Friday, January 31, 2014

Loving Literacy Blog Hop

Welcome to...
With Valentine's Day approaching, our group of reading specialists, coaches, and teacher bloggers decided it was the perfect time to share our love of literacy with you.  Each of us is passionate about helping children develop a love of reading, and what better way to love reading than through our favorite books.  Each blogger participating in this weekend's hop is sharing materials for his/her favorite book, book about friendship, or for Valentine's day.  We hope you'll enjoy using them and sharing your love of literacy with your students.

Growing up I always knew that I would be a teacher.  The only question was, "What would I teach?"  I love reading, but honestly, I was better at math.  Math came easy.  I could explain it to others.  I tutored math to other kids while I was still in middle and high school.  It made sense: I would be a math teacher.  I set out in college as a math major with a focus in secondary education.  I got BORED. haha

So, as much as I love to teach math, I just couldn't spend four years among math majors and learning more math that I really already knew.  So I had a change of course.  I decided to look into elementary education.  I had done a lot of volunteer work in a fifth grade classroom and I really enjoyed it.  Once I got my degree, I started putting in my applications.  I was hoping for a fourth or fifth grade position somewhere.  This is what I really enjoyed while in college.  I got my first job offer....for second grade.  I had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING! haha  I wasn't going to turn down the job, but I was terrified.

I quickly realized that I truly did not know how to teach these kids how to read.  It was much easier said that done!  I knew all of the philosophies and the research.  I had no idea how to apply it.  I felt completely inadequate.   Fortunately I had an amazing principal and curriculum coordinator.  They arranged for me to go see some amazing speakers and educators and helped me to really turn my reading instruction around.  I became inspired and ADDICTED!!  I knew that this is what I wanted to do! I wanted to teach reading.  Now, I am not only in love with teaching my firsties, but I have also my Master's degree in reading and literacy.

Today we are sharing with you some of our favorite books.  This was such a difficult task for me.  I have SO many favorites!! I decided to share with you just one of the many books that I love to read aloud to my students.  The book A Day with No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch is a such a fun picture book.  It is one that every kid can relate to and includes such vivid adjectives!

In this story, Liza loves to color with her crayons but gets into trouble for writing on the wall.  With her crayons taken away, she is left in a world with no color...gray.  Liza begins to discover a world of color around her.  The adjectives in this story are spectacular.  Liza does not describe her colors as purple and pink, but fushia and tickle-me-pink.  This unit will be a great supplement to your read aloud with this book.  It includes a pre-reading activity in which students think about how they would feel if they were no longer allowed to play with their favorite toy.  The post reading activities include a flip book on problem/solution, a class graphing activity of their favorite colors, and a scavenger hunt picture and writing activity.  Students get to brainstorm their own new, creative names for different colors to use in their descriptions of their pictures.  It is truly a fun way to get students to think about adjectives! Be sure to grab it now while it is available for free! 

I do hope that you will stick around by following me on Bloglovin!  I am always looking for new friends to collaborate with! Plus, you don't want to miss out on my upcoming ebook and Adventures in Literacy Land freebie this weekend!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hooo-Ray for the 100th day!

When is your 100th day of school?  With all of our snow days, I don't know if ours will ever get here!  Right now it looks like it will be late February, but I am already planning.  This is one of my favorite days in first grade!

Each year I try to find new activities for the 100th day of school.  Last year we made these adorable 100th day crowns.  It is so much fun for them to see how much they have learned.  You can pick up my freebie for these crowns at my TPT store and read more about it on my blog post from last year.

 This year, I am hoping to try out the 100th day Superhero capes.  I can't wait.  The look so cute!  Have you seen them?  I will post pictures of ours when they are finished.

I am always on the lookout for new ideas so this is the subject of my new freebie linky.  If you have a 100th day blog post or freebie, be sure to link it up in my new linky below!  Just click on the picture.  Maybe you will find lots of great ideas too!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fluency Folders for the Littles

Today you will definitely want to take a trip over to Literacy Land because yours truly is sharing a fun post all about adapting fluency folders for the littles!

I am finding this strategy as one of the most beneficial for my firsties in the "fluency driven world".  It seems that so many assessments are based on fluency these days.  So many administrators expect these fluency assessments to be what drives instruction.  Is fluency important?  DEFINITELY!  But it is also a VERY difficult skill for firsties, when we are still learning basic decoding strategies.  However, I found a way to build fluency and make it beneficial for my kids.  And they actually LIKE doing it!

Want to know my secret?  Head over there now!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winter Spot and Jot

I finally have my Winter Spot and Jot finished and posted!!  Woo hoo!

This activity is similar to the I Spy activities out there, but has a little twist.  I have 4 different fun ways to record your answers!

These activities are great for centers.  I have three sets available to you, each containing 100 words!  They cover the first 300 words on Fry's sight word list.

Plus, if you would prefer to get all three, you can check out the BUNDLE version of it at a discount!

You can click on each of the pictures below to check out each of these fun packs.
Each of these activities are 50% off in my TPT store until tomorrow night at 8:00.  

I hope that your students love these activities as much as mine do!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Number Puzzles

Today I wanted to share with you my number sense puzzles. I created these for my kids to use during math centers.  There are two different types of puzzles to practice putting numbers in order to 100.

The first is simply a 100 piece puzzle that I picked up from the Dollar Tree.  I actually got a few puzzles for this center.  When the puzzle was together, I flipped it over and numbered each piece 1-100 on the back.  The puzzles I got are conveniently 10x10 so it looks just like a 100s chart!  Now, when the students are in math centers they can pull a puzzle and try to complete the puzzle by only looking at the numbers on the back.  When they flip it over, they get to see the completed picture!

The second set of puzzles are hundreds charts that I cut into several different "puzzle" pieces.  The kids have to put the hundreds chart back together in the correct order.  It forces them to think about where the numbers go in relation to each other.

With each of these puzzle centers, it is so interesting to see how my students' minds work.  To see the way they begin with one and work their way across the whole first row of numbers before they realize that they can make connections going down the chart as well. With many students it takes them a long time to get that first puzzle.  But once they get it, the "get it."  They learn to sort through every other puzzle that much faster.  They learn to recognize the patterns within the hundreds chart and the relationship among the numbers.  It is a great learning tool!

How do you like to teach number sense to your students?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Literacy Land

Have you been over to our new blog yet? 

Adventures in Literacy Land

There are 20 of us, all specializing in literacy, ready to share a variety of resources and materials with you!  If you follow us this week and enter your email into our rafflecopter, you will receive an exclusive pack of literacy freebies from us!  You don't want to miss this opportunity.  Materials range K-5 with some middle school grades and bloggers are coming to you with over 200 years combined experience!  Plus, by entering the rafflecopter, you will have the opportunity to win one of FOUR $25 TPT gift cards!

You can also check out our Facebook page here!

By following and entering, you will get the opportunity to receive my exclusive freebie, my phoneme segmentation pack.  This pack is just a small sample of one of my larger packs available in my store

It includes lots of great resources for students to practice phoneme segmenting: push, say, and sort, graphing, and fluency!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Trading Spaces Tuesday

Hi!  It 's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars!
It is another edition of Trading Spaces Tuesday, and I am excited to be hanging out with Jessica, a fellow Virginia blogger, from Hanging Out in First!

Not too long ago, I was reading a book with a funny word in it, and I had to laugh ~ logographic print.  What is that?  It is just a fancy word for environmental print.  Some of the first reading that children do is from the world around them.  I remember the first time my son realized what was around him.  He saw a sign for Hardee's and said "Eat some!"  He was only 18 months old, but he knew that the sign meant it was a place to eat.  Wow!  Children are such sponges.

When my kindergarteners come to me, many of them have not been to preschool nor have they seen words at all.  BUT, they have seen the world around them. How many kids know what the "golden arches" mean?  They all know it means McDonald's, right?!  When we go to Target, they know that the bullseye means Target.  It is amazing how much children know!

Therefore, it is important that we build on our students' knowledge as we get them.  By using logographic print (I love that word!), we can build up students' confidence.  This helps them to feel comfortable with reading as they progress.

So, as I start out my year with my kindergarteners and first graders, I  have created and played two games to help with environmental print.  One is called "Where Shall We Eat?" which focuses on restaurants.  The other is "Shop 'Til You Drop" and focuses on places to shop.  The games include the game boards and cards.  For "Shop 'Til You Drop" you may want to print two copies of the cards or just reuse the cards.

And for stopping by, you can grab it for free.  My students had a lot of fun playing it too!  Just click on the image below to grab your copy!

Thank you, Jessica, for letting me "hang out" with you today!  Em from Curious Firsties is back at my blog today with some fun information on helping students understand they are writers through writing celebrations.

Also, don't forget to head over to Adventures in Literacy Land to meet four of the authors and enter for your prize pack!  You don't want to miss it!

Adventures in Literacy Land