Friday, August 29, 2014

Phonemic Awareness with Bigger Kids {AKA- What We Did in Summer School}

Holy last weekend of summer!  How did this happen?!  As shocking as it is, I'm really ready to get back into the swing and be with my little people!

Last week, I wrapped up teaching summer school.  I had a small group of 3-5 graders who needed some extra phonemic awareness and phonics practice so I wanted to share what we did.  We met for 30 minutes each morning and did lots of activities to help us develop our awareness of sounds and vocabulary too...

Read on to see each item in the basket and find out a bit about how we used each one!

First... we did a daily phonemic awareness practice.  I LOVE THIS BOOK and I cannot stress this enough.  I used this when I taught 1st/2nd grade and it was amazing for my kiddos.  This quick, daily practice covers so many phonemic awareness skills and the kids enjoy doing it... even the bigger ones!  The book I use has the yellow cover.  You can find it at this link.

We also did some of the activities out of this book.  There are some fun phonemic awareness stories, which we enjoyed!

We LOVE doing 'making words'.  I have the book by Patricia Cunningham.  I have pulled out the pages and put them in this binder.  This is a GREAT way for students to practice building words using sounds and they love trying to figure out the mystery word!  Click HERE to check out the book on Amazon.

One way I make this easier is to have a set of laminated index cards that have been cut in half.   Students can quickly use a dry erase marker to write the letters they need for the making words activity on the laminated card halves... this way I don't have to have sets of letters that need to be sorted after each use... instead, we just write each letter on a card and erase when done!  Easy peasy!

We used white boards daily to do counting sounds activities.  I would give students a word, we'd count the sounds, and then make one line on the board for each sound.  Students then used their "hunks and chunks" knowledge to spell the words- being sure to place one sound on each line.

Speaking of "hunks and chunks", do you Phonics Dance?  Even my big kids at summer school got into the phonics dance!  That's what the little sheep pic is from in the basket below.  There's also a 3rd grade Vocabulary Power flip book.  We got one new word each day to build our vocabulary.  You can find 3rd grade Vocabulary Power on Amazon!  They have 1st as well.

Last, we did a page from my "100 Days to CCSS Success" each day too.  That's the blue "book" in the front of the basket.  I have those available for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders in my TpT store and have put them on sale for 20% off for today only!  Click HERE to check them out!

And there you have it!  Fun, engaging, and still important for bigger kids to get phonemic awareness practice!

Happy long weekend to everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why I Do What I Do {Families Are Important in School Success}

It's another "Why I Do What I Do"!
Today I'm sharing about my belief that families are important in school success.  Of course you believe that too, but the purpose of "Why I Do..." posts is to help me (and you too, I hope!) think about how my beliefs govern the practices I have in my classroom.

Two ways that I facilitate home/school communication so busy parents can stay informed and help support their child in school are...

1- FALCON folders!  FALCON stands for Families And Learning Communicating & Organizing Nightly.  Students take homework sheets, graded work, and notes home in their FALCON and are expected to return their FALCONs each day.  I LOVE naming these type of folders.  Giving it a name helps us quickly identify it and also endears it to students, in some odd way!  I love these Nicky folders because they are super durable and the folders inside are clearly labeled for things to keep at home and things to return at school.  Students keep homework sheets in the outside cover and we put things like spelling words and monthly speller's choice pages in the clear pocket on the back.

2- SUPER quick and easy newsletters!  I send one home every Monday inside FALCON folders.  I run them on colored paper so parents can find them quickly.  These are super easy to fill in using Powerpoint.  It literally takes me about 5 minutes every Friday afternoon.  I run my copies and then put them out with the other papers students must collect on Monday morning.  You can check out the 20 templates in my TpT store by clicking on the pic above, if you're interested!

How do you help parents stay involved?  Feel free to share in the comments below!

Friday, August 22, 2014

You Might Be a Teacher If... {Fun Linky and Instafun!}

I'm changing up the color scheme in my room a little bit this year and going from less "color everywhere" to more focusing on a few colors... pics to come soon!  Anyway, while getting ready for the new colors, I had a "Holy cow, only a teacher!" moment and so...

I thought I'd share this and say...

So, this is what happened when I spray painted my table caddies so they'd be pink for my room instead of dark blue!
Who else has random colors and shapes in their yard because of school projects?  What other "You Might Be a Teacher If..." do you have?  Please link up and share!

Just grab the image below.  Save it and then open it up in your word processing program.  Add a text box on the apple and share your "You Might Be a Teacher If..."!  Then link up below.  You can join the fun on Instagram too... post the pic and use the hashtag #youmightbeateacherif.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Did You Get Your FREE Three Week Trial???

Happy Wednesday, bloggy friends!  Today's my last day teaching summer school... I get a week off and next Wednesday is our PD day and open house!  It's CRAZY!

We're celebrating at TpT with one last big BACK TO SCHOOL sale!  My store will be 20% off today and tomorrow and TpT is offering an EXTRA 10% off today only if you use the code BOOST at check out!  Yippie!  {Thanks to the Printable Princess for the cute sale button!}

I'm wondering if you've downloaded your free three week trial of my "Show What You Know" packs...?  If not, the sale is a great time to do it because, if you like them, you can get them at a great deal!  Click the pic to check them out!  We've been using the 3rd grade math during summer school and my kiddos are loving them!

I have a cart full of goodies and can't wait to check out on TpT and play with my new purchases!  Hopefully you find some goodies too!

You can get some samples of "Snapshots" too, which are some of my best sellers and my favorite things I use in my classroom!  Click the link below to check them out too!  Just look for the "Try It! Sample Pack"!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Celebrating the Success of Others is Important! {Why I Do What I Do}

It's back!  Another edition of "Why I Do What I Do!".

Today I'm sharing about my teaching belief that "Celebrating the success of others is important".  One way I do this is by passing out awards every Friday in my classroom.  The first two weeks or so, everyone is always hoping they will receive an award.  Sometimes there are hurt feelings at the beginning of the year.  But, in doing this every week and spending a bit of time explaining why each student is receiving an award, students not only learn that it's important to be happy for others when they are successful, but they also vicariously learn about desired classroom behaviors.  In fact, as the year goes on, students will come to me and say things like, "___ helped me this morning when I fell getting off the bus.  I think you should give her a kindness award on Friday".  And things like that make this gal's heart happy!

Friday always starts with kids walking in and checking the board to make sure I have the "Awards" card posted at the end of the day.  And, inevitably, two or three kids will ask throughout the day, "Are we having awards today?"  They LOVE this and look forward to it all week long.  On short weeks or Fridays when we have an assembly I do not pass out awards and they are always so bummed!

Every Friday I give out 5-6 awards for various things... sometimes it's academic achievement or super nice handwriting or kindness or good choices... it really depends on what has gone on in class during the week.
When I pass out the awards, I do it something like this...

"Today I have an award for a student who has struggled to meet their AR goal for the past two weeks.  He's (at this point all the boys are wondering who I'm talking about) had to miss a recess or two so he could get his goal met... but this week, he was a reading machine!  He was on fire!  I saw a book in his hand and his name in the AR testing list over and over all week long (now the kiddos are looking around to see who is grinning the biggest because he knows I'm talking about him)... so let's celebrate with ____ for his amazing work on his AR goal this week!" 

The kiddo comes up, we shake hands, I present the award, and everyone claps and cheers.  Then I move on to the next award.  This is SUCH a positive way to end the week and I love seeing my kiddos high-fiving and cheering for the person receiving the award.

I keep my awards in page protectors in a binder.  Each protector is numbered and then I keep a check-list of who has gotten each number and on which day.  Some kiddos do get many more awards than others throughout the year, but everyone will receive at least two or three during the course of the year.
You can click the pic above to download a free copy of this awards tracker so you can start a great tradition every Friday in your own classroom!

How do you teach your kiddos that celebrating the success of others is important?  I'd love for you to share in the comments below!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three fer Thursday {Working on Inferences}

Happy Thursday, ya'll!  It's a 3 fer Thursday!

One of my favorite reading comprehension skills to teach is inferencing.  I love watching my kiddos dig for information and justify conclusions using text clues.

Today I'm doing a 3 fer on my inferencing packs... there are actually four, so today's more of a Four fer Fursday!

"Have your CAKE and INFERENCE too!" is a super fun pack featuring amazing cake clipart by the 3am Teacher.  The Crazy Cakes bake shop has mixed up orders and it's up to your students to read the order forms and decide which cake each customer would like to order!

This Easter themed inference pack is all about a silly Easter bunny who has mixed up his baskets.  Can your students read about each family member, look at the contents of each basket, and decide who would like each basket?

This one is always a winner with my kiddos... they LOVE studying the robots in this "Robo*Buddies Inference Pack".  Five kids each want the hottest new toy- a Robo*Buddy!  Robo*Buddies each have different personalities and can do different things.  It's up to your students to read about each of the kids and decide which Robo*Buddy would be the best match for each of the children.

Last... 'twas the night before the Ugly Sweater party and no one in the house could decide which sweater would be the best to wear!  Read about the members of the family, look at the ugly sweaters, and help them get ready for the party!

Each pack is self-checking for use at centers or complete together in small groups.  Each pack contains a recording sheet, answer key, and a way for students to create their own inference project by either making an Easter basket, designing a crazy cake, coming up with their own amazing Robo*Buddy, or imagining a truly ugly sweater.

I'm going to sneak in one more for a bonus... even though this pack focuses on commas and quotation marks in dialogue, it does include an inference activity that exposes kiddos to commas and quotation marks used correctly in dialogue.  Students read dialogue of a monster describing itself and students match that up to the monster pictures.  My kiddos LOVE the monster graphics!

Enjoy these for 20% off today and feel free to share your inference products in the comments!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Learning Made Fun IS Fun {Why I Do What I Do}

I've been posting recently about my teaching beliefs... this week I'm sharing about my belief that "Learning Made Fun IS Fun"!  One of the ways that I make learning fun is through lots of "get up and moving" activities.

We do a hallway hunt just about every week, we do activities with our white boards, we work with partners, we get choices in our learning, and we also play lots of games together.  I've posted many times about my favorite game "Back-to-Back".  Be sure to click that link if you've missed those posts!

But today I'm showing you my collection of quick and easy activities that help us practice our speaking and listening standards in fun ways...

Down under my easel are many bins with quick, quick activities... some are just fun and silly (ie. the little chipmunk you see in the front) but the other activities down here help me cover my speaking and listening standards in fun, interactive ways.

We have a "morning meeting" in class each day that takes about 10 minutes.  This is just a positive way to start the day.  We greet each other and then do some sort of quick activity using the materials under this easel.

The little chipmunk guy (find it on AMAZON) asks us silly questions, the football is used as a sort of "talking stick" to help us promote manners while speaking and listening.  The blue bin in the front has a collection of phonemic awareness question cards that, yes, we still need work on in 3rd grade.

Speaking and listening standards are ones that are easy to leave behind in the dust... for a long time I felt like, since we're speaking and listening all day long, we didn't need to spend a great deal of time learning the mechanics behind it... but, after doing a morning meeting for several years now, I see where that is so false.  Not only do kiddos need practice speaking and listening, but this is also a fun way for us to get to know each other better!

How do you encourage speaking and listening skills in your room?  I'd love for you to share in the comments below!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Three fer Thursday {WRITING! WRITING! WRITING!}


A sentence in and of itself.  This is one area where we don't get a lot of guidance as teachers... we have a basal we can refer to when we need guidance for reading and a teacher's edition that helps us guide math instruction.  But sometimes it's hard to know exactly where to go or what pace to follow for teaching writing.

Today's 3 fer Thursday's focus is on WRITING!  I'm doing 3 product types today- units, notebooks, and portfolio.  And... if you missed the big TpT sale earlier this week, now's your chance to get 20% off these writing resources!

First up...

Opinion and narrative writing units- both of these units include loads of resources for introducing opinion and narrative (fictional and personal) writing to your students.  Narrative writing is one of my favorite things to teach, and my kiddos love doing this unit every year.  It's amazing what you can pull out of kids' when they understand authors' craft and style!

Next up...

Writer's Notebooks- this is a new product in my shop and has been met with GREAT feedback from teachers who love it as much as I do!  I started developing this mid-way through last school year and my students L-O-V-E-D working in their writer's notebook!  Each product contains over 100 pages with "Teach Me" pages (essentially the bones of a mini-lesson) and then an interactive "My Turn" page for students to practice the skill they were taught in the mini-lesson.  Basic grammar, opinion, narrative, and informational writing units are included in these interactive notebook packs!  The two packs contain the same skills and sequence but are leveled appropriately for grades 1-2 and grades 3-5.

Last... want to truly see how students have grown as writers?  Check out "The WRITE Stuff:  Year Long Portfolio" pack.  This includes monthly writing prompts for opinion, narrative, and informative writing, ways for students to talk about their writing, and ways for students to examine their own writing.  This huge collection is easy to implement and add to each month so students can clearly see how they have grown and changed as writers.

That's it!  Feel free to share your amazing writing resources in the comments... check these out too... 20% off today only!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why I Do What I Do {ALL Students Can Learn}

This week's "Why I Do What I Do" refers to my teaching belief that ALL students can learn and yes, all means ALL.  I know we all say this, but what are some ways that we DO it?

One way I accommodate all of my students' during reading is through small groups.

I have my reading groups organized in drawers and, in each drawer, is a folder with the week's activities for the group.  These pics come from an older blog post- click the pic to head to that post and see more!

How do you accommodate ALL of your learners?  Link up and share below! 

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