Monday, May 2, 2016

Accountable Independent Readers ( even in Kindergarten and First Grade!)

Yes! I'm still alive, I know it has been way too long. I have been kept busy with the many kiddos at school and my two guys at home!  I wanted to stop by and show how I hold some of the youngest readers accountable during independent reading.
 I have found there are 3 things that must happen to create strong independent readers!
 1. Setting a purpose for your readers is so important, a purpose will help them have a stronger understanding of what they are reading. Newer readers need help setting a purpose.
 In my room our purpose is usually the comprehension skill that we are working on that week. I have small poster hanging up that we refer to before we begin independent reading.

 2. Every reader bust have a specific reading goal. Giving them a specified skill helps each individual student at his/her own level.
 My students goals are posted in an area where they can find them and see them to help hold students accountable. At any time you can ask a student in my room what their reading goal is and the will tell you! When giving students goal make them specific and manageable. A goal won't be "to work on sight words," but specifically naming what sight words they will be working on. I would pick no more than 3-4.
 3) Hold students accountable! It is very hard for students to read independently for over a few minutes. Students need a "job" to help keep them on track.
 Using their specific goals I will assign Word Hunts, these help students find a specific word or spelling pattern in books that they are reading.

 Another way to help students with their goals is to give them opportunities to talk about what they have read.
 Graphic Organizers help them to share their own thoughts about what they have read and a great way to assist their learning.

I hope I have given you a tip to two to help your little readers! How do you help your students become accountable readers?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentine's Day Gifts

With Valentine's Day around the corner my son and I took this weekend to complete some "homemade" gifts and they came out really well! I wanted to share how to make these adorable heart shape crayons!
First, we took some old crayons (I had a new box waiting once we were done).

 Then we got pealing! This part took a bit, long enough that my little helper left me because his  fingers couldn't handle it anymore.
 As a side note if you just painted your nails do not do this project. This was the end result of my new manicure after this step.
 Once you pealed all the paper off your crayons use a knife to chop them up into little bits about 1/2inch long.
 Use a silicone ice cube tray (I found mine from amazon for about $5). Top off the ice cube tray with the crayon pieces and place on a baking tray. Set your oven for 250 degrees and leave the tray in for 15 minutes or until all the crayons are melted.
 Once all the crayons are liquid take them out of the oven and let them sit for an hour or more. You need the wax to be completely solid.
 After an hour passes you can pop the now heart shape crayons out of the tray. They have a really  cool marble look to them!
 I created a little gift tag and mini coloring pages to go with these adorable crayons! You can grab your copy HERE!

Our Kindergarten and First Grade teachers have been working hard to build sight word recognition. I came up with a fun EDITABLE game to help our  learners master their sight words. You can grab your copy by click on the image below.

Hope you have fun celebrating this 'lovely' holiday with your learners.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Letter Fun (with some Freebies!)

I have been pulling a few small groups a day to help our strugling Kinders reach grade level by the end of the year and they loved this letter sorting activity I did with them!
First I made this pocket chart letter sort. I had already placed a few letters in the chart and then we talked about what letters had curves, straight lines and both.

I then made this little anchor chart and put the letters of my name on sticky notes. (Yes, an O is missing and I have no clue where my little ones put it.)  The worked together so well trying to sort the letters out.

 Finally, I gave them their own sort and their own same strip. The Kinders cut the letters out and then sorted them on their own mat.

 They really loved these activities! If you would like a copy of the pocket chart or sorting mat click HERE. What activties do you like to do when helping learners with their letter recognition?