Easter Sound/Letter boxes

I have been MIA for about a week and a half... but, I have been behind the scenes busy.  I am super excited about a unit I have been working on and I REALLY want to get it finished over my Spring Break (which is this week).  It is a unit on teaching kids how to Retell stories.  Also, I had to have some very painful dental work done today so I have just been taking it easy.  Anyway,  I had updated my Easter Sound Boxes that I made last year and thought I would do a quick post about it!  You can pick up by clicking on any of the pictures:) 

I laminate these and use dry erase markers so that the kids can write in the letters.  They love it!  I have also included lists of possible words to use!

OH WAIT- I almost forgot.  Starting this Thursday NIGHT I will be involved in an awesome blog hop!  You are not going to want to miss all of the freebies from this blog hop.  Don't forget to stop back  then and get all of the goodies!


Organizing my Instructional Area

I haven't posted the past couple of weeks for the Clutter Free Classroom project.  A couple of weeks ago the goal was to go through professional books.  I did that before school started this year so I am pretty happy with what I have now.  I got rid of a TON of "clutter" books this summer.  Last week was a great post about organizing a way to keep track of incoming papers/magazines/to do "stuff" etc....  I have been really good about that this year already (for me anyway) just by following one tip that I learned from Mel From the Pond.  TOUCH IT ONCE.  I am soooo in love with this tip- so simple, I know, but it works!  Any incoming mail, papers, things that need filed, only gets through my fingertips one time.  I do keep file folders for myself that I use.  For example, I have a "copy" file and a "laminate" file.  I want to try the expandable file soon and see how that works... if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can check out this post.

On to this weeks challenge!!  Organizing my instructional area.  Basically, since I have several different groups of students throughout the day- we spend our time at my Guided Reading kidney shaped table.  I have a bookshelf next to my table.  I keep all of my Guided Reading supplies handy on this bookshelf including magnetic letters/trays, magazine holder for our books, pencils/scissors/glue, whiteboards/markers, crayons, and highlighter tape.  These are the main supplies that I use at a moment's notice. Here is a before picture:

I went through and put anything away that I haven't used in a long time and stored it elsewhere.  Now I'm down to this...

It's hard to tell much difference in the picture but it is definitely less cluttered:)

I also have baskets behind my table that are sorted by teacher.  I keep any activities or projects that we are working on in these baskets.  They help me stay organized with keeping my groups on track.  I may do one activity with a couple of my groups but not get to it with some of the others.  I keep the materials in the appropriate baskets so I can remember what I have finished or not finished with each group.
Here is a before:

and an after (I just went through the baskets).

So, one more area that is clutter free:)  It makes me smile!


RTI Progress Monitoring (Sample of how I document)

I created an RTI progress monitoring freebie and have had people ask exactly how I use it.  I have been documenting and thought I would share a student that I previously wrote a post about.  This student has been struggling with sight words in her reading.  She gets many of them confused and they are definitely not automatic in her reading.  This student is a good artist and loves to draw so I wanted to use her strengths to help her get excited about learning these words that are difficult for her.  You can check out the blog post {here} for more information.

The first page of the progress monitoring plan is basic information.  This page describes the students strengths/weaknesses, skills needed to succeed, and intervention skills that you will be specifically working on.  This page also allows you to document what the intervention will be, who is providing the intervention, how often, and what assessments you will use to monitor the progress.  Here is a sample of my student struggling with sight words. *Here is my disclaimer... I typed this for the purpose of this blog post.  I usually just hand write the documentation but I wanted you to be able to read it- my handwriting is not the best thanks to breaking my arm when I was younger:(

Here is the first page.

When I make copies, I copy page 1 and page 2 back to back.  Page 2 is where I record the Assessment Data and my progress monitoring notes.  For this intervention, I am using my sight word lists (I use Lucy Calkins list from The Teachers College of Reading and Writing).  You can check out my post here that tells why I choose to use her list over Dolch and Fry.  I also am looking at her Reading Benchmark Book running record to see if she is reading the sight words correctly in text.

Page 3 is where I do my daily documentation.  This example is over about a month.  Unfortunately, I didn't see B. L. as much as I had hoped.  She was sick for a few days and I was out with a sick child for a couple days as well.  And- I think we had a couple of snow days... anyway this is what I have documented so far.  For her intervention I made different flashcards.  Again, to learn more about the intervention and how I made the flashcards, you can go to this blog post.

I hope this helps give you some ideas of possible ways you can use this form to document.  Remember, this is only one example for one specific student.  This form can be used with just about any intervention you may need to do.

If you would like to download this sample, just click {here}.  

For a free blank copy you can click on the picture below.

Please let me know if you have additional questions:)


In Memory of Maddy

I had a post last year around this time of the year about how my son was shaving his head for St. Baldrick's to help raise money for Children's Cancer Research.  You can check it out here.  
Our principal's daughter Maddy was diagnosed with Leukemia in November of 2009.  After a three year battle, I am saddened to say that she passed away on January 8th of this year.  Maddy was and still is an inspiration to everyone she came in contact with.  Our school family has become very close over the past three years and it's very difficult to watch such a wonderful girl and her family have to go through this...  If you would like to read about Maddy's journey, you can check out her blog here.

We have a Relay for Life team that is composed mostly of school employees, Maddy's family members, and some community members.  Last year we were the top team to raise money for Fulton's County's Relay for Life.  We are trying to keep that title so I was wondering what I could do to help... 
Last year, I donated half of my profits I made from my Easter Activities unit.  That was about $20:)  I would like to do the same thing only this year I have updated my Easter Activities and added many other activities to it that you can use in the month of March.

The unit includes 5 Literacy Activities and 5 Math Activities.  Here are some of the things that are included.

*ABC word sort (March words)
*Frames and Arrows (skip counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's)  There are 9 different worksheets.
*Coin Collection- These are word sorts for Long and Short Vowels.  Each includes a pocket sort and two different sorting activities- one shows pictures of long and short vowel words and the students have to listen for the difference.  The other sort is just the words and they need to "word attack" to sound them out and decide if they are long or short.  Here are some pictures of the ones that I did with the pictures.

We read the words together and then sorted them based on the sound.

*Compound Words- Match the rainbow with pot of gold.  Worksheet included.
*Game On- This activity is to go with March Madness.  The students have to solve problems with 2 and 3 addends.  Two worksheets are included.

*Read the Room Egg Hunt- there are two read the room activities.  One is for blends, digraphs, and short vowels.  The other is for long vowels.
*Egg Hunt- This is a board game.  There are two versions for play.  Students can either practice counting tally marks or base ten blocks or you could even mix the two together to practice both.
*Easter Time- This is an activity where the students each get their own bunny clock.  Laminate and they can draw cards and practice writing the time on the analog clock with a dry erase marker.
*Fill the Easter basket- This is a word sort for ir, ur, and er words.  A worksheet is provided.

I did some of these activities with my students last year and just "updated" them this year.  I also included some new ones that I am excited to use!

Please know that every purchase of this item will go to our Relay for Life Team.  I am hoping to raise a little more than $20 this year:)  Your support is greatly appreciated!  Say a prayer for Maddy's family.


I also just added quarters to my Scoop It Up Freebie.  You can click on the picture to download all three games (I also added blackline copies to all of them).

and Shamrock Numbers- Greater Than/Less Than and sequencing...

Thanks for stopping by!


Read Across America Dr. Seuss kickoff!

Our "Special Events Committee" has planned some awesome fun events for Read Across America Week.  I am not on this committee and can take no credit for all of the great ideas that they have come up with for the week ahead!
We had a "kickoff" assembly this afternoon.  The students got to make their own Dr. Seuss Hats, sing a song, and watch a few fun games with the students and the staff.  Here are a couple of pictures of decorations that they put in the hallway.  Cute aren't they?

Our principal dressed up the The Cat in the Hat and the kids loved it.  There was a game where two teams were picked and the students had a relay race.  The object was to get the goldfish crackers into a small mason jar the fastest.  They could only use a spoon and had to pass it on to the next person.  The gym was filled with all sorts of chanting for the two different teams.

The best was the Fox in Socks game that was with the staff.  I took video but they would probably kill me if I posted it on here (lol).  One teacher from every grade level was picked to participate.  They each had to put on a pair of long socks with them hanging off of their feet slightly.  They had to crawl around and try to get each others socks off of their feet.  This was a riot.  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  They were fighting and battling with each other trying to pull off each others socks until there was only one person left with a sock on!  We have some very competitive teachers so it was a blast to watch!  (they did put out mats on the gym floor so they didn't hurt themselves:)

Here's a group shot of the kids in the gym.

After the assembly, the kids went back to their classrooms and enjoyed a birthday cake to celebrate Dr. Seuss's Birthday!  I will add to this post next week- as there are many other fun things planned!
On Monday- we are wearing silly socks!  I need to find some...