Parent Tips and Tricks #9

Just a quick post.  I have made another parent newsletter.  This one lets parents know that it is okay to skip a words when we are reading, as long as we go back and try it again.

I am linking up with Teaching Blog Addict's Friday Freebies!
Freebie Fridays

I will also be participating in the Super Bowl Sale through Teachers Pay Teachers and offering 20% off of my entire store on February 3rd (I am also extending my sale through the 4th but you will not be able to get the additional 10% on this day).  Make sure you use coupon code SUPER at checkout to receive an additional 10%off.

And I am also participating in the Teachers Notebook Sale on February 2nd and 3rd.  I will also be offering 25% off of my products.


Ideas for Students Struggling with Sight Words

Every year I have a handful of students that just really struggle with sight words- usually it's the words that aren't concrete words like:
These are just a few.  Most of the kids seem to pick up on them (even the struggling readers that I work with)... but, there are always the few that cannot seem to grasp these UNRULY words.  (Get it?  They don't follow the rules. LOL)
I have one student in particular who is struggling with sight words this year.  She is doing well with the other reading strategies we have been learning.  Her comprehension is good and she is learning to use good "word attack" skills.  These words are definitely what is holding her back.  We have done a few things so far this year.  She reads our new words everyday when she walks into the room (and she struggles everyday).  Here is a picture.  She has to read the word as she walks across them.  (I have a safari theme going on in my room- can you tell?)

We also review them on the Smart Board everyday.  I have a free Notebook file you can download that goes in the order that I do our sight words.  I use the Lucy Calkins list from Teachers College of Reading and Writing.  I wrote a post awhile back that explains why I like this list better than Dolch or Fry.  You can check it out here if you are interested.  You can also find that Notebook file on that blog post if you are interested:)

Anyway, we occasionally play games using our sight words.  This still isn't working!  So, I had to come up with something different- something just for her.  This is what I have done.  This student loves to draw so I quickly assessed her the other day to find out which words she is still struggling with.  I then made flashcards using some of these words.  I made the words with the letter boxes around the letters to help her distinguish what the word "looks" like a little better.  ( I bought the letter box letters as a font from Mel at Graphics from the Pond).  We reviewed the words together and I asked her to draw a picture to go with each word that would help her to remember that particular word.  This is what she came up with.

saw- she has arrows pointing to the eyes
how- she said "how" do you draw so well
or- there is a choice between computer or tv
after- mom went home after she went to the store

they- picture of her family
jump- someone jumping on trampoline
out- (I don't remember what she said for this one??)
off- turn off the light

I also put a sentence on the back so that she is reading the words in a sentence as well as in isolation so that hopefully she will begin to transfer this to her reading.

Then I laminated them and cut them into flashcards and put them on a ring.

We have been reviewing them one on one for a quick minute or two for a couple of days- so far, I have seen improvement!!  YEA!  I hope it continues... my next step is to make different flashcards with just the words in the letterboxes and then transfer to just reading the words without letter boxes.  

I plan to add 4 new words every few days if she can keep up.  If not, we will slow it down a little bit.

I would love to hear any tips and ideas you have used to help students similar to this little girl:)  If  you have a blog and have written a post, you can leave the link in the comments.  If you don't have a blog and can tell me in the comments I would love that!

On another note, we do Everyday Math at our school and we are still including money in our curriculum right now (even though it isn't in Common Core for first grade).  Everyday Math has a game called Dime, Nickel, Penny Grab.  I have revised this game to make it a little more interesting.  I made a Nickel Penny version that I have shared on a different post at some point and now I have added the Nickels as well.  You can get it for FREE is you are also doing money:)  Students act like they are buying an ice cream cone and they grab a random amount of coins to see how much their cone cost them.  

I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict and Manic Monday!
Freebie Fridays
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Don't forget to stop by and check out my Super Bowl Contest!

Thanks for stopping by!

What must go and what must stay??

So, I am doing the Clutter Free Classroom Project and we are in week #2.  I took my pictures... you can check them out here if you really want too...  Now, I have to decide what my plan of action is going to be to get rid of the "clutter".  I definitely have my problem areas that I want to tackle (the drawers that are just full of "stuff" is probably #1 on my list) but I also have a problem- maybe you can give me some advice????  Please... I'm begging you???
I have TONS of books.  Right now, I teach Title I reading/math.  I have been doing that for the past 9 years.     I do not need all of these books because they just don't "fit" in with what I am doing right now.  However, I don't know what the future will hold.  I don't know if I will someday end up back with my own classroom... so, I don't want to get rid of my several cupboards full of books because I may need them (not to mention I have bought most of them with my own money).  
So, here is my thought process...
*I have lots of books that I don't use.
* I may need them someday if I were to teach in the regular classroom again.
* I have the space to keep them at school- I'm not in need of extra room.
*My husband would probably have a fit if I brought them home.
So here is my question to you- what would you do?? Keep them? Give them away?  I would love to know what you think.  Here are some pictures...

My Plan:
First, I need to go through a few drawers of wonderful products that I have downloaded off of TpT.  I need to decide what I really want to keep and will use and what I don't think I will use.  I do have a plan of how I want to store them ( I will talk about that in a later post).  I have found something that works for me, it just takes time to get it organized.
Second, I REALLY need to decide what to do with all of these books that I am not currently using.


Is it really almost February- and Groundhog Day?

January is flying by- actually this entire school year seems like a big whirlwind right now.  I can't believe that we are half way through already!  I found a couple short, cute, and fun resources that you might like for Groundhog Day that I thought I would share with you.  These are all from You Tube, so as long as your school allows that, you should be good to go.  First off, there is a short little Groundhog song by Harry Kindergarten you may want to check out.


Here is a clip that is about 3 minutes long- I really like this one.  It was just posted about a week ago and tells a lot of the same facts that I wrote about in my book about Groundhog Day and groundhogs (you can check that out below).


Here are a couple of FREEBIE printables that remind students what happens if the groundhog sees his shadow and if he doesn't.

These are part of my Groundhog Day mini-unit.  I just added a few activities since I don't want to spend a ton of time on these beautiful creatures (ok- that may be stretching it a little bit- they really aren't very cute).  

I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict and Classroom Freebies Manic Monday with this freebie!
Freebie Fridays
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

You have to click on each picture to get each one.  Sorry, this is my first time loading something to google docs I couldn't get them together.

1. Groundhog Graphing: Students get to predict what they think will happen on groundhog day. They secretly fill out a ballot. Students record the results on their own personal data graphs.

2. Groundhog Day Poem: This poem can be read as a whole class during shared reading and then used in a poetry center.

3. Groundhog Prediction Signs: There are two signs that can be displayed to help students remember what happens whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not.

4. Writing Prompts: Students write about what they will do if there will be six more weeks of winter or if it is going to be an early spring.

5. Groundhog Day Book: This book is written around a mid to end of first grade level. It tells about groundhog day and also gives some facts about groundhogs. Then, students get to make their own groundhog puppets to put into their book. They use them to "pop" out of the ground- there is one with a shadow and one without.

On the last page of the book, there is a page that says, "Do you think Phil will  see his shadow this year?"  and the students make two puppets of the groundhog with popsicle sticks.  They can push them up and down through the hole they cut in the paper to make the groundhog look like he is popping out of his hole.  How cute is that??

This mini unit is only $3.00 in my store if you want to check it out.  You can click on any of the pictures above to get there:)


New Blog Design and Joining the Clutter Free Classroom Project

First off, I am SOOOOO thrilled to have a new blog design!  I started this blog about a year ago and have done everything myself.  I've learned a lot but my artistic ability isn't all that great!  Misty and Erika over at Honey Bunch Blog Design helped me out and they did a fabulous job!  I am still tweaking a few things that I want to change but it is mostly finished... YIPPEE!  Here's their button if you want to check them out.
On another note, I am starting the Clutter Free Classroom Project.  These first couple of weeks involved taking pictures of the "clutter".  I took some pictures of my classroom (and some close up shots...) here are a few of them.  I am not the most organized person and I'm not the messiest either.  I'm kind of  a tweeny... is that a word??
I have actually felt more organized this year than I ever had which is crazy when you think about it- I feel like I am working two jobs at times but yet I am more organized.  I'm not really sure how that works.  I do know one thing.  Mel, from over at the pond, had a blog post at the beginning of the school year and one thing she said she does to stay organized with paperwork is to- ONLY TOUCH IT ONCE.  Who knew that this could be such an awesome tip.  When I get my mail, or have papers from somewhere, I have been learning to just put it away- right away- this has been very helpful to me this year.

Anyway, here are a few pics...

Okay... so not too bad so far... here are some close ups on some problem areas- Time to open up the drawers!

OUCH!!  There are things in here that I haven't touched in 8 years...

Well, I do have some more that I will share later.  But, I think this is a good start.  I don't want to freak myself out too bad during the first week!


Product Swap Time!

I am joining Jessica over at Mrs. Stanford's Class in her product swap!  I was paired up with Deborah over at The Paper Maid.  You need to stop by her blog and give her some love- she has some great posts over there that you don't want to miss!

The Paper Maid
I asked her to send me her Arctic Winter pack.  I knew I wanted to get into some non-fiction research and writing with my firsties and that they would love learning about different Arctic Animals!  I was right!  They loved diving into some research on the internet!

Here is a preview of some of the activities in this mega pack!

Let me give a little more information about this packet of goodies before showing you what we did...

First off, there are 148 pages in this packet!  Here is a list of what is included:

7 x Walrus notetaking pages.
7 x Fox notetaking pages.
7 x Seal notetaking pages.
7 x Polar Bear notetaking pages.
7 x Whale notetaking pages.
7 x Penguin notetaking pages.
7 x Caribou notetaking pages.
7 x Rabbits notetaking pages.
2 x Accordion books ( with instructions )
1 x Write beginning sounds
1 x Write ending sounds
1 x Write a noun for...
1 x Write a verb for...
1 x Write a pronoun for...
1 x Write an adjective for...
1 x How many syllables? ( Color the correct syllable, and then color the pictures )
Inside Outside craft and game pieces – color or black and white ( antonyms )
2 x Vocabulary cut and pastes
3 x Compare and Contrast ( What is the same, what is different )
Who eats fish? ( Cut and paste )
2 x different ABC Order ( Two different lists )
5 x Label the animal ( walrus, whale, caribou, eskimo, polar bear )
3 x Days of the Week ( Three sets for Days of the Week sequencing centers )
2 x Months of the Year ( Two sets for Months of the Year sequencing centers )
9 x Tracing Numerals ( numbers 1 - 9 )
4 x Skip counting puzzles ( 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s )
30 x Various writing papers

These activities are appropriate for K-2 students and there are a lot of different activities.  Since I teaching reading in small groups, I don't have a TON of time to work on writing skills.  Most of what we do is reading involved but I really wanted to get into some writing!  So, I made each student their own writing book that we could use to research and write about different arctic animals.  

We researched four different animals (there are more to choose from).  We did walrus, seal, polar bear, and penguin.
I used the website to find kid friendly research.
Then we wrote about where each animal lives, what their body looks like, and what they eat.  We recorded these on very cute and fun paper that Deborah made for each animal.

When we were finished researching the animals, we wrote a little more extensively about the penguin (that was their favorite!)  I used the SMART board to help guide them in their writing.

There are MANY MANY activities that you can do with this packet!  I did not use many of the other materials in this pack (only because they didn't fit into what we were learning about at the time).  I will definitely use some of the other activities in the future.  You don't want to miss out on this mega pack!  It is only $4.50 in her store and well worth it!  You can click on the picture to take you to her store and snag it up!

I am so excited that I got to get involved in this product swap!!