Tag Archives : kindergarten


Visual Schedules in kindergarten and primary classrooms – the benefits!

The benefits of using a visual schedule in kindergarten and early primary classrooms | That Fun Reading Teacher.com

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_luislouro’>luislouro / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Do you use a visual schedule in your classroom? As a special education teacher working in many kindergarten and primary classes, I’ve seen how beneficial they are for the whole class!

The origin of visual schedules

In special education, we had been putting picture symbol schedules in place for our students with autism for years, as they provide

  • an overview of the student’s day, in parts or as a whole, so the student has an idea of what to expect (this helps prevent anxiety)
  • a means of communication for students who struggle with oral language and / or auditory processing (they can point at the pictures to help get their message across, follow the pictures to understand what they might have missed verbally)
  • structure and increased independence, allowing students to manage transitions with less support
  • the flexibility of making changes to only the necessary parts of the schedule without having to change the entire day.
  • a sense of understanding how their day works, and counts down as blocks of time wrap up, helps kids feel a sense of accomplishment, more safe and in control of their emotions

The shift to whole class schedules

Our consultants began recommending visual schedules for more groups of students as time went on – students struggling with anxiety, managing behavior, transitions.  I began to notice that a few classroom teachers had just stopped using the individual student schedules (too cumbersome with multiple students with schedules in the class) and gone to a classroom one instead – and the effect was amazing.

Students checked in on that schedule all day. As time passed, a card was moved or taken down. If plans changed, the teacher simply switched out the card, and the kids understood and accepted it. The morning schedule was discussed at the carpet in the morning, and the process repeated in the afternoon.

Why it’s becoming the new normal

How many times have you heard this lately?

Kindergarten is a social communication program.

Do you agree? My very first class was a kindergarten class, in 1996, and the catch phrase at that time was ‘We’re teaching them how to play the game of school’. 

There are so many children in our classes now that struggle with social-communication, anxiety, self-regulation, learning disabilities, being in an overcrowded classroom, among other things.  And teachers have more to manage than ever before.

Consider that:

  • students regularly referring to the schedule throughout the day are prepared for transitions and managing themselves with greater independence
  • the visual schedule takes on the role of a ‘first-then’ board, as students are able to see things they are looking forward to coming up (for example, homesick students can see blocks of time disappearing as it gets closer to home time; students who dislike pencil / paper tasks can look forward to recess etc.)
  • students take pride in showing a visitor to the class that he or she can read, and knows what’s happening next
  • it is easy for a substitute teacher to step in with an already established structure in place (and it can be left prepared for the next day without having to write an explanation!)
  • With my Reading Recovery background, I can’t help but love the fact that this is just another way to drive home ‘reading the pictures’ for meaning first!
  • it can be used as a tool for teaching ‘time’ (some teachers add clocks beside each item) and sequencing events in order
  • The visual schedule makes a nice link to learning centres / centres

Have you tried using a visual schedule in your classroom? How has it been going for you?

Best wishes with your littles,

Ida Mae

If you are looking for a visual schedule and center / centre cards set, please check out mine below. The cards fit nicely into a pocket chart, can be used with adhesive magnets on the back, or simply pinned to a bulletin board. I’ve included months, days and Troll-themed editable name cards as well. Click the image to take you to my store to see the preview!

Are there cards you would like to see added to the schedule?

If so, please click the ‘ask a question’ tab in my TpT store, or email me at thatfunreadingteacher@gmail.com to suggest it for an update!

 

Related:

Back to School posts, resources, links and more! | That Fun Reading Teacher.com

The Dealing With Feelings Series

 


Great K-2 stories for the transition back to school – and $100 TpT gift card giveaway!

Tried and true stories for the transition back to school: K-2

 

Looking for some tried, tested and true picture books to help little ones through the back to school transition? There’s no better way than to show them examples of others who have been there, felt the anxiety and learned how to manage it! Here are the the stories I go back to year after year for their familiarity, upbeat rhymes and modeling for kids.

(Be sure to click enter the $100 gift card giveaway! The link is at the bottom of the page!)

 

Stories with well-known characters:

Franklin Goes to School: Franklin is up early preparing for his first day of school, and feels increasingly nervous between breakfast, the school talk on the bus, and arrival.  A great story about how we can be different in many ways, yet the same in others, and therefore not alone.

In Froggy Goes to School, students enjoy experiencing Froggy’s first day of school along with him, as his teacher, Miss Witherspoon, gently guides him through reading his name, paying attention, staying in his seat and taking turns speaking.

The Berenstain Bears Go to School begins with Back-to-School shopping, and an encounter with Too-Tall and his gang leaving Sister Bear fearing the third grade. Momma Bear thinks a trip back through the photo album to when Sister Bear started kindergarten is in order, but she is still skeptical! A great story to encourage trying new things!

 

fra froggy BB go to Sch

Rhyming Books:

These stories boast upbeat language and rhythm along with a humorous look at the preparation and jitters associated with starting school. With colorful pictures to draw kids in and laughter to ease tension, they are great picks for putting everyone at ease.


Miss B Night b k Night b 1

Great books for easing anxiety:

These are the encouraging, warm-fuzzy books when subtle just isn’t quite enough.

The Kissing Hand is a sweet story of a mother Raccoon reassuring her child that has comforted millions suffering with separation anxiety over the past twenty years.  Older sibling wisdom gives I Am Too Absolutely Small for School its authenticity while Llama Llama Misses Mama offers the reassurance that parents do return at the end of the day to pick up their children.


Kiss H absolutely llama

 Here’s a fun playlist for your listening center!

 

Back to School stories playlist free on ThatFunReadingTeacher.com

 

Do you have some favorite stories to recommend? Please share in the comments!

Related:

 

Feelings stories for children - When I feel anxious

 

Here’s where to find the giveaway!Why back to school is such a big deal - manage anxiety by setting priorities

Back to School posts, resources, links and more! | That Fun Reading Teacher.com

Best wishes to those of you who are already back in class, and all who are preparing!

Ida Mae

 


Free Back to School Literacy Lessons K-2

Hello my friends! Have you started to think about Back to School yet? (Has anyone ever really stopped?)

It’s an exciting time of year, and I always find it easier to sleep when I at least have the first few days planned out – and that involves getting to know my students. I like to find out who they are as people, how they feel about various aspects of school, get a glimpse of their skills, and most importantly – know how they’ll be getting home from school!

Disclaimer: This activity is by no means a guaranteed method of validating a child’s transportation arrangements for one day or the entire school year, but does make a nice introduction to a graphing activity.

 

I wanted to share this ten page Back to School literacy sampler with you, so you will have a window into some of the products I use with my K-2 students at the beginning of the year.

What else is in the BTS sampler?

 

I do not want to ruin the surprise, but I will tell you that this sampler could lead you to more free samples…especially if you like Sight-Word PreEmergent (Level aa) or Emergent (Level A and B) readers with sentence puzzles and fun follow ups. 

Ok, getting carried away now. Almost told you about the crazy fun game I’m making. But I didn’t! 

I will leave you with this thought, however. Start collecting smart phone boxes.

Enjoy summer for as long as you can!

Take care,

Ida Mae, aka


LANGUAGE ARTS IDEAS – Fun Easter phrasing and fluency activities!

http://thatfunreadingteacher.com/easter-fun-fluency-rhythm-rhyme/
Copyright: denisnata / 123RF Stock Photo[/caption]

Easter is a great time to have fun with phrasing and fluency with early readers. Grab your bunny ears and check these out!

Use poetry, music and movement!

Remember the Hokey-Pokey song? Years ago I rewrote it into The Bunny Hop for my Kindergarten students. It works particularly well if modeled and students are given the opportunity to echo it back the first few times before giving them a paper with the text (to color – you’ve got to do the actions!):

 

Click here to grab it free! 
(Black and white version included with it – ideal for poetry folders!)
Bunny ear construction is off the charts in the craft center when this song is in season – be ye warned! Everyone wants to be the bossy bunny who gets to say, “Stop!”
Seize teachable moments to model and emphasize phrasing

Certain phrases just belong together, don’t they? All about the seems to be one such phrase.

When Meghan Trainor was singing I’m All About the Bass every time I turned on the radio in 2014,  there was no getting it out of my head.  This Fun, Fluency Reader version practically wrote itself as I drove in to school listening to Trainor’s voice every day.

My students knew the tune instantly. I modeled the first read to them, and we practiced a few phrases in isolation before it was fluent and perhaps a little too fun…

There is a twist on a familiar Fairy Tale in this book that made the kids laugh (but humor is a topic for another day…).

Limitation of liability: It’s all about the Eggs is not recommended for those who are prone to getting songs stuck in their head or with one last nerve.

Encourage oral language beyond one word.

Encourage kids to speak in sentences and phrases by asking questions and modeling answers. Kids mimic the adults in their lives (cringe – I’ve heard my own phrases from the mouths of babes a few too many times, have you?). When hunting for an Easter Egg, asking ‘Where is it?’ may elicit a reply of ‘there’ from a little one, but an adult can follow with the modeling of a phrase or phrases, for example: “Oh, yes, it’s under the chair’ for a gentle teachable moment.

While teaching special education to a student with prepositional language goals on an IEP, one of my students did have Easter egg hunts in my resource room to ‘practice’ for Easter.

What are some of your favorite phrasing and fluency boosters?

Happy Easter everyone!

                





Rethinking Reading Logs for young readers

Rethinking Reading Logs for young readers

I have spent most of my career teaching little people, and a good part of that time parenting little people, too. One topic of great discussion (well beyond kindergarten and grade one) was that of the Reading Log.

As a first grade teacher, I had mixed feelings about sending them home. It’s fairly easy to figure out early on what will become of one’s students’ reading logs throughout the year. As parents, we all have the best intentions. Teachers know that. Many of us fill both roles.

Life gets busy, especially that in-between school and bed time when you have to make and clean up dinner between driving kids everywhere ensure they’re somewhat clean, and maybe even do some homework. I believe that most parents do read with, or to, their kids. Writing it down (especially when we’re exhausted and feeling like we’re being policed?) Well, that’s a whole other story.

How many evenings did I spend at the end of each month, sitting at my kitchen table with a selection of different colored pens, filling in my kids’ reading logs? We absolutely read each night, probably for too long, but we sure didn’t break the spell to keep track of it all!

It is because I valued passing on the love of reading that, in the case of traditional Reading Logs, our kids learned from me that I was okay with dishonesty (under very specific circumstances). Yep, they learned that the magic of reading trumped honesty. GULP.

The Parent / Teacher Connection:

When I was teaching Reading Recovery, between my training and the variety of students I had, I began to really understand the difference between passive and active learners, and the connection between our roles as parents and teachers. Have you heard the phrase ‘Never do for a child what he can do for himself’? I’m a believer.

There was a very definite link between how quickly my students that were more independent with getting ready for recess or home, for example, and using the strategies I was teaching them, were progressing through the program. Those who simply shrugged when I asked them a question, or stood daydreaming in the hall, expecting someone to come and zip up their jackets were the ones who seemed to struggle the most. They were also the ones who left their reading bags at home, waited to be directed for every step of the same structured lesson we had each day. Some of my students did not have bedtime stories because they ‘didn’t have time’. (That did not surprise me with the amount of time it took to travel down a short hallway!)

I have ‘rejigged’ the reading log for the little people, with the purpose of parents and teachers focusing on maintaining the natural enthusiasm and building responsibility for their learning in our little people! Have a look:


Th 2 Reading Log bw cover

This is the front

cover, with space

for the student’s

portrait and

name. Copy onto

colored paper

or let them color

it themselves! 


Th 3 Reading Logs

This is the first

inside page of

the Reading

Log, with the

legend and a

note for parents

explaining how

it all works! 


Th 4 10 June Reading Log

Students draw in &

submit reading

log with a page

completed monthly.

after discussing  

the 3 boxes at 

bottom at home.


strips - Copy

This is a later addition

to Reading Logs –

rejigged, for anyone

wishing to add extra

strips for additional

tracking (weekly?)

Simply return to your

My Purchases page &

download an update!


Th1 Familiar Reading explained! Free handout for parents and volunteers by ThatFunReadingTeacher

While this is not part of

Reading Logs – rejigged

it is the ideal info sheet

(& freebie) to include

with it or in your

familiar reading bags! 


It is my hope, that by focusing on each child as an individual ‘Superstar’ Reader (front cover), who has an important job to do in bringing his or her special Reading Folder or bag home regularly (hopefully with a library book to listen to, and/or some familiar reading), and returning it to school, it help foster a sense of pride in being a big kid who ‘reads’.

It is also my hope that our earliest little readers and their parents find reading stories at bedtime something they look forward to each night, and that stories accompany them elsewhere in their lives!

Below, please find the links to the free one month trial version and the full versions of Reading Logs – rejigged! If you like this idea, please pass it on!

I would love to hear your thoughts on reading logs, this new one, and alternatives you use.

Best wishes to all of you as we embark on another school year!



 FULL PRODUCT
RL fr sample FREE SAMPLE

The full product comes with all 12 months, plus additional months  for August, October,

November, December and April to keep options open regardless of country or religion!
Reading Log preview.png - Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Related:

First Grade and Kindergarten Literacy Bundle


Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Kindergarten Literacy Fun on Pinterest.

 

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle

http://thatfunreadingteacher.com/

ThatFunReadingTeacher@gmail.com

Click the symbol above to access my TpT Store! 😉

 


Reading Logs for young readers? Here’s an alternative!

Rethinking Reading Logs for young readers

I have spent most of my career teaching little people, and a good part of that time parenting little people, too. One topic of great discussion (well beyond kindergarten and grade one) was that of the Reading Log.

As a first grade teacher, I had mixed feelings about sending them home. It’s fairly easy to figure out early on what will become of one’s students’ reading logs throughout the year. As parents, we all have the best intentions. Teachers know that. Many of us fill both roles.

Life gets busy, especially that in-between school and bed time when you have to make and clean up dinner between driving kids everywhere ensure they’re somewhat clean, and maybe even do some homework. I believe that most parents do read with, or to, their kids. Writing it down (especially when we’re exhausted and feeling like we’re being policed?) Well, that’s a whole other story.

How many evenings did I spend at the end of each month, sitting at my kitchen table with a selection of different colored pens, filling in my kids’ reading logs? We absolutely read each night, probably for too long, but we sure didn’t break the spell to keep track of it all!

It is because I valued passing on the love of reading that, in the case of traditional Reading Logs, our kids learned from me that I was okay with dishonesty (under very specific circumstances). Yep, they learned that the magic of reading trumped honesty. GULP.

The Parent / Teacher Connection:

When I was teaching Reading Recovery, between my training and the variety of students I had, I began to really understand the difference between passive and active learners, and the connection between our roles as parents and teachers. Have you heard the phrase ‘Never do for a child what he can do for himself’? I’m a believer.

There was a very definite link between how quickly my students that were more independent with getting ready for recess or home, for example, and using the strategies I was teaching them, were progressing through the program. Those who simply shrugged when I asked them a question, or stood daydreaming in the hall, expecting someone to come and zip up their jackets were the ones who seemed to struggle the most. They were also the ones who left their reading bags at home, waited to be directed for every step of the same structured lesson we had each day. Some of my students did not have bedtime stories because they ‘didn’t have time’. (That did not surprise me with the amount of time it took to travel down a short hallway!)

I have ‘rejigged’ the reading log for the little people, with the purpose of parents and teachers focusing on maintaining the natural enthusiasm and building responsibility for their learning in our little people! Have a look:


Th 2 Reading Log bw cover

This is the front

cover, with space

for the student’s

portrait and

name. Copy onto

colored paper

or let them color

it themselves! 


Th 3 Reading Logs

This is the first

inside page of

the Reading

Log, with the

legend and a

note for parents

explaining how

it all works! 


Th 4 10 June Reading Log

Students draw in &

submit reading

log with a page

completed monthly.

after discussing  

the 3 boxes at 

bottom at home.


strips - Copy

This is a later addition

to Reading Logs –

rejigged, for anyone

wishing to add extra

strips for additional

tracking (weekly?)

Simply return to your

My Purchases page &

download an update!


Th1 Familiar Reading explained! Free handout for parents and volunteers by ThatFunReadingTeacher

While this is not part of

Reading Logs – rejigged

it is the ideal info sheet

(& freebie) to include

with it or in your

familiar reading bags! 


It is my hope, that by focusing on each child as an individual ‘Superstar’ Reader (front cover), who has an important job to do in bringing his or her special Reading Folder or bag home regularly (hopefully with a library book to listen to, and/or some familiar reading), and returning it to school, it help foster a sense of pride in being a big kid who ‘reads’.

It is also my hope that our earliest little readers and their parents find reading stories at bedtime something they look forward to each night, and that stories accompany them elsewhere in their lives!

Below, please find the links to the free one month trial version and the full versions of Reading Logs – rejigged! If you like this idea, please pass it on!

I would love to hear your thoughts on reading logs, this new one, and alternatives you use.

Best wishes to all of you as we embark on another school year!



 FULL PRODUCT
RL fr sample FREE SAMPLE

The full product comes with all 12 months, plus additional months  for August, October,

November, December and April to keep options open regardless of country or religion!
Reading Log preview.png - Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Related:

First Grade and Kindergarten Literacy Bundle


Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Kindergarten Literacy Fun on Pinterest.

 

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle

http://thatfunreadingteacher.com/

ThatFunReadingTeacher@gmail.com

Click the symbol above to access my TpT Store! 😉

 


Which letters are most important to young learners, and a fun (and FREE) activity!

Which letters are important to young learners, and a fun activity to do with them! Blog post by That Fun Reading Teacher


If you want to get children’s interest, ask about their world.It really does revolve around them! The letters young kids learn to identify first are those that they see most often. Many of these are the letters in their names.There are a number of benefits beginning letter learning with letters a child is most familiar with.

Children learn best when they are happily engaged in what they are doing and are most enthusiastic when they feel confident.

With that in mind, here is the ‘how-to’ on the preparation and lesson for the ‘Letters in your name’ flipbook:

Preparation:

  • Using 8 ½ x 14 paper, prepare the blank flip books.  If a child has six letters in his name, you will need three sheets of paper to lay one on top of the other, leaving approximately two centimeters, or just under an inch between the bottoms of each piece of paper.  When you fold the three papers in half, you will have six layers (see photo).  Staple these pages together, covering any sharp staple ends safely.  You now have the template for the ‘Letters in your name’ flipbook!  Be sure to adjust for the length of each child’s name.
  • Usually the children associate themselves with the first letter of their name.  Consider whether or not you would like a photo to be used on the front cover so it can be ready for the activity, or provide people shaped tracers or stamps, and students can personalize from there
  • Have a variety of options available to the children for illustrating the pages in their book.  As noted in The benefits of a personal alphabet book, it is important to find out what the child naturally associates with each letter sound on her own.  Reading Recovery teachers are equipped with a collection similar to the index car box in the photo, which allows for a quickly accessible variety of pictures for every letter.  If what the child suggests is not available, it can simply be drawn.  Many sticker collections can provide great content for these files as well as photocopies and pictures from fliers.  Holiday fliers are particularly useful.  ‘Witch’ and ‘ghost’ are popular alphabet book flier additions, thanks to Party Packagers and their terrific advertisements!

    A Reading Recovery teacher's alpha photo file.

    A Reading Recovery teacher’s alpha photo file.

Materials for the activity: 

  • Upper case and lower case letter stamps (optional, but helpful)
  • Prepared flip books (with child’s name lightly marked in pencil on the back)
  • Glue sticks and coloring materials
  • Small group setting (best done as a center)
  • Scissors if using fliers that have not been cut
  • Pictures for pages of flip books

The Activity:

  • Introduce the activity by talking about names, how special they are, and reinforce that individuality and uniqueness are positive traits.

    For Joshua, 'a' is for 'apple'

    For Joshua, ‘a’ is for ‘apple’.

  • Talk about the importance of the first letter of a name. Make big emphasis on capitalization here.
  • Show the kids a model of the ‘Letters in your name’ flip book and ask them if they notice anything different about the first letter.
  • If you are using stamps, show them the two sets.  Explain how to use them, and about the difference between the upper and lower-case set.
  • Explain that just like every person is different and special, everyone’s name book will also be different.  Even if two children have the same name, it is important for them to choose a picture that jumps into their own mind right away when they hear a letter sound.
  • Aim for two or three letters per day with each child.  Say the letter sounds for the kids and ask them what comes into their mind when they hear them.  If nothing, then leave that letter and move on.  It is okay to leave a page blank.  This is the start of a record of the child’s letter learning.
  • Allow the children to make their pages special with colour and décor.
  • Once the class is finished with this activity, send it home to be shared, but only after the information is transferred into a more permanent alphabet book that the child will continue to work on at school. This alphabet book will be a reference for the entire school year, and perhaps the next one, too.
  • Have the children ‘read’ their ‘Letters in your name’ flipbook to others with pride.  Reading buddies, volunteers, family members etc.
  • Most importantly have fun!

What are some ways you introduce letter learning to kids?

 

Related:

 

The benefits of a personal alphabet book - lessons learned from my Reading Recovery days. A blog post by That Fun Reading Teacher.

 

Best wishes with Back to School, everyone!

 2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle

Free Language Arts Lesson “Clip Cards and a Gift Card”

It’s “Back to School” season and I have a few goodies for you!  I’m excited to let you know that I am hosting a giveaway!  Teachers Pay Teachers issued a gift card to me so that I could promote my store.  Thank you TpT!

One lucky contestant will win a $10.00 gift card good toward teaching resources (or clip art) at the Teachers Pay Teachers website.

There’s only one requirement on the Rafflecopter to enter the contest.   A second task can be done to increase your odds of winning.  You’ll need to hurry!  The contest ends on August 23, 2016!  Although the contest will be short-lived, Teachers Pay Teachers gift cards NEVER EXPIRE!  They may not be used with purchase orders.

Click the image shown below to visit my blog and enter the Rafflecopter contest!gift cardIf you’re a kindergarten or first grade teacher, you will like the second goodie.  It’s a complete set of FREE alphabet clip cards.  If you’ve never used clip cards as a center activity, I highly recommend them.  They’re easy to put together and provide hours of learning engagement.  You’ll need a package of clothespins and some bright colored cardstock paper.  This file prints with black ink.  letter identification activityChildren match the uppercase letters with the appropriate lowercase letters by “clipping” the clothespins to the appropriate answers.  It’s best to program the answers on the backs of the cards with a highlighter or circular stickers.  This way, the center becomes self-checking.  tips for creating literacy centersLetter knowledge is a kindergarten skill.  However, there are many first graders that require additional practice . . . especially at the beginning of the school year when they are recovering from the “Summer Slump”.  Additionally, many children enter first grade feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by their new grade level requirements.  Providing struggling first graders with a center that they can complete at 96% to 100% accuracy builds their confidence in working independently.  teaching alphabetClick on the image shown below to get the alphabet center freebie!free alphabet clip cardsThat’s all for now.

Copyright 2016 Lessons by Molly

lessonsbymolly.blogspot.com

lessonsbymolly@teacherspayteachers

lessonsbymolly@pinterestlessons by molly


Benefits of a personal alphabet book – a lesson from my Reading Recovery days

The benefits of a personal alphabet book - lessons learned from my Reading Recovery days. A blog post by That Fun Reading Teacher.

 

Why go to the trouble of creating a personal Alphabet Book for your students, instead of having everyone in the class work through each letter together? It sounds like a lot to manage, but creating links to a child’s life early in literacy learning is worth the confidence and gains they make later.

When I taught Reading Recovery to grade one students early in the school year, creating a personal alphabet book was one of the first things we did together when we started lessons. It wasn’t until seven years in to my teaching career that I understood the benefits of a personal alphabet book, and I have Dr. Marie Clay and my Reading Recovery teacher leaders to thank for that.

In Literacy Lessons Part Two, Dr. Clay explains:

The alphabet book is merely a record of what is known with spaces for what is ‘yet to be learned’  That gives the child a sense of the size of the task and a feeling of control over his own progress.  It also provides a location to return to when a troublesome letter, still being confused, turns up. (p37)

She explains that children do not generally learn to identify letters by name or sound in alphabetical order and that identifying a letter by name or sound is equally useful for a child early on, as it is most effective to teach both name and sound together.

 

When children have one word for each letter that he or she knows for sure makes that letter sound, they use it as an anchor, a concrete example to hold all other words against for comparison.

When they have their own sound alphabet that they have created from the words most meaningful to them, the words that pop into their minds with the initial letter sounds and that association gives them confidence that they know that particular sound.  It gives them the confidence to ‘spit’ that sound out when they see an unknown word on a page when they are reading, or put down that first letter when attempting to write a word they have never attempted before.

The personal alphabet book is the ultimate, at-a-glance reference guide. It is meaningful to each child, because that child constructed it from people and things that are meaningful to them already. The connections are already in place.

The key to the effectiveness of a personalized alphabet book is in its construction.  It must be done slowly but with enthusiasm, following the child’s lead, reviewed often and used as reference.

Years ago, we spent hours cutting up old coloring books and worksheets to use as images for our students’ alphabet books. This led to the creation of a kit as a time-saver! Try it free in the BTS Sampler, linked below!

Ready to create a personal alphabet book? Here’s how.

Related:

The Complete Alphabet Book Kit #BTS Big Bundle by That Fun Reader Teacher

Free Back to School Sampler by That Fun Reading Teacher How to create a personal alphabet book - a post by That Fun Reading Teacher.

Best wishes for Back to School, everyone!

I.M. That Fun Reading Teacher!


 2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle


Starting a Reading Buddies program in your classroom? Some tips and a freebie!

 

Starting a #ReadingBuddies program in your classroom- Some tips and a freebie to get you started!

 

Thinking about starting a Reading Buddies program in your classroom this year? Here are some tips and tools to get things rolling!

Consider putting School-wide Reading Buddies on a staff meeting agenda.

Discuss the benefits for all students with your divisional leads and administration, and even if the seed of the idea is planted to be reassessed next year, it will give you a sense of who might be open to a pairing for this year.

Take age into consideration.

An age / grade difference of 2-3 years between buddies puts a clear boundary between who the big buddies and little buddies are.

Approach a colleague about pairing classes…

…and be realistic about whether your schedules will work! Casual conversation over lunch can often accomplish this, but it seems like our time is less our own these days! I have created this free letter and form to simplify the process:

Reading Buddies teacher letter free 

Build Reading Buddy time into your timetable.

When ‘it’s official’ everyone knows what to expect, when. Perhaps it is alternate week familiar reading, word-work, or math skills review through games, part of character education or religious education for forty minutes. While  may Reading Buddies may not appear in on the timetable your principal has to hand in to the school board, it’s important that the kids have this special time to look forward to. It could even happen over lunch!

Define expectations to both classes.

This is accomplished best if done as individual classes, as the expectations differ for the age groups in some ways. Review general expectations when they are brought together for the first few times, and provide visual reminders. Reading Buddies time can quickly look like recess if sixty kids are unsure of what the rules are, half the kids, ‘read the book already’ and have decided to hang out with someone else!

Talk to your partner class’ teacher about general and specific expectations.

I wrote general expectations in a storybook lesson format for my students, explaining to the bigger buddies (third graders) ‘This is what I am reading to your little buddies‘ (kindergarters). One of my valued TpT customers reads her class the story, then posts the pages on a bulletin board! I love that!

Here are some ideas for general expectations from my Reading Buddies Starter pack:

Student expectations defined in That Fun Reading Teacher's Reading Buddies Starter Pack

What are some expectations that you find important to put in place during Reading Buddies time?

Best wishes to all you!

    I.M. at 

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Related: 

The benefits of a Reading Buddies program and not just the little buddies! by That Fun Reading Teacher Reading Buddies

#BTS Big Bundle by That Fun Reader Teacher Rethinking Reading Logs for young students by That Fun Reading Teacher


Back to School – Number Counting Posters

It might be “Christmas in July” but it’s “BACK TO SCHOOL” in August!  Here’s a photo of my boxwood bushes done up with lights during the past holiday season.christmas in july freebieWell, it’s not Christmas yet but I do have a FREEBIE for you.  Read on.

I’ve just finished a GIANT file of numeral and number counting posters.  The posters have mosaic backgrounds.  I purchased these papers from Bev’s Learning Hut and I couldn’t be more pleased with how beautiful they turned out!  Best of all, mosaic designs have been in existence for a long time and they NEVER go out of style!

There are a total of SEVEN sets of colors in the priced file.  I’m offering one set as a FREEBIE.  (Merry Christmas in July!)  The colors included in the larger file are red, blue, green, pink, orange, purple, and light blue.  You’re getting the red set with blue fish!

Each set of posters includes numerals zero through twenty.  There are colorful fish displayed on the posters to match each numeral shown.  The children can practice counting skills by counting the fish on any given poster.  If you display the posters at the children’s eye level on your classroom wall, they can practice counting during their spare time.

Each numeral is approximately 7 centimeters tall.  The numeral font that I used is a ideal for modeling correct numeral formation.  The numeral “4” is formed with straight lines.  The line on the numeral “9” is straight so that is does not appear like an upside down “6”.

I have created these poster with simplicity in mind so that educators can use them to focus on a few of the related Common Core Math Standards for kindergarten.  Those are:

1.  Writing numerals 0 to 20.

2.  Reading numbers 0 to 20.

3.  Counting up to 20 objects (with numbers 0 to 10 in scattered formation) and naming the corresponding number.

You will need colored ink to print the posters.  I recommend printing them with white cardstock paper.  If you’d like, laminate them for long lasting use.

The slide show below shows some of the posters from the large file.  You might notice that I was able to print without a white edge around my pages.  The mosaic backgrounds are very attractive when there is NO WHITE BORDER.  Plus, printing without the white edge means that you won’t spend any time trimming.  I’ve included a tutorial on how to print without the white border.  You can also view this blog post to see picture directions:  Borderless Printing Tips for Teachers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click the FIRST image to view the posters at my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.  Click the SECOND image to get the FREE, 0 to 20 number posters with the red mosaic style.number-postersnumber-counting-postersI hope that you are enjoying your summer break!  School will be coming soon!

Copyright 2016 Molly McMahon, Lessons by Molly

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Canada Themed No-Prep Printables for Literacy Review (and kids’ thoughts on Canada Day)

Blog Post - Fun, NoPrep Canada Literacy Activities and Canada Day conversations with the little people!

Hello my friends! Here in Ontario, we have one week left of classes. At the end of the school year, I like to take some time to discuss Canada Day with my students. For the age group I teach, their perceptions of Canada Days past can be quite entertaining:


That Fun Reading Teacher's student - funny quote on Fireworks #kids say the #darndest things! That Fun Reading Teacher's student's view of #Canada's beginning

Canada Day is clearly a memorable experience for even our youngest students, whether it be of fireworks, time with family or friends during the day. Whether we are retelling a story that we have read together, creating our own adventure, or discussing a personal experience, there is a logical sequence of events and words that match: first, then, finally (or whichever vocabulary you have decided to use!) (For a post about using the 3 part graphic organizer with young students, and a freebie, click here!)

Here is a fun Canada Day story that started orally with a reading buddy who helped sort out the three basic story parts before the pictures were drawn (and was duly thanked!)

Canada Read and Write and More - Graphic Organizer

These no-prep printables come from Canada Read and Write and More, the first set of what I have started to develop as a series. Here is the Canada themed and Canada Day writing paper:


Canada Day Read and Write and More writing paper sample Canada Read and Write and More Writing Paper sample

My students enjoy ‘fun worksheets’ every so often. The literacy skills practice pages that are included so far are pictured below:


Canada Read and Write and More - syllables Canada Read and Write and More - read and colour

3 Canada Print or Paste

Bonus Terry Fox and hockey colouring fact sheets for those early finishers!


Canada Day Read and Write and More - Terry Fox sample Canada Day Read and Write and More - hockey sample

I will leave you with this freebie and links to money-saving bundles that include Canada Read and Write and More! Best wishes to all of you as you finish the school year, and Happy Canada Day!

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Th1 PP Canada Bundle thumbs Th1 Canada 2pk

P.S. Here’s a little ‘Aha’ moment from a pre-Canada Day conversation in my classroom about 19 years ago…no figurative language in kindergarten!


That Fun Reading Teacher's #AhaMoment on why not to use figurative language with #kindergarten students

Related:


Canada BINGO by That Fun Reading Teacher Canadian Fun ideas for elementary students to learn about and celebrate Canada sq


TpT Language Arts Lesson – Writing For Real Purposes: Fun Summer Lists!

Have you noticed that in the last few weeks of the school year, it gets more challenging to motivate kids to write? Many seem to only have the energy and patience for tasks that have real purpose. And let’s face it, kids are far more motivated to do what we do or what they see others excited about.

 

 

 

The Writing For Real Purposes: Fun Summer Lists storybook provides a model of students discussing how various types of lists are useful to them, and the lists they have made. (If you purchased this pack last year, simply download the update that now includes the storybook!)

Summer is an ideal time for making plans and getting kids involved in making lists. Being mindful of meeting them where they are, it is important to communicate flexibility in terms of the expectations for how the lists are filled in. Because some children may be writing while others are copying or drawing, each printable has a lined and unlined version (except for the Friends contact lists which have ‘mostly girls’ / ‘mostly boys versions’).

Think of the possibilities of summer vacation….

Packing Lists…


10 page storybook lessonSlide1

(Excerpts shown from here)

Slide4

One of the storybook pages


5 Stuff to pack blank - Copy 7 Food list blank

Slide7 11 Things to pack for Water Fun

Lists for Summer Socials…


Slide6 Slide5

Slide10 Slide35

Lists of wishes, favorites and nostalgia…


Slide13 1 Summer Bucket list blank.png - Copy

Slide30 Slide16

Whether they draw or paste pictures, dictate to us while we scribe, print in hieroglyphics or phonetically spelled words, when students make real world connections to their own writing, it becomes its own reward!

Write for Real Purposes: Products and Freebies!


Th1 Th1

Th 1 Father's Day cover 300
Thank you for being my Reading Buddy!

Best wishes to all of you as we enter the last month of the school year!

That Fun Reading Teacher

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FREE LESSON – Differentiated Mother’s Day Card for beginning writers (and BIG TpT site-wide sale on today and tomorrow!)

Free Lesson: Differentiate Mother's Day Card!

Hello my friends!
Is it just me, or did Mother’s Day sneak up on us as quickly as Easter this year?

In times like these, I’m grateful for the stash. (We all have a collection of never-fail, warm-fuzzy lessons and go to printables, don’t we?)

The time-saving factors in this Mother’s Day Card is twofold: 1) Print or photocopy and your students instantly have something to color, and 2) the inserts that allow each child to print (or paste if unable to print) at the level they are comfortable with. By pre-printing the various options, your students have different choices for how they can complete their Mother’s Day message, and most will be able to do something independently.

Disclaimer: Student names do need to be added to individual cards! 

Inside MD card 1

Some students might be capable of printing a message on their own. Others may copy from a strip or trace. Those who are not printing yet can simply glue their message in.


Copying Th4

Perhaps you’re working on 1:1 correspondence and would like to take this opportunity to practice. Cut the words apart and have your students reassemble the sentence in order, with or without a model.

Lesson from a recovering over-achiever:

Over the years I realized that I had to adjust my expectations to my circumstances. Some years we may have a smaller number of students in our class, students that work more independently or more support for our students with special needs. Particularly at this time of the year, and even more with Father’s Day, schedules go awry and every week feels more frantic than the week before.

This activity worked best, especially in more challenging years, when I let the students choose how they wanted to do the inside of the card. It came down to a decision:

Was the goal of the activity to teach and assess a particular goal or skill for any or all of my students, or for my students to simply enjoy creating something special for mom?

If you like to #DifferentiateByPrinting as is done with this card, check out these growing collections: Sight-Word-Stages Leveled Reader Sets and Read and Write and More!

On another note…

Did you see what I added to the title?  I am a mom and a teacher and a MAJOR appreciator of teachers myself. Thank you to all of you for getting in there with your students everyday. TpT has announced that it’s time to appreciate teachers with a big, site-wide sale! Please see the button below for details!

Enjoy the sale, and Happy Spring!


Teacher Appreciation Sale! Free Mother's Day card


SWS sq 350 Father's Day card

 


Easter phrasing, fluency and fun (and a freebie for everyone!)

Easter Rhythm and Rhyme

It was almost Easter, and I found myself fighting off the urge to nod off while my students were reading some of the most entertaining leveled books schools can buy. My primary readers were in a slump. I heard it their robotic, monotone reading. Things needed shaking up with phrasing and pacing with a number of my early readers. I ran the risk of my head falling to my chest and a potential neck injury.

It was time for another Phrasing and Fluency Blitz!

When I taught Reading Recovery, there were times that a student would plateau at a a level for more than a week. We would be advised to take two or three lessons for a phrasing and fluency blitz – rereading some familiar, easier books to rebuild confidence, model and practice phrasing and pick up the pace! Many of our students’ favorites were readers that rhymed, had a lively rhythm and made us both laugh!

I used the freebie The Bunny Hop Easter Song and Movement Activity in Kindergarten poetry books as a music and movement activity. It works particularly well if modeled and echoed first before showing earliest readers the text:

This freebie also has a black and white version included with it – ideal for poetry folders!

It’s all about the Eggs is an Easter Fun Fluency Reader  modeled after I’m All About the Bass (performed by Meghan Trainor, co-written by Meghan Trainor and Kevin Kadish). I’m All About the Bass had been on the radio so much last year that my students knew the tune instantly. I modeled the first read to them, and we practiced a few phrases in isolation before we all enjoyed singing it fluently from beginning to end (over, and over and over again.)

 

 

There is a twist on a familiar Fairy Tale in this book that the kids find hilarious (but humor and laughter are topics for other days…).

 

Limitation of liability: It’s all about the Eggs is not recommended for those who are prone to getting songs stuck in their head or with one last nerve.

Happy Easter everyone!
That Fun Reading Teacher 
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original-1676037-1 Th 1 Easter freebie1 Th1 Where is my...

Related:

SWS page header Easter playlists


Read and Write and DIFFERENTIATE by printing – for Valentine’s Day!

Read and Write and DIFFERENTIATE by printing - for Valentine's Day!

A significant part of my support role to kindergarten and primary teachers in recent years has been to provide instruction and / or resources to differentiate instruction for little people in literacy.

Within one class, the range of abilities can span four grades. A little one’s tolerance to frustration towards a task that is too difficult, or another’s need for something to challenge his or her learning for just the right amount of time, can be a tough order to fill – especially at the same time – after gym and snack time and before recess, library and reading buddies.

I have designed my Read and Write and More packages to allow teachers to #DifferentiateByPrinting. There are always activities in each of these products to address a variety of needs.

Valentine Scrambled Sentences:

(Note: The colored sentence strips shown in the first example are provided in the Valentine’s Day Read and Write and More set. There are two different sentence options to choose from to photocopy onto each color paper, with six identical scrambled sentences on each strip).


Val sent sheet  Slide6 Slide7

Having the option to place and paste sentence strips, place and copy sentence strips, work without the strips on easier or more challenging sentences, means that many pre-writers, early writers and / or are independent writers have an accessible starting point.


Valentine Rhyme and Ending Sounds:

See it, hear it, read it? Assessment or  fun practice activities?
I use the following pages for fun small group review, then send them home for the fridge, where my wish is for the back-of-the-cereal box effect.

When I am doing the following rhyme activity with students, I am mindful of my data. Those who need more practice listening for rhyme and ending sounds and who automatically compare letter patterns at the ends of words will get the sheet without print. Proficient rhymers who need more practice with looking closely at print will get the copy with the words. And, of course, other days there will be other activities for those who do not fit neatly into those categories. 


Slide5 Slide4 Slide3

Check out these fantastic ideas and resources on our Rhyme Time board below:
Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Rhyme Time! on Pinterest.


Valentine’s Day Read and Write and More contains a number of other fun literacy activities, including:


Slide2->

Graphic Organizers, Writing Paper,

B & W Cards to color with insert ->

Valentine Graphic Organizers and Cards

And for another day…

…activities for the 100th day of school!

 


The Read and Write and More sets always contain three-part graphic organizers, thematic writing paper, and fun, literacy activities with an explanation page, ideas and options to help make activities accessible to a wide range of kindergarten to grade 2 students.

We all remember our little students on Valentine’s Day. Check out the freebies below to be sure no one is missed!

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle Happy Valentine’s Week, my friends!  


Th1 Valentine Th Staffroom Valentine Cards cover 400 Th1 Reading Buddies V

Save with Bundles!


Th1 Th1 Val Bundle Cover Th1 Winter Valentine Bundle.png

 

 



No-prep printables – Reading and Writing for Christmas!

2x Xmas Preview - Copy

Happy (almost) holidays, my friends. Have you noticed an excitement in the air? My students definitely have the Christmas Spirit, and are always thrilled to have some fun seasonal activities do to recognize it!

I run Early Literacy Intervention groups with students from grades 1-3. While we do guided reading and writing, and play skill-building games, once in a while I do like to have them do some worksheets that I can keep a copy of in their files. We are currently working through both of the packages shown in the picture above and they are enthusiastic with the variety of activities at their ‘just-right’ level, too.

Here is a close up of the North Pole Reading and Writing Fun preview:

North Pole Preview

…and one of the Nativity Reading and Writing Fun preview:

demoNativityReadingandWritingActivities

The kids are having a lot of fun with these, thanks to the wonderful clip art by Edu-clips.com. They can’t wait to color the pictures!

Each of these packages come with the following tip sheet:

Instructions

Best wishes to all of you and yours as we wrap up for the holidays. Take care of you, too!

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Th1 Xmas bundle Th1 BigXmas

Th1 Nat R&W cover - Copy Th1 North Pole R & W JPG file

Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Christmas Literacy Fun! on Pinterest.


Counting by 2s, phrasing, fluency and quotation marks with REINDEER!

Counting by 2s post

Have you ever noticed how perfectly the Santa’s reindeer and Rudolph stories lend themselves to teaching kids about counting by twos? The reindeer are paired up in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer song and in Santa’s famous line at the end of the classic story Twas the Night Before Christmas. The teachable moment is just sitting in front us begging to be used!

Perhaps that is why I, That Fun Math Reading Teacher, have started passing on this Phrasing and Fluency Reader to teachers as a math resource as well. (For anyone who may have purchased it more than a year ago, please go back to your purchases page and download an updated version.)

Last year I was using 10 at the Sled primarily for the phrasing, fluency and fun factor. That is, after all, the purpose for which it was written in the first place. It can be sung to the tune of Ten in the Bed, and even if students are not familiar with the song, they do catch on to the simple melody quickly and enjoy the repetition. They also hear how certain words fall together naturally to create phrases.

TenattheSledacountingbysphrasingfluencyreaderandsong

After several requests for a black and white student booklet last year, I created one over the summer, using speech bubbles where there are quotation marks used in the color edition:


Th2 10 at Sled 1 Th3 10 at Sled

I wanted to show students what quotation marks really mean, in a visual way, rather than only telling them. I am finding that with this year’s students, this concrete approach has made a huge difference. We compare my color copy with their black and white copy and discuss how quotation marks and speech bubbles really serve the same purpose. *Lightbulb moment*!

The tone, expression (and curiously deep voices) they use when reading the ‘spoken’ lines are hilarious! But clearly, meaningful to them!

Thank you to all of the teacher bloggers who provided feedback during the Christmas in July sale that led to these revisions.

Enjoy these last two weeks!

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Th1 10 at Sled 1 Th1 BigXmas Th1 Xmas bundle

What are your favorite ways to bring various subject areas together? Here are some of mine:


CH 2pk cover 5 H Fr Th1 Halloween Count main cover - Copy

Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Math and Literacy Fun on Pinterest.


Halloween Math and Literacy Fun, freebies and Blog Hop with great prizes!


 Hal Fr  Main Image

Happy almost Halloween everyone! I am so excited to be participating in this Halloween Blog Hop! There are lots of great teacher tips, lessons and freebies along the way, so I hope you’re able to visit each store for inspiration and (who’s kidding who!) the awesome freebies! And check this out:

Prize

You’ll see the Rafflecopter machine a little further down. But first, I thought I’d take you down memory lane..

Did you used to sing the classic song 99 Bottles of Beer, with its stick-in-your-brain-forever melody and uncanny ability to teach even the most math-challenged among us to rote count backwards from 100?

I did, and it stuck so much that, years ago, I changed the words and created an activity to go with it. Its adhesive quality remains.

The activity:

  1. Print enough freebies for your entire class, and one for yourself. You’ll also see options for the color version at the bottom of this post.
  2. Plan enough time for each student to take a turn at the board. You’ll see why in a minute!
  3. Have some early finishers color and cut out your freebie, mount on sturdy paper, laminate if you wish, and place magnets on the back for use on a magnetic surface.
  4. Gather the class and draw a wall for your characters to stand on. If you have not read the story with them (optional purchase pictured below), then introduce the activity by discussing their thoughts regarding standing on high walls, predictions about what could happen etc. Throughout the course of the song, one character will be falling at a time.
  5. Now, warm up that singing voice! “Mi, mi, mi…”
  6. Give each child a chance to make a character fall from the wall as you sing this song:

Hal Fr 1  5 Halloween friends on the wall,
5 Halloween friends …
Hal Fr 2  If 1 of these friends has a big fall,
How many friends are left on the wall?

Hal Fr 3 4 Halloween friends on the wall,
4 Halloween friends …
Hal Fr 4 If 1 of these friends has a big fall,
How many friends are left on the wall?

Hal Fr 53 Halloween friends on the wall,
3 Halloween friends …
Hal Fr 6 If 1 of these friends has a big fall,
How many friends are left on the wall?

And you simply continue this way until there is one friend left on the wall.

7.  Invite your students to discuss what they noticed or found interesting about the song / story. Were there any patterns? Does anyone think that there was math in the story? How could a number sentence be written about what just happened?

8. Have fun!

Now back to the fun for the grown-ups!  Here’s the secret word for the Rafflecopter machine…


Potion

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to pop over to Elementary AMC by clicking below!


Haunt Over to Next Blog

And grab your freebie below! The story and activity book with color cut-outs is also available here.


Th1 Halloween freebie Th1 5 Hall friends cover

And here’s a little something of interest for those advanced-placement math-types (who I know all too well…)


Happy haunting everyone!

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Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Math and Literacy Fun on Pinterest.


Not Another Parent Night!

 

Socrates LanternHeader Graphic small

 

Are you thinking, Oh No!!! Another parent night, what am I going to do? Do you stay up worrying the night before?, or feel butterflies in your stomach? Are you self conscious about getting up and speaking in front of parents? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone.

My teaching partner and I came up with a way to make parent night fun for everyone, including ourselves, since neither of us likes to get up in front of an audience, other than our classroom, lol!

It happened one afternoon, after the kids had gone home.  We wanted to do something different for parent night.  Suddenly, the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” came into my head, and I had an Ah ha! moment. Why not show parents what our program is like instead of telling them.  That’s  how our Parent Night Video Program began.

We prepared for the  taping by making sure we got the go ahead from the principal as well ICS_MS_lockersas all the teachers who work with our students. Next we let our classes in on it, and they just loved the idea.

When the appointed day arrived, we were at the front door, camcorder in hand, to tape them as soon as they got off the bus. We were  greeted with waves and hellos as they entered the building and proceeded to their homerooms.

Mostly, we recorded  the kids, but we also wanted to show our teaching style so the parents could get to know us a little, We would go back and forth between rooms creating a short video of both. This can be tricky because the kids are alone for a few minutes just about every period. It’s amazing how much you learn about yourself and your charges when you watch yourself teach. We always made sure that we captured each child doing something, we never wanted anyone to feel left out, or for any parent to say, “I didn’t see my Sally.”

After period one which was either history or science, we’d escort them to Unified Arts, taping while walking. Some of them would be sewing, others would be doing woodwork, art, or metal shop. Again we would go back and forth between classes doing our filming. Parents loved to see them in action, we’d hear “oohs and ahs,” as they saw their little ones using power equipment, or sewing machines, and cleaning up after themselves. They were in amazed at the types of things the kids did, especially in metal/wood-shop, without losing fingers or limbs.

Unified Arts were over, we would then tape either English or Math classes  continuing to make sure that everyone was included.

At the finish of a busy morning,  we would switch classes and get ready to go to lunch. which is a real trip. We filmed them going through the lunch line and showed the cafeteria staff serving their food. Watching their child eat, and what they threw away was eye opening for many parents.

Back to class to continue taping either math, English, world history or science classes.  As the day drew to a close, you could still see us taping the children while in homeroom study period. and as their buses were being announced over the loudspeaker.  Our ending statement says it all, “The last bus has been called, the room is empty, and quiet and sometimes we like it like that.” We always get chuckles from the parents because they can relate.

Our final step, before parent night, was to send notes home letting them know that they will be viewing a  presentation of, A Day in the Life of their Child. Then we did some edits.

During the day of parent night, the class gets to see the end production, We give them popcorn or some type or snack and enjoy the movie together. We can now laugh at ourselves and congratulate the students for a job well done.

Parent night finally arrived and our production was ready for viewing. We introduced it and told them that the video will probably answer every question that they might have and it usually does. Jokingly we called ourselves Marin & Filipek DeMille after the Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille and the parents cparents clappinghuckled over that. The ice had been broken and we’re ready to begin.

Of course, there were times when the unexpected happened, like the video player doesn’t work, or we can’t find the TV that we signed up for. We’re all human, and these things occur. We took it in our stride and the parents were understanding. Eventually, we got everything up and running and all were happy.

The best part is to watch the reactions of the parents as they watch their kiddos in action. They marvel at how busy they are and how
much work is done throughout the day. They’ve never seen how their child behaves in school and they just love this. Better still, they realize what a difficult job we, as teachers have trying to tame these middle school children.

 

 

 

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Back to School and Fall Graphic Organizers: Kindergarten and Primary – and a SURPRISE ONE DAY SALE!

 


Fall Graphic Org Long Pin G.O. square.png

Hello my friends. Are you fans of graphic organizers? Since I have started teaching Special Education, I have become one, particularly of repeating the three-frame format regularly to encourage sequential thinking and organization in our youngest students. It helps them understand, make predictions and retell the stories they hear and read, and plan out those they create.

I say create, and not write, because some of our students do not write, in a conventional way. When focusing on beginning, middle and end; first, next, finally; list creation or anything else that a three-frame organizer can accommodate (and really, the possibilities are wide open, which you will see in the post I wrote here demonstrating some options for the free Earth Day 3-frame graphic organizer).

Regardless of age, motor skills, or writing ability, this format allows space for drawing, stamping, pasting pictures, using stickers, and large invented spelling with the teacher’s translation below!

I have created a bundle of over 20 3-frame graphic organizers for Back-to-School and Fall. The following are the pages contained within it:


Th1 Fall BTS org cover

Available at TpT

Th 3 Summer Memories Th 6 1st day of school

Th2 All About Me Th 5 Best Things About School Th 8 Goals

Th 4 BTS Th 7 blank starting school Th 9 Apples Frame

Th 11 Fall animals Th 12 Fall Th 13 Pumpkins

Th 10 Leaves border Th4 I am thankful for Th 16 Thanksgiving for my family

Th 19 Halloween Th 17 My Halloween Costume Th3 Halloween Night

Th 20 Remembrance Day Th 21 Veteran's Day Lesson & freebie!Earth day freebie.png

I also wanted to let you know that TpT has just announced a one-day surprise Site-wide sale for Wednesday August 19th! I have marked everything in my store down by 20%, and with TpT’s discount (use PROMO code MORE15), that’s 28% savings! I am bundling more items for even more value to you!


Related:


Kind 1st gr Lit Bundle Sq Th1 TFRT BTS & F Special Cover original-1994028-1

Th Dos & don'ts of motivating young children to write Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Graphic Organizers on Pinterest.

Best wishes to you for the rest of your summer, and to those of you returning to school already!


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An important lesson from my Reading Recovery days: Begin at the very beginning

Begin at the very beginning

I taught for a decade before I started my Reading Recovery training, beginning with kindergarten in a school where half of my students understood only Portuguese when they arrived. In those first ten years I moved between kindergarten, primary special education and grade one. My grade one students who struggled the most were lucky enough to have the Reading Recovery program in place, and I was astounded at the changes I saw in them in such a short time. Those teachers had some kind of magic and I was thrilled when I was able to take the position at my school. There was a mystery that surrounded what really happened in that little room.

Wait a minute – the kid learns nothing new and the teacher does everything for them?

I began my Reading Recovery training like my fellow trainees, enthusiastic, and in a hurry to get my students reading and writing! I was impatient with the ‘Roaming around the Known’ period: ‘Roaming’ being delicately consolidating (with ABSOLUTELY no teaching) around what the child already knows (the ‘known’), perhaps discovering more about what is known or stumbling upon areas of difficulty somehow missed in the testing process. It was a ten lessons, two week complete, no-stress, the-child-does-all-he’s-capable-of-and-you-do-everything-else period of (what felt like) non-structured, laziness. It drove us all nuts – at first.

But here’s what actually happened.

We had LOADS of fun. The kids, who at the beginning of grade one already knew they were ‘the worst readers in the class’ and had already been refusing to take risks and try anything new, gained confidence and trust in us, the process and themselves and started to try. They were excited to come to Reading Recovery every day, before we even started lessons.

What did we do?

  1. We read familiar books over, and over, and over again.
  2. We made our own story books, sharing the marker; the child writing the words s/he knew, the teacher writing the rest.
  3. We played games with the words and letters the child already knew. We painted (with water) on the walls of the school and the playground, in sand trays, and shaving cream.
  4. We practiced moving from left to right…and I could go on (and will in a future post)…

My point is, we learned that there is nothing wrong with EASY, especially when dealing with a child whose confidence needs a boost.

Most of the children I have worked with in recent years are these very children. For many of them, the little things are giant in their minds. Anticipation of a task can be more difficult to manage than the task itself. We need to start with success and build up one baby step at a time. You do remember Baby Steps, don’t you?


Dr Leo Marvin TFRT

And, of course, humor keeps us all going when the going gets tough!

Here are a few links to help anyone who is starting at the very beginning of the literacy journey this year. Best wishes to you!


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PreEmergent Sight-Word-Stages Readers (two words per page, also available in bundles):

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Canada Day is July 1st, so brush up on your ‘Canadian’, eh?

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Happy Canada Day, everyone! I write this to you on the eve of Canada’s 148th birthday! 

For those of us who are Canadians of a certain age, life experience and education, the images below are easy to name and contain a number of our national symbols.

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Do you know anyone who could benefit from brushing up on their Canadian vocabulary?

demoCanadaCanadaBingo

BINGO is a fun way to do it at any age!

Click below to access Celebrate Canada Bingo and a Happy Canada Day FREEBIE! in my TpT Store!


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Like the freebie?

Here is another Celebrate Canada Product, this one focused on Early Literacy, which can be purchased in a bundle with the Celebrate Canada BINGO game:


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Click the links below to my TpT store for the Celebrate Canada Literacy activities or Bundle, or to explore other areas of the site with related Canadian content!


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Cndn TpTers CanDayStories

And have a Happy Canada Day!!!!!

Follow That Fun Reading Teacher’s board Celebrate Canada Day! on Pinterest.
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http://thatfunreadingteacher.com/

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A post to pass on to parents: Reading and writing through play!

Reading and writing through play!

 

Do you have a child who loves animals, may wish to be a veterinarian or doctor, and could use a little practice or writing his or her name? (Not that you would ever mention it…)


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How about one who does not see the point in learning to read or write, but has a fantastic imagination?


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A sociable child with boundless energy, an interest in the law, perhaps, and exploring roles?


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Maybe you have a child that likes to pretend to be grown-up sometimes, and receive the praise self-esteem boost that goes with it. I admit to feeling very important as a ‘waitress’ at summer BBQs growing up. (My brothers preferred to be ‘bartenders’). It was always more official and fun with a notepad in hand.

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And once the drinks are handed out, someone is bound to start telling stories. Perhaps your child is a fan of pirates, or a natural storyteller?

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The child in this post could be any child.

Children learn without even realizing it through play, and read and write for real purposes .

We learned this way when we were kids. We played. We helped out. We didn’t have the electronic distractions of today.

The templates above (and a few more) have been designed for today’s more discerning audience in a product called Summer Fun: Reading and writing through play. It is included in a bundle with another Writing for Real Purposes product: Fun Summer Lists, which I wrote about here. I have included the links below, and the original post that launched this line of products.

Kids love to imagine, create and role play. Thank you to those of you who do purchase these products. I hope anyone reading this post is inspired to play with their kids and discreetly slip in teachable moments where possible. The key is to have fun and let go of expectations.

It is summer time after all.

Best wishes to all of you!

I.M.

That Fun Reading Teacher 

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Related:

Thank you for being my Reading Buddy!

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Language Arts Lesson-OCEAN Animals Bingo- Pre K-2 – Writing Prompt

This Ocean Animals BINGO features 12 of the most beloved Ocean Animals . This package is very helpful to celebrate National Aquarium and Zoo month of June in your classroom.

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https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/OCEAN-Animals-Bingo-Pre-K-2-Writing-Prompt-1813650

The package includes:
– Lesson PlanOCEANAnimalsBingoPreKWritingPrompt-page-002

-BINGO Board- Students can color objects using a single color . Encourage creativity. For example a blue turtle, green shark.etc

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– Once the bingo board is filled, ask students to complete the writing prompt. Each sentence should describe the animal’s color and size. For example: My shark is green and big.

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-Play Bingo. Read different combinations and write them on the board. You can play for the whole board. All combinations should be written on the board. Ask students to verify their worksheets and correct them as they play. Winners can get homework passes.

-Word Search- Great conclusion for word recognition and review. Have students work in small groups and compete for a Homework pass.

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You have enough material to work for a 1-2 days. You can use the vocabulary worksheet as a quiz at the end of the unit.

ENJOY!!!

 

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Fun Summer Lists – Writing for Real Purposes!

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Many children today do not have much appreciation for the world of paper and pen. The electronic world is far more seductive and even the adults in their lives are likely spending time on laptops or smartphones. Guilty as charged over here.

While building writing skills may come easily to some children, it can be overwhelming and exhausting to others. What is in it for them? They simply must see a point to it for real-world purposes, and receive positive feedback.

Kids do see us make lists – even if we make them on our smartphones. And kids do what we do (not necessarily what we say!)

For our purposes today, writing will mean any communicating in print. We’re talking about Kindergarten to grade two or three students of varying abilities.

Our goal is to help them understand why they are learning to write, buy into it and know that they are contributing members of society, who are appreciated for the contribution they are making by doing so!

Think of the possibilities for planning a day trip, or vacation….

Packing Lists…


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11 Things to pack for Water Fun 12 Things to pack for Water Fun - lined

The Social and Wish Lists…


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Lists about stories and games…or anything really!


16 Fav Stories 18 Stories I want to read 17 Books I read this summer

13 Games I really like 14 Games I really want 15 Apps and Games that help me learn

Whether our child / student draws or pastes pictures, dictates to us while we scribe, prints in hieroglyphics, or phonetically spelled words, we need to make this real world connection and commend them for making the effort. Especially in the summer!

Fun  Summer Lists is included in a WRITING FOR REAL PURPOSES bundle called Summer Literacy Fun Pack, with Summer Fun: Reading and Writing through Play pictured below.

These products were inspired by a post I wrote last summer (also pictured below) and by the effectiveness of these types of activities with my own children and students. I hope you enjoy them. Think Summer! It’s just around the corner!

Best wishes to all of you as we head into the final month of school!

I.M.

That Fun Reading Teacher 

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Some 

(almost)

Summer

freebies!

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Sight Words Hide and Seek BUNDLE

Sight Words Hide and Seek BUNDLE

Sight Words Hide and Seek BUNDLE

You can view this FUN resource HERE!

Purchasing the bundle saves you 12% off of the total of all 4 sets.

You can find individual sets with previews at the links below:
Sight Words Hide & Seek (Set 1)
Sight Words Hide & Seek (Set 2)
Sight Words Hide & Seek (Set 3)
Sight Words Hide & Seek (Set 4)

This 100 page bundle includes sets 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each set includes a page for each of 25 high frequency sight words listed below. Students are given directions to write each word, color the sight word a particular color, and write a sentence with each word. Students are to make it a game of “hide and seek” as they look to find (tag) the directed sight word on each page. The sight words on each page are randomly placed for finding and coloring.

The sight words included in each set are below.

Set 1:
the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, was, for, on, are, as, with, his, they, I, at, be, this, have, and from

Set 2:
or, one, had, by, words, but, not, what, all, were, we, when, your, can, said, there, use, an, each, which, she, do, how, their, and if

Set 3:
will, up, other, about, out, many, then, them, these, so, some, her, would, make, like, him, into, time, has, look, two, more, write, go, and see

Set 4:
number, no, way, could, people, my, than, first, water, been, called, who, oil, sit, now, find, long, down, day, did, get, come, made, may, and part

These sight word hide and seek activities can be used for introducing sight words, reviewing sight words, homework, morning work, interventions (RTI), literacy centers, and much more.

To add more skills and to include different levels of activities, students can flip to the back side of their paper and write more sentences with each word.

I hope your students enjoy this game of hide and seek as they learn to recognize sight words.

You may also like:
Sight Word Practice (Sets 1, 2, & 3) (77 Sight Words)
Sight Word Practice (Set 1) (Common Core)
Sight Word Practice (Set 2) (Common Core)
Sight Word Practice (Set 3) (Common Core)

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Thanks!
Sherry Clements


That Fun Reading Teacher’s Sight-Word-Stages Leveled Readers: Differentiate just by printing!

 

SWS intro

 

As educators, we have all kinds of fun activities and strategies for teaching and reinforcing sight words for reading and writing. Many of them involve practicing these words out of context. The point of Sight Word Recognition is to be able to recognize these words at a glance, in isolation. But all of the practice needn’t be.

I am in the early stages of creating a series of readers called ‘Sight Word Stages’ readers to help teachers differentiate for their students within the same reading level. While some of our students may struggle with putting all of the pieces of the reading puzzle together and need to work on that, there are many others who simply have difficulty remembering, and who require extra opportunities to practice using these little words in context.

Here is an example of a DRA/Reading Recovery Level 2 Reader:

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 A color PDF is included in the package, indicating the sight words of focus on the cover.

I print these on thicker paper, laminate them and keep them with other guided reading books.

Who is Furry

 Directional support is provided with the go to stop method.

 

bw Fur 3,4

 A regular black and white copy is provided. Students can color and keep these, if you wish.

 

Fur 3,4 (1)

 A trace-the-sight-word copy is provided for students requiring this level of support.

Fur 3,4

 A fill-in-the-blanks copy is also provided for each title.


Supplementary Materials:

Color and black & white sentence strips                                                                                                                                     (Tip: Print color copy onto card paper and laminate, and store with color readers for reuse)

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Color and black & white Self-Check lists                                                                                                                               (I have a laminated color one on the wall over the writing table with a dry-erase marker, but know classroom teachers who give each child their own black and white copy, one who shrinks it to half-size. Early finishers draw or practice words on the back!)

Self-Check color

Sometimes – there’s a surprise bonus activity – particularly in the bundles. Check the previews!


 Here is what is currently available in the Sight-Word-Stages Readers Series:

Please note that freebies will not contain all of the parts mentioned above.


Text box.png We are Community Helpers! Free Sight-Word-Stages Sampler

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L2 4 Book Bundle sq She is CH th He is CH th

Text box.png - Copy (2) I Like School cover In revision:At School

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 4 Book Bundle long More titles coming Summer 2015!  Save with bundles!

Are there any particular themes you would like to see covered in these early levels? Please leave a comment and let me know! (Easter and Earth Day are already started in draft!)

Have a wonderful spring day, and pop into my store for a visit sometime by clicking my button!

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