Peek at My Week with some science and social studies freebies!

Hi guys!

    My school had a random three day weekend, and I didn't have school on Friday!  That extra day makes all the difference in the world, I kind of feel like I could solve world hunger or some other major social problem if I had a three day weekend every week!  At the very least I could get more TPT products done : )  This week it's back to reality and a regular 5 day work week, but only 3 more weeks until Spring Break!!!  My husband and I are planning a trip up to Idyllwild for a couple of days during the break, and I can't wait!  We've never been up there, but the place we are staying looks awesome.  We are planning on doing some hiking, lots of eating, relaxing, and I've already booked our couple's massage!

Stay focused Cori!  3 more weeks!  Okay, on to peek at my week!  We have been doing some hard core work on word families and rhyming words, and my students are starting to see the connections every time we read and write together!

Click on the link below to link up with Mrs. Wills and all the other great teachers who will be sharing their plans for this upcoming week!

We've been working on beginning blends a lot during our center time.  The students are doing a much better job of recognizing the sounds, but I haven't seen the skills transfer to their writing as much as I would like, so we will continue to work on that!

In science and social studies we are hitting those California State Standards like nobody's business this week!  To assist with that I made a couple of freebies that you can grab by clicking on the pictures below!  Have a wonderful week everyone!


Individual Data Tracking in Kindergarten

Hi everyone! A while back, I wrote a post for the Kinder Tribe about what data tracking looks like in my classroom, which you can read HERE. My previous post looked at ways that you can track data as a whole class. I focused on how you could maintain each students self esteem, while at the same time striving for shared goals.

Today, I want to talk to you about setting and tracking goals with individual students, and how we can celebrate those accomplishments when they meet their goals.

As teachers, we spend many hours pouring over data points, trying to find ways to increase scores and adapt our teaching to meet the needs of all students.  While all of this is good and necessary, we are never truly going to see the results we wish for, if we do not involve the students in our plans.

I found an article from Mind Shift, that I strongly recommend everyone reads concerning the creation of a growth mindset within our students.  You can find the article HERE.  What I love most about this article, is the emphasis that we all have a different starting point.  It's not a competition between students, but rather instilling in each individual student in our care the belief  that they are capable, and that progress is achievable one step at a time.  Mind Shift writes. "The most powerful determinants of student growth are the mindsets and learning strategies that students themselves bring to their work—how much they care about working hard and learning, how convinced they are that hard work leads to growth, and how capably they have built strategies to focus, organize, remember, and navigate challenges."

 It is our job as educators to instill that growth mindset within our students.  We must first inform them of their starting point, and then guide them to make realistic and achievable goals.

 I know that a lot of people would say that this is overkill in Kindergarten, but these routines and mindsets are imperative to start right from the beginning. Never underestimate your power as a kindergarten teacher in instilling a love of learning!  I preach to my parents about the importance of setting up homework routines, nightly reading time, and regular sleep habits often.  Creating a growth mindset within a child is no different.  It must start at the very beginning, and be encouraged all throughout their school career.

To  assist students in keeping track of their goals, I have created some simple tracking worksheets for you to use with them.

Students need to know what is expected of them, and thrive on the positive reinforcement they get when they reach their goal.

Even the students who start out in the lowest percentile will see improvement throughout the course of the year.  I love these individual tracking sheets, because it has nothing to do with a student's rank in the class, and everything to do with growth.

I created this as a freebie for my TPT shop, and you can click HERE to get it, or click on any of the pictures above.

After the students reach their goal, it is important to not only praise them, but get them started on their next goal right away!  Praise can come in all forms, and you know what motivates your students the most.  Stickers, candy, lunch with the teacher, prize box, the list goes on and on.  One thing I like to do in my classrooms is to give out brag tags.  The students collect them on a chain each time they pass a new goal.

These brag tags in particular are made for Kindergarten and cover both our academic goals, and our social and fine motor ones as well.

If you are interested in using these brag tags, you can find them in my shop HERE, or by clicking on any one of the pictures above.  I hope you all will take the time to read the article I have linked, and really spend the time with your students setting goals together, and celebrating your students' growth!

Kinder Tribe - Data Tracking in Kindergarten

Hi guys!  I am blogging today over at the Kinder Tribe!  Stop by, and check out my post on data tracking!!

Data tracking can be an important tool to help your students push themselves further, while gaining insight into what standards they must master.  Data tracking has taken many forms in my classroom over the years.  Most years, I would post a chart with each students name on it, and award stickers as they passed levels, such as, letter recognition, sight words, 100% on the spelling test, etc. This system has always worked well for my students and I.  We all know how motivating a sticker can be! I would introduce the data tracking chart, and the number of students who received 100% on their spelling test increased dramatically.

While I was pleased with the results, I couldn't help feeling bad for the students who rarely got to add another sticker to their chart.  Reasons varied for the students who earned a lower sticker amount, no parent support at home, beginning ELL skills, or just a lack of motivation.  I saw great results and motivation from 95% of the students, but it was that other 5% that concerned me.  In my mind, there had to be a better way to motivate students to achieve a goal without harming the self esteem of others.

To alleviate a public display of students who did or did not achieve a certain goal I started to complete our shared data charts in a different way.

Now, instead of tracking which student has completed a task, I track how many total students in the class have reached a goal.  For example, in this chart from the beginning of the year letter sound inventory, 4 students knew the sound of D, 6 students knew the sounds of E, etc.  As a whole class, we make goals about where we want to go from here.  Your goals can be as small or as grandiose as you would like, as long as they are realistic and achievable by your students. 

For example, you could make the goal of everyone in class learning the letter sounds of A, B, and C by the end of the week.  The awesome thing about setting a goal as a class, is that the students work with (and sometimes for you) to help everyone in class achieve the goal.  When I give the students goals like this, I often find them quizzing each other during down time.  If we have a goal like this, I will give them flashcards with this particular letter and sorting cards with beginning sounds on them only containing those letters to practice with.  You have to give them the tools they need to succeed.

Motivation is key!  What are they working towards?  What will they get when they reach their goals?  A Friday afternoon Clifford showing on Netflix? 10 extra minutes of recess? A Star Wars sticker for everyone?  Prizes don't have to be large, they just have to be meaningful to your particular group of students.  After we complete our goal, we set a new, often times larger goal for the next week, and begin to work together to achieve it!

This type of goal setting can be done with so many different skills in Kindergarten.  Weekly spelling tests, high frequency words, guided reading levels, whole class reading levels, letter recognition, letter sounds, number recognition, and the list goes on and on!

This is not complicated to produce, and it takes little time to manage, but the benefits you get from working toward a common goal together are invaluable.

At the end of the week I will be doing a follow-up post on data tracking and goal setting with individual students over at my blog with some freebies included, I hope you can join me!