Saturday, November 22, 2014

Copy Cat Qu & X, Flash Giveaway, & a Freebie!

I am so excited to share my newest mini unit and also a fabulous giveaway I have going on until midnight tonight! With Black Friday quickly approaching I thought I would create a little BOGO deal at my Teachers Notebook Shop.  Today until midnight if you buy any item from my shop you will get my Dino Doubles Hunt activity for FREE! This is a fun math hunt that the kids will be sure to love, plus it is a skill every first grade student has to know. Check out my blog post on this freebie unit below.
You can click the link here for the BOGO Teachers Notebook Deal!

I am also so excited to use my new mini unit with my kiddos next week.  My Copy Cat –QU & -X unit pairs perfect with any phonics program and is a common core skill for first grade (R.F 1.3a). This unit goes hand in hand with Pathways to Reading, which I adore and would be great as a center or small group activity.  Here is a little peak at what the unit has to offer.

-2 Skill Posters For –Qu & -X
-Roll & Read Fluency Sentences
-2 Build-It Word Work Centers For –Qu & -X
-Crazy Cats Card Game (Decoding)
You can get all of this for $3.00 at my Teachers Pay Teachers or Teachers NotebookShop.

As promised I also have a freebie for you too! We have been learning about verbs this past week and I created a QR code watch for the kids to take home and reteach the skill to the parents in a fun way.  WARNING ….the kids love this rap song and will beg you to do it over and over again! Here is a link to the rap video that gets the kids moving and teaches the skill of verbs.

Click the watch template below for your free copy.   


Friday, November 7, 2014

Small Group Gatherings

Every year as teachers we are asked to come up with a PD plan for ourselves.  This year we are required to upload ours in a format through NEE.  I decided my biggest need in my classroom was utilizing my small group time to the fullest.  I struggle with this because I never know if what I am doing is “the best”.  I decided to make this my plan and attend Dr. Mary Howard’s conference on small groups and RTI.  This woman is amazing.  I left with wonderful ideas and most important learned that it’s not all about how good something looks.  It really is SIMPLE…the meat and potatoes as she puts it. 
Since her conference I have started adapting one thing (usually small) each week.  Here is a look into what we have been doing during our small group time.  Instead of having a set schedule like I have had in the past I use each time I meet with kids like a pie graph.  I have 15 minutes to meet with each group and the 15 minutes looks something like this.
8 minutes- should be spent reading (a book, nursery rhyme, fluency strips, or any type of text) working on a strategy.
3-4 minutes – Word Work (phonics, decoding words, sight words, etc)
3-4 minutes–Writing or sharing with partners.
(This could be post-it note work, pair/share, etc)

The first pictures are from our fluency strips.  I call this speed read for fluency.  The kids spot vowels with clear stone pebbles and then read the sentence. They read it as many times as they can in a minute and then they switch with a partner.  I put a timer on for 4 minutes.  When it is up it’s up and we move on. Simple Right?

The next one will seem cheesy but it is a quick and easy “spot the vowel” and read it activity.  I usually do this as a 3 minute word warm up. The kids come sit at a spot, use a crayon to color the vowels, say the sound, and read the word. I just use masking tape. 

The next one is a favorite of mine right now because I see how much the kids are using them in their own reading.  I started a strategy bookmark for each kid.  After listening to each child read I realized that having a individualized strategy bookmark for each child was a must.  Sure, the bookmarks with the cute little animals with Stretchy the Snake are nice, but not all those strategies work for each child and giving them a cute bookmark really doesn’t mean anything to them. Having the child write their strategy down and practice with it at every small group meeting does make a difference.  The kids got a blank bookmark and I taught the strategy that I noticed worked best for each student to them.  They made a picture and words to go with it and they love them because they made them.  I plan to add maybe 2 more to the bookmark, but not until I have noticed they have mastered the first one.  I have added my template below if you would like to use it in your own room.


This is nothing fancy, but it is simple and it words. Hey…it’s the meat and potatoes ; )