Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring, Summer and More Things to Share

     For anyone who has returned to this blog, you may notice that I'm not very regular about blogging. That's okay, because I have been busy sprucing up and spring cleaning my store! And what a chore it is! Making resources that are high quality and engaging for children is time-consuming, and yet I love doing it.  It's not about the money either, because if I were to really average in all the time for how many downloads I get, it it means I'm probably working for less than 50 cents an hour. Ha! Well, my real job is teaching, and that's where I need to put most of my energy until the day I retire!  

I enjoy creating and exploring new ideas--so whether I get big sales or not, it's worth it!  By the way, if you've ever checked out my store, or purchased anything...I want you to know that I DO appreciate it!  

Thank You!

This is a great little packet that includes an "I HAVE, WHO HAS" game related to sports AND a writing booklet--easy to assemble and write in using the prompts given at the top of each page. The booklet is made up of 12 half pages, just the right size for hesitant writers. They don't feel overwhelmed with lines and text--and the pressure is off them for having to write a lot on a page.

Below shows how to create the easy book from the pages in the file. Suitable for students in grades 1-2, although if you have some hesitant third grade readers or writers, this would work for them as well.

Below is a preview of some of the pages!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

FUN with Tongue Twisters, Alliteration, Fluency and Silly Nonsense Words!

Hello Friends,

This is one of my newest single products I have just posted in my store! I'm really excited about this because it is the third tongue twister product that I have now. It was added to create a bundle of tongue twisters that are tempting enough to tangle the tongue of your terrific second and third graders.

Take a moment to check out these sample pages. I had a blast coming up with nonsense words like tippytots and blabblerblast. These silly nonsense words are just right for giving your students practice with phonemic skills and syllabication. 

The plus with this type of resource is that it works for kids who need to practice reading AND speech. My other two tongue twister resources usually get positive feedback from SPL therapists.  This is brand new, so I am hoping to see some feedback soon on this one.
I'll admit, this one is the most challenging. I recommend this for grades 2-4 because it really can get their tongue in a twist! Click on the link below to find this is my store! 

Thanks so much for checking this out. Please stop by my blog again soon!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Why play with cards during reading class?

With the holidays around the corner, getting sixteen 4th and 5th graders to get along without arguing and being cranky was growing more and more difficult. The days have been getting colder and darker earlier, and it seemed like they were just plain irritable with each other. (Can I blame it on the change of the seasons?) I needed to come up with some ideas to get them back on track. 

I figured what better way to build relationships and social skills than actually building a house of cards--or any structure. So we started with a circle discussion about what it means to be a team, a team player, and collaborate.  I tried to drive home the idea of working as a team...a simple concept. Several examples were discussed, but the one that we were able to relate to the most was the game of basketball. They all agreed that a game cannot be won with just one player scoring. Everyone on the team had a one was more important than the other. Then, it was easy for them to bring up other examples of games and instances in which being a team made the game.

I split up 2 decks of cards and divided the kids into 4 groups. I told them to build a structure...any structure. It could be a house, a bridge, a tower, anything that you and your team wanted to create together. No one person could do all the work. They had to decide among themselves what to build, and how to build it. They could further their quest with whether they wanted their structure to be sturdy enough to hold up a book or other object. 

It was the simplest, and most open-ended task...and yet, they created a set of norms on their own. In the beginning, all I cared about at the time, was just seeing them work together without quibbling and one trying to out-do the other. Well, they figured it out...and sooner than I expected...that they HAD to work together, to communicate clearly with each other, and to value each other's suggestions and ideas. 

I was amazed at their questions, their conversations, and the respect they had for each other. No one talked over the other; no one tried to be "in charge" (and if they did, they did not show it). Even some of my more seasoned students who tend to jump up and quit, did not do so! When 20 minutes was up, each group stood up and walked around the room to view the other structures. This was a 3-minute walk. When we returned to our circle, I was thrilled to hear a sophisticated discussion about arches, trusses (well, I helped them with that word to go with their descriptions), and ways to shape the cards so that they would be stronger. One student said, "I noticed that Trey's group made a strong structure with the least amount of cards--compared to everyone else."  His group had figured out how to make strong pillars out of the cards. More discussion continued until every group shared. 

This is not a stem activity...or is it? If it is, I'd like to come up with an acronym that would include collaboration. This was a simple activity with a goal in mind, an old-fashioned one from many decades ago, (more like hundreds of years, really) and yet, the rich language, vocabulary, the sharing of ideas, active problem solving, and collaboration were all happening at the same time! I would say it was one of the most rewarding teaching moments I had experienced in a very long time. 

By the way, I'm a reading interventionist. Did I mention that this was our literacy block? So, we did not carve out a lot of scientific knowledge out of this....and yet, they walked away with a little of that anyway....and a lot of teamwork.  Now, maybe we can communicate a little better. 

So why play cards during reading class? Our speaking and listening skills shape our reading and writing skills. This is just one activity that requires communication and collaboration. I think we're going to do more of this. I haven't figured out what yet...I'll be checking out some old fashioned, simple stem-like activities that require communication, collaboration and teamwork. Maybe those are all synonyms.....Hmmm. 

Can they tell you what teamwork really looks like now? Definitely. Will they transfer some of this into their other reading and writing...or on the playground? I hope so.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween Monday Morning Tongue Twister Fun

It's almost Halloween, and it's on a Monday!  Oh boy! What happened to this month, anyway?  Do you have restless kids, but still need to get a lesson in? 

Kids will have fun practicing these tongue twisting ticklers. This set is great for fluency practice and editing. 

Click here to get these catchy tongue twisters:

Make a Ghost! For Writing Display or Just for Fun!

It's not too late to make one of these spooky ghosts with your kiddos! The patterns included are easy to cut and glue. You will find a half-ghost which is placed on the fold of a larger paper. These come out quite large, which makes them an awesome and fun-some display! Writing prompts for ghost writers are included.

With or without ghostly writing, this craft is a hit!

This is one of the patterns in the packet. 
Place on the fold of a larger paper to cut out. Add streamers and other fun stuff!
There's lots of opportunity to personalize each ghost, too. 
Make its arms shorter, or add feet! 
Anything goes...with ghosts!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lovin' Fall

What a great foliage season we have had this year! The warm weather has been unusual-- and the lack of rain-- even more unusual. Unfortunately, the latter has not been good for our rivers, lakes and wells. :/

But it's been exciting to see that the kids are enjoying extra recess. We use points earned during the week as their recess incentive. Our school has been working hard with PBIS, going on 3 years now, focusing on positive behaviors and recognizing student models without emphasizing tangible rewards. Data shows this has made a huge difference in our school climate. Mindfulness activities have also helped our students -- and of course, our staff, as well! 

Looking forward to a bright year -- to be surpassed only by the beautiful foliage here in Vermont! Here's hoping you have a bright year teaching!