Sunday, December 21, 2014

14 in 14 Linky Party!

Wowie, wow, wow!! What a year it has been! I am excited to recap my 14 favorite memories from 2014 and hosting this linky along with some of my best blogging turned into real life best friends Kristin and Traci

I have to start with one of the COOLEST memories ever of 2014…watching the Super Bowl halftime show at my future in-laws and seeing my soldier craft on TV!!! I'm pretty sure I screamed for a full minute and everyone looked at me like I was crazy…
I made them pause and rewind 50 million times to get a good shot ;)
#coolestthingever #areyoufreakingkiddingme

Dragging my partner in crime with me to present at our very first teacher conference in California! What an incredible experience that was!

Working with the amazing Kimberly Geswein to create my own font!

Standing by my best friend's side as she got married! Such a fun wedding!

Getting engaged to the love of my life!!! I was also completely surprised which I did not think was possible!

Then flying out to NYC thenextday to see my sister!

While in NYC, visiting the TpT offices and getting to meet Amy and Karen!

Celebrating Tom's 30th birthday!

Celebrating my 30th birthday!

Presenting at the TpT conference in Las Vegas!

Taking engagement pictures. This was seriously such a fun day and I can't even wait for our wedding!

Asking my best friends to be my bridesmaids!

Hitting 5,000,000 pagviews on my blog {?!?!?!} and reaching a TpT milestone!

Probably the biggest and best memory of 2014…buying our first house together!

2014 was such a fun year! I'm glad I got to make all of those memories :)

Will you join us in the fun?! All you have to do is think back at your favorites in 2014 and add a few pictures. What a fun way to remember the year, huh!?

 You can use these prompts if you'd like, or just list your top 14 favorites memories {like me}! You can also download the cute little headers Traci made {here}.
14. Favorite quote:
13. Favorite article of clothing:
12. Favorite movie you watched:
11. Favorite TV series:
10. Favorite restaurant:
9. Favorite new thing you tried:
8. Favorite gift you got:
7. Favorite thing you pinned:
6. Favorite blog post:
5. Best accomplishment:
4. Favorite picture:
3. Favorite memory:
2. Goal for 2015:
1. One Little Word:

How to link up:
Create a blog post sharing your favorite 14 things in 2014. Add the button to your post and link it to this blog post. Then link up below, making sure to link directly to your post, not just your blog.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Working on Our Reading Fluency

Over the last few weeks, we've been working really hard on learning word families! We do this orally, by listening to chunks in words. My students have been coming up with words in the "at" family, and we sing our word family song. This past week, we've used our knowledge of word families to help with our reading fluency!
One of the most important skills for beginning readers to attain is fluency in reading. Fluency means the ability to read text quickly and accurately. When students gain an understanding of word families, and start to see “chunks” in words, they become better readers. Instead of sounding out each phoneme, or sound, in the word, they are able to transfer what they know about “chunks” and apply it to their reading. Word family fluency is a great way for your students to practice reading accurately and fluently.

We used the large foam dice I found at the Dollar Tree because large dice makes any game fun ;) I introduced this game during guided reading groups. My students took turns rolling the dice, finding the matching number on the paper, and touching each word as they read it. Some of these students, who knew 0 letters and 0 sounds at the beginning of kindergarten were reading like champs!! #happyteacher

Here's a short video of one of my students demonstrating how to play the game. Since we are just working on the "at" family words, we only used this mat. As we learn more word families, we will use more!

You can try out the at family fluency in your classroom too! Grab the free download {here} in my store!

We have also started using our Rhyme to Read app during reading groups. When the developers of this app asked me if I wanted to try it out in my classroom, I jumped at the opportunity!

 Last year was my first year with an iPad in the classroom, and I'm always looking for different ways to use it. My students also love reading books on the iPad. They are pros at swiping the pages to turn them {which is also hilarious to me when they try to turn real life books the same way ;)} Rhyme to Read is a beginning reading program comprised of 20 short books all focusing on sight words and word families.

We started working on Book 1 since our focus is "at family" words. The words on the left are an introduction to the words in the story. I had my kids practice reading those words before reading the sentence. The great thing about this app is that is is self-correcting. If my students were stuck on a word family word or sight word, they could just touch the word and it would be read to them. So cool!

Each word family is color-coded throughout the series with a different color.
The color-coding of each word family encourages students to use visual similarities and differences to decode, a strategy employed by successful readers. The color-coding also helps students develop phonological awareness by providing cues for sound discrimination and categorization.

At the end of each book, there is a list of sight words found in the stories, as well as all the word family words learned. This reading program is cumulative and truly helps beginning readers!

Here's a short video from Rhyme to Read that shows the app in action.

We have enjoyed using this app in our classroom so far and I know your students will love it too! You can try one of the stories for free by downloading it from the app store {here}, or you can purchase the whole series for 30% off through December {here}.

If you use this program, I would love to hear how it goes with your class!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

All About Penguins! {craft and writing freebie}

One of my all time favorite things to teach about during the winter months are penguins. Nothing gets much cuter than a penguin! This book, Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! is such a great, child friendly book that shares tons of penguin facts!
Here's a little blurb that Scholastic shares about the book:
"Award-winning author and artist Bob Barner combines colorful collage images and whimsical verse to make this a funny, bouncy, informative introduction to the world of penguins. The simple text makes this book perfect for the youngest readers, but the array of penguin facts including the "Penguin Parade" with information on all 17 penguin species makes it an ideal choice for older readers as well."

As a little follow up activity, and a way to share all we learned about penguins, I decided to turn my square penguin craft into an All About Penguins book!

This is a super easy craft to make! All the directions are in my free download!

Inside of the penguin's belly are facts that we learned from reading penguin books and watching penguin videos.

These little penguins make an adorable winter craft full of tons of learning! You can grab this craft in my TpT store for free!

I also love using the adorable little penguins in our centers!

Want a chance to win these fun centers?! Enter using the rafflecopter!
Now click on the links below to see what book inspired activities my friends have created for you.
 And don’t forget to enter their giveaways too!

Stop by my store for some extra savings today! All of my products are discounted 20% for Black Friday!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

December Resources and Ideas

It absolutely blows my mind that December is right around the corner. How did that even happen!? I'm a teensy bit sad that 2014 is coming to an end, as it was probably the best year of my life! BUT, I have a lot of fun to look forward to, so I'm not too sad ;)

As I was prepping some activities for December, I thought you might be interested in seeing what I use or have used in the past. I realized this will be my 4th December here on this blog! Wow!
{I linked each picture below to where you can find it in my store or on my blog!}

I will start with crafts because those are my favorites, of course ;)

 These candy canes look adorable hanging from the clothesline in our classroom. 

These name trees are always a hit and a great way to review shapes!

 I love, love, love this little santa! He is so adorable and easy to put together!

 I also love creating glyphs with my students. Here's a cute little snowman glyph we made a few years ago.

Morning Work and Printables


Literacy Centers

Math Centers

Word Work and Writing

 December is a short and busy month, but it sure is stuffed with a lot of fun and learning!

Happy Teaching everyone!

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