Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fall Centers

Ahhh, Fall!  Pumpkin spice lattes, jeans, boots, and everything else wonderful!  I am such a summer girl...I die for the pool and sun...BUT I do love when the weather cools down a bit and Fall arrives.  I guess it's safe to say I love all of the seasons.  Those of you that live down South, you should really visit the Mid-West in the Fall!  It's gorgeous.

So speaking of Fall, I spent some time a few weeks ago updating my Fall Math and Literacy centers. I had made them two years ago and they were long due for a makeover!  Rhyming, syllables, cvc words, number order, and MORE!  The centers are general "Fall" so you can use them anytime September-November.  Below are a few of my favorite centers from this set.
Match a rhyme
Syllable sort
CvC & counting 

Number order/what comes next 
Beginning graphing
My sweet friend, Amy, who I met through blogging, sent me some photos of my Fal centers in action! She is always SO supportive of the things I share on my blog/fb/tpt store!  I really appreciate it!   I love seeing pictures of my things in the classroom!  If you'd like to send me a photo, you can do so by emailing it to or tagging me on Instagram {mrswheeler44}.  Thanks, Amy!!!

To check out this center pack, click below!  You can also buy a year's worth of centers by clicking HERE.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Word Families

We're knee deep in our word family practice!  We've covered several short a, i, o, and u families so far.  The kids are doing really well!  I've posted about how I do my Phonics instruction before, but I have a lot of new followers so I thought I'd share it once more!

So each week I choose 2-3 word families to focus on.  I like to do more than one because it provides opportunities for kids to practice sorting words.  I always start with short vowels first semester and then move into long vowels later.  I like to have a systemic approach so the kids are familiar with the routine each week.

On Mondays, I introduce the families.  We brainstorm the words together.  I write them on my chart paper and the kids write them on their recording sheets.  We read through them and practice saying them in sentences after.  They head back to their seats to color the word families in after we finish. Next, I introduce my poem of the week.  This is a poem that has one of the word families we're focusing on in it.  You can see what poetry books I use by clicking here. 

On Tuesdays, we re-read the poem.  We also read through the little word cards that I place in my pocket chart Monday evening.  I like to use these b/c they are small and compact and can be up without taking up tons of room like the anchor charts do.  The anchor charts sometimes get covered, also.  Next we play a game of some sort and do a practice page.

On Wednesdays, we re-read the poem again and review stretching the words out on our dry erase slates.  We'll also do another practice page afterward.

On Thursdays, we re-read the poem.  We also do some writing with a mini-book/sentences.  This usually takes the bulk of our time.

Fridays are busy!  We have "Open Mic Fridays."  If we have time, we'll do another game and finally we review our words with partners for our Spelling test. The kids love doing Find-a-Friend!  You can get these for FREE by clicking the picture below!

I love having my word family posters handy as a visual in the classroom.  If the kids are unsure of how to spell a word, I simply remind them of the posters and they remember!  The kids have also been having fun playing "teacher" with the anchor charts we create together.  Isn't the picture below so adorable!?

To check out my word families pack, click below.  It's on sale today, Tuesday, September 30 through Friday, October 3!!!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sight Word Practice

I love a good sight word activity!  A large part of my store is dedicated to activities that help little ones learn their sight words.  My favorite centers for sight words are "Play-Doh Sight Words"
and "Stamping Sight Words."  I try to put out one sight word activity in my Reading Centers each week {click HERE to see how I manage/organize those}.  This ensures that my kids are constantly being exposed to and practicing those words!

A few weeks ago, I received a free package from and included in the box were BINGO daubers!  I was super-pumped about this because I'd been working on my "Fry's First 100 Dot-a-Word project and had daubers on my "to buy" list!  I finished up my project and tried out my new daubers.  They are awesome!  They don't provide a giant dot of ink, which is perfect because we all know how little ones can get crazy with the daubers!  The colors are bright and cheery and perfect!

I made my pages with the sight word the kids should find in the center and a count at the bottom {gotta incorporate numbers wherever we can!}.  I used a variety of fonts as to provide exposure.  The pages are coded 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d so you can easily differentiate what word list your kids are working on. These are great for centers, guided reading, early finishers, and RTI.  I am super pumped about putting these in my Reading Centers next week!  Through Monday, you can snag this pack of 100 sight word pages on sale.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Beginning Addition

Hi everyone!  Happy Fall!  I'm glad some cooler weather is finally here for us in Ohio.  It was SO HOT during back to school time!  Now it finally feels like fall {even if we go from 55 degree days to 85 degree days overnight}.  I've been getting out my fall decor and am happy with how everything is looking!  Below is a picture of my table!
Today's post is all about beginning addition.  If you read my post about number sense a couple weeks ago, you'll see how much I value making sure my kids are secure with their numbers.  Although they learned numbers to 100 in kindergarten, lots of my students do not practice during the summer months and I typically have to spend a good 3-4 weeks reviewing number ID, before/after, the start of the year.  Regardless of where you work, it's always great to review!

Once we finished our 4 week review, we began with addition!  Addition/Subtraction are such a huge part of Common Core.  It is important to get right to it early on!  This past summer, during one of many trips to Lakeshore Learning, I picked up these GIANT MAGNETIC TEN FRAMES.  I love all of their GIANT magnet sets, so of course I had to have this one!  These came in very handy when we were practicing combining sets.  It's always tricky modeling when you don't have a Smartboard!  I do have a doc camera, but when I use it, I have to stand away from my kids and I can't really observe how they are doing.  The kids had their cups of chips and I had my magnetic ones and we practiced combining sets by telling simple number stories aloud.

We did this type of practice along with some practice pages in our Math workbook for 2 days.  Then it was time to move onto learning about the good 'ole plus and equals sign!

I began by showing a Brain Pop Jr. video and then introducing the vocabulary.with kids on an anchor chart.  They came up with a lot of them, which shows me they retained this from kindergarten!  It also showed that they were really listening to the vocabulary I'd been using the past two days.

We practiced writing the plus and equals sign with our chips to form number sentences.

The following day, I introduced the part-part-total model to the kids and we practiced putting our chips in them.  Having a hands on experience with addition is very important, especially in the beginning stages of learning to add.  Concrete is key!

Having manipulatives out is always tricky as far as listening/behavior goes.  I like letting kids come up and "help" on the white board.  This always helps control behavior during these types of lessons. We also play The Quiet Game a lot during Math!  This is a freebie you can read more about HERE. To snag some part-part-total mats for your students, click below.  Just print and place in clear plastic sleeves or print on card stock and laminate!  *Missing addend mats included*  So we spent two more days on combining sets and writing the number sentence to match.

The next 5 days, we reviewed ways to make 5,6,7,8,and 9 {addition to 10 is a kinder CCSS}.  We used my "Beginning Addition" set and our chips to come up with ways to make the sums.  After, the kids completed the worksheet.  I'll be giving an addition quick check this week to see who still needs help in this area.  We will also be playing the game included in this set.

We also spent some time on strategies.  I love Valerie's Addition Strategy Pack!  Lots of good practice pages and some nice posters to use in your classroom.  I like to set up stations with a different strategy choice at each table group and then we rotate around.  I really stress that the kids can use whatever method fits them best.

As a wrap-up to our learning, we made some cute little addition scarecrows.  The students got to choose how many patches the scarecrow had on his shirt and how many he had on his pants.  Then they had to fill in the numbers for a number story and number model.  This was a lot of fun!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Character & Setting

We've been spending some time on basic story elements the past two weeks.  We began with character and then moved on to setting.  Currently, we're working on beginning, middle, and end.

To introduce character, I showed an anchor chart that I made.  I found this chart on Pinterest but it was a dead pin, so I can't credit the person who made it.  If you made it, let me know!

We read Caps for Sale {one of my favorite books!} and worked on a graphic organizer about the peddler.  I used my Differentiated Graphic Organizers for the first time this year and was so excited about having them!  I could quickly give the easy version to my struggling students and the on-level version to the rest of the class.

The next day, we reviewed characters and moved onto setting.  Again, I began with another anchor chart.  This one was half-filled in because I wanted kids to give me examples of the when and where. We read A Chair for my Mother and discussed the setting.  Then I displayed the first page photo{Blue Tile Diner} on my doc camera for the kids to see while they worked on their setting graphic organizers.

The next day the kids got to create their own settings.  They had the choice of farm, ocean, or zoo. They chose the time of day and the amount of characters they wanted to add to their settings.  This was a lot of fun!  You can snag this for FREE at the end of the post.  We also watched a Brain Pop Jr.  to wrap things up with setting.

As the week went on, we continued to review characters and setting prior to each read-aloud {I do 1-2 read alouds per day along with a chapter in Junie B. Jones}.

As a final wrap-up, of character/setting, the kids completed a character and setting sort.

To snag the above items, click HERE for a couple of freebies!  To check out my Differentiated Graphic Organizers, click the cover below.  You can see how I organize my organizers in THIS POST.