Image Map

Thursday, December 31, 2015

One Little Word and Respect

Do you have a special time set aside each day to teach character traits or do you do teach them as part of your classroom routine?  Maybe you teach them within each lesson as part of your classroom environment.
Our school is a PBIS school.  We have our school-wide "Be's".  Our district agreed on "Be Respectful.  Be Responsible.  Be Prepared.  Be Your Best.
Not only are we a PBIS school, but we also have a full-time social worker on staff.  She comes to each classroom for 20 minutes each week to teach Second Steps.  Second Steps is a program that teaches character traits and anti-bullying.
In my kindergarten classroom, my students recite the Pledge of Respect each day.  Students cross their arms across their chest and say it allowed.  There are even a few of students who close their eyes.  I told them this is acceptable, as they are reflecting on their words.
Do you allow your students to choose one little word?  As teachers, we should also think about the new year ahead.
Have you chosen your one little word for 2016?  You still have time...  Here are a few that came to my mind...
Happy 2016!
Endless Possibilities,

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fluency Ideas for the Classroom

Reading fluency has a HUGE impact on nearly everything in the classroom.  No matter how great a student is at identifying the main idea they have to be able to read the passage that goes along with it. Students can be awesome at solving math problems but if they struggle to read the directions that go along with that problem they may not be successful.  

I am always looking for fun ideas to promote fluency in the classroom.  It's especially important to make fluency practice fun as students get older.  Many of the students who really need fluency practice in upper grades are those who are uncomfortable, lack confidence and have negative feelings towards reading.  Making reading fluency fun and meaningful will motivate students and make them happy!  And don't we all want happy, motivated students?  Here are some fun ideas and resources that will encourage fluency FUN in the classroom! 

Students benefit from reading out loud and hearing their own reading.  I encourage my students to use the classroom iPods and iPads to not only listen to themselves read but also watch themselves read.  Kids LOVE to see themselves on recordings and this is a great motivator!  I can also go back and listen to the recordings to see who is struggling or who is making fluency gains!

I also like to use these recorders from Reading Resources.  They only record a short segment so students can use them to see how much they can read before the recording time stops.

These microphones from Lakeshore are a great motivator, too.  Students love listening to their reading after they have recorded.  Another great benefit from these is that you can download the recordings on your computer and if you are handy with computers you can create listening station QR codes from your own student's reading! 

If you want to go old school and save come money, these whisper phones made from PVC pipe are great!

Fluency bins are also a great way to practice fluency at student's levels.  I have bins for each of my four reading groups and my RtI group.  These include passages that we have completed in small groups, close reads that we have completed as a whole group,  and breath boxes.  I also throw in a copy of the books that we have read as a group.  Just throw these in the tub and leave them for awhile (like a long while... yeah minimal prep!).  You don't have to do anything fancy...use what you already have!   Once you see the baskets getting full, pull out what you think the students are bored with.  These baskets are GREAT for early finisher activities... just tell them to grab something from the fluency basket and one of the timers or recording devices and you have instant fluency practice!

You can place a sheet like this in with your fluency tubs to hold kiddos accountable during fluency tub time!  Click here or on the picture below to download it for free!

My students are crazy about Breath Boxes.  They love challenging each other to see who can read furthest before taking a breath.  i downloaded these free from the 24/7 Teacher here.

Fluency Passages are a great way to send fluency home with the students.  These fluency practice passage are Lexile leveled and have comprehension activities to go along with them.

My students love using fluency progressive cards.  They like to read with a partner to see who can finish the card first.  

I Read to You, You Read to Me books are also a fun way to practice reading.  Students take turns reading the back and forth passages in the book.  Each section is a different color so they can not only read but listen to their partner read.

Sight words are an important part of fluency.  The more fluent students are with sight words, the faster and more confidently they will read whole passages.  I created these sight word games to save my sanity when it comes to prep time.  I simply switch out the seasonal cards in each set at the beginning of the month.  Last month (November) was "Spill the Taters" and "Turkey Trot".  This month (December) the games are "Tree Topple" and "Runaway Reindeer".  It takes maybe 3 minutes to switch out the monthly cards (the sight word cards stay the same) and the kiddos LOVE playing these games together! There are sets available for the First 100, Second 100, Third 100, Fourth 100, Fifth 100 and Sixth 100 words!

If students are getting a little bored with their fluency reads, they can randomly choose one of these Fun with Fluency Cards!  They can use a different voice to practice fluency and to break up the monotony!  

I hope you found some new fluency ideas your students can enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Secret Santa Blog Hop {with The Elementary Entourage}

I'm linking up with my blogging friends over at The Elementary Entourage to give away some freebies to celebrate the holiday season!  I was so excited to get this cute little gift from Laura over at Core Inspiration.  

Here is a little winter fun freebie that will make coming back to school after break a little easier!  I am also having a sale for the next two days so grab up anything else that may catch your eye!

Check out the other posts in our Secret Santa Hop by following the links below!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Celebrate the 80's

If you haven't, then this year is the year to start!  It was so much fun today.  We ate Pop Rocks, sang... 867-5309....  Yes, I know you're singing it now.  And, we dressed up!  I even updated this unit with new fonts and borders.  I added, deleted and made it even more interactive with your students.

And just look at these pictures!!  I was so impressed at the outfits this year!

Here is the letter to send home to your students.  It is simple and to the point.
This is also included in the 80's Unit.  I didn't even get to it today.  We were jam packed with fun... Totally...
The following is a sample of the numbers included in the 80's mini-unit.  It includes the numbers 8-6-7-5-3-0-9.  Students can either arrange themselves in order as the song plays, sort odd or even, or order least to greatest.  It is just another variation included in the 80's mini-unit.

Endless Possibilities,