Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quick Math Freebie

Sharing with you tonight a quick little math freebie!  My kiddos are reviewing making ten, working on subtraction, and practicing counting to 100 by tens so I whipped up three quick little activities for us to do!  If you would like to use them just click on the picture below!  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 11, 2016


Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all have had a FABULOUS day!  I'm here to tell you all about my EDITABLE Card Games!  I am super excited for this product because I really think it's going to benefit a lot of students and teachers while at the same time making learning really FUN!

There's just something about turning learning into a game!  My students are always begging to come back to my small group table to see what kind of game I have for them that week.  The pack includes 30 different thematic games - 2 themes for each month, then 6 bonus themes.

Winter Animals
Valentine's Day
Dental Health
St. Patrick's Day
Fourth of July
Nursery Rhymes
Polar Express 
Fairy Tales

Each game has 45 EDITABLE fields for you to type in whatever information you want your students to practice - letters, sight words, vocabulary words, math facts, etc.  The best part?  When you enter the information in one game, it automatically fills in for the rest!  I love this because I can personal homework for my kids without a lot of effort.  If a few boys want a dinosaur themed game, a few want pirates, and a couple of girls want a fairy tale theme, all I need to do is enter the words or math facts I need them to review in one game, the rest of the games fill in, then I print off the pages I need!

Today we played the Melted game in small group and my kiddos loved it!

Each game is designed the same to build confidence and independence as you use it throughout the year.  Gather students in a group of 3 -6. Mix up the cards and place them in a cup or basket. Students take turns choosing a card.  

If the student can read the word/letter/number or solve the equation, he/she puts the word in their ‘keep’ pile. If not, the card is placed back into the cup. 

There are cards in each game with special instructions on them –simply follow the instructions!

To end the game, I typically give my students a time limit (i.e. 10 –15 minutes) until the game is over or you can play until all cards are gone. The student with the most cards at the end wins!

Like I said, you can personalize the information on each card to match whatever you want your students to learn - CVC words, letters, math facts, sight words, vocabulary, etc.  I shared this product with the staff in my building and my music teacher is going to use it to practice rhythm and note names!  LOVE IT!  

I printed a normal size game with sight words for my small reading groups.  I then used the same game and entered addition and subtraction facts to 5.  I printed the pages two to a page for a smaller version.  I am planning home visits with my students in the next few weeks and I will be bringing each student a copy of the game for students to keep along with marshmallows to manipulate - THEY ARE STOKED!  I love that they are excited and are already familiar with the game, and - since I printed two to a page - it saves me paper!

To check out this product in my TPT store you can click on any of the pictures below!  Lucky for you, it is on SALE until Wednesday evening.  That means you can get 30 games (enough for the ENTIRE YEAR) for less than $0.50 a piece - you can't beat that!  I'm all about a good bargain!  :)

If you would like a chance to WIN a free copy for you and a friend, head on over to my Facebook page to enter to win!  My daughters will choose a winner tomorrow night!

I hope you and your students find this as valuable as I do!  Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Learning Sight Words - How we make it work!

Well folks.  It's almost time.  Time to head back to work after the wonderful holiday season.  For many of us, it's a time to refocus.  A time to really look at where our kiddos are and what we can do to help them be successful.  It's always about this time of year that the panic starts to set in.  "Oh my goodness!  The year is half over!  Are they getting it?  Will they be on grade level at the end of the year?  What else can I do for them?" 

Inevitably, they all seem to make progress and I can breathe a little easier, but there are some ways to ensure your children are successful.

After our first round of parent/teacher conferences back in September I started implementing a three part plan of action when it came to sight words.  I wanted to give my students who were already struggling some extra support and find a better way of keeping their parents aware of their progress.

1.  The first step is assessment.  I know, I know.  Ugh.  I don't necessarily like the word either.  But if want to teach our students and help them make progress, we need to know what they already know and what they are struggling with.  I started using my student goal tracking forms to track sight word reading (click on the picture below to check them out in my TPT store!).

About every 3-4 weeks I check each child on the sight words for the quarter.  We work together to set goals on how many words they will know the next time we meet and then write down the words the student should target.  I am careful to use kid friendly language when setting goals - my students are at an age that they don't necessarily know time concepts yet.  When I meet, I say things like, "We will meet again at Halloween see how many more sight words you know!"  It makes it easier for them to look ahead.  I love the idea of conferencing and setting goals with each individual child.  Not every child is going to be on the same level.  Some children are still working on first quarter words, while others are working on second quarter.  What matters is that we are all setting goals and working to achieve them.  Below is an example of a goal setting form I filled out with a kiddo (I printed first and second quarter words both on one page).  The highlighted words are words she missed so we set a goal to know those when she got back from Christmas break!

2.  After I know what students know and what they need to work on, I create a plan.  If there are words that several students missed, we work on them in a whole group setting.  We target those words in guided reading groups.  If there are words that several students missed  we then work on them in a whole group setting.  I am fortunate to have a literacy aide that comes in my room every day during my guided reading/center time.  I have given her the task of seeing my low group four days a week.  She is highly qualified and it works for us.  It may not work for everyone, but we love it!  It provides intensive, consistent practice for my low group and then I see them for an extended period on Fridays to see the progress they've made.  

I type out a smorgasbord style lesson plan for my aide and provide her with all of the materials in a tub.  She picks and chooses which activity to do each day.  One of the activities that is consistently in the tub are my sight word books.  In my lesson plans I detail which sight words each child is missing. 

I then provide a baggie with a sight word book and the needed materials including a small tub of play dough, buttons, a dry erase marker and eraser, and magnetic letters.  The sight word book is a product of mine that I print onto card stock, cut apart and slide into $1 photo albums.  You can also laminate the sheets and bind them together!  :)

While each child may have a different book, targeting a different sight word, the activities in each book are all the same.  

Build the word with play dough.

Trace it with a dry erase marker.

Box it up.

Build it with magnetic letters.

Circle the word.

Circle the letters in the word, then draw a line to connect them in order.

Fix the word.

Mark the word with a button (or other game piece/eraser/etc.)

Fill in the word.

Write a sentence using the word.

Check their work!

My kiddos LOVE this resource!  It gives them intensive focus on one specific word and they enjoy using the different materials (play dough is ALWAYS a hit and there is something about dry erase markers...)   I have individual sight word books for sale as well as BUNDLES to save you money.  Click on each picture below to look at the bundles!

The sight word book for the word 'a' is a FREEBIE in my store so you can test it out.  Click on the link below to check it out!

3.  The final step is practice at home.  Throughout the year I send home several seasonal games and ideas for sight word practice.  To keep parents up to date on their child's progress I not only send home a copy of the goal tracking sheets from above, I also send home a binder ring of superhero sight words.  To check out more about these, you can read this blog post.

Here is a link to this product - just click the picture below.

Those are the three main steps I take to helping my students know their sight words.
1. Assessment and Goal Setting
2. Targeted Practice
3. Involvement from Home

All of these resources above are still on SALE for the New Year until tonight!  A few hours left!

These aren't the only things that we do in the room to learn sight words.  We do a TON of other activities throughout our day, but that's another blog post.  :)  In the meantime, I'll leave you with a little peek of something I'm working on....

Friday, January 1, 2016

The First CURRENTLY Post of 2016!

Linking up late tonight with Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade for the first currently of 2016!

Here is what's currently going on...

Listening - my brother's girlfriend convinced me over the holidays to start Mad Men.  I'm only on episode 4 and so far I'm loving it! 

Loving - days off mean extra cuddles with my girls and I have loved getting to spend extra time with them

Thinking - as the new year starts I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year and how I'm going to get there.  I am setting goals and I am going to work to meet them!

Wanting - I had a LONG list of things I want to finish during Christmas break.  I am THISCLOSE to finishing my list!

Needing - another week off!  Not only to finish the above mentioned to do list, but also for more cuddles with my babies!
One Little Word - this year I am diving deeper into my faith.  My faith in God.  My faith in His plan.  My faith in the future.  My faith in myself.  It's going to be a good year!