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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pea-Pod Word Work Freebie!!

Who doesn't need a freebie right now to kind of brighten your day? 
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I know I do. I am always looking for literacy tub (station/center) ideas and activities to keep my kids engaged.  Stephanie created this super cute "Pea-Pod" Literacy Activity set that has some DIBELS interventions and literacy tub activities.  I can't wait to use it in my stations!  Click the pictures below to go download it for free.....

We will announce the winners of our Three & Free posts Monday so all the weekend bloggers can check them out and we have one more Common Core post left in the giveaway!  So if you haven't went and commented, go do it now!  Super easy!  Also, I am working on a Johnny Appleseed Freebie so remember to check back for that and follow us for updates!

Endless Possibilities,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Free & Three (Part Three): Letters, Letter Sounds, and Intial Sounds!

It's great reading the comments that have been left on our other Free & Three Posts!  It's kind of comforting to hear from teachers who have also been trying to get a grip on the Common Core Standards, Assessing, and Data.  Today's Free & Three post is all about Letters, Letter Sounds, and Initial Sounds!

Letter Naming Fluency and Initial Sound Fluency is a big part of the Kindergarten Common Core Standards and many of the First Grade Common Core Standards.  We have to concentrate a lot on them because these are DIBELS testing measures in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Students have to name a certain number of letters in one minute and tell the initial sounds of words orally in 1 minute.  Also, the letter sounds skills carries over into our Nonsense Word Fluency where students have to either say the sounds in the words or say the whole nonsense word.  When I taught Kindergarten Literacy Groups in Title-I, I was always looking for fun interventions to use with the kids.  It was always a matter of switching up activity to keep the kids interested and engaged.  Here are some of our free(!) activities that help teach or assess letter naming skills, letter sounds, and initial sounds.

Here are some other products from our stores that teach these same skills!

As always, we want to hear from you.  We will use a random number generator to chose three comments whose author's will get to chose any of the items featured in this post for free!  So remember to leave your e-mail in your comment so that we can get in contact with you!  Also, if you have your own activities that teacher letter names, letter sounds, or initial sound skills add your link below!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Free (Part 2): Mini-Assessments

Just like yesterday, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!  We will use the Random Generator to create a winner for today.  PLEASE comment.  Remember to leave your email address in the comment.  The winner will receive ANY ONE item featured in this post.  Comment so you will be sure to WIN!!

Just like the cartoon above...  We teach, but how do we KNOW they "get it"?  Well, WE ASSESS!!  The most useful way for a teacher to "know" is by giving mini-assessments along the way.  I like giving 1 pre-test, mini test 1, mini test 2, mini test 3, then a post-test.  This is usually how I evaluate students and graph data.

Short, but frequent, mini-assessments are less time consuming and allow teachers to see a "snap-shot" along the way.

The three of us (Kathi, Stephany, and I) have created several mini-assessments to help evaluate students.  We have also correlated each assessment to Common Core standards.

The Common Core standards can be found here.  They are organized by grade level and subject area.  You can also download the standards in a pdf file.


I have created mini-assessments for several of the Common Core Standards.  Here are some free downloads for kindergarten.


I also have a several kindergarten mini-assessments for purchase.  They are listed here.


First Grade

Below are first grade mini-assessments for language arts and math assessments.   Included are assessments for 1.L.2a, 1.L.2c, 1.L.2b, 1.L.1e, 1.RF.2b, ALL first grade measurement standards, ALL first grade geometry standards, and the first four Operation and Algebraic Thinking standards.

Free Capitalization Mini-Assessment
Free "Comma in a Series and Date" Mini Assessment
Past, Present and Future Tense

Blending Phonemes

Second Grade
Here are mini assessments for second grade Common Core Math Standards.  They include ALL Geomerty Standards, ALL Numbers & Operations in Base Ten, ALL Operations & Algebraic Thinking and 2 of the Measurement & Data Standards.  I have started on the remaining Measurement & Data Standards. 


How do you manage assessing all the new Common Core Standards in your classroom?
Endless Possibilities, 
Stephani, Stephany, and Kathi

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Free and Three: Data Data Data

We want to hear from YOU!  So...  The first 3 people who comment on THIS post, will get their choice of any product featured in THIS post.  We will be doing this for several days, so PLEASE tell your friends and fellow bloggers.  Don't forget to leave your email in the comment.  :)

Today we are featuring an "All about DATA" post.

Last year we had to start graphing student data in the classroom.  Not only did we have to graph it as teachers, but the students also had to start graphing their progress.  Many teachers in the primary grades were really entertained by the thought of our students graphing their progress and understanding what it meant.  I mean there were days I spent a great deal of time reminding children why we don't run with large sticks on the playground or tie our own shoelaces together.  However, we still expect them to know what the graph means and take ownership of it?  Pshhhhtt, umm no.

Actually.... sheepishly we all kind of had to eat our own words about two weeks into the progress.  We had kids talking about their "stairs" and how they went up "THIS MUCH!!"

By the end of the year they were reminding Mrs. Berry in the Reading Lab that she needed to update our graph in the lab because we were at 81% and she only had it colored to 70%.  THEY DID OWN IT.  They did learn from it.  They wanted their graphs to go up.  They were proud to show those data notebooks to whoever would listen.  In fact, some teachers in our school used them at parent-teacher conferences.  We even have teachers that are having STUDENT LED conferences with data notebooks this year.

Here are a few data notebooks and other Common Core teacher tools that we use at our school to keep track of data.   Most of our mini-assessments also come with data graphs too.

The process at our school started with each grade level in the corporation meeting to decide on 10 (or so) math standards.  These were the top 10 that each grade level thought were most important to master.  Next, we created mini-assessments that correlated to the standards.  Then, we went to work teaching and assessing, graphing and reteaching.  Sometimes after assessing teachers found that you only had 5 kids who couldn't get pulled them aside retaught and then re-assessed.  I completely revamped my math time to include reteaching and small groups.

What does your school do?  Do you keep data? If your district is improving to data, data notebooks, graphs.... Don't sweat it.  It is a lot of work.  It can be daunting at first but when you see the results, children taking ownership (even in small steps); it can be very rewarding.

Remember...  The first three comments will get to choose a product from this post.  We will be doing this for several days.  (Leave your email in the comment.)  PLEASE blog about this post, Pin ANY of our products (please link back), and get your students ready to graph data!!

Endless Possibilities,
Stephany, Stephanie, and Kathi