Alphapalooza 2 Phonemic Awareness & Phonics Fun!




“The two best predictors of early reading success are alphabet recognition
and phonemic awareness.
-Marilyn Jager Adams

We spend a lot of time working on Phonemic Awareness and Phonics skills in kindergarten and first-grade, so we want to make sure that we create games and activities that will hold the interest of our students.  My goal is to create activities that the students will want to come back to over and over again.  Here are a few of the activities that are included in my Alphapalooza 2 unit.


I SPY Letter Mats  These are included for each letter of the alphabet and can be used in a variety of ways.  In the picture above I used them with Magnetic Wands and chips.  You can get them at a reasonable price here.
The kids love sweeping the wand over the work mat to pick up all of the chips, and I love that I can use the work mats over and over again.  Note: These would look great printed on Astrobrights paper.


Another way to use the work mats would be to let the students color them or dab them with dot markers.




Where do you hear the sound?  This is a fun phonemic awareness activity that can also be used in a variety of ways.  This allows students to practice listening for a target...

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Skill Surgery



Need a fun way to review and practice some of the skills that you've been working on this year?
We had so much fun performing Surgical Procedures on previously learned skills.
We rotated through 8 different activities.  Here are a few of them.
    Silly Sums  The surgeons were given equations that had a problem! There was an extra addend that didn't belong.  Once, they diagnosed the problem they extracted the extra addend and stitched the equation back together. 
  



Punctuation Problem  The surgeons were given sentences that had all three types of punctuation.  They had to read the sentences, extract the extra punctuation and stitch the sentence back together.


Tangled Sentences  The surgeons were given tangled sentences.  Not only were the sentences out of order, but they also had an extra word.  The surgeons had to figure out the sentence, extract the extra word and then stitch the sentences back together. 


                                  

Contraction ActiOn The surgeons, were given two words and they had to decide on the treatment by extracting the extra letters.  Then, they stitched the contractions together.  




For the next four tasks, the surgeons made a doctor bag to put their...

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Printable Files for Busy Teachers FREE File

Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review
I know you are busy! Sometimes we reach a time in the year when our planning time is at a premium. Perhaps you are knee-deep in assessments or you have an unexpected absence and you need to create sub plans.  That is when I am thankful for a few printables that I can use in my classroom.  I created these worksheets (eek... sort of a bad word) with those times in mind.

As a practice, I know that worksheets offer the least amount of student engagement, but there are times when I do use them.

Skills Review
These are a great quick review of skills students have already learned.

Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review

Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review

 Additionally, you can do a quick handwriting review!
Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review
Morning Work
As students start their morning, they can work on activities independently while you get your students' lunch count, parent notes, and other various tasks completed first thing in the morning.

Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review


Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review
Formative Assessments
These pages can also be used as a quick formative assessment.  You can quickly see which skills your students have mastered and which skills you need to reteach!
Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review
Center work
You can also use these No-Prep pages as a center activity.  Just print and you are good to go!

Kindergarten worksheets for Language Arts and Math Review
You can see all of my "In a Snap" activities by clicking HERE.

Wanna try a...

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Dinosaurs!


Rawr!!!! It's a dinosaur!  Nothing gets little ones excited quite like a unit on dinosaurs.
We studied dinosaurs for two weeks and then we flipped the classroom for our DINO DIG DAY!  
Our students rotated through 5 stations and got to see what it was like to be a paleontologist.
So FUN!

  
  
To build excitement before we started the unit I brought in this huge egg and told the students that my dog found it in our backyard.  We talked about the size and appearance of the egg and I had them make inferences about what they thought was inside it.  

You can see some of their thinking below.
After they recorded their inference I gave them three clues about what was inside the egg and had them write their new inference.  We tied this to reading.  As we learn more about a topic or character our inference can change.  

 

 

After recess we came back to THIS!  RAWR!!!!!! 
This is how they learned that our next unit of study was going to be dinosaurs.
They were twelve kinds of excited.  NOTE: Do this part at the end of the day because it's really hard to bring them down from the excitement.  


On the first day of our dinosaur study we started with our schema and recorded the information we already know...

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10 Questions Answered about Math Workshop (FREE File)

Do you have questions about how we plan and structure our math workshop? We often get asked about this so  I wanted to take a few minutes to see if I can answer the top 10 questions we get about math workshop.
Kindergarten Math Workshop!  See how we build math fluency and number sense through everyday math workshop!

1.  How do you organize the curriculum?
We like to use binders...ALL the BINDERS!   Each unit fits nicely in a small 1" binder.
2.  What does a typical lesson look like?
Each day:
  • Fluency practice (5 mins) *more on this later in the post.
  • New concept introduction mini-lesson (5 mins)
  • Whole group explore (10 mins)
  • Student application (5-10 mins)
  • Share (5 mins)

3.  Is it aligned to the standards?
Yes, we have gone to great length to be certain the skills included in the CCSS and the TEKS have been covered.  Each unit contains approximately 20 days of instruction.  

You can find the curriculum map and binder spine by clicking HERE.

4. How do you display your math vocabulary wall?
As each word is taught, it is added to our math word wall.  These words are discussed at length before they go on the wall.  We don't want this wall (just like our sight word wall) to turn into wallpaper.  

5.  How do you address fluency?
Each day we start with a fluency warm up.  This is a five-minute activity...

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Be a Guided Reading Expert! (FREE Download too!)

Are you wanting to master guided reading, but feel a wee bit overwhelmed?  I get it!  Guided Reading is just one more thing you have on your plate.. or do you?  Are you currently conducting guided reading lessons in your classroom?  I am sometimes surprised to hear that some emergent classrooms do not.  Don't worry... we've got this!

Guided Reading in Kindergarten

What is Guided Reading?

Let's start with the various balanced literacy approaches.

Read-Aloud

Read-alouds are when the teacher does the reading work and the students do the thinking work.  This is done as part of a whole group instructional time.   The text that is selected is above the students' reading level.  This is an opportunity to work on reading comprehension skills.  The teacher models fluent reading and guides the students towards a deeper understanding of the text.  We use our Close Reading/Guiding Readers units for read-aloud instruction.

Shared Reading

This is also done as a whole group activity.  The text is usually selected on grade level, but can also be slightly above grade level.  The teacher and the students read the text together.   This is an opportunity to work on early reading skills and comprehension.

Guided Reading

Yay!   We made...

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Assessments Made EASY and a BIG FREEBIE


Do you struggle with keeping up with mounds of paper assessments? 
Do you struggle with what to do with the data once you've assessed your students?
Do you struggle with how to analyze the data and use it to drive your instruction?
Do you struggle with how to notify parents and provide them with the tools they need to help their students?  If you answered yes to any of the questions, then this post is for YOU!
Just like you, I struggled with all of the above, and I longed for something that would save me time and make my life easier.
ESGI was the answer I had been looking for!  It is all digital, and it is all FAST!
Let me explain how it works.


This is my dashboard.  I've covered up the student's names for privacy reasons.   I've clicked on the sight words tab so that you can see what it looks like.  The graph lets me easily see how well my class is doing on the sight word lists as a whole.



This is an individual student's pie graph. I have my sight word lists combined for ease of assessments, but you can create your own assessments to match your lists. The pie graph shows that this student knows 58% of the sight words on lists f,g,h, 69% of the sight words on lists i, j, k and so on....

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St. Patrick's Day How to Make Leprechaun Punch



March?!?  Seriously, how is it already March?  This year is flying by!
I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things to do for St. Patrick's Day.
It doesn't get any better than Leprechaun punch and Leprechaun glyphs!
YUMMY and ADORABLE!

In Unit 3 of our Writing Through the Year unit we teach students the process for Procedural (How-To) Writing, and throughout the year we continue to work on How-To pieces to record our experiences as a class.  First, we talked about the ingredients that I brought in and we decided as a class the best order to add the ingredients to our cup. 





The students each create their own Leprechaun Punch. 


We created our How-To Make Leprechaun Punch chart using Interactive Writing.  I love using Interactive Writing because it is the perfect time to apply the phonics chunks and spelling patterns that we've been learning, sentence structure and conventions. *Note: We didn't complete the chart in one sitting.  As soon as the little sweeties start getting antsy we stop and pick back up whenever we have a few extra minutes during the day.

 Then, the following day students wrote their own How-To.  They can use our chart as a reference or have a go on their own.





The...

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American Symbols & Presidents {Includes FREE Download}


 American Symbols is one of my favorite units to teach!  I took all of the facts about the U.S. symbols and broke them down into fun, engaging lessons.  Here are a few pics of some of the activities.

After reading the nonfiction text from my Chit Chat unit we used our newly learned information and context clues to fill in the missing information on our Chit Chat chart. 

We did a step by step directed drawing of the Statue of Liberty and wrote about her.  

Trying to get kids to understand just how BIG the Statue of Liberty really is can be difficult.  Measuring out her foot gets the point across.  We then line up shoulder to shoulder to see how many of us it takes to reach the tip of her toes to her heel.  The kids are always AMAZED!





Bald Eagles are fascinating!  We read the nonfiction book from my Chit Chat unit and then made bald eagles, created several charts and wrote about them.  There are lots of live web cams up that allow you to view bald eagles.  The kids are fascinated by them.  Here is my favorite!  The eaglets just hatched so it is fascinating to watch.  You can click on the image to view.



I love this beautiful collage of my America unit art projects that Debbie Clement...

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Instant, Yet Powerful Lesson Plans... Just Print and Teach!

Here are a few things I know about teachers.
1.  They want the absolute BEST for their students.
2.  They want to employ "Best Practices" in their classrooms.
3.  They. Are. Overwhelmed!
4.  Occasionally, they want to go home before 5 pm after school AND they would like to spend their weekends with their families instead of planning.

Does that sound like you?

We have heard from teachers all over the world who feel JUST like you.  Over the years, Deedee Wills and I have developed and refined curriculum that has been tested in our classrooms.  We have seen the power of focused instruction that allows students to develop at their own pace, while providing opportunities for MAGIC!

Writers Workshop

Many years ago, Deedee and I wrote a curriculum for writers workshop. We studied what the experts had to say (Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover) and combined with our own years of experience. Essentially, we taught a day, then went home and wrote out the lessons.  Then we repeated that process for 180 days.  We know writers workshop can feel overwhelming.  We know that some teachers spend HOURS planning and second guessing their instruction.  So we wrote concise, page-long, scripted lessons that...

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Writer's Workshop: Writing Through the Year FREEBIE


 Sometimes it can be a challenge to organize your curriculum in a way that is easy to use.
Deedee Wills and I have been working on reorganizing and updating our writing workshop units.


 I prefer to keep my units in these 2" binders.  You can find the spine labels HERE.


 I will walk you through a unit to show you how it's organized.


Each unit starts with a unit overview.


 You can also easily see the standards that are addressed in the unit.


 A writing continuum is provided so you can see where your students fall in their writing development.  This is especially helpful during writing conferences and when you are working on setting writing goals.


 Each unit contains an updated rubric specific to that unit of study.  
There is one for emergent writers (kindergarten).


And another one for early writers (1st Grade).


You can also create a classroom chart so student-lead goals can be selected.  These goals are aligned to the rubric.


 Each day contains a scripted lesson plan that is very easy to implement.



 Kid-friendly anchor charts are easy to use... just print and teach!


Conferring helpful hints are also included.


At the close of each unit, I would collect the writing samples from the students...

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Reflecting On All Things Gingerbread before 2016...

 Wow, I am so late to the party but I have really been trying to take a break and enjoy my winter break. It has been fantastic and I have loved every second of it. Before I can wish you a Happy New Year I need to show you some of my December pictures and all the fun we had during the last few days.

I love doing a Gingerbread unit each year and comparing the characters in each version, talking about the "bad guy" and how the events can differ from story to story. It is so much fun to change my voice and stop right before the fox gobbles up that yummy cookie! Each year I buy more books and add to my crazy collection. These are just a few favorites that I have purchased.
I always love to send a gingerbread man home for families to decorate to their hearts content. The kids love to bring them back and show them off to the class.  The parents adore this project and it fills your classroom with such cuteness. Try it!~

If you are on this blog you know how much I love making a sight word game for each theme that I teach and I won't disappoint you... here is another one. I think the chant was "Gingerbread, gingerbread... you are so sweet, run from the fox, or you will be his treat!"
 I made...

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Cyber Smile Sale on TpT... Grab Some Goodies




TpT is having a great sale today and tomorrow. Now you can stock up on all those materials for the winter months and save some money. It's a win- win for teachers! Don't forget the promo code today: SMILE so you can get the full 28% off. Have fun and fill your cart with happiness. If you want some of my products you can find them here: http://bit.ly/1gD5LR7.

How cute is this picture of me? It makes me smile because both of my girls looked like this and so do the cousins. I love old family pictures.


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Turkey Leftovers From My Classroom!



November has been such a busy month for us. At this time of the year I am assessing students to get ready for report cards but it is also the wonderful season of fall and I love teaching about the Wampanoag culture and reading fun stories about turkeys and Thanksgiving. This year I did a billion and one activities but I will only hit the ones I loved or better yet- have pictures of. We grew seeds in the backyard of my classroom and this time a mom had the kids help her put soil in about 5. How smart was she? One of them is bound to grow and several did! This is an early picture and I cannot wait to see what the pumpkins look like this week. We talked about decomposing and the kids never get tired of watching these. If you have never done this promise yourself you will try it next year.
Whatever concepts I needed to teach during these weeks had a picture of a Wampanoag or pilgrim. This was a simple math game where they just counting the dots on each card and recorded it and I ran it on old scrap booking paper and distressed the edges with brown ink to make it look old. The kids really liked this activity and it was a great formative assessment. Does anyone know how to make a 5...

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Be Inspired

Look around your classroom. Are there things you wish you could change? Are you tired of the same old activities? Be inspired and come check out some new activities that will make you the best teacher you can be in 2016. Dream, reach for the stars, set your goals, and teach at the top of your game:

Grab your bags and head on over by clicking on this picture. Happy 2016! Cheers to you.

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Learning About Kindness and Being Fair


It has been a  crazy few weeks since winter break (desperate for another vacation) and we have been working on a variety of projects related to the seasons and weather. On Friday I took a break and focused on Martin Luther King Jr. This is an important leader and I like to stop and spend time on this. I remember Dr. King as a child growing up in Baltimore and his words had a huge impact on me and the world I lived in.
I think I own every childrens' book written about this great man  but this is my favorite, by far. It is written authentically but in terms a young child can understand. When I was a Common Core coach I did a close read with first grade students using this text. It lends itself well to a cause and effect map and children are able to find evidence to support their thinking with ease. I recommend purchasing it for next year or adding it to your library now. Check it out here on Amazon. 

I really like this video and have used it for several years. If you want to check it out just click on the picture to watch it. We all love Reading Rainbow... right? It might have been the only time my class was quiet all day!

Then we talked about what their dreams are for the future...

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Apron Lady: Will You Be My Valentine?

Do you know The Apron Lady? Her name is Sandy Welch and I am so proud to call her my dear friend. If you have attended any I Teach K conferences in the last few years you've probably noticed the crowd of teachers chatting and laughing with her in her booth. She is the creator of the Show and Tell Aprons. 
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down to read the story of our friendship. I promise that you will be glad you took the time to know her better. We are just 2 kindergarten teachers, who live in opposite parts of California who found out they had much in common.
This friendship started in Vegas when I was sitting with a group of bloggers I knew from the internet, chatting over lunch. This darling lady came over and asked me if I thought teachers would buy her apron. She was a total stranger. I looked at the apron she held up and I was shocked at how clever the design was. It took me 2 seconds to fall in love with it. OMG I had to have one. I went into a class on writing with Deedee Wills and she had one in her hands. We both agreed it was brilliant. This is where it all started for me. What happens in Vegas can change your life... right? It sure changed mine. I loved the apron but I...

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CVC Computer Games! AND MORE

I am so excited to share our latest collaboration!   
Deedee Wills and I have rolled up our sleeves again!  

We created CVC computer games.  

This video will show you how they work.
NOTE:  You need to have PowerPoint in order for these games to run.

In addition to the games, we have lots of fun printables to help you with assessment and instruction. Exit tickets are a great way to monitor and assess your students.  These could be used once the student has completed the game OR they could serve as an assessment.
CVC Computer Games! AND MORE
We also included a variety of CVC books (one for each vowel).  Each book has three levels of differentiation. 
CVC Computer Games! AND MORE
 There are two different formats for each of the vowel books so you can select the one that works best for your classroom.
CVC Computer Games! AND MORE
 We also added some puzzles for fun.  These would work well as a center or as part of your small group lessons.
CVC Computer Games! AND MORE
 There is also an interactive notebook option for each vowel.
CVC Computer Games! AND MORE
 Students simply sort the pictures by their vowel sounds.   
CVC Computer Games! AND MORE
Click HERE to see this unit.  This unit will remain discounted through Saturday at midnight (CST).

We do not have immediate plans to create a bundle with these games. 

CVC Computer Games! AND MORE

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Post Vacation Winter Work


  
This is my last week of winter break and I have been really busy trying to create new activities for my students to keep them engaged after being home for endless amounts of time. What would help them reconnect and make them want to come back to school? 
I decided to wander around in Target where inspiration is everywhere and planned to hit the dollar spot to check out the Christmas clearance. I found these adorable erasers and could not resist buying them. They would make perfect math manipulatives and I knew the kids would love new ones. On top of this the snowmen, trees, and penguins were just 30 cents a bag. SCORE. 


Over the week I bought more of these as I found them and finally realized that I needed a container to hold and organize them. Joann Fabrics has these containers on sale so I bought 2 of them and realized I might have gotten carried away with my eraser obsession.

So now I had to come up with some way to make use of all these little erasers. Since January is the month where I hit "teen" numbers hard, making ten frame cards was an obvious "must-have." These look pretty cute with images on them to match the erasers. I can build numbers, ask them to show me one more...

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Tacky the Penguin Lesson Plans (plus a free download)

January is such a fun time!  Some of my favorite activities center around January themes!

Several years ago my friend Deedee Wills and I sat down and discussed some of our favorite January read alouds.  Deedee mentioned that she felt as if she was skimming the surface with her read aloud and that she was looking for ways to make her instruction more intentional.  She felt like she was bouncing from one idea to another and not going deep enough.  Does this sound like you?

What we came up with was Guiding Readers.  This transformed her classroom!   Now 2 years later, I'm reaping the benefits of these units that we created in my own classroom.  We also love hearing how other classrooms were transformed.   Listen to this sweet feedback:

“I used one of [your] lessons for my observation a few weeks ago and scored the highest possible rating you can get in my state. My principal LOVED it. I normally do these units, so my kids really rocked it. Thank YOU! You have totally changed my classroom. Teaching is fun again, and my kids are exceeding my expectations!!!!”

When asked if we could share her testimonial, this is now she responded:

“Absolutely yes! And use my whole name if you want to! I...

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Gingerbread Week

For the last few weeks, we have been working on all things Gingerbread!


We spent a few weeks reading and studying Gingerbread stories (Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Girl), at the end of the study we had fun creating our Gingerbread Glyphs analyzing the data, and we made Gingerbread houses! 


Our gingerbread glyphs turned out adorable! 


Here's a peek at a few our comprehension activities. Love these student drawings!

   

  

   

 

  

 


And some more pictures of our fun! As you can see, my students LOVED it!

 






  



The reading activities can be found inside my Guiding Readers December pack!



If you're looking to add in some more math and literacy activities, this Gingerbread Unit has over 70 pages of gingerbread fun!


 

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Christmas Calendar Parent Gift

Need a fun and unique gift idea that's quick and easy with no mess? Look no further! This would make the perfect gift for Christmas! Includes calendar pages all the way through December 2017! 




Okay, y'all let's face it, December is a cuh-razy month and the thought of painting 22 hands x 12 times each to do a handprint calendar gives me a serious eye twitch!  These calendar gifts are so much easier!  Here's a peek at one of the calendars we made last year! It turned out SO cute and I know her parents LOVED it!



 

  

    





 This calendar is available to purchase in my TPT Store. Click on the image below!





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Let's Talk Turkey!


 


The week before Thanksgiving is a great time to learn about turkeys!  We pair fiction and nonfiction texts to keep the kids engaged so that the pre-holiday crazies don't trot in.  :) 

To get started we had the kids record their schema on the Turkey Trouble recording sheet.
Then, we read the nonfiction book about turkeys from our November Guiding Readers unit.  
We recorded the new information we learned on our Let's Talk Turkey chart. 

We snipped the top off of a paper bag to make our adorable turkey fact holders.  They wrote the facts that they learned on index cards and "stuffed" them inside their turkeys.  Did you see what I did there? Get it? Stuffed turkeys.  I crack myself up.  ha!


These are the recording sheets they used to record their schema and one new thing that they learned.

 



 

A close up of our adorable stuffed turkeys.
 

Their turkey facts.  They drew a picture on one side and wrote the sentence on the other.


 

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

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Get Your Teach On!! Conference March 2016



Need a teacher pick-me- up? Looking for some of the most current research-based strategies that will light your classroom on fire? Join us in 2016 for Get Your Teach On – a one-of-a-kind experience for K-3 teachers.  You will spend a day with Deanna Jump and Hope King as they share their passion and enthusiasm for education and give you their tips, tricks, best practices, and teacher secrets to building a successful and engaging classroom. You will leave feeling empowered, motivated, and prepared to create dynamic lessons that will challenge your students and leave them hungry for more. Get Your Teach On is sure to be unlike any other educators’ conference that you will attend. Pack your favorite teacher bag, get ready for some educational magic, and join us in Orlando as you prepare to Get Your Teach On!

Click HERE FOR INFORMATION!

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Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Leonardo the Terrible Monster is one of my very favorite books to read at Halloween time! The kids love it and it's so much fun compare and contrast the characteristics of Leonardo from the beginning and end of the story. 



Here's a peek at some of the work we do in class! All of these printables are included in the Guiding Readers pack for November (2nd Edition)

Over the course of a 5 day lesson plan, we look closely at the text. In this way, we can dive deeper into the text and move beyond the superficial understanding of the story.


 


    


  


 


Here's some of the character work we do. I love to turn it into a bulletin board display. These Leonardo craftivities turn out so cute!



 


And here's another creativity we do to show our learning! It includes retelling cards to help students work on summarizing.

 

As time goes by, you will notice that your students will incorporate these comprehension strategies with every book they read and every book that is read to them! It is infectious! Soon your students will retell a story with ease. And you won't be surprised when they are making predictions and connections like a pro! Your students will love revisiting this text again and again!



All...

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Making Read Alouds Come to Life: Creepy Carrots





Teacher read alouds are just as important as giving students time to read independently.  Read alouds take the student's focus away from having to decode the words and gives students a chance to really hone in and focus on the meaning of the story.


I love it when I read a story to children, and they love it so much that they beg me to READ IT AGAIN!  
It's so important to reread books to children and give them time to:
hear you thinking aloud as you try to make sense of the story,
 fall in love with the characters and get to know them, 
 think deeply about the story and discuss it with their peers.
respond to reading through writing and drawing.




In our Guiding Readers units, we've developed a reading program that does all of the above!
SET ONE
SET TWO

Let me share some examples with you.  The following examples are from Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (October Set two)


We read part of the story and then stop to give them a chance to predict what they think will happen next.  


In kindergarten, most of the meaning will come through drawing this early in the year.
This little sweetie thinks that the carrots will get stuck in a pit.  
So she drew a picture and wrote the word, pit.


These are...

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Keeping Centers Super Simple


Hi there. I have not blogged in a long time but I am begging for forgiveness. I am trying to wrap my head around a new classroom structure known as staggered day. This might not seem like a big deal but for 25+ years I have worked with a partner. So now I am totally on my own and have to rethink how to set up for this. It took me a long time to figure out a functional room environment down to where to put my tables and how to set up my centers. I struggled and kept changing it up until some of my friends came in and tossed half my furniture out the door and reconfigured my room. Thank goodness they took pity on me! Without another adult in the room I had to change up my lesson plans and plan activities in a very different manner. Centers could not be monitored by another adult and we are not given aides. With that being said I had to fly solo and figure it out. 
I realized that my centers would really need to be super simple or they would crash and burn which would be a total disaster. I also saw from my roster that I had a roomful of boys that needed to be more physically active before I hit them with the real work of kindergarten. So I want to share some of the ideas I came up...

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Pirates! (Set the Stage to Engage)

Did you know that National Talk Like a Pirate Day is this Monday, September 19th? I've got you covered with this Set the Stage to Engage unit all about PIRATES!!! This unit is also perfect for kicking off the year with a pirate theme, teaching -ar, or it can be used as an End of the Year celebration. This unit is packed full of literacy, math, and science fun.







Here are some pictures that Holly Ehle took of this pirate unit in action:


First, we "flip" the classroom so it looks like our students are going on a real pirate adventure. This increases student engagement because they are automatically excited to learn and participate in the lessons.

Next, we make costumes.  These are super easy and super cheap! We have all of the directions and patterns in our pirate unit. 

 I think this picture shows the high levels of engagement going on. As students are working on their math, STEM projects, writing assignments, etc. they are focused and excited about what they are learning. 


We played a fun Walk the Plank game to review some of things we've learned.  SO FUN!  {All of the pieces for this game are included in our unit}


And look how cute the pirate glyphs turned out!

Here's another pic of...

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Case of the Missing Cookies: A Cookie Detective Unit


I am happy to report that I just started my second week of school with students and I have the cutest group of kids to love on each day. It's so great to be back in the classroom this year! I will share more about my new classroom later, but today I wanted to share the fun unit that I did with my students last week.

As you probably know, student engagement is very important to me. In today's world, getting students excited about learning is the key to success and motivation in the classroom. I am happy to say that I have teamed up with Holly from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connection to bring you a series of engaging lessons that we have named: Set the Stage to Engage. 



Last week, Holly and I were both able to put our Cookie Detective unit to good use. We transformed our classrooms into Detective Agency Headquarters and prepared for a full day of activities and learning for our students. 


Very Bright Students (VBS) Detective Agency Headquarters



Who took the cookies from the cookie jar? It looks like they left behind a finger print! Join our Very Bright Student Detective Agency as we solve the case! 



Our student detectives found math problems written on balloons. Once they solved the...

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Back to School Bash GRAND PRIZE!

The Back to School Bash 2016 has been so much fun! Thank you to everyone who joined us this year. BUT...it's not over yet! We have one final chance for you to win! When we say win, we mean WIN BIG! Anyone needing some updated technology for your classroom? I give you the B2S Bash Grand Prize...



Yes! This is real life!
Yes! This could be in your classroom very soon! 

But you have to enter first! Here's how you do it: 

1) Begin the insta hop by locating @stepintosecondgrade on instagram. You will want to begin with Amy so that you collect the letter tiles in order. Each blogger will link to another letter. Click on the letter and hop to the next location. As you hop...

a) follow each blogger 
b)  collect each letter

The letter tiles look like this....


2. The letters will reveal a question. (Don't worry...the letters go in order so you don't have to unscramble a thing!) 

3. Once you have figured out the question, hop on over to any of our blogs to enter the Rafflecopter to win! You will be asked to answer the instaHOP question! 

You only have 24 hours to enter, so go get your hop on! ;) 

 Yep! That simple! So have you finished your hop? 

Enter below: 


a Rafflecopter giveaway...

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