Monday, November 24, 2014

"Ask Me" Brag Tags: Holiday Edition

I just finished a special "Holiday Edition" of my bestselling "Ask Me" Brag Tags!

Simple & motivational rewards for students! Print these "Ask me" brag tags out on card stock, slip them into badge holders, and keep them handy to simply & easily reward students for positive behavior. No more clip chart & no more treasure box is my ultimate goal! :)

Students can wear them around school for as long as you choose & hopefully, teachers & administrators will ask them about their tags! Simply take them up at the end of the day & repeat the following day.

Your kiddos will feel great taking a moment to brag about their awesome choices and it will motivate others to earn a tag of their own!

Special Holiday Edition tags include a total of 32 Tags: 

8 Back to School Tags that include:
Ask me... I am always prepared. I paid close attention today I earned this badge. I am the apple of my teacher's eye today. I used materials well. I've been wise today. I earned this badge.
...about the best handwriting ever.

4 Halloween-ish Tags that include:
"Ask me how I earned this boo badge!" with four different clip art cuties.

4 Christmas-ish Tags that include:
2 variations of "Ask me how I earned this badge."
Ask me how i earned the 2nd spot in line.
Ask me why the elf left this one for me!
2 Saint Patrick's Day Tags:
Ask me why the leprechaun picked me!
Ask me why my teacher thanks the lucky stars for me.
4 Thanksgiving-ish Tags that include:
3 Variations of "Ask me why I'm wearing this badge."
Ask me why my teacher is thankful for me.

4 Valentine's Day-ish tags that include:
2 Variations of "Ask me why I'm wearing this badge."
Ask me why I'm wearing this teddy bear.
Ask me why Cupid left me this badge!
2 Easter-ish Tags:
Ask me why the bunny left this for me!
ask me why I'm a great egg!

4 End of School Year Tags:
2 Variations of "Ask me why I'm wearing this badge."
Ask me how I rocked the school year.
Ask me how I did it!

Note: When putting them together, make sure you cut just outside or directly on the lines so that they fit securely in the badges. Or just laminate them, punch a hole, and slip them on a lanyard!

A few things I've learned from using them with the kiddos: 
1. The more blinged up the tags are, the more popular they are! Add some ribbon, a few shiny buttons, or even just a fancy string, and kiddos will get extra excited about earning a badge. 
2. The kids love to earn more than one badge and colleagues are more apt to notice them when a kiddo is wearing two or more badges!
3. The "second in line" badge is the favorite!!

These all include gorgeous hand-drawn art by the amazing Kate Hadfield over at and fabulous fonts by the talented Jen Jones over at Hello Literacy and yet more beautiful fonts by Kimberly Geswein

Click the pic below to visit my store and grab your copy of "Ask Me" Brag Tags: Holiday Edition!

Thanks so much!!
Jen ♥

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Simplifying Progress Monitoring UPDATED

In the wonderful land of education, we do a little thing called Progress Monitoring.  We also do a whole slew of other stuff, but I'm just going to wear one hat tonight.  

Progress monitoring for me has been a little underwhelming.  I haven't been real good at collecting solid data based on what my kiddos actually need.  That's not to say that I've not done a good enough job, I just haven't done quite what I wanted. 

So, I worked on this mighty little pack of stuff this weekend even though I said to myself, "Self, there is no more working on the weekends."  I obviously didn't listen.  But, it's for the kids!  And I really happen to love doing it.  So, next weekend there will be no working.  I promise myself.

Here's how progress monitoring is supposed to go:  teach, assess, track progress, reteach, reassess, track progress, etc... I get it.  I do.  All the while we are naturally making adjustments to our teaching methods, modes of instruction, hands-on materials, yadda yadda yadda.  You know how it works.

So, here's what it looks like for me NOW (in pictures because I love my ABM app):

Looks like fun, right?!  It has simplified my life. My hope is that it will make teaching to specific skills more time-efficient, and tracking progress monitoring day easier!  

Here's what's in the pack:

1.  Tracking sheets for monitoring progress.  They've been tweaked just a little since I took the screen shots so they don't look quite like this but contain the same information in a visually pleasing page.  There is one overall page for both literacy and math AND blank sets that you can customize.  The ones I set up for early reading follow our Istation goals so that I can directly track how these instructional goals are being monitored in the classroom and with Istation online.  I love that program, just by the way.  I've never had more real hard data so readily available at my hot little fingertips.  

AND 2..... also included are activities for each area of early reading (appropriate for PK-early 2nd grade) of Letter Knowledge, Phonemic Awareness, Alphabetic Decoding, Spelling, Comprehension, and Vocabulary.  They all take little or no prep and require nothing more than a dry erase marker and manipulatives if you choose!

These activities could be used in a variety of ways.  You can use them to practice skills, games to play one on one or in teams, bring in peer tutors, hand over to parent volunteers... your options are open.  Simply print, cut each page in half, laminate, and bind however you choose.  I put mine on rings and stuffed them inside tubs filled to the brim with manipulatives that can be used with each target skill.

Here a few examples of the pages included.  The activities listed are simply suggestions of activities that meet that targeted skill.  *The corresponding activities are not aligned with all suggestions.*

So.... each week, monitor the progress of your kiddos in whatever area they need extra practice and track ONLY that area.  When they've mastered it, move on to the next area until you get to the hardest skill.  

I've got one kiddo who is working on Letter Knowledge and only letter knowledge until I know she is ready to move further.  Keep it simple. Keep it meaningful.  Each tracking page has 10 weeks worth of space on which to track data.  So, when you walk into your RTI meeting or your parent conference, everything is on one little page.  

The first set of tracking pages is directly aligned with the activities included in the pack.  That way, if you choose to use only this pack to progress monitor, you can track growth within these specific skills.  The blank set (included) is easily tailored to your individual needs.

Here's the (almost) only page of hard data you'll need to take to your RTI meeting! Realistically, we always have more to share, I know!

Now, this pack includes activities to print & play with kiddos to build targeted skills in the areas of letter knowledge, alphabetic decoding, phonemic awareness, and vocabulary. Just print, cut, laminate, and play!  

I know that this is not every little teeny tiny thing you'll need for progress monitoring your kiddos, but it's a good place to start.  Visit my TPT store if you're interested!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Comparing Numbers Work Mat FREE!

So, I saw this great idea somewhere where someone was using brads to play with comparison symbols!  I don't know where.  I don't know whose idea it was, but BAM!  It popped into my head the other night and it morphed into this. I'm using these work mats this week to teach the kiddos about symbols we use to compare quantity.  

I am not teaching them about alligators, crocodiles, or anything else that might "eat the bigger number."  I'm teaching about comparing quantity, numbers, values, all that math goodness!  

I cannot tell you how confused I was when learning about these symbols as a kid.  I totally blame the alligator that was randomly eating everything.  I didn't get it. Why was he turned one way or the other?  It made absolutely no sense to me.  This is for kids like me.  
It's up on TPT ready to "rock the doodle" (that's for you, Mr. Michler) for FREE!! Heheh...  

See how those two little orange bars can wiggle around?  That's all thanks to the beautiful brass fasteners, aka brads.  

Photo Cred: Mr. Michler, who found the doodle and rocked it!

I don't know how people get holes into the middle of the page for a brad, but I used this handy dandy little green push pin that was in a random box of school supplies.  There was only the one push pin!  Color me lucky.

extreme close up

< extreme close up.  Get it?  I cracked myself up.
If you're lucky like me, you'll have a special kitty cat (#thetooters) helping you put them all together while you lounge in your jammies.

Click the image below, or a couple others above if you're brave, to visit my TPT shop!

With happiness,
Jen ♥

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

*Updated* Literacy Station Expectation Anchor Charts

*Update:  These Charts have been reworked and redesigned!

As of August 19, 2014 these Literacy Station Anchor Charts have been reworked and edited to work in classrooms that utilized a balanced approach to literacy instruction.  The *freebies* have been removed to avoid any copyright infringement worries and frankly, I LOVE these so much more.  It could be the black and white checks... it could be the chevron... who knows!?

There is one example set all filled in, and there is ONE blank set ready for you to bling-a-ling any way you see fit.  Use them to help guide your students through independent work stations and leave them up so that your administrators have no doubt about the hows and whys of the many goings on in side your awesome classroom.

Any which way you say it, they are uploaded to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and ready for you iffin' ya want 'em! They are just $3.00.

The coordinating Voice Level Charts can be found here!!

With happiness,
Jen ♥

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Meet the Teacher Night

Have you ever seen an idea that you just HAD to do right then and there?!  Well, I did!  This morning.  First thing this morning even and I couldn't wait to jump on idea.

The FANTABULOUS bloggers (Ms. Mogart, to be exact) over at Blog Hoppin' wrote up this wonderful post on using QR Codes at Meet the Teacher night.  Well, I'm a big fan of QR codes and have used one the past several years to keep outside my classroom door. However, it only took parents to my website.  I listed out other contact information but never once thought to add QR codes for other stuff!  Duh!

So what do you think I did?  I made up several signs and I can't wait to print them, laminate them, and put them in the hallway for Meet the Teacher night!  Techno teaching, y'all!

I included: website, district website, my email, my school telephone number, my classroom FB account.

I've even scheduled our first Parent/Teacher conferences on Sign Up Genius!

The best part is... now that I have the codes generated and the images saved, I can use them again!  I can add the codes to our newsletters, as a collage image for an email signature, or even create a postcard with all of the codes so parents can stick it on the fridge!! ♥

Brilliant ideas over at Blog Hoppin', y'all!  Check them out!!

Links to the QR Code website can be found on the Blog Hoppin' post here!

I'm getting excited to meet the new Munchkins!!

With happiness,
Jen ♥

Friday, August 8, 2014

Be Amazing Decor Squares

I may be completely #obsessed with chevron, clip art, black & white checks, and everything back to school!  I take that back.  I AM for sure obsessed.  I just completed this set of 16 decor squares and posted them on TPT.  I'm in love.  Can't wait to stick them on my classroom door!  

The idea is to put the word "BE" up there prominently somewhere and then surround it with the other squares.  I want it to be inspiring and encouraging to everyone who passes by our door.  Be amazing!  Be creative!  Be prepared! You get the idea!

Of course, I had to personalize a few and make them specific to our college theme this year, so I've got some all decked out with Texas Woman's University goodies!  Go TWU!! Those are NOT included in the pack, though.

Something that IS included is a kiddo set so that they can create their own squares to add to the display!  That's something I can't wait to do the first day (or maybe the first week) of school.  In theory, they will put their name on top, illustrate their goal in the middle, and then label their illustration at the bottom.  My clip art example is below.

There are blank ones included in 6 chevron brights for the kiddos to create or for you to personalize as you wish.  Just print and go! 

These squares are approximately 6 1/2" in size.  They are not perfect squares because I'm not a perfect kind of girl, but that's that.  You can adjust your print size as you wish and use however you like!

Check them out on my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

With happiness,
Jen ♥