Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween Sight Word Style!

Today's question is HOW DO YOU TEACH SIGHT WORDS?  
As an interventionist, I spend a lot of time reinforcing sight word knowledge in students who are identified or at risk.

A few years ago I discovered multisensory sight word cards from Child1st Publications. (They are now available for digital download on TPT) I had been searching for a tool to help me target those high need kiddos who could not seem to retain sight words.  No only do these words have pictures but they also have a motion and a saying that accompanies them.  I have had a lot of success getting my kiddos to learn sight words using these cards.  It is really beneficial when the classroom teacher is also utilizing the cards as well so the kids get exposed to them in whole group as well as in small group.

(Unfortunately, the one big downfall of these cards is that they are not cheap.)

Another awesome way to practice sight words is to build them using play dough!  I know this is not a new technique but is still fun and kids love it.  I love these sight word play dough mats created by Becca from First Grade in the Foxwell Forest.

I have been working on an idea that I got from a name activity that I saw on Pinterest.   It allows students to build sight words gradually in steps.  Kids can stamp, write or use a dry erase marker when practicing sight words.  Variety is key with my kiddos!!
Click the pictures above to get your FREEBIE!
Also in the spirit of Halloween I have a little spider writing page FREEBIE to share with y'all.  
The kids and I have been studying spider and bats 
which is a fun way to throw in a little nonfiction this time of year.  
The kids love creepy creatures and so do I!

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween with lots of treats and no naughty tricksters:) 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Only 1 iPad? No problem!

Hey everyone!  It's Lisa from Always an Adventure in Kindergarten

 I wanted to write a really great post for you all and I have a great idea, but it's going to have to wait until next month.  As week speak, I will be returning from a weekend away with my hubby to take in an Ohio State football game!  We are huge Buckeyes fans so I'm really excited about it.  Between that and trying to get all my data entered for grade cards, I didn't have time to write the new post.  I'm kind of cheating and pulling out an old post from this summer.  It was very popular at the time and I hope you'll find it helpful, too!
Our school has not purchased any iPads so I use my own in my classroom and I only have one.  It took me awhile to decide how to use it effectively, but here's what I've come up with.  I hope I can explain it clearly!

I use the iPad as one of my Listen to Reading activities during my Daily 5 time.  Obviously, because I only have one iPad, only one student per rotation gets to use it.  I use the stick pick app (A LOT!) to choose which 5 students will be on the iPad that day.

Sorry about the bad picture!

  I know many of you assign your kids to groups and they rotate through the Daily 5 activities in a certain order, but I do let my students choose which Daily they go to (yes, it can be done in an organized manner even in kindergarten--but that's another post!).  The kids that will be on the iPad need to know that before we start choosing activities because they can't choose Listen to Reading until it's their turn for the iPad.  Have I lost you yet?  It goes a little something like this:

1. We gather on the carpet to begin our Daily 5 rotations.
2.  I use the stick pick app to choose 5 names.
3.  I jot those 5 names down on a little sticky note and say "Here's who will be on the iPad today!"

Daily #1-Susie
Daily #2 Johnny
Daily #3 Joey
Daily #4 Sally
Daily #5 Timmy
Now the first few weeks I had to constantly keep reminding them when it was their turn to do listening.  I use my SMARTboard to choose Dailys so I would just move that child's name right into the Listen to Reading box before I even called any other names to choose so that they remembered.  But, trust me, most of the time they remembered!  This system worked really well for me and it got everyone on the iPad at least once a week.  They all knew that because I was drawing sticks, they would get their turn eventually so there was very little "when's it my turn for the iPad???" going on.  If that doesn't make sense, please ask any questions in the comments and I'll try to explain myself more clearly!  I know exactly what I'm trying to say!  HA!
Now here are the apps we used the most.

Alien Buddies

Keep in mind that Alien Buddies is really a preschool app, but I use it a lot at the beginning of the year for kids that don't know shapes or colors.  I have a special needs student this year and she LOVES this app!
I hope you've found this post helpful!  Let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

You're One Smart Cookie!

Hello everyone! I can't believe the 24th of the month has rolled around again! This month {and especially this week!} has been incredibly exciting for me!

This past summer, I spent a good amount of time creating my Smart Cookie Math program to supplement our math program {which is majorly lacking in facts practice!}

As I was creating the product, I kept hearing parents' voices in my head saying, "How can I help my child practice these facts at home?" So, I thought, what can I do to bridge the learning between home and school? 

Well, why not create the Smart Cookie Math app to go along with the program?

There are two modes of play: Timed & Practice Play.

If a child is working on passing Level 3 in the classroom, then they can simply practice Level 3 on the app! The exact same math problems are in the classroom version, as the app version! 
Once a child chooses a level to play, there's a quick countdown screen.  

Below is a screenshot of Level 1. It clearly shows the child which level & problem they are on.  The cloud in the corner counts down from 2:30.  In practice play, the screen looks the same, but there's simply no timer! 

If a child can successfully complete 30 correct problems in 2:30 minutes or less, they earn a "cookie" in their jar.  The cookie dances around the screen and jumps into the jar! 

I would LOVE for you to pass along the app to your parents, colleagues and even your own children! If you love it, please leave feedback in the App store! I suppose if you don't love it, you could leave feedback too :) 

If you're using Smart Cookie Math already in your classroom, click the picture below for a letter you can email or print for your parents. 

If you teach upper grades, you can read more about the Smart Cookie Multiplication Program {here} The Multiplication/Division App is coming soon! 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Find, Tally and graph Freebie

Howdy friends!  Renee here, from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  It is a crazy, busy time at school so my post is kind of a reminder of a free product of mine that may be useful for Thanksgiving time.  My Find, Tally and Graph activities are by far my most popular math tub among my students.  I have made one for just about any theme.  Click here to see all of the choices.  One of my first ones was This Thanksgiving Find, Tally and Graph.  Hop on over a grab this freebie if you haven't yet!

Click the picture above to get to your freebie.

I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Are Your Kiddo's Into The Mustache Craze?

Hi everyone! 

Diane from here, I’m thrilled to be one of the newest guest bloggers and hope you find my posts helpful.

I’m not sure why there is so much “Mustache Mania” going on, but I thought I’d hop on board.   I think if you grab a student’s attention, you are better able to get some knowledge into their head, what better way to do that than to incorporate something children are excited about into your lessons.

I just love the phrase, "I mustache you a question." I think it's a cute way to introduce question activities to children.  I don't know about your kiddo’s but my Y5's had a difficult time understanding QUESTION statements, versus TELLING statements. 

Whenever a visitor would say: "Does anyone have a question?" I'd cringe, because I knew the majority of waving hands couldn't wait to share something, instead of ask something. 

To help them understand the concept, I made a list of question words.  I told them, that if their sentence didn't start with one of those words, then it wasn't an "asking" sentence, and they were NOT asking a question.   

I had them practice by choosing a partner to take turns asking questions with.  
The mustache craze provides a wonderful vehicle to design posters and activities around, to help youngsters grasp the concept.   

This 14-page Mustache FREEBIE includes: 

  • 4  I ‘Mustache’ you a question”  posters.
  • 20 question-word mustache cards.
  • A blank set of mustache templates for you to program with whatever.
  • 20 traceable question-word cards with covers to make Itty Bitty booklets
  • A "My Stache" dictionary cover for question words
  • A question-word, alphabetical-order worksheet + a certificate of praise.  Click on the link to grab it.  "I Mustache You A Question" packet.

Measuring and Telling Time are two other subjects that were fun to design a mustache theme around.   The 10-page Measurement Packet will help cover quite a few Common Core Standards, with interesting and fun measuring activities.  

The "I Mustache You What Time It Is?"  is a game that includes a recording sheet, mustache clock spinner + a telling time matching worksheet, which you can also use as an assessment tool for time to the hour. 

I hope you and your kiddo's enjoy these activities.  I'm looking forward to sharing more next month on the 19th.  Until then be safe.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Math Stations and Holiday Freebies!

Hi there, teacher friends!

I wanted share a few holiday themed freebies with you today and talk a little about math stations.

When I was student teaching (grad school now), 
we rotated through math stations everyday--and it was FUN! 
Classroom blogs, Pinterest, and TeachersPayTeachers were my BEST FRIENDS!!!
Seriously, so many of my fun stations were because of you.


We had a total of five math stations in the classroom.
Our five math stations were based on the NCTM's content strands (NCTM, 2000):
Data + Probability
Numbers + Operations

I loved using the five strands to plan math stations!! The variety of content kept my kids engaged, plus they were able to review and extend their learning. Score.

So here is how it worked: Each station had its own plastic tub and all materials were kept inside. This made organizing and clean up quite easy--though we still had our messy moments. Ha!

You can sort of see the blue geometry tub here in the middle while the kiddos are finishing up their recording sheets. 

We had 40 minutes for stations each day, so we rotated through two stations--sometimes three. Friday's were a "you're responsible for turning in your station work and I'm really going to look at it and I trust you to finish each station" kind of day!

Math time looked a lot like this each day:


I Spy Clocks from Rachelle and Natalie.

Number Ordering from Kerri Bordelon.

Greater Than/Less Than Candy Jars from Cara Carroll.

Again, SO THANKFUL for this community!!

I wanted to share a few simple activities that might appear in my stations beginning this time of year. 
The first is a Halloween themed freebie and the second is a Thanksgiving themed freebie!

This Halloween number sort focuses on more than/less than/equal to, addition, and counting. 
And a bonus--they will be working on some fine motor skills while cutting out the pieces!

Just click on the picture to download your patterning freebie!

Thanks to kmpdoodles for the cute graphics and for the font!

Each student (or pair/group) will need one copy of the handout. They will cut out each box and use "less than 5," "5," and "more than 5" as their headers on a piece of construction paper. 
Your kiddos will then sort the rest of the pictures according to whether the answer is more than, less than, or equal to 5!

The finished product might look something like this:

The second freebie (I know it's early--but I loooooove Thanksgiving!) is a patterning freebie!
Your kiddos will use the pictures at the bottom to finish the patterns.
Again, working on those fine motor skills!

Just click on the picture to download your patterning freebie!

So, that's how I've done math stations. How do you work math stations/centers??
I would love to hear what is working (or hasn't worked!) in your classroom!

Also, if you have a few spare minutes in your day and want to squeeze in a little extra number practice, check out the idea from Kim Sutton over {here}! It's both simple and powerful, and you can do it:

Have a great Wednesday evening!! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gearing Up for Guided Reading and some October Freebies!

Howdy everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers!

Guided Reading time!  It's been 8 weeks since the start of school.  We have been learning and practicing how to work on our own at our "centers".  I am doing "centers" with my neighbor teacher- we are opening the doors and giving it a go.  With a lot of the Daily 5 and a little of our own twists, tomorrow is the big start day to actually meet with groups!  Ohhhh.... I'm a little nervous- what are the odds that they all know exactly what to do?  I know- not a chance.  But maybe, just maybe they can figure it out without my help?? We shall see...

I have tried to get myself organized.
I have my leveled groups.  We used kindergarten benchmarks to get an idea of their reading level.  I'm sure I will be doing some moving around of my groups early on.
I have my supplies ready to go (whiteboards, markers, erasers, sound boxes, wikki sticks, highlighter tape, word windows, magnetic letters).
And of course, I have my guided reading binder where I will keep track of my groups and lessons.  I use my Guided Reading Lesson Plans A-N to help me keep track of what I need to teach.  Here is a FREEBIE for you to help you get organized too!

I used velcro dots so that I can change my guided reading groups easily!

I use the letter tabs to keep my plans organized by Guided Reading Level.  I put a few copies of each in the binder so that I can get them easily when needed.

We have been working a lot with short vowels the past few weeks.  I plan to do some work with Elkonin Sound Boxes.  I made some last to go with the October theme of pumpkins.  I just laminate them and I can use them with dry erase markers (if we are writing letters in them- which we will be tomorrow).  Click on the picture to get the freebie!

I also have a Halloween Math Freebie.  It goes along with problems similar to Everyday Math.  We aren't doing all of this anymore with the Common Core but much of it we still are- ENJOY!

I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

See you next month on the 15th!