Friday, August 30, 2013

Vocabulary Tiers

Hello blogging world!  I feel like I have been drowning since school started.  I have had no inspiration to blog:(  But luckily my post for Teaching Blog Round Up has pushed me to get back on the horse.

As an intervention specialist, I teach grades K-3.  In Ohio, we have the 3rd grade reading achievement assessment peeking around the corner.  Students take the test twice in 3rd grade.  Once in the fall and then again in the spring.  Vocabulary instruction is a big part of test preparation.

Vocabulary is an essential component for students of all grade levels.  Students need to expand their vocabularies to enhance their overall understanding of all academic areas.  Students need to continually add to their "word bank" to increase their reading fluency, comprehension, and writing.

Students encounter a wide variety of words on a daily basis.  The words that they encounter can be sorted in to three different tiers.

Words in already their brain or words students already know.  Simple words that students already know like sight words, word family words, etc.  These are high frequency words.

Words that students might of heard but don't know they mean or how to use them.  These words are high frequency words and they usually have multiple meanings.  These are words that students need to "stick" in their brain.

These words pertain to specific content areas like science, social studies, math,etc.  These words are usually nonfiction words.  These words are appear infrequently in text.

To help students understand the tiers I created these cheat sheets to aide with instruction.  I was lucky enough to have one of my teaching buddies help me out with ideas on wording and form layout.

Students can draw themselves in the blank face.  Then add words that fit in the different tiers.  They can keep the forms in their reading notebooks so that they can refer to them later as needed.
I hope everyone is having a great start to the year!  Click on the picture above if you are interested in getting a copy. 

Freebie Fridays

Until next time!
The Phonics Phenomenon

Thursday, August 29, 2013

FREE Chalkboard Themed Labels

Back to school time has been crazy busy, but it's been going very well so far! I hope you can say the same about your year!

I'm going to keep this super short, but I did want to share a couple new freebies I've had on my blog with all of you. Click on either picture below to go get your free copy!

These would work well on word walls, to label desks/books/lockers/cubbies, and so many other things! Mine are on student desks and our leveled readers. 

These are the library book labels I used this year. I am absolutely in love with them!

I hope these are helpful to you!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kindergarten Phase-In

It's my turn to blog over here at Teaching Blog Round Up again!  If you haven't met me yet, I'm Lisa from Always an Adventure in Kindergarten.

 Always An Adventure
And this is my new mini me!  This has nothing to do with my blog post, but it's SO cute that I just have to show it off!
That's me in my favorite Ohio State jersey and my Buckeye beads.  Football season kicks off this weekend and I can't wait!  GO BUCKS!
And thanks to my blogging buddy over at Teaching in the Tongass for creating my awesome mini!
OK, now for the real reason you're here--

I'm in the midst of my first full week of school.  We started on Tuesday last week, but in Kindergarten in my district, we do what we call phase-in.  I mentioned it on my Facebook page the other day and someone suggested I blog about it!  I guess we all get so caught up in the way we do things that we don't realize that everyone may do things differently!

Here's what we do.  Like I said, school started for us on Tuesday.  Because we do phase-in, only a third of my class (about 6 students) came that day.  We ask that parents bring them at 9:15am (school typically starts at (9:00am) and wait with them in the cafeteria.  Our principal introduces himself and then sends them up to their classrooms.  As the children come into my room, I greet them, direct them to find their hooks and hang up their backpacks.  I direct the parents to their child's seat where there is a folder FULL of papers waiting for them and ask that they begin filling out Emergency Medical Forms and Transportation forms.  Meanwhile, I can show the kids how they choose their lunch and milk each day.  Then I direct them to the carpet area where I've laid out a big floor puzzle and ask them to work together to see if they can put it together.  This gives me a minute to take lunch count and see if any of the adults have any questions I can answer quickly. 

After we've worked together to complete the puzzle, I read them Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten.  I love this book for the first day of kindergarten!  It really gives us a chance to talk about how they are feeling and to make connections between the kids and the classroom in the story and our classroom.
After I've spent about 30 minutes with the kids, one of our Title I reading teachers comes and gets them to take them on a tour of the school which always ends on the playground! 
While the kids are on their tour, I go over my school handbook and other important information with parents.  I really like this time because there are only a few of them there at a time and there aren't any kids.  It's informal and they can ask any questions they might have as I go through things.  The best part is that it's required that a parent stays with the kids so I have the chance to be sure each of them knows about rules, procedures, and everything else that's in my handbook.  Sadly, this is the only time I ever see some of these parents.
When the kids return, they go to lunch with their parents and then they get to show them the playground.  While the kids and parents are doing that, my team and I quickly scarf down our lunches and return to the playground.  Now it's time for the parents to say goodbye and leave the kiddos with us for the rest of the day.  I really like that we say goodbye on the playground rather than in the classroom.  It makes the separation so much easier because they are having fun playing.
In the afternoon, we have some quiet rest time while I begin some one on one assessments and begin to get a feel for what they are able to do.  We also do this coloring sheet from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business that I save for the end of the year.  I also give them time to just play and explore the room. 
Perhaps the best part is that we get to practice the dismissal routine with only 6 kids rather than trying to be sure all 20-some of them are in the right bus or pick-up line!
We repeat this phase-in for three days and then on Friday THEY ALL COME AT ONCE!  They get a little shell shocked because many of them didn't realize that there were going to be more than 6 kids in their class!
I'm a fan of this phase-in just because it's so nice to get to explain everything to parents and meet the kids in small groups.  We can explain and practice routines more in depth with the kids than if they all came all at once on the first day!  I really admire all you Kindergarten teachers that do it that way!
So, that's how my year started!  If you'd like to keep reading about my year, head over to my blog at Always an Adventure in Kindergarten!
And leave a comment telling me how your district handles the beginning of kindergarten . . .  Enquiring minds want to know!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Free Time Fun & Birthday Goody

As I'm gearing up for Back to School, I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row! One of my big projects this summer was creating the B.A.T. Book for Early Finishers!

 I've found that first grade can be tricky - kids are finishing projects & assignments at all different times. What are early finishers to do while they wait? Pull out their B.A.T. Book!

B.A.T. stands for Brain's Always Thinking! Using this book, your students can complete a variety of fun & appealing activities as they finish their work or can sneak in a few minutes of Free Time! 
For each child, you'll photocopy the pages back to back, add the cover of your choice and bind it all together! Students keep their B.A.T. Book inside their own desks so it's always ready to go! 
Each of these three {editable} covers are included!

Simple directions for each activity make it easy for students to complete on their own. Kids can track their progress in their B.A.T. Book with the Progress Page in the front of their books. 

The B.A.T. Book is filled with 90 Common Core Language Arts & Math Activities to challenge and engage your students! 

Check it out on TpT

Now, here's an aptly timed goody because today's my birthday! 

Another thing on my to do list this summer was to create a birthday goody for my kids. We have a strict no-treat rule.  At first I was sad kids wouldn't be able to bring in donuts, cookies or brownies to celebrate their birthdays.  Then, I realized that the kids really weren't bothered - it was just me missing those yummy treats! Parents have gotten really creative with erasers, smencils, bouncy balls, etc. 

To go along with the no-treat rule, I picked up some pencils and a cute bucket in the Target dollar spot.  I used this super fun birthday clipart from KPM Doodles

I made this set in the summertime when I didn't yet have my class list, so I used some fake names & birthdays! However, when I make these for my own class this weekend, I plan to print on cardstock so they won't be so see through :) 

You can snag the Editable Birthday Cupcake Toppers {here}
* I don't love that these print out just a little blurry! However, you can actually type right into the top of the cupcake! 

You can snag the blank Birthday Cupcake Toppers {here}
* These simply say Happy Birthday, with no option to personalize. 

Enjoy the goody! Make sure to head over to Lucky to Be in First to see what else is happening in my classroom! 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Class Birthdays

Renee here, from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  Is it really August already?  I started back with kids this week and I am exhausted.  Today I thought I would talk about birthdays in the classroom.  I love birthdays almost as much as kids do, but with all of the food allergies I feel like I need to be careful with treats.  I want to be able to do something fun and worthwhile for everyone.  The first thing I do before school even starts is make up a simple goodies bag for each child.  This usually consists of a fun thematic pencil and eraser, simple.  I put them in a bag and make it look cute.  Then I stash the bags away so I won't forget where there are.  I just pull a bag out for each child on their birthday, easy peasy!

Since I try to limit sweets, I also let the child bring in a "birthday book."  This is a book the child brings in to donate to the class library in honor of their birthday.  I encourage them to bring a book from their own library that they are done with.  When they bring it in, we read it and then we put a label on the inside cover honoring their donation and birthday.  The kids love this and they flock to the birthday book bin all year long.  Click below for your own book labels.  Print on paper and tape on the inside cover or print onto shipping labels.

The last thing I wanted to share was summer birthdays.  I want to make it special for those kids with summer birthdays.  So instead of trying to cram a summer birthday celebration in during the last week of school (crazy, busy week), I always celebrate them on the 100th day of school.  I never forget and it makes it special for the summer birthdays.

How do you celebrate birthdays in your class?  I would live to hear some other ideas.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pencil Cup Freebie!

Hi teacher friends! It's Erin, from Little Miss Primary :)
I hope all is well as you're getting ready for kiddos to come (or maybe they've already started!)!

Back to school has always been one of my favorite times of the year...
mostly because it meant I got brand new school supplies!!
Maybe it's a teacher thing (or just a "me" thing...haha), 
but a new pack of crayons and freshly sharpened pencils are just the bee's knees!!

Today, I want to share how I organize those pretty little pencils. 
It's really simple.
Because, sometimes, I just need simple!
If you follow my own blog, you saw this freebie {here}. If not, you're in luck!


It all began with the little red bucket...

My mom gave me these adorable little red buckets a while back (thanks, Mom!!) and I knew that they would be perfect for my pencils! I want the pencils to be easily accessible and clearly labeled.

I wanted to keep it super simple--print, cut, hole punch. 
Print the labels on cardstock (free at the bottom!).
Cut out the labels.
Hole Punch a little hole at the top of the label.

I made two! 
One for the pretty, sharp pencils...
and the other for the chewed/broken/tiny/sad little pencils.
You know, those pencils.

Finally, some flair! A little bit of ribbon never hurt anybody. 
Am I right?


Easy + functional + cute = win.

 Click the picture below to snag the freebie labels!
I've included sharp, dull, sharpened, and unsharpened. 

Good luck with back to school prep! Here is to hoping that all goes smoothly! :)

Happy teaching, friends!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Open House Ideas and some FREEBIES!

Hi everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers.  It's the 15th of the month and we start back to school on Monday for our teacher days.  We also have Open House on Monday Night.  I have been preparing for the stampede of children/moms/dads/siblings/grandparents and hopefully no unwanted animals:)

I have a Jungle/Safari themed classroom this year and geared a couple of my open house ideas with that theme.  I have a couple to share with you today.  

After having my own children, it seems that my memory has just crashed!  I used to be so good with names and faces and now I am just flat out horrible!  So, what I am going to do to help me prepare for the stampede is to print out pictures of all of my students ahead of time.  I guess this will be my first "homework" assignment of the year- study the faces of the little ones that will be coming to meet me.   I did this last year and worked out really well- my anxiety went down a little bit knowing that I would at least know who was who.  And the kids are so surprised that I know them by name!  

Another thing that I am going to do is have a class list handy.  Parents always want to fill you in on details about their kids.  Whether it is Sally may cry the first day or Joe isn't allowed to go home with Uncle Fred... I can quickly jot down notes so that I don't forget- because, I will:)

One of my teacher friends found a cute poem on Pinterest that can be used to welcome kids on Open House night.  She has a Rock Star Theme in her classroom and this poem was for that theme.  You can find it here if you are interested.  I used the poem but put it on some different backgrounds (of course, a zebra print background) and then some others that you may like.  You will need to purchase the appropriate candy to put into a bag and put on their desks at Open House if you decide to use it.
Also, I have a FREEBIE Welcome Sign that I have on my door!  You can come and snag that up too!

So, here they are!

Here it is all put together:)

There are three others to choose from in the download:)

Here is the WELCOME SIGN-

Well, wish me luck- I can't believe it's here already!

I'm also linking up with TBA and Classroom Freebies!

Freebie Fridays
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Common Core-Style MATH!

Hey again! It's Angie from The First Grade Scoop! Can you believe it's already mid-August? Where did time go?!

Well, it's been a fabulous summer (FAB.U.LOUS) but it must come to an end sometime, right? My official first day of meetings starts Wednesday next week, but I'm going in starting Thursday to start setting things up. So, I don't have any pictures or anything fun yet. (Sadness.) But, I've been doing a LOT of work with the Common Core for math this year, and I wanted to share a few resources that you might find helpful! Let's start with some great websites. Have you heard of IXL? It's a great website that existed pre-CCSS but now has a section of CCSS aligned math material.

In this menu, you can pick individual standards and subskills within that standard. But the best part? If you click a link within a standard, you get to see several problems (that students can actually answer through their website for instant grading).

I think this will be a great reference for problem types as I make assessments for my students!

Next up is a GREAT wiki from Howard County Public School System. You can see their scope and sequence for when they teach each standard.

If you click a standard on the left, you'll see a definition of the standard, key questions, and - best of all - TONS of ideas for games, activities, and lessons!

Another GREAT site with TONS of resources is the Engage NY site.

They have curricular calendars, modules (like units) with very very detailed information, videos, and more!

I'm so excited to really make my lessons CCSS-focused in math this year. I made a file of assessments (three per standard!) and data binder pages for my firsties this year.

If you're interested, it's only $5 now until I start back at PD (August 21st). 

Have a great rest of your week!