Monday, August 31, 2015

Recap of Homeschool Week 1!

Hi there!  My name is Tisha and Tara is my sister!  I taught kindergarten in public schools for two years and a private school for one year.  When the opportunity arose for me to stay at home and teach my two daughters... I jumped on it! I will be sharing with you our journey as we tackle first grade and pre-k!

Week One DONE!

I almost feel like writing this entire post with my caps lock ON!  :)  This week was super special, and went even better than I initially imagined it could/would.  So, in my over-the-top- overly-excited teacher voice I want to say "WE HAD A SUCCESSFUL WEEK!  WHOOP WHOOP, YEAH!

Ok, caps are off.  I promise no more shouting excitedly.  I am ready to share with you just what we were up to this week!
First of all check out these two beauties our first morning of school!  I whipped up these simple "First Day of School" coloring pages and the girls came right on into the classroom ready to beak in the new crayons!!  Oh, yeah!

I have SO many favorite moments from this week.  I will say this picture captures my #1.  All of us together at the table.  Each one working.  Simply wonderful.

So...what did we do this week?

I big part of our week was working together on establishing a predictable routine.  That is the "teacher" in me I suppose -but I realized even when my girls were young, that a predictable routine is key to smooth transitions.

From day 1 we started our morning the way I intend to begin each one from here out, and from there we learned how our day would easily unfold.

I plan to post soon about our schedule and what a typical day looks like while we are creating our SPARKS.  

I've had a lot of questions about how I manage the two and actually get ANY learning done.  So, stay tuned and I will break it down sometime soon.

This week we focused on nursery rhymes.  It was a great way to start the girls out on common ground.  Nursery Rhymes are something they are both familiar with already and of course there are endless possibilities and teaching points with rhyme!
So, we also did a lot of "hands-on" learning.  Especially for Vaida who is still just 3.  She loved anything that was gluing, cutting, coloring, and even tearing!   

Tear and glue sheets found HERE.

We got up and moved around the room.  We utilize every bit of open in our space!

Rhyming rainbows found HERE.

Also, the girls were real excited to learn they were allowed computer time.  However, it wasn't Barbie youtube like they are used to watching at Gma's! ;)  But boy were they ever excited about READING and doing so INDEPENDENTLY!

Vaida was all FIRED up on Friday about creating her "ABC" book.  A cute craft idea made by Miss Kindergarten -you can find here

We were also hard at work on 1:1 correspondence as Vaida continues the early stages of beginning to read.  This girl is READY!  You can find those simple 1:1 tracking strips made by Tara here.

And here is a picture of Lolah writing a letter to her fellow homeschool pen-pal!  We incorporate this letter writing into our writing time as she is practicing some great skills while getting to know her new friend!

I'm ready for Monday!  Bring it on!  We have so much to be thankful for and I can't even put into words yet what this "feels" like.  I'm just so very thankful for this opportunity!

I also want to give a shout out to the homeschoolers and homeschool mommas out there!  Thanks SO much for your inspiration.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Recap of my short week and peek at week 1!

Well hello there!  Yes, my name is Tara and back to school has me officially BEAT!  I just got caught up on my emails last night from all week ...and I think my 12 hours of sleep Friday night and Saturday night should have me good to go for our official full week!  A silver in the lining would be after our first official full week we do have 4 days off...eek!  So, our first day back was Thursday and I really do have a sweet class this year!  We spent these first two days talking A LOT about classroom and school expectations!  I use these little "cheat sheets" as a way to remember all the things I wanted to tell the kiddos!  You can snag the freebie HERE and they are editable!

We also spend a good deal of time in our fine motor explore bins!  You can see what I have in each bin and get links to those HERE!

We also took some time to play with playdoh...oh yeah!

On Friday we went on a Pete the Cat school tour  and when we got back from the tour Pete the Cat had left us this adorable coloring sheet!  You can download the freebie coloring sheet HERE!

Of course nothing says back to school kindergarten like PORTRAITS!  You can download these freebie HERE!

We also took time to color this special apple for our moms and dads!  This is part of my August/September Taking Back Weekends!

We also had an opportunity to play with all of our fun explore toys for recess one day because there was a minor malfunction on the playground haaaaa!

Here is a look at our star work board!  Already lookin' good! :)

At our school the classes earn compliments in the hallway from other teachers and once we have 10 we get a special paw print!  To keep track of our 10 compliments we are adding pieces to Mrs. Potato Head!  We already have 4 :) :)

During explore time I was also to get all of my kiddos pulled over and do an initial letter ID assessment!  I find it beneficial to get a pretty good idea of the level of my class at the start of the year.  Of course what letters they know on day 1 or 2 of school isn't going to be everything I need to know, but it does give me a great starting place!  You can download this letter id tracker for free HERE!

Next week will be a full week and we will be following our set schedule for the remainder of the year!  You can download those plans by clicking below or HERE!  Be sure to click "download" so the document will have live clickable links!

I'll be back soon with some additional ideas for your back to school time and back next Sunday for a recap and plans for week 2!  Wahooo ...let's do this! :)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

September Bundle Giveaway!

Heeeeey!  It's officially back to school grind which means it's time for my monthly giveaway posts! Wooohoo!  This post will share a lot of fun ideas for your kiddos during the month of'll also have a chance to win all THREE packets in a nice wonderful bundle! :)  I will leave links to some freebies for the month as well so you'll want to snag those at the end!  Happy reading and happy back to school!

 Up first is literacy centers!  These are perfect for your kiddos at the beginning of the year and throughout September!

 These centers are student friendly for this time of the year in K!  Up first...
Apple Picking
Students will write the sounds the hear within the CVC words!

I place my recording sheets in the dry erase sleeves to save on paper! :)

Beginning Sound Apples
Students will pull an apple and color the correct beginning sound.../b/, /m/, or /t/.

ABC Match Ups
Students will build their alphabet knowledge by matching the lowercase apple to it's uppercase tree!  Then, trace their letters on the recording sheet.

Why It's Apple Pie!

Match the rhyming apple to the pie!  Draw a line to the matching pairs.

Apples in the Basket

Sight word practice! Students will build the sight word and then record it on their sheet.

You can view this packet on TpT by clicking below!  You can also view this packet in my literacy center bundle HERE!

I am also so excited to get those little hands these new math centers too!  

You can see from above the centers in action and a detail of each directly below!

You can view the fall centers below or in a math center bundle HERE!

Up next is my Taking Back Weekends Packet: August/September!  This packet is a combined packet for August and September since it's PACKED full and a lot of us don't teach a full month in August! :)

Above are adorable certificates that I will be handing out to my kiddos on the first day of Kindergarten!  In the packet you can also choose "my first week." 

We all know that in Kindergarten we will be spending quite a bit of time reviewing or often times introducing students on what it means to "do their jobs."  This adorable easy reader also has matching color sheets!

In Kindergarten we learn about our Abc's and 123's but first we learn how to use our school supplies!  Below are a few cutting practice pages.

Cutting and gluing....

We even spend some time talking about how we color within the lines.  For each of these supply practice pages I list a "look what I can do" statement at the bottom of the page for parents.  I think it is so crucial, especially at the beginning of the year, to introduce parents into the skills we are learning and why!

We always spend a week before jumping into the alphabet learning all about strokes!  I have some excited plans for teaching strokes which I will share soon!

You will also snag this adorable first day poem for your kiddos!

Below is a quick look at all of the math and literacy centers found in the September packet as well!  I will explain them in detail in an upcoming post!  You can see a snap shot of each....

Below is a preview but even more included!

Again, ALL of the above mentioned activities can be found in my August/September taking back weekends packet!  You can view the packet below as well as the bundle you can find the packet in too!  

Save with the bundle...

Alright, now it's your chance to win all three of the packets!  The giveaway will end in the wee hours of Tuesday so you'll want to enter soon! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now it's time for some freebies!  Each month I had requests for my dated writing paper so I'll continue to do that this year! :)  The writing paper pictured below is not my September paper ....because we aren't quite there yet! ;)  You can download the freebie dated writing paper HERE or by clicking below!

Another awesome activity for September is working with names!  You can snag these freebie name mats below!  You can customize them for your kiddos!

Another activity I like to send home with my kiddos during these first few weeks is a fun activity they can work on with their parents to build their names and identify the letters in their names!  You can download this freebie note below!

Alright, that's all I have for you today!  Good luck on entering to win the bundle and have a GREAT weekend and week! :)