Friday, June 5, 2015

Fluency Strips - No Words!

When you think of fluency strips, you might think of simple sentences with high frequency and decodable words. Such strips are meant to encourage young readers how to read smoothly by separating out shorter chunks or phrases. For the dyslexic reader, fluency strips are nightmares. What is meant to be read quickly and smoothly, inevitably turns out to be a stressful feat of word-by-word reading - with little meaning gained by the time that reader reaches the end of the sentence.

In order to avoid unnecessary stress, but still teach fluency - get rid of the words! Seriously. Just do it. A part of teaching fluency is training the eyes and mind to quickly scan and read a set of graphics (letters, pictures, numbers, whatever) smoothly. If your goal is to teach students how to move away from finger pointing reading, then this is just one of many ways you can begin.

Grab it and try it for yourself. Students (dyslexic or not) love to challenge how fast they can "read" these strips. You'd be surprised how even your most fluent readers have to re-teach themselves how to scan and read different types of graphics. What a double benefit to teach cognitive flexibility!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Percy the Pale Face Polar Bear

If you have ever been in my classroom, then you have heard me sing this song at least once. If you live next door to me in school, then you are probably sick of hearing this song. Regardless, my students love it. It is almost the end of the year and they still request to sing it during transitions, brain breaks, randomly - you name it. I couldn't have been more proud when one of my students requested to teach the Kindergarten students how to sing it as a Fun Friday activity. So proud. 

Want to learn it? Teach it? Grab this song poster! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Liebster Award

I am honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Kindergarten Coffee Talk!  I am so excited that she thought my blog was worthy of this award.  If you are unfamiliar with this award, it is an award given to new bloggers with a growing audience to help welcome them to the wonderful world of blogging.  Blogging, and especially teacher blogging, is comprised of a fabulous and positive community of educators who are looking to connect with each other and share ideas and stories from the classroom.  

  1. Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging?  I started to blog because I noticed a deficit of quick and easy to use resources for teachers working with a high needs and high risk population of students. I wanted to create a place for teachers to use and share ideas that work in the classroom. I am new to the game of blogging, but I'm excited to watch my blog grow! 
  2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog?  Smiles :) and lots of it. If it doesn't make you or your students smile, then it's not worth the post! 
  3. How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog/TpT/social media? Not enough! I hope that I can get a lot of my back logged resources up in the summer, and ready for the school year ahead! 
  4. Where does your blog inspiration come from?  My students, definitely. Each day can bring a new set of challenges, and I'm always thinking of new and creative ways to meet their daily academic, social, and emotional needs.
  5. What category of blog posts do you like to read best?  I love, love reading and learning about creative centers teachers use. The more engaged my students are with their materials, the better. I'm always looking for new ways to make reading and writing fun and tactile. 
  6. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?  Connecting with other bloggers has been awesome. I'm always amazed by the work other bloggers are doing in their classrooms. It's such an inspiration. 
  7. What idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?  I loved how this blogger explored landforms and bodies of water with her students. What a great way to teach about our world.
  8. Salty or sweet?  Salty, give me french fries all and I'll eat them all day long! 
  9. Are you a morning person or a night owl?  Morning for sure. I am up at 4:45AM, and out of the house by 5:30AM! 
  10. If you weren't a teacher, what career would you choose?  I would most likely be in computer programming, as strange as that sounds.
  11. What is your favorite grade to teach?  I love First grade, it is an amazing year for reading and writing growth. 
Here are my nominees for the Liebster Award (in no particular order):

*Jennifer from A Dab of Glue Will Do

*Jeannine from Creative Lesson Cafe
*Brooke from Teaching Outside the Box
*Palma from KFUNdamentals
*Diane from Classroom on Cloud Nine

I would love for these bloggers to answer the following questions:
  1. Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging?
  2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog?
  3. How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog/TpT/social media?
  4. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
  5. What category of blog posts do you like to read best?
  6. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
  7. What idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?
  8. What do you like to do when you are not blogging or teaching?
  9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  10. If you weren't a teacher, what career would you choose?
  11. What is your favorite grade to teach?
Here are the Liebster Award rules:
  • Link back to the blog that nominated you (me!)
  • Answer the 11 questions posted by the nominator 
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs (with less than 200 followers) and link to them in your post
  • Contact the nominees and let them know they have been nominate

Thank you again to Kindergarten Coffee Talk for nominating me!  I feel so privileged to be nominated for this award!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Luck of the Irish

So I was pressed for time, thinking, what can I possibly do to celebrate St. Patrick's Day without taking away from the topics I need to teach?

So typical last-minute fashion, at 6:30 in the morning, the first thing I do is pull up PowerPoint,, grab some Pot of Gold images, slap on some vowel digraphs, and get to cutting out gold coins.

I then pasted the gold coins around the room (of course, the leprechaun really put them there), and had the kiddos find and sort the words on the coins during Word Work. Quick, 10 minute activity, perfect for the limited time we have for Word Work. Plus the kids love finding things around the room! 

Super easy to make - and you can do it too!  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Read Across America 2015

Happy Read Across America! 
How do you like to celebrate?

Of course, I am obsessed with making new centers. Featured here are my green egg and Cat in the Hat word family centers. Connect the rhyming words together, and you made yourself a green egg! Find the words that share the same word family, and you've made yourself the world famous cat's hat! 

Want a copy of the hats? 
Go ahead, take it before Thing 1 and Thing 2 do!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Behavior Clipboards

Do you have kiddos who use mediators to help self-regulate?

Whether it is a smile, sticker, or tally chart, or maybe even a note taking pad - the papers and supplies are bound to get lost, ripped, or become their own distraction in the classroom. A co-worker of mine gave one of my students a small clipboard she used last year. This clipboard is genius. It's a great way to keep charts/aides neat and organized. My student brings her clipboard to the carpet, centers, and even specials. She has even decorated it with stickers, making it truly her own.

What does she keep in it? Paper to take notes, a smiley chart for her weekly targeted behavior, personalized goals, and her work time reminders.

For this particular student, reminders on how her body should look like during different parts of the day are helpful - as if not, you will find her wandering during a lesson or even contorting her body on the carpet. Here is the sheet we use. Just print it out, laminate it, and stick it in that clipboard!

Where do you get tiny clipboards? Super cheap on Amazon!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

If/Then Chart

Having and displaying a timer during work time is certainly a staple best practice for teachers. It lets you and students know how much work time is left to complete an assignment.

But, what if a student in your class has anxiety? Throwing him or herself into a panic attack when that timer rings?

It happens. It was happening in my classroom.

What we tried: 1) Practiced routines without other students in the room. 2) Talked about seat changes, frequent breaks, and work exemptions. 3) Smile charts for not getting upset when the timer went off and completing *most* of the work.

Nothing worked.

What works: Then, we figured - wait, he loves trucks. Reading about them, drawing them, looking at them. You name it. So we have now implemented an "If/Then" chart for each subject. If he finishes what is in the "If" column then he can do whatever is listed in the "then" column.

Need them too? If/Then Charts