Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thanksgiving Games and Activities

There are times I missing being in the classroom.  Holidays mainly--I mean, I always did something fun in the classroom.  I always tied it back to a standard--MAYBE sometimes I stretched the standard to my way of thinking JUST a bit, but I wanted time in the classroom to be memorable.  I wanted school to be fun--not just data, testing, and practice books.....

Here are some of the things that I've done with my students in the past that I've enjoyed and they enjoyed!
Squanto's Snack
I wrote about Squanto's Snack a few years ago.
You can read that by clicking HERE

I noticed that this old post was getting some hits and pins, so I thought I'd update it just a bit.
It was written as a rebus story in the above link.  I created into a story book.
You can see that HERE

What about the stories the Great Turkey Race and  A Turkey for Thanksgiving?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE those stories.  
HERE are some activities I made to go with them a couple years ago.

I even tried my hand at making a craft.
I am definitely not an artist, but my students had fun with him! :)

Then there's the center pack that my students used to play with.
They enjoyed the activities in this as well.
Thanksgiving Stations-First Grade and Fabulous

But one of my FAVORITE activities for Thanksgiving was using the stories Samuel Eaton and Sarah Morton.
I LOVE teaching about the pilgrim holiday, the friendship, the hard work they did--comparing and contrasting their lives and ours---comparing/contrasting pilgrim boys and pilgrim girls.
This pack was so fun with my kiddos and they enjoyed it.
You can see about it and read what others think about this product HERE

This year, I'm also not working with students in math. 
Last year, I did both reading and math, so I used a few former FREE products. 
You can see them by clicking the images below. 
Roll a Pilgrim-First Grade and Fabulous

Don't Get Cooked Math Game

AND on the post above, I apparently thought it would be a good idea to try to get crafty yet again!
Here's my attempt at a pilgrim turkey. ;)
I did include the template HERE if you are interested.

Last year, when I was working with third grade, our students were struggling with verbs.
I made a verb packet, but forgot about it until just last week.
I like the activities in it, and it ties well into the upcoming holiday.
Run Turkey Run--A verb unit

I also worked with The Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie with my younger learners.
Old Lady who Swallowed a Pie
You can see the images of this activity pack HERE.

And then that brings me to where I'm at today.
A Reading Resource Teacher.  
I love my job--I truly do!  
HOWEVER, some days I feel as if I'm really not much of anything.
I see my groups for MAYBE a total of 17 minutes, on a good day.
I see 16 different groups throughout my day.
Some groups are 1-1, and some groups have 6 students. 
Some students are attendance issues, sometimes they have assessments to make up, and 
sometimes other things get in the way and I just don't always get to see my students.
A teacher's motto--Be flexible.  So I am.  
But then, I have to have things on hand and plans on hand.
We usually try to do a game or two throughout the week.
I have to admit though, I've slacked in the game department lately.
I just feel that sometimes there just isn't enough time..and my kiddos NEED a lot of reinforcement.
But then Monday--one of my littles said
Can we play a game?  
UGH!  It stabbed me right in the heart.  
I, unfortunately didn't have one that was at their skill level.
SOOO---Allow me to introduce this freebie!
Don't Get Cooked-Sight Word Game
This is a sight word game that should work perfectly for all of my groups.
You can grab your own copy by clicking the image above. :) 
I have color coded the Dolch words so that each set has its own unique color.
I've included directions in the download on how I play this game.
The cards made for this game will fit perfectly into the Target Dollar pocket charts. 

I have mine on a stand, and I prop it up on our guided reading table when we are playing these games.
You can read about that HERE

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sight Word Reading Fluency

Today in my reading groups, I was able to use the Sight Word Fluency Reads in a variety of ways.  
Check it out!

 In this photo, the student's sight word was went.  
He was able to make and break the word, but was struggling with retaining the word.
It is sometimes difficult for my lower students (I service IEP students, as well as Title
to retain the sight words out of context. We have though worked on a story that used the word went repeatedly.  Today, after working on the word went again, I was able to go to the sight word fluency checks
and he practiced reading the pyramid sentence.  He enjoys reading these and feels successful.
I have to say how proud of him I am.  He is a student with a reading disability--serviced with an Intervention Specialist as well.  He has repeated first grade (now in 2nd).  He knew MAYBE 5 words (3-5 words anyway) on the pre-primer list.  He mastered all of his pre-primer sight words within the first month of school.  I say that's pretty successful for this little guy!!  I'm truly proud of how far he's come so far!

My next group of students were playing our Halloween Boo game.   
This game is played like rotten banana, crash, crazy cat, etc....Anyway
When they came to an unknown word (the word was pretty), we were able to pull out 
our fluency read story and use the sight word in a sentence, get our mouth ready, and use meaning to determine the unknown word.  This, I'm finding, is helping them get those words to stick! :)

Here my students are looking for the sight word the.  
Why is the such a hard word--and is too! 
So they were using wikki stix to find the word I called out. 
The kids have enjoyed these reads.  
I enjoy the simplicity of having a ready resource available for sight words.
My coworkers that I've shared with have enjoyed having something for their lower students to 
put in their book boxes that make them feel successful.
AND they are working!!!! 
I have put both the primer and the pre-primer in a binder.
I separated the sets with a colored piece of paper.
That lets me know where to turn for the group I'm working with.
Each fluency read is in a sheet protector, back to back with another read.
I keep the binder on my guided reading table in my teacher tub and I refer to it daily.
If this sounds like something you can use, click on one of the images below.
Pre-Primer Fluency Reads-First Grade and Fabulous
Fluency Reads-Primer Words-First Grade and Fabulous

Another activity my students have enjoyed this week was playing this little vowel game.

It's a little freebie on TpT. 
You can see it by clicking on the image below.
Medial Vowel Game--Freebie by First Grade and Fabulous

If you enjoy this game, you may want to check out these fun fall packs.
Click the image to read about them! :)

Have a GREAT Halloween weekend!! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Days in Pictures

I'm guilty of taking pictures and rarely blogging about them.  I used to blog and rarely take pictures.  One of these years, I will get the hang of doing both together! :)  I do share on IG or FB--it just seems so much easier sometimes! :)   Anyway, for now, here is what I've been up to in my little classroom world.  I thought I'd share some of the fun things my kiddos have been working on, and what I've been working on. Keep in mind my groups are only about 15 minutes a piece, back to back--ALL DAY LONG!  Sometimes I think the games are played so that I don't lose my focus! :)

 First, have you ever had to have a sub for PDs or in my case, a sick child? (I hate not having family local that can help--but that's another story.)  Planning can be such a pain, especially when you haven't quite go a handle on your routine yourself.  I stick things in a tub---seriously.  A dish tub holds my activities for the day.  Last year I used a basket, but I service more kids this year, so I needed to use something bigger.  My subs always comment on my organizational skills.  Really?  I thought every teacher was a bit anal and OCD like me.  I place the day's activities by group/time in the basket.  I use sticky notes if there's something special I need them to attend to with a group or student.  I give directions on how to get to each teacher's room from my room.  I guess I'm a bit over the top, but I think it is appreciated.  I know that I would want my day to be laid out for me if I were in their place. It surely can't be easy to hear, "That's not how "so and so" does it. "  AND--I know that kids do say those things.  I heard it when I tried to teach my own homeroom art one time.  Let's face it---I am SOO not an artist!  :) 

 While on the topic of organizing, do you own my All Sorts of Sorts? 
Click image cover below to see it on TpT.
All Sorts of Sorts

Even if you don't own this pack, you can use this idea with other activities as well.
Since I'm working with several different groups/skill levels and back to back throughout the day, I needed a way to keep my activities right at my fingertips.  I took all my skill cards, and placed them by vowel sound, word family, etc.  and place them inside a baseball sheet protector. Then I place the page protectors and stuck them in a binder (and they are in my tub---I use my tub for myself too--not just my subs.  Okay, I'm a tad bit over the top when it comes to the whole neat factor!) ;)  This has worked great for me because if I want to review various vowel sounds, or just have them practice CvC words with one vowel, they are right there at my fingertips and I can change them as I need to for each group.  

The baseball sheet protectors I used came from Amazon. 
Here's a link if you want to check them out. 

I have also found keeping my fluency reads in a binder creates a quick way to check for sight words in text.  Students can ring words with wikki sticks which they love to do.  They can use the pages and track print without me getting syrupy fingers (oh how I love breakfast being brought to the resource room!) all over our reading binder! 
By the way, these were such a hit and I had students mastering their sight word checks that I have now created the primer word list reads.  Check out both sets by clicking on the images below or click HERE.

Fluency Reads-Preprimer Words

Fluency Reads-Primer Words

Earlier this fall, we worked on CvC words, real vs. nonsense words, and spacing between words and sentences.  The little apple activity can be found HERE

 But the book Hop on Pop, something I never noticed before, was how great it is to use for spacing.

 I read through the word list super fast and the kids thought I was crazy.  They could hear some sight words, they could see some sight words, but it didn't make sense to them.  Insert---the spaces!  Yep, it registered!  SWEET!  And I just grabbed that idea from the air as I was reading the last page.  Those spur of the moment lessons, not on the plans---they tend to be the best, don't you think?
 See this great little activity above?  One of my groups was having a hard time with hearing the ending sound of our CvC words.  I took out a 3 compartment tray (thank you Dollar tree) and we tapped out the sounds.  I dropped the bean bag into the last compartment as we tapped it out so they could visually see and hear what we were producing at the end.  This helped them with those tricky ending sounds. Like the station activity?  Click the link below--it will take you straight to Lakeshore's website. 

 Other groups worked on building CvC words. 
We used activities from these packs. You can click on either cover below to check it out on TpT.
At word pack-first grade and fabulous
An Word Family-First Grade and Fabulous

The phoneme substitution activity came in handy as an easy transition to learning how to do my
Making Words activities.

The phoneme substitution ctivity is a freebie on TPT.
You can check it out by clicking on the image below. 

Phoneme Substitution Freebie--First Grade and Fabulous
I have plans to create more of these activities to help my students in stations with making words. :)

 As some groups were able to read CvC words, we began using them in cloze activities.
 You can find this activity in the Fun Phonics pack.  
I have also placed these in sheet protectors and just reused with other groups.  
The kids like them when the realize how quickly they can read the word family words at the top. 
You can download a sample from the pack below on TPT by clicking on the image. 
Fun Phonics-First Grade and Fabulous

 I wanted to increase vocabulary within writing with one of my groups.
 I read aloud Pumpkin Soup--Cute story by the way.
Students were to listen to the way the author used the words in the story. 
We talked about all the different ways to say walk and the meaning behind each one. 
They did a great job thinking about how the words.
Here's a link to the story.

Finally, my students are having a great time playing games from this pack!
Fall Reading Activities-First Grade and Fabulous

Ohh, and do you use Edmark?  Trying to get a feel for this reading program.  
And here is my way of having my 2nd grade students have work they can do in their classrooms during D5.
Am I on the right track?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Guided Reading, Disorganization, and Feeling like it's utter chaos

Yes, guided reading, disorganization and I don't know which way I'm going---BUT, I WILL get there! :)

For those of you who didn't know, I started teaching Title I Reading last year for K-2.  Then it became Title Reading and Math for 1-2, 3rd grade reading, and Kindergarten reading.  Then I was told to stop Kinder reading.  So, this year when school started, I had no clue what I was doing! :)  (And a month in---I still don't, but I just grin and smile and pretend I know what's going on!)

Currently, I'm a 1-2 Reading teacher. I work with 8 teachers, and two groups per teacher.  That means my classes are back to back with 20 minutes each group.  By the time we transition from their room to my room, it is roughly 15 minutes (17 if we walk quickly). Last year my groups were about an hour, so I am trying to find the best way to make their time meaningful with me during that short time frame.  I'm getting there.  I mean I did it within 15-20 minutes as a classroom teacher.  Surely I can figure it out now too.  I do think that you have an advantage as a classroom teacher and running your guided groups because you know the skills/deficits that they are also lacking in the room or on assignments.  I just feel that with the groups I'm working with there are so many deficits that I'm struggling with finding a starting place.  

I will get there, I just needed to get that off my chest that there are's always hard to start new groups and have changes.    Perhaps part of my problem is I'm having a hard time with transitioning from group to group.  You see, I'm a bit of a neat freak.  *Though this isn't completely neat right now.  Everything has a place, and moving from group to group (going back and forth from 1st to 2nd grade)  is throwing my room into chaos.  

Here's my room---all organized.  See those baskets.  I used those last year to house the work my kiddos were working on for the week. 

  They are empty as of now.  
And you see this messy table?
This pile drives me crazy, but I can pull from it when my groups switch.
I use some of the same lessons with groups.  

So what does a gal do to make the most of it?
I asked a few people on the FACEBOOK (yes, the facebook is how it is referred) ;)
and they too feel the pain in needing more time to meet with groups. 

For now, here is what we've been up to.
I work 1on 1 with a few students during these group times.
One little guy was struggling to remember his sight words.
It was recommended to begin him on EdMark, but the kit hasn't arrived yet. 
Friends, this little guy is a struggling reader on an IEP.  
I don't feel that I've had the training on how best to teach him in a Tier III setting, but let me tell you...
He is 13 words shy of learning his pre-primer sight words!  He knew just a few when groups started!
I call that success for him!  I am SOOOOO proud of him.
Honestly, I think the 1-1 has benefited him
We have worked on sight word stories that I've created for him like the ones in the 
Super Reader sets and the one you see below.
You can click HERE to see this freebie on my last blog post. 
He has also enjoyed reading the fluency stories from the binder
 We have used Wikki Sticks to ring words, glass beads to cover words, and repeated readings.
He enjoys reading these stories and is so proud of himself when he reads to me! :)
You can find those stories by clicking the image below.
Fluency Reads

One of my other kiddos I work 1-on-1 with is also working on pre-primer words.
He chose 5 words he wanted to work on.
We used the words in sentences.  
The sentences he used I made come to life in a story for him
(Thanks to all my wonderful clipart friends)
He was so proud of himself reading this story to me today.  
I was proud of the sentences he was writing!  WOOT WOOT! :)

Some of my groups are working on cvc words.  We use the Making Words lessons, and due to limited time, I use our Wilsons Fundations magnetic boards for make and breaks with the directions from my making words activities. I am also pulling from some of the packs I have made on TpT.  One group is working on sentences and fragments, and one on nonsense words.  This pack has come in perfect for that! 
Bushels of Fun-First Grade and Fabulous

 Finally, a few of my 1st grade groups are struggling with tracking print.
Last year I did the lesson with letters, words, sentences. 
You can see it HERE 
For tracking print, here is what is working for us.
I used foam counters.  
You could also use color coded stickers, or use the shapes and fill them in on your computer. 
I stuck with using various colors of circles because some of my students don't know all of their shapes.
I placed them on a piece of paper with a dot below them.
Students were to tell me green circle (And touch the dot), red circle (touch the dot as they said it) and so on.
 Then I wanted them to get exposure with letters (knowing that letters are going to make up the words when we are reading).  Students were to place their finger on the dot and just say the name of the letter.
 We then transitioned into seeing words put together to make sentences.  Again, we followed the same format.  Touch the dot and read (echo read) the word.
Will this work with all of my groups?  Probably not. 
Is it the correct way to teach them?  I don't know.
Is it working? Yes. 

To me, if I see gains in my students day to day/weekly, that is what means the world to me.
We are working so hard in class.  
It is such a struggle for them when they are academically below in their classroom.
So while I may not have a clue what I'm doing---they know they are loved, and together we will find what makes THEM successful! :)

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