Monday, January 26, 2015

Sight Words-A Constant

Sight word mastery is so important for kinder-1st grades.  Having a solid sight word foundation prepares students for reading.  Without it, kids really struggle to read beginning books.  I spend a lot of time incorporating sight words into my days at school.  This is a constant for me throughout the year.  I expect my students to be able to quickly read and spell all 100 of the Fry's First 100 Sight Words.  We do many things in class to secure this:

1.  I start the year with ALL 100 sight words on my word wall.  This is up for debate.  Some like to introduce the words slowly, but I prefer to have them all up, all year to give my kids constant exposure to them from day 1.  It's definitely what each individual feels most comfortable with.

2.  I have an interactive, magnetic word wall where students are encouraged to come up and get the word they need for use in Writing Workshop or any other type of writing we may be doing in class.

2.  We start learning and practicing our words very early in the year.  I do morning message with my class 1st quarter.  I incorporate those 1st 25 words into my messages every day.

3.  We play review games at least once a week.  Some of our favorites are Sight Word BINGO, Musical Sight Words, and Board Races.

4.  I incorporate sight words into my guided reading instruction.  We do Sight Word Flashcards or Sight Word Fluency Strips daily.

5.  I test students quarterly to see how they are doing with the reading and spelling of the words.  I send home the tests and letters with parents to let them know what words their children still need to master.

6.  Every week for centers, there is a sight word center.  Some favorites are Dot-a-Word, Play-Doh Words, Magnetic Words, and Sight Word Stamping.

And finally, I constantly stress the importance of sight words with my students.  I also constantly stress that sight words are NOT intended to be sounded out.  They are to be memorized.  

All of the items shown above can be found in my Teachers pay Teachers store if you'd like to take a look.  Just click the picture/banner below to check them out.

What are your favorite ways to practice sight words??  I love finding new ideas!


Sunday, January 25, 2015


So it just occurred to me that I have lots of folders full of pictures that I intended on posting about but forgot with the holidays/after winter break back to school frenzy!  This week you'll be seeing several posts about things that we did a month or so ago!  First up: blends!  I don't have a lot of pictures from this but we did spend a week or so on them and I'll share what I do have.

I usually begin the lesson with some direct instruction.  I like to focus on one consonant blend group at a time {ie: s-blends, r-controlled blends, etc...}.  I introduce it and we make an anchor chart together where the kids brainstorm words for me to write.  We also read through our poem of the week, that is one of the blends we'll be focusing on.

We play games, watch one of my favorite You Tube videos each day, and practice again in RTI/Reading Groups.

I include blends activities into my centers the week after I've taught them in class.  This ensures that kids are getting a review after they've learned the concept.

Most activities we use are from my Skating Through Blends Pack.  I also have Blends Flashcards that are great for a quick review.  I like to have my volunteer/tutor use them with her students.  I also use them in reading group and for playing "Around the World" in class.   The board game above is included in my Reading Foundational Skills Pack.

This little set includes a blend find-a-friend game.

Have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

MLK Jr. Day

We spent some time last week learning all about MLK Jr.  My kids are always so intrigued {and shocked}  by MLK and pre-civil rights times.  We began our study with an egg experiment.  I've seen this on Pinterest forever but never have done it in class.  I decided this year I would try it.  I bought brown and white eggs.  I took one of each to school.  We observed/discussed how the eggs looked on the outside and began our recording sheet that I found from Little Warriors blog.  Next, we cracked the eggs to see how they looked on the inside.  We colored our recording sheets accordingly.

I then asked the kids, "How are the eggs like people?"  With some re-wording, they were able to explain to me that even though people look different on the outside, they are the same on the inside. We wrote our response on our papers.  This was a great opening activity for our study on MLK Jr.

Throughout the week, we read books about MLK Jr, watched a Brain Pop Jr., did some factual writing together about MLK Jr.'s life, and made a puppet.  The kids were so cute with the puppets-they were using them to say things that MLK Jr. said.  My teammate found the puppet here.

I was pleased with the activities I found/completed to help my little ones understand how the world was long before they were born.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five for Friday 1.23.15

Hi everyone!  It's Friday!  Hooray!  I hope you had a great week.  What are your plans this weekend? I have a jammed-packed weekend of fun including a Grand Opening for my husband's financial advising office, dinner/drinks with friends, and some QT with my college bestie.  I can't wait for tomorrow to come and go!   I'm liking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.  It's 9:45 on Thursday night and I am tired, so without further ado, here is my weekly re-cap:

The last two weeks have been crazy with the weather in Ohio.  On Friday, we read Snow Day, made some cute snow kids from Laura Bensley, and wrote about what we like to do on a snow day.  I forgot to snap a shot of our writing!  Dang!

Also on Friday {evening}, the Mr. and I went to see Florida Georgia Line!  They are so good!  You can always tell who's "got it" when you see people perform live.  FGL seemed so down to earth and fun!  I can imaging partying with them would be insane!

About two years ago, a little brewery opened so close to our house.  We had never gone there for some reason...I think we thought it was just for kegs and/or growlers.  This past weekend we decided to pop in and check it out and it was awesome!  They were running low and only had 3 beers to choose from {again, a very little brewery!} but all 3 were delicious.  We are going back this weekend!  I love supporting local businesses!

On Monday {MLK Jr. Day}, my Dove Dark told me to relax.  So I did.  It was glorious.

As I mentioned above, my hubby is having a Grand Opening for his new office!  He's a financial advisor and just opened his own office!  Hooray!  So proud of him!  We spent some time shopping to prepare for it.  We don't have a truck, so..........I'll let the picture do the talking!

PS-I have one more item!  Growing Firsties {Lisa} and I are having a great winter giveaway that ends this weekend!  Don't miss out on the chance to win one of $25.00 TPT gift certificates AND/OR $15.00 to each of our stores!!!!!  Click the image below to go enter!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hump Day Highlight

Hi, friends!  I hope your week is off to a great start!  I'm flying by the seat of my pants.  I think it's that time of a blink the year will be over!  Are you feeling stressed, too?  I don't know what the deal is but I feel like I'm being pulled in 9,000 directions with RTI, lesson plans, parent meetings/conferences, etc....Can't wait for the weekend!

I'm back for another quickie "Hump Day Highlight" with Mrs. Stanford's Class!  Today's feature are my "Differentiated Graphic Organizers."  I created these last summer and I just LOVE them!  I keep a file of them on hand and pull them for guided reading as well as whole-group instruction/reading.  I made these because over the past 11 years, I had never found first-grade appropriate graphic organizers...everything I'd seen had teeny boxes or shapes for the kids to "write" in or lines without a mid-line.  These organizers were thoughtfully developed with the K-2 learner in mind!  Each organizer has two options for two levels of learners.  I kept the borders and fonts the same so you can quickly differentiate without making your little ones feel "different."  These have been a life saver this year and I look forward to using them for many years to come!  I hope you'll take a moment to check them out!  They are on sale today {Wednesday, January 21st} only!  Click the cover below.