Thursday, May 19, 2016

Watermelon Teacher FREEBIE!!

summer clipart

Summer is right around the corner.  I seriously can't believe it!!

Because I am so excited about the upcoming season, I created some fun new clipart... inspired by WATERMELON!

I LOVE pink and mint green!!

I am giving away 12 FREE watermelon digital papers. 

Watermelon papers

Ten of the papers have fun prints that are ready to see summer, and two of the digital papers have built in borders to save you time!!!  :)

free summer clipart

To get your FREE pink and mint green watermelon papers, please click here or on the graphic above.

If you are inspired by the these fun and festive graphics, you might want to take a look at my Watermelon Seller's Kit.  

The full-product Watermelon Clipart BUNDLE includes 51 graphics:

  • clipart
  • buntings
  • banners
  • frames
  • borders
  • digital papers

Summer Clipart

Best wishes!

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Friday, May 6, 2016

7 Steps for Teaching Word Families & Reading FREEBIE

free phonics

I got my start teaching in first grade, so I definitely understand the importance of teaching word families.

Teaching students how to actively use word family knowledge is a reading strategy that will help students to read unknown words. that every student needs to have in their reading tool chest. 

Through modeling, guided instruction, and independent practice, your students will be able to identify word families and apply that understanding to read unfamiliar words.

Below are 7 simple steps for teaching word families in the classroom:

1.  Start with one syllable words that can be broken down by the onset and rime.

Onset:  consonant or consonant cluster found at the beginning of a word

Rime: usually a vowel and a consonant that is found at the end of the word

Example:  clap:  cl (onset) /ap (rime)

2.  When you first teach word families, begin with one word family at a time.  If you teach kindergarten or first grade, you may want to introduce a new word family each week.  More advanced students will benefit from a mix of word families.

3.  Because you are teaching your students to see patterns in words and make analogies, you will want to draw this to their attention. Decide which word family you will begin with.  I usually begin with -at. Use a picture book that models words with -at. Before reading, explain to students that you will be looking for words with the word family -at.

4.  Use an anchor chart and write the word family at the top, I am going to use -at as an example.  As you are reading, stop and model for students that you notice a word is in the -at word family.  Write the word on the anchor chart.  Stop, discuss, and write down any other -at words while reading.

5.  After reading the picture book, use a white board and write the -at word from the book... "flat". Explain to students that the word flat is in the -at word family.  Model for them how easy it is to change the first letter to make new words.  Place a good amount of emphasis on the sounds the letters make.


6.  Go back to the word family anchor chart.  Have students engage and give you examples of other words that fit into that word family. Have students write the words on the anchor chart.  

word families

7.  After you have introduced at least one word family from each vowel, you will want to start having students practice them together.  FREEBIE for YOU.

how to teach word families

My word family FREEBIE:  Shake-a-Word Mini Download includes the following:
  • Common Word Family Chart
  • Shake-a-Word printable 
  • Is it a Real WORD? printable / anchor chart

teaching word families

Students need to have fun and play with words!

If the word family freebie is a good fit for your classroom, click here or on the graphic above to access the full-product download.

Best wishes!
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Monday, April 4, 2016

4 Fabulous Fun Spring FREEBIES


Spring is such a FUN time of the year for teaching and for learning! beginnings, new ideas, new concepts, new growth, FREEBIES!

I have 4 FUN and FABULOUS Spring FREEBIES for you today.  Yea!!

FREEBIE Reading resources for Spring

1.  Reading Foldable... to get your kids predicting, wondering, inferring and questioning the text.

reading resources for Spring

2.  Book Response Printable... for practicing story elements: characters, setting, problem & solution.

free writing prompts for spring

3.  Spring Writing Prompts... to encourage your students to think, respond, and write.

4.  Expository Writing Prompt Paper: Would you rather actually plant trees to help the environment, or donate money?  Why?

Click here to get your FREE Spring Reading & ELA resources, or click on the graphic below.

spring freebies

If these Spring FREEBIES are a good fit for you and your students, take a look at my newest Spring resource.  

The Spring Reading & ELA BUNDLE includes 202 pages of fun and learning!!  It covers the following concepts, skills, and strategies:

  • story elements
  • questioning the text
  • making connections to text
  • visualization
  • cause & effect
  • problem & solution
  • beginning, middle & end
  • comparing characters
  • respond to a story / text
  • sequence
  • fact & opinion
  • categorizing information
  • organizing your thinking
  • vocabulary
  • nonfiction research
  • manipulating words / word study
  • spelling
  • editing writing
  • parts of speech
  • grammar
  • adjectives
  • verbs
  • nouns
  • acrostic poems
  • journal writing
  • responding to a writing prompt
  • narrative writing
  • persuasive writing
  • expository writing
  • creative writing

Spring and Summer Reading

Best wishes!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FREE Resources for Fact & Opinion

Fact and opinion is one of those concepts that I honestly never spent that much time teaching. 

Basically, I would spend a couple of class periods on it and then move just never seemed like that big of a deal.

A few years ago I went to a really cool summer reading conference and the presenter shared with us how students must be able to distinguish between fact and opinion, as well as claim their own facts and opinions on a topic...if they want to be able to truly analyze the text.  

So after listening to the presenter, I did a little of my own research in several professional resources, (and yup...Google!) and here is what an elementary student needs to be able to do with fact and opinion:

  • understand the definition of both fact and opinion
  • distinguish between a fact and an opinion
  • analyze the text based on the topic facts and opinions of the author
  • understand the author's perspective
  • understand the character's perspective
  • interpret both facts and opinions

Being able to correctly identify and distinguish between fact and opinion will help students to improve their overall reading comprehension skills.

FACT:  something done or said in the past or present; it can be proven

OPINION:  a belief, opinion or idea

The Fact & Opinion FREEBIE comes with the following resources:
  • Fact & Opinion anchor chart
  • Fact & Opinion Organizer
  • Fact & Opinion Pictures: Ice Cream

Please click here, or on the graphic below to get your FREE fact and opinion resources.

If the FREE resource is a good fit for your classroom, I also have a full-product resource that you may be interested:  Fact & Opinion Flower Power!

The 81 page Fact & Opinion Flower Power Kit  comes with the following reading resources:
  • Fact & Opinion anchor chart / poster
  • Fact & Opinion organizer that can be used for both fiction and nonfiction
  • Fact & Opinion Pictures center activities:
    • Ice Cream
    • Apple
    • Fish
    • Tree
    • Basketball
    • Snowman
    • Toothbrush
    • Sunflower
    • Donut
    • Mailbox
    • Blank to add your own
  • Is That A Fact? Cut & glue activities:
    • Lunchroom version
    • Flower version
    • Playground version
  • 4 Square Fact Chart
  • 4 Square Opinion Chart
  • Understanding the Difference Between Fact & Opinion activity
  • Card game:  What's the Difference?
  • Fact or Opinion Card Game ~ Flower Power Edition
  • Fact or Opinion Cards ~ Lunchroom Edition
  • Fact & Opinion Key Words
  • 3 Multiple choice assessments with answer keys

What is your favorite strategy for teaching fact and opinion?

Best wishes!

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Strategies for Smooth BLENDING While Reading & FREEBIE

how to read smoothly

Happy Thursday!  I am excited to share my latest FREEBIE with you. 

BLENDING TRAINS for Smooth Blending and Word Reading.  This free resource was designed to explicitly teach your student to blend words smoothly without stopping or pausing.  

So what is blending?
Blending is the ability to smoothly and seamlessly combine individual sounds (phonemes) together to form words.  While some kiddos pick up on this skill with ease, a majority of students struggle with blending and this causes a negative effect on accessing meaning while decoding words.

What is the big deal about blending?
To blend words smoothly, you sound out a word like /ccclllaaappp/ instead of making the sounds in a choppy way /c/ /l/ /a/ /p/.  When sounding words smoothly, students will blend the letter sounds without pausing, and are able to access meaning as they decode the words.  In fact, your students can practice this skill by taking a deep breath before they sound out the word.  It may be helpful to tell students to "blend or stretch" a word instead of telling them to sound out the word.

how to read smoothly young students

How can I tell if my student isn't reading smoothly?
Students that aren't able to read smoothly will continue to read in a choppy manner.  They will struggle with putting all of the sounds together and to say the word with fluidity.  When they continue to pause while reading a word, they may forget the individual sounds by the time they read the word or say a word that doesn't make sense. If you have ever heard a student read a word... /b/ /a/ /r/ /k/ and then after making the sounds correctly they say the word as /barn/, they may not be blending smoothly.  This will prevent them from being able to combine the sounds into a word correctly.  Typically, they can say the sounds in isolation, but struggle with putting the sounds together in a smooth manner.

What if my student doesn't blend sounds smoothly?
If your student doesn't learn to blend the sounds of a word smoothly, it will be difficult for them to develop as a proficient reader.  The student will continue to read with choppy pauses between the words. A student's phonological processing and fluency will be compromised if they do not learn how to blend words smoothly.

Do I have to explicitly teach blending to my students?
Yes, direct instruction may be needed here!  Many students need to be explicitly taught how to blend words smoothly without choppy pauses. Some students are able to pick up on this skill quickly, white others need additional modeling, explicit instruction, and repeated practice. Without this important skill, your student may not be able to move forward and make progress as a reader.

choppy reading strategies

What can I do to help my student blend smoothly?
Model for your students how to blend a word without stopping between individual sounds.  After modeling, have students practice with you, and again while reading at the guided reading table or during independent reading time.  If you have a family curriculum night on your campus, it might be a good idea to model this for your parents so they can work with their kiddos at home.  Many parents do not understand about the necessity of blending words smoothly.  If you notice a student pausing between sounds, please encourage them to stop.  This may become a habit, and it can be a very difficult one to break. 

So..... I created this fun little resource with a train design and bright colors.  You will LOVE it because it can be used in a literacy center, small group instruction, guided reading mini-lesson, intervention RTI group, or for individual student practice.

strategies for reading smoothly

Differentiation will be a snap!  You will find three different levels of support to meet the needs of all of your students.  Multiple learning styles are addressed with this hands-on literacy activity.

  • Version 1: Blending Train with word.  Students will blend the sounds smoothly as they move their finger along the arrow.
  • Version 2: Blending Train with word and picture support.  Having the picture will support the student in being able to make the sounds of the word.  This is also helpful in a literacy center, independent practice, or to go home for extra work.
  • Version 3: Blending Train with picture support and no words (phonemic awareness skill).  If your student is continuing to struggle with blending sounds smoothly, back up the skill.  Take away the word and use the pictures only.

freebie phonics activities and strategies

In addition to the FREE blending resource, I also have a full-product version.  It is 76 pages long and includes the following:
  • 162 Blending Trains for Smooth Blending
  • Includes 3 levels of reading support for phonics and phonemic awareness
  • Information on why and how to teach smooth blending
  • Activities, tips, and interventions to do if your students are still struggling with smooth blending
  • Blending Train handout for students that are ready to move to the next step
  • Blending Train center activity

reading game blending trains

 Best wishes!
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Thursday, March 3, 2016

5 Tips for Interactive Notebook Success with Reading FREEBIE

I LOVE using interactive notebooking!  Seriously, I am smiling right now just thinking...  Although notebooking can be used with any subject, reading has always been my favorite.

When students create foldables and interactive pieces, they are easily engaged in practicing reading comprehension skills and strategies!

Your kiddos will organize their thinking and synthesize their thoughts while having FUN!

I do have a FREEBIE for you today, but first I want to share...

My top 5 tips for Reading Notebook success:

Teach expectations and model, model, model!
To save time and your sanity, pre-teach students the expectations you have for using the reading notebooks in your classroom.  Spend some time pre-teaching procedures and expectations.  Here are some things you might want to consider addressing:

  • How to gather supplies such as glue, scissors, crayons, etc.
  • How to retrieve their Reading Notebook from where stored
  • Expectations for coloring / neatness
  • How to apply glue without waste and mess
  • Where to put their Reading Notebook while the glue is drying
  • Where to turn in the finished notebooks
  • Clean up procedures
  • Rubric expectations
  • What to do when you run out of room to write on a foldable

Plan to spend a good amount of time modeling the strategy and then constructing the foldable.  The more you model, the better results you will have with comprehension and organization as well.

Use pictures and anchor charts to give your students a visual.

Glue: this is a biggie!
Believe it or not, glue actually is a pretty big issue when it comes to creating Interactive Reading Journals.  I highly suggest using traditional Elmer's Glue for the foldables.  Glue sticks work great to start with, but after a while many of the foldables will fall out of the notebook.  Also when it comes to glue, spend some time and train your students how to effectively use the glue without wasting it or making a huge mess.  Even older students will benefit from this extra instruction.   Model how to put a small dot of glue in each corner.  Model this over and over again, and then some more.  

Still Working Pocket:
Include some type of pocket or envelope inside of your Interactive Reading Notebook to hold the pieces of unfinished activities.  Copy the pocket on cardstock to ensure that it will last all year.  Glue the pocket on the inside cover of either the front or back of the notebook.  Here is an example of the pocket that comes in my notebooking kit.  

Fitting it all into your day:
Using foldables is not just one more thing to add to your already too busy day.  The interactive foldables will replace regular written work. Instead of using traditional worksheets, use the interactive pieces to learn new strategies, practice previously learned skills, or assess learning.

Built-in bookmarks:
To assist your students with being able to quickly find the page they are working on, you can add a bookmark.  Cut a piece of yarn about the length of a typical bookmark.  Open up the Reading Notebook and on the very back cover, on the inside of the composition notebook, tape the piece of yarn to the top.  Allow the length of the yarn to hang outside of the notebook.  Students may then use the yarn as a placeholder.  Using thick packing tape works well and typically lasts for the entire year.  An alternative is to use a ribbon and hot glue it into the back in the same fashion.

Now you are ready to get started!!!  Here is a FREEBIE that is included in my new Interactive Reading Notebook Kit.  This Book POPS!  

The FREE reading interactive is a popcorn themed book report that can be used with any book.  This Book POPS!  Click here to get your freebie.

In the full download, you will find the following:
  • book reports to use with any fiction book
  • reading strategies
  • comprehension skills
  • over 100 interactive foldables
  • Grading rubrics
  • 30 page teacher guide
  • organizational materials

If the free foldable is a good fit for you and your students, please take a moment to look at my 171 page full-product download.  You can click here or on the graphic below to check out the Reading Notebook.

I would LOVE to hear your tips for using Interactive Reading Notebooks in your classroom.

Best wishes!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

FREE Nursery Rhyme Resources

We may think of nursery rhymes as a way to entertain babies, but they actually teach so much more!

Nursery rhymes help young readers practice basic foundational literacy skills and become better readers.

Below is a list of skills that you can practice with your students while using nursery rhymes:

  • hear letter sounds
  • discriminate syllables
  • letter identification
  • rhyming words
  • phonics skills
  • word families
  • fluency 
  • sight words
  • comprehension

Nursery rhymes are a great resource for shared reading and guided reading groups.

If you are looking to get started with nursery rhymes in your classroom, you will definitely want to check out my newest FREEBIE.

Hey Diddle Diddle FREEBIE!  Below is an example of my Row, Row, Row Your Boat reader, so you can see that there three different versions of the reader.

You will love the fact that you just have to fold on the dotted lines.  No need to cut!  Yea!

The nursery rhyme readers come in three different versions for your convenience:
  • full color with a polka dotted background
  • full color with a white background
  • black and white to save printer ink
Your FREEBIE also comes with an ebook.  You can very simply add the ebook to your class iPad, display it on the classroom projector, or use it on a computer.

If the Hey Diddle Diddle Nursery Rhyme FREEBIE is a good fit for your classroom, please take a moment to check out my full-product download that includes 10 nursery rhymes:
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Jack and Jill
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • Hey Diddle Diddle
  • Little Miss Muffet
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb

The complete kit includes 125 pages.

Best wishes!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

4 Steps to Becoming a Metacognition Expert & FREEBIE

Most of us in education understand that we should be teaching our students about metacognition.

But, is metacognition really that important?  Well, according to the research, the answer is a very sharp YES!

So, how do we teach our students to use metacognition effectively?

Below you will find 4 quick steps to becoming a metacognition expert!!

Metacognition Step #1:

  • Teach your students that their ability to learn and comprehend will develop over time. Remind your kiddos that they weren't born knowing everything. If they practice the strategies you teach them, they will grow academically.
Metacognition Step #2:
  • Model the strategies.  For example, if you want your students to be able to determine what is important in a text, show / tell them the thinking that is going on in your own brain while you are teaching the lesson.
Metacognition Step #3:
  • Help your students set learning goals for themselves and monitor those goals.  It always surprises me on how they truly begin to self-regulate their learning.  Read more here.
Metacognition Step #4:
  • Students need valuable time to practice the metacognition strategies.  Talk time is important. Giving students the opportunity to discuss their thinking process with a partner is huge!

How do we get our students thinking and talking? One of my favorite strategies is to use Metacognition Question Cards.  Best part? They're FREE!

This Metacognition Cards & Think Sheet FREEBIE comes with the cards that students will use to start off their thinking and speaking with their partner.

This freebie also includes a Metacognition Think Sheet for them to write down their thinking.  It's perfect for the accountability component.

If the Metacognition freebie is a good fit for you and your students, you may want to check out my Brain Buddies Reading Folder Kit.

I would LOVE to hear about your strategies for metacognition.

Best wishes!
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Binder Cover FREEBIE

Hey y'all!  

Yes, I have made New Year's resolutions.

Yes, I have never really kept my New Year's resolutions in the past.


This year is going to be different.  Right?

My number one New Year's resolution is to get really organized!  

{I know that I say this every year....}  

Not just buy the cute organization stuff, but really dig in deep and start organizing!

If you have ever visited my house, you would say that it looks good. You can come in any day and it looks pretty good...but, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK ABOUT opening a closet door, cabinet, or drawer. You will seriously be shocked.

To help myself get and stay organized, I have created some super fun, editable binder covers. 

I am excited to share one of the binder sets with you for FREE!  So, let's get organized together.

You will just love these little cuties!!  I left off my logo and my branding so that these binder covers can truly be yours! They are fully editable and you can change the font to whatever works best for your classroom or home. 

My binder cover FREEBIE kit is styled in turquoise blue dots and comes with the following pieces:

  • binder front cover
  • binder back cover
  • 1" spine
  • 2" spine
  • 3" spine

If this FREEBIE is a good fit for you, please take a minute look at my full-product downloads.  

Just click on the graphics below to see the binder cover bundles on Teachers Pay Teachers.

I would LOVE to hear how you stay organized!!

Best wishes!

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