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Merry GRAPHmas with Reindeer!

See that title..... that's right... we about to head into my FAVORITE month of the year!  DECEMBER.... here we come (full of high-energy kids who completely forgot the classroom rules after Thanksgiving break... but that's ok!)

I absolutely love THEME teaching... and the holidays are the perfect time to do that and incorporate your favorites themes with the content you are teaching.  Teacher heart happy....check!

This week in Math we started our graphing unit down in kindergarten, and we decided to make this week all about REINDEER!  So needless to say.... we were going to be graphing about some reindeer at some point in the week!  We have all seen the typical graphs.... "Have you ever seen a reindeer? YES/NO".....  But I wanted something fun and maybe a little non-serious for this particular graph!  We were going to graph "Our Favorite Reindeer"!

Oh.... don't worry... they didn't have eight choices!  I narrowed it down to three and we of course had to include the one and only Rudolph, and then I added Comet and Prancer to the mix as well :)

In order for my students to get to know the other "not-so-famous" reindeer, I created these little posters to help us get to know more about our three choices!  (otherwise EVERYONE would choose Rudolph....right?!)  ;)

After learning about our three choices, each student had to select their favorite based off what we knew about them.

I created this anchor chart with the students and labeled the graph as we went through it together!

What do you know.... Rudolph is the winner :)

We went through our graph, naming the title, our three choices, what was our DATA that we gathered and our results.

After doing this whole group, each student then created their own (and yes... a themed craft for the win!) little reindeer graph!

I hung all of their graphs and our class graph outside of the classroom, along with "Merry Graphmas"  Lol!  

You can grab this craftivity, the reindeer posters, AND the Merry Graphmas letters by clicking any of the pictures above or HERE!

And yes..... its FREE :)

Have a great rest of the week :)

Next week's theme..... Gingerbread!!!!!!!!

Jessica Travis
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ESGI - Your New Best Friend!!!

Happy Saturday friends!

I just had to stop in today and tell you about MY NEW BEST FRIEND in the classroom!  I mean.... Super excited, kick up your heels, can't wait to get to work kind of friend! 

I have been presenting for SDE (Staff Development for Educators) for 2-3 years now, but it wasn't until this past week while presenting in Tennessee that I was truly introduced to something AH-MAZING!  DeeDee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten and I were talking for a while one evening and we got on the subject of using ESGI in our classroom....  something that I had heard of and even seen at conferences, but never really took the time to really dig deep into what they were offering! (until this week!)

As a kindergarten teacher myself, I'm pretty embarrassed and a whole lot of sad that I have not had this sooner!  I'm constantly assessing my students, collecting data to better my instruction, holding conferences with parents, assessing again.... and the cycle continues (with tons of paperwork, binders, and other organizational methods!)

BUT..... this new friend of mine is here to save me HOURS of my precious time while still doing everything I just mentioned above!

Let's get straight to it.... Four simple letters..... E S G I

If you already use ESGI... then you know what I'm talking about!  This life-saving tool and resource for teachers is completely changing how we utilize our time in the classroom when it comes to assessing our students, collecting data, communicating that data with parents, and maximizing our time for instruction!

I *JUST* set up my account this week and all I've done is put in my class list, and then Thanksgiving Break took over!  I don't think I've ever been MORE excited to get back into the classroom after a week-long break until NOW!

Let's take a look:

Once you create your account, you will have an ESGI homepage, where you will see the tabs at the top, assessments in the center, your class list to the left, and so many GREAT options to your right!  

Again, all I have done is enter in my students (which was SUPER easy!)  Once my students begin to be assessed, their data will be showing in the center for each of the areas. 

After you get your students listed into your page, then it's time to find the assessments you need!

You can search assessments that have already been created OR you can create your very own assessment!  You can search by content, etc... on the left OR click on "Create a Test" on the right and get down to business!

Not sure if the pre-created assessments will be what you need?  You can easily click on the assessment and preview it!  

Now, most of your assessments will still be done One-on-One, but instead of hassling with papers and dis-organization.... there will be a place on the test that allows you to click if the student responds correctly, creating the data for you!  I mean.... I'm not lying when I say this whole thing is 

This part might be my favorite of the entire thing!!  

After students have completed their assessment, I can create a letter for EACH student that will go home to their parents!  I know....right?!  AHHHH!  
Not only can I show my parents their child's results, but it will show what was answered correctly, incorrectly, AND I can print flashcards for the parent to assist their child at home.  

Now tell me.... this wouldn't make you excited to get back to work and use ESGI???  
I am so stinkin' ready to get back and implement this!

Don't have ESGI?????  DON'T WORRY!!!!

You can click on ESGI tab on the right side of my blog as you scroll down OR click on anything related to ESGI in this post!

The best part....

You can sign up for a FREE 60 day trial..... but I know you will want the WHOLE YEAR!!!  
  If you are a Pre-K Teacher, Kindergarten Teacher, or 1st Grade Teacher..... don't waste another minute!!!!!!!

Use my code: WILD for a HUGE discount!!!!!

I'm telling y'all.... you do NOT want to teach another day without this resource right at your fingertips!!!!!  

Let me know if you have any questions!!!!

Jessica Travis
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SDE Conference RECAP!

Happy Thursday Friends!

This week has definitely been an interesting week!  (Full Moon, Sub, some other crazy things..... you know... the joys of Kindergarten!)

The week did start off pretty AMAZING as I got to spend a few days with some blogging buddies and Tennessee teachers in Nashville for the I Teach 1st and I Teach Kindergarten conferences!

I presented eight sessions but I wanted to highlight a few of those sessions in this post and let you know where you can find some of the resources that were mentioned!

My Sight Word Session is always one of my favorites!  I am ALWAYS looking for fun and meaningful ways for my students to master their sight words.  Below are a few of the resources I mentioned, although it on my to-do list to create a pack with ALL of the activities that were presented as well as printables, material lists, directions, etc....

The Writing on the Wall pack includes all of the activities that can be done with your sight words and word wall!

Interactive Sight Words (First 100 Fry Words) is great for morning work, fast finishers, interactive journals, and MORE!

Fun with FRYS includes multiple activities AND songs for the first 100 Fry Words! (1000+ pages!)

Sight Word Songs (first 100 Fry Words) includes a song for EACH Fry word on the 1-100 list!

Writing is something that can be super scary..... and not just for the kids!  Teaching writing used to be so challenging for me because EVERY.SINGLE.STUDENT was somewhere different in the writing process and their development stage.....
But that's all change and I absolutely LOVE seeing my students progress throughout the year in their writing.... definitely makes my teacher heart swell!

These were just a *few* of the resources mentioned in my "It's Gonna Be All WRITE" session! (links are below!)
Sentence Stems for Young Writers includes over 150 stems / prompts for your beginning writers! 

Read, Write, and Build is great to integrate your poetry and have students reading and writing familiar rhymes!

Writing Spinners puts a fun twist on your writing activities!

The Silly Sentence Station is a classroom FAVORITE!  Students will selects the parts of a sentence and write a very silly sentence!

R.T.I...... probably three of the scariest letters to a teacher!  RTI can definitely be tricky due to amount of  planning and organization needed for it be successful (as well as finding the time to do it all)!

I really need about a week to talk all about RTI.... 75 minutes is definitely a short amount of time to discuss all of the components, but hitting the high spots was about all I could do!  Below you find some resources that can help you when implementing RTI!

FREE - RTI Informational Posters let you know exactly what is in each tier, how to identify these students, and more! 

Mission Intervention - Alphabet - Includes printables, activities, games and intervention activities for students who need additional instruction with the alphabet and sounds.

Guided Reading for 1st Grade - The Bundle (Includes monthly packs with multiple activities and resources to use for reading groups, stations, and more!)

NUMBER SENSE..... just a few of my favorite words as a kindergarten teacher!  I absolutely LOVE teaching concepts and activities that will better my student's number sense!  This is also one of my favorite sessions that I present on.... and below are a few of the math activities :)
Monthly Math - Kindergarten - Bundle - Includes monthly packs with 8-12 math stations!

MEGA Math Bundle - 1st Grade - Includes 8 packets with content specific activities - full of engaging activities for whole and small group, stations, crafts, and more!

Math for ME!  - 1st Grade - an RTI intervention binder that covers the math standards for grade 1.

Know Your Number Sense! - 60 number cards that will help students identify the multiple ways to represent a number!

Since I am still in the classroom as a full time teacher, I usually only present about 3-5 conferences during the school year.  You can click on the tab at the top of the page to see where I will be this year!  (I need to update a few summer conferences once they are set in stone!)

And.... I can't forget these ladies below :)   They are SO sweet and talented and I am so thankful that I got to spend a few days with them.... until next time!

And my goodness.... always good to catch up with the AMAZING and sweet ladies!  These ladies right are some seriously talented friends who I truly wish I got to spend some more time with!
Left to Right (DeeDee Wills, Reagan Tunstall, Kristina Grant, Elizabeth Hall, and Jessica Travis(me!)
Jessica Travis
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Pumpkin Number Freebies!

It's Thursday.... it's Fall... yet down here in Texas, you wouldn't know by the 93 degree temps outside!  (I'm trying to be really patient to bust out my sweaters and booties for Fall!)
We did manage to have a pretty good cold front come through today though.... which may explain the unusual crazy wild behavior lately (and don't forget the full moon we had earlier this week!)

We are in week 9 of school (yes.... already!) and we are finally trucking along at a pretty consistent rate and *finally* into a good routine down here in Kinder World!

After working with students, small groups, one-on-one, analyzing student assessments and observing independent work.... it's safe to say that I officially have my students figured out and where I need to go (academically) to get these sweet babies truckin' through Kindergarten!

I posted about my most recent RTI pack (Mission Intervention - Alphabet Recognition and Identification) but with fall officially here... I can't help but throw in some themed-learning/intervention!  

Working with my math groups, I wanted to create some pumpkin-themed activities BUT .... make it beneficial for learning AND fun!  So.... I whipped up a few activities that I wanted to share with you (and if you hang around till the end.... you can grab them too!)

Let's take a look in detail;

These pumpkin picture cards include cards with 1 - 10 pumpkins.  

Options (but not limited to!)
1. simply count the pumpkins!
2.  Teacher calls a number - students find a pumpkin cards with more/less/equal to the teacher's number.
3.  Match the pumpkin picture with the number cards (next picture!)

I also use these number cards to help with the next activity:

I created FOUR different pumpkin number mats.  Each includes numbers 1-10, just in different variations on the mat.

You can either call out a number, or use the number cards to call out a number.  Students will need to identify that number that you call out and cover it on their mat.  We just use unifix cubes, but small erasers, pumpkin seeds, whatever you want!

The pumpkin to fill up first or with the most cubes "wins".  
Again, you can vary this up as well and say, " find a number more than ____"  or "less than ____"
Feel free to match it to what your students need most!

Last but not least.... these little pumpkin wagons are great for building the number!

I have included mats for numbers 1-10 as well as the pumpkins!  

Students will just pick a number wagon mat and represent the number using the pumpkins (or orange cubes if you don't want to cut out the pumpkins!)

The best part.... you can grab all of these pumpkin activities for FREE:

Have a great week!!

Jessica Travis
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Mission: INTERVENTION ~ The Alphabet

Hello October.

September seemed to fly by.  Really fast.  Pretty sure I only blogged once during the last month and I really do apologize.  Lots of things kept me from blogging... you know... work and teaching, being a mom, staying afloat in the back to school madness, still having to cook dinner every night (really wish I could hire a chef the first month back to school!), watching the Cowboys now that football is back on, and just being really busy.  I'm sure you can relate.... right?!

It's no secret that our students will all learn at different rates, by different teaching styles and strategies, and by different activities in the classroom.  I'm sure you know by now that the students in your classroom are all over the place when it comes to what instructional level they are on. Some are above grade level, some are working right on grade level, and some are buckled in tight on the struggle bus! (and you could probably point each of these students out on DAY 1)

Wouldn't it be just flippin' fantastic if we would plan and teach a lesson and ALL of our students would show mastery on that skill and we could move on?!  Well.... I hate to break the bad news to you... but THAT.WILL. N - E - V - E - R .HAPPEN.

We of course want ALL of our students to succeed, but often struggle with WHAT to do with these students, WHEN we should do it, etc....

Do you have a specific time in your daily schedule for intervention?  If not.... you should!  There HAS to be a time devoted to meet the need of all of our students, including our students who are behind and need that small group or even one-on-one instructional time with the teacher. IT IS CRUCIAL!

For me as a kindergarten teacher, we are flying daily through the alphabet trying to get our students to master letter identification, begin development on their letter sounds and fixing to set sail on the cruise ship called READING.  If my students are still struggling and not mastering their letter identification, we can't even begin to move to the next step.

I have a few students who definitely fall into the category of needing some intense intervention right now!  I despise trying to come up with last minute activities for these students during my small groups and decided it was time to finish a product that had been on my to-do list for MONTHS!

My new mission is.... getting these students on grade level (or at least some significant progress!)

Mission:INTERVENTION ~ Alphabet Recognition and Identification was created so that I don't have to dig or try and find new activities..... they are now all in one place for me (and YOU!)

This is just a sneak peek into what this will look like!

I wanted to pop in tonight and share with you what you will find in this JAM-PACKED pack of activities (over 170 pages!)

I created a binder to hold all of the assessments and printable activity pages.

The cover is included, but always feel free to use what works and matches with you!  

Each activity in the packet includes directions and pictures... as well as the MISSION of the activity (the intended goal of the activity).

Each letter of the alphabet will have it's very own page!  I have included 4 rows on each page, which allows me to easily say during groups, " ______ read line 3"   This will give me 4 different lines to show mastery.  

Students can use their "eyes" to identify the letters, use a stick or pointer to find the letters, or even use a cube or manipulative to cover the correct letters.

A closer look at the alphabet pages:

My students absolutely LOVE this activity.  I can use this when focusing on specific letters with my intervention groups!
And they LOVE using these eyes!

This activity is from the "Does it Match" activity. 

Students will identify the letters on the card and determine they match (capital to lowercase).  There are FOUR different assessment pages like these shown above that you can use.  

Multiple ways to use it:
(1) Point and identify the pairs that match
(2) Use counters and cover the pairs that match
(3) Use TWO different colors - one color represents pairs that match, the other color is for pairs that do NOT match.

A closer look at the activity:

Use the cards and activity as a mini-lesson in your intervention group, then use the binder assessment pages to really focus on each student for mastery.  

Another FAVORITE activity:

This activity "Sort it Out" has students sorting the capital and lowercase letters.  Students do not necessarily need to identify the letters in this activity, but just recognize if the letter is a capital or lowercase letter and sort.

I have also included FOUR different assessment pages that you can put in your binder, also labeled by four rows on the page.  Again, this easily allows me to say, "Read line 4" etc....  after doing the mini lesson activity.

It's one thing to identify the letters, but I also think that writing the letters is equally important!

I have also included this activity in the pack, which is great to put into the binder!

There is a page for EACH letter in the alphabet, using the same format on each page.

The pages include:

(1) Trace the capital and lowercase letter with your finger
(2) Trace the capital and lowercase letters with your dry erase maker
(3) Write the capital and lowercase letters with your dry erase marker

This activity is a great step-by-step building activity for writing the letter!

This activity in the pack is a student favorite (and also great for literacy stations for ALL students!)

I have included a half page for each capital and lowercase letter that has the proper letter formation on the card.  Students can use their "eyes" to trace with their finger, use a dry erase marker, use Play-Dough, a dry paint brush, etc....

So many ways to practice the formation of the alphabet!

I have also included a few games that you can do with your students including:

"Stack it Up" is a fun game AND a great visual for you!  
All you need is the cards provided AND stacking cubes!

I turn the pile of letters upside down and one student will choose a card at a time.  If they can read the letter correctly, they will get a cube.  If not, no cube!  The group will alternate turns and stack their cubes each time they identify the letter correctly.  Once the stack is gone, the student with the highest stack... is the winner!

Concentration is fun and can be differentiated as needed!  Use all of the letters or just the letters you have focused on in small groups.  Lay the cards face down and students will select two cards at a time.  The mission is to find the capital and lowercase match!

We can't forget about putting the alphabet into order....

I usually separate the cards into the lowercase and capital piles, and give one stack at a time.  The students will work together (or individually) to put the alphabet back into order!

GO FISH... alphabet style!

You can print 2 sets (complete matches will included 2 capital and 2 lowercase of the same letter) OR print four sets and only use the capital cards OR the lowercase cards.

Students will ask the other player if they have a specific letter to help them build a set.  If so, the player will give it to the partner.  If not, the player will say "GO FISH".  

A fun little twist on the traditional fun-loved game!

This activity is great if you are only focusing on 2 - 3 letters at a time!

The mat has a blank circle that will allow you to put in the specific letters you are working on.  
I have included SIX letters (mixed fonts, capital and lowercase) for each letter.  I keep them each stored in their own baggie so I can easily grab the letter I am working on!

Students will sort (either 2 or 3 letters).  (Both mats included!)


This is where the binder comes into play!  I simply print all of the printables and place them into sheet protectors (which also are dry-erase friendly!)

I print all of the alphabet card activities and label into their own baggies for easy identification of what I need.

I keep ONE container that holds each of the baggies:

Now... when I meet with my intervention groups, I just grab my box and my binder!  

I got these boxes at Wal Mart and it's how I store ALL of my literacy stations and math stations as well!

The BEST part.... YOU can have ALL of this for your students too!   (It's on SALE!)

Just click HERE or on the picture below :)

Now... my next MISSION.... is:

Mission INTERVENTION: Number Recognition and Identification

Coming SOON!

Have an AWESOME weekend teacher warriors!

Jessica Travis
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Back to School Assessments

Happy Monday!

It's the start of week 4 for me and it's officially time to get down to business!  The honeymoon stage is over (long gone!), the students are completely comfortable in the classroom, and we are knee deep into the curriculum now!  (with a few procedures and routines on repeat!)

I really (like Really Really) am ready to get to know each student on a deeper level (academically!).

 I have started pulling my kiddos back one-on-one with me during specific times in the day and I'm slowly but surely learning who is sailing through with ease and who is riding the struggle bus!  (Can I get an AMEN?!)

When I assess my new kinders (prior to any district wide testing), I don't use any formal or fancy assessment!  I just whipped up some simple (and student-friendly!) back to school assessments just to help me get the basics for my kiddos!   That pretty much includes (1) alphabet identification {capital and lowercase letters} (2) beginning sounds (3) Number Identification to 20 (4) color identification and (5) sight word recognition.

While I don't expect my students to master all of these, it definitely gives me a baseline and shows me what I'm workin' with!

Today was all about letter identification.   I created this simple form that includes all capital and lowercase letters (out of order!) as well as the same exact layout for the students in a colored version!

It looks something like this:

While I'm recording the student's response, the student has a color-coded sheet that is identical to mine.  I can easily say, "Read the orange row".   "Read the green row", etc......   
It is much easier than giving the students a complete white sheet... trust me (it's overwhelming!)

The color-coded lines help break it down and not seem so daunting while students are trying to show me their best!

If a student identifies the letter incorrectly, I simply just mark through it with the highlighter.  I write in the white space ___/26, and we continue with the lowercase letters.

I also created the same thing for the other areas of assessment that look like this:

(This is shown above in use!)
I have two forms (yes, they look the same!)  One is for letter ID and the other is for beginning sounds!

I included a color-coded identical copy (I say... read the red column/line.... read me the green column/line, etc....)

It breaks it up into small chunks of assessments and it's very student friendly!

This assesses the first 25 words and again, I give the students an exact replica of my teacher sheet, just in a more friendly version.  (Please read the green column, etc...)

It amazes me how many students come in NOT knowing their colors!  So.... just to make sure, I have this form as well.  The students receive the sheet on the right and just point and say the color!  


Just in case some of you are JUST now assessing (like me!).... you can grab these assessments for FREE!

Just click HERE!

Hope you all have a great week....

and if you have any questions on how to use these.... please let me know!

Jessica Travis
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