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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Phonics-Making Words-and Bump!

Have you ever wondered-
Why did I quit doing something when I know it worked?
That was me this week. 
It dawned on me.
I hadn't pulled out a making words activity this year.
I've used our Wilson's FUNdations boards and had "like" activities with them making words,
but that isn't what my kiddos need.  My kids need DIRECT instruction to make them successful.
They need a set of letters, and be able to add, change, and delete letters based off of directions I give them.

So I asked myself--why did I stop doing them?
I think mainly it's because I felt a time crunch.  
I wanted to make sure I was hitting the phonics skill they were lacking.

So---here's how I managed it in my 15-17 minute-ish time slot.

For my first graders, I used the Wilson's FUNdations boards.
If you're not familiar with these, they are basically magnetic tile boards.

I used the directions sheets that come with the Making Words activities 
and the students used the magnetic tiles to make the words.  
This took about the right amount of time for our lesson.
As we get faster on these activities, maybe I can bring back the 
letter formation/handwriting portion.
**One thing I will note that my students are struggling with is the /k/ or /c/ beginning sound
We quickly made a little mini-poster that I hand drew.
Of course, the artist that I am, EVERYONE wanted their own copy.
(Love how they made me feel all artistic!)
For you all, though--I will spare you the details and use cutesy clipart instead.
You can click HERE if you want a copy.
Thanks to Bubbly Borders, Whimsy Clips, Creative Clips, KG Fonts, and Dots of Fun for the great images!

One of my 2nd grade groups, though, I have for just a little bit longer.
We were able to work on handwriting (something that a few of them really need).

For this group, we worked closely together.  Our phonics focus is ai/ay.
We did the Phonics Dance chunks too. 
 Students manipulated their letters.
This activity starts out simple--
and then works in ay sounds too.

We stretched out the sounds and listened for the ai/ay sounds.
They realized that a lot of the time the a sound at the end is ay.

We highlighted the pattern in the words we are working on.

Then I had them flip the paper over, and have them try a few on their own.
They wrote it in pencil, then we spelled it together (stretching it out) while they wrote it in crayon.
They were so happy when they had spelled the word right!
Smiles all around---
When they left to go back to homeroom today, they said 
"This was fun!"

OHH!!  I just love it when they say that! :)

If you are interested in more Making Words lessons, check HERE to see a blog post with a freebie. 
OR you can check them out and read the reviews on TpT by clicking the images below.


And many more by clicking HERE

I also made a game to go with this week's phonics skill.
It's just a simple Bump Game.

Basically, you will choose the game board you need.
My firsties were working on silent e and my 2nd graders were doing vowel digraphs.
Winter Bump-First Grade and FabulousWinter Bump-First Grade and Fabulous

I didn't originally design this to share with FB or blog followers, so I didn't include directions.
Basically, students will partner up and on their turn spin the spinner.
They read a word with the picture on which they landed.
If they spin a snowflake, they get a choice.

If you haven't played Bump before, this is how we play:
 Each child takes 10 snap cubes of one color. The partner should have a different color. 
The first child spins, reads a word for the picture landed, and puts a cube on that word. 
If another player’s marker is on that word, it can be BUMPed off. 
If the person that spins has a cube on that word, snap (2) cubes together and they own that word. 
The winner is the player that has the most towers!

If you want a copy of this game, click on a game board above! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First, I have to celebrate that I was able to hit my goal today--so I am able to sit and blog for a bit!
 YAY!  I'm mentally drained from school, physically drained from my exercise, and well--just tired because it is Tuesday.  Last week spoiled me y'all!  
Here is what last week looked like:
Monday:  off due to holiday
Tuesday:  2 hour delay due to weather
Wednesday:  a "normal" day (whatever that means in school terms)
Thursday:  2 hour delay due to weather
Friday:  early release due to weather

So, as you can see, getting back into the swing of it is tiring.  This is day 2 back to reality! 
And of course, I have kids involved in activities after school--
and can I say that we procrastinated on my son's book report project that is due Friday!
Just FYI--I will not be a teacher that assigns book report projects for home.  I'm so over them! lol

Okay, now I'm just rambling--so back on topic.

Yesterday, I had my little darlings working on a word sort.
I had them cut out the words.
They colored the ending pattern.
Then this discussion took place:  
Student-- "But Mrs. Davis, not all of these are the same."
Me--"What do you see?"
Student--"Well, they all have an a and silent e, but some have a d and a t and an m."
**Exactly....and that is where the sorting took off...I was just there. They are teaching themselves

It was AMAZEBALLS!!  Let me tell you.
I feel that the light came on, and they knew what they were doing.
And they say we lose things due to all those snow days!  ;)

This activity comes from my Reading Detectives Silent E pack.
Reading Detectives Silent E
 I only have my groups for about 17 minutes, so we finished our lesson today.
They read the words, and noted the word families.
They caught on to the words rhyming.  
WOOT WOOT--because that was a hard concept this fall.
When they realized they rhymed, the fluency was better!  YAY!  
I got this--They got this!  We are doing well! :)

Then, they had to name the houses.  BOOM!  They knew what to do!
They said well, this is the -ate, this is the -ame, and this is the -ade!
What!  I was so proud of them!! :)

Other groups of mine are working on other pages in this pack.
That's the great thing about this resource.  When I made it a few years ago, 
I differentiated the pages based on the abilities of  my homeroom.
That makes planning super easy for my groups this year! :)
 In the picture above, a student is working on a long a/silent e story.
How I use this in my small groups:
I read the story to them. 
They echo read it and listen for the long a words.
They highlight the words.  
We read it together again.
Finally, we answer the comprehension questions.
I am trying to teach them to write in complete sentences, but they are not fans of writing.
I am trying to teach them TTQA (turn the question around).
We underline key words to use in our sentence---
they may not be a fan, but they are improving their sentence structure and handwriting! :)

If you are interested in seeing any of the pages from the Reading Detective Silent E pack, 
you can click HERE to grab a sample or  HERE to read the reviews and see it on TpT.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Week(s)--in pictures!

Let me tell you--it's so hard to get everything accomplished on a school night. 
Then, when you think you're able to do it on a weekend--you're tired.  At least I am. 
An extra day sure does help get everything around the house caught up, 
or am I to get school things caught up?  You know, honestly, so far, I haven't done either.  I went shopping!  
I say it was because I was trying to get all my steps in on the ole' Fitbit, but you know! :)

See, for the past few months, I have been trying harder to get my exercise in--and eat right.
I don't think this is what they mean--but it sure is a great idea!
 Then, on the first, I started a new diet.  
So not quite this either---but somedays I feel like it is! ;)

So far, so good--I'm down a few pounds.
10.6 to be exact! (I will celebrate with a cupcake later!) ;)

Me taking care of me has become my number 1 priority.
And because I like what I do--I am telling myself if I get my steps in, 
then I can sit down and work on school things and blog! :)

So moving on-----let's talk school!

Some of my kiddos are working on r-controlled vowels.
I made these activities to help reinforce their phonics skills they are learning in class.

 You can click HERE to grab a set. 

I shared these pages with my coworkers teaching the r controlled vowel, and as glad as I am they were used, I had to change my plans at last minute!  SOO---we worked on/reviewed contractions. 
This is always a great skill to review--the word won't gets them every time.
I was so glad I had this little activity from a few years back.  
You can grab that freebie HERE.

Some of my kiddos are working on Cloze sentences.  
They have mastered a few Dolch lists, and we want to work on "what sounds right."  
 I'm impressed with how far they've come already as this was a struggle a few months ago.
You can find a freebie for this activity HERE.

If you would like to see the set, please click the image below.
Fun Phonics

I told you in my last blog that I subbed for Kinder last Friday.
After a day in there, and knowing the skills of some of my students I have now, 
I came up with a CvC Fluency Read.

 My struggling kiddos REALLY enjoyed this and I noticed they were picking up
word families the next day in a story I chose.  I was THRILLED!!
Last weekend, I had only made a short vowel A pack.
I have now included e and i. 
O and U will e added soon.
You can click HERE to read more about it--or click HERE to see it on TpT.

I have some groups working on Silent E.
This group said we did this in word work! 
I thought, oh no..not again!
But they said it wasn't with silent E.  Thank goodness!
Here's a better image:
 You can grab this freebie and read more about Silent E at this blog post HERE
Some of my kiddos are working on Nonfiction.
I am LOVING these Nonfiction Fluency Reads they are using. 

You can click HERE to download a sample to try with your students.
And finally, most of my groups start out with the fluency reads as a warm up.
I do sight word checks on them to see how they are progressing and to
 see that I'm keeping them at the right level.   
I really do see their sight word knowledge increasing.
*We have had a few delays and many illnesses this past week, 
and due to this some of my groups had only 1 student.  
UGH--there go the plans again right?  WELL---
That was a PERFECT time for me to give them a book and flash cards.
We made flash cards and highlighted the words that were unknown.
This meant that these were the pages they should practice more often. 
I didn't tell them NOT to read the other pages, just focus on the pages that 
were highlighted to help increase their sight word knowledge. 
After doing this for a student, I thought---why not all the kids I see?
So I started sending them home..making flash cards..typed a parent letter...

AND do you know what?  What makes me THRILLED about these?
I have told you before they TRULY enjoy reading from these booklets...
but when I was able to give them a book to take home--OH my!

You see, I have end of the day bus duty---and as I was monitoring my section (bigger kids)
I looked over and saw that one of my students had pulled out her book.
She and another 1st grader (not one that I see) were taking turns reading out of the book.
That really made this ole' teacher giddy!

If you'd like to know more about these Fluency Reads, please check a blog post HERE.
Other activities that I've been able to do with my students is our Winter Board Games
--these come in handy when I have to change plans last minute! ;)
 You can find these activities and more HERE.
Well, that sums up last week for the most part.
As you can see, I am kind of all over the place with lesson plans..
And unfortunately, sometimes winging it! ;)
And no matter what comes my way---
I'm still smiling about it! :)
 Because you know---we are pretty lucky to have such a great job!


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Comprehension, Fluency, and the Beginning Reader

As a Title Teacher, Comprehension and Fluency are a big struggle for my students.  
I am finding success with them retaining their sight words from the Fluency Reads.
We use these as a warm up.  I ask them questions after we've read it--simple comprehension questions.
I'm telling you...they still enjoy reading these and love moving on to a new set.

Last weekend, I decided to use those words that were previously taught 
and see if students could use them in cloze sentences. 
There's this one little guy that I've been working so hard with (I work hard with all of them of course) 
but this little guy is so far behind.  I want him to BE and FEEL successful!
So I came up with these:
Fun Phonics with Pre-primer Dolch Words

This is a pack of activities that includes phonics, handwriting, cloze exercises, and comprehension.
My kiddos loved these.  
We did one together on Monday during RTI.
They did one basically on his their on Tuesday--I was there for guidance.
Then I was able to send them back for them to use in their classroom for bell work.
They loved them.  
**NOTE:  One group struggled with the cloze sentences, but that is something that we will keep doing. 

This is what they look like:

Fun Phonics Sample

 Just click the image  if you would like to try it with your students.

I was pulled into a Kinder classroom to sub due to a shortage of teachers.
 Yikes...because one thing that scares me the most--
is Kinder--and Jr. High..and public speaking..

Okay--I have a lot of faults, but Kinder is still a bit out of my comfort zone.
But I thought what if I try to combine the things that I'm already doing with my students.
What if I I made a phonics version of the Fluency Reads?

So--I did:
CvC Read and Find
You can click above to see it on TpT.
I only did a short a pack for now, but after some of my kinder coworkers try it this week, and I try it with my kiddos, it may become a series I will need to continue with over vowels for now. :)
Also, if you are looking for phonics based fluency reads with comprehension..
Don't Forget the Reading Detective packs.   
There is something sure to hit all levels within these.
Check them out!
Click on the images below.
Reading Detective 1-CVC

Reading Detective 2: Digraphs

Reading Detective 3: Silent E

You can see more about how these were used in this post and grab a few freebies.  
Click HERE.
and HERE
and HERE
and HERE
Have a Super week! :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Beware of the Yeti

Is everyone back in the swing of it?  I'm not and I even had an extra day to prepare myself.  
Our first day back is tomorrow, but we have an in-service.  
That means only 3 days with kids..surely I can handle that as a way to get back to it! 

Did anyone happen to download Waiting for Santa freebie last month?
Waiting for Santa
You can click HERE to save it for your files for next year. 

Well, my kiddos have enjoyed these little games, so I needed a new one for this week.

In this version, the students need to watch out for the Yeti.
If they find him, the game is over. :)
You can download your own copy by clicking HERE!

Also, all sight word Fluency Sets Pre-primer through Second are complete.
You can check them out HERE.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sight Word Fluency

Sight words...they can be so tricky for the struggling reader.  
I knew I needed a new way for me to make them stick, as whatever I was doing wasn't working.
I started out with a set of Dolch Fluency reads that I made for a few kids last year.  

I saw success with them using it.
Then this year, I started working with a few students who are on IEPs and need intensive instruction.
I was awaiting for the Edmark kit to come in, but I needed to have something to use for our daily lessons.

I took out this set of readers, and I saw success.  
One of my kiddos mastered his whole list of pre-primer sight words (before the Edmark kit came in) 
He only knew 6 of the words when I assessed him.  
I knew something was working, so I made the next Dolch set.
His Edmark kit is in, but he loves reading from these sets.
Actually, he has passed all of these sight words and is now in the 1st grade set.

He even developed his own strategy to become more fluent.
This is an example of his strategy.
(This image is from the Primer set)
He would quickly scan the image and look for words he doesn't know.
He would ask me what they say.
I would give him the word.
Then he would read through the read on his own.

I took his idea and ran with it.
The next time he came to an unknown word, we would finger write it on the table, 
spell it with letters, and locate it each time in the fluency read.
(Mind you, I only have about 17 minutes for a lesson with him.)

The great thing about the fluency reads is that the students begin to notice that 
the words all go at an angle.  For example, if you look at the top, then draw your eyes at an angle to the left, you will only see the word they in each sentence.  My students are easily able to identify this.

One of my groups have started this on their own.
When we use these as a warm up, they will go through at an angle and say the words down on the angle.
They will say the word they over on each line, then move back up to the word saw and touch and repeat it.
Then they go at the other angle and read the sentence.  Example, start at the word they in the image above and draw your eyes to a right angle.  You can read the whole sentence if you just read the last word.
Then the students go back through and read it.  

While these may not be difficult reads, they are learning their sight words.
If we play games, I come back to these reads and we work on it.
I want to teach the word WITHIN text.

I have used these as 
1) one-on-one sight word teaching
2) Small group warm-ups
3) Homework practice 
4) Book boxes in their classroom

But what makes me the happiest is when they smile because they are reading.
They get so excited, and feel so proud.
That alone is success that they are wanting to read and feel comfortable. :)

If you would like to try these out with your students, I have now made 4 sets.

Pre-primer Dolch Reads

Primer Dolch Reads

1st Grade
First Grade Dolch Reads

2nd Grade
2nd Grade Dolch Reads

You can click on the image of each set above to be redirected to read more about them.


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