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Welcome to The Crazy Pre-K Classroom! Please enjoy your stay, explore my posts and join for more to come! Blessings, Christine

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About Me

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Round Rock, Texas, United States
I am a wife, a mother, and a Christian Pre-K Teacher. Besides spending time with my family, I enjoy creating new lessons for TpT, scrapbooking and quilting. Feel free to contact me with questions or requests at: thecrazyprekclassroom@gmail.com

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Why teach Pre-K?

Because, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phillipians 4:13

Because, I love it and am called to it!

For my children and my husband!

Because I am me!

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Individual Guided Reading Binders: How to Kick start your reading groups!

For quite a while now I have been looking for a Guided Reading system that worked for my classroom. I needed something that the class would get excited about, kept the parents informed of progress and was easy for me to maintain. After looking through various blogs, products and polling other teachers I realized I had to create my own system. There just wasn't anything that met enough of my needs out there that I could find. So for several months now I have been piecing together what may be the best thing I have ever made for my classroom. INDIVIDUAL GUIDED READING BINDERS!!!!! Here is a view of one of the front cover choices:
I had always used simple folders with a reading log and the weeks books. There was no space to send home more literacy building resources that the children could work on. When I would send home extra resources in the kiddos backpacks I would either never get them back or they would get lost in the child's home for a while. I also wanted everything for each group in one place, making our limited meeting time more efficient. I am no longer hunting for supplies, everything is inside the binder. It is also easy to switch out resources, communicate with parents, complete assessments and conduct smooth reading groups. These guided reading binders fix so many of the problems I was having. Here are views of the binder spine inserts, inside and back cover choices:
Sure, this took some time and money to put together. I used some Amazon Gift Cards I had been given by my students parents and some Amazon gift cards I had earned through swagbucks (to find out about earning through swagbucks use this link: Swagbucks). In the INDIVIDUAL GUIDED READING BINDERS FILE I have outlined and given pictures of each item I am using in my binders. I purchased most of the items on Amazon and a few at my local dollar store. These binders have turned out to be well worth the original time and money. My kiddos love them, my parents are excited to work with their children and I am one happy teacher! Here is how they work:
I purchased everything I needed and gathered it on my kitchen table. You can get as simple or detailed as you want with these binders. Several things I bought were used in more than one binder making things a bit more economical. I outline all of this in my unit on TpT. I assembled the binders, printed out the covers and introduced them to my students. I sent an email to my parents preparing them for this binder, there is also a section within the binder that explains it's contents and provides activity ideas for at home. Each binder has a pocket for manipulatives, a dry erase surface, reading log, lesson plans, parent resources, learning posters, extra support books and assessments. I also created a master binder for myself with copies of everything included in the student binder plus pages that I use during guided reading. Here is my binder:
These are just a few of the pages in my binder. Most can also be used as worksheets or copied off and laminated for repeated use at the guided reading table. Here are some views of the inside of the student binders:
So now that we all have our binders how do we use them? Simple, each morning the children unload their binder into a bucket in the hall which I later bring into the classroom. Then when it is time each child brings their binder to the table when called. We start by reviewing this weeks sight words, vocabulary words and learning posters. Once we have done that we go through a few of my teaching pages, reviewing syllables, rhymes, decoding etc. Then we get down to reading our book. While the group talks about comprehension I write their homework in their log and record anything necessary in their assessment section. I go over sight word assessments on Fridays making my groups 3-5 minutes longer than my other three days. Download the full INDIVIDUAL GUIDED READING BINDER UNIT which includes full instructions, pictures and editable files. Here we are enjoying our binders, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
WHEW! That was a long one! Thanks for sticking with it!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Organizing your teacher resources- CVC Teacher Resources and Centers Unit Organization

Hello Everyone, I hope you have all been well. I am home this week recovering from gallbladder surgery which has given me some much needed catch up time for assessments, lesson planning and TpT unit prep and organization. I have been working on a series of teacher resources for introducing and teaching vowels sound and blends/digraphs. I posted about my Digraph/Initial Blend unit last week and have now listed a short vowel unit. I will hopefully have the long vowel unit finished up here in the next few days. Each of these units take some prep and if you are like me card stock and laminating are an obsession. However, this prep pays of with colorful, engaging resources that children can use for years. Each of these resources is color coded and have cohesive posters and resources that the children find easy to follow. Since these are large units with lots of color you will want to make sure to protect your investment by organizing them in a way that keeps everything together and right at your fingertips. So, here is my suggestion: first I purchased a set of 50 poly envelopes form amazon.com for a few dollars. I had these left over from some organization projects I had done last year in my classroom and they are perfect because they come in a variety of colors that can be matched to the set you are organizing. Here is a picture:
So, once I printed, laminated and trimmed all of my resources I made a pile of each color/vowel resource. I have used the "u" set to show you what is included for each letter. There was no yellow poly envelope so I used a white one which you can see through so there is no question as to what is inside.
Each envelope has 2 pockets: one open and one with a snap. I placed all of the posters and center boards in the open pocket. Then I took the ABC pieces, binder ring resources, picture/words cards, sentence strips and pocket chart header inside the large snap pocket for safe keeping. This way I can easily grab one of the posters without disturbing the smaller loose pieces. I also placed the task cards you see on the tongue depressors into the blue "A" envelope since that is the first envelope I will be using. I will keep the task cards out from the start to the end of this unit and pull them at random to challenge the class to think about using the sounds and identifying them. The envelope then slips easily into my filing cabinet for easy finding when needed. You can find all of these resources in my CVC Short Vowel Teacher Resource and Center Unit and my Digraph/Initial Blend Teacher Resources and Centers Unit. Till next time!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Teaching Digraphs and Initial Consonant Blends

Hello all, I hope all of you came through the holidays well and are looking forward to spring! Here in Texas we had 2 ice days and a couple of late starts which is highly unusual for us but I know some of you have missed much more than that! Anyway, this year I have four children who are very advanced in their reading skills. They have mastered cvc words, cvcv/cvvc words and the dolche pre-primer and primer sight words. We are now moving into intial consonant blends and digraphs. This week I started by introducing l, s and r initial blends on a binder ring, I gave each child a set and had a master set for myself. We went through each set before doing anything else. I then took the posters out for several of the l blends and we went over several objects that start with each blend. We then spent some time thinking about other words that start with this blend and recorded them on our critical thinking posters. I then used pocket chart sentences to show how we could use the words properly in a sentence and this also reinforced sight words.
We also used dry erase paddles to identify the blend of a word I said or a picture. The kiddos wrote the blend and then turned the paddle to me to see if they were correct. This shows me if they are understanding the concept and if they are keeping up with the group. After group time I had them do 3 practice stations. The first was a group station where I have the picture and words on popsicle sticks and they spread out the words on the table. They would then draw a picture from a bucket and match them. If they all felt it was correct they would "stick" the lollipops together with a paperclip and only I can unstick them. In the second station I put several drawing mats where they had to read the word and draw me a picture, they were not allowed to erase until I had seen what they drew in order to see if they had read the word correctly. They are allowed to ask a friend to help at this station. The last station is an independent station where each child has a mat wth three different blends on top. They each have a bucket filled with picture and word cards. They choose a card, match it to the proper blend and record the word on their recording sheet.
In their reading folders I have 2-3 on level books for each child to read with their parents throughout the week and I also added two resources for them to practice initial blends with. First they have their fluency bookmark which has all of the pictures and words on the front for one blend family and all of the words we thought of together on the back, I also gave them a set of stick figure blend lollipops. I have these out in the room and I randomly choose one in the day to go over during transitions.
I am already pleased with how well my class is catching onto these initial blends. Even though only one group is getting intense instruction on these I am pleased at how the others can pick things up from just looking at the stick figure lollipops, hearing the group practice and seeing the activities that go with this unit. You can find all of my Initial Blends Resources and Centers in my TpT store. Enjoy! Christine