Monday, May 27, 2013
I was recently at a wonderful seminar in San Antonio on Right Brained Learners etc. One of the points the speaker wanted us to take away from the seminar was to make sure we were teaching in word families. Now I understand the pros of word families and the cons. What about decoding? Can the kids read or are they memorizing? How will they branch out from word families to other words? Well, the speaker wanted us to remember that children can only accomplish so many tasks at a time and giving a child a word family versus a bunch of words to decode cuts down significantly on the number of tasks to complete, thus making the child more successful and building confidence in spelling and reading. So I came back from my seminar and took out my word family dry erase cards from Lakeshore. I introduced how to use them and what do you know kiddos that had not been taught about word families were able to come up with many words and stay with me when I gave them more. They had so much fun finding out the words that belong to the different families that it became more of a confidence builder than a worry about memorizing. The children could still decode like I taught them, they did not forget. The kids who are reading are still reading without memorizing and working on fluency and best of all the kiddos are learning! So now to find a balance between decoding skills and word families. I will be using both from now on. I have found the word family instruction to be most beneficial to my remedial students, the ones who are not yet truly reading. Cutting out a few steps has helped them to feel successful and actually start to put words together on their own. I am also using my differentiated spelling unit with them and this helps with the decoding aspect. I have a differentiated spelling freebie in my TpT store for you to download and see if this is anything you can use next year.I guess the jist of it is that here is another way we can differentiate instruction for our students to help with reading instruction. So, for next year I have started writing some word family readers to add to my literacy centers during reading groups. They are $1 in my TpT store: -at word family minibook What are some of your favorite ways to teach with word families, decoding and phonics? Till next time, Christine
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Teachers Notebook has sponsored a bundle of items worth over $1,400.00 to help the community of Moore, OK after the devestating tornadoes that ruined their town just days ago. Among the wreckage were 2 elementary schools where courageous teachers risked their lives to save the children. 100% of the proceeds from this packet are going to the Moore Community. I have donated my Read the Room Mega Bundle. Click the picture to make a donation starting at $20.00 to get this bundle and help the people of Moore OK.
Friday, May 17, 2013
If you are like me you have probably had a bucket full of letter tiles for the kids to sort through during word work. Well, I am done with my disorganized bucket and have figured out a system to help. Once again I have hit the Target dollar spot and found exactly what I needed. I would think you could also pick up these items at a Dollar Store or Walmart. I purchased 2 coupon files with 13 pockets each (yeah!nobody has to share a pocket!). I purposly chose 2 different colors so that it would be easier to put letters back after use. I labeled the front and back of both coupon files and each tab inside with one letter. I also purchased two sets of hamburger holders in the Target Dollar Spot, these came in groups of 3, so 6 for $2.00. I used one of each color that matches the colors of the coupon files for "lost letters." The students that are not as capable of placing the letters back into the correct pocket can place the letter tiles in the lost letter bucket and the teacher or a reliable student can put hte letter tiles away each day. When I got home I printed out my letters onto cardstock in the same 2 colors, this makes it easier for the children to organize their thoughts and concentrate on the word work and not sorting through a bucket of letters. I will now place these in a word work drawer with my differentiated spelling unit mats as a choice for this weeks word work stations. I think these will be pretty popular so I may need to make a few more sets, and now what to do with the 4 leftover hamburger holders, hmmmm? Any ideas out there?
Monday, May 13, 2013
I have just listed an 8 page sampling from my Differentiated Spelling Unit. These pages are from the first section of CVC words. Scroll down to the next post to read all about this unit and what it has to offer! I hope you enjoy the freebie and will take a minute to follow my blog and teacher stores. Click the link below to download your freebie! Differentiated Spelling Freebie on TpT Differentiated Spelling Freebie on Teachers Notebook Enjoy! Christine
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Hello All, Happy Mothers Day! I wanted to take a minute to discuss spelling instruction in a classroom with children who are just mastering their alphabet. It is inevitable that our classrooms will be filled with children who are on many levels, from not knowing any of their letters to already reading. What is a teacher to do????? Well, there have been times when I thought if I heard the word differentiate one more time I might loose my mind but in classrooms like ours differentiation is essential to learning. My prior boss once said, "Pre-K teachers are the ultimate differentiating teachers, it is automatic because of the age of children they work with and how often they are faced with different levels of learning." (Susan Owen, 2010) I have found this to be so true across the board. I have started to do most of my math, reading and phonics teaching in small groups of like learners. We have group round robin once a week and read to the teacher once a week as well. So, how do I differentiate when it comes to spelling? First, I assess my students to see what level they are on and assign them to groups. When I am meeting with a group I place challenge centers out for the others to work on. Each group is working on a different set of words with different activities or worksheets. This way my students are not bored or lost. I have to spend some time teaching the kiddos how the groups work and what they are to do when they finish but once I do this things tend to go smoothly throughout the day. I break down my spelling instruction into 4 tiers: Level 1 CVC words, Level 2 CVVC/CVCV words, Level 3 CCVC/CVCC words and Level 4 contains all 5 letter word patterns. Each center is tailored to each group and the activities are on their level. For example Tier 1 CVC group may be spelling in playdough with cards that have the words on them with a picture or tier 4 will be cutting lettes and pasting the words next to the picture, a task tier 1 is not yet capable of not only in spelling but in fine motor skills, organization ability and cognitive processing. The first 2 pictures below show 2 common centers i use with my tier one group to help with letter recognition, spelling, phonics and beginning reading skills. This last picture is my word spelling station that works for all 4 tiers. In this picture it is set up for tier 3 where they are not only spelling a CVC word but adding the beginning letters of all of the other words in the word family. This chart is 2 sided and I have children work quietly in pairs. I find that a system that meets the level of each student and that allows for whole group teaching where everyone can participate works well with young children. You can find my differentiated spelling and word work centers and activities in my newest unit. My Differentiated Spelling Unit offers all 4 tiers of spelling words, worksheets for each tier and 35+ centers and activities. You can find this 308 page unit on teacherspayteachers or teachersnotebook. Click the following links to view: Differentiated Spelling Unit on Teachers Pay Teachers Differentiated Spelling Unit on Teachers Notebook Till next time! Christine
Monday, May 6, 2013
Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and to all of those who generously donated items. Our winners are Dinah, she has won the $25 giftcard to my TpT store and Lori who has won the Unit Bundle. Congratulations to both of you! TpT and TN are adding an additional discount to all of my items that are already on sale for teacher appreciation week so if you missed out this time hop on over to one of my stores and get a good deal! Till next time, Christine
Friday, May 3, 2013
Enter my 200 follower summer themed giveaway for a chance to win either a $25.00 giftcard to my TpT store or a bundle of 13 awesome teacher resources listed below! Enter as many times as you like as this is a short giveaway ending on Sunday night and winners being announced on Monday! Happy teacher appreciation week! My TpT and TN stores will both be on sale for teacher appreciation week once this giveaway is over! I would appreciate you promoting this giveaway on facebook, pinterest, your blog and any other social media! Thank you! a Rafflecopter giveaway Lori Smith is offering a "winners choice" from her TpT store. Good Luck!