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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Word Play Books, Puppy Advice, and Word Work

Happy Wednesday. The weeks are flying by and it is MARCH.  First off, there is a little bit of excitement in our household.  Our new puppy was born this past weekend.  That means the countdown is on until when we actually get him.  We will be bringing him home near the end of April. It's been about 17 years since I've done the puppy thing and that was before the Hubs was around. He has never had a puppy and is not going to know what hit him.  I know what is going to hit me and am bracing myself for it! My favorite shoes...gone, baseboards chewed, and if he's gone missing, FIND HIM!  But more about the puppy later.

This week I thought I would share some books with you that are near and dear to me.  I love to collect books that include some kind of word work within them.  Let me explain to you what I mean!

1.  There's an Ant in Anthony by Bernard Most-  Do you know this book?  This is my favorite book to use when teaching your students the reading strategy of finding little words inside big words.  All of the print is written in black but every time the word ant appears within a word, it is printed in red. This lends itself quite well to brainstorming a list of words with ant in it.  But be sure to have your red and black markers in your hand when doing so!

2.  Well Bernard Most must have thought he was on to something good here. Thirteen years later came another book with a similar format called Can You Find IT?  And you guessed it (no pun intended), the hidden word is it this time but it's not color highlighted.  This sure is a great follow up to Anthony as this is a skill that emergent readers work on all year long.  This I believe is out of print but you can pick up a copy online that is used perhaps. Mine actually came from Half Price Books many moons ago!  It's definitely worth the search. 

3.  Cock-a-Doodle-Moo by Bernard Most is also a fun one that is different from the previous two titles. Here a rooster is having a difficult time waking up all the animals and so the cow decides to help.  Only the Cock-a-Doodle-Doo doesn't quite come out right. All the animals are snoring too in this story so you will see zzzzzz's all over the place.  

4. The next title on the list is Word Wizard by Cathryn Falwell and it is still in print.  In this book, a little girl is looking at her cereal letters in her bowl, which rearrange to make new words.  What fun you could have with some Alphabits cereal!

5.  The Alphabet Keeper by Mary Murphy- Another fun one. The alphabet keeper keeps letters in a cage but the letters get out and swirl around making all kinds of new words.  

These books are all a great way to incorporate a little word work into your day, while teaching your students that little words make up big words.  Word Work was a part of my classroom routine often when I was a homeroom teacher.  And it still finds it's way into my Intervention Room too.  I have recently started updating my word work products in my store. They are now available in a Growing Package and are super engaging and useful for students in K-3.  I've used this activity with every grade level in between and you can't go wrong.  Take a closer look at this product because you can get it at a very low price right now.  I will be adding April in the next few weeks so the price will go up each time a new month is added.  Next week I will be blogging about how I use this product with my groups so stop back for more information!

OK....now back to the puppy!  I thought it would be fun to offer some puppy advice to the hubs since this will be his first time having a puppy.  Please humor me and offer him one of your wisest tips in the comments below.

And finally, check out some great alphabet and/or word work ideas and products from my TPT teacher author friends.  And teacher author friends can offer puppy advice for the hubs as well.  

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Now I Know My ABC's

As a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, I always found it helpful to have a ton of alphabet books on hand. Alphabet books are often appealing to students who are non-readers as they are often wordless.  They were always a great way to get students to learn their letters and corresponding sounds even when I wasn't directly instructing them. Many of these books incorporate letter sounds too, while others incorporate the alphabet into a story of sorts.  I decided today I would share some of my favorites with you. Perhaps some of your favorites will be on the list.  And wouldn't it be great if you learned about a new one right here?  They are not ranked in any particular order...just know that I like them all a lot.

  • The Handmade Alphabet- Laura Rankin- Includes sign language
  • I Spy- Lucie Micklethwait- Includes famous artwork
  • A Fishy Alphabet Story- Joanne and David Wylie- Always inspires a fishy art project to display in the room.
  • ABC POP- Rachel Isadora- Includes Pop Art Style Art Work
  • A Helpful Alphabet of Friendly Objects- David Updike
  • Arlene Alda's  ABC: What Do You See?- Arlene Alda- Love the photographs
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom- Bill Martin Jr.- The colors are so familar and loved by all.
  • Matthew A.B.C- Peter Catalanoto- Imagine 25 students named Matthew in your classroom.
Some of these books are not in print anymore but most are still available by some means when you search on Amazon. You can certainly take a closer look there. Do you have a favorite that didn't make the list? I'd love to hear from you below so comment with your favorite ABC title and email address. One lucky winner will win one of my alphabet products listed below from my TPT store.

I've also included a few great products below that specifically teach the alphabet and letter recognition, letter fluency, letter sounds, letter sound fluency, and letter sequence for your emerging readers.  They are truly products that I have used not only in the classroom but in my intervention office.  My students L-O-V-E these products and they are requested again and again with my kindergartners and firsties. Some are commercially available at your Teacher Education Store or Amazon, while others are available on Teachers Pay Teachers in my store.

My latest obsession for my little ones is using alphabet dot to dot pages. You can get individual copies online by just googling alphabet/letter dot to dot pages, many of which are free. You can also order some dot to dot books online and simply tear pages out for your students to use. Often times, you can pick some up at the store but I like ones that use lowercase letters too since the majority of letters students read are lowercase, and they are typically the letters learned last developmentally.

"Five in a Row" is another great activity that I have in my TPT store. I've refined it over the years but it is also loved by my students and a great one to stick in your Sub Folder for those days when you might be absent unexpectedly.  This comes in a letter recognition version and a letter sound version and depending on your students, you will find them both helpful based on their levels. Included you will find a draw deck of cards (or more than one) and your game boards.  Your students try to mark off or highlight five spaces in a row, while learning their letters, matching letters (same cases or opposite cases), and their letter sounds.  

                                                       Letter Recognition Five in a Row

We all know how important fluency among various skills is in reading success. I'm not talking about reading with speed here. I'm referring to fluency with letters and letter sounds. The quick recall allows our students to focus on the more advanced skills that are necessary to become a good reader.  DIBELS and Aimsweb (for good or bad) have given us the ability to see how "fluent" our students are quickly and easily in the area of letter recognition and sound recognition. My next product allows the opportunity to work directly on this fluency piece throughout the year but in a game format that is fun for students. Included you will find my "Spin and Say Boards" that are bundled for the whole year.  Also included are corresponding spinners.  Your little people spin the spinner, find the corresponding row on the board, and go to town saying the letters or sounds as quickly as possible. I simply copy these so I have enough for my small intervention group so each student has a set.  Just add a paperclip and pencil and your students are ready to spin.  SO MUCH FUN!

I can't imagine that if you teach little people that you haven't seen this game yet.  There are a bazillion versions of "Pop" available so I must include the letter version here.  This little box of popcorn will get used again and again. Your students will request this over and over as well. If you do not know this activity, you can thank me later.  But seriously run to your favorite catalog or teacher store NOW! You may get tired of Pop but your students will not!  And beware of the popcorn that says "pop" because all pieces of popcorn will get returned to the draw pile! 

And finally, you know that some of my favorite TPT teacher authors will have some great products for you that are just perfect for teaching those learning their letters and sounds.  So check out the linky below and you will find everything you need to add some more tools to your toolbox.  I wouldn't want you to be bored now would I?  ;)  

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chapter Books, Puppy, Wednesday Linky, and Win a $10 TPT Gift Card!

OMG!  I have so much news for you this week. How action packed has it been?  Valentine's Day has gone by but today I'm expecting the sugar buzz will not have worn off yet.  :(  Many of my students had parties and festivities yesterday so I had a few breaks during my intervention schedule.  But I managed to whip up a little Valentine Treat for them.  I bought adorable Valentine "Crazy Straws" at my Dollar Tree.  That store just opened near by and I happen to think it's my favorite dollar store EVER!  The straws came in a pack of 8 for just $1 so this was really reasonable. They looked a little uninviting so I decided to create a little card to slip them into and they came out really cute I think. My plan is to post them in my store as a FREEBIE, so be sure to stop back this weekend to get a copy for your file.  Meanwhile, they were a total hit with my kiddos but so many of them slipped it right into their mouths which didn't sit well with my germophobic self and all the sickness going around our building!  Take a peek and see what you think!

So here is the other HUGE news.  We just put a deposit down on a new Westie puppy.  Our house has been so lonely since we lost Izzy this past September. The plan was to survive the winter without him and get a new pup in Spring so I could have the summer to train him.  This litter will be born in approximately 3 weeks and then will come home with us about 10 weeks later.  Izzy was mine before I got married.  The Hubs is not going to know what hit him. He definitely doesn't realize what spirited puppies Westies are so we are definitely going to have to have a "play book".  Regardless, our house has been so quiet and sad without Izzy so I am looking forward to a new little fur-ball this spring. Stay tuned as there will be lots of pictures!

One more tidbit for the week.  And this is also big news.  My second grade intervention students are now reading CHAPTER BOOKS!  They are really reading about a half year behind and we are focusing on fluency and comprehension.  So I backed them up just a bit as I didn't want them to miss some of those amazing chapter books.  We ventured into book bucket 17 and found FOX AND HIS FRIENDS by Edward Marshall. It's so funny how a book divided into chapters can be such a milestone marker for Early and Emerging Readers.  So Fox, Minnie and Moo, Young Cam Jansen, and more will all be making their debut very soon in intervention.  What are some of your favorites?

Oh...and back the puppy for a second.  We are looking for name suggestions.  Please leave a suggestion for a name for our upcoming little Westie and your email address.  One random person will win a $10 TPT gift card for commenting on my blog with a name suggestion that I love!  

So that's all I have for this Wednesday morning!  Except for one more incredibly link up below. So check out the links from my fellow TPT authors below.  You just may find something that you have to have!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

TPT Sale!!! Save $$$ and my #1 Best Seller

Happy Hump Day! I can't believe it's February. There is good news and bad news today.  The bad news is that I am sick.....AGAIN.  I'm finding I do not get over things as quickly as I once did. What used to last 2 days now lasts 5.  UGH.  Kids have been absent....close to 10% of our student body was out this week.  And they are coming to school sick and getting sent home. Now the silver lining.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having their big sale this week. It ends tonight at midnight. You can STILL get things on your wishlist for up to 28% off right now.  DO NOT FORGET TO USE THE CODE Lovetpt at check out.  (I have done so and it's pretty annoying!)

So I thought I would share my BEST SELLER with you today.  Take a peek!

Out of close to 175 products in my store, this is the best seller.  Let me tell you why I think it is flying out of my store in droves.

When teaching new readers how to read, we often teach them a handful of reading strategies.  One of those such strategies is called "Skippy Scott".  We teach our students to skip over the word, read to the end of the sentence, and then to "think about what would make sense".  This skill is practiced in isolation using this set of clip cards.  Thinking about what we read and what makes sense is the hardest skill to teach emergent readers as they are so caught up in the logistics and components of reading.  What letter is that, what sound does it make, what does that "e" at the end of the word make the first vowel do again, what is that sight word....I know I've seen it before.  The internal conversation in your emergent reader's head has to be an absolute traffic jam!  (Hopefully....because if not...well that's a whole different blog post!)  This product allows your students to practice this skill in ISOLATION.  This product allows your student to realize that there may be more than one choice, but which word/picture is the best!  This is a critical skill that our students need to practice.

Ex.  The _______ buzzed around the sky.  Answer choices:  butterfly, ladybug, and bee.  All three can fly around the sky.  But when we fine tune and look at the word "buzzed" that really points towards the bee as the best possible answer.  This is when we can teach kids to cross check using other reading strategies and teaching, yes...that makes sense, but does it look right?

Take a closer look at this low prep activity. Simply print, cut, laminate, and add your favorite clothespins, clips, or even dollar spot erasers to cover the right answer!

Be sure to check out the other best sellers from the stores of some of my favorite TPT sellers below. This for sure is the best time of the year to score the biggest discounts on some of these #1 selling products.

Until Next Time,