Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Salt Box Writing

Trying to find a "new way" to teach spelling words, letter or number formation? Have you used shaving cream but found it too messy? Well, a salt box may be a simple solution.  All you need is some salt and a container.  For this application, less salt is best.

Here are a few pictures of my kids in action.
 Using a salt box is a great sensory activity.
This student is practicing writing -oy and -oi words.

Students are using the Sounds Fun Phonics during this teacher directed lesson.

I plan to use Salt Box Writing a lot more next year when I return to kindergarten.  I hope that this will be an engaging activity that will help with letter and number formation.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Math Work Stations Schedule

Want to join the discussion about Math Work Stations?  Here is a timeline listed by date and topic. Click to download your copy.  


Math Work Stations: Independent Learning You Can Count On, K-2
Now through July 30th, you can receive free shipping from Stenhouse Publishers when you use the Code: MATH.  Want to win your own copy of this book?  Go to Teaching Blog Addict to find out how.  


Happy Teaching and Learning!

To Infinity and Beyond - Phonics

Phonics has been a blast in our classroom.  Literally.  We have been playing my version of Toy Story Mania.  I found these cute graphics  and used them to create flashcards to help learn the -oy and -oi sound and spelling pattern.
What made this lesson so much fun was that the class got to use Buzz Astro Blasters to read the word.  The first team to buzz in with their Astro Blaster and read the word earned a point.
The level of engagement was out of this world!  What do you do to make phonics fun?

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Show Me the Money


The kids had a great time exploring money during math centers.  We are just beginning our unit of study on money.  The focus of these centers was to learn to count money using nickels and pennies or dimes and pennies. We used this Money Mat to help us count.  The idea originally came from here but I updated it by adding pictures of money and the value to help the students.









Eggs in a Basket - For this activity students counted the money placed inside the eggs.  Each child had a different colored baskets with numbered eggs.  They drew the quantity and added how much money was in each egg.  





The Bakery Shop - I used these cupcake mats which I purchased from here.  My students were not ready to do the activity as directed so I adapted it for the needs of my students.  Here they practiced counting dimes and pennies.  Each child completed two mats.



The Toy Store - The kids had a great time purchasing items to play with from the Toy Store.  They were able to purchase one item at a time, play with it, and then, make another purchase.  They loved it!



The last two centers included Monopoly Junior and their math workbook.  This was a fun and interactive way to learn about money.  What I loved about it was that I was able to access the children's knowledge through multiple ways.  Not all centers were paper-pencil tasks.  Yeah!

Math Work Stations: Independent Learning You Can Count On, K-2
On another math note:  Have you heard about this summer's Book Study Blog Party? I'll be joining some wonderful bloggers (all of whom, I Follow and LOVE) this summer to share ideas, resources, and freebies based on Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations.  I am super excited!  Want to join us?  Order the book and get ready for an awesome adventure in learning via the blogs of Mrs. Wills Kindergarten, Primary Graffiti, Mrs. Patton's Patch, Oceans of First Grade Fun and Kindergarten Crayons.  If you aren't Following them or subscribing by email, go do so now! You do not want to miss out!

Happy Teaching and Learning!



Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Goldilocks Rule

Yesterday, I shared a great video resource for kids and teachers about choosing good fit books. Although, I have used the analogy of finding good fit books using shoes, I seem to always come back to The Goldilocks Rule. I learned about this for the first time when I started at my current school.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Goldilocks And The Three Bears (Lift-the-Flap Book)Here is how I set it up in my classroom. First, I read Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Many of my students are familiar with the story. Afterwards, we talk about Goldilocks choosing items that were "just right" for her. I use that analogy to help students understand what it means to read and select Just Right books. We compare how Papa Bear's items were "too big" for him, just like sometimes we may read books that are "too hard" for us. We discuss what it means as a reader when the book is too hard. Then, we talk about what it means as a reader when a book is "too easy." Like it was too easy for Goldilocks to enter into the Bears' home. Finally, we discuss the purpose of reading. Why reading and comprehending matter.


I do not do all this in one sitting. Depending on the grade level, students, and time of year, this could be an entire week's worth of lessons. I had created a wonderful poster to use but I have been without it all year since our Librarian has it in our library to help students there.




How do you help students select "just right" books?
Happy Teaching and Learning!

Choosing a Good Fit Book

The Daily Five
Do you use Daily 5 in your classroom?  I have been using portions of the literacy system and I love it.  Best of all, my students do too!  One of the first lessons is finding good fit books.




This video is a great visual resource for teachers and kids alike.




Click here for the original shared by "The Sisters" themselves.  Stay tuned tomorrow when I share another option for good fit books.

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Proud Teacher Moment

Teaching is sometimes about those little things that add up to be a much bigger thing.

Here he is highlighting all "the" independently after shared reading.

One of my special education students raised his hand as high as it could, to find the word "the."  This was completely unprompted.  I had just begun my book introduction when he said, "Me know" and read the word.

This child had not been ready due to skill level and behaviors to learn the sight words.  Well, after spring break, we began the journey of learning to read.  Each week, I choose a word.  We sing, write, and read the word.  His aides or I give him tokens for reading the word during informal settings.  This totally proves that he can do it!  I was such a proud teacher today.  I touched this child's life.  I taught him to know that he is a reader.  He can.  For so much of his learning, he never knew that he could.  Today, he learned that lesson; we are all readers!

Happy Learning and Teaching!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Inspired By You!

This week my class has been learning the spelling patterns for long i.  When planning, I knew exactly where to look.  I used some clip art and manila envelopes for my fry boxes.  Then, I printed my long i words onto yellow paper.  We read and sorted the words together.  Students can work on this independently during center time.

I also created this Small Fry word sort.  The kids really were involved and it seemed to be just enough of a challenge for my higher students. This was because I accidentally had multiples of words. Therefore, they had to make sure there were not repeats.

I also used this great resource as well.  I was lucky enough to buy it during the TPT sale.  This inspired me to create this document to further help my struggling readers.  I plan on having them cut out the words so that I can staple to the bottom of the document. They will flip the words down as they sing the song. To further motivate them, I am going to let them use fly swatters! (I apologize in advance if it off beat.  I am nowhere musically inclined!  Thankfully, my kiddos don't mind.)


If you use it in your classroom, I'd appreciate a comment on how it worked for your students. 

Happy Teaching and Learning!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Comprehension Bookmark

I made this very simple bookmark to help our kids retell using Key Details based on the Common Core Standards.  After discussions with other teachers as well as analyzing their reading assessments, I realized that I need to place more focus on comprehension skills.  I have many students who can read at or above grade level but give minimal retells or rely on the pictures.  The purpose of this bookmark is to provide a visual.

Click on the picture to download.


Let me know what you think.  I LOVE comments! Don't you?

Happy Teaching and Learning!



P.S.  Don't forget to join my Teacher Appreciation Week Linky Party.