Showing posts from February, 2019

A Muffin Man Nursery Rhyme STEM Project!

Here is a great Muffin Man themed STEM project to add to your nursery rhyme unit!  It is creative, fun, and only takes a few basic materials.  Of course, since it is a literacy based activity, it could also be considered a STREAM project (Science, Technology, Reading Engineering, Arts, Math). All you need are some leftover muffin liners of various colors and designs, paper, markers or crayons, glue, and some imagination!  You'll have your kids creating muffin boys, girls, dogs, bunnies, babies, creatures, and anything else they can think of!

This is wonderful project took almost NO PREP time at all!  All I did was set out the muffin liners and other supplies.  I also had some volunteers fold a few of the muffin liners in thirds to facilitate the making of limbs and other long, straight objects.  They also folded a few of the liners in half.  This was because I did the project with my Transitional Kindergartners (TK), and I thought that they might have some trouble with this part.…

Go BONKERS with ESGI - Week #3!!

Alright, y'all! It's WEEK #3 of the ESGI promotion!!!! Read on for all the details!

ESGI has GONE BONKERS - for real this time! They’re offering so much to help teachers get the best of what they need! All teachers who sign up for a new ESGI trial account between Feb. 23rd - Mar. 1st using my promo code HEIDIBONKERS:

1.) Will be entered to win **$500 Amazon Gift Card or **Apple Watch.

2.) Will receive a $40 discount off their first year purchase.

All teachers who purchase between Feb. 23rd - Mar. 1st using my promo code HEIDIBONKERS:

1.) Will receive an additional 6 months to their license!(That means you’ll get a total of 18 months of ESGI for the price of 12!)

2.) Will receive a $40 discount off their purchase!!

3.) Will receive a *$50 BERTEAU and Co. gift card with their purchase!!

Teachers everywhere often sing the praises of ESGI because it really is a GAME CHANGER! What are you waiting for? The 40,000+ teachers who are already using it can’t be wrong! It’s never bee…

Why Do Some Children Do More Poorly on Writing Tests at School Than They Do At Home?

Why do young children often do much worse on writing tests at school than they do at home?  This is a very frustrating thing for many parents!  Hopefully, this blog post will shed some light on this question, and also help you understand the developmental stages that children pass through as they learn to write.

Children learn at a very rapid rate during early childhood, and are continually passing through many stages as their writing develops.  Even if parents and teachers coach children to do certain things on tests at school, children generally revert to their true developmental stage in both reading and writing once they are left to do the task completely on their own.  In my opinion, this is really the main reason why young children tend to do more poorly on writing tests given at school than at home when they are given even the slightest bit of coaching from their loving parents.

Children Pass Through Many Phases on Their Journey to Become Writers

The above “Developmental Progre…

From Pre-Writing Strokes to Letters on "Sky Grass Dirt" Paper!

This year, we are laying the foundation for writing correctly on lined paper by practicing our pre-writing STROKES on paper with OVERSIZED LINES!  And I am SUPER EXCITED to tell you about it, because the results have been just AMAZING so far!  I think that this will really prepare them to do nice, neat printing when the time comes!

If you read my recent blog post, Tips for Teaching Kids to Write on Lined Paper, then you may remember the "Sky, Fence, Grass, Dirt" style of paper that my teammates and I have been using to teach the kids to print.  It is pictured below.  I got the idea from the website, which was created by a teacher friend that is an Occupational Therapist!  You can find out more about her products on that blog post above that I just referenced.

My teammate Jeff had the idea of practicing the basic pre-writing strokes on the lined paper before trying to write the letters, and doing it on our "sky, fence, grass, dirt paper" rather than ju…

Managing Toilet Needs EFFICIENTLY in Kindergarten & First Grade!

Managing the toilet, restroom, bathroom, or potty needs of young children in the kindergarten or first grade classroom can be a challenge!  When one child asks to go and is given permission, several other children often ask to go as well.  How can you manage toilet needs with a minimum of instructional time wasted, and without touching off a three ring circus in the restroom?

Obviously, when nature calls, we have to listen!  But with a few good procedures in place, toilet needs can be managed efficiently in the classroom!  Here are my rules and procedures for managing restroom needs so that my little ones can use the toilet with minimal lesson disruptions.

No Potty "Wannabees" or Buddies!  Kids Go ALONE!

This means that if a child decides that he needs to use the restroom after seeing that someone else got permission, my answer is "no."  Only YOU know if YOU need to use the toilet.  You will not be given permission to go just because someone else gets to go.  We do…

CKA's 2019 PDW Series - Carlsbad and San Rafael!

Hey, all!!! I am so excited to share with you the Professional Development Workshops I get to be a part of next month!!! One in Carlsbad, CA and the other in San Rafael, CA! Read on for more info and links to register!

Carlsbad Professional Development Workshop

What's it about?  Reading, Writing and the Flexible Classroom!

Who's presenting?Heidi Butkus from HeidiSongs (ME!) and Beth Pittman from Flexible in First!

Who's it for?  TK/K/1st Grade Educators

When?  Saturday, March 23, 2019

Where?  Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad CA

Click here to view the flyer with more details or to register!

San Rafael Professional Development Workshop

What's it about?  Motivating, engaging, and making learning fun!

Who's presenting?Palma Lindsay from KFUNdamentals and Heidi Butkus from HeidiSongs (ME)!

Who's it for?  Pre-K/TK/Kindergarten Educators

When?  Saturday, March 30, 2019

Where?  Mark Day School in Albany, California

Click here to view the flyer with more details or to register!


How I Got All My Kids to Learn 100% of the Letters & Sounds

This year, all of my students in my half day Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class learned every single letter and sound! In this post, I will tell you my weekly routines for teaching and reviewing the alphabet and letter sounds that led to 100% mastery for every single student in my class- even the children that struggled to learn! And we only had three hours per day total for every subject, including playtime and recess!

Considering how much we accomplished in so little time, I felt that these routines would important to share, since there are so many demands placed on teachers everywhere. Our Transitional Kindergarten students are just four years old when they start school, and must turn five sometime between September 1 and December 2 of the school year in order to qualify for the TK program. They will all start Kindergarten in the fall, totally ready to learn!

Note: You may notice that I have included several ESGI charts in this post. You can certainly follow the routines in this…