Sunday, December 13, 2015

Math and Literacy Activities using Scraps of Wrapping Paper [Freebie]

Today I was wrapping presents and as much as I tried to measure the paper to fit the gift perfectly, I inevitably had to cut strips of the wrapping paper off to wrap them just right. I was cleaning up the table and this pile of wrapping paper strips was staring at me. I couldn't let this cute wrapping paper go to waste! So I thought of a few fun literacy and math activities using scrap pieces of wrapping paper you have lying around.

Fun literacy and math activities using scrap pieces of wrapping paper you have lying around. Easy and low-prep!

I wrote letters on these strips of wrapping paper to practice letter name and letter sound fluency. It's about that time of year for another round of DIBELS or AIMSweb assessments and this would make practice fun! I wrote letters on several strips of paper and put them in the cute Santa bag. During small group, my little scholars can pull out a strip and say the letter names or letter sounds as quickly as they can. 
Write letters on several strips of scrap wrapping paper and put them in a cute holiday bag. Students can pull out a strip and say the letter names or letter sounds as quickly as they can.

I wrote numbers on the scrap wrapping paper strips to practice number identification fluency. As a warm-up before small group math, my little scholars can choose a wrapping paper strip from the bag and identify the numbers as quickly as possible. 

Write numbers on scraps of wrapping paper. Students choose a strip of paper and identify the numbers as quickly as they can. Perfect for AIMSweb!

I also wanted to use the scrap of wrapping paper to make a center my little scholars could do independently. I wrote a series of letters on each small strip with a missing letter. My little scholars will say the letters, identify the letter that is missing, and record the series of letters on the recording sheet. I placed the strips in a stocking for a little novelty--I know they'll love it! 

Write a series of letters on scrap pieces of wrapping paper. Students say the letters, identify the letter that is missing, and record the series of letters on the recording sheet. I placed the strips in a stocking for a little novelty--I know they'll love it!

I did the same thing except using numbers for this next center idea. My little scholars will pull a wrapping paper strip out of the stocking, says the numbers, identify the number that is missing, and write the series of numbers on the recording sheet. 

Students pull a wrapping paper strip out of the stocking, says the numbers, identify the number that is missing, and write the series of numbers on the recording sheet. So fun and so little prep!

I love including a recording sheet for accountability and you can download one to use by clicking the picture below.

Free recording sheet for a center using scraps of wrapping paper! Easy and so fun!

I also want to share about a fun giveaway that I'm participating in! Enter to win a $30 Amazon gift card and a total of $20 in Teachers Pay Teachers to store credit. Just click the picture below to enter the giveaway! 



Hope you have a great week! 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What's On Your Wishlist?

It's that time of year again! Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale.  I am excited to finally purchase those resources that have been sitting on my Wishlist! Between teaching resources and clip art I have 57 items to purchase--thank goodness for those TPT credits. I'm linking up with my friend Jen from Teaching in the Tongass to share the teaching resources from my TPT shop that have been most frequently wishlisted by other teachers like you!

Click the picture to see the resource!

My All About the Alphabet Interactive Listening Center Bundle [Part 1] has made it on a whopping 929 Wishlists! This resource is one of my favorites because I saw firsthand what an impact it made on my little scholars mastery of letters and sounds. The download includes a printable booklet and audio file for each letter A-M (letters N-Z are in the All About the Alphabet Interactive Listening Center Bundle Part 2). The beauty of this resource is that the audio file actually does the teaching for you! I also use this resource to reinforce learning at home--my little scholars just take home the printable booklet and a CD player home for extra practice. This is especially helpful for those that might not have support at home or your English Language Learners. You can download the Letter Aa Interactive Listening Center [here] for free to give it a try!  I recently added a full-page version of each printable booklet to the download to make prep even easier! No laminating and cutting--just place each page in a sheet protector and use a binder ring to keep all the pages together! If you aren't the most tech-savvy and would rather have the audio files mailed to you on a CD, you can add that to your cart with your purchase [here]. Take advantage of the sale and purchase the bundle for 28% off.


Click the picture to see the resource!
The next most Wishlisted item from my TPT shop one of my first resources I created, my CVC Word Mega Pack. This resource is on 589 teachers wishlists! This resource is 133 pages of CVC word fun--from center or station activities, printables, games, and pocket chart activities this download has everything you need for teaching your little scholars to read those CVC words. You can download a few pages of this unit for free [here] to see if it's something that suits your fancy. :)

Click the picture to see the resource!
Rounding out the Top 3 Wishlisted Items from my TPT shop is my Teach Me Sight Words Primer Bundle Part 1. After seeing the impact my All About the Alphabet Interactive Listening Center had on my little scholars letters and sounds mastery, I created a version for sight words! This download includes a printable booklet and audio file that actually teaches the sight words. While your little scholars are interacting with the audio file and printable booklet, they are listening to the sight word being spelled and read over 26 times! This resource also teaches the sight word in the context of a sentence, which research indicates leads to greater mastery of sight words. Set this up as a listening center in your classroom, change out the sight words as you teach them according to your own scope and sequence, and you can just sit back and watch your little scholars learn to read, spell, and write those sight words! Just like my All About the Alphabet Interactive Listening Center, you can print the booklets and send a CD player home to give your struggling scholars more practice! You can download the Teach Me Sight Words Sampler to try it out for free [here]. If you aren't the most tech-savvy and would rather have the audio files mailed to you on a CD, you can add that to your cart with your purchase [here]. I have bundles for Dolch and Fry words as well as each sight word listed individually. Grab all my Teach Me Sight Words resources during the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale for 28% off the already reduced bundle price!


Click the picture to start shopping! 
I cannot wait for Monday so I can clear out my own Teachers Pay Teachers Wishlist! Happy Shopping, friends! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sight Words and Word Walls

Word walls are such a powerful tool to have in your classroom! They help little scholars build spelling and phonics skills as well as serve as an amazing reference during literacy activities. Don't remember how to spell the word "said?" Check the word wall!

I begin each year with a pretty blank word wall--with just the letters on it (vowels are a different color than consonants) as well as initial sound pictures. The first week of school I add my little scholars' names to the word wall. This is when I begin teaching how use the word wall. What better way to teach the purpose of a word wall than with the most important word to a child--their name! A word wall is just a decoration on the wall unless we teach our little scholars how to use it!

Here are two examples of word walls from my classroom: one from kindergarten and one from PreK. I read this post about Debbie Diller's suggestions for word walls which influenced why I chose this specific word wall design. 
(Pardon the poor photo quality, iPhone cameras weren't as great back in 2011!)


This was a few weeks into school in Pre-K. We had to follow a letter of the week curriculum so we had already introduced Aa, Ee, Hh, and Kk. 

In kindergarten, as I introduced sight words or high frequency words I added them to the word wall. The word wall in my kindergarten classroom was on a whiteboard so I was able to use a piece of magnetic tape to affix the words to the whiteboard. I loved the magnet tape because if one of my little scholars needed to borrow a word during Writer's Workshop it came off the word wall easily. Download the word wall words by clicking either of the pictures below. 

                                

In Pre-K as we learned a new letter name and sound I added initial sound pictures from my Beginning Sounds Bonanza unit.


Around March once all my little Pre-K scholars had learned letter names and sounds, I took most of the initial sound pictures down and added a few sight words. When I added the sight words, I indicated the sight word list it was on with a small colored circle in the corner. You can read more about how I organize sight words [here].


Using real photographs instead of clipart supports the shift towards nonfiction text so I've created a set of initial sound photographs for you to use on your word wall if you'd prefer--just click the picture to below to download them!


For more about how I teach and organize sight words, check out this post!



Saturday, March 28, 2015

Now I Know My ABCs!

I am thrilled to share with you a few strategies to teach letters and sounds that have been very effective in my classroom. We know that young children use their senses to learn--they need to see it, hear it, and touch it--so here are some of my favorite ideas!



Tactile Letters

I found an ancient textured wallpaper book in a dusty cabinet and decided to make tactile letters using the textured wallpaper.


I used a die-cut machine to cut the letters and then glued them on cardstock. Voila!


How's that for recycling? :) 


Interactive Alphabet Listening Center 

Another one of my letter sound must-haves is my All About the Alphabet Interactive Listening Center. This center also allows students to hear, see, and touch the letters. There are 26 booklets and 26 audio files included in the downloads. The students listen to the audio file while following along in the book. I created this listening center activity out of sheer necessity. My students needed additional explicit instruction with letters and sounds but there were TONS many other things I needed to teach, so this interactive listening center was born. Once I began using it in my classroom last year, I saw results immediately. 100% of my Pre-K students mastered letters and sounds and I give this resource much of the credit! I even sent home a portable CD player and some booklets home with my students who struggled for a little extra practice! 

Here's a sneak peek at how you can use this center activity in your classroom to teach letters and sounds. I created this video to show you how it works! 



You can download the Letter A printable booklet and audio file for FREE [here] to give it a try in your classroom. 


You can purchase the bundle in my shop [here] and [here]. This resource has over 176 4.0 ratings! Be sure to scroll down to the feedback to read why other teachers love this resource. 
          

Teaching Letter Sounds using Gestures

I have been teaching hand motions along with letter sounds since I began teaching. Using gestures to teach letter sounds allows children to hear the letter sound, see the letter in print (as long as you have it displayed), and move their bodies! This strategy is truly effective and I'll often see some of my former students in the hallway and although they are now in 3rd of 4th grade, they can still demonstrate the gesture for each letter sound. Movements really help anchor those sounds in our little scholars' brains!

Here's a video of me demonstrating the gestures I use in my classroom. Enjoy!



I'm linking up with Abby from The Inspired Apple. Be sure to check out her post for lots of great alphabet ideas! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Announcement and a Giveaway

Friends.

I have a very exciting announcement to make! 
I have decided to team up with some of my very best kinder buddies to write for a collaborative blog! 
That means ONE blog with TONS of great ideas from several super awesome Kindergarten teachers!


One thing I L-O-V-E about this blog, is you will know exactly what to expect each day of the week.  For every day, there is a blogging theme.  Check them out! 



I'm SO excited to get started on this new adventure, and am thrilled to invite you along for the ride.  Let's celebrate with a little giveaway!  

Enter this giveaway to win a MEGA CVC Pack!

You can win my bestselling CVC Mega Pack! It's over 125 pages of phonics fun--centers, printables, games, and more! You can check out blog posts about it [HERE].  

All you have to do to enter is follow us over at iTeachKinder then follow the instructions on the Raflecopter below! 




Can't wait to get started sharing some great kinder ideas with you! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Listen for Sight Word Success!

Did you know that sight words make up about 50% of what we read? When children are able to read sight words fluently they are able to focus on comprehending the text instead of attempting to sound out each word they encounter. We know how important sight word mastery is to reading development but how can we ensure sight word success when we have tons of other standards to teach? I want to share the classroom-tested and student-approved way I teach sight words that has consistently resulted in my students learning 100 sight words on average year after year.
Great way to organize sight words! Divide the list into different color groups.
Make It Manageable
I divide up my list of sight words into different color groups. The first group is red so it will contain the most frequently used words like: the, and, a, to, etc. You may look at the scope and sequence of your reading curriculum and make your sight word color groups based off when the curriculum introduces the sight words. Breaking the sight words up into smaller groups makes it is easy to manage! I always know which color list of my words my students are working on, since they all master sight words at different rates.  You can use the printable below-- just type in your sight words!
Use this printable to organize your sight words and make keeping track of students' progress manageable!
I also made sight word flash cards for my students to use and take home. I printed, laminated, and hole-punched them and kept them on binder rings. Click the picture to grab the flash card template!

Use colors to divide your sight word list into smaller, more manageable groups!

Keep Track
I needed a visual tracker for me and my students. This way I know at a glance how each student is progressing and they get the satisfaction and confidence boost of coloring in another part of the rainbow as they master more sight words. Tracking sight word mastery makes a tremendous impact on my students' motivation and they become incredibly invested in learning more sight words! The tracker also makes a great visual to share with parents and families. Just click the picture below to download the tracker!
Use this rainbow to track students' sight word mastery! As they learn a new group of words, they color in that portion of the rainbow.

Make It Meaningful 
Flash cards and rote memorization just don't cut it when it comes to sight word mastery! Students need multiple opportunities to read and write a new sight word because a child is more likely to commit a sight word to memory when he writes and says the word at least 5 times. Teaching sight words in isolation is not nearly as effective as teaching them in context, so teaching the word in the context of a sentence is a must! 

Listen for Sight Word Success
I always feel like I never have enough time to work with small groups or individual students to build sight word mastery--I just wanted to clone myself so they could get the teacher directed support necessary in order to develop this necessary reading skill! During center time, I tried every worksheet and printable under the sun but none increased student mastery--students either knew the word already or still were confused after completing the worksheet. Why? Because no one was there teach or correct them! It was just a whole lot of going through the motions.

Teach sight words using an interactive listening center!

Since cloning myself was clearly not an option, I opted for the next best thing--a recording of me! I created Teach Me Sight Words--a printable booklet and audio file for each sight word. The audio file guides the student through spelling the word, reading the word in context, writing the word, and the student hears the word spelled or read over 26 times! The printable provides accountability and can be taken home for additional practice. Instead of simply going through the motions of a cut and paste worksheet, the audio file and printable provides the necessary support and scaffolding for true sight word learning that leads to mastery! While there are lots of sight word apps and computer games, I haven't found any that actually teach the sight words and are easy to differentiate. I use a CD player for my sight word listening center, so I have a different CD for each sight word color list. Because we use the rainbow tracker, my students know which sight words they need to work on and differentiation is as easy as that!
An interactive listening center where students are actually TAUGHT sight words!

You can cut the printable books up, let students write on them with a pencil and take them home OR reuse them by slipping the pages in sheet protectors and letting students write on them with dry erase markers. The audio files can be uploaded to iTunes and put on an iPod or iPad or burned to a CD for use on an individual CD player or stereo in your classroom.

Use your listening center to teach sight words!


All of my Teach Me Sight Word resources are in my TpT shop! You can purchase sight words individually for $2--that's for the printable book AND the audio file. If you purchase a bundle, you get the sight word printable booklet and audio file for only $1.40 each! If you'd like to try it out first, download my Teach Me Sight Words Sampler and give it a whirl.
                    This Dolch Pre-Primer interactive listening center teachers students all about sight words!       This Dolch Pre-Primer interactive listening center teachers students all about sight words!       This Dolch Primer interactive listening center teachers students all about sight words!

Down a FREE interactive listening center to teach sight words!
Involve Parents and Families
I explain my rainbow sight word program to my students' parents and families in the beginning of the year and give them each a laminated copy of the rainbow sight word list. On my class Facebook page, I post a picture of each student with their rainbow tracker after they have colored in another section so their parents can see their child's progress. My students love the recognition but their parents love it even more! Students are able to take home the flash card rings for practice but I also made online flash cards by creating a Facebook photo album for each color sight word list. I saved the flashcards as JPEGs and uploaded them just like you would a picture so while the child is riding in the car or at the grocery store he can scroll through the flash card "pictures" on Mom or Dad's smartphone. Parents are so busy and may not have the time or materials to make flashcards, so utilizing something they already have and something their child undoubtedly loves to use makes it a win-win! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Currently! Or yes, I do still exist.

It's been a minute (read: months) since I've blogged so I thought I'd ease right back into it with one of my favorite blogger link-ups...Currently!


Listening: The game is long over now but it was good until the end when Ole Miss lost. My fiance used to tease that my family is un-American because we didn't watch football growing up. Like ever. Okay, maybe the Super Bowl but that's it. Perhaps having a nationally ranked football team nearby helped turn me into a fan! 

Loving: I am always, always, always hot and now that the weather has turned cold today was the first day I didn't have to turn the air conditioner on in my house. Jason teases that he has to sleep in a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and a hat because I keep the air conditioner set at 66 degrees. Crazy? Possibly. But I sure am comfortable! 

Thinking: I get to go to the NAEYC Conference in Dallas this week but I haven't even started to pack. And I'm not going to check a bag which makes the thought of packing doubly exhausting. 

Wanting: I'm getting married in June and finally ordered my Save the Dates! He's from New Jersey, I'm from California, and we live in Mississippi so we thought a Las Vegas wedding would be so fun for our friends and family! My mom found these perfect Save the Dates. Did you see that they are scratch offs?! Can't wait for them to arrive! 

Needing: We bought a house and moved in June but had quite a hectic summer so I've yet to unpack my home office. I'd show you a picture but just think about a little old lady on an episode of Hoarders. That's about what it looks like. 

Reading: I read more blogs, People magazines, and Facebook posts (just keepin' it real) more than anything but I've started a new Jodi Picoult and I'm already loving it. I've never been disappointed with any of her books! 

Share what you're up to by linking up









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