Friday, August 7, 2015

Concepts of Print

Are you back to school yet?  The schools in my area returned last week.  As you get settled into your routine and start shifting into the academics, prepare for the painful reminder that most of your kids have no idea how to read -- like no clue at all where to even begin!  Remember those kids you waved off in May or June -- those BIG kid READERS AND WRITERS?  Well, you gotta start somewhere.  

So today I'm going to share a couple ideas for going back to the basics with Print Concepts! 


When your sweet little kinders happily prance into the classroom on Day 1, half of them won't know how to handle a book, let alone read one.  It is my suggestion that, after some assessment to see where they are in the process, you do majority of your Print Concepts teaching and learning in small groups so you can truly focus in on individuals and you're teaching what THEY need to know -- not more, not less. 


I like to use posters and lots of modeling to teach the concepts. Posters are a great way to introduce an idea because of the visual component.  Then, they are always accessible and visible for kids to refer back to as needed.  

Concepts of Print is a pretty big undertaking -- so I like to break it down into three main focuses 

*Parts of a Book/Book Handling
*Reading Behaviors (Tracking Print, Return Sweep, Pictures Vs. Print)
and *Conventions of Text (Capital letters, Punctuation, Word/Sentence Study)

Teaching the Parts of a book obviously requires a lot of modeling and a lot of repetition.  I suggest getting their hands on real books as well as taking this time to introduce small paper books, like the ones you might have them reading each day in Guided Reading.  Confession: I LOVE take-home emergent readers.  LOVE LOVE PUFFY HEART LOVE. 

I don't have a picture of what I actually use, so you will have to settle for the digital version.  I use a pre-labeled teacher modeling book and an emergent reader as well as some cute little prompt cards.  The card might say "Show me the front cover of your book" and students would point to the front cover.  The next prompt card might say "Highlight the page numbers in your book" and they can DO THAT in these little paper readers -- because they are THEIRS! Then they can take them HOME and tell their grandma all about it! ;) 


When teaching Reading Behaviors you really learn where your kiddos are as readers.  Some of them will know where to start reading, and some of them won't even know that we read words!  Here are a few activities I love for teaching students to track print one-to-one and to practice that good old return sweep




I also like to give students a variety of maniuplatives to use when tracking print.  Fingers are great (hey, they always have them!) but sometimes you have to up the ante to up the engagement and motivation! 


Love these little Magic Wands (10 for $3 at Target in the Party Favors Section!)

When it comes to teaching Conventions of Print, I really like to hone in on the difference between letters, words, and sentences.  Students need to know that letters are the building blocks of words and that words are the building blocks of sentences! 





We do a lot of highlighting, underlining, and counting in our Emergent Readers (again, they're paper, and they belong to the kids so they are free to mark them up!) 

One tool I LOVE to use to teach Reading Behaviors AND Conventions of Print is the Morning Message. 

Reasons:
1. You can model Concepts of Print while you read it aloud. 
2. You can manipulate it as you go. 
3. Students can share the pen to show their understanding. 


We mark ours all up!  I start out by reading the message aloud, using a pointer or my finger to point to each word as I read it.  I read it aloud by myself once, I invite the kids to read it with me (still tracking print) the second time, then we dive into it!  We circle capital letters in one color and punctuation end marks in another.  We use a dot under each word to count them.  We underline each sentence to count them. We pull out a focus word and count the letters and recognize the first and last letters.  It's the PERFECT tool for pulling everything together! I like to do Morning Message whole group as it is something that we can truly complete TOGETHER. 

And of course, after teaching a lesson, modeling the skill, and working together with the kids on it, I like to release them to work on it independently.  Sometimes this just means sending them off to "read" in their book baskets, sometimes it means completing a printable and sometimes it means working on the same activities we did together during their station time. 



I absolutely LOVE teaching Kindergarten students to read.  If you're like me, then your favorite part of Kindergarten is looking at those sweet babes at the end of the year knowing EXACTLY where they started.  They make such a huge transformation over the course of the year.  They leave as readers and they start RIGHT HERE! 

All the activities and printables you saw in this post are available in my TPT store.  Just click them image below to check it out! Happy Reading! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Giveaway and a Sale

Can you believe it's already that time of year?! BACK TO SCHOOL! I'm staying home another year with my baby as she recovers from her heart transplant and we transition back into "normal" life, but I have plans to get my masters, blog, and spend the year preparing for my return to the classroom! 

One must-have for the modern classroom is a tablet.  There's just so much you can do on them and the kids LOVE them!  I'm teaming up with my friends at iTeach Kindergarten to give away and iPad Air 2 with a cute little case, a stylus, AND an iTunes giftcard!  Click the image below to head on over to iTeach Kinder and enter to win! 


Oh and have you heard?  There is a big Back to School sale going on at TPT on Monday and Tuesday.  I will have my ENTIRE store at 28% off with the Promo Code 


I've been a BUSY BEE cranking out units to get you ready for the school year!  Now is the PERFECT time to grab those resources that can span the course of the entire school year! Click through the images to see some of my new and year-long resources! 














Happy Back to School, y'all! 


Friday, July 31, 2015

a VERY happy birthday & a birthday FREEBIE!

If you've been following my blog for a while, then you know that a year ago today, I gave birth to the most amazing little girl -- an amazing little girl who was born with half a heart.  Since that day, that sweet girl has had 3 open heart surgeries, one closed heart surgery, two ECMO cannulations (complete life support), a terrible run of endocarditis (infection of the heart), 6 cardiac arrests, 270+ days in the hospital, and *drumroll please* a heart transplant!  She received her hero heart May 7th and has been doing well.  She finally put on some weight and is hitting milestones like crazy. Her biggest milestone yet is today as we celebrate her FIRST BIRTHDAY.  I can't believe my sweet girl is one.  It has been a crazy year and we are so very grateful to the amazing family who shared their sweet angel's heart with us. 






To celebrate Sawyer and all of my readers who have loved, supported, and prayed for her throughout this journey, I whipped up a fun freebie for you!


I did the super awful, terrible job (HA!) of scoping out Target and Dollar Tree for some fun and inexpensive birthday gifts to give to your littles on their big day.  Then I whipped up these printer friendly tags to go along with them. 


Crazy Straws are $1 for a pack of 6 at Dollar Tree!


Glow Sticks are $1 for a pack of 8 at Dollar Tree!


This Scentos Play Dough is $5 for a pack of 10 at Target! 


These "magic" wands are $3 for a Pack of 10 at Target  They are great for your Read to Self Station, too!


Bouncy Balls are $3 for a pack of 12 at Target.  Who doesn't love bouncy balls?


These cute little handheld mazes are $5 for a pack of 18 at Target! 

Pick your favorite treat, buy a class set, plus some extra for kids who will move in mid-year, print your tags and VOILA. 

ORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.... Do what I do and make yourself a Birthday GRAB BAG!  Buy ALL the fun goodies, throw them in a cute Birthday Bag, and let the kids pick their poison! 



I made a generic tag in case you want to do that! Otherwise, you could have all the tags printed and give them the right one when they pick their gift! 

Grab your  freebie tags below and thanks for helping me celebrate my Sweet Sawyer's First BIRTHDAY!