3 things I will not do as a pregnant teacher

Pregnancy has gotten way better now that I'm not in the first trimester anymore. First trimester was just terrible!

As I look ahead and think of the back to school season I'm setting 3 goals for myself...focusing more on things I am NOT going to do while I'm a pregnant teacher and I encourage you to do the same if you're also teaching and pregnant...



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First Week Fun

We survived the first week...let me rephrase that...I survived the first week! Students seemed to enjoy it very much.

We have been going over our rituals and routines and they seem to be getting better at it, as long as we keep practicing they will become masters in no time. What seemed hard to accomplish on the first day was a piece of cake by Friday!

We started our week by reading The Kissing Hand - Un beso en mi mano. This is one of the sweetest read alouds out there. Students can connect to it right away and it gets them talking about their feelings...great way to start getting to know each other!

Then we went over crayon sharing expectations and did our first coloring activity of the year! I plan on saving these to put in their portfolios at the end of the year. I know parents will love to see how their kids coloring has changed.

You can grab this FREEBIE at the end of the post :)

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Letter Oo

Back to school is just around the corner for me which means prep, prep and more prep! It's a lot of work but it's one of my favorite times of the year. Sparkling clean classrooms, brand new borders, fresh laminating aaaah!! But when your room is ready for those little ones to come in you can't forget to be ready with quality work as well, which is exactly what I've been working on this week. I've been preparing all the activities and planning my lessons for the first weeks of school.

During the second (or third) week of school I will be introducing my little ones to the vowels. I know these activities will be fun and engaging and I'm super excited to use them one more time with a new group of kids!

Let me show you what I've prepped for so far...
I like having a mini word wall (separate from the one we use for sight words) to focus on the letter we are learning. I've noticed how much more vocabulary my kids learn. I change it every week and my kids love referring back to it!
I always make sure my students have plenty of opportunities to learn how to trace and write each letter. 

Just as important as tracing letters correctly, I give the kids plenty of activities to recognize the beginning sounds. I usually use this coloring activity at the beginning when I first introduce the letter since it's quick and easy. 
One of my students favorite activities is the mini books we do every week. I have two different versions and I pick a different one every week depending on how much time (and copies/paper) I have for the week.
And sometimes we do an extra activity on Fridays just for fun! This is when I really push my students to get creative!

You can find these activities HERE.

I hope your planning and prep is going great!! 
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Please, Mr. Panda - Vamos a leer!

You walk into Barnes & Noble, Target (or anywhere really) and you go straight to the children's books section...trying to find books for your students in Spanish but there's only a few and not really anything you want/need. You glance at the English section and  you wish it was that easy for you to find books! Sound familiar? 

I bet it does if you're a bilingual/ESL/dual-language teacher!
Don't get me wrong. I love teaching in Spanish but all the time I see these amazing ideas on Pinterest using the best books out there and then it hits me... the activity is in English! UGH!!!

Great news is I will be sharing with you some books and ideas that you can use in your Spanish elementary class. Since I will be teaching kindergarten this year I will try to keep my ideas closer to k-2 but maybe someday I'll share some of my ideas for the upper grades :) 

And most importantly! I will most definitively try to give you a link from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Target so you can purchase your book online! Searching will be way easier for you!

Today's book is one I plan to use on the first day (or week) of school. It is one of the best ones I have found to teach my kids about the word PLEASE.

It starts out with this sweet 'grumpy' panda and a box of donuts. He runs into many friends and offers them a donut but all he gets are rude responses and decides not to give them a donut.
Until he finds a cute little friend who says PLEASE! 

This book is simple, to the point and perfect for a back to school manners lesson! Plus the text is in English AND Spanish! 

As I promised, here is a FREEBIE you can use with your kids to go along with this book:) 

Click HERE to download

You can find this book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Have a great school year!!




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Life happens...and it's oh so good!

Hello friends! 
How's your summer going? Mine has been fabulous! Lots of sleeping + Netflix + reading... am I making you jealous?? I hope you are having a fun an relaxing summer as well! 
I'm super super excited to announce my husband and I are expecting a beautiful baby! We are beyond happy!  
Since this is completely new to me (first time mom) I'll be sharing with you products and ideas that have made my life easier. It will be interesting to juggle the wife/teacher/pregnant/mom life but I know I'm not alone.

When I first found out I was pregnant I knew I had to change some habits. I know me and I know the best way for me to do it is with slow but steady steps ;) So I simply started by making sure I was drinking plenty of water! Which of course was the way to *justify* this purchase to my husband...

I had seen the YETIS all over the internet but kept thinking they were just too pricey for me... and then I thought, why not? Let's try it! 
I headed to Dicks sporting goods and bought it! Big step for someone frugal like me...
I also stopped by Sonic to get me a bag of their ice (YUM). I mean if I was going to do it, I had to do it right!! 
Let me tell you...the YETI is everything I had heard of it. 
Yes. It keeps your water cold.
Yes. The ice lasts forever. 

So this is it when I was getting ready for school.

A couple of hours later I still had this much ice left! 
I had lunch around 12:00pm and half the ice had melted. By 3:45 all my ice was gone BUT the water was still cold.
WORTH EVERY PENNY!
I know you've heard about many other brands that are basically do the same but are cheaper... but I haven't tried those, I can only tell you this YETI is AMAZING!! 
It changed my days in the classroom, now I can be refreshed any time I want... no more waiting for lunch time to get a refreshing drink!! 
You can find a YETI at Dick's or Amazon (I have seen the price on Amazon drop to $28 so keep an eye out!)

** This is my honest opinion and this post does not contain any affiliate links :)


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Bilingual Tips: Sentence Stems

Hello friends! I'm so happy to be back with more tips for your bilingual/ESL/ELL students! Remember these tips will be extremely helpful even if you aren't a bilingual teacher. 

So today let's talk about sentence stems. If you aren't using them in your classroom yet let me just tell you these are a MUST if you have ELLs in your classroom. 

Why should I use sentence stems in my classroom?

1. Confidence
We teachers are constantly looking for ways to build up our students' confidence and putting in all our effort to make it happen. If you're a bilingual teacher or have an ESL student in your classroom you gotta double that effort! 
I have found that many ELLs are able to give you the correct answer but they lack communication skills...after all, they're learning a new language! Giving them sentence stems as a resource to refer back to will boost their confidence and you will get them talking in no time!! 

2. Complete sentences
This is hands down one of my biggest pet peeves (and believe me, I have many). I'm always encouraging my students to speak using complete sentences. It is very easy for ELLs to find a place where they feel comfortable and this keeps them from learning new vocabulary. Sentence stems will build their vocabulary AND they will get used to speaking in complete sentences. 

3. Ownership
Once you promote that use of sentence stems in your classroom every day students will take ownership of those new words. Believe me! It will come so natural to them that they won't even notice that magic moment when they started using new words. 

I like to go simple, quick, and pain-free with my sentence stems. Most of the time I just grab a sentence strip and write it ahead of time if I know it's something I will be using that day. But let's face it...most of our teachable moments happen right there when you aren't prepared for it. So I quickly grab a sentence strip and write it right there on the spot! 


Your ELLs a little extra help! Don't make them start their sentences from scratch if they're not ready yet! 
Do you use sentence stems in your classroom? How do you use them?


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Interactive Notebooks

Do you use interactive notebooks in your classroom? I'm sure you have seen them... they're all over Pinterest. If you haven't, I would love to introduce them to you...
Interactive notebooks have changed my classroom and my teaching. I love the idea of introducing my kiddos to a concept and allowing them to take ownership of their learning. The best part is that the more you use them, the more independent kids become.

Im not going to lie to you, the first time using interactive notebooks got a little crazy but that's ok!

I try to do interactive notebook entries as much as I can, but.... if I don't get to it I just stick them in a center!

I usually start with the most basic form of entry I can find like this one:
I love it because it's simple and to the point. Color. Cut. Paste. Perfect to survive the Monday craziness (and of course) introduce a letter. 

If you're considering using these beauties in your classroom, I EXTREMELY recommend using interactive notebook vocabulary: tabs, corners, fold, etc...get your kids used to these words and they'll be super used to them in no time! 

At the beginning of the year, my students had the hardest time putting these tabs together, now they can do them with their eyes closed!!! ok, I might have exaggerated a little;)...

I usually leave the "more fun" pages for us to do on Fridays. They are always looking forward to the activities that are a little more challenging and fun...
My favorite part? I can actually use these as quick assessments that I know my kids will actually enjoy!

How do you use interactive notebooks in your classroom? Have you given them a try? 

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Back to the BasicsI




I remember my first year teaching, it still comes back and hunts me sometimes. I was teaching a third grade bilingual class. When students came in, I was so nervous about getting them started that I forgot they "might" not speak any English. I kept going on and on and on about procedures, rules and expectations. Everyone was quiet...all 22 of them. I kept thinking to myself they were the most wonderful students I could ever ask for (and they were) how awesome was it that my students are paying such close attention to me!! Until one little girl raised her hand and asked (in Spanish): Could you please repeat everything you just said but in Spanish? 
Source: The Cornerstone

BAM! I felt horrible! These kids weren't fluent in the language and there I was ASSUMING they understood everything I had just said. So of course, I quickly adjusted and repeated every single thing. 

Assuming our kids know a certain skill or have a particular habit because "they should have learned it in the previous year" is one of the WORST MISTAKES we can do as teachers. 

It was very unfortunate to realize that even though many of these kids weren't newcomers they still needed instruction as if they were. 

If you ever find yourself in the same situation I was in just keep in mind that the best you could possibly do for your kiddos if to GO BACK TO THE BASICS!

For me that meant teaching the parts of the body, names of animals, farm animals. I even taught some of them how to say: Hello! My name is ________. I vividly remember playing a video and singing  just like a kindergartener teacher: head, shoulders, knees and toes, KNEES AND TOES!  

Was it ideal? NO. Was it something I was supposed to be teaching in third grade? NO. I so wish they would have had all that vocabulary before getting to third grade but they didn't. Someone had to teach it. I was definitely not going to let those kids go on to the next grade without having that basic vocabulary. 

Here's some ideas of basic vocabulary/resources your bilingual students might need: 




If you ever find that your students haven't learned a skill that was meant to be learned in a prior year, TEACH THEM! Please, please, please DO NOT ignore it! 



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Cognates


Do you know what cognates are? Do you use them in your classroom? If you have ELLs in your classroom (even if you're not a bilingual teacher) you should be using them!! Or maybe you are a Dual Language teacher and have students learning Spanish? Use cognates!! 
For some strange reason my students adore that little word and we talk about it EVERY SINGLE DAY in our classroom.
If you were to come into my classroom and ask one of my students what cognates are, they would simply say: words that sound about the same in English or Spanish and share a similar meaning. That's it! Pretty easy to understand...no?

Let's see some examples from the Cognates Wall in my classroom:
Some cognates are spelled the same in English and Spanish, some others aren't and that's ok. Like I tell my kids: as long as they sound close to another word and they remind you of a word in Spanish.

Why should I use cognates in my classroom?

Cognates are a super powerful strategy to use with ELLs. They are able to make a connection between the two languages and build their comprehension. 
Every time we are getting ready to read a new text, I immediately ask my students to look for cognates and underline them. 

Other times, while my students and I are talking, a cognate will come up. I usually say very quickly and excited: THAT'S A COGNATE!! Eventually, the kids start telling me when they find one and it becomes an exciting little game!

WATCH OUT FOR FALSE COGNATES!!
Unfortunately there are some words that appear to be cognates but they aren't. Remember that cognates have a similar sound and definition. Some words sound the same in English and Spanish but they DO NOT share the same definition. 
For example: the word embarrassed is usually misused by bilingual students because it sounds similar to "embarazada" in Spanish which means pregnant! We certainly don't want our kids misusing that word lol! 
The word carpet in English is similar to "carpeta" in Spanish. However, "carpeta" means folder. 
If you are going to teach cognates to your kids, you gotta watch out for these tricky words. Remember, when in doubt, just Google it! If you tell your students about false cognates they will be aware and understand not all words are cognates! And let me tell you... they will LOVE to find those false cognates.

Here is a link to my favorite list of cognates. (By the way Colorin Colorado is an amazing website with very helpful articles on teaching ELLs). I use this list every day! Remember to talk to your students about false cognates, they will learn to recognize them faster than you think! 







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Winter Fun


Welcome! I've been really looking forward to this day...the release of our WINTER E-book hosted by Mrs. D's Corner! Not only will you find AMAZING resources from AMAZING teacher bloggers but you will get to download our winter e-book AND get a chance to win a $100 TPT gift card!! 

First things first..I want to show you some of the fun I'm planning for my kids this month. See... I did this activity with my tutoring students last month and they loved it so much I decided to do it again with my whole class on Valentine's day. You will need the More M&Ms Math book and lots of M&Ms... 

 


The book suggests that you use the individual baggies but I decided to buy the party size bag and create my own baggies (cheaper).
This book is just awesome cause students get to review SO MANY SKILLS at once!!

 

We graphed, multiplied, divided, talked about even, odd, least and greatest. 

It has many rhyming phrases (not pictured) and the kids favorite part was that it allows them to eat some m&ms throughout the book! FUN FUN!!!
This activity will be perfect for Valentine's Day!!
You can find the book on Amazon

Do you need more resources for this winter?? Then you MUST checkout our WINTER EBOOK!!
 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 must haves MLK




I'm still enjoying my Christmas break but today I came to the sad realization that it's soon coming to an end. 

Even though I'm still trying to get the most out of the few breaks we get as teachers...I'm all about thinking ahead. I just can't seem to "wing it" like some other teachers do. I have to know what I'm teaching, when, what I'm using, have my copies and materials ready to go! 

After figuring out what I'm doing next week (the week after Christmas break) I started looking for some Martin Luther King's Day ideas. 
These are the 5 resources that I will for sure use during my MLK unit. 

1. I will definitively be using this MLK video again! Kids love the images and it's narrated nicely for my students to follow.



Check out the video here

2. Last year I tried this activity from Carrots are Orange. It's all about teaching your kids about diversity. It is an amazing activity to help little ones visualize what we are discussing during MLK day. 



3. I will also be using the interactive pages from my MLK unit. Like always, I have students who are learning Spanish and others who are learning English. So I will be pulling from both units. 


                


                


4. . Even though I know for a fact my kids will enjoy the video I mention above better than this, I will still show MLK's I Have a Dream speech. I might not play the whole thing but I want them to remember it as something that actually happened in real life. 




5. Another resource you MUST have is this cute poster from Curriculum Castle. Check it out! 



I would love to hear...what other resources do you use to teach about Martin Luther King Jr.?






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Currently January

1st post of the year!! How awesome is that!! A new month means linking up with Farley for another Currently! 


Listening- Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri

Loving - The new year!
Not only do I love New Year's Eve because it's my dad's birthday (he turned 68!) but it's one of my favorite days because it means a NEW BEGINNING. I'll take any chance to start again, try becoming better and refresh any time! 

Thinking - I need to work on my 2016 planner!! 
So this year I'm actually going to try to keep up with my planners. I bought this amazing goal planner from Etsy. I love it because it focuses on working towards your goals!


Wanting - For this terrible cold to go away 
I can't be the only one who gets sick every time we go on break right??? Something strange happens to my body but I get sick every.single.time! This year I thought I had avoided it and then one night...it happened...I woke up with a cold! 
I've been trying it to get rid of it for almost a week now...ugh!! 
Needing - To finish unpacking the garage
I'm embarrassed to admit this but I haven't finished unpacking my garage!! We moved into our new house in October and my garage is still a mess!! It just became dumping ground for everything that didn't have a place to go and now I'm dealing with the consequences...oops!
I started working on it yesterday....
From this...


to this...

I obviously still have a lot of work to do (maybe I shouldn't be on my laptop writing this post right now lol) but it WILL get done before Sunday :)! 


Thank you for stopping by. I wish you all a very amazing 2016!



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