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Roll the Dice Blending

Do your students have trouble blending sounds?  Several of mine do have trouble blending the sounds to make a CvC word.  Sometimes people email me and ask me how to get students to be able to do this.

This is a one way for students to get some practice blending sounds.  I use the Smartboard and pull up the interactive dice.  There is one dice that is already preloaded with vowels.  Then I add 2 more and change the words on it to beginning sounds and ending sounds.

When you touch the dice, they spin.  The kids love that of course.  Then we make the sounds for each dice and then blend them together.  It is easier for the students to blend it if we use a sing-song type voice and if they can recall the sounds quickly-  /m/  /u/  /g/.

I have some older students that need some help remembering the short e rule so I also use these dice for that too.

For each word we blend, we decide if it is a real or nonsense word.  You almost can't get away from having nonsense words come up.  Then we record these words on our recording sheet.

roll the dice to blend the sounds

roll the dice to blend sounds

For my students that really struggle with this skill, I have them make the sounds for each letter as they write it:  what sound do you say for t?  what sound do you say for a?  what sound do you say for n?  Now run your finger under the word as you read it!  It is always important that they read the word as a whole and not just in pieces.  

Here is a recording sheet for you if you can use it.  Hope this idea of blending sounds helps your students!

onset and rime blending to help students read and write words

Have you discovered these Differentiated Instruction Cubes?  Love, love them!!  I use them with my Roll, Blend, & Write It cards to give students more practice with blending sounds together.  These are onset & rime cards.

blending onset and rimes activity to read and write words

The cubes are large and soft so when they are tossed they are quiet!  They are easy to use in centers or small group reading.

CVC blending activity

These are the same cubes but I am using my CVC cards for this center.  

cvc blending activity

You can click on the pictures to be taken to these items.  My students are going to be getting in a lot of fun blending practice!

Creating Accountable Talk

Creating Accountable Talk

As I prepare myself and move towards preparing my students for the common core standards, I think about how to "up my game" as a teacher.  Really, this is no different than any other new school year right?  Don't most of us as teachers just naturally try to "up our game" each year?  I know I am always striving to be better and trying to tweak how I do things to better my methods for my students.  So Common Core just adds to what comes naturally to us!

One of my goals this year is to increase my students' accountable talk.  My students, mostly struggling readers, find it difficult a lot of times having a deep discussion.  This comes from several reasons:  they sometimes lack confidence in their ideas and that they are "right", they are sometimes shy, they have not been held accountable to do it in their classroom so they haven't practiced it, they have fallen into learned helplessness- if I don't answer someone else will, etc... 

The Reading Writing Project will help me with this goal.  Have you ever visited this site?  You need to visit there and take a look around!  It has a wealth of information for you.  I am only going to talk about one part today- videos.  I don't know about you, but I LOVE good professional development.  But schools don't have a lot in their budgets for that, so that is where The Reading Writing Project comes in.  They have a number of different videos for you to choose from to watch for FREE!  And they are short, because teachers don't have a lot of time!

The Ensuing Accountable Talk Discussion of Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! (K-2) from TC Reading and Writing Project on Vimeo.

This video shows a teacher in the middle of teaching her young students to be accountable in their discussion about a book, Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!  She reminds them to not just give an opinion or connection to self, but to dig deeper- using more details and better explanations using examples from the text.  

I used this teacher's small chart to create a bigger anchor chart for Deeper Discussions.

creating accountable talk

I am hoping using (not just displaying) this chart will help my students as they grow as conversationalists and deeper thinkers about the texts we read!  I am determined not to hear so much blank air space as we discuss our texts this year!

Letter, Words, & Sentences

My little kindergartners will be starting with me next week.  I have all their assessments completed and am about ready to begin!  

It is exciting to get to work with kindergartners.  Their enthusiasm and energy is boundless.  They can just soak up everything and their comments are the sweetest!

As I begin to prepare having groups next week, I am thinking about what this particular group will need.  As always, it takes some little ones a bit longer to understand the difference between letters, words, and sentences.  Even when these are printed on separate cards, some are just stumped.  So that is when it is time to get out our center to get in some more practice.

I just use chart paper and ribbon for my chart in the center.  I like to use ribbon rather than tapes.  It is so much easier to use.  Put a little glue on the ends, glue down the the headers and send it through the laminator.  

Here is the center activity and the box to hold the letters, words, and sentences.  This type of sort can be so helpful to students that need to learn the differences between the three.  

If you don't want to make your own, click any picture or click here and you can find mine!

Happy Friday!!

Take A Peek: Classroom Tour!

classroom door

It is officially back to school time!  We went back last week.  What fun it is to start back and see all those sweet children coming back with new backpacks, shoes, and clothes.   This is my entry to my classroom.  My name sign is hand painted from a previous parent.  It says in the corner I love to read!  Perfect for me!

Reading Focus Wall

This is my reading focus wall area this year.  I want students to be focused on the comprehension skills we cover.  I am excited about this new wall!

Classroom Library

These are my classroom library shelves.  Students get to check out books here.  I have a lot of books.  I am thinking I am in some serious need of some new baskets!

pom poms

 I love having the pom poms!  They add a nice pop of color.  Behind them is my shelf of teaching materials.  I keep all my sets of books in baskets there.  Plus my assessing materials- DRA and IRI.  

Reading Corner

This would be our reading corner.  The kids LOVE those rocker chairs!! We have had to set up a schedule to rotate who gets to sit in them.  You can also see my library checkout system.  

Reading Areas with wipe off tables

These two tables are critical to my teaching.  This is where we do our group work and reading of our books.  The tables are wipe-off tables.  The students love to be able to write on the tables!

Reader's Notebooks and Familiar Read Baskets

I have lots going on at this shelf.  My word choice anchor charts are above it.  And no, those are not real dollar bills!  My second graders and third graders reading notebooks are kept here because they take up a bit of room.  I keep the familiar read baskets on the bottom shelf.  The rest is an assortment of materials we use each day.

This is my sink area.  I have a mirror there for quick checks.  It is amazing how you can go through a day and be so busy that you have no idea your hair was such a mess!  My other name sign hangs here.  It was a gift from my friend, Tammy at Forever in First.  I love it!


This is a shot from the back of my room looking towards my SmartBoard.  Our PTO bought us new speakers for them this year.  Yay!  I have fans hanging from the ceiling in this area.

Teacher's Desk

This is my teacher's desk.  It looks so nice and neat right now!  That won't last long.  I don't like it messy, but I do get a couple of piles from all the paperwork in my job!

Read Aloud Area

This is where I do the majority of my read alouds and comprehension skills.  The students sit on the carpet while I use the pocket chart or easel to teach the comprehension skills that we will be working on.

Word Wall

This area will be my word wall.  It sits in front of the wipe off tables.  I will be blogging at another time about using a word wall and activities to do with it. 

I hope you enjoyed my classroom tour!  I love to take peeks into other teacher's classrooms to see how their areas are set up and how they do things in their room.  I wish you all a wonderful school year!!

Link up with Flying High In First Grade!

Link up with Courtney's Show Off Your Space Linky!  

Link up with Brigid's Classroom Tour Linky!  

Best Of For Back To School

Are you ready for Back to School???  I went back this week!   It was a fun, but very busy week.  Love seeing all those sweet, little faces coming back down shiny hallways to their new rooms.

Do you have everything you need for your year?  TpT is having a huge sale!  I cannot wait- it will be so much!  You can get your items at 28% off so you might want to start filling your cart now!

Christina, over at Bainbridge and Bunting, is having such a fun linky to help you with your Back to School shopping!!  It is the Best of & Most Like to... just like in high school. 

My Teacher's Pet would have to be one of my newest creations:  Reading Comprehension Posters.  I will be using these on my Reading Focus Wall.  They come with inserts for students to glue into their reading notebooks.

My Most Likely to Help Your Students Succeed would have to be my new bundle.  I have a bunch of phonemic awareness activities to go with my Kindergarten Assessment Data Binder.  I had a request to bundle them together so people could get it all in one purchase.  You requested and I listened!  The 5 phonemic awareness activities (which also include the assessments!!) and a concepts of print assessment PLUS the Kindergarten Assessment Data Binder are all bundled together for you.  If you get the bundle instead of purchasing individually, you are saving!  It is like getting one of the activities for free!

Best Couple for me would be my Learning My ABCs and Search and Sort:  Reading the Room ABCs.  Learning My ABCs is differentiated center activities for learning to match capitals with their lower case partners and for using the path of movement to write the letters correctly.  My Search and Sort is also for ABCs and the students search the room and decide how to sort the letters.  There are 14 different sorts included!  I have a few twists on my Search and Sorts though.  I don't like for students to just copy down the letters they find.  I want them to sort them and then read them to someone so we know they know what they are writing.  Also, the students remove the cards from the wall and the teacher calls out letters.  When the letters the student pulled off the wall is called they bring it to you.  Just another way to assess if the students really know the letters they are working with- not just copying them down!

And now just for fun, here is one of my senior pictures!  I don't remember if I got any Best of or Most Likely to...  It was fun digging through old photos though!

Don't forget as you shop on Sunday and on Monday to use the code to maximize your savings to the fullest!  It is easy to forget to type that in.  Thank you Michelle at The 3am Teacher for the button!!  Click any picture to go to the item or click here to go to my store.  Happy shopping!!

And Now I Know My ABCs

ABC activities

We begin school this week!  I've been busy in my room decorating and trying to make it look inviting and fun for the students.  As I am working I have been thinking of my little kinders that will be coming to me soon.  

What will they know already?  How much of the ABCs will they need help with?  Will they know how to write their name?  

So I am trying to get my mind geared with activities that will help these little guys on their way to learning the alphabet and to recognize and write their names.  

Letter Experts

Learning the letters in our name

This is a favorite activity for my kinders.  They are the Letter Expert for the day.  I put the letters from their name plus a few extra into a basket.  They get to sit in a special chair and hold the basket for their friends to pull letters out of.  The student tells the Letter Expert the name of the letter they drew out and if they think it is in the Letter Expert's name or not.  The Letter Expert tells the student if they are correct or not.  They also tell the student the name of the letter if the student doesn't know the name of it.  They love this game!

Letter Sorts

sorting letters according to straight, curved or both

I like letter sorts for my students.  They must pay attention to the formation of the letters- are the letters made from straight lines, curved lines, or both? It really helps student to pay attention to the attributes of the letters.

Rice Box Activity

hide letters in rice for students to find and match to their name or to lower case letters

A definite favorite is the Rice Box!  There are many ways to use this:  hide the letters in their name and they must match the letters up to the ones on their nameplate, find and match lower case to capital letters, and you can even use numbers in different ways.  You can fill the box with rice, sand, beans, pom poms, etc... I would place the box on a cookie sheet to help contain the rice or other materials to help with clean up!

How Many Letters in My Name?

learning my abcs

Kids love anything to do with their own name so this is a fun activity for them.  They find their name card and place it in the chart.  Then count the letters and place the number card in the chart.  Then they can use a pointer to "read" the chart.

ABC Chart

abc chart

We also read our ABC chart every day...every day!  Forwards, backwards, across, down, vowels only, etc...  

Matching Capitals/Lower Case Letters

letter activities

14 Different Ways to Sort the ABCs

search and sort read the room activity

4 Different Letter Sorts
letter sorts

Learning Your Name!

letter sorts and name books

I hope you enjoy your Sunday!  Click the pictures above to see these products in my store.  

Meet the Teacher Night

Do you have a Meet the Teacher Night at your school?  We do, but we call it Orientation Night.  It is a fun night with lots of freshly scrubbed, slightly nervous children wandering the halls with their parents looking to see which teacher they got this year.  

I love this night of meeting the students and getting to chat with the parents in a more casual atmosphere than on parent/teacher conferences.  I guess it is the air of anticipation and excitement by everyone to get the year off to a great start!

There are so many great ideas out there by some wonderful teachers.  This is a collection of some of those ideas.  Click the pictures to be taken to the original source of the ideas.

Stephanie at Somewhat Simple has this really nice student gift you could leave students on their desk.  I like it because it is simple and not overly done. This cute welcome wouldn't take long to prepare and let's just admit that we are over stretched in those days leading up to Meet the Teacher Night!

Are you looking for some new Parent Communication Forms?  My Not So Elementary Life has a packet of them for you for FREE!  Click the picture to grab them.  

How many of you like to use parent volunteers for your room?  Parents some times like to come in to work and some like to work from home or only volunteer for specific jobs.  This packet has it all organized and ready to send out for you.  Annie from Kindergarten at Heart is offering this great packet for FREE!  Click her picture to grab this one!

I am a visual person so I really appreciate Mrs. T's  S is for Second Grade post about how she organizes her parent communication binder.  She has several pictures outlining how she sets it up so that she has documentation for all of the communication she makes with parents.  Click her picture to see what it is all about!

Speaking of parent communication, do you send home weekly progress reports?  Amber from Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher has a super cute weekly progress report form that you can grab for FREE by clicking on the picture above.

This is one of my all time favorites that I have seen!  We spend so much time as teachers getting to know our students and their families that we sometimes forget that they would like to get to know us a little too!  This is a cute and simple board that would not take you long to put together.  I think the students and families would really enjoy seeing this and getting to know you a bit better.  It would be fun to put a picture of yourself on there from when you were in the grade you teach now.  I want to do this!

I get to have Meet the Teacher Night on Monday.  I cannot wait.  It is always so much fun!  Happy Friday!

Before I forget, many of you have been interested in my phonemic awareness packets.  I want to remind you that you can get them in a bundle rather than getting each one separately.  If you do, the bundle saves you and is like getting one packet free!

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