Take Home Math Kits Review

I had a fellow teacher/blogger ask for some other teachers to review a product that she has made.  When I saw that it was having students practice Common Core Math Activities as homework, I was in:)  I don't really like how our math homework is set up right now so I thought I would give it a try.

The product is called Take Home Math Kits and is made by Casey Williamson from Second Grade Math Maniac.  It has 30 different games that the kids can play for homework.  The product is geared towards 1st and 2nd grade.

I like that the activities are aligned to the Common Core.  She outlines the standards that are met with each game.

Also, there are a parent letters and sign out sheets included to help you keep track of when students have taken home each activity.

So, since it is close to the end of the year and my homework policies are already in place, I have used these math games in a different way in my classroom.  I will be trying these as homework next year.

First, we have used some of the games as "centers" to practice skills that have already been taught.  One game was called Balloon Cover Up.  The students have to spin two spinners and cover up the sum.  Each player has their own board and the first person to cover up their balloons wins.

The kids had a fun time with this game.  There is also a worksheet to go along with it that they can fill out.

We also played Buggy Bump.  The kids had to roll three dice and add up the sum.  They put their marker on the sum.  When they get the same sum twice, they get to lock it in place with two markers.  If a partner has a marker on a number and the other partner gets that number, they can "bump" them off of the spot and replace it with their own marker.

As I think about next year, I will REALLY like using this because there are definitely many different skill levels included.  Some of my first graders couldn't handle some of the activities that were at a second grade level but these are awesome for my higher kids.  I will be able to send home activities that are appropriate for each child.

If you would like to check out these Take Home Math Kits, you can click on any of the pictures above.      I was not paid for this review.  Casey did send me the Take Home Math Kit and asked for an honest review.  You definitely will not be disappointed with this product!


Wordless Wednesday 4/30

I am linking up with Christina over at Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.  Go and check out the other Wordless Wednesday Pictures on her blog.

Can anyone tell what we are doing??  It's hard to see but the kids love it!

It's a Brain Break Website called Go Noodle  Go and check it out!


Wordless Wednesday

What do you do to get the kids motivated to continue reading through the end of the school year?


The Ultimate Guided Reading Toolkit- everything you need to plan your groups!

Updated Post May 2016:  The Ultimate Guided Reading Toolkit is a product that I have been working on for a few years.  I started out making Levels A-N.  I had such great feedback and requests for Levels O-Z that I also made that product!  The final result is a FULL toolkit with Levels A-Z!

Planning for Guided Reading has never saved me so much TIME!  Time is precious, and now that I have this kit prepared and ready to go it takes me only about 10-15 minutes to plan and prepare for 5 different guided reading groups.  

Here is a picture of the toolkit all set-up and ready to go!  This is the Level A-N kit!

Here are Levels O-Z!

Please note:  This kit WILL take you some time, ink, paper, and lamination to put together.  It can be done all at once or little by little over time as you use the activities.  In the end, it will SAVE you countless of hours trying to find activities to help teach the skills that you kiddos need.

I made this kit so that everything is readily at your fingertips!  There are over 180 activities directly related to Word Work, Reading Strategies, and Comprehension in the entire A-Z kit.  Each of these three skills are color coded for easy access.  The activity cards for the Word Work are red, Reading Strategies are blue, and Comprehension are yellow.  On each activity card, the suggested appropriate activity levels are at the top.  Each activity also provides a learning goal, materials needed for the activity, teacher directions, and student directions.

Here is a sample.

When I do my planning, I use my Guided Reading Binder.  This is a freebie and I have had great feedback.  Each group has their own section in the binder.  I use velcro on the group page so that I can easily move kids around throughout the school year as their guided reading levels change.

Click on the picture to get this FREEBIE!

Behind my groups is where I keep my Guided Reading Lesson Plans Levels A-Z.  These plans help me know what skills I need to teach at each level.  These plans correlate directly to The Ultimate Guided Reading Toolkit and can be found at a BUNDLED price.

Here is how I plan my groups:

I choose a book for my group that is at their Instructional Reading Level (90-94% accuracy for levels A-Z).  In this sample, my group is reading the book Skateboarding.  This is a Level G book.

Here is a picture of the lesson plan that I used for this book.  The planning sheet lays out the skills that should be worked on at specific levels.  Each planning page has Word Work Skills, Before Reading, During Reading (Strategies), and Comprehension.

**Please note:  These samples are in the old format.  I have updated the format as seen in the picture above.

At the top, there is a place for the name of the book, students names, and date.  Notice this is for Guided Reading Level G.

I did a running record on Mariah from the day new book the last time we met.  I wrote her scores on the top of the planning sheet.  This helps me keep track and make sure that each kid is in an appropriate group.  

The top of the plans give Word Work ideas for each level.  When I plan, I look and see what skills each groups needs to work on.  Many times, I quickly plan immediately after I meet with a group because it is fresh in my head what they need to work on.

For this group, we did a quick reading of our sight words that we were working on this week.  Next we did an activity with blends.  In the toolkit, I found the activities for blends and had it ready for the lesson.  Here the students had to say the name of the picture and put the clothespin on the correct blend.

The activities in this pack are meant to be quick and only take 3-5 minutes.  I really try to limit each group to a 20 minute lesson.

We talked about blends and I ended up giving each student 4 different cards to figure out.  They were BEGGING for more- but we had to move on.

Next, we took a picture walk together using the book.  I made a point of saying the names of the children in the book a few times (Roberto and Luis).  These names are always tricky for a couple of students.  

After the picture walk and brief discussion, the students were off to read ON THEIR OWN.  The single most important part of effective guided reading (in my opinion), is that each student is reading the entire book.  We don't do round robin reading in guided reading.  I teach students right from the beginning how to read with a whisper voice.  I listen in on each student as they are reading.  I also really encourage them to ask for help if they are absolutely stuck.  

After reading the book, I had the Fiction Spin the Wheel ready to go!

I let each student spin one time and we answer the questions on the wheel.  Again, begging for more!

After we have read and discussed the new book, I collect them until the next time we get together.  I do try (if I can), to plan for the next group immediately after meeting with them.  With this toolkit, it literally takes me a couple of minutes.  I grab the items that I want to teach, mark them on the lesson planning sheet and put them into my basket where I keep all of the materials that I will need for each lesson.

Five groups and all of the activity cards and activities that I need- all in one spot.  When we finish the activity I file it back into the Guided Reading Toolkit.

If you LOVE what you see- here are your options to making your Guided Reading time as productive as it could possible be!

Pin for Later!!  

Thanks for stopping by!


Wordless Wednesday Answer to "What "died" only 5 days later??"

Well, if you saw my post yesterday, I linked up with Christina from Sugar and Spice with the first week of Wordless Wednesday.  I posted a picture of our new living room furniture and asked you to guess what decided to "die" only 5 days later.  (You know, because that's just how it always works right?)

So, AMANDA, you were the first one to guess correctly….

Here it is, our dorm fridge that we have to use for 3 weeks until we get our new one… it really makes me appreciate the fridge a little more when I don't have one.

Amanda… I sent you a message on your blog!  Send me an e-mail and let me know what you would like from my store:)


Wordless Wednesday

I am linking up with Christina over at Sugar and Spice Blog!  This is the first Wordless Wednesday link-up.  Go and check out her post to learn more.

Here is my picture:

We decided to splurge and get some new furniture.  Question:  What do you think decided to "die" only 5 days later?  I will answer the question tomorrow:)   First one to guess correctly in the comments can pick any item from my TpT store.