Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nonfiction Text Features

Hello again!  I am very glad that it is my turn once again to blog at TBR!  Summer is going by way to fast and I would love for it to slow down a little:)  I don't know about the rest of you............

Today I decided to blog about nonfiction text features because I enjoy teaching nonfiction.  I love learning along with my kiddos about topics that interest them.  There is nothing more fun than kiddos pumped up about reading!!!

I am really into using music to teach concepts and I try to use motions whenever possible as well.  I came up with this little tune to reinforce text features last year.  Since I was teaching this concept during the holiday season I used the tune of Deck the HallsClick here to download a copy of the song:)

Nonfiction books are informational
Na Na Na Na Na
We read them to find facts
Na Na Na Na Na
Use text features to find information
Na Na Na Na Na
Table of contents, headings, and index
Na Na Na Na Na
Bold face words, diagrams, captions
Na Na Na Na Na
Glossary, maps, photographs, and labels
Na Na Na Na Na
Use text features to find information
Na Na Na Na Na

I am also really into using visual representation to reinforce the concepts.   I made cards to visually represent the text features.  That way I could use the cards to not only introduce the feature but review it later. 

 Some of my favorite books to use when teaching nonfiction are :


National Geographic Readers: Bats

Two topics that I like to teach are bats and penguins but that is not why I like these books.  I love these books because they show the text feature examples very clearly.  I wish that I could show you a peek at the inside but I am unable to at the moment.  So click the covers of the books to take a peek at the text features using the Amazon Peek inside this book feature if you are interested in checking them out.

Please feel free to share how you teach nonfiction text features &
what books you use to teach them.  I would love to know:)

Also don't forget to follow Teaching Blog Round Up
 on BlogLovin' if you have not already.

Until next time!

The Phonics Phenomenon

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Magic Square Puzzles {with FREEBIES}

Those of you who follow me over at my blog know I'm obsessed with Magic Squares. Basically they are nine or sixteen piece puzzles that students use to practice a variety of skills. This picture might do it more justice than I can. 

Still not sure you get it?
Click here or on the picture above for a more thorough explanation!

I have currently have over 50 Magic Square products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but today I want to highlight a few of the great freebies you can get! Summer is a great time to print, laminate, and cut out all of these bad boys. I have sets that I've been using for 3-4 years already, and they are holding up very well. So let's get to it... Simply click on whichever ones interest you to download them from my TpT store for FREE!

Short and sweet today. I know it's summer and we all have a thousand things on our to-do lists! Hopefully this is a fun activity that will engage your students when you go back to work this fall.

Happy Teaching!


Friday, June 28, 2013

Bloglovin' and U-turns

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Hi guys, it is Teresa from Fun in K/1 and Teaching Blog Roundup is my baby!

I am sure everyone is aware of the Google Reader closing up shop July 1st.  You might be wondering how will I follow my favorite blogs?  Or even how will people follow me now?  Bloglovin' is the answer!

One of our fabulous authors, Brenda at You Might be a First Grader, has a great post explaining Bloglovin' a little more.  She actually turned me on to it and I'm lovin' it!  I downloaded the app on my iPad and it makes blog stalking so much easier.  I have also added to my blog, Fun in K/1, and have added a few new followers because of it.  So make sure you keep up with all of the fabulous things happening here at Teaching Blog Roundup!

Speaking of keeping up with all of the fabulous things going on at Teaching Blog Roundup, make sure you are following us on our shared Teaching Blog Roundup Pinterest Board and Facebook.  All of our amazing authors post once a month.  Their posts are more than just a quick freebie, they are informational.  Another benefit of keeping up with the TBR blog is seeing what our authors are up to on their individual blogs.

I am still trying to find all of this time I was suppose to have this summer.  I wanted to do so much with my blogs and work on all of these ideas floating around in my noggin.  I still have not found much of that time.  (If you find it, please send it my way!)

I did manage to finish one little thing on my summer to do list.  Next year, I plan to do a Lego or building bricks theme in my classroom.  I am sooooo excited.  I made this set to use for my behavior chart.  You can get it here in my TpT store.

I have tried many things over the past, but have found the "green, yellow, red" or "happy, straight, sad" works very well for me and my students.  I have added two little twists.  The first is a WOW card.  Each student starts the day on "happy face" and if they go above and beyond they can earn a WOW card.  I also use a "U-turn" card.  Once a child moves to yellow or red, I don't let them move back up.  I do this mainly because as a parent, I want to know if my child is not behaving at school.  However, I don't want the students to just give up for the day either.  (My youngest daughter would totally do this!)  So if they turn their behavior around during the day, they can earn a U-turn.  I note this in their planner by making a note of the straight or sad face and the behavior that led to this.  I also draw a U-turn to let the parents know that their child turned their behavior around. 

I hope you are all having a sensational summer and fabulous Friday! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Teaching Those All Important Sight Words

Sight words are SO SO important.  If kiddos know their sight words, then it frees up their brain to work on decoding the words that they don't know.  I wanted to share with you a few ways that I teach sight words in my classroom.

   At my school, our sight word list is kind of a combination of several different lists.  We've taken Dolch words, the words recommended by our reading series, trick words from Wilson Fundations, and any other high frequency words that we felt were important for kindergarteners to know and developed a list of almost 180 sight words that we teach throughout the year.  That may seem like a lot of words for Kindergarteners, but when I did my year end assessments all of my students but one new over 80% of those words and many of them knew 95% or more of the words!

We typically introduce 3 new words each week and I have several activities that we do each week to help learn those. 

1.  Snap Cards by Child 1st Publications
306 SnapWords Teaching Cards
A few years ago, my principal purchased these cards for each Kindergarten classroom.  These cards are fabulous!  (No, I'm not getting compensation for recommending this product!)  They are pricy, I won't lie to you about that, but it's a one time purchase that you would use for years.  The cards have a picture incorporating the word on one side of them and on the back is the word and a phrase and motion to help remember the word.   For example, see the word 'help' above?  It looks like the word is drowning.  The saying is "Help! Help!" and the motion is to wave your hands in the air.  The word 'look' is written to look like the o's are eyes and the saying is "Look at that!" and you make your eyes really big!  The kids LOVE them!  I have a SMARTboard file with the cards, too, so we go through them and do the motions every morning as part of our calendar routine.  The idea is that when a student gets hung up on one of our sight words while they are reading, either I or another student can give them the hand signal and the word pops into their head.  It works, people!  Even if you don't want to purchase the cards, you could have your students help you come up with your own phrases and motions as you introduce your sight words.  It just gives them another "hook" to hang that word on in their little brains!

2.  High Five Sight Words
A colleague introduced this idea to me, and I think it's fantastic.  We hang our sight words for the week right next to our classroom door with a hand beside them.  Every time a student leaves the room, they have to "high five" the hands and say their sight words.  We talk about how you have to look at someone when you high five them or you will miss so they must put their eyes on the word as they say it and high five the hand or they will "miss" learning the word.  I didn't have a picture so here's my son kindly doing a re-enactment on our wall at home.

  Every time they use the restroom, go to the drinking fountain, go to lunch, recess, specials, or leave for home, they are reading those three words.  That's lots of practice that takes NO instructional time!  This is available HERE in my TpT store if you're interested!

3.  Stamping Sight Words
My kiddos love to use the stamps.  I felt like it was pretty unstructured and I wasn't sure how valuable it was until I found this fabulous product from Mrs. Wills. I was going to insert a picture of it here, but every time I tried it was either tiny or blurry so you'll just have to head over to her TpT store to check it out! I love that it is editable so I can put in our words for each week, plus a couple of review words that they may be struggling with.  I've also used it for short vowel work because of the word families, but that's a different post! 


4.  Magnetic Word Wall
My word wall cards are magnetic.  Nothing fancy, I just cut magnet strips and stuck on the back of them.  That way, my kids can go up to the word wall, pull off the card and take it to their writing area to copy if they need to.  Then they just stick it back up where it goes.  Sounds scary, doesn't it??  Kids messing with our beautiful word walls??  GASP!!  But they really are good with this.  They take pride in using it and I stress that they have to use it properly.  I rarely have to move words around because they aren't under the right letter.  More often, I have to turn one over that got put back up upside down!  I found that kids were recognizing their sight words when they were reading, but weren't spelling them correctly in their writing.  This magnetic word wall has really helped with that. And obviously, this is only possible if you have a magnetic white board.  If not, maybe Velcro? Sorry, no picture, because it was UGLY last year!  I just had the words written on index cards and stuck up there.  Definitely not cute.  Next year I'm going to be using these.

You can find them in my TpT store here or there is another rainbow version here.  Best part, they are editable so you can add your own words!

5.  Highlight, highlight, highlight!
Pretty self explanatory!  We highlight our sight words ALL THE TIME!  Either by just circling them, coloring them with yellow crayons, using highlight tape in big books, or using actual highlighters!  I'm sure you do that, too, but I thought I should throw it in here at the end because I think it's important!  The more exposure to those words and chances to find them and read them, the more automatic they become for the kiddos!

Wow!  Long post!  I hope you found something you can use in your classroom!

Oh, and one more thing!  I recently hit 100 followers and I put together a pretty awesome giveaway if I do say so myself!  You can find it HERE!


Monday, June 24, 2013

We All Need Some Quiet Now & Again!

Hi Everyone! I am SO grateful that it's officially summer! The weather's warmer, responsibilities are a little more relaxed & I have so much more time to catch up on life and tackle my to-do list!

One thing I successfully crossed off my list so far was creating a Facebook page for my blog! I'm really have a page to share quick updates...and of course some freebies! 

Last week, I participated in Ashley Reed's fun 10 Pin Linky.  The idea is to share your top 10 pins from Pinterest related to the the week's topic.  Classroom Management was last week's theme.  Through this linky I found even more ideas to add to my "must try/buy/make" list! Fortunately, summer has rewarded me with extra time to create these goodies! 

I saw the Noise-o-Meter on a couple of different posts and thought I'd try to make my own!  I'm from the school that First Graders need socialize while they work.  However, let's be realistic...every teacher needs some peace and quiet occasionally! 

Here's my version of the Noise Meter. 
{Please excuse this horrible picture - it's on the floor of my dining room!}
To assemble, simply print, cut out and mount onto construction paper. {When I return to school in the Fall, I'll laminate mine for durability...and because I'm obsessed with laminating!}

You can snag this freebie by becoming a Facebook Fan!  

Make sure to check out what else I plan to make this summer and try out in my classroom!

Click on the button below if you'd like to follow along with Lucky to Be on First on Bloglovin'
Have a fabulous month!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Student Information (Freebie)

Hello there!  Renee here from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  Summer is here in my neck of the woods and you would think that school would be the last thing on my mind, but I feel like I am always thinking of things I can do.  One of the things I wanted to re-do this summer was a couple of paperwork items I send home for parent the first week of school.  Our office gives me a copy of each child's student info sheet, but honestly it always has tons of info I don't need.  So, I make up a simple one for the parent's to fill out.  I keep this one in my teacher binder, so I always have the contact info nearby.

In addition to the student contact info, I love to get some information about the child from the parents point of view.  I really enjoy reading their responses and often revisit their concerns during conference time.  If you would like copies of these, click on the picture above or below.

What do you do send home for parents to fill our the first week of school?  I would love to hear your ideas.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

End of the Year

Hi all!! How are you doing?? It's the 20th of June, so Laura Love to Teach is here and ready to post some great stuff for you! It's funny because today is the last day of school for me... I am very excited for summer, but I am very sad to leave behind my kiddos.  I love them dearly and they will be very missed.

This is actually "Take two" on my blog post because unfortunately, blogger does not seem to be working for me tonight :( So I am sorry if this post is not as neatly laid out as usual with large spaces.. I will do my best ;)

I wanted to share with you a FREEBIE [from my lovely friend Wild from Teaching] that I used to give my parents this year... I absolutely loved it, and since I didn't have colored ink to print them out, I printed on cardstock and attached a flower :) See below for my print out and flower... the flowers come in bunches at the dollar store and then I just had to cut them and tape them to the cardstock (be careful of the wire on the fake flowers!

I also wanted to share with you an activity that I ALWAYS do at the end of every year... shaving cream learning and cleaning!! I learned this trick a while back, and it cleans the desks and the kids have a ball with it!

I leave you with a poem that I made from many different poems (and a little bit of creativity from myself) that I read at my End of the Year Assembly for my kids... I wanted to share it with you all.  If you are interested in something like this, I can customize it for you any time :)
Have a wonderful day!!

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope to talk to you all soon :) Don't forget to tell your bloggy friends about Teaching Blog Round Up.  See you next time :) :)