Sunday, December 21, 2014

TpT Gift Certificate Giveaway

A quick little post today, typed in between fetching water, meds, buckets and hugs for my two sick's been a pretty sleepless weekend and two more full school days to go! Break officially begins Tuesday at 4:00 for this tired teacher mama. #howwillisurvive

But I digress...

The REAL reason for my post is a THANK YOU - to YOU - the very best followers and supporters! You send the sweetest emails and leave wonderful feedback on my blog, facebook and TpT. Thank you SO much - it truly means a lot!

I'm joining up with Laura Candler and some other amazing bloggers to give away $10 to TpT.

TpT gave their certificates a sweet makeover (my kid's teachers will each be receiving one)!

If you love TpT as much as me, I'm guessing you'll be asking for a gift certificate from your loved ones! TpT is SUCH a time-saver!! A life-saver, really!!!

Click below to get to the TpT Gift Certificates page.

You can enter using Rafflecopter...earning up to 4 entries!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Make sure you do it before midnight EST on December 23rd. Then, check your email on the 24th to see if you've won!

Annnnnnd - you can enter to win from these fabulous bloggers, too!!! Winning more than one would be so amazing, wouldn't it?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Day 7 Giveaway - Amazon $30!!!

Don't you just love Zippy over at Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah Designs? She has put together 12 Days of Giveaways with 40 fab bloggers!!!

Today, the giveaway is for a $30 gift card to Amazon & $5 store credit in each of our stores:

1. Good-Enough-Teacher -
2. Growing Firsties Lisa Mattes -…/Growing-Firsties-Lisa-…
3. Deedee Wills Kinder -
4. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs -…/Zip-a-dee-doo-dah-Desi…

Click the image below to enter on the Rafflecopter!

Make sure to stop over at Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah on facebook each day to enter to win, win, WIN!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sight Word Spelling Practice

Hello Hello HELLO!!!!

I have MISSED you!



I have been swallowed up into home life and school life and blogging life has taken a big ol' back seat.

But I still have five gobzillion blog post ideas swirling in my head!

Just need more time in a day.

Or, to give up sleep.

But, I like sleeping WAAAAAAY too much to give that up.

I gave up cleaning long ago, so giving that up won't buy me more time.


Anywhoooo - I wanted to post today about Sight Word Spelling...I've chosen to work harder with my firsties on spelling their sight words than reading them, as past experience has made me feel I get more bang for my buck when going that route.

Our district has a variety of high frequency word lists, containing 25 sight words each. In early October I conducted spelling inventory tests, starting with List A. For students who spelled most of those words correctly (18/20+ out of 25, depending on the child and the misspellings), I inventoried them on List B. And so on and so forth, all the way to List D, as that's where my kiddos maxed out.

So each child has been placed in the list that has a mix of words they know, as well as words they need to learn. There are four groups - a group working on List A, a group in List B, one in C, another in D.

I divided the lists up into five groups of five words each and each week and labeled each grouping with a fancy name...Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 and Week 5.

You're loving my ingenuity with creating names, I can feel it.

For at home practice, students have this Tic Tac Toe page - I copied it on blue paper and asked them not to write on it...that they should try to make three in a row each time they practice, but that they should save the sheet to use week after week. I also uploaded the page as a file to my class' secret facebook group so parents can easily print another one if needed.

So I'm working through a series of 5 week cycles. All students in all lists have practiced and been quizzed on their lists through Week 4. Next week is our Week 5 quiz and after that I'll reinventory...since it's a short Thanksgiving week.

Here's the form I'll use on the upcoming inventory:

Based on how they do on the inventory test of their list, I'll move them ahead to Week 1 of the next list or I'll keep them in their same list and have them start at Week 1 again.

Hoping that makes sense!

After each weekly quiz, the students get their new list on the form below. I have the words listed on the far left. They re-write the words two more times so that the three lists look the same. Then after I do a quick double check that they spelled the words correctly going across, they cut off the school list and keep it in their School Folder.

For practice at home, they take home the Home and Car lists. I have them keep the two together and cut them apart at home, as I don't want the lists to be too skinny and get misplaced.

The weekly quizzes are done using this page, cut into thirds...

You can download all these pages by clicking the image below...

For practice at school, we spend a few minutes a day practicing in a variety of ways...

Roll A Word (which is a freebie from {THIS POST HERE})

Buddy Quiz - where kids partner up with someone assigned to the same list and take turns quizzing one another.

The class knows the Tic Tac Toe options well and enjoy practicing those ways, too.

In addition, I rely on my amazing bloggy pals! Here are some great products...

Christina DeCarbo's Word Work Wheels are a big hit! Kids use a paper clip and a pencil to spin and practice their words. You can check them out in her {BLOG POST HERE}!

Jessica Tobin has some great Interactive Notebook packs for Dolch Words! You can check them out in her {BLOG POST HERE}!

How do you organize/practice Sight Word Spelling in your classroom?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Student Goal Setting based on Learning Targets

I'm super excited about the goal-setting my first grade readers did this week! Plus, it ended up being a great topic to share here, in my favorite linky - Bright Ideas!

We are a district that implements the Teachers' College Reading & Writing Project model for Reading (and Writing) Workshop. It's our second year and boy, oh boy, is it FUN to be in my second year. LOVE having a full year's experience under my belt, as TCRWP was a huge change from our Guided Reading Centric literacy model.

Our main learning targets for Unit 1 are on green paper. We're through Bend 2 in Unit 2 and our main learning target is on blue paper.

I like keeping a running history of what we're really striving for as readers - cuz readers take a lonnnnng time to develop.

Once the Target board is filled up, I'll make a "packet" of the previous targets and post it to the board so readers (and I) can flip through them when we need a refresher.

I love to have my first graders involved in and empowered by our Learning Targets - you can see how they have additions and highlights and (not very good) illustrations...

One strategy I've used is to have the students help me formulate the learning target. Yes - I have to know the learning target ahead of time and yes - the mini-lesson includes a specific method that names the learning target multiple times...but what wonderful higher order thinking to have the students join you in deciding how to record it.

Once a target is posted and a mini-lesson fits into one that's up, I have my cuties think about the mini-lesson and decide under which target it belongs. They love doing this!

This week I wanted to take it further and have them set goals for themselves based on the target they felt they needed to work on.

To make the process as clean as possible, I took a picture of the target board...put the pic in a PowerPoint slide and typed up text boxes with the targets. The text boxes are in the same order as the targets are on the target board, since that is what they're familiar with.

Here's a closer look:
I'm absolutely thrilled with how my firsties did at self-selecting an appropriate goal! They, by and large, selected the goal that I would choose for them...but they were (and are) empowered because they did it ON THEIR OWN!

Here's a sample of a goal from each of the targets. 

I typed what the student wrote for you, as pencil doesn't always show up well in photos.

I made a copy of their goal and they added it to their Take Home Book Envelope for parents to see and build upon while they read at home, too.

For next week's Reading Log, I added mini-versions of the targets along the bottom so that students can highlight their goal on their log, too.

I plan to checkpoint with them in strategy groups by goal (all the build stamina's together, all the warm up before reading's together, etc) next week and my teaching points will be centered around their goal during the strategy group.

Thanks for stopping by today!!! I hope you found this helpful!!!

If you did enjoy this post, please consider following me on FacebookTeachers pay Teachers, and/or Pinterest!

There are LOTS of other Bright Ideas for you to read about from bloggers...make sure to check them out below!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Table Zones with Masking Tape

Howdy Friends!

I'm popping in to my favorite Linky party with a quick tip on helping your kiddos have a defined table space.

This year I'm at a new school (loving it!) and getting a groove with my classroom. I have 5 giant tables, 23 students and kind of a small the tables are packed. Fortunately, there are seat sacks, which help get stuff out of the way when we need it.

But several kids have been struggling to know their space. Think, two-thirds of one child's stuff being in the child next to them's area and that child cramming themselves into a tiny area. I wanted to help them out a bit...


I grabbed my handy-dandy orange masking tape, since I was almost out of green, and got busy.

To figure out the spaces, I put a folder at each table spot to get a gauge for spacing. It's not perfect, but it does help.

I'll warn ya, though...
I did front load, telling my friends not to pick at the tape...after a week I have two spots where there was some picking.

Not gonna sweat it too much, the goal is to use the tape as a scaffold for becoming more aware of our place in space.

Will let ya know if I end up needing to buy and use more tape for continued zoning. :)

Thanks for stopping by today!!! I hope you found this helpful!!!

If you did enjoy this post, please consider following me on FacebookTeachers pay Teachers, and/or Pinterest!

There are LOTS of other Bright Ideas for you to read about from bloggers...make sure to check them out below!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Parent Support for At Home Reading

Parent Information Night is Thursday night and I've been getting a bunch of stuff ready!

One of the things I've been getting ready is this...which, of course, I'm sharing with you! You guys are the best!!! I can't thank you enough for your kind words, emails, comments and support!
I laminated mine, numbered them with student numbers and my classroom code 1-M.

UPDATE: The typo has been fixed! (But not 'til after mine were laminated, of course. I'm NOT re-doing them!) I had a few fab proofreaders and read it myself 9 million times before finalizing, but we all missed it. Uggg.

The goal is for them to stand inside the students Take Home Book envelopes for parents to refer to throughout the year as their readers grow and evolve.

I use poly envelopes like these or these because they last all year long (after I lay down the expectations on how to take care of them)!

This is all in an effort to support and enrich the foundation of reading workshop...which is to build readers who read like a star (s=study, t=think, a=ask & r=respond):

All three of my reading workshop packs are available in a bundle or individually.

I'm a big fan of parent communication - I'm super blessed to work in a community where parents support education and work with their children. In order to help set them up for success, communication helps out!

This note provides explanations and examples of how they can provide support and compliment their reader from the lenses of word-solving, fluency & comprehension.

The other side has the Word-Solving strategies, a tidbit about fluency and an image from my READ bulletin board in the classroom.

I have a hyperlink to the word-solving strategies in the download of this letter or you can snag them up right here, too.

You can download this At Home Reading for Parents freebie below...I hope it helps you out!!!

Please send me mental warm wishes tomorrow night, as it will be Parent Information Night! It's my first one at my new school. :)

Have you seen this post by my wonderful bloggy pal, Valerie from All Students Can Shine? She's amazing! Check out her wonderful letter for parents with tips for reading at home. Click the pic below to head over and check it out!