Saturday, November 23, 2019

Last Minute Thanksgiving Resources {Including a FREE Directed Drawing}

Happy almost Thanksgiving. :)
I love this time of year.  The holiday season is just getting started. It's not yet December, so my kids aren't too crazy yet. Best of all, some delicious holiday eating is only days away.
To help take advantage of this special time, I thought I'd share a few Thanksgiving themed resources. I'll started with a quick and simple Turkey Directed Drawing.

This directed drawing is a favorite of my students. They always seems so surprised with their directed drawing creations and this turkey is no exception. These directed drawings make an adorable display that students are sure to be proud of.  Plus, this drawing is super simple to teach.
Click here for your FREE copy of my Turkey Directed Drawing.

Another resource I'll be using, during the days leading up to Thanksgiving, is my On Point Leaning Journal for November.  I've used these print-and-go math and literacy activities in a variety of ways over the years (depending on my group of students).  
In the past, I've made my On Point Learning Journal into a booklet that students work on at their own pace (if they've completed all of their work).  This year, I've been using the activities in small groups for review and reinforcement of skills from earlier in the year. Having quick-prep and meaningful, seasonally inspired activities makes planning a snap.
Click here for more details about the On Point Learning Journal for November.

One final Thanksgiving themed resource I'd like share is my Perky Turkey Fact Family Scoot. I actually created this scoot a few years ago.  Originally it was a subtraction scoot.  Well, this year, my students are in need of a little extra practice with fact families.
I tweaked the original Perky Turkey Subtraction Scoot so that my young learners can have a chance to work with fact families.
Students will scoot to each turkey card and write the fact family numbers on their recording sheets.  Then, students will write a fact family with each set of numbers.
My students love scoot and write the room. I know they'll enjoy practicing fact families with this activity.
Click here if you would like a FREE copy of Perky Turkey Fact Family Scoot.

I hope these resources are a help for you in the weeks/days leading up to Thanksgiving.
Thank you for taking time to visit School Is a Happy Place.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Nonstandard Measurement: A FREE Resource

I love teaching nonstandard measurement in my class. There are so, so many hands-on ways to practice this skill. 
I put together a prep once and use multiple ways activity to take advantage of the variety of units students can use for nonstandard measuring.
Rainy Day Nonstandard Measurement is a set of activities that is perfect for springtime.  It features twelve measurement cards and an array of recording sheets that allow students to use different units of measurement.
Pictured below are some of the ways Rainy Day Nonstandard Measurement can be used.  The activities are in no particular order.

First off, students may measure the measurement cards with raindrops.  The raindrops are on the recording sheet.  Students simply cut them apart and line them up to measure each object.

Students can also use cubes for measuring.  Each student will need about ten cubes to complete this version of Rainy Day Nonstandard Measurement.

Next up is measuring with round counters.  (I tried to keep in mind what kind manipulative are generally available in most classrooms).  Students will need about ten counters for this version of the activity.

The final option features a unit of your or your students' choice.  Decide what kind of unit(s) you would like for your students to use.  You can put out a few choices for your students to pick from or you can assign a unit.  Some possible options are pennies (or any other coins), pattern blocks, paperclips, erasers, etc.  Students will write the unit they used near the top of their recording sheets.

For my class I printed the measurement cards four times on different colored paper.  During math small groups, students partnered and shared the cards.  Four sets worked perfectly for my groups.
On a side note, when printing multiple sets of the same activity, I like to print on different colors of paper.  That way, if a card accidentally gets separated from its set, it's easy to return it where it belongs.

It is no problem if you do not have time or resources to print and laminate sets of these cards.  You can always print the cards on copy paper and toss them when finished or let students color their own sets.

I really like this activity because I can prep my materials once and use them (well really) as many times my students need. If you would like your own FREE copy of Rainy Day Nonstandard Measurement, you can click here.

Oh, by the way...I also included a nonstandard measurement assessment in this resource as well. 

I hope you and your students enjoy this activity.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Listen to Reading {Why, How, and a Freebie}

Do your young learners spend time listening to books during the week?  
Not books read by the teacher or another adult (of course that type of listening is going on in class), I mean recorded books.

When I was in school, I absolutely loved when we listened to books on tape.  When I started teaching (back in the stone age), I bought a set of Scholastics listening library books/cassettes almost every month.  Later, Scholastic transitioned to books on cd's and I kept on buying them.  
I have quite a large listening library for my classroom.  But, it took a long time and a lot of money to build this resource.
I feel that listening to a text (read fluently) and tracking the words is a wonderful way to build fluency, accuracy, and comprehension in early readers.  Having access to a large listening library is critical for students to gain the benefits from Listening to Reading.  

As mentioned before, having a decent sized listening library can be really expensive.  However, Epic! has changed the game when it comes to classroom listening libraries.
Epic! offers many books with a Read to Me option.  The books are read aloud and the words are highlighted, so that students my easily track what is being read. 
Oh, I forgot to mention the best part...EPIC! is FREE for classroom use.  

After you sign up for Epic! and set up your class, you will want to consider creating and assigning collections for your students.  By creating a collection, you can customize the books your students will access.  
From my experience, the ability to create collections for your class really helps focus your students' listening time.  Without collections, students could spend way too much time "shopping" for books.

My students really enjoy Listening to Reading on Epic!  It is very user-friendly.  I love the variety of fiction and nonfiction texts that are available.
While I still use my traditional listening library, Epic! has been a great addition to our listening time.  If you are a teacher without a solid listening library, Epic! is a perfect resource for you.

If you are looking for a quick and simple way to hold students accountable for their Listen to Reading time, you may want to snag my FREE Listen to Reading Response sheet.  It can be used with traditional listening libraries and with the read aloud books on Epic! (or any other digital resource).
It's hard to tell, but this printable is actually a half sheet. Click on the picture below for your free copy of my Listen to Reading Response sheet.

FYI, I am in no way affiliated with Epic!  I have just really enjoyed having access to this resource and want to share it.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Happy teaching!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Distinguishing Information from Text & Information from Pictures {Including FREE Resources}

Hi all!
Let me start by saying, you do not have to use Epic! in your class to read this post or use the accompanying resources.
Let me also say, if you are not using Epic! in your classroom, go check it out as soon as possible as soon you finish reading this post.  This online resource has tons of digital books, audio books, read-to-me books, and educational videos.  Best of all, Epic! is FREE for teachers.

I want to share with you the books I picked from Epic! that work perfectly to help students develop the skill of distinguishing between information found in text and information found in pictures.  All of the books are by one of my favorite authors, Gail Gibbons.  Not only does she write very informative and easy to understand informational texts, she also has several books available (for FREE) on Epic!.
Of course, all of these selections are also available in print.  You can click on any of the titles below for a link to each book.  Traditional books work just as well as the digital version for these activities.
The books are:  Apples, Wolves, Sharks, Penguins!, Horses!From Seed to Plant, Whales, and Monarch Butterfly all by Gail Gibbons.

Distinguishing between information found in text and information found in pictures takes time for students to master.  In order to practice this skill, I start by having my students take a picture walk through a given text, for example, Penguins!.  We look closely at all the pictures and I think aloud my  observations of the pictures.  I'm modeling this behavior in hopes that students will begin to thoroughly examine pictures when they are reading a text independently.
After the picture walk, we use the Text Versus Picture sentence sort to identify which sentences tell information that we could glean from looking closely at the pictures. Students will mark the sentences. (I usually have the students just put a dot beside the sentence-for the time being.)

Then, I have the students listen to the text (or read the text, depending on the students' reading abilities).  By the way, all the texts for these printables have a read-to-me option on Epic!.
After students hear/read the text, we go back over the sorting sentences on the printable and discuss if the remaining sentences tell information students had to discover in the text.
Finally, students cut and glue the sentences into the correct boxes.

You can use one or all of these sorts.  I provide a good deal of support with the first few sorts.  Later in the year, as I see fit, I gradually take away some of the scaffolding for students to complete the assignment.  
You really can utilize these sorts however works best for your students. 
If you are interested in using any of these printables with your class, you can click on the box below.

I hope these ideas and resources will be a good jumping off point with your students as they become more attuned to texts, photographs, illustrations, and all sorts of other text features.
Happy Teaching!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Bright Ideas for Teaching Blends {Including FREE Resources}

Over the years, I've learned that teaching students to read is a "squishy" process. There are so many skills students have to grasp in order to read fluently with a high level of comprehension.  One set of skills that benefits most students is having phonemic awareness and a knowledge of phonics.
Knowing letters, their sounds, and how they work together can give students the tools they need to attack many unknown words.  I like teaching phonics.  It is usually pretty easy to tell if a student has it or not.  Phonics is a little less squishy than some other aspects of teaching reading.

I incorporate a variety of activities into our weekly work to practice phonics.  For early readers, I think it is very important to continuously work with and review phonics skills.  One simple way I  accomplish this goal is by using picture/letter cards (or posters) with my class.

In my district, we use Wilson Fundations as our primary language program.  It sets the sequence and scope for the phonics that I teach in class.  Foundations includes a frequent review of letters and their sounds through the Letter-Keyword-Sound activity.
I created this set of cards (and posters) so that my students could review initial and final blends through hearing and saying the letters, the keyword, and sound for each set of blends.
I usually use these cards during our group time on the carpet.  Below is an example of how to use the card for Letter-Keyword-Sound practice.

While I'm teaching the blends, I will go over these cards daily.  After we've moved on from blends, I'll pull these out once or twice a week as a quick and easy review.  
If you do not want to fool with the cards, you can use the posters for your Letter-Keyword-Sound work.

Of course, you can use these cards and posters for display or anyway you would like.
For your FREE set of blends cards and posters, click here or on any of the pictures above.

Other ways my students work with blends include...





These type of exercises are a great way for students to work independently with blends.
If you are interested in any of these print-and-go resources, they are part of my Words at Work packets, available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click here for more details.


In addition to the card review and the printable practice, I also incorporate blend work into literacy centers.  I love math and literacy centers for spiral review throughout the year.  Literacy centers give students yet another opportunity to explicitly work with initial and final blends.  
Pictured below are two FREE literacy centers that focus on initial blends.  Click on either picture for a FREE copy of that center.



Students generally catch onto initial and final blends fairly easy.  Giving them ongoing practice with these skills helps ensure that your young learners will not forget these letter sounds and how to use them when decoding words.
I hope some of these ideas will be useful to you in your classroom.
Thanks so much for stopping by.