Giveaway!! and Common Core Reading/Writing Lessons

Samantha over at Ms. Smarty Pants is having a big giveaway and I am excited to be a part of it!  Go and check it out!!

Charity Preston has done it again!!  She has created two new websites for teachers to find teaching materials  that meet the Common Core Standards!!  I have posted a few of my items on her site and plan on doing many more in the future.  On these two websites, you can search for the specific standards you need to work on and the activities are right there for you- made by other teachers!!  These sites are just getting underway but I have a feeling they are going to take off!  Go and check them out and make sure you bookmark them so that you can return!

Common Core Reading Lessons

Common Core Math Lessons


Assessing Word Attack Skills

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!!  I know I am, even though I keep working on school stuff. Lol. 

Being a reading specialist and working with struggling readers, I often have students that have a very difficult time "sounding out" words; otherwise known as word attack skills.  As teachers, we are having to document information more and more all of the time.  We have to zero in on what every child is struggling with and find ways to intervene and help that child to learn.  I created an assessment a couple of years ago that allows me to see what kind of help students need in the area of word attack skills.
This is how I use these assessments:
1.  After taking running records on students using the Fountas and Pinnell benchmarking system, I can identify students who have no idea what to do when they come to a tricky word.  For example, I get the "swivel head"- you know what I'm talking about- when they quickly turn their head all the way around and just look at you.  Or, when they just completely say "I don't know" or just out right skip the word.
2.  Usually I do this with students that are at Level 3 of the RTI process.  They need intense intervention!!    As a team (classroom teacher, principal, parents, and Title I teacher (me)), we decide on a plan for each student needing intense intervention.  We decide how much intervention is needed, who is going to provide the intervention, and how long the intervention will last.
3.  I administer the appropriate word attack skill assessment to the student.  There is a reading and a writing assessment.  The three assessments include:  1.  CVC words 2.  blends, digraphs, short vowels 3.  short/long vowels, blends.  These assessments deal with words in isolation so I can see what strategies they are using.  I want to be able to teach them how to "attack" words in isolation so that they can in return do the same thing when reading text.  
4.  After administering the assessment, I then analyze exactly what the student is struggling with.  If I have administered the CVC assessment I will look for patterns.  Is the student continually writing short e in place of short a sound?  Is the student correctly recording the beginning sound but not the ending?  I can then use this information to help students in their area of need.
5.  Here is the hard part... you, as the teacher, have to do activities with the student that will help him/her learn how to attack unknown words.  I made up a game called Word Stoppers you can download here for FREE!!  This kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this game.

6.  After the intervention, you will need to reassess.  Use the same word attack skills assessment to see what kind of growth the child has made.  Also, do another reading benchmark to see if the child's reading level increases.   As a team, you will need to decide what to do next with that child:)
If you are interested in these assessments, you can check them out below- They are only $3.00!  I am so excited to offer them to you!
I am linking up with Manic Monday over at Classroom Freebies!!  Go and check it out!!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday



DRAW- Sight word game similar to UNO

I am FINALLY finished with a new game.  I have made a sight word game that is played like the game of UNO.  There is a total of 8 different lists with 25 words that are reviewed in each list.  I have made the first list for you for FREE so that you can check it out!!  You can download it by clicking on the picture.
And if you like it, I have all 8 lists (200 words total) for sale for only $3.00- that's 139 pages!!  This game is also great for differentiation at centers!!  You can get the entire set by clicking on the picture below!
Check out this blog post about the sight word list I use if you haven't seen it yet!!  Just some food for thought!
I am also linking up with Manic Monday!  Go and check out other great freebies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday



What Sight Word List to use???

I have been struggling for the past 13 years on what sight word list I should use with my struggling readers.  I have, over the years, tried many different lists and have finally found something that fits in very well with my first grade readers.  I have used the Dolch List and the Fry List as well as lists from reading series.  BUT... I found a list through Lucy Calkins Teachers College Reading and Writing Project that I think has been the most valuable to me.  I have used it for the last three years and have had great results with the students.  If you haven't checked out this website, I would definitely check it out.  Lucy continually works with literacy specialists and creates great reading and writing resources.  Here is a direct link the sight word list that I have been using:
Lucy Calkins Sight Word Assessment (scroll down the page some to find it)
There are 8 lists that have 25 words each.  There are directions for performing the assessments as well.  
I introduce 7 new words each week.  Here is a list that shows how I break it down for the school year.

Why do I like this list better than Dolch or Fry words??
Remember, this is only my opinion...  I like the Dolch and Fry list and I like that it is researched based.  However, I think the Dolch list doesn't get more difficult fast enough...  if you look at the list they consider 3rd grade, you will see the words if, got, ten, cut, hot, fall etc. Also, I'm not huge on students learning their color or number words as sight words (just me!)
I like the idea of the Fry list... these words are in order of frequency of what we read.  My problem is, the word "of" is number two.  I don't feel as if my students need to learn "of" as one of their first sight words.  I don't see the word "of" in many early readers, which is what they are reading at this point.
So, why the Lucy Calkins list?
These words seem to follow more of a path with students progressing through different guided reading levels.  I have found that these are truly sight words.  Most cannot be sounded out- you just have to learn them.  Once a student gets the idea of learning new words they can generally start to learn more and more at a much faster pace than when just starting out.  I feel that this list progresses quickly at more of a pace that the students are ready for (even the struggling ones!!)  By the end of first grade we are doing words such as thought, everything, wouldn't, different, and special.  These are also words I see regularly in grade appropriate text for the end of the year.
I made an awesome Notebook File for the Smart Board.  I used all of these words to make "fun flashcards", and 5 different games for every week!!  To get this FREE notebook file click on the picture.

So, there it is... I thought I would share because I have loved using this list and have found it WAY more beneficial and appropriate for my first grade friends.  
Check out the rest of Lucy Calkins website... she does amazing work!!
I just linked up with Manic Monday over at Classroom Freebies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Post Surgery

Just thought I would write a quick post to let everyone know that the surgery went well.  I have to take it easy the next couple of weeks yet, but overall, I am feeling really good!!  I am hoping that my neck/head pain will be over soon!  Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers!