Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving and Upcoming Sale

Happy Thanksgiving!  My husband and I cook Thanksgiving dinner for our family.  That's right.  Everyone comes to our house to eat.  I'm just glad they are willing to drive an hour to come here for dinner.

Did you know that Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale Monday and Tuesday?

300 × 250

I'm going to leave you with a song that is played on the radio this time of year.  Enjoy!  It's not Thanksgiving without hearing this song.  I listen to Coach Kidd every morning on my way to work.  Libby Jo is no longer on the air with him, because she started teaching.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tie Dye, a Freebie, and Looking Ahead

I took a small break from blogging this past week.  I had a lot going on at school and at home.  Well I'm back to tell you what we have been up to.

We did a little finger painting last week.  I put red and yellow paint on the paper and the students mixed the colors.  I gave each student a leaf to trace and cut out.  These turned out cute.  I'll have to remember to take a picture of the finished product tomorrow.

We learned about pandas and made a can, have, are chart about pandas.  The students used the chart to help them write about pandas.  We worked on writing 3 sentences about pandas.  One sentence for each section of the chart.  We also watch an online panda cam which was so cute.  We even found video that was taken of panda twins and how they changed in the first 100 days.  We loved the video so much that we watched it twice and invited the neighboring class over for the second viewing.  You can go here to check out the video.  Pandas are 100 days old before they get their name.

We made Indian Native American costumes last week.  Each student brought in a t-shirt and I took them home to tie dye brown.  I was told by the other K teachers that I did fancy tie dying.  Check out my fancy work below.

 After the shirts were dyed, we cut fringe on the bottom and the sleeves.  We added a paper and ribbon belt that the students decorated along with our headdress and our patterned bead necklace.  We worked on patterns while making the necklaces.  Last year we strung pasta, but this year we used pony beads.  I had a lot of pony beads in my cabinet so I thought we should use them.
 My new Smart Board was installed last Friday.  I am happy to have a Smart Board that works properly.  My last one had issues.  Oh, did I mention that I also got a new laptop?!  Now I don't have to worry about the virus the last one had.  Russian videos kept popping up.  At least I think they were speaking Russian.
 My wonderful principal walked in today carrying these echo mics.  I have 24 for of them now.  It so weird that he bought them for use because I was talking about them last week and how I use to have one to do my daily weather report with.  Now I just need to figure out how I am going to use 24 of them.  If you have ideas, please share them with me in a comment below.  I'm begging.
 Before I left school today, I got out my December books.  This is just a few of my books.  I actually have another tub of holiday books and more at home, but these are the ones I plan on using for the month of December.  Above you will see Hanuka.  Below you will see a stack of Christmas books.  The stack is bigger than it looks.

I only have three Kwanzaa books, but I plan on adding to this collection and my Hanuka collection too.  One more day of work and then I am off for Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow is a half day for the students.  If you are already beginning your December plans, then check out this freebie I posted last year.  Just click the picture below to get your freebie!

Oh yeah, I updated my Gingerbread Math and Literacy Centers pack and my Christmas Fun Literacy and Math Activities.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How I Get My Kids Reading.

So yesterday I said I would share my daily reading secret.  It's really not a secret if you worked in my old school, because we all used the strategy.  Every morning since the first day of school I have used a series of charts that progressively get harder through the year.  The first 6 weeks of school my focus is on letter names, letter sounds, phoneme blending, and sight words.  The chart would look like this (I would show you an actual picture of one of my charts, but they are on my school laptop):

Letter Naming and Sounds

G    h    A   L    g
H   o    p    a     O
A   l     g    G     P

When I show this chart, we go through the letter names first.  I point to the left of the letter and I count to 3 in my head for think time.  Then I tap under the letter and I use a castanet to make a click sound.  This indicates to the student that everyone is to respond for the letter name.   I go through the chart a second time, but we do letter sounds.  Everyone responds every time.  So students are seeing it, hearing it, and saying it.

My next chart has sight words.  It looks something like this:

the   a    am    little   a
she  my   the   am    she
little   the   am   she  the

This chart changes as we learn more sight words.  The chart usually has about 15-20 words to read.  I point to the left again and count slowly to 3 in my head.  Then I slide my finger under the word and click my castanet again so students know when to respond.

The next chart I have is for my eyes only.  I usually black out my Smart Board for this.  I use a green, yellow and red Unifix cube.  I tap each cube and give a sound for a three phoneme word with each cube.  Then I slide my fingers across the cubes as a cue for students to respond with the blended word.  My chart looks something like this:

/c/ /a/ /t/ = cat
/s/ /i/ /p/ = sip
/p/ /o/ /t/ = pot

There are about 10 words that we do like this every morning and it includes long vowel sounds too.  Sometimes the words will have 4 phonemes so I add an orange cube to my Unifix train.

After the first 6 weeks, we start blending cvc words.  The chart looks something like this:

top  hot  log  sit  rip
log  hog  lot  tip  hip
Tam am  ham  sip  pot

The chart has 15-20 cvc words using the letters that we have spent some time focusing on.  The first few weeks that we do this, the chart may only have 5 words, but it increases until we have 15-20 to practice.  For this chart, I point to the left of the first letter to indicate think time.  I tap under the first letter and everyone gives me the letter sound.  I repeat this for the second letter and then we go back to the beginning of the word and blend the first 2 sounds.  Then I touch to the left of the last letter for think time and I tap under the letter for everyone to tell me the sound.  Once I hear the sound, we go back to the beginning of the word and blend all three sounds together.  Then I slide my finger quickly under the entire word for everyone to read the word quickly.  This is called sound by sound blending.  After doing this for 6 weeks, I add another chart with cvc words.  The first chart we practice sound by sound blending.  The second chart I touch to the left of the word and slowly count to 3 in my head.  Students have to think in their head what the word is.  Then I slide my finger under the word and everyone reads the word.

After the first 12 weeks of school, I add another chart.  This chart is phoneme segmentation.  Students do not see this chart, but it is on my laptop to remind me which words I am having students segment.  I give the students a 2 or 3 phoneme word and they tell me the sounds that they hear in the word each time I raise a finger on my hand.  I tell the a word "sap."  They repeat the word.  Then I hold up one finger and the kids say /s/.  I hold up a second finger and they say /a/.  I hold up a third finger and they say /p/.  I do about 10 words every day like this.  I give them harder words later in the year.

Once they get the hang of doing the charts, they only take about 5 minutes.  I will say that later in the morning, I flash alphabet card for letter names and then again for sounds.  I also use flash cards to review the sight words.  In the afternoon, I use number word flash cards and numeral flash cards.  Right now we are working on number words for 1-10 and numerals 1-30.  Additionally, I review sight words at the beginning of every guided reading group and the letters and sounds at the beginning of the groups that still need this practice.

I hope this helps.  My teaching partner and my lovely assistant are amazed at how well my class is reading.  Last year, everyone in my class (except 2, but one of them had the ability, she just didn't come to school) met the end of the year DIBELS Benchmark at the middle of the year Benchmark and half my class was reading above grade level.  I don't claim that it will work for everyone, but it has been working for the majority for several years now in my class.

Do you have any strategies that are really working in your class?  I would love to hear about them.  Leave me a comment.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Freebie Friday and I am Featured!

Yay!  I was featured on Teaching Blog Addict!  Check out this week's link up to get great freebies from fellow bloggers!

Here is what we have been doing this week.

I really challenged my students this week during our guided reading time with a little rhyming cvc word bingo.  Talk about challenging!  Most of my kiddos could do this without any problems and it was more challenging for them.  I have about 3 kids out of 16 who really struggled and still need work on sounding and blending.  We will be playing this more.  This is from my Thanksgiving Small Group Reading Activities pack.  Click the picture to learn more about the pack.

We have been working on our writing.  The students dictated sentences to me about leaves.  Next week I will cut up their sentences on strips of paper and give it to them to put back together.  They will glue their sentence onto a piece of paper and illustrate.  We will use our illustrated sentences to make a class book about leaves.
We also wrote about bats.  I love some of the words they gave me for this chart!  Did you know that bats have a predator other than humans?  They are called cave crickets.  They look like a granddaddy long legs to me.  When a bat smacks against a cave wall and injures itself, the cave crickets will swarm around it and eat the bat.  Interesting?  Isn't it?  I learned that on a cave tour years ago so if you ever go spelunking, beware of the cave cricket.

My lovely assistant was absent today and I had a sub assistant.  She told me at the end of the day that she was really impressed with the reading ability of my class.  She hasn't been in a kindergarten class that is reading like mine.  It made me one proud teacher!  It made me think, what am I doing that is different from the other teachers?  I know what it is.  It's a little strategy that I use daily that I learned when I taught in a Reading First school.  I still use it the first 5 minutes of every day.  I'll share more about it tomorrow. ;)

This week, I made a new listening log.  You can get it here for free!  Just click the picture below.  Happy Friday!

Freebie Fridays

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thanksgiving I-Spy Freebie

I survived Halloween 2013!!!  It wasn't that bad, but I will say having parents and kids in costumes for a Halloween celebration can be hectic!  I wish I took pictures this week of some of the things we have been doing, but my phone camera doesn't seem to be working correctly so I dug out my "regular" camera and I will be back to snapping pictures next week.

This week we studied bats and spiders.  Did I tell you I have a student in my class who likes to bring me spiders!?  Ummm, your teacher hates spiders kid!  Bring me a puppy, kitten, snake, but please don't bring me a spider.

We made a can, have, are chart about bats and the students wrote a sentence using the chart.  I also gave them a little bat drawing lesson.  They think I should be an art teacher.  Lol!  I have also been told this week that I should be a music teacher.  That is more likely to happen than an art teacher.  I can read music and I do play a clarinet and an alto clarinet.  

Back to the bats.  My students learned some new vocabulary this week.  When we were creating our chart, I heard words like mammal, echolocation, and nocturnal.  Oh, this makes a teacher proud!  Let's hope those words stick.

I started working on this little freebie yesterday with the intention of posting it yesterday, but then I started watching television with the hubs so it didn't happen.  Here it is now!  Click the picture below to grab your freebie and thanks for stopping by.  Oh, by the way, I'm having a sale in both of my shops this weekend.  All items are 20% off through Monday.
Teachers Pay Teachers    Teachers Notebook 

What are topics are you studying this month?  Leave me a comment below and let me know!

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...