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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FREEBIE! Foam Cube Literacy Centers

Math manipulatives aren't just for math anymore!  (I have to give a shout out to my co-teacher, Joy, for starting the craze!)  They work quite well as pieces for reading center activities.  As you can see in the picture, I used Unifix cubes to make this center activity.   They hold the letters to create a  picture to beginning sound match.   I purchased a set of foam cubes at Dollar Tree today.  I plan on using those to make the other sets.   

There are several activities in this set:  letter to beginning sound match, upper- to lowercase match, and 5 CVC sets (one for each of the vowels).  They are soooo easy to assemble!  Just print, laminate, cut, and tape to the cubes and you have an easy yet effective center activity.  Plus, the CVC sets have lines for students to write each word they spelled.  

You can download this FREEBIE set by clicking on the picture below.  I hope your students enjoy them!  

Happy teaching!  

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving FREEBIE! (Already?)

Can you believe that it's almost Halloween already?!  What I can't believe is how COLD it is in Chicago.  I will not be surprised if we're trick-or-treating in the snow!  

Anyway, I found the most adorable turkey clip art EVER from Creative Clips, so I just had to buy a set.  Even though we're still a month away from Thanksgiving, I also couldn't resist making a fun freebie for my class and yours.  

I played the game last night with my son (4) and my daughter (5, kindergarten).  My son could read a few of the CVC words.  He was so proud of himself!  My daughter really needed the blends/digraphs set, but I haven't finished that set yet.  Instead, she wrote down the words as she read them to make it a little more challenging.  Never did anyone ask me why we're playing a turkey game before Halloween!  

To grab your own copy, click on the picture below.  Have fun, Gobble, Gobble!  

Happy teaching!

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Word Work Fun!

There are just too many great ideas on Pinterest to ever make them all!  However, I found this idea (as well as other versions) the other day and just HAD to make something similar for my Halloween-loving son.  Click here to visit the original post.

For this one, I used black beans and red lentils (The look was just too Halloweeny to resist!  But they are really too heavy.*).   I also made a set of Halloween and beginning sight words for the seek and find, as well as 2 versions of recording sheets.  You'll find that one page of cards is EDITABLE so you can add your own words.  Click on the picture below to download your free set!   Just remember to copy the cards at about 70% of the size.  I made them too big :(

Anyway, I just LOVE the way this set turned out.  My son loved it, too!  He was writing  and trying so hard to sound out the Halloween words!  The effort I saw him put into it makes me think that this type of word work would be quite a hit in the classroom, too!   I plan to make more sets of these for each holiday or season using fuse beads and some fun little toys.  Think of all the words students could practice this way!   

There are only a few things I will change:  
1)  My container is a little large and, therefore, heavy.  I did not anticipate the weight of it, so I plan to look for lighter packing materials (such as fuse beads) in the future.  I also plan to look for plastic juice bottles or something similar. (Think:  wide opening, small container.)  
2)  To only have each word appear once did not work well.  My son became a little frustrated when he could not find the last few words.  So, I took the words out and replaced them with cards copied back-to-back.  That way, each word appears twice.  It would also be best if the cards could be rolled or attached to objects.  They tend to stick together . . . 

Happy teaching!  

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bitty Books: Addressing 10 Standards with 1 Sheet!

My first set of Bitty Books is finally finished!   I am so excited to get to post them today!  I did my first "trial run" yesterday (i.e. I had my kindergartener and preschooler make their own) and it was a great success.  My son, an interested reader who can ALMOST merge letter sounds, LOVED them!  

However, these types of books are not new to my classroom.   I have actually been using them for years, they just weren't as "fancy."  I have always had beginning readers make word family books using strips of paper stapled together and  a pencil.  These just add a more finished look to what we have always used, as well as cutting, gluing, and tracing components.  

But, my favorite aspect of these books is that THERE IS ONLY ONE PAGE TO PRINT!  For the amount of ink that is used, you really get your money's worth:  matching picture to print, tracing, writing, cutting, gluing, saying letter sounds, AND reading!  These books cover 10 Common Core Standards with one sheet of print!

And, since they are BRAND NEW, this set of books is available for only $1.50 for the next few days (thru 10/20/13) in my Teacher's Notebook store!  Click on one of the pictures below to take a look!

As always, 
Happy Teaching!  

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Practice for Beginning Readers: Reading Folders

She was so excited when she held up one of the books and said, "Look!  I can read it!  I can read the whole book!"  

The student who said that knows some sight words and is just beginning to merge letter sounds to form words.  She was referring to one of the books from my kindergarten sight word set that she had in her reading folder.  Isn't that what we all want to hear from our beginning readers?  

I usually have students take home the little books that we make.  However, for a few years, I gave each child a folder and we kept the books in there to reread during transition times.  It worked very well and provided each child with individualized, repeated practice.  Then, for some reason I don't remember, I stopped using the folders for the last two years.  But this year I have a class that I think will particularly benefit from rereading the books, so I brought back the reading folders.  I am so glad that I did!  

I send some of the books home and we keep others for the reading folder.  During transition times, I might ask them to get their reading folder and take it to their desk to read.  Depending on the time we have, I go around and read books with a few students.  Whether or not I get to read with a particular student, I can still hear them reading!  

Of course, the folders make differentiation easy, too.  Some students might have version 1 of my sight word books in their folder, or version 2, or a beginning reader from another set.  A few students also have CVC word family books.  It really depends on the skill that student is working on.  This semester, some are focusing on merging letter sounds, others on sight word recognition, and one group is working on fluency.   

If you aren't already using reading folders--or, like me, you have stopped using them--then let me encourage you to give them a try.  They are really working well for my class this year and even make transition times a little easier.  They also provide an alternative activity if we have a spare ten minutes.  

Happy teaching!

You can click on the pics below to take a look at my new set of sight word books for kindergarten.  This set includes 25 different books with 2 versions of each.  It covers topics like:  pumpkins, apples, pets, farm animals, favorite foods, the seasons, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Santa, friends, colors, baking, and more!  

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