Writing Prompts for the YEAR

Why is writing important?  It is important because we can communicate easier in creative ways with others.  Writing is necessary for life.  This skill helps express feelings and thoughts.  Writing builds a connection with reading skills.  It is different from oral communication.  Writing helps organize thoughts.   Studies show that teachers should spend more time teaching writing both explicit and naturally.  This is where it is helpful for a teacher to provide a daily writing journal.  If students finish work early, give them the option to write in a journal.  It is unclear through research just how much time is needed to teach writing because every student learns differently.  Also, many teachers integrate writing in other subject areas.    Share different types of writing with your students.  Let them have opportunities for a real audience and a chance to hear feedback not just with the teacher.  I used monthly journals.  Every Friday I allowed a few students to be the featured author, and share their writing with the class.  Each author could choose 3 people to give feedback or a positive comment.  I had to model this the first couple weeks, but students are quick to pick it up.  No matter what, make sure you teach writing in elementary everyday.  It will build a great foundation for your students.

YEARLONG Writing Prompts Monthly Journals BUNDLE

YEARLONG Writing Prompts Monthly Journals BUNDLE

Surviving the School Year

My job is to help make planning a SNAP!

I know a lot of you have been busy with hurricane clean up, fires, flooding, and more.  It has been a crazy start to the school year for a lot of you.  I personally just finished cleaning up from Irma. Now is the time to show students how we bounce back quickly from disasters and/or help others in need who were less fortunate.  To help you with your year, I have a few resources I made free for a limited time, and a SURVIVAL KIT for KINDERGARTEN teachers for  a super low price to help your year run smooth. BE SURE to scroll down to get the FREEBIES.

If you want to know when products are 1/2 off, please follow my store by clicking the green follow button found HERE. 

Free Happy Birthday Hat

What kid doesn’t want to feel special on their birthday?  Treat them with this birthday hat. (Free for 48 Hours)

One last thing…

This is good for any teacher who is having trouble with tattling in their classroom.  The best part is that I made it FREE for 48 hours.  Hurry and get yours, so your year with be smooth with teaching students the difference between tattling and telling! #lifesaver

NEW RESOURCES to check out:
Author’s Purpose FLIP BOOK
OCTOBER Writing Prompts (JOURNAL)
Constitution Day Flip Book/Activity
3 Week Lesson Plans – ENERGY K-1

3 Week Lesson Plans – What is a Scientist, The Scientific Method, Science TOOLS K-1
Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions Assessment – YEARLONG K-3

 

Happy to help.

If you need help, have a request, or find any errors in products you have purchased, I am here for you!  Unlike big textbook publishers, I can tailor products to meet your needs in most cases. Contact me at cindy@teachersbrain.com

 

Hurricane Kindness (with a side of coffee)

So after driving 10 hours to evacuate from the hurricane, we wanted or NEEDED a Starbucks coffee . We were in Perry, GA, I think. We went out of our way to find the only one for miles. I walk into a beautiful store. My mouth anticipating Pumpkin Spice. Our noses smelling the aromas of fresh brews. Only to be greeted by a smiling employee who explained nicely that I had entered a forbidden zone. 😵They were hosting a private event. My face quickly showed my heartache. The area manager came over to see what the problem was. I explained my disappointment. Tom took time to find out why we were traveling. He told me that the store was new, and hasn’t even opened to the public yet. He directed other managers and employees to take care of my whole family for free. They all wished us safe travels. The coffee helped get us to the next destination. Thank you Tom! Thank you Starbucks for your hospitality and generosity! #starbucks #TomRocks #AwesomeCompany #kindness

Back to School with Teacher’s Brain

Welcome back to school teachers!  I hope that this year, I can help you with all your fun, engaging planning!  So to start off the new year, I want to share with you 5 resources that I could not live without when teaching Kindergarten!

  1. Jitter Glitter Slime (to start the year off right with inquiry lessons)
  2. Comprehension for the YEAR
  3. TheKissing Hand
  4. Kindergarten Survival KIT 
  5. Kindergarten YEARLONG Morning Work

Find me on Facebook under Teacher’s Brain to find all my fun Facebook Live Teaching Tips.  A new raffle will be coming up soon for you to win some Back to School CASH! Check it out in the next couple days. 🙂

Cindy

Teachers Pay Teachers 2017 Conference

If you want to know what it is like to be lucky enough to work for Teachers Pay Teachers and attend the conference in Anaheim, you are in the right place! The BEST part of this conference is making connections in person with all the other teacher-authors you only knew on-line. Here is a picture of the Fabulous Five (well, that is the name I gave us after meeting at the 2016 conference in Florida), posing with our Peace, Love, TpT shirts. Meet Tori from Teach with Tori, Kelly from Mrs. Avery’s Island, Lisa from Lisa Taylor Teaching the Stars, and Shelly from Appletastic!

 

Attending the 9 Step Process workshop with Shelly Rees, is a MUST! She offers an awesome course for teacher-authors who need to focus on how to plan a product from start to finish! PRICELESS! There is a great Facebook group you can join if you are in the course. This is how the five of us became close friends. The group is a positive place to gain valuable information to help you grow and connect with others. This year I had the honor to sit with educational expert, Deanna Jump! She is such an inspirational person who is down-to-earth and easy to talk to about the business.

 

Erin Cobb and Catherine Reed were the inspirational teacher-author speakers who told their personal stories. They both inspired the rest of us that hard work and dedication can produce great success.

If you never met our “Director of Happiness”, Amy Borrell Berner, you HAVE to take the initiative to meet her. She is exactly what her title conveys.

 

After a long day of doing what teachers love… LEARNING, TpT hosted a happy hour to help us all decompress and meet other teacher-authors. This is where a few of us were able to talk to the BEST CEO, Adam Freed. I totally felt like I was one of the girls in The Bachelor, willing to interrupt other teacher-authors to steal him away for a chance to talk to him. (Sorry, to whoever I booted out of the way.) It was happy hour though, so I can blame it on the wine. 😉 I don’t regret it!

Another super nice, intelligent and fun teacher-author is Chris Kesler. He is the best for learning how to build an email list and engage a TpT audience! We attended his session and discovered a lot of tips and tricks to grow our businesses. You can see him below with me and fellow teacher-author Sarah Barnett, who is my new TpT BFF. 🙂 We hit it off as if we have been friends forever. We danced at the Happy Hour with awesome Shem, leading us as DJ/Motivator. She lead a great session about how to Put Some STEAM in your STEP. This is what the conference is all about, meeting people who share your interests, inspire you and help you along your journey.

Should you bring your family? YES! My family went to enjoy the tourist attractions while I was busy learning at the conference. I loved seeing them at the end of the day!

I learned so much! My head feels like it is going to explode with new information, but I’m excited, motivated and (a little) exhausted at the same time. This Dr. Seuss quote sums it up. I’m looking forward to next year in NASHVILLE! So, plan now, if you need some inspiration, tips and tricks.

Kindergarten Teachers Ready

I’ve taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade and 3rd grade in my 20 years of teaching.  The most rewarding, yet CHALLENGING grade level in my opinion, is Kindergarten.  You know you are a kindergarten teacher if you can’t pass up the $ bins at Target, find yourself in love with the Dollar General, answer to “Teacher, Teacher!” or if you are unfazed by people tapping you in inappropriate places to get your attention.  Great kindergarten teachers also know how precious time is when it comes to teaching students the rigorous requirements needed in today’s classrooms.  We have to be flexible to be there when they have accidents, need help tying a shoe or having that unexpected meeting with a parent who didn’t read the newsletter.  Kindergarten teachers have to multitask.  So with that in mind, I decided to bundle ten of my MUST HAVE Back to School Resources into one cheap bundle to help my kindersisters (or kinderbros) out.

Check it out!

I picked 10 of my BEST resources for getting started BACK TO SCHOOL in Kindergarten! Some of these I swear, I could not survive without the past couple of years. This will save you TIME and MONEY!!!! Thank you for being a kindergarten teacher! You are the foundation of the future!

What will YOU get in this ZIP Download?

541 PAGES of MUST HAVES…

YEARLONG Morning Work for Kindergarten with Sight Word Practice

Vocabulary Kindergarten – 3rd YEARLONG Reading Blocks Program

Kindergarten HOMEWORK for the YEAR

Mini Me OPEN HOUSE CRAFTivity for BOYS and GIRLS

TOOL KIT for the Beginning of the YEAR (name tags, sign in sheets, passes and more)

Word Wall Printables – Laminate and use with Dry Erase Markers

Numbers and Cardinality with Numbers 1-10

Campus SCAVENGER HUNT

The Kissing Hand HOME CONNECTION Project

Rules for the CLASSROOM Posters and Behavior Contract

LOOK AT EACH LINK to see more details of what you will get!

I want to help you feel FREE in your FREE time!

Woman, Happiness, Sunrise, Silhouette, Dress, Beach

 

Back To School NEW Kindergarten Teacher SURVIVAL PACK

 

Thank You Teachers Giveaway

Hi awesome Teacher’s Brain Followers!  I just want to say THANK YOU for following my store and BLOG.  I wanted to let you know of a few ways I’m saying THANK YOU this month to all of you.

1. Use this link to enter a raffle for 2X 100 Gift Cards or a $50 Gift Card to TpT
http://gvwy.io/ycgbefy   (enter up until the 29th)  I teamed up with a lot of other authors to bring you this chance to win.  (Follow my FB Page while you’re at it 😉
2. Use #HelloSummer in the TpT Search box for the next two days to get awesome 50% off resources.
JUST CLICK the pictures to check out the sales or FREE resources.

1/2 OFF for a Limited Time

#HelloSUMMER End of the YEAR Summer Packet From 1st grade to 2nd  #hellosummer Vocabulary Kindergarten - 3rd YEARLONG Reading Blocks Program

3.  *********************FREE******************FREE*********************

End of the YEAR Summer Packet From 1st grade to 2nd FREE SAMPLE       Community Helpers - Fostering Positive Relationships with POLICE      Plants - Label the Plant Parts Freebie Worksheet

I hope you have a FANTASTIC SUMMER! Follow my BLOG at www.teachersbrain.com to keep up with some more resources and teaching tips.  Thank you for all the kind comments.  You all are truly what helps me get up and get motivated each day!

 

Image result for cindy name

Building Children’s Vocabulary

Taking time to talk and read with children is a great way to help them hear and read new words.  Adults who have conversations regularly with children allowing them to ask questions about things that are interesting  in a non-threatening way, help build children’s vocabulary.  Children enjoy learning new big words.

Everyone wants children to do well in school.  Building their vocabulary is one way to help them become better readers.  The more background knowledge a reader knows, the better they become at comprehending what they read.  Talking to and reading with children are two great ways to help children hear and read new words.

Sharing a new word with children is quick.  Choose words that are of interest to children.  Usually words that are common with adult speakers, but less common in children’s books are popular.

Provide an example of a new word: Gigantic means something really big.

Then use it in a sentence that relates to daily life:  That monster truck is gigantic.

Next, have the child come up with an example:  The elephant was gigantic.

Last, use the word frequently during the week: Look at this gigantic ball!

Take time to share new words with children every day.  The payoff is GIGANTIC.  You can find some activities in this Yearlong Vocabulary Reading Blocks Program.

Vocabulary Kindergarten - 3rd YEARLONG Reading Blocks Program

 

Keeping Kids Learning All Summer

It is always a challenge to keep children learning when it’s summer time.  My own children are glued to their computer games.  When they are not on the computer, they are swimming in the pool.  Traditional learning is hard to compete with summer activities, but it’s important to keep up with today’s rigor.  Here is a list of great oral and physical activities to keep your children engaged in learning:

1.Pudding Painting is one of my favorites for children to use to learn sight words.  Spread pudding on the bottom of a cooking sheet pan.  Call out a sight word and have them write it in the pudding.  If they get it right, they get to lick their finger.

2.Have your child sort laundry by color or size before you wash them. Let them pour in the soap with your supervision as a reward.

3.Ask your child to skip count to 100. Then count by 5’s to 100.  Tell them this joke they can use with friends. “I bet you I can count to 100 in 10 seconds or less.” When someone excepts the challenge, they can count by 10s to 100.

4.Teach your child to set the table.  Have them count all the silverware.  Reinforce the “game” by offering desert for the right answer.  Continue with counting other objects, like plates, cups or placemats.

5.Children love to paint! Give them water colors and paper outside. Let them go crazy with splattering/flicking paint on the paper.  This gets their creative juices flowing!  I use to let my kids pain their play house with water colors.  When it rains, it come right off.

6.Encourage your child to tell you the months of the year, and the days of the week in order.  High five them for reinforcement.

7.Tell your child they can only watch TV or play a video game if they can tell you the time on the clock. (not digital…)  😉

8.What kid doesn’t like to make things with dried pasta.  Take a cup full of various pasta and first have them sort them into piles by shape. (You can use food coloring to make them different colors, if you are that kind of special parent.)  Then have them glue the pasta on construction paper to make a picture.

9.Father’s Day is often overlooked during the school year, so let your child use your ipad or phone to record their voice and send a special message to dad.

10.Encourage your child to come up with words that rhyme with ones you say (e.g. cake, make, rake), then have them use the words to make a funny poem or song.

11.At bed time, ask your child to sequence the events of their day.

12.Create a new dance move or hand shake with your child.

13.Play a board game like Candy Land with your child.

14.Ask your child to show you a Jumping Jack, Push Up or Skipping.

*** You would be surprised how many kids can’t do these tasks.

  1. Use chalk outside to make Hopscotch. Teach them how to play.

You can also find some Summer Packets to have children sit down for 20 minutes a day and focus on skills to prepare them for the next grade.

End of the Year Summer Packet For KINDERGARTEN to 1st Grade ReviewEnd of the YEAR Summer Packet From 1st grade to 2nd

 

Engaging Students in Themed Days

There is no denying that the easiest way to keep students engaged is to have themed days in your classroom. Typical days I participate in are Polar Express Days, Snowed-In Days, May the 4th Be With You, The Ocean Festivals, The Thankful Festivals, and a Fall Festivals. The Fall Festival is where our team teaches the same fall lesson with a craftivity to the entire kindergarten as they rotate to each room. Another great day which involves math, science, reading, writing and critical thinking skills is a SPY Day. This themed day motivates and rewards your students while sneaking in learning. Students dress up like secret agents, are given a mission to find a stolen object, walk through lasers, learn how to lift fingerprints, make memorize a new alias and work as a team to discover clues to solve the mystery. Allowing the kids to dress like secret agents, really gets them engaged. I keep the lights off and have them do their work with flashlights. I also invite parents to participate in the fun. When students see their parents having fun, they can’t help but be more positive about learning. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have extra help these days too! I’ve never had one themed day where there was a child not participating. It’s a lot of prep work for the teacher, but well worth the work. So, if you want your students engaged in learning, try to make learning fun by introducing a themed day. Click the picture below to find the printables for this themed day.
Read more