Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Sale! 20% off!

  Yay!   Ok... honestly... I know it is spring because the calendar says it is, but when I look outside it is STILL WINTER!!!  UGH!  I will just pretend!

This might be of interest.  It currently has 26 files, but I plan on adding 4-5 more.  You may want to grab it now while the price is at its lowest.  You can find it HERE.
 Happy Saturday!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

5 Day Plan for Targeted Sight Word Intervention in MINUTES! (plus a FREEBIE)

We have been using our Sight Word Intervention for about 4-5 weeks already... boy howdy!  
What a difference!!

I start with this! (I added the highlighted boxes).
Yellow:  Has mastered all of their kindergarten sight words
Blue:  Should have them mastered by next week... so, so close!
Pink:  Focused RTI interventions plus Junior Teacher support
With this report I can see who I need to test still (my one sweetie has been out)... not really helpful with meeting goals.

Then I can click on the "Parent Letter" page.  I get this report.
 I send it home, but I also use it to select focus words for each student.

So... Yes!  Each student has their own focus words for the week!  This seemed like an impossible expectation, but ESGI makes it SO EASY to see what they need to know.  Click HERE to get your 60 day FREE trial of ESGI!

Then with this product I open up my document.
Here are screen shots!
 The first thing I do is type the words in the blue boxes.  These are the word I want Mr. D to focus on next week.
 Then I click the theme I want to use.
 It jumps to that theme and the words are entered onto EVERY sheet.  You do NOT have to retype the words 600 times!!!!
This is Monday's,
 And Friday's!

Then I simply print the selected pages and it takes me minutes to create custom sight word packets for my entire class.

Then we get busy!
 In my classroom, I have students who have mastered all of their words and they become "Junior Teachers."  They wear a badge... It is a pretty cool thing.  In the morning, before the bell, they sit with my students who need a little more help.  I have a basket set up and this runs on automatic pilot.  Everyone loves it.  My students always have the option to opt out, but they seem to love this extra fun!
Click on this picture to get your own Junior Teacher letter.
Here is what each day's worth of the packet looks like.  It builds in complexity as they days progress.  My junior teachers are asked to listen and support the students as they complete each task.  It is REALLY important that the words are said out loud... otherwise... what is the point?

It is not perfect, but we are working hard towards improvement!
I have also had older students come into my room to act as Junior Teachers.  Due to testing, they have not been as available, so my class stepped in!  This would also work with parent volunteers.

Can I just add... this works if you have another person support your student.  This should not be used as "seat work" or work done in isolation.  I have seen students accurately complete a worksheet and still have NO idea what they just read.  [Stepping off of my soapbox now.]

 There you have it!  Happy Friday Eve!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Handwriting in March

So I am going to start this post by saying... I am not an expert and I am so far from perfect that I'm not even sure where they line the cars up for the race.
Here is what I do...I research it, try it, revise it, and then try it again.  I am a practitioner.

Handwriting... ugh!  It is not my favorite thing.  The Perfect Son has imperfect handwriting.  It was not my passion when he was 5 years old, it is not my passion now.  However, the purpose of writing is to make our meaning known, so we work a little on handwriting.  When I say a little... I mean a very little.

What we do actually do is write... ALL. DAY. LONG.

We start every morning with a version of these.  The kids love them, they make me smile and in this super simple warm up everyday, we can address so many skills in a creative way... Letter formation, spacing, capital letters, ending punctuation, illustrating, reading simple text... the list is long.  We do these as our "morning work."  I can quickly instruct them if there is a letter out of whack. 
Click on the picture to find these activities.

Click on the picture to find these activities.

Click on the picture to find these activities.
You can find the GROWING BUNDLE HERE.

Someone asked me if I address handwriting during writers workshop.  The answer is VERY RARELY.  Writers workshop (my belief) is about composing.  It is about getting our thoughts out and conveying meaning.  If their writing is confusing because their letters are not clear, then I might say something like.   "Wow!  I love the story you just told me". (Then offer a few more genuine compliments)  "I wondering if we could make this story a little easier for your reader to read?"  Then I would try to support them in that process.  No red pen!  

So... when else do I work on supporting handwriting?

During our Minute to Win it (literally 5 minutes worth of handwriting work in this activity!
I quick adjustment and he was on his way!
and during stations.

Our high-tech overhead station involves writing...
Our pocket chart (predictable sentences) station has LOTS of writing!

And when I set out to make my monthly Math and Literacy Stations unit I had a few goals in mind:
1.  Meaningful work
2. The task must take more than 3.2 seconds to complete... hello!  I have groups to meet with!
3. It needed to support my classroom goals (increase writing and illustrating).
4.  It HAD to be easy to prep... we are all busy!

Does the clown look abnormally scary... or is it just me?

My final thoughts on handwriting.  Some students are not ready for it.  That's okay.  I just take it where they are and nudge and guide them towards improvement.  I sing their praises and celebrate every step in the right direction.  I am not sure if that is right or wrong, but it is how I roll.

One last thing... These are finally complete and on sale through Thursday!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Peek at my Week-Oviparous Animals-FREE download

I love, love teaching about oviparous and viviparous animals.  Eggs are coming to our building this week... exciting times!  At the end of the week, my sweeties feel so smart (and they learned TONS along the way).

I updated an old free download.  You can download it by clicking on the picture.
 We will be doing our Oviparous Poem this week (no, but you can find it in my March Poetry Unit.

I have completely updated this unit. If you have previous purchased it, you can get the updates for Free by going to "My Purchases".

This week I am jumping ahead to April's Guiding Readers because I want to use 
Chickens Aren't the Only Ones by Ruth Heller during reading!  We JUST finished this unit today and I am so darn excited!  It is on sale for just 24  hours!

I will read the Easter Bunny's Assistant next week.  My students have been circling the book and I know they will revolt if I try to skip it!

Have a great week!

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