Sunday, November 23, 2014

$100 Target Card Giveaway!

Happy Sunday!!

Just a lightning quick post to tell you to make sure and head over to my Instagram page to enter the quick and easy Instagram loop I'm participating in with my Chalkies from The Primary Chalkboard!

$100 to Target???? So fun!!!

You can get there with this link:

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!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School Preparations!

It's Back-to-School Eve.

My house is quiet.


And I'm going through some pics I snapped this weekend while I did some last mn preparations prior to chillin' with my newest crop of firsties at my new-to-me school tomorrow.

The staff and families have been super welcoming and knock on wood...I'm pretty calm.

Tonight, anyways.

A few of my favorite things have been getting a pretty serious workout this weekend!

My new color laser printer...such a great deal and soooo worth it! Laser is soooo much cleaner and nicer than inkjet!

And not having to wait my turn and monkey around on the color printer at school? Priceless!

Cuz somehow I always mess something up when trying to multi-task!

My laminator! LOVE my laminator AND the pouches I get from Amazon...just under $10 for 100 3 mil pouches...they work fantastically!

Here's what they've been doing for me...
Growing Firsties
 Last year's batch didn't have Careful Caterpillar on them...and when a customer requested it I added it to the freebie pack on TpT but since I'd already made mine for my class I didn't make new ones.

I printed them on cardstock, labeled them at the bottom with 1-M in case they get lost somewhere in the building...I also added student numbers at the top so that if one gets dropped in the room, it's easy to know who to return it to.

These are a forever freebie in my store and include full-size posters and a page with all the strategies on one. You can seem more images in this post right here, if you'd like to snag them up.

Growing Firsties

Also got labels made and printed from the Avery Templates...if you'd like to download them for free, go ahead and click here or the image above. You will need the following free (for personal use) fonts in order for them to look the same as mine do...KG Behind These Hazel Eyes; KG Second Chances; Janda Silly Monkey.

In addition to labeling their Daily Folders, I stuck in a half-page piece of homework and a gallon bag with this Indoor Recess Activity Bag note inside. 

LOVE having Indoor Recess Bags and ya never know when that first rainy day will be coming! Better to be ready! Also, since I'm still kinda sorta unpacking, my own indoor recess activities are slim pickins! The letter is a forever freebie in my TpT store. Click the text link above or the picture below to grab it.

When the recess bags come back to school, for the first few week I will store them in a big tub. Once I need that tub for something else, and have gotten the kiddos more routine on behavior expectations, they will store them in their lockers.

Sorry for the blurry pic - I'm limited on time and took a screen clip from TpT.

Growing Firsties

Calendar Cards (from Hope King's decor pack), locker tags with student pictures, pencil box tags and my supply label tags. (I'd love to share them, but I don't know how to make files editable and since these contain graphics I purchased I can't share them without locking them down. And it's back to school so though I'm calm, I'm not calm enough to figure this out super soon. Thank you for understanding!!!!!)

Hope your year is off to a great start!!!