Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Very Thankful and Audio QR Codes

Howdy Y'all!  I am Teresa from Fun in K/1 and the hostess of Teaching Blog Roundup.  This time of year I like to sit back and appreciate all I have to be thankful for.  

Of course I am thankful for God and my wonderful family.  I have a job that I love (most days)!  All in all, I live a very blessed life and am thankful everyday.  

As I am writing this post, I also realize how thankful I am that I started blogging.  I started off just reading various blogs and learning so much.  Then I started my own blog, with the help of Teaching Blog Traffic School.  This pushed me to become a better educator and share my best practices.  Then, I met so many other amazing teachers and bloggers.  When I started Teaching Blog Roundup, I had the pleasure of teaming up with other fantastic bloggers to learn and share even more!  It is truly the best form of Professional Development ever!  So if you are toying around with the idea of starting a blog, I say definitely go for it!

Now with the holidays in full swing, here is a great way for students to add to their projects.  Capture your students audio recordings with Voice QR Codes.  It is so easy to do.  Click here to download these directions.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?  Link up with a blog post of your own or share in the comments below.  I also hope you enjoy learning more about our blogging buddies. (I know I will!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Some Great Reading Apps for Your Classroom

Hello Everyone, It's Sarah Tharpe Winchell from Teaching Resources for the Classroom I'm so happy to get the opportunity to share some ideas with you each month. I hope you will enjoy learning about these apps and using them in your classroom! I love, love Endless Reader by Orginator. This app is free but you can purchase more word packs if you want to extend it. I purchased the Reader Pack 1 because I wanted more words. There are six words in the free version but this app explores each word through spelling, word meaning and sentences. The words are animated after the letters are dragged into place. The app also reads the sentences. Words can be dragged into the sentences. The little characters are irresistible.

These are screen shots I took using my iphone. The app works on iphones and ipads.
You can get Endless Reader here.

Another app I really like is Little Speller by Grasshopper Apps. This app is very versatile and allows you a lot of control of the words that the children can work with. This app is also available for the iphone and ipad.
As you can see from the screen shots I'm sharing with you there are a lot of variations to choose from. You can really concentrate on the sounds you think the children need.
This app features great images for words. The letters are out of order but the correct spelling is under the images so even your most hesitant spellers and readers can feel confident with this app. The app says the letters and then reads the word after the letters are in place.
You can get Little Speller here.

I hope you can use one of these apps or both in your classroom. I always teach the apps before letting the kids do them without supervision. Sometimes I teach them as part of my guided reading lesson and other times I work with a group during a Daily Five Rotation. I am teaching both Kinders and First Graders this year and my smart Firsties are great teachers so they often get the first lesson on a new app!

Head over to Teaching Resources for the Classroom and grab this Penguin Fun Dice Roll and Cover Game.

It is great visiting with you on Teaching Blog Round Up! I look forward to next month!
All the best,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Almost Vacation!

Woooohoooo! I love this week - we have just two days of work before that amazing long holiday weekend. If you're looking for something to squeeze in, snag this Pilgrim Quilt {freebie} from TpT.  Or, if you're one of the lucky ones with no school this week, you can always save it for next year! 

Like it? Head over to TpT to snag this freebie!
Make sure to leave some love if you can use it! 

If you're like me, you may be thinking ahead towards the month of December.  Craziness that it'll be December when we go back after the break!  I hope to make life a little easier with my latest,  Walkin' in a Worksheet Wonderland.  It's filled with 20 NO PREP worksheets to sneak in during the upcoming chilly days!

Check it out on TpT & TN!

Lastly, I'm hosting a linky beginning next Tuesday.  Since we spend a great deal of time around this time reflecting with our students about what they're thankful for, I thought it would be fun for us teachers to reflect on what we're most thankful for this year.! Get your posts ready! Make sure to snag the button below and link up over at Lucky to Be in First :) 
Have an amazing Thanksgiving! 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Birthday Freebie

Happy almost Thanksgiving!   Renee here, from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  I can't believe how fast this year is going.  So fast, I really did not get a chance to get what I planned for this post ready.  Instead I will share a freebie for you in case you did not see it over on my blog.  It was my birthday this past week, so here is a fun activity to celebrate.  I have a laminated version in my class.  When it is someone's birthday, I send it home as a fun activity to do as a family.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Freebies!

Hi blog hoppers, it's Diane over at TeachWithMe.com  I've been having a blast designing all sorts of new November activities that I'm excited to share with you!

If you're short on time, feeling a bit frazzled, and need some simple things that are ready to plug in as a center or group activity, you'll hopefully find something here that will help you out.

If you do a mock-Thanksgiving feast, or thankful snack, having your students make this placemat is fun as well as educational.  If you need some sanity, this is also a quick and quiet activity to do an hour before dismissal on Wednesday before the holiday.  I've included a sample so you have an answer key. Click on the link to grab the Thanksgiving placemat FREEBIE.

Need some writing prompts? As an alternative to the "I'm thankful for…" turkey feathers, I designed a Thankful Tree.    Here you can also cover the seasons.  Each season has its own colored tree top.  i.e. fall is orange, winter is white etc.  The last page is an opportunity for students to write more things that they are thankful for.

Encourage kiddo's to incorporate adjectives and have them underline them in their rough drafts, so they know they've done so.  Add a few stickers on the tree tops + their school photo in the hollow of the tree for that finishing touch.

For lots more writing activities I think you'll enjoy the Pilgrim Children Packet.  It's chock full of graphic organizers, Venn diagrams, writing prompts and a dozen colonial games that are simple, quick and easy to implement, for some educationally fun gross motor activities.

I did 30+ hours of research to find out about Pilgrim children and have included these interesting facts in partially-filled in Venn diagrams.  I've also included blank ones, as a quick way to assess comprehension.  I learned so many new things and hope you do too!  Click on the link to grab this FREEBIE. 

Finally, I know days are busy and crammed full of CCSS, but it's nice if you can squeeze in some time for a turkey "craftivity."  I use quick crafts as a motivational tool to get students down to business and stay focused.  When they complete their work they can transition to these independent choices that are super for fine motor-practice.  It's amazing how this incentive helps keep little ones on task.  I try to design things that also cover simple standards.  Click on the link for all of these sweet turkey FREEBIES.

That's it for now, 'til I pop back December 19th.  My life flies by so fast I'm sure that's just a heartbeat away.  I hope you and yours are truly blessed this Thanksgiving and always.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Teaching Vocabulary... Making Words Stick!

Hi again! It's Angie from The First Grade Scoop. I thought I'd stop by and share a bit with you about one of those kinda tricky things to teach... Vocabulary! It's so crucial to build our students' vocabularies with high-utility words, and it's critical that readers have a strong vocabulary - and ways to determine what new words mean - in order to have good comprehension. Here's a strategy that's worked well for me...

I teach in a school with a very high ELL population, and I always have a range of linguistic needs in my classroom. Vocabulary is SUCH a critical area to develop in all students, and particularly in ELLs, since it's key to comprehending reading. Without a specific vocabulary instruction program, I began searching for ideas for how to teach vocabulary several years ago. I found a wonderful post (I think on A to Z Teacher Stuff) but I cannot for the life of me find it anymore. It had a wonderful idea for teaching vocab, and I've used it ever since.

My read aloud time tends to alternate between a theme or author study and a chapter book. I try to read a range of chapter books to my students, including longer nonfiction books, like level 3 or 4 Time for Kids readers. For each book, I try to pull out about 15-16 Tier 2 words, or words that are not terribly common (like "green" or "milk"), but that aren't highly academic (like "photosynthesis"). These are the kind of words I'd like my students to use more of in their own speaking and writing, and that they're likely to encounter again in their reading.

I take a piece of chart paper and fold it into 16 squares. Each day, I write two or three new words on the chart, one per square. I leave the rest of the square blank. Before reading, I tell the students the words they should listen for in that day's chapter. When I get to the word, students put their thumbs up. I often will stop and reread a couple sentences before and after the new word. Then, we discuss the word, using context clues to help determine the word's meaning. We do a lot of acting out, and discuss scenarios in which the word makes sense. Sometimes, I draw the picture right then, to help give students another visual to associate with the word, but other times, I draw the picture after school. I may also write a synonym underneath the picture. By the end of the book, we have a chart that looks like this:

(This was a chart for Toys Go Out, which is a GREAT read aloud about toys that come to life when their owner goes to bed. It's hilarious and very engaging, especially for my boys.)

After we complete the chart, I give pairs of students each a card with a vocabulary word on it and we play charades to review the words. The next day, my kiddos take a short quiz, using the words in a sentence and briefly defining the words with pictures and words:

We accumulate these charts on our wall, and the students get a kick out of hearing a lot of the words in subsequent read alouds and making connections between words that mean the same thing.

At the end of the year, we cut the words into squares and I give each kid a stack of words to take home. It sounds lame, but I think it's like the kid version of Oprah's Favorite Things. They seriously shriek about it! Ha!

Hope you're having a great weekend!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Writing Workshop

Howdy everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers and it's the 15th of the month so I'm back to share with you!  I hope your school year is going well!  It's a crazy time right now for me (as the entire year has been) and we have conferences just around the corner.  Time is flying by!

I used to HATE teaching writing!  I really felt that I just wasn't any good at it.  Well, many years ago, I had the luxury of having a Literacy Coach in my school and because of her, I learned a lot about teaching writing.  Now- I LOVE it!  I have realized that the biggest part of teaching writing is establishing good routines right from the start and making sure that the kids feel like real Authors and Illustrators.  We have done that- and for the 45 minutes of daily writing workshop we have a nice peaceful classroom.  The best part is- the kids are loving it!
I have missed Writing Workshop over the past 9 years.  This is really one of the main reasons I wanted to get back into the regular classroom!  This blog post has to do with writing but it's a little of this and that.

Every Friday (or every other Friday), I collect the students best writing sample.  They take the rest of their writing home.  I always worry about sending the students writing home.  I worry that parents are  going to have the students "fix" all of the errors.  I don't want them to do that.  I want them to feel successful as writers, even if they do have a lot to work on.  So, I sent a letter home.  I am sharing it with you.  It is editable so you can change whatever you want.  Also, the font I have used is from Kevin and Amanda.  It is called A Little Pot.  You can download the font for free or change it to whatever font you want.  

Now, you may be wondering... How can you send so many writing samples home?  Don't you need them to do grade cards?  The answer to this question is NO- because of a great website/APP that I found.  I couldn't be more excited right now!  Let me share-  it is called Evernote... and it is going to make my Writing Conferences so easy!
In Evernote, you can make different Notebooks.  I made a notebook for each student.  Then, inside their notebook, you can make notes.  I make a new note every time I conference with a student.  I write the date as the Title.  Then, before conferencing (and fixing up their writing) I take a quick picture of it. It shows up immediately in the note and then I can conference and write down what we talked about.  My plan, is to then be able to quickly and easily look at their writing when I am doing grade cards.  I won't have to take mounds of paperwork home and if they take a story home because they want it- it's no big deal because I have access to it at any time!  And... the best part is, it's a free app!  (They do have a Premium App also but I haven't checked it out enough to know what the difference is).
Here is a screen shot of one of the writing samples.  Sorry, I had to cut off the picture.  As you can see, I made my notes after the picture.
I think the possibilities are endless with this APP and I am really excited to give it a try and see what all I can do with it.  I have conferences next week and I plan to share the writing samples with parents right from my iPad.

I have one other freebie to share with you today.  I have a Writing Freebie that helps students to remember some of the mechanics of writing.  I have had this as a D'Nealian Font but have had several requests for a Print (ZB) Font.  So, here it is!

Recently, in Writing Workshop we wrote an All About Book.  We did a book about Bats and learned together how to write All About Books.  Here are some pictures...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pilgrim Venn Diagram

Last year I spent some time working on November math and reading centers. I was so happy with how they turned out and thankful that I have them all prepped for this year. The thing about teaching the same grade/content over and over is that you can keep improving and modifying to meet the needs of your new class.

Last year I read some books about the first Thanksgiving and we had a really cool weekly reader about pilgrim life.

This book gave us a lot of great info (but it'd definitely not written for firsties to read independently)
source: Amazon

This year I've ordered these two books from Amazon and they should be arriving any day now.
source Amazon
source Amazon
Then I projected two images of pilgrim children (I can't draw so I went old school and put up white paper on my chalkboard and projected the clip art and traced it)

I read the cards to the kiddos and had them tell me if it was about a pilgrim boy, pilgrim girl, or about both.  This can be done to intro the ideas or as a summation. 

This venn diagram activity is included in the preview, for free,  for my November writing/reading/phonics pack.

Click here to check it out in my TpT store! (feedback appreciated & feel free to pin)
In this packet you'll get writing prompts, graphic organizers, and reading/phonics center activities.

  • nonsense word game (multi-player)
  • nonsense/real word sorting
  • ABC order (with worksheet)
  • Sorting naming words and action words (with worksheet)
  • Contractions (with worksheet)
  • 4 graphic organizers
  • 3 different writing prompts (each with three leveled writing papers) 
  • images of sample anchor charts with words to use for Pilgrim Venn Diagram

Also, I'm having a 500 follower giveaway on my personal blog. (Many of my lovely co-bloggers here are giving away some great items--and I threw in a $50 Amazon.com gift card!) Head over & check it out.

Just click my button to head over. 
You Might Be a First Grader...

fall clipart giveaway and a sale

It's the 10th of the month, which means you made it past Halloween! And now, here comes Thanksgiving! I love holidays, but man, they wipe a girl out. It doesn't help that, up here in Alaska, it is starting to get dark around 4 p.m. And it won't start to go back to normal until around March...but I can't complain because I live in a beautiful place :)  I'm in the midst of PT conferences right now (one on Friday, and then Monday off, and another conference day on Tuesday...I DID NOT come up with that broken up schedule btw), so I figured it would be a good time to do a Fall Clipart giveaway and celebrate how hard we are all working this time of year! Good luck and HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY TOMORROW!

Here's what the lucky winner will be getting! Scroll down to enter using the Rafflecopter below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I'm having a 20% off clipart sale in honor of Veteran's Day weekend! Click the image below to check it out.