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Friday, February 21, 2014

Bright Math Ideas Blog Hop: Math Journals for Kinder and First

Thanks for joining us on the hop this weekend!  I hope you leave with some new math ideas and useful materials.  Be sure to grab my St. Patrick's Day freebie, then click on the blog button at the bottom to hop over to the next blog!  

I cannot tell you how useful math journals have become in my classroom!  I have been using them for 3 years with great success.  
Click on the picture to download some FREE journal covers.

3 reasons why I continue to use math journals:

1)  Math journals serve as a record of student progress.  
When a student is responsible for illustrating his/her own math problem, I can tell right away which concepts he/she does not understand.  Did the student draw the correct number of items?  Did he/she add or subtract the correct amount?  Does the student struggle with where to begin?  
The journals also serve as a wonderful record of math progress to use during conferences.  I often make notes on student entries so I can best recall student performance and/or have something I wish to share with parents.
2)  They help me implement the Common Core Standards in a systematic way.  
I made sets of journal prompts to use in my classroom for every season and most holidays.  Each set covers ALL of the Common Core Standards.  Topics like patterns (not included in the standards, but a valuable math skill), counting, 2D shapes, and beginning addition are covered in the first semester.  Addition, subtraction, 3D shapes, the teens, and measurement are more of the focus during the second semester.  Making sure each set covers all of the standards helps me to provide students with several prompts per topic throughout the year.  
3)  The journals are so easy to prepare and implement!  
I buy composition notebooks (Yea for back to school sales!) for the journals.  I love using the prompts because they use much less ink than usual worksheets.    Plus, I make 6 on a page, so you only need to copy a few pages for the whole class!  I cut them out and give one to each student.  The student glues the prompt at the top of the page and we're ready to go!  

I made a FREE sample set of prompts for kinder and first.  They have a St. Patrick's Day theme and cover several standards.  Click on the picture below to get a copy!  
I hope your students enjoy using this set!  Be sure to HOP on over to Reading with Miss B!  Just click on the blog button below.  

Thanks for reading and enjoy the hop!  

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

St. Patrick's Day FREE Printables for Kindergarten

Click on the picture to see it on Teachers Notebook.

I think my latest FREEBIE is just adorable!  The graphics are super cute!  The picture graphics are from Creative Clips, Lindy du Plessis, Educlips, and KPM Doodles.  I think everything is more fun when you have cute pictures to color!  

This set has 10 pages of math and literacy cut and color activities.  It contains the following pages:  

*St. Patrick's Day Hats Spin & Color:  A Words
             This is a 2-player game where students spin a paper clip and color words from different short vowel word families.  The first person to color 8 words wins!  This page provides some extra CVC practice.  A couple of blends are thrown in for an extra challenge.  

*Lucky Shamrocks!  
             Here, students color the shamrocks according to the number of letters in each sight word.  

*Pots of Gold!  
              On this page, students cut out words with the short "e" sound and glue them with the correct word family.  This is great for students still working on CVC words!

*Leprechaun Sentence Scramble
              Students cut out a scrambled sight word sentence, glue the words in the correct order, then write the sentence.  This page will be great to use on the day the leprechaun visits!  

*Color the Coins:  Sums of 9 & 10
              On this page, students color the coins according to the sum of each addition problem.  My students can always use more addition practice!  

*Coloring Lucky Gold:  Tens and Ones
               Here, students color the correct amount of coins to represent each number.  This page provides some place value practice.
*Lucky Graphing:  Sight Words
                This page combines reading AND math!  Students cut out the lucky horseshoes and use them to represent how many words are found.
*Adding Shamrocks
                 Here, students use shamrocks to represent each addition problem.  Pages like this one have really worked well in my class this year.

*Ten Hats
                On this page, students cut out additional hats, using them to make ten in each set.  

*St. Patrick's Day Addition Within 10
                This is just an extra addition practice page--but it has adorable graphics!  

This FREE set gives you a little preview of my SPRING set!  The spring set has 40 pages of similar material.  Each of the pages is completely different from my St. Patrick's set, so if you get both, it's like having 50 pages to use!  AND the set is a Daily Deal on Teachers Notebook through Monday, Feb. 17 (Tuesday, too, if I win the bid), so it's only $2.40!  Click on the picture below to take a look.  

Click on the picture to see it on Teachers Notebook.

I hope you AND your students enjoy the freebie!

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Teaching Beginning Reading Part 1 of 5: Letter Sounds

I have created this series of posts to answer a few questions I have received recently regarding beginning reading instruction.  I really enjoy teaching little ones to read.  It's one of my favorite things about teaching.  This series is intended to break beginning reading instruction into 5 steps, starting with letter sounds.  

In my classroom and with my littles at home,  I teach beginning reading using phonics.   Knowing the sounds letters make is an essential skill for decoding new words.  Of course, some words cannot be "sounded out" and must be learned by sight, but more about that in a future post . . .

The very first thing I teach my beginning readers is the most frequent sound each consonant makes.  These frequent sounds are the ones found in most 3-letter words.  Some examples would be "G" as in gorilla (not giraffe), "X" at the end of fox (not xylophone, which is actually a "Z" sound), and "C" as in cat (not city).  When I send materials home, I always include a list of the most frequent sounds and/or an answer key.     This makes it easier for those who might not have learned to read using phonics.  

As for the vowels, I teach the short vowel sounds first for the same reason.   Most 3-letter words have short vowel sounds.  That would mean "A" as in apple, "E" as in elephant, "I" as in igloo, "O" as in octopus, and "U" as in umbrella.  While the Common Core Standards require that we teach long vowels, I usually wait until later in the year to teach those.  Otherwise, I find that students are often confused if both sounds are presented together.  I have found that learning to read goes more smoothly if students  learn the letter sounds, learn to merge letters to read 3-letter words, practice reading CVC words and sight words, THEN learn long vowel sounds.

I use various methods to teach vowel sounds.  In the picture above, my son is using a set of letter sound puzzle cards.  I love these because they allow the child to "self check."  If the answer is wrong, the pieces don't fit!  Click on the picture below to take a look at this set.  
Click on the picture to see this on Teachers Notebook.

When students are just learning their sounds, I only present (at most) 3 or 4 letter/picture matches at a time.  I also use sets where students match more than one picture to a sound and these work very well with beginning readers.  As students progress and know more sounds, I prepare a literacy center activity using 10-15 of the puzzle sets.  The goal of these activities is for children to not only learn the sound of each letter, but also for them to tie the sound to a word.  This allows them to make the connection between letter sounds and how letters form words.  

More Activities to Help Children Learn Letter Sounds

1.  Help your student/child learn the first letters in the names of loved ones and friends.  Children LOVE this!
2.  At home, I love to teach letters during bath time!  You can cheaply purchase a set of foam bath letters/numbers.  These are valuable for learning letter sounds, writing names, spelling and reading words, AND doing math!
3.  Games!  We play a game in the car where we take turns naming things that start with a specific letter.  This is great for sound to word matching as well as vocabulary development!  You'll be surprised to hear the words your child uses!  
4.  Point out the beginning letters of favorite foods and objects.  You will really sound silly saying, "P for puh, puh pizza" in a restaurant, but you can guarantee your child will remember it!
5.  I love Leap FrogTM products!  I had no idea what a wonderful learning tool their "Letter Factory" DVD was until I bought it for my then 3-year-old.  I was so shocked when my 18-month-old learned his letter sounds, too!  

I also love to use a lot of games, so I have created some to target letter sounds.  Click on the picture below to download a FREE letter sound matching game!  

Click on the picture to see this on Teachers Notebook.

I hope you found this post helpful!  
Thanks for reading,

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Kindergarten Cut-and-Glue Sentences and a FREEBIE!

Not only am I teaching my students to read, but I also have 2 kids at home who are learning!  My daughter recently started reading beginning chapter books (yea!) and my son is working on CVC words and sight words.  So, with her, I am concentrating more on fluency and writing practice.  With my son, it's READ, READ, READ 3-letter words and beginning sight words.  

This week, I had them both work on pages from one of my most popular products, "Cut-and-Glue Sight Word Sentences for Kindergarten."  My son did one of the first pages, while my daughter worked on one of the last pages.  He concentrated more on reading the words.  She focused on sentence structure and punctuation.  

Click on the picture to see this product on Teachers Notebook.

I use this set frequently in the classroom and at home, as well as similar sets for different seasons and holidays.  They are great for students who need sight word practice.  For students reading at more advanced levels, they still work well as grammar and punctuation practice.  This semester, I have started having students rewrite the sentences in their writing notebooks.  Some of them are still forgetting capital letters, periods, and question marks, so I know the practice continues to be beneficial for this group of students.

I also have a FREE set available so you can try these out in your classroom.  Just click on the picture below to grab a set!  
Click on the picture to see it on Teachers Notebook.

I hope your students benefit from using these as much as mine do!  Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Teacher FREEBIES Linky Party for Valentine's Day--All Grades!

Who LOVES free resources?  I do!  While I can actually go to the site and type in "Valentine's Day," I would prefer to have a nice little collection that I can easily look over in a few minutes!  

So, please add a link to your Valentine's Forever Freebie at the bottom.  Please list the name of the resource and grade level in the title.  All subjects and grades are included.  We wouldn't want to miss any!  

P.S.  Don't forget to share this on your blog, FB page, Twitter, etc. after you add your link!   And FREEBIES only, please!  Priced items will have to be removed.   

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

FREEBIE! Valentine Patterns and Skip Counting

I just added some NEW pages to an old freebie!  This product now includes 5 pages of pattern coloring and skip counting.  There are 2 pages of patterns to color, such as AB, AABB, and more.  The additional 3 pages cover counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.  

Click on the picture above to see it on Teachers Notebook.

I hope your students enjoy the extra math practice!  What could be more fun than coloring hearts?  

As always, thanks for reading!

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