Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making the Most of Winter Break

Yay! It's vacation--and I'm not going anywhere! I'm just happy to relax and have no commitments this week. Of course, I have a huge list that I compiled weeks before, with grossly unrealistic expectations of all the school work and house work I'm going to do to catch up this week. Well, the truth is, I haven't started anything yet, and here it is Tuesday!

My second cup of coffee should do it! Then, I'll get going with my list of to-do's! Well, at least I'll attempt it....

Meanwhile, if you are a teacher and have this week off for winter break, I hope you get rejuvenated, and have a chance to go to some place warm. If you are a parent with kids at home....enjoy this time with every ounce of love and might!  My kids are all grown, and boy!---do I miss those laid back vacation days. I miss the spontaneous field trips to the local museums and library--or just watching them hang out with their friends in the kitchen eating pizza. Sorry. I'm a little sentimental--but I'll get over it. Got some shoveling to do!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kids Love Nonfiction

          This is a single reading passage with a fluency oral record of reading page for scoring fluency. It also includes a cloze writing passage (Yes, that's cloze, not close!) for comprehension. This focuses on a topic with details about why penguins are tough birds. By narrowing this down, and not writing "all about penguins", it exemplifies how topics have supporting details that stick to the topic.

Hopefully, this model helps with students' writing in which they need to be more specific about their reasons for an opinion (in this case, why they are tough birds). This resource can provide you with evidence of grade level fluency (grade 2), based on Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell's text leveling. I used some of their resources for determining the grade level for this, estimating it to be at an L/M level. 

You'll find that kids really do love nonfiction text. Well, at least most kids like most nonfiction!  Teachers and parents, you may find this helpful for repeated and timed readings. This can serve as a progress monitoring tool in that sense. I hope you will check this out, and provide feedback as it will give me an opportunity to step back and reevaluate the effectiveness of this kind of resource!


If you have trouble viewing the youtube video, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eqKzHSjQqnc

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Kids just love tongue twisters. But you'll find that this does more than challenge them to read--they have to also write the words in order. So, they are working on multiple skills! Reading, Writing, and Speech!

So many children need practice using syntax and grammar--so this will address those skills. My Tongue Twisters to Untangle is also Common Core aligned, because it addresses the foundation skills involving sentence structure. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Heart and Chain Valentine Holder

Here's my new motto: Keep it simple when times are CRAZY!

Yes, there are SO many cute ways to make a Valentine mailbox or holder! Just look at Pinterest! There are oodles of cute projects!

But for me, it's been such a busy week! (And we can't all be perfect all the time and for every single holiday, right?) So, for a last minute thing, and with few materials to work with, I discovered this to be a simple and fun way to collect valentines. 

Hey, why not just a good ol' fashion heart-without a lot of steps. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to "Keep it Simple!"

1. Make a heart chain (the one you've seen on Pinterest) or a regular chain. 
2. Attach it to a double heart (2 hearts of same size). 
3. Staple or glue the sides leaving the top open for valentines. 
4. Decorate both sides...personalize with name and lovely conversation heart sayings or "Happy Valentine's Day!"

5. Hang from the ceiling or against the wall. But hanging from the ceiling (and not too far out of reach, really is kinda cool!)

I liked this because it came out big and flashy (maybe a little tacky, not too complicated), without worrying about materials and time. This took less than 20 minutes. The kids liked it, too! Don't forget stickers and foamies. Easy peasy! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Just for fun!

I found this on Pinterest. I don't know where it came from, but it made me chuckle. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Leprechauns Do Have Fun with Spelling!

Leprechaun Magic Spelling Clues

This is my latest, but not newest creation. I have revamped an early version of this...and I like this a whole lot better!

It has 9 student activity pages for spelling rules and patterns for words with -ck, -ke, -ch, -tch, -s, -es, -ing, and compound words. Great spelling supplement for your second and third graders. Some independent first graders may love the challenge as well. Check it out and let me know what you think!