Monday, February 28, 2011

Baby Diapers: b and d reversals

We all know that b and d reversals are developmentally appropriate for young learners.  However, we use a little humor to help remind us.

Click for a FREEBIE  Baby Diapers

We use our hands to make the shape of "b" and "d".

Of course we don't say, "diaper baby!"  Whenever I want a student to check their letters, I tell them, "Check your baby diapers."  This always makes them giggle.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Luck-of-the-Irish Word Family Give-Away!!!

Feeling lucky?

Enter to win all 5 of my Luck-of-the-Irish Word Family Sort and Write the Room Products from TpT
(a $10 value).
You can enter up to three times. Here's how:
  1. Follow my blog (entry 1)
  2. Follow me on TpT (entry 2) Deedee Wills TpT Store
  3. (If you have a blog) List my blog on your blog roll (you know that "thingy" on your sidebar) as a blog your follow. (entry 3)
Here is a sneak peek at what you can win:
There are 5 word families per set...a total of 25 different short vowel word families!  I will select a winner Tuesday, March 1st at 8:00pm through a random number generator!
Good Luck!

Friday, February 25, 2011

DRA and Retell... Oh My!!!

Do you have students who can decode well, but when they try to retell the story... it becomes disorganized?

I have adapted a format that Dr. Carol Barsby introduced me to.  I have made multiple copies and my students hold these shapes in their hands as they retell the story. Great for buddy reading, independently, or in my small group.
Click on the picture to download.
I will try to post photos of these shapes in action next week. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wonderful Surprises!

Ok... I just was cruising through my email and discovered the most wonderful surprise from
Mrs. Waddingham!!!  Thank you!!!! 

It was her football unit!  Now at my house, I was sort-of ready for football to be over, but this unit is perfect.  We are working on money right now, but "time" is NEXT and your football unit will be exactly what I need.  It has some fun word study games, math activities and glyphs.  I know the boys in my class will love it.
Football Math and Literacy Fun
I also noticed a great TpT product she has posted.
Pizza Fun Literacy and Math Activities
It is TOTALLY adorable and literally packed with great kindergarten and 1st grade goodies. So... I HAD to have it!

If you have not been to her Blog or seen her goodies on TpT check it out!

Thank you Penny!

Shopping! Math Station

Students can have fun shopping in the pet and toy store with this math work station.

Pennies, nickels, and dimes are collected as students save their money to buy something at the store. Use real coins or plastic coins as the markers.  I just uploaded it to my TpT store:

Stylish Blogger

Thank you
and for the nomination for Stylish Blogger.  If you could see me now, you would revoke your vote!

7 things about me:

1. I love, love, love Diet Coke.  Gotta have it! Can't go without it!  I saw a hypnotist once to try to break the habit... seriously!  I have 12-step program written all over me.

2. I am a Mexican food snob.  I miss the Baja Mexican food I grew up with in Southern California.  To me... everything else is a version of Taco Bell. (I was not joking about the snob thing).

3.  I love to dance and sing, but lack talent in both areas.  Sometimes you just gotta shack your groove thing!

4.  I am allergic to walnuts.

5. I love the person my son is growing up to be.  He is 15 and everyday he amazes me with his kindness, intelligence, insight, and generosity.  He is just fun to be around.

6. It takes a lot to make me angry... but once I am mad... WATCH OUT!

7. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. 

My new blogger finds:

Card Game Life Saver and America CVC Game

As you all know... I love to put various card games in my stations.  But when I first started using them, I would get frustrated because so much of their station time was spent JUST getting their cards in order.  Solution Found!

Don't you love the ring pop?

The cards are kept in a empty frosting tub.  Instead of making a "draw pile" (a big challenge for kindergarten hands) they just draw the cards out of the tub.  Whew!  Easy Breezy! 

In this station they have a choice of a few different games.  Some are harder than others.  They are playing FREEDOM

It has 72 CVC words that are perfect for these kiddos plus special game cards (they get so excited when they draw one of these). We first practiced it in small groups.  Once I saw they could do the activity independently, I moved it to a station.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Morning Message-Riddles

Do you ever feel a little tired with your morning message?  A few times a week, I change it up with a "Riddle of the Day".  My kids really like this.

How it works in my class
I write the riddle on a piece of chart paper.  As the students come in I read the poem (usually 2-3 times throughout our "bell work" time).  Students grab a piece of scrap paper and write their guess on it.  They fold it up and put it in the Zip-Lock bag that is taped to the chart paper.

Once our morning calendar time has started I read the poem again with the students sitting at the carpet.  One-by-one we read and document the students' guesses with tally marks.  We get the total.  We graph it (see blank graph form at the end of this blog).
We identify the clues and draw a light bulb next to it.  We check the clues against the student guesses.  We figure out which one is the best answer.

Students also come up and trace the words that they know.  We brainstorm rhyming words and also look for word chunks.

We were "on it" today.  We recently talked about the Statue of Liberty, so everyone guessed it correctly... YAY!
This is my favorite book.  I noticed that Scholastic has it listed in their March See Saw and Firefly Book Orders for $10 or 260 bonus points.... Woo hoo!
Or you can get it at Amazon for about $10.
Riddle Poem Resources
Graph of the Day

How do you keep your morning message Alive and Kickin'?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Give Aways Galore!

Erica Bohrer is giving away one of her fantastic books, Just Right Reading Response Activity Sheets for Young Readers.  You gotta get in on this one.  Hop over to her blog to check it out!

Erica Bohrer's Blog

If you are a Teachers Pay Teachers fan you will want to get in on this great give away from

Fabulous in First

It is everything in her teacher store and more!  She has a ton of cute things so head over to her blog!

Monday, February 14, 2011

FREEBIE: Day Fourteen

How do I love thee?  How about with money... I wish!  Perhaps a poem and a pocket chart activity will be close enough.  Here is a poem/song I had in my files... but I am not sure where it originated.  If you know, will you contact me so I can give them credit?

Thank you for following me over the past 14 days! 
Here is your FREEBIE and Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

FREEBIE: Day Thirteen

How do I love thee?  What about some fresh fruit? 

Here is an easy to assemble math activity for using pennies and nickels.  This is a great opportunity for my students to "over-learn" the values of these two coins.  Use plastic coins or real coins as markers.

Here is your FREEBIE

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

FREEBIE: Day Eleven

How do I love thee?    With a little bit of addition. 

Here is an easy game that requires little prep... YAY! 

Here's your FREEBIE

I Love Shrew!

You all know about "teachable moments"?  Well, we had one today.  I was rummaging through my classroom closet when something caught my eye.  At first I thought it was a mouse, but it didn't have a real tail on it... hmmm???  It was a shrew! 

I have no idea how it got in my closet, but I have to say it is SUPER cute.  My students squealed with delight.  They decided that Theodora (our guinea pig) had invited the shrew to our room.

We hopped on the internet and found all sorts of information on our new classroom friend, the North American Least Shrew.  Holy smokes!  Here is what we found out:

Theodora-Babies have hair, pet, teeth growing.
Both-both have fur.
Shrew-has venom, it is wild, sharp teeth
Wow!  Perhaps a shrew is not an ideal class pet.  We decided to stick with Theodora.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


How do I love thee?  With hearts of course.  Here is one of my math stations this week.

Did you make a good prediction? Yes... I was close.

Did you make a good prediction? No... because I was not close.
Here is the door we used to measure our height.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


How do I love thee?  Um... can you say "Gooey Butter Cake?"

  So I had never heard of Gooey Butter Cake until I moved to Missouri.  All I have to say is..."Oh MY!" It is scrumptious! 

Perhaps you are looking for something to make your sweetie on Valentine's Day?  Perhaps you are the arch nemesis of Jenny Craig?  Whatever the reason... Enjoy!

Don't even THINK about counting the calories!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

America Word Family Games

I just completed my word family games pack.  Woo-Hoo!

It features 2 short vowel word family games. These are the word families you will find:

-ad, -am, -an, -ap, -at
-ed, -en, -et, -est, -ell
-it, -in, -ip, -ick, -ill
-ob, -og, -op, -ot, -ock
-ub, -ug, -un, -ut, -ump

Crazy 8 and a version of Old Maid (Old Glory) are familiar games, so just print the cards and you will have weeks and weeks of activities for your students.

There are 100 word family cards plus Old Glory and Crazy 8 cards.
You can find them at my Tpt store.  The link is below.

FREEBIE: Day Eight

How do I love thee?  With Organization...Oh, Boy!!  Easy to say... tough to do.  I have to work at being organized because it is not in my DNA. Last year I really struggled to "keep it together" when it came to my guided reading materials.  However this year, I whipped out my Debbie Diller book (Spaces and Places) and got my ducks-in-a-row. 

Here is my small group area:

On top of the shelf with drawers: Each group has their own drawer (see pictures below for drawer contents).

Middle shelf:  My classroom library is massive and students can borrow books from there, but I like them to have several books in their "take-home" book bag that is on their reading level.  So in addition to the book they do with me in our small group, they self-select another book from one of these three bins.

Bottom shelf: Bin for my small group math lessons.
Blue tub: White board, markers, magnetic letters (in the fishing tackle container).

Each drawer has that week's guided reading books in them (3-4 book sets).  I also keep that group's conferring notes in the drawer.  One sheet usually lasts me 1-2 weeks (5-6 lessons).

Conferring notes can be tricky.  I have created a conferring notes form that may help you.  This is really designed around the emergent reader... but you can get the idea.

Here is your FREEBIE:

Monday, February 7, 2011

FREEBIE: Day Seven

How do I love thee?  How about math?

My "helper" of the day gets to take the Estimation Jar home.  When they bring it back, we estimate how many items are enclosed.  I usually stop mid-way and we check to see if we need to adjust our estimation.  This is a quick little activity that we work into our morning calendar routine.

Here is your FREEBIE: Estimation Jar

Sunday, February 6, 2011

America and More!

Ok... I'm PUMPED!  I just purchased Deanna Jump's new unit America Math and Literacy Fun.  Wow!  It is packed with two weeks of wonderful and imaginative activities.  What I think I love the most... She included a pacing guide!!

So cute!  I can't wait to try it out!

Another great new blog I have been stalking is Mrs. Patton's Patch. I love her Long Ago and Today downloads!

Please check them out.


How do I love thee?  With poetry and song!

I have been asked where I get my word family songs and poems.  I have a few favorite sources.  My favorite-favorite (awkward expression) is from Scholastic

This has been the best investment  EVER!  I was not blessed the the gift of a beautiful singing voice, so the CD is a life saver.   BONUS: The songs are so cute (not annoying) and catchy.   Yes, I find myself singing them ALL. THE. TIME!
I don't think the print is big enough in the flip chart, so I rewrite them on my chart paper.

Chart Example

We use the high-lighter tape to look for the word family words (I don't have a photo of I hope you know what I mean)

These go into my students poetry notebook.  The students circle all the words they can find from that word family.  Then they illustrate the poem...CUTE! Here is your FREEBIE:

Word Family Sing-Along Student Copies

Since the flip chart has only 25 word families... I have to find other sources.  Here is one that I like.

Word Family Poems

Saturday, February 5, 2011


How do I love thee?  With handwriting practice... Eww!!!  No, really... my kids love this one.

So I woke up this morning to see that it snowed AGAIN!  It is beautiful, but I just want to get back to school.
Anyhoo... here is your FREEBIE!

Sample: Winter 2 read write glue and draw

If you want more, I just posted them to my TpT store.

Winter 2 Read Trace Glue and Draw

Friday, February 4, 2011


How do I love thee?  With even MORE Chocolate!  Students can use this activity to make words. They will then classify the words as "Real Words" or Nonsense Words" with their student response sheet.  For your more emergent kiddos, I suggest focusing on just one word family at a time (ie... use the -at family, then the -et family). 

Click below for your FREEBIE

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Word Explorer GIVEAWAY!!!

I am so excited that April at Chalk Talk: A Kindergarten Blog is helping me with my first give away!!!

I will be giving away my Word Explorer unit on February 11th.  This is a unit that my class uses every day and they LOVE it.  It takes only 10-15 minutes daily.  Because we change the activities doesn't get borrriinnggg!  Wanna peek at what you could win?  Word Explorer-Word Study for Kindergarten and 1st-grade

Here's how you enter:
1) Follow my blog.

2) Follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers  TpT- Deedee Wills

3) Then make a comment about your approach to word study back on April's post Word Explorer Giveaway

The winner will be announced on February 12th

Easy Breezy and Good Luck!

FREEBIE: Day Three

How do I love thee? With CHOCOLATE?!!  Did somebody say CHOCOLATE?!!

Here is a cheer for my favorite delectable confection.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

So I started thinking about my post "Meet the Teacher" and what I truely valued... wheels started turning... then I remembered a poem I had read a long time ago.

I think I will post this in my classroom and teach it to my students.  I think it will benefit us two ways; 1) to remind the students to speak to each other with kindness 2) to remind me that my words have a huge impact on others.

 Sticks and Stones

How do you promote kindness in your classroom?

Meet the Teacher

What a wonderful idea to have a meet and greet!  Thank you to The First Grade Parade for the idea.

Here is a little information about me.  I grew up in San Diego which is where I met my husband of almost 20 years.  We moved to Missouri 6 years ago and we love it! 

Our son is a sophomore in high school... the light of our life.  He runs track and cross-country and the boy can SING!

For the first part of my life I was a medical administrator.  Great career, great people, but teaching has always been my dream. I have been teaching for 8 years, four years in second grade before I was asked to be help launch our Balance Literacy adoption in my district.  I served as a Literacy Coach for two years.  I loved collaborating with the other teachers, but I missed, missed, missed having my own class.  So when a kindergarten position opened up, I begged and pleaded... Ta Da!  I'm back in the classroom.  Kindergarten is amazing and I'm here to stay!

Now the Q & A

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?
A: Well, when I was 6, I wanted to be a waitress in a truck stop.  Think of all the people I would have met!  Now, if not a teacher, I would like to be a park ranger (see I'm still 6 years old).

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Teaching isn't a hobby?!  Spending time with my family, filling my roll as a taxi-service to my 15 year old son (8 months until he turns 16), and reading.  I started running a year ago and completed my first half-marathon in October.  I love cookbooks, but don't like to cook...hmmm... I guess that means I just like food.

Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A:  Oops! I already answered that.

Q: What are your guilty pleasures?
A: Diet Coke, the entire food group known as The Cookie Food Group (can't have them around), Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew... Seriously, I'm drawn to it like a moth to flame... weird!

Q: What is your biggest fear?!
A: Escalators (I blame it on George Jetson) and small, confined places.

Q: When you’re on vacation, where do you like to go?
A: Back to San Diego to visit my friends and family. Although... Italy has been calling my name.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Realize when you say something unkind, you can never take it back.  People can forgive you, but they rarely forget it was ever said.

Q: What do you value most in others?
A:  Integrity!  I also look up to people who are active in their own destiny.  If you are unhappy about something, take steps to see if you can change it... talk to the right people or make a change.

Q: If you could choose one of your personality traits to pass down to your kids, what would it be?
A: Resiliency.  Being able to roll with the punches, then make a difference where you think you can.

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world….living or dead…who would it be?
A: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!!!  Shallow me: Hugh Jackman, Teacher me: Lucy Calkins

Now tell us one random thing about yourself:

 I broke my arm falling off a horse when I was 11.  In high school, I worked at Sea World making cotton candy. I was in the Navy Reserves for 6 years in a unit that supported the marine mammal team... pretty cool!  I have two crazy dogs (a lab and a golden retriever).  They are frequent subjects of my modeled writing.  I LOVE shoes!  My husband thinks I have "enough"... Whatever that means!

Now it’s time for YOU to join the party!!!! Here’s what you need to do: Write a post titled “Meet The Teacher”. Start with a brief “biography” and then copy & paste the Q&A {using your answers, of course!} Don't forget to grab a button when you link up (you can get it at First Grade Parade)!!


How do I love thee?  By sending Valentine's Day cards.  Students will sort their valentines by the type of word: color words, number words, or other.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine's Day Word Work

Here is a literacy station that my kiddos LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  I cut the hearts out and place them around the room.  Then students move about the classroom and sort these words on their clipboard.

These word activities are at my TpT Store.

Teacher Discounts

Thank you to Brooke Perry at Primary Perspective for posting a link to teacher discounts. 
Check it out!

She is also posting 14 Days of Love ... don't you just love gifts?


This fun game is very familiar to my students.  The students read words as they flip the cards over. If they get a "SWEET!" card, they get another turn.  If they get a broken heart, the game stops and they count their cards. The one with the most cards is the winner...then they play again.

Because the game format is similar to other games, there are not a lot of "rules" to learn.


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