Thursday, January 19, 2017

CVC Fun and freebies!

In Kindergarten, I spent a lot of time with CVC words. Why? Because they encompass a variety of skills and students are generally successful since they are simple.  We use CVC words to work on beginning sounds, middle sounds, ending sounds, isolating phonemes, segmenting, blending, rhyming, fluency... the possibilities are endless. I wanted to share a few of the activities we do and share a few freebies for you to try out with your kids! Every activity shown is part of my CVC Bundle on TPT and is also listed individually in my store. 

We do this Build, Blend, and Write activity during guided reading.  I usually focus on one medial vowel at a time, then mix them up after they've all been taught.  The kids pick a picture card, spell the word out with letter tiles/magnetic letters/blocks/whatever.  Then they practice isolating the sounds then blending them together. Finally, they write the word on the lines. 

My kids love working with anything new and different. We don't pull stamps out all that often, so they are super exciting every time! Again, I focus on a medial vowel at a time with these CVC Stampers.



These CVC Matching Mats are also great to save for guided reading.  Each kid picks a word or picture card and matches it to the correct word or picture card on the mat.


My kids LOVE using clothespins at a Clip and Flip station and I love that they get in a little fine motor!  I also am a sucker for self-checking stations.  At this station, I either put out picture cards where students read through the words and choose the correct one or word cards where students choose the correct picture.  I put a little sticker on the back to show the correct answer and laminate over the sticker so you can't feel it!

I sometimes struggle to find independent ways for young learners to practice fluency.  Love these CVC Fluency Passages for some independent practice!  We do a different passage for each CVC word family.  The kids read the pyramid passage, adding a word each time.  Lots of opportunity for repeated reading here! They highlight all the word family words (why do kids love highlighters so much?!) Then they write the word family words at the bottom and illustrate.

 These codebreakers are super fun and engaging for the kids!  I either laminate the cards and let them write with dry erase or put letter tiles/magnetic letters in the station to build words.  We do codebreakers a couple different ways.  Sometimes we decode the words using a secret doodle code and sometimes we use beginning sound pictures! Kids spell out the word, and blend the sounds together.  You can make it self checking by write the word on the back of the card.

Spin and Write is another great independent activity.  The kids use a pencil and paperclip to spin a letter, they write the letter in front of a word family and determine whether it's a real or nonsense word.  Nonsense word are apparently hilarious, by the way. At the bottom, they choose 1 real word they made to illustrate. 

 This tablet themed write and wipe is fun and interactive for the kids.  I usually introduce them by medial vowel.  The kids identify the picture, write the words in the boxes using dry erase marker, then they "type" the words using the keyboard image.  I usually write the word on the back to make it self checking, but the boxes also help with that!


I love these Write and Finds but I am such a sucker for word searches.  Did anyone else absolutely love word searches and get super competitive about them as a kid? No?  The kids look at the pictures and write the CVC words. Then, they go up to the word search to find their words! We just use crayons to color the words, but throw a highlighter in the mix and you will be the best.teacher.ever! 

We do TONS of other stuff to work on CVC words.  A couple more favorites are writing them in sand, swapping the sounds to make word letters, and building them with magnetic letters. What are some of your favorite CVC activities?

Everything I showed you above is apart of this CVC Mega Bundle if you're interested.  I hope you enjoy your freebie pages! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scrambled Sentences - A Fan Favorite!

My kids love stations.  I love stations!  Done correctly, stations can be one of the most beneficial (and enjoyable) times of the day.  BUT some people make a case against stations - saying that they are chaotic and they require too much planning time.  The solution?  Consistency!  Choose a few staple stations and use them often throughout the year, just varying the difficulty and theme.  One station my kids LOVE is Scrambled Sentences.  I love them, too, because they are PACKED with great practice. 

My students love completing sentence scrambles of each thematic unit we cover!  This keeps the station fresh and exciting even though they are technically doing the same thing each week.  Students unscramble three sentences by reading the words to decide what makes sense, searching for the first word by the capital letter, and searching for the last word by the punctuation mark!  After they put the sentences in order, they write them on their paper.  Each paper has a self-assessment at the bottom so they can check their writing for a capital letter, a punctuation mark, and finger spaces between words. 

If things start to feel a little monotonous, there are some easy ways to mix it up a little!  You can throw the cards in a theme based sensory bin for students to fish out before unscrambling.

Or you can have students build sentences in a pocket chart - during stations or whole group!  I also like to laminate cards and put a piece of magnetic tape on the back so students can manipulate the words on the board!

There is another Scrambled Sentence option for students to work independently! I like to use these in a writing station or for morning work.  They could even go home as homework!  Students cut the sentence out, unscramble it, write it on the lines, and then they illustrate! The illustration adds a meaning-making piece which is great for students working on comprehension.

Have you ever tried scrambled sentences in your classroom?  What do your students think?

Click the image below to check out the bundle with over 30 themes!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Beginning Writing - Launching Workshop

Writing at the beginning of the year in kindergarten is all about building confidence.  The kids have to see themselves as writers - even when that just means drawing pictures or writing squiggles.  It can feel like a slow start, but it's so important that as we develop these tiny writers, we take our time to build them up step by step. 

I start early in the year by introducing the structure and purpose of our writer's workshop.  Kids learn what and why writers write with an emphasis on the fact that THEY ARE WRITERS!  They learn the structure of our writer's workshop.  Each day, writer's workshop consists of a minilesson, writing time, and sharing time.  During the minilesson, we look closely at a mentor text or writing example to learn a particular strategy.  The teacher models and guides students through practice, then releases them for writing time.  The number one rule of writing time is that students are working the entire time.  The teacher can take this time to do individual or small group writing conferences.  Finally, comes share time, where students share their work with one another and the teacher can highlight some things that went well. 

My writers use writing binders to store their work and to hold reference materials.  They can decorate their own cover, then slip it inside the front of the binder.  Inside the binder, we have charts, posters, and checklists that students can use to aid their writing.  They are placed in plastic sheet protectors to keep them in good shape for the whole year.  In the left pocket of the binder, students will keep works in progress.  When they have finished a piece, it moves over to the right pocket of their binder.  Students can always access these "finished" pieces and add more to them! 

To kick off our writer's workshop, the kids learn the process they will follow for writing in Kindergarten.  I emphasize four steps - think, draw, label, and write.  I leave this anchor chart or a smaller poster up in the room all year long. Also, toward the end of the year, we start working on revising by adding detail to their pictures and words. 

We start the writing process with thinking.  Students brainstorm a list of topics that are of interest to them - things they love and things they know a lot about.  These will serve as inspiration for their stories!  Students learn that before they can write, they have to think of a story.  We practice this with oral storytelling.  Students practice sharing opinions, facts, and narratives out loud to their peers.  They learn the importance of including details in their stories AND learn some crucial speaking and listening skills which are so important to emphasize at the beginning of the year.  The motto we take on for oral storytelling is LOUD AND PROUD! This teaches students that their stories matter! 

After learning to think of and tell a story, students get their first practice of putting their story down on paper - through pictures!  Before I ever ask students to write a story, I teach them to tell their story through drawings. They learn to draw the who, what, when, and where of their stories.  They learn to convey emotion through faces and colors in their drawings. They learn that their drawings represent their thoughts and are just as important as words. 

Here's a chart we make to teach students to put their best effort forward in their drawings.  They learn to color using appropriate colors, in the lines, and to fill up all the white space.  We leave the poster up all year long and remind students often to make three star pictures. 

After students have practiced thinking, telling, and drawing their stories, we start to dabble in writing.  A good place to start is with one word labels.  Students learn that labels help tell their story by telling what something is.  It's a great way to ease into inventive spelling and letter-sound correspondence without overwhelming.  We learn how to stretch out words by saying them slow like a turtle, listening for the sounds, then writing the letters that represent those sounds.  We practice labeling many ways before asking students to label their own drawings.  Remember, students will be at a different place in their writing journey!  Many of your students will be able to point and tell you what their label says, despite it being a squiggle or a random string of letters.  Other students will produce the letter that represents the beginning sound of their word, some will get the beginning and ending sounds.  What's important is that their writing is validated and that you are CONSTANTLY modeling  phonemic spelling and asking for students to engage in phonemic spelling with you! We do a LOT of shared writing outside of workshop time, too. 

Finally, it's time for students to practice crafting sentences.  It is still very early in the year and these beginning writing experiences are introductory - allowing students to view themselves as writers and get their toes wet.  All of these strategies and rules they have learned in these five weeks will be elaborated on throughout the year in their genre writing and reinforced through shared writing experiences and independent practice.  As students are learning about writing sentences in writing, they are also learning to read sentences in reading!  They are learning the difference between letters, words, and sentences among other important concepts of print.  ALWAYS do your best to connect across the curriculum.  When my students are learning to write a sentence, they learn that if they can think it, they can say it, and if they can say it, they can write it.  Writing is NOT a silent time in my classroom.  Students are whispering words, stretching sounds, repeating, and rereading!  This is what writing in action looks and sounds like!  We go through introductory lessons on using the word wall, spacing words with finger spaces, starting with capital letters, ending with punctuation, and there is SO SO SO much modeling.  In the end, students are crafting simple sentences which THEY can read and that match their labeled pictures! 

I cannot emphasize this enough... the most important thing for students to learn at the beginning of the year is that they ARE writers and they have stories worth sharing.  Ignite that fire and you will see tremendous growth throughout the year.  And there is absolutely nothing better, nothing that makes this kindergarten heart smile bigger, than the pride on my little writers' faces when they are sharing their work! 

Everything I talked about in this post is available in my Beginning Writing unit.  It can all be adapted for first grade just by digging a little deeper and stretching a little further.  It's also available in my Writers' Workshop Bundle (which also includes units on opinion, informational, personal narrative, and how-to writing!)  Click the images below to check them out!


Grab the alphabet chart from this set for FREE! Color or b/w!  Print it as is and put in kids' writing binders.  And you can even blow it up using print settings and create a large anchor chart to hang in the room.  Just click the image below to download!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Christmas in July - Freebies, Sale, and a Giveaway!

You guys.  I love Christmas.  Like, I live and breathe Christmas.  YES, I'm one of those people who starts decorating in November and I just might indulge myself in a Christmas movie or 12 in July.  So I'm super excited to be joining with my I Teach K-2 friends to bring you a Christmas in July celebration! :)  Hop around the links at the bottom of this post to grab freebies, shop our sales, and be sure to enter to win one of the awesome raffle prizes! 

I don't know about you, but for me - June is all about relaxation, and July is when I start preparing for the next school year.  I wanted to take some time to share with you some activities and freebies to use in your classroom at the beginning of the year!  

We know that our Kinder kids come to us at the beginning of the year at crazy different places, but I have found that one area in which they all have SOME experience - is colors!  I like to use that to my advantage in those hectic first few weeks of school.  Click here to read about using colors to introduce literacy and fine motor skills!  Click the image below to grab my color red print and go pack for FREE to try in your classroom!  If you and your kiddos love it, you can view the big bundle here

Here are some more freebies to help you get your year started off on the right foot! Click the images to download. 

Let me help you prepare for the year with a sale! My whole store (even yearlong bundles) will be 20% off from July 6-9.  Be sure to grab these items now at a savings to get them prepped for the school year!  

Here are some of my favorite items that will help you start your year well! 

And don't forget to enter the giveaway below for the chance to win some really awesome prizes! I can hear the flair pens and straw tumblers calling from Amazon and Target ;)

Click around below to grab all sorts of K-2 freebies and fun!