think/work right from the get go. 
Just click on the pic for more info. 

If you enjoyed these star ideas, I would love it if you followed my TPT Store or Blog so you can be notified every time I post something new.

For more Star ideas from over 40 different bloggers, please browse through the link up below and choose a topic that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Different Kind of Read to Self

I'm linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice today for Wordless Wednesday. So, here it is…

This is what happened one time when Read to Self went in another direction completely and I just didn't have the heart to stop it. It was too adorable. They were both so into their books. I had no choice, I just let it be. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Yay for Canada Day and a Sale!

Hi There! On July 1st, we celebrate Canada Day. I am linking up with some great Canadian Teacher bloggers to show you all the great Canadian resources that are out there.

Remembrance Day is very special to me. So every November, we spend a lot of time learning about this day in History and I use this Pack to help me teach my kids all about it. It has a special Animals of War section that my class loves.
And then there's the Canadian money. I really wanted some resources to help me teach about our money, so I created this Pack that is exclusively Canadian.
I made a little freebie out of this pack, so it will give you an idea of what kinds of activities are part of it. You can download the freebie by clicking on the pic below. 
If you want to snag any of my Canadian products this weekend, they are on sale until Tuesday.

Enjoy your Canada Day weekend, no matter where you come from. I'm off to go see something truly Canadian - the RCMP Musical Ride. This is an amazing show put on by the Mounties. The horses are extraordinary, I am just in awe of how beautiful they are.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Portfolio Covers - Finding Ways to Describe Us

School is finally finished for me. Sigh. At the end of every school year, my Mom always asks me - So, what are you going to do first this summer? And I always answer the same way - Reclaim my life. Cause all the little things we need to do kinda get lost in the shuffle of a busy school year. Can you relate? I try hard to create a balance, but it's hard sometimes when you're up to your eyeballs in report cards, end of year activities, testing, managing and not to mention portfolios.

My first graders have a portfolio, but it continues to be a work in progress for me, I haven't gotten it all perfected yet. The one thing I do consistently though is the cover page. We always do an acrostic poem with our names. And since my kids are ESL, I need to stretch my boundaries in terms of what I accept for each letter. In the end, if I read their poem and it gives me a good feel about them, I'm happy with it. But, since my kids are a bit more limited with their English vocabulary, I give them as much help as possible. We start with these guys.
My daughter has an amazing collection of these, so after Spring Break I let my kids "adopt" a beanie and they keep it on their desk for a week. They have to give their beanie a name and each day, they need to come up with a new adjective that describes their beanie. It's very fun and helps my kids with their vocabulary. After a week, they switch their beanie for a different one and start the naming process again. 
From there, I move to their favourite characters, Elephant and Piggie. We spend some time describing them. Here is a bit if what they came up with.
Then, they were ready to try it on themselves. Here's a sample of what they came up with. Keep in mind, I allow for a lot of freedom, so the descriptions are not always just one word.

So, there they are. Apparently, I've got a lot of apple lovers! If you ever want to try this, I made the page so that it fits with any name from 3 letters to 9. You can download it by clicking on the pic below.
Until next time...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Five for Friday - Cuties, Cookies and Some Organization

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week for Five for Friday.

This was a very long week and I'm so glad it's over. Part of the reason it was so long had to do with the fact that on Sunday night, we got hardly any sleep cause of these 2 cuties. The little one was not feeling well all night long and so was pacing back and forth, back and forth. And of course, they had to eventually do the pacing in unison. Talk to me Teddy. Luckily after a visit to the vet, he's much better. 

Want some more cuties? These two are sitting very patiently waiting their turn to go up onstage for the Spring Concert at my school.  Aren't they precious?

I have been trying really hard this week to cut out desserts from my diet. Probably not the best week to do it, but still trying. So, I finally found a great excuse to have a cookie if I really need one. Who can argue with this guy?

Just got this great set of organizing drawers for my classroom. Haven't taken it into school yet cause I'm still so in love with it. Can't wait to use it!

Finally… Another cutie. This is my sweet daughter, off to her summer job, early in the a.m. on her new bike. I don't get to see her as often anymore and miss her so much. 

Hope your week was good. I'd love to read all about it.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

June Currently

I'm linking up with Farley this month for the June Currently. So, here's what I'm up to…

I am literally counting the school days I have left, 3 weeks!! 13 teaching days, thank goodness cause I am wiped. I was so busy last week that I didn't have time to notice that the gas light was on in my car. Luckily I looked down in time. So I want to spend my time this summer looking up and noticing all the stuff I miss cause my mind is too crowded during the school year.

In my class, we finally finished our dinosaurs and they are awesome.

I love how they turned out!

DONE! and oh so cute!
That's what I'm currently up to, I'd love to hear all about what you're up to.