Archive for 2017

Mother's Day Activities

Monday, May 8, 2017

Wow, what teacher isn't up to his/her eyeballs in report writing and end of the year mania right now?!  I've been totally MIA for the past week.  It has been nuts, between report writing, touching base with parents and ..... breaking the news that I am not coming back to my school next year to my littles and their parents, I've just been plum tuckered out! It's been an emotionally exhausting week but I am glad to say I have moved past the "sad" phase and I am completely focusing on making the most of every single minute of the next 17 days with my kiddos.  Power of positive thinking!

Anyway, I was remiss in wishing all you teachers out there a very happy Mother's Day, I mean we all are "moms" to our students for 8+ hours a day, aren't we? We spent every free minute of last week working on our Mother's Day projects.  This whole shebang started about a month ago with our "Top Secret" Planning Pages that went home as homework.  You know it always takes 3x longer than you would like to get all the responses back.

The littles had to "snoop" around and ask siblings, dads, grandmas, aunts etc some personal questions about mom.   We then turned these planning pages into a 2-3 page People Magazine "article" on mom!  They wrote and wrote and wrote and then I edited/proofed and made them rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!

After all of the writing was finally finished, we began the artistic (my favorite!) portion of this activity.  The littles choose from three different covers {The Most Beautiful Mother in the World,  The Prettiest Mother Alive, or Mother of the Year} and drew a portrait of their mom.  

Finally!  THe finished product!  We backed the covers on pink paper, laminated them, and then collated all of the writing with grosgrain ribbon :) 

We have been working on the life cycle of a seed (sunflowers, they are so hearty!) in science, so why not give the moms our seed experiments?  We painted pots about a month ago and have been watching our sunflowers grow.  


Check Mother's Day off the list... up next, Father's Day!!!  

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Reading Snapshot: Diphthongs!

T.G.I.F!  I don’t know about where you all are, but here it’s Friday afternoon and it just started down-pouring.  Not a bad time to curl up on the couch with my laptop and a snuggly blanket and introduce my first ‘Reading Snapshot’.  Teaching reading is my PASSION!  Obviously, duh.  Probably every K/1st/2nd grade teacher out there loves it, but  I am seriously OB-SESS-ED.  Nothing makes me happier than planning out each group’s week of lessons.  Is there any better feeling than finding the PERFECT activity for your kiddos on TpT? 

I was gearing up to do a diphthong unit with my little ones.  I just finished covering digraphs  and wanted a similar high-interest unit for DIPHTHONGS.  Unfortunately, TpT came up dry.  I didn’t love the unit I used last year and found that the kids were bored with the all the worksheets.  After about 15 hours, my Diphthong Mega Pack  was born! Woo hoo!
Here is a “snapshot” into my finished product on diphthongs this week...

We start off with the flash cards.  I do a fun little activity where I literally throw the flash cards at the students.  They have to catch  the cards, read them, then identify the sound being used and the letters that make up that sound.  For example “Coin, /oy/ oi”.  This takes about 10-12 minutes.  I only focus on one or two sounds per day. 

Next up, we create word sorts.  I pass out a few (6-8) word cards per child.  DIFFERENTIATION OPTION: For my support group, I will tell the students specifically how to sort the words.  For example, 1. Sort the words by matching letters (all ‘oi’, ‘oy’, ‘au’, ‘aw’ ‘ou’ or ‘ow’,  in one pile).  OR 2. Sort the words by matching sounds (oi/oy in one pile, aw/au in one pile, ou/ow in one pile). My target group can create their own sort as long as they can explain it to the group.  And my enrichment group creates two separate sorts independently and explains their rationale to the group. This activity is another 10-12 minutes.

The second day we will again review with flashcards, but this time we will practice using my hysterical Hollywood Voices packet.  We are in stitches laughing every time we use this game.  They are just so stinkin' comical, especially when they do the 'opera singer' or 'Queen of England".  Each child picks a diphthong flashcard and a Hollywood Voice card then has to read the card in "character".  We also throw in a little “fun” sheet or two on the second day, like Spin/Roll-a-Diphthong.

The third day is some good old “I have, Who has?” games for review.  Depending on his or her ability level, each child is responsible for anywhere from 2-5 cards.  And again, some worksheet fun.

The last day is GAME DAY!  We play either diphthong BINGO or Connect Four. 

 {Even I play} Woo hoo! Party Time! 

So, that about sums up this week's edition of 'Reading Snapshot'.  I intend to make this a weekly installment of a little glimpse into my reading groups each week.  Hope you enjoyed it and if you think this is something you would like to try in your class, pick it up here! 
Have a spectacular weekend :)  

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Reading Snapshot: ED and ING Inflectional Endings!

Longest.week.ever and we only had 3 days of school!  Monday seems like and eternity ago, Tuesday we had off for Passover, Wednesday was PT Conferences and, finally, at long last- it is Thursday and tomorrow we have off for Good Friday.   Yippee!  I can't believe Easter is already here; Thanksgiving centers seem like yesterday.  Seven weeks left! Sooo much left to do. Seriously, where has this year gone?

I wanted to keep reading group plans light considering we had such a short week.  I figured I would breeze through endings lickity split and gear up for a new topic next week.  I thought wrong.  Monday's lessons showed me that endings, in fact, would not be "lickity split" this year.  Rather I would spent my day off on Tuesday creating some more activities to reinforce these concepts with the little readers.  

I started off teaching about -ed endings with Lori Rosenberg's super helpful 3 Sounds of ED posters.  These provided concrete visual and auditory references for the students.  Followed by a simple cut and paste word sort of the /t/, /id/, and /d/ sound.  

On Wednesday and today, I continued with similar word sorts but also added in some fun games for  review and reinforcement.  I am totally anti-worksheets, so if I can turn something into a board game I most certainly will!  

The kids loved the spinners on these board games.   First, they spun the number spinner to move X number of spaces.  Then, once they landed on a word, they spun the ED/ING endings spinner to determine what ending to add.  For my enrichment group, I added extra layers of difficulty by asking them to also state which sound the "ed" ending made or use an "ing" ending word in a sentence.  

I knew these games were a hit when the little readers asked to keep playing them during their independent Daily Five station!  Jackpot!  Next week, I will put out the Connect Four game boards for review in my Word Work game bin.   You can snag this Inflectional 'ED' 'ING' Endings HERE

Okay, now it's time for me to TGIF TGIThursday! Happy Easter, one and all! :)