Monday, November 23, 2015

How is it almost December?

Seriously!  How is it almost December?  This school year is just flying by.  My little man turned one this past weekend, and I swear it was just yesterday that he was born.
 We had a monster themed birthday party.
Even though his smash cake was adorable, he was NOT a fan.
It was such a fun day celebrating our little guy.
So, now we are out of school for the week for Thanksgiving Break.  When we go back, it will basically be December. 
I'm excited to continue using my Guided Reading packet.
I love the ease of these packets.  I can focus on vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency all while differentiating my reading groups.
It makes planning so easy.  Each month includes 4 nonfiction and 4 fiction stories and includes 3 levels of each passage.
Another product that I just finished for December is my Print & Teach Winter Holidays packet.
 This mini unit includes passages about Christmas, Las Posadas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia Day, Chinese New Year, & New Year's Day.
I hope you have a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving!!!

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

American Symbols and Veterans Day

Last week we started learning about famous American symbols. 
I put together this little comprehension packet to supplement our learning.  It includes pages about the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, The White House, Mount Rushmore, the American Flag, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and bald eagles.
You can check out the entire packet by clicking on the picture below.
This week we will continue learning about some of our American symbols, but we will also be focusing on Veterans Day.  I finished a complete update of my little Veterans Day booklet with new fonts and clipart.
You can click on the picture below to check it out.  Don't forget that if you have purchased this in the past, you can redownload the updated file at no additional charge.
Thank you to all past and present military members and your families!!!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Teacher Tired

This week has been lllllloooooonnnnnngggggg!  With Parent-Teacher Conferences, a full moon, and Halloween, I am just plain exhausted.
On Tuesday, we were pumpkin detectives.
I had three pumpkins on the table in my classroom when the students came in.  They each had to predict which pumpkin they thought would have the most seeds.  (For the record, no one guessed correctly.  The white pumpkin had the most.)
I split my students into 3 groups.  I took a group.  One of my room parents had a group, and two of my Indiana State ELED students took a group.
The students weighed the pumpkin.
They measured the height with cubes.
The students also measured the circumference with measuring tape. 
They each recorded their findings on the clipboards after we wrote the information on our chart paper.  (You can download the printables HERE.)
 We also came up with words to describe the outside and inside of the pumpkin.
Finally, it was time to start counting the seeds. 
 We put the seeds into groups of 10 to help keep track of our counting.

Definitely cover your desks or tables with plastic tablecloths.  It makes clean up super easy!
Today, we completed a fun writing activity that my students LOVED!  I saw this idea floating around on Instagram and knew I had to give it a try.
I created a printable with a picture of my face, and the students had to write what they thought I should be for Halloween.  I loved their creativity!
I highly recommend this activity.  It was a huge hit!
Did you survive Halloween week?

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Guided Reading in November

A couple weeks ago I created a Guided Reading packet for October.  I have been using it with my small groups this past month, and I LOVE it!  My planning for small groups has never been easier.
I am just as excited about my November packet that I was able to finish this weekend.
Each monthly packet includes 4 nonfiction stories (at 3 different levels) and 4 fiction stories (at 3 different levels.) 
Prior to passing out the passage, we use the provided picture prompts to introduce the story topic.
I also introduce the new vocabulary words that we will see in our passages.  This definitely helps to set the stage for learning and get my students excited to read.
Depending on the amount of time that we have to meet for the day, we may just do our prereading activities and read through the passage a couple of times on the first day.  The second time we meet, we will read the passage again, and the students will answer the comprehension questions.  Each passage set includes a "comprehension focus skill" and a graphic organizer for that particular skill.
The three levels of passages make it so easy to differentiate my small groups.
The level 1 passages include 3-4 new vocabulary words per story, whereas the level 2 & 3 includes up to 6 new words.

 Each level focuses on the same "comprehension skill."
You can check out the entire packet by clicking on the picture below.
You can save money by purchasing the growing bundle for the ENTIRE year.  As of right now, it only includes October and November, but the other months will be added as they are completed.  If you have already purchased the bundle, you may go and redownload your purchase to receive November's packet.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

The Importance of Sight Words

I highly doubt I have to convince you that teaching sight words is extremely important. 
Did you know that the first 300 Fry Sight Words make up approximately 65% of all written material?  Do I expect my students to sit down and memorize 300 sight words?  Absolutely not.  In reality, many of the sight words on the list can be stretched out phonetically, which greatly reduces the amount of sight words that have to be memorized. 
A couple weeks ago, I posted about the Sight Word Bookmarks that I use.  I received a lot of requests for this, and I finally got around to putting it all together for you.
I start off by assessing my students on their sight words to see which ones they know.  Then, each student receives a bookmark with the list that they need to work on.  I print these 2-sided on bright colored paper, and then I laminate them for durability.  The students can keep these in their pencil box, a book they are reading, or on their desks.  They can be pulled out at any time to practice.
I put these together into a file that includes all 220 Dolch sight words and the first 500 Fry sight words.  The file also includes word lists, recording sheets, and certificates.  You can click on the picture below to check it out.
Practicing sight words can be kind of boring, so I LOVE to use my No Prep Sight Word Games with my students.

Anything that makes learning sight words fun, is a win for me!
What is your favorite way to practice sight words?

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