Sunday, January 20, 2019

Report Card Comments

Kindergarten and first grade teachers, are you stressed just thinking about writing report card comments?  Whether you're a student teacher learning from your mentor teacher, or a veteran with years experience under your belt, writing report card comments is a daunting task. 
Use these Report Card Comments to reduce teacher stress
In kindergarten and first grade, writing report card comments is typically more than using a drop-down menu from a school software, such as Progress Book.  Sure, the drop-down menus and letter grades are easy, but they don't relay a true reflection of the student's progress. 

Report card comments are sometimes the only part parents bother reading. For that sake, they need to be well-written and specific!  Well, guess what; I've done all of the hard work so you don't have to! 

My goal is to help awesome teachers like you do amazing things! 

Focus on the kids, spend more time with your family; whatever it is that you love - just not spending hours writing report card comments.

I've also created a Parent Letter Bundle that makes parent communication a breeze.  Whether it's requesting classroom snacks, addressing a peanut allergy, expressing concern of skill progress, or requesting family photos, the Parent Letters are a print-and-send solution to build parent-teacher communication.


If you're looking to increase parent involvement, you may want to read my post about 50 Ideas for Parent Volunteers in the classroom.

Building relationships, participating in class discussions, difficulties/ strengths with expressing thoughts and ideas, tardies and absences, homework, basic skills, writing habits, great helper, organization habits, letter recognition, counting skills, staying on task, disruptive habits to the learning environment, fine-motor skills, problem-solving skills, great effort but struggles to meet standards, encouraging home support, name it and it's in these Report Card Comments for kindergarten and first grade.

These report card comments are going to save you so much time and stress!.  To make writing report card comments even easier, I have organized the comments into 4 categories. 
  • Positive
  • Needs Improvement
  • Suggestions for Home
  • Complete paragraph comments.

You will have more than 25 paragraph-length kindergarten and early 1st grade comments to choose from,. You can also mix and match the bullet report card comments to best fit your students. Simply copy, paste, and insert a name.

Reduce your teacher stress, save yourself hours of time, and build parent communication, with these Kindergarten and first grade report card comments. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading about how to reduce teacher stress with these K-1 Report Card Comments.  

Keep being an awesome teacher and doing amazing things! You've got this! 

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

How to Keep Holiday Mornings Calm for the Family

How to Keep Holiday Mornings Calm for Your Entire Family
Photo Credit: Pixabay
When the holidays are jam-packed with activities, it can leave your family’s mornings feeling rushed. Stressful mornings mean more stress for your family throughout the day, and that’s the last thing you want when you are trying to enjoy the season. Luckily, there are some easy ways to keep your holiday mornings stress-free and stay productive all season long. Keep reading for some helpful tips on how to streamline your holiday mornings.

Shorten Your Daily “To-Do” List

Waking up with a million things to do is a surefire way to feel stressed all day, but by getting help with chores around the house, you can take some of that pressure off yourself. If your budget will allow it, think about hiring a professional cleaning service to help you keep your home looking cheery and bright during the holiday season. Most people typically spend around $116 and $235 on a basic cleaning service, but that’s money well spent if it means adding extra hours to your schedule each week. Keeping your home tidy will make it easier to find what you need in the morning and can even reduce stress, so consider this solution, especially when the kids are out of school and making more of a mess.
photo credit: Unsplash

Use Screens Strategically in Your Morning Ritual

If the kids are out of school, you may be tempted to relax your rules around screen time in exchange for some early morning bliss. According to some studies, you just may be on to something! The blue light emitted from screens is known to wake up you and your kids, so it only makes sense that a little screen time can make the transition to morning a little easier. Just be careful how much time you and your family spend on your devices. The average individual tends to spend nearly five years of their life surfing social media! So, if you are having a hard time getting things done in the morning, setting your screen aside could be the solution.

photo credit: Unsplash
Make Your Breakfasts Super Simple

One of the most stressful parts of the morning often involves making sure your kids eat a breakfast that’s good for them. Busy holiday mornings can make it a challenge to cook meals every day. So, why not simplify your ritual by trying out some make-ahead recipes for healthy breakfasts your entire family can grab and eat on the run? Breakfast burritos and overnight oats are always an easy pre-made breakfast option when your family is on the go, but you can even indulge your kids with breakfast popsicles and muffins. For those mornings when your only option is fast food (such as early morning shopping), know what menu items to choose for you and your family to stay healthy over the holidays.

photo credit: Unsplash

Leave Some Time for Your Self-Care

Rushing around to get all your holiday shopping and party stops completed can be a real drag on your time. However, by starting your morning with some self-care before you wake the kids can make a huge difference in the way you feel throughout the day. After all, you can’t inspire your kids to have a positive day if you aren’t feeling it yourself, so try to wake up early enough to sneak in little rituals of your own. Do a little meditation session, set your daily intention, or simply enjoy some quiet time with your favorite morning beverage. As an added benefit, studies show that daily tea or coffee can have some amazing benefits for your health, in addition to keeping you sane, so drink up to feel ready to take on the day!

Holiday mornings can be full of cheer if you put some thought into planning them ahead of time. The more you stick to a schedule and streamline your morning rituals, the more you will enjoy this special time as a family. So, change your holiday morning routine to change your holiday season for the better!

Guest Author -  Daniel Sherwin

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Rote Counting in Kindergarten

Rote Counting is the basic skill of verbally reciting numbers in sequential order.  It is the foundation of number sense; a precursor to all math skills.  Rote counting is not the same as giving a quantity of objects, or identifying numbers.  Instead, it is learning to recite from memory.

As young as kindergarten, students are expected to rote count to 100, by 1's and 10's.  Typically, students are assessed on rote counting 5 times throughout the year. A pre-assessment is given at the start of school to gather baseline data, then assessed nearing the end of each quarter.

When assessed, teachers will mark the highest number your child counted to, without making any errors.   Here is an example of a completed assessment.

I created this assessment as a simplified method to keep track of my students growth throughout the year.  Again, students are not asked to identify the numbers.  They are called over, one-on-one, and asked to count as high as they can.  While counting, they are not looking at the number chart.

Here, you can see different colors are used to mark each quarters growth.   Keeping track of the students growth on one page allows them to quickly see their previous rote counting "score", and set personal growth goals.

Thankfully, learning to rote count doesn't require instruction. The more children are exposed to counting aloud, the more natural the skill becomes.

Here are some examples of how you can build rote counting skills:
  • Counting for fun!  Randomly start counting throughout the day with your child.
  • Songs and poems.  Dr. Jean has many number songs available on iTunes and amazon.
  • Clap and count.
  • Stomp and count.
  • Count aloud to see how long it takes to complete various tasks. (clean up, walk across the room, finding hidden objects, etc)
  • Hide and go seek. Count aloud while waiting for the others to hide. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Reading and Writing CVC Words: Part 2

Piggy-backing off of my first set of CVC Task Cards, I have created a second set to keep the novelty alive in your classroom :)  CVC Task Cards can be used in a variety of ways, and is an excellent tool for your CVC resource collection. Build your collection with free cvc worksheets.  You can read more about FREE CVC worksheets and activities, here

You can use this resource as a scoot game, a writing center or word work station, a read and write the room activity, an assessment for progress monitoring, an early finisher bucket activity, to build speech, vocabulary, or phoneme segmentation, or as an intervention tool with a tutor.

To scaffold the students independence, I begin the lesson by reviewing the 24 picture cards. This is a great way to build vocabulary, too!  For example, when showing them the "cot" picture card, several students called out "bed".  Rather than correcting them, I encouraged them to think of types of beds.  After hearing bed, mat, and mattress, another student shouted out "cot".  This left us an opportunity to talk about what a cot is, and places we might see cots.

After making sure the students know what the pictures are, I then pull a couple cards to practice phoneme segmentation, breaking apart the sounds in the words.  We then do a shared writing activity, modeling how to write the CVC word independently.  

For my first grade intervention group, I chose to use these as a scoot game. Although scoot games are traditionally thought of for a whole class activity, I find it to work great in a small group, as well.

After each student gets a recording sheet, I then give each student one CVC card.  They write the CVC word in the corresponding space (there is a number in the top-left of the CVC cards, and each space on the recording sheet is numbered).

In a small group, I can easily monitor who needs additional help or extra time.  Once they write their word, I then say "scoot", and they pass their card to the person sitting next to them.

After getting making it through a round, I then collect the cards, and give them new cards - repeating that until they've written the 24 CVC words.

To store this resource, I like to keep the recording sheets and the CVC cards in a clear container.  This is a great way to leave it as a center, as well.  The kids can simply get a recording sheet, and go through the CVC cards at their own pace.

Add this resource to your collection, by clicking  HERE to purchase CVC Task Cards: Set 2.  

Monday, April 2, 2018

Puntucation Marks

How often do you pick up a students writing journal and find a page of wonderful thoughts ran together into one long sentence? Or, when listening to students read, do you find they are lacking expression and fluency?  As an academic skills tutor, I see this all too often.  Many students need reinforcement with punctuation when reading and writing.

 To help reinforce this concept, I created these Punctuation Task Cards and Printable Worksheets.

 The task cards were created as an interactive activity.  They can be used as scoot cards for a whole class activity, left in a center or a writing station, as an intervention tool in small groups or guided reading, or set up as a read and write the room activity.  

Students read the short sentence, and write the correct punctuation mark on their recording sheet.  When working with my kindergarten students, I like to read the sentence aloud, emphasizing expression in my voice. 

During the first half of the year, I also read the cards to my first grade intervention groups. I choose to do this because I want the focus to be on punctuation, not on trying to sound out words while reading a short sentence.

My second grade intervention group reads the cards independently, and writes the punctuation marks on their recording sheet.  Rather than being teacher led, they enjoying using the task cards as a scoot game.

As a follow-up to the task card activities, I check the students understanding of punctuation marks with these Printable Worksheets.

The printable worksheets are great for assessments and progress monitoring, homework, morning work, a review activity for tutors, and whole class lessons.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Making Words: Plants and Flowers

Over the past couple of weeks, my Flowers and Plants Vocabulary Cards  have been selling quickly.  With that in mind, I thought I'd share with you all a hidden gem in my store: Making Words Flowers and Plants.

Similar to the Spring resource I recently blogged about, this Making Words: Flowers and Plants edition also includes illustrated vocabulary cards and 10 no-prep worksheets.

Whether for small groups, whole class, or left out as a writing center, Making Words can easily be modified to meet the needs of your students.

For example, some students need reinforcement on transferring print, letter identification, and letter formation.  For these kiddos, I would have them write just the word. 

Whereas, kiddos who need the challenge to work on writing concepts, I would have them produce and write a sentence using the focus word at the top.

First, the kiddos cut out the scrambled letter tiles at the bottom of the page.

Next, they glue the letter tiles down to BUILD the word at the top of the page. After building the word, they either write the word or a sentence, and DRAW a matching illustration.

Here is an example where the student wanted to use the illustrated word card as a reference when drawing his illustration.

 These illustrated word cards are also great for a pocket chart display left nearby a the Making Words center.

When done, they can self-check their work by checking off each section (at the top of the page), including BUILD, WRITE, and ILLUSTRATE.  This could also be an area for you to mark their effort in each skill. 

You can download Making Words: Flowers and Plants HERE

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring Writing Center

 Today, my kindergarten intervention group worked on building vocabulary, concepts of print, and writing skills using the Spring edition of Making Words.

These no-prep worksheets made it simple to establish an engaging activity that not only met the individual levels of each student, but the Kindergarten and 1st grade ELA standards, as well.

We began our lesson by discussing the illustrated word cards that come with the resource.  These Spring words include basket, bunny, eggs, flower, butterfly, snail, umbrella, rain boots, and Earth Day.  The students would tell me what they are, and give me a sentence using one or more of the words.

Next, I allowed them to choose which word they wanted to build and write about.  Since today was the last day I'd meet with this group before Easter, I wanted to limit my selection to the Easter-themed words: eggs, bunny, and basket.  After returning from Spring Break, I will extend the lesson with the remaining words.

They selected the Making Words worksheet that had the word of their choice, and began cutting the scrambled word tiles from the bottom of the page.  Next, they BUILD the word, gluing the letters in the correct order.

After building the word, they WRITE the word.  To challenge this particular group of kiddos, I had them write a sentence using the word - rather than simply copying the word.

As you can see in the picture below, this boy wanted to use the word cards as a resource when writing his sentence. The word cards are a BONUS and can be used several ways, such as on a seasonal word wall, posted in a writing center, in a making words center, as a pocket chart activity, and as vocabulary cards for quick language building exercises.

After writing, they DRAW an illustration that matches their sentence.

This resource is wonderful because it can be used in a Making Words center, as a Writing Center, as a whole group, or during small group intervention.  It's also a simple activity for parent volunteers or tutors to do with the kids. 

You can purchase this Making Words: Spring resource HERE

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Write the Room Spring

Are your kids ready to get their energy out, but you still have teaching to accomplish? No worries; this Write the Room Spring activity is just what you need.  

Write the room is an interactive, leveled, writing center excellent for engaging your active learners in 
Spring vocabulary, reading, inventive spelling, and writing. 


Differentiation is a breeze with this leveled kindergarten writing center. Simply choose which level is best for your kiddos, hang the Spring Vocabulary pictures around the room, and send them off with a clipboard and write the room recording sheet. They love to hunt for the familiar pictures. 


Level 1: Write the room recording sheets have pictures that match the English vocabulary cards hung around the room. 


As they find the vocabulary cards, they record the word next to the matching picture on their record sheet. Level 1 is great practice for concepts of print.


At this level, the kids are tracking and transferring print, along with building vocabulary, visual discrimination, and practicing letter formation.



If your kiddos need more a challenge, you can simply print and prep Level 2 (also included in the Write the Room resources)


In Level 2, students are searching for pictures based on beginning sounds, rather than simply copying the words.  These picture cards DO NOT have the words. 


The kiddos find the picture that starts with the letter on their recording sheet, and write the word using inventive spelling. 


"I love that this product is differentiated! My students who are ready to look at pictures and write the word have their set and my students who need more support are able to find the pictures and copy the words. Thank you for the differentiated product!" (Brittany W.)

"My class is seriously IN LOVE with your Read the Room activities!  Thanks so much"
(Rachel C.)

You can purchase and download this Write the Room center activity, HERE.

Whether at home or in the classroom, this will be sure to keep your kiddos engaged in learning.   Set it up around the room, use as task cards, a scoot game, or leave in a writing center for a small group. 

When you purchase this resource, your options are unlimited! 

Thank you for stopping by!