Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Fall Y'all!!

Scarecrow CVC Build A  Word

It is fall y'all!  Pumpkin patches and apple orchards.  Candy corn and pumpkin spiced lattes!  That last part would be for me, not the student! 

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the changing colors and fall decorations.  I will be breaking out these Fall Literacy Center Activities for some fall fun!  My RtI students will be using part of it and I will use other parts for my small groups.  This Scarecrow CVC Build  A Word will be fun for my first graders to get in some short vowel review.

Candy Corn Blends and Digraphs

I have one RtI student who is working on blends and digraphs and this Candy Corn activity will be great for her.  She needs practice blending the onsets and rime of words.

Apple Basket Syllable Sort and Fluency Strips

Another RtI student is working on reading words with more than one syllable and will enjoy this Apple Basket activity.  She can also work on her fluency with the fluency strips.  The apples are there to guide students across the page if needed.

Short and Long Vowel Leaf Sorting

One student has really struggled with reading cvce words so I am going to have him on this activity.  He will have the recording sheet to practice reading the words after he sorts them.

Short Vowel Blending

My first graders and next month some of my kindergartners will work on blending sounds together.  


You can click on any of the above pictures or click here to see my Happy Fall Y'all Literacy Centers.

Bright Ideas

Did you catch my post on using I Can Use... to help students get involved in their learning?  I am a part of the Bright Ideas hop and if you missed it, click here to read that post and to see the other great Bright Ideas!

Lesson Plans and Resources for RtI Reading Intervention Groups

It's been a busy time with our RtI!  Students are making progress, some in small steps and others mastering their first intervention and moving on to a new one.  They feel so good about themselves when they see that progress!  You can click the picture above to download the plans.  The resources are hyperlinked for you.   Be sure to link up your plans too!



This week will be our parent/teacher conferences.  I look forward to meeting with students and letting their parents now about their child's progress!  When are your conferences?


Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Can Posters


How many times have you taught a skill to your students and you think they have it, but then don't apply it to their work?  I know it happens with my students!  How about wanting to build metacognition in your students and make them aware of what they are learning?  I have found a great way to meet all these needs in what I call "I Can Use" posters.  This idea is not mine.  My good friend, Tammy from Forever in First, introduced me to it quite a while back.  Check out her blog if you haven't already!  




After teaching skills and students get to put them into practice, let them sign their name to the skill they used or on a Post It note.  I appreciate how this strategy forces the students to think about which strategy works best for them or works best for that particular situation.  Little things that drive us crazy like missing capitals or ending punctuation can be handled this way by handing over the responsibility to the student.  I particularly like using the I Can posters for using reading strategies.  I expect my students to learn different strategies and to know which one will work best depending on the word or situation.


My second graders have been reading informational text and how authors place text features in the text to help us understand the information.  Having them sign as to which text features they were using helped to solidify that learning.


In my first grade groups, we have been reading some fantasy stories and I don't want them to lose skills we have previously learned.  The I Can poster comes in handy to remind them to be thinking as they read and use the skills they have been taught.  Thank you, Tammy, for the great idea!  

You can use these I Can posters for so many different skills.  Our school has started a new teacher evaluation program and one of the indicators the administrators will be looking for is whether the teacher is checking for student understanding and mastery.  This is a quick and easy way for students to show understanding in a lesson by writing their name on a board or sticking a Post It note to the skill used.  

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For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting! 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

RtI Binders & Tracking Progress


How are your RtI groups progressing?  Do you look forward to this intervention time or is it a time of frustration?  I do hope it is a time you and your students enjoy and feel like progress is being made!

One of my students, even though she is in third grade, still needs the scaffolding of a sound box when breaking multisyllabic words.  She seems to have difficulty holding onto the sounds in the first syllable while putting together the sounds in the second syllable.  Using sound boxes so that it is a visual scaffold is helping her.  She is working hard to push those sounds back together into a word while holding on to all the sounds in her head.  Using paint strips is just a way to make it different and engaging.  Drawing boxes on paper is fine too.

Track Student Progress in RtI with this binder

Are you having your students track their progress in RtI?  It can be so motivating for them to see that graph line go up with the hard work they are putting in to their interventions!  

Track Student Progress in RtI with this binder

You need to keep track of the students' data for RtI too.  3-ring binders are great for this.  This binder set is for kindergarten phonemic awareness skills and letter identification/sounds.  Tracking the data you get from weekly progress monitoring helps you make decisions that drive your instruction.  


Track Student Progress in RtI with this binder

This RtI Binder is for first grade phonics skills, fluency, sight words, etc... Students keep their own binder or folder (one for boys and one for girls) and the teacher keeps one.

Track Student Progress in RtI with this binder

This is an example of what the teacher graph might look like with the goal line plotted and the weekly scores from progress monitoring plotted in too.  This student is making good progress which shows the intervention is currently working for that student.


These are my RtI Reading Intervention visual plans for this week.  The students have off school on Monday while the teachers plan and meet together. We are learning about the new teacher evaluation system that our district is moving towards.  If you click the picture or click here, you can download the plan with the pictures hyperlinked to the resources.  


Sunday, October 5, 2014

RtI & Monsters

Hide the Monster Sight Word Game

RtI has begun and is off to a great start at our school.  I have grouped students to be pulled into small groups out of the classroom during our building wide RtI time.  We are fortunate to have 30 minutes built into our schedule for RtI.  

One of my Tier II groups needs work building automaticity with their sight words.  One of the ways to do that is with a game we call Hide the Monster.  Do not underestimate the power of engagement!  They cannot wait to play this game!  Word cards are placed in a pocket chart, facing out.  I hide 2 monsters behind the words.  The student chooses a word to read, I lift the card if the word is read correctly, and we see if a monster is hiding back there!  Can I say MOTIVATING to find those monsters?  I have shared this game before, but it is worth another mention as it is an easy game to prep and play.


Visual Lesson Plans for RtI Reading Intervention Groups

Here are my RtI Reading Intervention Visual Plans for the week.  One of my groups has students where most of them are working on different skills than the others in the group.  It can be a challenge to manage, but we get it done by spending a few minutes on each skill.  Also, you can have one student get started on an activity while you work with the others.  You just have to find a rhythm and what works for you.  Click here or the picture above to download the plans and access the links to the resources.  There is a FREEBIE linked in the plans for you!


One of the resources, Dolch Pre-Primer Sight Words, is something that I use frequently on our iPads.  To be able to use the resource on our iPads and have it formatted correctly, I downloaded it to Dropbox and then into SlideShark.  SlideShark app formats the PowerPoint slides so they can be seen and swiped correctly.  It is very to use!  If you are not using Dropbox for free storage, you should be!  Click here to sign up!

Link up your lessons for the week!




Sunday, September 28, 2014

And Now I Know My ABCs! Freebie too!


Teaching ABCs to students

My kinder kids are singing songs, sorting letters, digging in rice, and in general having lots of fun trying to learn their letters and sounds!  Might sound easy and it IS easy for some to pick up this learning.  Not so much for others.  So we do all kinds of different activities in an effort to make it fun and to get those letters to stick!  Get ready for picture overload!  I am a visual person, so I thought if you see pictures rather than just descriptions it would help you to see what we do to learn our letters!

I Am A Letter Expert!  ABC Activity

One activity my kids cannot wait for their turn to do is the Letter Expert!  It does something for their little egos to be called the expert at something.  I put the letters of their name in a bucket, plus a few extra.  Other students take their turn drawing out a letter while the expert sits up by the easel in a special chair.  The child drawing out a letter tells the "Letter Expert" the name of the letter and the "Letter Expert" gets to tell them if they are correct or help them with the right letter name if they are not.  Then the letters are sorted as to whether they are in the Letter Expert's name or not.

Letter Arc Activity

Another good ABC activity is the Letter Arc.  Read ABC books and students come up to find the letter on the arc.  You can do it by matching the letter or finding the capital or lower case letter match.

ABC Magnetic iPad app

During small group reading time at the tables, you can use ABC Magnetic app to review letters you have taught.  Line the letters across the top.  Students pull down a letter as you call it out.  You can have the student say the name of the letter as they pull it down or the sound it makes.  Then they do the same as they put the letter back up at the top.


This is an ABC Letter freebie for you!  


I have used these letter cards to do letter races!  I place a few on the wipe off easel and call out a letter.  The student who's turn it is gets to race up to the easel and see how quickly they can find the correct letter.  Great way to get rid of the wiggles too!  Click here or on the picture to grab it!  You can also tape the cards to your door frame so students must read a letter as they enter or exit your classroom. 


Cookie sheets and rice boxes are just too much fun!  The kids love, love getting to do these center activities!  They have done a great job not scattering the rice too much too.  I have found that putting the rice box on an unused cookie sheet helps to contain the rice.  Here capitals were matched to capitals.


This one shows how you can dig out capitals to match to the lower case.  I have students of all different levels, so it is important for me to have differentiation of my activities to match where each of my students are.  If I am giving them an activity that is too hard they get frustrated.  And if it is too easy then they are not moving forward with their learning.


Highlighters and magnifying glasses are the highlights of this activity.  Kids think that is just pretty special!!  For some of my students just keeping them engaged in different ways is the key to getting them to be able to learn those letters.


Once students learn their letters pretty solidly, they are ready to build some fluency with them.  Pointers, glasses, and microphones help students stay interested and having fun!


I really like having my students work on building ABC order with their letters.  These small letter strips and recording sheets do just that.






Just click any of the pictures to see my Rice Box and Cookie Sheet ABC Letter Center Pack!  


These letter puzzles are another way to learn capitals and lower case matches.  I have 2 different kinds to differentiate for the students.  One has matching picture cues to help them match up the letters if they need that extra help.


The letter puzzles are included in this Learning My ABCs pack.  Click here to see it.


This activity-Spin, Say & Write- has also been a big help this year!  And the whole key to that is teaching students that they MUST say the letter or picture EVERY single time they spin.  It won't help if they just write it down without knowing what they are writing.  

I hope these activities help you if you were needing more ideas for teaching your little ones their ABCs!



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Interactive Notebook Organization & Management

How to organize and manage interactive notebook materials

Do you use Interactive Notebooks with your students?  I use them with my reading groups and LOVE them.  With using them came needing to find a way to organize the materials and manage these materials in an efficient and easy way.

How to organize and manage interactive notebook materials

After putting the notebooks together, I would find other comprehension pages that I wanted to include or we would need more copies of what was already in it.  The easiest way for me is to have extra copies on hand in this plastic file box.  It's already for hanging file folders.  Just label and file!  I got the plastic file box from Walmart.

How to organize and manage interactive notebook materials

We use a lot of the blank framed pages so I keep extra copies.  As students use their pages and need more, they can get them out of the file box.  That part they can manage themselves!

How to organize and manage interactive notebook materials

I like to use the different colored hanging file folders.  

How to organize and manage interactive notebook materials

The copies are inside.  You can mark the very last one with a sticky note labeled Master copy.  Or even just placing that sticky note on that last copy lets students know not to use it.

How to organize and manage interactive notebook materials

I also like to keep our notebooks in baskets on a shelf.  Helps keep them looking a bit nicer and the pages from being torn out.  

I hope this tip on organization and management of interactive reader's notebooks will help you manage your notebooks too!  It is a part of our monthly Bright Ideas!  


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For more Bright Ideas, take a look at the link-up below.  I am sure you will find lots more great ways to help you out in your classroom!