GIVEAWAY! Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale

I am officially back to school and ready for the BEST YEAR EVER! Are you?

It is time to announce the much anticipated BACK TO SCHOOL sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. I am even more excited to announce that I have a $10 Gift Certificate to giveaway courtesy of TPT. I am including $25 in products from my store to the giveaway too!
I will announce the winner Monday morning and you will have the $10 gift certificate to shop the big sale! Don't worry though, if you don't win there are still amazing deals out there. My entire store is 20% off and with the additional 10% off from TPT you save a bundle! Don't forget to enter BESTYEAR when you check out!
Enter the GIVEAWAY here!
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How do you Daily 5?

I have some friends that are starting Daily 5 for the first time this year and they have been picking my brain all summer about how to get started. I have also noticed a lot of questions in Facebook groups about how to do Daily 5 so I was inspired to break down how I do Daily 5 in Kindergarten and answer some of your questions.  

#1 READ THE BOOK!
It is not an extensive read, it will take you a couple of days tops. It will open your eyes to a whole new world of independence in your classroom and make your life so much easier! So read the book! There are no short cuts to implementing this in your classroom. I reread it every summer to get back in the groove. I also carry it with me like a lesson plan book in those first few weeks so I don't forget anything!

You can get the book HERE. I read the original, there is a second edition too that is just as good if not better (yes I have both!) but I prefer my original copy with all of my notes in it.  


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#2 You will still have questions.
After you read the book you will still have questions. You will be nervous. You will second guess yourself. That's OK! I was really lucky to work for a principal who supported me in this endeavor who gave me a little wiggle room to try something new in my classroom. I filled her in on the WHY and the HOW so when she walked in my room and saw me doing nothing while we were building STAMINA the first 6 weeks she wouldn't freak out. I had no idea if I was doing it "right" the first year but it FELT right so I kept on going.

#3 You will feel like you are not doing anything.
You will. You will think, "Oh my gosh I should be teaching small groups by now"...or "I need to get to all of my curriculum and I'm running out of time". Believe me you are doing plenty to create a foundation the first 6 weeks of school if you follow the sisters advice. We work and work and work on procedures and building STAMINA those first few weeks and solidifying the purpose of reading and the LOVE of reading in the first few weeks. Those things last all year long! If I ask my class why we practice reading every day they know the answer, "To become better readers....because we love it....because it helps us learn new things". They aren't just saying those things, they believe them too. So it may look like you aren't doing anything but your efforts will stick with you all year long.

#4 It is flexible!
I started the first year by following every single piece of advice that the sisters gave me (as you should!). They are THAT GOOD, I wanted to be just like them! Then I found that I needed to tweak my listening station a little bit to make sure everyone got there. I have a required computer program that my students need to visit 15 minutes each day, so I had to tweak that. I wasn't comfortable with moving to a completely choice driven rotation time so I made a schedule for them to follow and we followed it every day. Students marked the centers they had completed on a board and I kept a checklist of who I had met with. 

Now that being said...

I am in my 5th year of Daily 5 and I do have a completely choice driven rotation time now. My students make the choice to go to word work, listen to reading, read to self, or work on writing during our first rotations of the morning (a full hour). I don't keep track for them, I don't make them put it on the board, they are just responsible enough to do it. They WANT to visit each station because they motivated and excited to complete each station. We still do read to someone all at the same time, I haven't been able to let that one go yet but that's ok too!

#5 Do what works for YOU!
It is your classroom and you are a trained professional. If something doesn't feel right then don't do it. If this style fits you then go for it! I've had friends that have tried and decided that this model didn't fit their teaching style. I know in the beginning it feels overwhelming and you may want to quit. I would encourage you to give it 6 weeks. I feel like the magic begins to happen after week 3 but really 6 weeks in your classroom can practically run itself. I have a really great small group guided reading time and we made so much progress last year because I could work ONE ON ONE with kiddos and give them the attention they deserve. It's all about independence.

If you want to see what the first few days look like you can see my post from last school year HERE. We start from day 1!

My goals for Daily 5 this year? I want to attend a conference (I am trying for November), I want to start a full choice rotation sooner, and I want to support my colleagues that are starting up this year to help them be successful and love it as much as I do. 

So what do you think? What are your questions? How do you Daily 5? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. I am going to go read my Daily 5 book and write some lesson plans for the first week of school that is less than a week away!






Managing Materials in Kindergarten


Glue sticks without lids, markers with the wrong lids, pencils without erasers.....it can drive a Kindergarten teacher crazy. Any teacher actually! Here are a few easy ways to keep things organized so you don't let managing your materials get the best of you. 

#1 Have a place for everything. 
Your kiddos love to clean up and many of them CRAVE order. Having a designated spot for everything helps keep things neat and clean. I train my kiddos to put things away if they find them left out instead of carrying the object to me and telling me about it. #petpeeve 
This box holds all of our "lost" crayons. When students are missing a color they can grab a new one here. If they find one on the floor they put it away here. Problem solved!

#2 Make materials accessible to all. 
Have a spot on their tables or desks that has everything they need. We work all around the room but one of these crayon cups is always on their name tag at their "spot".  We also keep scissors and glue on every table so they can grab those and go or stay at the table. The most important part is discussing expectations and responsibility at the beginning of the year. If you teach them to care for materials they will. 

 #3 Have a spot for YOUR materials
I know you have been in this situation. It's time for small group, you gather the children, you finally sit down behind the horseshoe table, you dig out the books and papers you need for this group and then you notice it. You need highlighters to effectively teach this group and you don't have any. They are in the supply closet...all the way across the room. 

It happens. It happens to me a lot. I walk back and forth to that closet a thousand times a day but not anymore! I added this little caddy to our small group table and now I have a spot for everything. 
 #4 Manage papers to go back with a file folder
If you already have a system in place that helps you pass paper back easily then stick with that. If you are looking for a new way try this! I make a file box with hanging files and every day or so I file their papers away in this box. At the end of the week I grab their stack, staple a progress report to the front, and its done. Parents don't have to deal with loose papers every day and I get a chance to really look at their work as I file them.
#5 Manage your weekly copies in a visible file folder
Why make it visible? I like to think that in any sub situation I would have enough time to get to class and put everything out perfectly for them. If (heaven forbid) it was an emergency then my copies for the day are clearly marked. I actually keep 2 weeks worth of copies in this so I am always a week ahead.   

#6 Glue sticks
I have a never ending supply of glue sticks. Seriously. I moved into a room of a hoarder a few years back and I haven't been short on glue sticks since then. My kiddos know where to find this drawer and if they need a new one they grab one. I just show them at the beginning of the year what "empty" or "dried up" looks like. Then they know when it's ok to throw it out. Lost lids? Doesn't happen. Again...expectations and procedures. Show them what you want and what it looks like to take care of materials and they will do it.
If glue sticks are your still your nemesis consider glue sponges (if you haven't already). Greg at Kindergarten Smorgasboard brought these into my life and I was skeptical. For a long time!  I heard him ooooo and ah over them for a couple of years before I actually gave them a try. I was convinced the very first day! I still give my kiddos the choice of glue stick or sponge (it's about half and half) but the glue sponges definitely solve a lot of glue problems. You can see his how to video HERE
#7 Pencils
This is getting lengthy so I will just link to my pencil problem solved post HERE. I promise, this will save you hundreds of pencils a year! 

#8 Markers
I haven't figured that one out yet. If you come up with a better way to manage those other than just throwing them away I would love to hear it! They are our favorite material in the classroom for centers but learning how we REALLY take care of them is hard! I keep them in a pencil pouch for centers and for the most part they stay together and all the lids stay on. It's not a perfect system though, I still find an occasional lid here or there. I have seen a few pics on social media of teachers that save all the lids when they throw them away but that hasn't worked for me because every brand of marker is different. So I will keep searching. If you have a good way I'd love to hear it in the comments below! 

Those are just a few ways to make your life easier in the classroom. I think all in all the best advice I've ever received is to teach those procedures early. I am three weeks away from getting started with a new group of kiddos so I am in prep mode now! Thanks for stopping in today!