Monday, September 7, 2015

Phonics Books for the Classroom

 Every class is different and this year, I have a group of kids that LOVE reading, but many of them do not have books.  My team gives kids a reading log with their homework, so after I received a few notes from parents, I needed to come up with a solution.

I started thinking about how to solve this problem.  I LOVE Reading A to Z, but I use many of those books for my small groups, so I wanted to save those for my classroom.

I looked at several sites online, but many of the books were too hard, too short, or didn't have a rhyme or reason to them.  The more I looked, the more I felt like what I wanted didn't exist.  So, that's when I decided to start a new adventure and start writing my own books.

Since it's the beginning of first grade, I decided to start with short vowel mini books.  Each set of books has word lists at the beginning.  One of the lists has all of the short vowel words.  For example, if the book is a short a book, then all of the short a words that were used is listed.  The next word list has sight words.  Many of these words will be found on Fry lists, Dolch lists, etc.  This allows your students or child to not only practice a specific short vowel sound, but to also work on sight words.
After the word lists, there are five page stories.  These stories have black and white pictures so that your students can color the books or you can reuse them over and over.  On the back of the book, there are four questions about that book.  These are meant to be asked orally.  This page allows your parents to check comprehension.

For my own kids, I really wanted to come up with something that they could keep and that would allow them to practice the skills that we are practicing at school daily.  All of the books also have the grade equivalency, DRA levels, and Guided Reading levels.  I am aligning the books to our phonics skill of the week so that I can make sure that not only are my kids getting plenty of practice at school, but they are also getting practice at home.  I'm hoping this will help some of my students that may struggle a little with reading build their confidence and their reading fluency.  While my kids are using them with their homework, they would also be great to use with small groups.
Also, I know that time management really matters.  I tried to make sure that these books require very little work to assemble.  There are two versions - a classroom version and a homeschool version.  The classroom version is set up so that when you print the book, you immediately get two copies of that specific book.  The homeschool version is set up so that when you print, you get two copies of different books.  Once you've printed the books front and back all that's left is stapling and cutting them down the middle.
In case you still aren't sure this is what you need, here is a free book below.  Just click on the image to download it.  This was created out of a need I had, so I want you to have the opportunity to make sure this also fits your needs.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Teddy Graham Graphing

Last week, we read a story called "Jack and Rick".  It's a cute little story that is great for covering story elements.  Since the story was about a rabbit and a bear, I wanted to find a way to tie the characters into our Fun Friday.

Fun Friday is where my teammates and I take the last 30 minutes of Friday to do a fun activity with our students that have followed the rules all week.

For some reason, Teddy Grahams seemed like the perfect activity.  There are TONS, maybe not tons, but multiple types of Teddy Grahams.  I decided that this would allow us to do the perfect graphing activity.  What is better than having fun and teaching a skill at the same time?

I sent a note to parents and got an abundance of Teddy Grahams.  Honestly, the kids that forgot their snacks may be eating them until Christmas.  I think I have eight left over boxes.

So, on Friday afternoon, I passed out paper towels and gave each student some chocolate, chocolate chip, and honey Teddy Grahams.  After we ate the Teddy Grahams, everyone was given a sheet to vote for their favorite type.  I collected the votes and then gave each kid a graph.  We worked on the graph until the end of the day.

The kids LOVED the activity and overall it went well.  The one thing I forgot was I am working with beginning of the year first graders.  We don't work quite as fast as we do later in the year, so while we got one graph done, we ran out of time to do the tally graph and we didn't have time to answer the graphing questions.  Next time, I'd probably have the Teddy Grahams separated into baggies ahead of time to save some time.

Anyway, if you are needing a quick activity for graphing, feel free to grab my Teddy Graham graphing freebie.

Also, while you are here, don't forget to enter my GoNoodle Blogger Giveaway.  GoNoodle has graciously given bloggers across the country lots of swag to give to our fans.  To see all the bloggers participating click on the GoNoodle image.

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Have a restful Sunday!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

GoNoodle Blogger Blitz

It's hard to believe that I've been in school for a month.  While it still feels extremely hot outside, you can tell the weather is starting to change.  The leaves are changing colors, it's getting dark earlier, and football is starting.  The best part of fall is that I finally seem to have found a routine.

I am so excited to be part of the GoNoodle Back to School Blogger Blitz!  I have LOVED adding GoNoodle to my daily routine.  Honestly, when I first heard about GoNoodle I was a little skeptical.  I couldn't understand how there was going to be a site with better videos than I was already using, especially free videos.  It took me a year, but rainy day after rainy day convinced me that it might be a good idea to give GoNoodle a shot and I'm so glad I did.

Here's what I discovered.  GoNoodle tracks your minutes.  For me, that was an instant like.  In my district, we have to make up so many hours of physical education in our classroom.  GoNoodle made it easy for me to make sure that I met our district requirements.

GoNoodle has crazy, fun characters.  As an adult you might be thinking that isn't a big deal, but my six year old kids go wild watching the characters grow and morph into a bigger version of the character.  The characters have names like McPufferson, Flappy Tuckler, and Freckles Sinclair.  The best part is once the character maxes out, your class can pick a new character.

In my class, we use GoNoodle for indoor recess, brain breaks, rewards, etc.  My kids LOVE all the Zumba videos, plus a few of their other favorites are the Indoor Recess videos, Pop-See-Ko, Get Loose, and Roller Coaster.

Oh, and did I mention that you GoNoodle is FREE?

Now, that I've told you about GoNoodle, I have some exciting news.  First, GoNoodle has a discount code for their store right now.  Use BTSwithGoNoodle to get 15% off of everything.  Second, GoNoodle has given me 25 HEADBANDS to give away for them.  To enter, see the Rafflecopter below.
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Make sure you click the GoNoodle image below to go sign up.