Monday, July 30, 2012

Roll and Read Fluency Phrases

Hey friends! Two weeks til we head back to school! My room is all set up {thanks to teaching a reading camp last week with our reading coach!} and now comes the fun!! Now that the furniture is in place, I am blog stalking and creating cuteness for my room! :) Pics to come!

One of the things on my Summer Bucket List was to organize my small group lessons and materials. I purged a lot of games I purchased in my earlier years of teaching because of all the awesomeness you guys create!!! I found I wasn't reaching for those anymore because y'all were creating better and cuter things! 

After moving to first grade from Kinder two years ago, I began to focus more on fluency with my firsties. One thing I like to use in my small groups is Fluency Phrases. Fluency phrases are 3 word phrases that combine sight words and cvc words. These phrases help students develop and practice fluency. We always warm up our fluency fingers {our pointer finger} by waving it around like we just don't care and shaking it in the ayer, a ayer, ayer!!! :) I use these to warm up at the beginning of our group, or to close our group if we have a few extra minutes! I love these because all you need is a die and the paper. Easy peasy! :)

Click {here} to check out my newest TpT unit, Roll and Read Fluency Phrases {Short Vowels}. I am working on the Long Vowel version! :)

I will email this activity to five peeps on Wednesday, August 1. Just comment below to enter! :)

Have a fun in the sun summer week! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Daily Five Book Study ~ Chapter 5

Hi friends! Thanks so much for stopping by to join in the fun of The Daily Five book study, started by Mel {Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations} and Nicole {Teaching with Style}! 
Be sure to stop by their blogs to catch up with Chapters 1 and 2 and more!

I am HUGE fan of the Daily Five and have spread the love for D5 around my school and my district. I hope everyone loves D5 just as much as I do! It is THE single best thing I have implemented into my reading block in the past 7 years!!!

Let's dig into the next chapter...Chapter 5 is all about Read to Someone and Listen to Reading. 

Read to Someone is just what you think it is...reading to someone. Some of us old school peeps might call it buddy reading. One and the same!!! Read to Someone is so important because it:
*models fluency
*reinforces comprehension

Chapter 5 talks about to launch Read to Someone in your classroom and how to model how the students sit together 
{EEKK: Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee} Someone out their in blog world came up with this presh poem: LOVE!

We actually Read to Someone twice a day! The first time is during Phonics...I work with half of the class on the carpet with an Explicit Phonics lesson and the other half does Read to Someone with decodeable books on their level and then we switch! So every day, every child Reads to Someone!

The second time my firsties Read to Someone is as a choice during The Daily Five. The kiddos are really good with it...they take it so seriously!!! In my room, only 2 friends can Read to Someone at a time. This really keeps the noise level down as other friends are Reading to Self or Working on Writing. This equates to about 6 friends Reading to Someone every day, so by the end of the week, everyone has gotten to Read to Someone as their choice at least once. 

My kiddos are free to read big books {a firstie favorite!}, poetry, class made books, or our read aloud books on display. The boys usually like to lay on the rug, while the girls like to sit together on my Queen of the Jungle director presh! 

Listen to Reading is another VERY popular choice during the Daily Five! Listen to Reading is an important component of D5 because as children listen to others read they are modeling fluency, as well as being to focus more on comprehension, instead of struggling to sound out words. 

The possibilities for Listen to Reading are endless!

I have 2 individual CD players {I got mine for $20.99 each from Best Buy}

I use CD's and books from Scholastic flyers. I started collecting these during my Student Teaching and have several titles. These are so easy to share across your grade level. 

You can also use iPods! We have 4 to share in our grade level, so we each have one to use. The kiddos think are SO BIG when they use the iPod. I plan to upload all of the Scholastic CD's onto iTunes.

The computers in our classroom are also part of Listen to Reading. My kids use Raz-Kids on the computer and I LOVE it. I set their reading levels and they read books on their level and take a comprehension quiz. Click {HERE} for a free 7 day trial of Raz-Kids. 

Be sure to check out my Daily Five posters and anchor charts. As I introduce each section of the Daily Five, I love to have each student fill in their own anchor chart! I think this helps reinforce the concept, as well as gives the parents something to look at so they can better understand the Daily Five!
  Click {here} to download from TpT for free!

Head over to check out Melissa's post about Chapter 5 on Dilly Dabbles for grades K-3 AND Mechelle's post about Chapter 5 on Barrow's Hodgepodge for 2nd grade!

Now it's time for a PARTY!!!! Join in a linky party to share your thoughts on Chapter 5! PLEASE be sure to link DIRECTLY to your post about Chapter 5! Thanks so much! :)  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blog Birthday Bash Giveaway Winners :)

Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments!!! Congratulations to the winners below! Check your email :)

I will be back tomorrow with Chapter 5 in the Daily Five Book Study! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Guest blogger ~ Vera

Hi! First, I'd like to wish a very Happy Blog Birthday to Kelli!
I am beyond excited to be a guest blogger today!  I am super new to the world of blogging and I am learning as I go.  This is my very first guest blog post so please excuse any awkwardness!

A little about myself:
I started teaching six years ago at a little red school in Austin, Texas.  I have taught Kinder for 5 years and I taught first grade for one year.  About three years ago, my school became a dual language campus.  Students at my school learn both English and Spanish.  It's pretty amazing and has been a wonderful experience.
A little over a year ago, I met my boyfriend Mr. Roboto.  He is an engineer and loves anything that deals with robots!  In January, he found a new job that relocated him to Boston, Massachusetts.  And although my family and friends are here in Texas, I will be joining him at the end of July!

We found a beautiful place in Rhode Island and I found a job teaching Kinder in Bedford, MA.

So I started a blog a little over a month ago. I thought it would be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends.  Also blog would help me process my thoughts and practices as an educator.

Like many of you, I am ADDICTED to Pinterest.  It's helped me learn great ideas, find adorable crafts, make delicious treats, and become better organized.  You can follow me by clicking here.  One way I've become better organized is by revamping my behavior calendars.  Previously, parents would check and sign students behavior calendars to see what kind of day their child had at school.  But I felt like something was missing.  Although parents knew what a green, red or blue day meant, I felt the specific details of the day were a big unknown.  So, after hours of blog stalking and Pinteresting (it's totally a verb!) I accumulated tons of ideas and came up with this:

The codes at the bottom provide an opportunity for teachers to let parents know specifics about their child's behavior.  I know that there aren't any codes for positive behaviors.  I typically send something home for positive behaviors (card, reward, etc.) and didn't think a code was necessary.
In celebration of my very first guest blog post, I will send you your very own set of behavior calendars for the new school year.  All you have to do is click my button below, become one of my fabulous followers, and leave a comment with your email address under today's post and it's all yours.  The first 5 to comment will get a little extra surprise!

This has been a fantastic experience.  Thank you Kelli for an opportunity to share!  I had a lot of fun!
Wish me luck on my BLT adventure!

Bedford, Love, and Teaching

Wow! LOVE the freebie behavior calendars...such a time saver! Thank you for sharing with us, Vera! Good luck with your move! :)

I'll be back next week with Chapter 5 in the Daily Five book study and the next part in the Let's Get Organized series: Daily Five materials! 

Enjoy your weekend! :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guest blogger ~ Jennifer

  Happy 1st Birthday Castles and Crayons!
Hello! I'm Jennifer from Herding Kats In Kindergarten. I'm thrilled to be guest blogging for Kelli today!

One of the things that I think is really important in kindergarten, is setting my kiddos up to see themselves as readers. Most of my students don't attend pre-k, so getting them to be readers is a long road! Of course we want to motivate them and give them small successes right from the start, so I've come up with a fun little book of Environmental Print. All of the images are common places or things that the children recognize, so they can "read" it right away! Once they begin to make that connection between print and speech, we start talking about how we represent different speech sounds with letters.

I plan to print and bind this as a book for our reading center, but I'm also going to cut up a copy and make an Environmental Print word wall that can be on display in the first few weeks of school - so I get two uses out of one file! Just click on the picture to download it for free!

Since I just finished a year teaching first grade, I'm kind of anxious about going back to kindergarten this year, even though it's my comfort zone. I keep imagining the first few weeks, thinking of routines that need to be explained, curriculum that needs to be taught, but most importantly, how am I going to make this a fun year? I think kindergarten is a vital year - if a child isn't engaged and doesn't come to see himself as a learner/reader/explorer then it will have a long lasting negative impact. So while I have to make sure I get that curriculum taught, I am determined to teach it in the most engaging way possible!

Thus, at a recent marriage retreat when my husband and I were told to write things that were important to us on river rocks with paint markers, my brain started going crazy! Forget marriage, let's talk kindergarten! We can write letters, numbers, cvc words and sight words! I immediately jotted "rocks and paint markers" on my perpetual Hobby Lobby list. The paint markers are so much fun to work with - I only used silver and gold this time, but I already have more colors on my horizon!  Here's a picture of some of my rocks:

 How fun would it be to practice word families with these rocks? I love that I had two colors so that I could differentiate between vowels and consonants!

 Here are the markers I used, as well as some sight word rocks. I imagine any brand of paint marker would do though.

Can you see the possibilities? I'm thinking these would be great for a Pirate theme - put them in a little wooden treasure chest and it'd be like pirate's gold! Alternatively, give each student a pretty drawstring bag and let them "keep" the letters/words that they know. Who wouldn't want a bag full of rocks to play with?!

I hope you enjoyed this little post from me, and I want to give a big thanks to Kelli for letting me come over today! I'd love it if you all stopped by my blog to say hi!

SO cute! I love the enviromental print book, Jennifer! Would be great for the beginning of first grade too! :) Be sure to check out Jennifer's blog!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guest blogger ~ Lori

Happy 1st Blog Birthday to Castles and Crayons!

I have loved this blog since I started blog stalking almost a year ago. Kelli is very talented and I have tons of her products. I am so happy to be here as a guest blogger to help celebrate this momentous occasion. 

My name is Lori and I am the author of Teaching with Love and Laughter. This is me:

And, this is my blog:

I teach primary writing, science, and social studies. Since I teach writing and I love to talk about teaching writing, I thought I’d share part of my writer’s workshop procedure. I’m sure all of us who do writer’s workshop have a sharing time at the close of every writing session. Young children love to share their pieces, and they should read them to as many other writers as possible. Conferences and sharing provide the response mechanisms young writers need. When they hear their writing and get a positive response (a compliment or a comment) they are encouraged to write again. My sharing time is called Author’s Chair. I usually have about three writers share their piece each day. If I have more than three, the children usually get restless and stop listening. I keep track of who shares on a checklist so my students know that they will all get a turn. Not all children are comfortable sharing, so if they are not ready to read in front of their classmates, I do not call on them until they are confident enough to share. Once they see that Author’s Chair is safe, most children are happy to participate.

When a writer has finished sharing, it is time to give some compliments. I spend quality time teaching my students what a compliment is and why and how we give them. I even put the word on the word wall. Not my main word wall, but my Writer’s Workshop vocabulary word wall. I teach my writers right away that simply saying, “I liked it” or “Your pictures are nice” will not suffice. I model for my students what a proper compliment sounds like. Using the words, “Your reader”, helps my writers realize that their first responsibility is to their reader. Once I model some quality compliments, I place a small sticker on their writing at the very spot I complimented the author.

“Your readers will like how you used finger spaces.”
“Your readers will love the part where you used alliteration.”

Typical first reactions from my students tend to be general and not reflect listener engagement with the piece.

“It was good.”
“That was good writing.”
“That’s a pretty picture.”

This is when I ask the responders to pick out exactly what they liked, using the word specific. Once my students start to give specific compliments, I write it on my clipboard, along with the responder’s name. This way, they know that their response was quality. I actually compliment the children who give a good compliment! Then, I make a class chart of these compliments for all to see. My main goal here is to achieve specificity of compliments. The chart reminds my writers to add the things being complimented to their writing. Writers see how techniques they hear used and complimented might apply to their own writing. 

I use a pocket chart for my compliment examples. Of course, writing them on chart paper is a great idea, too. I call my chart Quality Compliments. If you would like to make a Quality Compliments chart, as well, you can find my signs over at my blog.

As a matter of fact, here’s where you can really help me out! You see, I would love some new followers because I am looking forward to planning a 1,000 follower giveaway. It will be a HUGE celebration! I’m not there yet, but it is my goal to get there before the new school year begins so I can help make several teachers incredibly jubilant with tons of prizes. So, if you would PLEASE follow me, I will send you the Quality Compliments signs for free. 

All you need to do is:
  1. Click my blog button
  2. Follow my blog.
  3. Leave me a comment in my latest post about Kelli’s incredible blog, saying that this is where you found me.
  4. Make sure to leave your email address in the comment and I will email you the signs.

If you are already a follower, I appreciate you, very much, too! If you would like the signs, please leave your email address, in a comment, as well.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Kelli, once again, for allowing me to be a guest on her blog and wish her blog a very Happy Birthday! I hope you have enjoyed my post about Author’s Chair, and, I hope I have inspired you to include this process in your daily writer’s workshop. I look forward to seeing you all at my blog!

LOVE the Quality Compliments idea for the Author's Chair! Thank you so much for your sweet words and awesome post, Lori! :)  
Tomorrow is the last day to enter Castles and Crayons 1st blog birthday giveaway! Click {HERE} to enter! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest blogger ~ Kristi and Crystal

Hi there! This is Kristi and Crystal from Teaching Little Miracles.
What are some things you do everyday in your classroom? Is there something you do daily that takes time that you would like to simplify? Well, we recently came up with a little something that will hopefully help us out and thought maybe it could help some of you as well.
At some point in the morning before our students arrive, we both take the time to write on the board...something like this:
Carrie's Font © Clip Art By Carrie
We know writing on the board is not that difficult, but it does take a few minutes and seems a bit monotonous after 100+ days of school (maybe sooner)! The reason we continue to write is because some of the items on the list change. For example, we give homework on Mondays (Phonics), Tuesdays (Math), and Thursdays (Math or Spelling) so item numbers 1 and 2 change depending on the day of the week. Number 3 changes also. In fact, we don't really write "morning work" instead it could be MB p. 127 (math box), SP100 (spelling), or FTS Week 3, Monday (Fix the Sentence*). Items 4 and 5 are the same every day. Work Folder is where students keep all unfinished work or where we put things that need corrected - see below for our new idea on those. Choices are what students are allowed to do if they finish work early - read a book, computer games (that go along with our curriculum), practice spelling words, number scroll, flash cards, and Wild River (phonemic awareness activity).
**Fix the Sentence is actually the Correct the Sentence! daily journals. We started using these last year and LOVE them! A little tough at the beginning of the year for our firsties, but they get there by the end and we pass them up to second grade.
Last week, we found this on Pinterest:
And you probably know what came next...
"Why didn't we think of that?!?!?"
So...we got busy and made our own posters. Here's the plan. We will print these and laminate them. Then put magnets on the back and put them on our whiteboards at the front of the room. We even made them so we could simply fill in page numbers and number of errors for our FTS books. Our choices are represented by pictures that we plan to use as seperate magnets. Sometimes we want to limit their choices so we will just put specific choices on the choices poster for that day. We're so excited about this we thought we'd share them with you too! Click here to grab them!
Morning Routine FREEBIE - 17 pages total
On to what we hope will be another great Pinterest find...
In the past, we have kept the Work Folders in one central location. Students did great quietly waiting their turn to get their folders or put the folders away, but it does take some time out of our day. We are super excited to give this a try! It seems like it would be so much easier for students to access and we won't be flipping through folders looking for the one we need for corrections. We're a little nervous about how these will hold up so we'll just have to see...
Thanks to Kelli for having us!
We hope you'll come visit us on our blog soon!
Kristi and Crystal

*Thank you so much Kristi and Crystal! 
LOVE the work folder idea! :) Only one more to day to enter my 1st Blog Birthday {HERE} for more info! :)

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