Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Blog!!

It is New Year's Eve and that lends us to look back on our year and reflect.  This year has been full of so many firsts for me.  I began the blog about a year and a half ago, but it did not really take off until this year.   I must say that my blog and my TPT store have really changed my life.  It has made me a better teacher.  I have been able to collaborate with so many new friends across the country and even the world!!  I have so many new resources to teach with. I have been able to truly reflect on my teaching and how I can make it better.

When I first began my blog and my TPT store, I never really expected it to take off the way it has.  It has been a true blessing in my life.

With the new year approaching, I have some exciting things to share with you.  I have discovered a new group of friends.  They are amazing teachers here in blogland and I am so happy to be a part of their group.  We are coming together to start a new collaborative reading blog, called Literacy Land.  This will be a blog in which you will be able to find tons of valuable reading resources of every aspect and level!  Our launch is scheduled for January 6 and you won't want to miss out.

There are 20 of us and next week we will each get the opportunity to introduce ourselves to you.  If you become a follower of our blog next week, you will get an exclusive pack of freebies covering all of the different aspects of reading! Plus, you will have the chance to win one of two $25 gift certificates.  It is definitely an opportunity that you don't want to miss.   

You can get a head start now by following our page so that you will be ready for the launch.  Then all you have to do is enter the rafflecopter next week to be sent your pack of freebies!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trading Spaces Tuesday!

Hello to all the readers of Hanging Out in First!  I am super excited that Jessica has allowed me to share my ideas on how to write better sentences with you today as part of Trading Spaces Tuesday.

When I taught first grade, my firsties really struggled with writing a coherent, complete sentence.  I wanted them to be able to write a paragraph, but we couldn't write a good sentence.  I had to start there.


I broke the sentence down to its basic components:  capital letter, who, what, and ending punctuation.  Then I created a graphic organizer to help them use this information to create a better sentence. Next, I had to decide how I would teach them this information.  I had access to a Smart Board at the time, so I created a Notebook file which contained my entire lesson:  standards, objectives, introduction, sorting activity, and graphic organizer.


My introduction page started with all but the objective covered.  As I talked about each aspect, I uncovered a part of the page.


I wanted them to practice identifying complete and incomplete sentences before I had them write a complete sentence, so I created two sorts (one pictured below) for them.  They had to touch one of the sentences and move it to "complete sentence" or "not a complete sentence."


Once I was confident that they were able to categorize the sentences and fragments, I modeled how to write a complete sentence using the graphic organizer below.  Then we wrote a sentence together.  Finally, they wrote their own sentence using the organizer.

I created a YouTube video that runs through the notebook file as I talk you through my lesson.  I was a little nervous as I talked through the file because I had never made a video like this before.

I uploaded the Smart Notebook file to the SMART Exchange.  You can grab it by clicking HERE.
I also created a FREEBIE and placed it on Teachers Pay Teachers that includes the lesson plan and graphic organizers I used to introduce this concept to my students.  You can get your own copy by clicking HERE or on the picture below.


Is this only for first graders?  Absolutely not!  I introduced this to the PK-3 grade teachers I coach and they all used it.  Yes, even preschool!  Second and third grade teachers used it to help their struggling students.

Again, thank you for letting me share a little of my world with you!  Come see me any time and I can't wait to hear how you teach your students to write better sentences.


Don't forget to check out these other great blogs who are participating in Trading Spaces Tuesday!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lighting the way with KINDNESS!

Today marks the one year anniversary of the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook elementary school.  Today we remember how very precious life is.  We hug our loved ones a little bit tighter and appreciate our time with them.

With the school shooting that took place in Colorado yesterday, I think it makes today all the more difficult.  Each time something like this happens, I am shocked.  I am terrified that this may become the norm rather than a terrible rare tragedy.  It is a confusing, heartbreaking, scary time.  As teachers, we know that we would do anything for our students.  They are our children.  But it makes us afraid that we may one day have to face this in our own classrooms.  Would we be strong enough?  It makes our children afraid to go to school.  It makes parents afraid to send them to school, where they cannot be there to shield them from violence and protect them. They are thinking, "Can I trust my child's teacher to protect my child no matter what?"  As both a parent and a teacher, would I run to my own children in the classroom down the hall or would I be brave enough and trusting enough to stay with my students and protect them?  These are thoughts that none of us ever want to think, but we do.  It keeps happening and it is real.  How can we get children to understand that this is not the answer to difficult situations?  What more can we do?

The friends and family of the victims of Sandy Hook are still struggling with this tragedy every day.  The only way they can cope is to spread a little kindness.  They are teaching their students every day about kindness and today, they ask that we do the same.

Kindness is like a ripple in a pond.  It will continue to spread and effect others; someone just has to start it.  How will you start the ripple?

My plan this week is to teach my students about the power of kindness.  How one person can change so many others with just one small act.  On Monday, we will be discussing kindness, sharing picture books, and creating notes of encouragement to share with teachers all around the school. On Tuesday we will read to those that are younger than us. On Wednesday, we will be making paper hugs so that we can give others a hug to keep with them always.  On Thursday, we will present teachers with a chocolate treat.  And on Friday, we will share hot chocolate with our office staff!

Throughout the week, we will also be showing off our kindness with this fun craft!  And the great thing, is that you can pick it up for FREE at Miss Decarbo's store!

Pick it up here!

I am planning on allowing the children to share different kind things that people have done for them and we are going to string them up throughout the hallway.  I have also shared this activity with others in my school so my hope is that we can "light up our school with kindness!"  It will be a great visual way for students to see the ripple effect that one kind act can create!

You can find many more ideas for spreading a little kindness on the Teacher's Pay Teachers Blog here!

How will you be spreading kindness this week?

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Holidays are Coming!

The holidays are coming and I have some great things in store for you!!

Today is the last day of the December Facebook Frenzy.  Head over and pick up tons of free resources for your kids.
Here is a map of the starting points for each of the hops included in the frenzy.


And a fun sight word resource for you!  My frenzy freebie is a Spot and Jot activity.  Your students can use magnifying glasses to "spot" the words and then "jot" them down in lots of fun ways.  It will only be free for a couple more hours and then it will turn into a paid product.  While you are there, be sure to pick up my fan freebie too.  It is a second picture to go with this activity!

And my next seasonal freebie linky party is up!  Be sure to check out the tab at the top.  You can link up all of your winter holiday forever freebies and maybe grab some fun resources while you are there!

Coming soon... a giveaway AND a sale just for you!!

I will be hosting another Pin it to Win it Party.  Pin products from my store for a chance to win your choice of any product under $10.  You get an entry into the giveaway for every pin.  You do not have to pin the same product over and over.  You may pin several products for several entries!  I will post the winner on Friday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I am hosting my first BOGO sale!  Buy any one product and get a choice of any other product of the same or less value for free!  Just email me with the name of the product that you purchased and the product that you would like for free and I will email it to you!  My email is jesshamilton316@gmail.com and the sale starts TOMORROW!

Hope you can make it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Time to Shop!!

Cyber Monday and Tuesday is almost here! 

My entire store will be 20% off both days.  Combine that with the promo code and you can get 28% off of everything in my store!  Be sure to get your wishlist ready!  I know mine is full!

On top of that, I am also having some Dollar Deals for just one more hour!  All of my new phoneme segmentation packs are $1 until 10:00 tonight!  Be sure to pick them up now!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Gift of Reading Blog Hop

Welcome to Hanging Out in First! You have arrived at  

At each blog stop, you will be gathering Reading gifts and freebies.  In each post you will find a picture of a snowman with a letter on it. Collect all of the letter to solve the mystery quote to enter the giveaway. Record all of the letters on your recording sheet and follow each blog along the way so that you can enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

The hop is set up as a loop, so you may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning you may go to A Day In The Life of A Title I Teacher's blog.  This is also where you will go after you finish the hop to enter the giveaway!!
During the holidays we remember to cherish and be thankful for the things that we have.  We treasure the gifts that have been given to us.  So many of us take for granted the gift of reading.  We have been doing it so long, that we forget where we all started and how important the power of words truly are.  

As a first grade teacher, I get the pleasure of seeing the gift of reading every day!  I get to give this gift to a wonderful set of students every year.  Today, I get to share it with you!

In first grade, we start at the very beginning with reading, so phonemic awareness is crucial.  The activity that I am sharing with you today helps students to practice phoneme segmentation.  Phoneme segmentation is the ability to segment the sounds in any given word.  This is the building block to encoding and spelling!

With this activity, students will practice segmenting sounds in a variety of ways.  Students can cut out pictures, use Elkonin boxes to push and say the sounds in each word, and then sort the pictures according to the number of sounds it has.  

Students can also color circles for each sound that they hear in a word.  

Lastly, students can graph their pictures for the number of sounds and use their graph to answer questions about the sounds that they hear.  

At the end of this pack are pages to help track phoneme segmentation fluency!

Click the picture below to grab your freebie!! Enjoy!

Don't forget to record your letter for the giveaway at the end!
My secret letter is...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoyed your gift and learned something new. If you would like to be the first to know about new posts, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image Below. 

Don't stop now! Hop on over to Curious Firsties to pick up another amazing reading gift! Happy Holidays! 


If you get lost along the way download the Hop Map here to easily pick back up where you left off! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Coming Soon...

....to a blog near you!

This is one blog hop that you don't want to miss!  We will be sharing the "gift of reading" with you!!  Lots of great freebies for your winter season!

By the way, have you checked out my linkys?  Click the tabs at the top for more fun freebies and be sure to link up your own!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Phoneme Segmenting

Hello all!

I am here today to share with you my phoneme segmenting packs!  I have two that I have just uploaded to my TPT store today and another on the way!

Phoneme segmentation can be such a difficult skill for some students.  To be able to take apart sounds (especially blends) is difficult because it is the opposite of everything we tell them to do when we teach them to read.  Usually we are telling them to put the sounds together, now we are taking them apart?  But alas, it must be taught.  It is so crucial for students to know how to segment so that they can become good writers and spellers (and readers!). 

The two packs that I have currently in my store are my fall and winter packs.  Each contain seasonal pictures of words that the students will practice segmenting.

The first activity in these packs is a Push it, Say it, Sort it activity.  With this, students will look at the picture and think of the word it represents.  Then they will use Elkonin boxes to push and say the sounds (these are all cute and seasonal too!).  Then they will count the number of phonemes that it has and sort it.

With the next activity, students will segment the sounds and color in a circle for each sound in the word.  It is a quick way for teachers to see what a student understands too!

The last activity incorporates a little math!  Students will graph the pictures by the number of sounds.  Then they will answer questions about their graph and the sounds that they heard.

Also included are fluency pages.  Students and teachers can use these pages to track their phoneme segmentation fluency.

You can check them out in more detail by clicking the pictures below.

On a side note, if you are interested in these packs, you may want to check out a blog hop that I am participating in NEXT weekend! *hint*  *hint*