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Carson Dellosa

Carson Dellosa


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Instant Assessments - Carson Dellosa Style

We all need the data!  Carson-Dellosa has a new resource for us! Language Arts Instant Assessments for Data Tracking! Sounds like a lot - and it is! We may not always want to assess, but it is part of the job. This resource gives us different and helpful ways to get that data. I think it might even be easy- shhhh don’t tell the administrators that! These assessments can be used in many different ways- pre/posttest, exit tickets and even during small group lessons. It includes different formats that can be used in different ways. More bang for your buck! It covers reading literature, informational texts, foundational skills, writing, conventions and vocab. The students love showing what they know – there are two of these so you don’t need to come up with a pre-and posttest. They did this for us! Exit tickets – I was really wondering about this one when I first saw it. We might be able to do some of these now at this point of the year, but not earlier. The more I looked at them though, the more I thought – I can use these, just maybe not having the kids write their answers. They can tell partners their answers, draw a picture or tell me. I have a beginning – I can use these to start making my own. Oh – they did give generic ones along with specific skills. There are even ideas in the book to use them for more- task cards in centers, Scoot game pieces or warm-ups. There are word lists included also. Who doesn’t need a good list occasionally. Am I right? I write the plans and I got all the words I need, then I go. to teach the lesson and can only think of two! Please tell me I’m not the only one! This resource also has cards to help the students with the skill and the assessment. Great ideas to use them also – keep them on a book ring – color code them to keep them separated and to distinguish the sections. And really??? Who doesn’t love color coding! The book also includes assessment and fluency pages. The skills are right on for kindergarten so everything can be used at some point throughout the year. This is a quick, easy way to assess our students and instruct them to improve their skills. Another great tool for us to use to move our students forward!  Very user friendly and kid appropriate! I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Fun- Stickers and Notepads from Carson Dellosa!

Stickers and notepads! A teacher’s favorite things! These cute fall resources from Carson Dellosa are perfect for so many things! Not just the obvious. We know we can put stickers on papers as we grade them. We know we can write notes home about how great our students are on the notepads. We can also use them in other ways. We can use the stickers in a rebus sentence or story for our beginner writers. We can use them as counters in ten frames to make a matching center. We can use them to make patterns. They are a great quick way to get a picture in a center activity. The notepads can be used the same way. Each student could get one and write a sentence for a class book. The paper is already done for you. You could use the notepad to make matching pieces for an alphabet game, beginning sounds game, matching numbers to sets, matching numbers to ten frames. The list goes on as far as you need it. These are great quality products from Carson Dellosa. So cute for this time of the year! As much as I don’t want summer to end…. These make my fall heart happy! I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Math Thinking Mats - Carson Dellosa

Thinking Mats -Math
Thinking Mats! 
Oh Carson-Dellosa you have read my mind again! As many of us move to Guided Math, this is a great resource! It is divided into the five topics of math – Counting and Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number Operations in Base 10, Measurement and Data and Geometry. 20 activities in all! It is already laminated! Hands up people! Once less thing to do on the list! Cut and go! The ONLY thing other than this book you will need is a write on/off marker! Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy! There is even a check off in the back for you to check off which student has done which activity. There is one for students also. The mats are color coded so you know which piece goes with which mat – not that they EVER lose a piece, but just in case! The directions are not hard for them to follow either. If you use it in a guided math group first, then move to independent practice – they will be set! Looking forward to using this tomorrow – and it won’t take forever to prep! YEE HAW! CLick on the image above to check them out yourself! 

Here is a video to help too! 

I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Teaching With Intention Chapter 6 Lesson Design

Well, here we are already at Chapter 6! This book packs such a punch and is such an easy read all at the same time! Here are my thoughts on Chapter 6 Lesson Design. This is an important chapter. I love the gradual release model. I love the Lesson Design Tool (Figure 6.1). I love the plan on page 81:

  • "Teacher Modeling
  • Guided Practice Within the Lesson
  • Guided Practice Beyond the Lesson
  • Independent Practice
  • Application"
I love how she relates it to her lessons on page 83. 
  • "She explains
  • She shows kids how
  • Give significant time to practice
  • time for students to reflect, share and teach
  • assess
  • I reflect and consider next steps"
I love Figure 6.2 also. I love the chart and the time breakdown. I agree with all she has to say. I know we need to do this! I beleive this is a great way to plan. I just don't know if there are enough hours in the day! I know I don't have to do this with every lesson - well, I couldn't do this with every lesson. I know once I started doing this with some lessons, it might would become easier. I know the brain would just start thinking like this on a more normal basis. 

I show my students their new learning. I demonstrate. I model. I use gestures. I use turn and talk. I use Whole Brain Teaching - gestures, mirrors, teach-ok. I get them moving. I get them talking. 

I like the criteria for anchor charts. Sometimes I think we can get so overwhelmed with the "cuteness" we see all over Pinterest, that we forget that the anchor charts have a purpose. 

I do like the Guided and Independent Practice tool. I do think that it is very important to think this through. This is where there is so little time at school. I just wish there were not so many meetings at school and so many other things that need to be taken care of so that we could do more of this important work at school. I think sometimes we lose the focus of what we need to be doing - teaching- because of so many regulations are in place. More planning and thnking should be going into our lesson planning and not our test taking planning. I know we need to reflect, share and teach - again - time! 

I love the last paragraph of the chapter. I agree - and have- admitted when things didn't go well. That's life. There are always times when this happens. We need to be honest with the kids. This is the chance to show them that it is ok 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Infographics Workbook

Infographics! How cool is that? Carson Dellosa has a cool new tool for us to use! This book fits great into the new in-depth reading that Common Core is looking for. This covers many different content areas. I think I found one for almost all the content areas that I need to cover- including math! The pages are perforated of heavy card stock!  I’ll be taking the book apart and putting each card in with the materials for the units so I don’t forget to use one. The pictures are colorful but not over stimulating. Well labeled too! That is another bonus – use it as a modeling tool!  The topics range from insects to dinosaurs to video games – with tons in between! And the questions are on the back of the pictures! This will be a great resource to start a topic or to end a topic. It will be integrating reading and content knowledge.

Did I mention hitting the standards? What about:
·         With prompting and support, retell key details of text that support a provided main idea.
·         Answer questions about a text.
·         With prompting and support, make connections between information in a text and personal experiences.
·         With prompting and support, answer questions to connect illustrations to the written word.
·         With prompting and support, actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding
Just to name a few!  

I am (almost) looking forward to going back to school to use this great resource! What a way to increase critical thinking. Are you like me? I want to ask those higher level thinking questions and then in the moment I can’t think of any (unless I wrote them down before hand) or I get distracted by something (shoe tying, bathroom breaks, etc.) and I forget to go back and ask! Please tell me I am not alone in that! Anyway – these cards are a great starting point of questions and discussions.  It will make it easier for me to continue on the same path of higher order questions. Thank you!

I’m thinking that the few that are not covered in the curriculum I have, will be great to leave in a sub tub! Keep them thinking when I am out sick.

Well, Carson Dellosa has done it again! LOVE these! Thanks so much!

You can check out the video on line at

I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and I received this product for free to try and review.

I hope you are still reading this! Make sure to follow my blog. Because soon I will be having a giveaway! Stay tuned! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Spectrum Phonics - Carson Dellosa

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Phonics- The simple definition from Merriam Webster is “a method of teaching people to read and pronounce words by learning the sounds of letters, letter groups, and syllables”. Kindergarten teachers do this all day long. We sing, we dance, we match, we play. Sometimes it feels like we stand on our heads to do this! Once students start making the connection – it is WONDERFUL! There are those students who just don’t seem to “get it”. They are the students who need the small group/one-on-one time. They are the students who we work it into EVERYTHING for. They are the ones who need some practice at home. We can help them get the practice they need at home by recommending Spectrum Phonics K from Carson Dellosa. You can go right now and see the page – but don’t forget to come back and finish reading!

This is a well-organized workbook. It practices what we do in school. It has a few pages for tracing lines, left to right practice and same and different. These are important skills first. The heart of the book is letters and sounds. There are three pages for each letter. Identification comes first – in isolation and in words. There is handwriting practice along with finding pictures with the beginning sound. Writing the letter and matching the sound is also included. Each letter has some different activities – no boredom here! Rhyming is included. The vowels are included with the short sound. There are consonant and vowel reviews after several letters. At the end of the book is a check-up for vowels and consonants, matching letters, recognizing letters, beginning and ending sounds and abc order. There is also a nice chart for a reference for the letters with pictures. Parents don’t need to worry because the answers are given also! J
Check out this video about it!

This would make a great review book for the summer. It would be a great supplement for parents to support their child’s school learning. This is just one in the Spectrum series – there is math, reading, language arts, writing, spelling and sight words also available. What great resources to help the students!

I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and I received this product for free to try and review.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Lessons Learned

Ahhhhh! Summer! That time of year that a teacher can take a breath and be ok. That time of year when  a teacher can drink two cups of coffee and not worry about making it till lunch time or special! LOL

The end of the year is bitter sweet. We are so ready for summer. The kids are too! The thought of saying goodbye after all those days together is still sad - even after 26 years! I can't even believe I have been teaching that long! Where does the time go?  I can't believe my kids are almost all grown up! The DD will be starting her teaching career this fall. OMG! She will be moving to a new state and everything. When I walk by my living room right now, I kinda can't wait. I know when the day comes, I will be crying like a baby! I am so happy and excited for her though! She has worked so hard to get to this point! Super proud!  It will just be different that she will have her own place and not come home for the breaks! Another new. The DS will be a sophomore. That is going too fast. He's the one I am afraid will never leave the house! HA! We will tell with time.

The end of this school year brought three kindergarten teachers retiring out of the six of us. Half the team. We did hire three wonderful teachers to fill their spots. We will continue to have a strong team that will advocate for early childhood education!

As I watched the retirees pack up their classrooms and go through everything in their rooms, I had some thoughts.

1- All kindergarten teachers are basically hoarders. :-)  I think because we are always looking at books, blogs, and Pinterest and thinking that would be great! I'm going to do it. Do we really have ALL that time to do ALL the cute ideas we find? And then we go to do it and we can't find ALL the materials to do the project because our cabinets are so full, you can't find anything. Because we hoard everything and shove it in closets. Please tell me, it's not just me!?!?!  I look at my two Ikea bookshelves in my classroom ( and some filing cabinet drawers) and think -"Do I need those books anymore?" At one point, that is all we had. We had to get a book so we had some materials. Now we have the internet. We can find anything we want. We can find several versions. We can be picky about which one we choose to use. We can find ways to do it better, easier and cheaper than we thought. Thanks to all the wonderful sharing teachers out there.

2- Everything old is new again. As I watched materials being pulled from the back of the cabinets, I was reminded of shifts in education. Character building was huge. We had kits, we had books. Is it still important? OF COURSE! Is it the hot new buzz word? No. "Old Fashioned" bulletin board sets. Homemade. Before color printers. Before clipart cd's. They are still nice and good. Do we use them? Hardly ever. Do we still put up bulletin boards? Yes. Manipulatives - remember when they were well made? Wooden pattern blocks. Now they are cheap plastic and the set is so small. But yet we are still using them. Fiction books, non fiction books, shared reading, whole language, portfolios, cooperative learning... the list goes on.

3- Classrooms do NOT have to be Pinterst worthy. Not every classroom is going to look as good as some of those pictures. That's OK! As Pete would say, "It's all good!" Do I think an organized classroom is important? Absolutely! Does that mean different things to different people? Yes. So long as you are happy it's good. Does it mean you are not a great teacher if your room doesn't look like some of those pictures? NO! Is it ok that you worry about feeding yourself and/or your family before buying things for the classroom? YOU BETCHA!

4- It is truly the relationships with the students that matter! On our last day at our school wide morning meeting, they announced the retirees to the students. The cafeteria lady, the reading specialist and the three kindergarten teachers. The groans for each one made me cry. I'm hoping when they announce my name one day on my very last day of teaching, that there will be a groan too. That will mean I have made an impact.

5- I need to keep working! I LOVE my job! Yes, I do love summer and the break. I need to keep working though because I love the kids and teaching. One day I will be ready to retire. But NOT now. Unless I win the lottery! ;-)

6- I need to clean out! I have to stop pinning and start using. I need to use what I have and be done with it. When the hubby says, "Are we collecting egg cartons still?" I will say no. Somehow I would be able to manage to get 24 of them if I needed them. The parents help. Other teachers help. The custodians and cafeteria people help. It takes a village. I don't need to store the village in my room! I have shared some "extras" with the new teachers. I will be sharing more when I clean out more. I have decided to put a sticker or some mark on an item as I use it. If it doesn't get a mark, it is going. The "might need it one day" phrase will be struck from my vocabulary.

7- I will let the students use the "good markers" and share my things. Why else did I get it? They will take care of things. I will have taught them how to do that. And if they forget and leave the marker cap off, it's ok. I have about 100 more! We will use the art materials and we will not hoard them! If I have to get more, I will.

8- I will not be waiting until the last two weeks of school to clean out my room when I retire. I will start in September. When we are done with a unit, I will clean that unit out. I will not take my first week of retirement cleaning out my room. Well, I guess we will need to wait and see on that one. And I will not be taking ALL of it home. Yes, my books will be coming home with me. I will read to the grandbabies that I may have one day. But what would I do with the rest of it? It's just stuff! That's all. The older I get- especially after cleaning out my mom's house - the more I realize that.

Ok - those are my thoughts and lessons I hope to have learned from this year. If you agree - YEA. If you don't, that's ok too! That is what makes the world go around!