Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writing Rubric Freebie

Happy Sunday!

I'm so sorry that I haven't been posting regularly.  I have been super busy (just like everyone) with my own kids, report cards, and conferences.  Also, I was asked to edit some textbooks for the publisher that I wrote some textbooks for (I'm not editing the ones that I wrote).

Anyway, my school is working very hard at improving our students' writing abilities.  This of course is being guided by the students' scores on the writing part of the state test, in our case, the MEAP. So even though my kindergartners don't take the test, I have been asked to come up with a rubric to grade my students' writing.

I thought that other teachers might be able to use the rubric so I have included it as a free download.  

Here is the link to it:

Writing Rubric

I hope you like the rubric.  Please leave me feedback and let me know if you like the rubric or if there are any changes you would like to see made to it.

Thanks for taking time to visit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Oh my goodness, where does the time go?  I can't believe it is the last week of September.  I am so sorry I haven't been posting on my blog.  It has been a very busy time.  I have a student teacher, I have never had one before, so I am getting used to that.  My daughter is playing JV volleyball (practices or games every night).  It has been crazy.  

I would like to share with you what we have been doing in my classroom since the beginning of the school year.  First, I began this school  year with the students' materials being organized in a different way.  A teacher on another blog used the plastic shoeboxes to organize the students' pencils, crayons, etc.  So I decided to try it.  Here is a picture of what mine look like:

These seem to be working better than the caddies I used before, mainly because their are 3 cups with crayons, so the students can each have their own crayons.  When I used the caddies, the students fought over where the caddy should be on the table.  The cups can be taken out of the plastic box and each student can have his/her own cup.

Here are a couple of my centers from this past week:

My students always seem to come to kindergarten needing practice using scissors.  I put newspaper in our sand table and let them cut and cut.  It was one of the favorite centers last week.

At my ABC center, I had snap cubes with letters on them for the students to put in order.  I also have teddy bears that have letters on their bellies for the students to put in order.

At my Puzzles and Games center, the students played a matching game with cards that had environmental print on them.

I am extremely lucky this year to have a student teacher and a full time aide in my classroom.  The At-Risk teacher is also in my classroom at center time.  This allowed me to begin having my students go to centers a week earlier than I usually do.  The students are doing a great job and cheer when it is center time.

Have a wonderful last week of September,

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day of School

Tomorrow is our first day of school.  It is such an exciting and busy (kinda crazy) day in my classroom.  One of my favorite books to share with the kindergartners is "The Kissing Hand".  Some years it is more difficult to read without tearing up than others.  This year will be a little difficult since my own daughter is beginning high school on the same day.  I can remember when she was in my classroom and I read the story to her class.  How quickly they grow up!

Here is a link to the story being read online if you would like to take a little break and share the story with your students tomorrow.

The Kissing Hand

Good luck if tomorrow is your 1st day of school,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finally Finished!!!!

Last night, it was time for our annual Ice Cream Social / Meet the Teacher Night.  It began at 6 P.M. and luckily I had everything ready by about 5:45 P.M.  (After realizing that I only had 24 name tags on the tables and 25 students in my classroom.  Thank goodness, I have the best classroom aide in the world.  She hurried and laminated the name tag and cut it out for me.)    Most of my new students visited the classroom. 

Here is what my room looked like:

                                                The right side of the classroom.

                                                               Part of my calendar wall.

                                                           The rest of my calendar wall.

                                                                        My Library

          The boys and girls are going to bring in pictures of their families to put on "Our Family Tree" on the first day of school.  I "borrowed" this idea from another blog.  But, of course, I can't remember which one.  If you know please let me know so I can give the blogger credit.

 I also had some goodies for them to take home.

The bookmarks came from the A Place Called Kindergarten blog.

The "Ready Confetti" came from the Sunny Days in Second Grade blog.

I hope you enjoyed visiting my classroom.  Now that my room is ready, I need to finish up my lesson plans.  I'm hoping to post about my lesson plans soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Assessments (and Mom Guilt)

This week was the first week the teachers at my school were back in their classrooms, setting them up and getting ready for the students to come on September 6th.  Since, I teach kindergarten, I like to begin getting my room set up a little early and spend this week trying to assess some of my incoming students.  It is much easier to do it this week, than to try to do it with a classroom full of students.  My favorite was the child that I would ask if he knew the letter.  He would whisper to me, "Tell me the word."  I would whisper the letter to him, for example, "B".  And he would say, (pretty loudly) "Oh yeah!  Its "B".  I knew that."  He cracked me up.

 I use the Houghton-Mifflin reading program and the assessment.  (I only assess upper and lower case letters and concepts of print.  I only expect them to maybe know a few letters from their names.  But since I have students who know more, I like to do this quick assessment.)  This year, I made the assessment easier for me to use.  I set it up in a table form, so I have a space to check or make a note for the beginning of the year and at the end of each quarter.  Here is a link for the assessment:(I thought someone else might be able to use it.)

A side note:  I didn't find out my daughter made the JV volleyball team and had a tournament on Monday, until after I had scheduled 10 assessments for Monday.  So I had to miss her 1st tournament.  What guilt!!!  To all of the other teacher moms, please know you aren't the only ones trying to juggle 2 very difficult jobs.  If someone has some advice about how to do it without all of the guilt, please share.  

Good Luck to everyone who is preparing their classrooms this week,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Beginning of the Year Freebie

I know its late and I  am getting up early and going to school to assess my incoming kinders tomorrow.  I'm sad that my summer is almost over, but I'm very excited that I will be meeting some of my new students and their families tomorrow.

So, I know another blogger had a worksheet on her website to have a student write his/her name and draw a picture of himself/herself.  But, of course, I couldn't find it.  I even used Google Reader to search "ALL" of the blogs that I follow.  So, to solve the problem, I made one myself.  I thought I would share it, in case someone else "lost" the same worksheet.  (Note to self:  I need to print these things out, or pin them, or save them to my Dropbox with a good label.)

Anyways here it is:

I hope you can use it.

The Winner is...

Thank you for entering my giveaway for the stamp sets and inkpads.  The winner is:

lorajoelle said...

I am following your blog!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Give Books

I wanted to share with you a website I found out about when I was at the IRA conference in Chicago two years ago.  It is called We Give Books.  It is totally FREE!  You sign up for an account.  Then you choose a charity.  Each time you  read a book online, the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation give a book to the charity that you chose.  This is a wonderful way to introduce students to give to charity by having them choose which charity to give books to.  

Since it is Back-to-School time they have several back-to-school books for you to share with your students.  There is Llama,Llama Misses Mama and The Night Before First Grade.  What a great way to share a book with your students in a different format!  I have a big computer screen in my classroom that I use for sharing these books with my students.

Please check out the website, We Give Books.  

Let me know how you like it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Freebies and Giveaway!!

This is another exciting day for me.  Erin and Leslie at the First Grade Fanatics blog are having a 14 Days of Summer Party!  They are highlighting other teachers' blogs and their freebies.  Today, it is my turn.  My freebies are a stamping activity for the students and an ABC'S of Kindergarten letter that I send home to parents to tell them about my classroom.  You can download the letter in PDF or Word (so you can change it to fit your classroom).  So link over to their blog, to get my freebies:

I am also hosting a giveaway that goes along with one of my freebies.  One of my freebies is a stamping activity.  The students stamp the letters that are missing from the alphabet.  I made this activity to use with the small alphabet stamps I found at the Dollar Spot at Target.  So my giveaway is a set of 2 small alphabet stamps and 2 ink pads.  One lucky teacher will have a ready-made center for the beginning of the year.

There are 3 ways to enter:

1.  Become a follower of my blog and leave a comment below. (If you are already a follower, leave a comment below.)

2.  Become a fan of my Facebook page and leave a comment below.  (If you are already a fan, leave a comment below.)

3.  Follow my TpT store and leave a comment below.

You have until Saturday at 11:59 P.M. to enter.  I will pick a winner on Sunday.  Good luck everyone!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

And the Winner Is....

Thank you to those of you who participated in my very 1st giveaway.  

And the winner is....        #2  Tammy from Live Love Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten
                                          Email me your address and email address and I will send you the book.  

True Random Number Generator  2Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yay!!! I'm So Excited!!!

This morning on my way home from the grocery store (not my favorite place to be), I checked my phone and found a very exciting email.  I have been invited to join Kindergarten Me and My Gang group.  I am so excited.  This is an awesome opportunity for me as a new blogger.  Please check out the blog and all of the other K bloggers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So Many Ideas, So Little Computer Memory

I have been spending a lot of time reading other teachers' blogs this summer.  I have found so many amazing ideas that I have been saving to my computer.  Many teachers do post their ideas or freebies on Google Docs.  Since I have a gmail account, I just save it to my Google Docs and I don't use any of my computer's memory.  I'm also not worried about my computer crashing and  losing my information.  Other teachers post their ideas on Scripd or you have to go to their TpT store and download the ideas.  I have found a wonderful way to save all of this information.  It is called Dropbox.  Dropbox saves my things online.  I can also log in and access my items from any computer.  That means I can save things to my Dropbox on my home computer and then print it out at school.  If you use the following link, both you and I get extra space on Dropbox.  

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check out my giveaway.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My First Giveaway

To celebrate it being the middle of the week (and my purging some of my teacher books), I have decided to have my 1st giveaway.  I have a new item in my small Teachers Pay Teachers store.  It is an emergent reader packet called, "I Play Sports".  The packet contains a small book you can copy so each student may have an individual book and a larger book that you can print out to use in your Library or in your Big Book Center.  The larger book and the packet are my giveaway.  My very creative daughter (I'm partial, I know) found scrapbook paper for each of the sports, glued the book page to the scrapbook paper and added a page number at the bottom.  Then, I laminated it and bound it with the plastic comb binding.  We made one for my classroom and another for the giveaway.

Here are the pages of the book:

Here is the finished book:

The winner of my giveaway will get the "I Play Sports" book and I will email you the packet from my TpT store.

You have until Sunday night at 11:59 P.M. (eastern time) to enter.  I will post the winner on Monday.

Here's how to enter:

1.  Become a follower of my blog, and leave a comment.  (If you are already a follower, leave a comment)

2.  Follow my TpT store, and leave a comment.

3.  Blog about my giveaway and leave a link.

4.  Like my Facebook page, and leave a comment.

Thank you for entering.  Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

14 Days of Give Aways at First Grade Fanatics

Have you checked out the 14 day give away at First Grade Fanatics?  Today's give away is some great back to school freebies.  Please check it out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a Bonanza of Borders

Here is a center idea that I worked on this summer.  There is a teacher store that is close to my house, where they have a sale room.  I’m very lucky to be so close to this sale room.   However, I can never leave there without buying something, even if I am just going with one of my teacher friends and not planning on buying anything.  The last time we went, they had lots of borders that were 13 cents a strip.  Now who can pass up that deal???  So I of course brainstormed a little bit and then purchased about 20 of them.  This is what I came up with to use at my math centers.

First, I found border that had the numbers 1 to 20 printed on it.  There were only four of those.  So I bought all of them.  For three of them, I cut the numbers apart and laminated them.  The fourth one I left alone, except for laminating it.  I am going to have my students put the numbers in order.  Those who need to can use the numbers on the uncut border, as a reference.  Also, I put a different shape on the back of each set of numbers so it will be easy to fix, if my students put all 
of the numbers in one bag.

Then, I found a border that had gumball machines on it with the numbers 1 to 30.  They had six of these.  Again, I cut them numbers apart on 3 of them and left 3 of them whole.  Then, I laminated everything.  Now my students have a center where they can put the numbers 1 to 30 in order, with a little help from the uncut borders if needed.

Last, I found a Halloween border with squares.  I cut these apart and laminated them.  I am going to have my students make patterns with these pictures.

I hope you have found an idea that you can use here.  Thank you for stopping by.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Finds At Open Books

I am so sorry that I am late in posting about my shopping trip to Chicago last weekend.  This week has been quite hectic with getting ready for "back to school" and working on things for an online textbook publisher.  
I did find 4 books to add to my classroom library.  Actually 3 books, I bought one for my colleague across the hall.  I found" Stellaluna".  I already have a copy, but its always nice to have an extra one for the students to use.  I also found "Matthew's Dream" by Leo Lionni.  I didn't have this book, but I thought it would be a great one to add to my collection.  The 3rd book that I found was "Armadillo Rodeo" by Jan Brett.  Scholastic accidentally sent me a tape for this book but I didn't have it.  So now this is a book I can put in my listening center during my Jan Brett author study.  The last book I bought was "The Jolly Christmas Postman".  It was only $4.  Even though I already own the book, I couldn't pass up the bargain.  My students love it when I read it to them at Christmas time.  I am going to give it to the 1st/2nd grade teacher across the hall.  I thought it would be a great way for her to begin a letter writing unit.

Here is a picture of all of my books:

I also went to the container store.  Even though I wasn't able to find a box to use for my treasure chest, I did find another box.

Here it is:

I am hoping to use it to make a light box for my classroom.  I saw a post on another blog about putting lights in a box with a clear lid.  Hopefully, I can start making it this week.  I will let you know how it works.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sue Lattea

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Guess what?????  I am sooo excited!!!!  I made my own blog button.  There is a blog called Oikology 101 that had some simple directions to make your own blog button.  I was able to use it to make my own button.  YAY!!!  Check out my button on the side of my blog and grab it if you would like to.

Here is the link for the blog that had the directions on it.

Thank you for letting me share my excitement with you.

Sue Lattea

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The Wonderful World of Kindergarten is celebrating 30 followers.  Ms. Long is giving away a Target or a Dollar Store gift card.  Check out her blog and enter her giveaway.

Good Luck,

Sue Lattea

Saturday, July 30, 2011


After wondering why there weren't many downloads of my free Favorite Apple Graph, I went to my TpT store to see what was going on.  I clicked to download the graph and it didn't work.  So I uploaded it again.  I'm pretty sure it is working now.  I'm so sorry for sending so many of you to the site and having it not work.  Here is the link again:


                                                            My Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Again, I'm very sorry,

Sue Lattea

Friday, July 29, 2011

CHICAGO!!! Here we come!!!!

My daughter and I are taking a mini-vacation/girls' only trip this weekend.  We are heading to Chicago to visit my sister.  Besides doing some Back-to-School shopping with my teenager (always fun, especially since she doesn't have to wear uniforms for the 1st time), I'm hoping to go to my favorite place in Chicago.  It is a used book store called Open Books.  They have a HUGE selection of books, I've never left there without a pile of books for my classroom (and a couple for myself). I am also hoping to go the Container Store for the first time.  I need a "treasure box" for my class and I am thinking they might have a cool one there.   I will share with you "my finds" on Monday.  

Have a Wonderful Weekend,

Sue Lattea

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TpT Store

Well, I finally did it!!  I was able to publish two items on the Teachers Pay Teachers website.  There are two graphing activities.  My "Favorite Apple Graph" is a free download.  There is also a "Favorite Color Graph".  Please visit my TpT store and grab my free download.

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Sue Lattea

A Facebook Mixer

Do you know how many teacher bloggers also have Facebook pages?  Well Kinder FuN is going to find out.  Go to her blog to post a link to your Facebook page!  Get ready to share lots and lots of fantastic ideas.


                                                                 Here is the link to her blog!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dino-Mite Organizational Binders

Can you believe that it almost August?  Teachers are sharing all over the blogs.  Now its my turn.  Last year, my classroom's theme was dinosaurs.  So each student had a Dino Organizational Binder.  There were 3 two-pocket folders in the binder.  I have found that the more flexible folders seem to last longer than the ones that have a sturdier (cardboard) front.  The flexible folders are $.60 at Walmart.

Here is the letter I included in the front of the binder (in a page protector) and the labels I used to label each folder.

I hope there is someone who can use these labels.  Please let me know if any of the links don't work, this is the first time I have used Scribd, so I hope I was able to do it correctly.  Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Sue Lattea

ABC Center Idea

In my last post, I promised to share ideas about what I do at my centers.  One of my students' favorite centers at the beginning of last year was one that I use at the ABC center.  It was fairly inexpensive and simple to make.  I was able to get paint sticks for free from Lowe's (or actually I sent my husband).  Then I wrote each of my students' names on a paint stick.  Then I bought lots of clothespins from the Dollar Store.  I wrote one letter from the student's name on a clothespin.  Since, I teach Kindergarten I also taped a picture of each student to the end of the paint stick, so the students could begin to learn each other's names and how to spell them. This is the best part. I was pleasantly surprised last year when I ordered my students' 1st day of school pictures from Shutterfly.  (I used the pictures for my word wall.)  Shutterfly also sends a "proof" of your pictures that are very small.  They were just the right size to fit on the end of the paint stick.  To begin with, I place each student's paint stick and clothespins in separate Ziploc bags to make it easier for each of them to find the letters they needed to match.  By the end of the first month of school I was able to have a container with the clothespins and paint sticks and the students were able to search for the letters they needed.

Below is a picture of my paint sticks:

Thank you for visiting my blog,

Sue Lattea

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I thought I would share how I organize my center board in my classroom. My centers are loosely based on Debbie Diller's work stations. I don't think my centers are always as hands-on as they should be, but my goal this year is to make them even more hands-on. My students go to 12 language arts centers and 12 math centers each week. They complete 3 language arts centers on each day (Mon.-Thurs.) and 3 math centers each day (Tues. Fri.).

Above is a picture of my pocket chart with my center signs.  I have a pocket chart with pictures of each of the 12 centers so the students know what 3 centers to go to each day. Each of the tables my students sat at was labeled with a dinosaur. I had the same dinosaur on the pocket chart. The students at that table then went to the 3 centers that were next to their dinosaur on the pocket chart.  The students spend about 20 minutes at each center.

I hope to share ideas of what I have my students do at each center in other posts.

See you soon,

Sue Lattea

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Give Away at Teaching Heart

Teaching Heart ( ) is hosting their annual back to school party on July 24th till July 30th.  Each Day a new prize!  Gift cards, Books, Teaching Heart Products, and more!!!  Plus a free printable will be posted during the week.  You need to visit the blog at; 
daily to check out the prizes each day and enter for the ones you want to win!!!

My First Blog Post

I have decided to join the wide world of teacher's blogs.  I had a classroom blog last year, where I had information for my students and their parents.  But, this is my first time blogging for teachers.  There are lots of ideas that I hope to share with others through my blog.  I am still learning about how to make my blog look better, like many of the others that I have seen.  If I wait until it is perfect I may never blog, though.  Hopefully, I will have help in making my blog look better this weekend.  I will be adding more information soon, like center ideas and things that I do in my classroom.  Hope to see you back here soon.