Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter, Christmas, and Holiday Snacks for Kids

Here are a few ideas to help you and your kiddos celebrate the holidays and winter this year:

You can start with a festive snowman cup and fill it with whatever you'd like:

And some healthy (or healthier) DIY snack ideas include:

A Strawberry and Banana Candy Cane

An Orange Snowman Plate

String Cheese Snowmen

And another String Cheese Snowman design

How about a Grinch Kabob?

Or some Snowman Popcorn Cups

If you have any favorite holiday snacks for your kids, please share them in the comments section below.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

TPT Cyber Monday & Tuesday Sale

Get ready, because it's coming!

The TPT Cyber Monday & Tuesday Sale is almost here!  Stock up your carts because all of my products will be 20% off, even my already discounted Mega Bundles.  

Plus, get another 10% off with Promo Code: TPTCYBER

Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Thank You Freebie!

With Thanksgiving upon us, I'd like to say thank you to my followers and thank you to all the teachers out there who work so hard (physically, mentally, and emotionally) for their students.

For the next 24 hours my new Phonics Letter Work: P Packet will be FREE as a thank you for your dedication to students.

I use this packet with grade level kindergartners and as an intervention for letter naming, letter sounds, and letter recognition for 1st grade and 2nd grade students.

Again, thank you for all you do for our children!  It is appreciated!   :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tricks and Treats Blog Hop

October is my favorite month!  Crisp air, pumpkins, hot tea, big sweaters with boots, Halloween - what's not to love?

To help celebrate the amazing month of October, I've partnered with several other bloggers to bring you the Tricks & Treats Blog Hop: a smorgasbord of goodies to kick off the month!  I'd also like to give a big thank you to Mrs. Plemons for hosting and organizing the blog hop.  

Okay, let's get down to business:


Here are two fun tricks to incorporate movement into teaching phoneme segmentation. 

Start with three sound words:

1)  Have your students follow your lead and use your body to sound out words.  Touch both hands to the top of your head for the initial sound.  Touch two hands to your stomach for the medial sound.  Then, touch two hands to your feet for the final sound.  After modeling for students, have them give it a try themselves.

*This technique is great for helping isolate initial, medial, and final sounds too!

2)  Hop out the words!  Place green, yellow, and red sheets of paper on the ground in a line.  Give students a word like "cat" and have them hop to each sheet for each sound in the word.  Hop on green and say /k/, hop on yellow and say /a/, and hop on red and say /t/.  


Here are some Halloween and fall inspired treats for your classroom:


Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Oughta Know About These Sight Word Games and Activities

What time is it?  Blog Hop Time!  I'd like to give a BIG thanks to Jasmine at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for hosting and organizing the You Oughta Know Blog Hop.  

So what do I think you oughta know this month?  I think you oughta know about sight words.

Yes, sight words.  In the earlier grades (K-2) sight words are mainly comprised of the most frequently recurring words in English (a, the, of, is, in, like) as well as words that break away from common phonics rules (was, people, have, friend).  

As students progress through the grades more and more words should naturally be added to their visual sight word bank.  These are words that students have encountered enough times that when they glance at the word they know what it is (cat, dog, mom, dad).  

By 2nd or 3rd grade, most students should have a large bank of words that they just know as soon as they see them.  However, this is not always the case.  Sight words (especially the ones that break rules) can be tricky for some students.  Also, just because a students is in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade does not mean they have mastered all common sight words.  Plus, with new academic vocabulary demands as students age (think science, math, social studies, etc.) students are expected to grow that sight word vocabulary and read a wide variety of words on demand.  

So what can you do if you have students who need help devoting words to memory and building that sight word bank? 
Well, I think you oughta know about these sight word games and activities:

1) Sight Word Password: Make a "Password of the Day" or a "Password of the Week."  Every time students walk in or out of your room, they have to read the "magic password."  It builds in quick but fun  practice.

2) Sight Word Rubbing:  Simple and fun!  Use glue to spell out sight words on small pieces of paper.  Students then place a new piece of paper over the words and rub a crayon over the bumpy edges to reveal the sight word.  

3) Sight Word Parking Lot:  This is a great activity for boys and girls who love cars and trucks.  Print off or make your own "parking lot" and students park their car over the word you read.

4) Flashcards:  For some students using flashcards and doing daily drills with the cards can do wonders.  if you make two sets of cards, students can also play games like go fish and memory.

5) Star Sight Words:  This one I love.  I've made up my own batch of Star Sight Words - they look like fancy word wands!  In my class, students can grab a Star Word when they read a book and count how many times they find that word.  I also like to cut out newspaper articles and let students search through the article and highlight their star word as many times as they can find it.

6) Sight Word PowerPoint: Create a PowerPoint with your own students holding up large poster board-sized signs of your sight words.  Then run through the PowerPoint with your students - they will LOVE seeing themselves and it will help motivate them throughout the activity.  

7) Bowling for Sight Words: How fun does this look?  I think it would be best for small groups, and it could also be great for indoor recess! 

8) Sight Word Stomp: Spread sight word flashcards around on the ground.  Call out a word and the student(s) need to find it and stomp or jump or hop on it.  Lots of fun and lots of movement so it is best for small groups or one-on-one.

9) Sight Word Building: Do you have students who are very hands on and love to build things?  Well this is the activity for them.  Use open block letter sight word mats and lets students use cubes or Legos to form the letters of the sight word.  

Do you have a favorite sight word or vocabulary building activity?  If so please share it in the comments section below.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School 1 Day Sale!

Have you heard? 

There is a 1 day Back to School BOOST Sale Wednesday, August 20th!

So get it while it's hot because my TPT store is 20% off for one day only!  Plus, use promo code BOOST to get another 10% off!

Have a great school year!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Positive Classroom Management: Caught You Being Good Jar

I LOVE this idea for positive reinforcement!  It's a "Caught You Being Good" Jar.

From Polka Pics

The original source suggests that parents add a cotton ball or a marble every time a they catch their child being good, but it is really easy to adapt this for classroom use.

Option One:
Any time your whole class is on task, being good, someone goes above and beyond, etc. add a cotton ball or a marble to the jar.  When the jar is full, the whole class gets a reward.  What is that reward?  You and your class should decide when you start so they know what they are working toward.

Option Two:
Any time you catch a student being good, write their name on a piece of paper and add it to the jar.   Then, when you need someone to make a copy, pass out papers, or help in any sort of way pull out a name.  

Rather than having 15 eager volunteers turn into one excited student and 14 disappointed ones whenever you need a helper, students will now know that their ability to be your special helper is determined by their positive behavior (and the luck of the draw).

If you use option two, make sure that you catch every student being good on a somewhat regular basis.  You don't want a student feeling like she can never do anything "good enough" to get her name in the jar.  

Have a great school-year!

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

You Oughta Know About... These Back to School Ideas!

It's that time of year again! Back to School!

For me Back to School time is both exciting and nerve-racking: there are so many fun ideas to try, but there is so much work to do.  Here are a few ideas that I've collected from around the web, that will hopefully make this year a little smoother and easier, so we can focus on the fun with our students and less on the other craziness that comes with teaching:

Organization & Management:

Have computer cords everywhere?  Need quick access to a USB cord, charger, or other cord?  Try this fun idea:

LEGO Cord Holders

Don't have enough space?  Need a little extra room for papers, markers, etc.?  Try some hanging baskets:

From The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

Have kids who just can't sit still in their seat?  I know I do!  I love these wiggle seats.  It's kind of like sitting on a small exercise ball.  Students need to focus to keep their bottom in the seat rather than squirming out of it.  I've seen wonders for a child's ability to focus his mind on a task while his body is focused on one of these:

Wiggle Seats (You can order them from many places, this is just one site.)

Words to Keep in Mind:

This is one of my favorite sayings in class.  It really helps put things in perspective for students.


Another great saying, especially for older students who will understand its meaning better:


I just came across this one, and love it.  I'm planning on keeping it for when testing comes around.  Students always feel like they need to do better than the person next to them.  In reality, they just need to do their best and bloom.  


First Day/Week Ideas:

During that first week of school, how many times do you get a "What if" question?  Or how many times do you get asked questions at in opportune times?  Here's a great idea to knock those out:

From Kathy Griffn's Teaching Strategies

Want to know how you can help your students learn and grow this year?  Ask them:

From Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

Team building exercises are always a good way to help build a sense of community and rapport with your class and for students to begin building (or rebuilding after the summer) relationships with each other.

From Te@chThought

Sure the teacher makes a big impact on the class, but there is only one teacher.  There are 20+ (sometimes 30+) other people in the room with you.  Those people, your students, make a huge impact on the classroom too.  Discussing what makes a good student, and hanging a description on the wall is a great reference all year for class-decided expectations:

From Using My Teacher Voice

Do you have a great back to school activities, sayings, or organization ideas?  Share it in the comments section!

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