Friday, December 5, 2014

Unwrap a Gift Linky Party...Winter Printables {Kindergarten}

My Winter Printables packet for Kindergarten is full of engaging math, reading and writing activities. They are Common Core aligned. All you need to do is print, go and have fun! My kiddos and I have been working on these activities this week.  Here are a few of their favorites!
Skate Race
This activity allows students to practice reading and writing sight words. They will make a spinner, spin a word and then write it. My daughter had fun predicting which word would "win" by reaching the top first. Her prediction was right and she was super excited!
Add it Up
 For this activity students will cut out and use the marshmallows to solve addition problems within 10. My kiddos favorite part was using the marshmallow manipulatives!
My Winter Writing Journal
Students will create a Winter Writing Journal filled with fun prompt pages. A personal snowy word wall  is included. My daughter loved labeling the snowman parts and the journal cover!

 You can grab a sample of this product by clicking on the image below!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Daily Writing Prompts

My son just started Kindergarten this year and that means it is time to get writing! I have tried various tools to get him excited about writing and finally found one that works! We used a spiral notebook (he thought that was pretty grown up) and "October Daily Writing Prompts" from Melissa Dailey's TPT store! Click on the picture below to find these prompts!
"October Daily Writing Prompts"
He loved the pictures and the kid friendly prompts. I let him choose which one he wanted to do and he had a hard time deciding because he loved them all!

 He glued it to the top of the page, wrote about the prompt and then drew a picture.
I LOVED that I didn't have to generate prompts and he was so excited to write it wasn't a struggle at all! He LOVED the pictures next to the prompts, writing in a notebook and the great variety of prompts. He said he wants to get some Christmas ones too. Melissa, you better add that one to your to-do list:)!
Check out this great product and get your kiddos writing!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


TODAY there is a BIG sale in my store and TPT! It is just one day folks, so grab what you need now for the beginning of the year! Here are a few things from my store that may help you start on the right foot!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Top 3 Letter Learning Activities...

When my son attended Pre-K this past year I was shocked to find out that where we live kiddos are pretty much expected to enter Kindergarten able to identify all of the upper and lowercase letters! Times sure have changed since I taught Kindergarten ten years ago!! After getting over the initial panic...I decided to create some FUN ways for my kiddos to learn how to identity and write all 26 letters! If they were gonna learn it by golly they were gonna have fun doing it! I started with these alphabet bands! Each day we would create a different one they would wear. They would write, trace and color each letter. Then, all day long I would ask them what letter they were wearing! They loved it and these really helped my son master his letter names!
We also spent a lot of time writing each letter in shaving cream. It cleaned the table and made the house smell good!
We also "learned through play" by using these Sticky Letter printables.  My son loved using the spinners and enjoyed it so much more than the typical letter tracing worksheets!
You can grab these Letter Recognition activities and much more from my store!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Color Word Fun...

Do you need something to spice up your first few weeks of school? This bundle is the perfect interactive, engaging and differentiated bundle for teaching eleven color words.
This is what is included...
 Eight differentiated activities. They are organized with the beginning reader activities first and the more advanced read activities second.

 Color Match Up:
•Students will use letter tiles to make or match up a color word and write it.

 Sweet Think -Tac -Toe:
• Students will play color word tic-tac-toe.

 Roll and Read:
•Students will play a game by rolling a dice and reading the word next to the correct number.

 Cool Color Words {Write the Room}:
•Students will find the Cool Color Word cards and copy the color word off of the cards.

Color Hunt:
•Students will go on a color hunt and then complete a book with their findings.

  My Color Words Book:
• Students will create a craftivity color book they can read.

 Color Time Flip Books:
•Students will create flip books that they color, trace and/or write and read.

 Spin and Color Partner Games:
•Students will play a color word game using three or all eleven color words.

 Color Word Clue Sheet:
•This clue sheet will be used with the Color Hunt activity if you use the paper bags and the My Color Words book activity.

 Color Words Assessment:
•Use these assessment tools as a pre and post assessment to the Color Word Fun Unit. 
Here is a sneak peak of what is included.... 
You can check out this product here!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thinkin Ahead.. Getting Your Guided Reading Groups Ready!

As a Reading Specialist, most of my time was spent teaching Guided Reading. I spent six years figuring out what tools were really needed, worked best and made Guided Reading lessons easy to prepare! I am going to show you a step by step plan on how to implement effective small group instruction using my Guided Reading Printables Bundle.

Guided Reading Prep

Step 1: Get Organized

I use a notebook to organize my groups. Each group has a section. I separate the sections using notebook dividers.
 This is an example of a group's section. The first documentation I keep is all of Guided Reading Plans. I keep all of the plans that I use for each group.
The second documentation I keep is all of my running records. I added an observation checklist on my running record page so I can collect additional quick data.
 I make a Guided Reading folder for each student. I put a label on the front and in each folder I keep their Sentence Writing book, rereads, Letters or Words I Know book and an alphabet chart.
I  keep all of my Guided Reading materials in tubs. In the tubs I  keep my Guided Reading notebook, reread folders and homework baggies. As a K-5 Reading Specialist I would usually only have three or five Guided Reading Groups per day. This allowed me to have a First Grade tub, Second Grade tub etc. 

Step 2: Lesson Planning

Quick and effective lesson planning was always key for me to keep myself and the groups organized. I created a quick lesson plan that required me to fill in very little information. Here is a sample plan.

Day 1 Guided Reading Lesson in Action

Step 1: Rereads or Words/Letters I Know and Running Records

I start my lessons everyday with students reading books from previous Guided Reading lessons. These are books that have already been read for a running record. I  also have my students write all of the letters/words that they know for two minutes. I would have them do this instead of rereads. I keep four to five rereads for each student in their Guided Reading folder. They whisper read as many books as they can from their folder for the allotted amount of time. I make sure they are never reading in unison and are reading different parts of different books during this time.
For the "Words or Letters I Know" time students will write all of the letters or words they know for two minutes. Then, they will read what they wrote. As they are reading I circle everything they could read and count it up. They love trying to beat their number.
While students are completing their rereads or Words/ Letters I Know I try to complete one or two running records on the book I finished teaching the day before. I make sure I complete all of my running records before the book goes home as homework.

Step 2: Sentence Writing

  I generate a writing prompt that follows a sentence pattern from the book or a tricky word/word ending from the text. Then students write the sentence in the Sentence Writing Book. They fold the page in half "like a hotdog". We sound out the words together and they write the sentence below the fold. They practice any tricky words above the fold. For this sentence we practiced writing the word "can". Every student has a copy of my alphabet chart to use while they are writing. I make sure we always write in pen or maker so students don't take the time to erase. They just cross out their mistakes.

Step 3: Book Introduction and Picture Walk

This is the time to focus on the reading strategy for the day and build on any pattern vocabulary in the text. I always cover the text while taking a picture walk so they have to start relying on the picture clues.

Step 4: First Read and Strategy Talk

During the first read students will whisper read the text. After this is completed I do a quick strategy talk. This is something I want them to focus on during the second read. I often use this long vowel anchor chart or the strategies listed on the bottom of the running record for my strategy talk.

Step 5: Second Read 

Students will whisper read the text a second time. I make sure this never becomes a unison read.

Step 6: Homework

After completing the Day 1 lesson I send home the book that I have competed all of  my running records on. They will take the book home in this baggie and complete the Reading Log with their parents. My kids LOVE getting to "rate" the book.

Day 2 Guided Reading Lesson in Action

Step 1: Rereads or Words/Letters I Know and Running Record

Follow the same procedure from Day 1.

Step 2: Reassemble the Written Sentence

I write the sentence students wrote on Day 1 on a small strip of paper. I make cuts between each word and have students reassemble the sentence. They will read it and reassemble it a total of three times. Then, they will put it in an envelope and use it for their Sentence Homework. I write the sentence on the envelope in case the student forgets it.

Step 3: Word Work

For word work time I use these sound box cards or my Guided Reading Word Work Made Easy Bundle. When using the sound boxes, I print and laminate the cards. Students will sound out the word we are focusing  on by pushing one sound in each box with their finger. Then, they will write the word on the line below.

Step 3: Third Read {Fluency} and Strategy Talk

During the third read we unison read, partner read or echo read the text. I often have fun glasses, microphones etc. for students to use while doing the third read just for fun!

Step 4: Comprehension Check

  During the comprehension check I use my Think These cards will allow students to think about the question before sharing their response with the group. They come with one prompt per card for early readers and three to four prompts per card for more advanced readers.

Step 5: Sentence Homework

Students will take home the My Sentence Homework Book and the cut up sentence they used earlier in the lesson. They will reassemble the sentence and glue it into their sentence book. Then, they can write the sentence or draw a picture to match the words. They will return this the following day.

Step 6: Parent Communication

I never liked having parents act or feel surprised when I shared their child's reading levels. This is why I developed monthly progress monitoring reports. Here is an example of one of the 12 reports included in my Guided Reading Printables Bundle.
 If you want to check out this bundle it comes in Zany Zebra or Melonheadz! Below are some additional items in my store that will help enhance your Guided Reading groups.


Thinkin Ahead....Fluency Focus

During my last few years as a Reading Specialist I really focused on Fluency. I discovered that one of the main reasons my student's couldn't comprehend text was due to their lack of reading fluency. This is why I created this Five Minute Fluency packet using some basic, researched and effective fluency strategies. It is quite easy to use.

Step 1: Introduce and post each fluency activity.


Step 2: Teach, model and practice each fluency activity.

Step 3: Pair up students, assign a text and spin or draw an activity.

Step 4: Set the timer for five minutes or more and have students complete the fluency activity with an assigned text.

Step 5: Assess students reading fluency and allow them to complete a self assessment.

Step 6: Use the additional tools as needed. Fluent Reader prompt cards and Tracking cards are provided.

Click on the picture below for more information on my Five Minute Fluency packet!