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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Election Vocabulary Fun

It's about time, teachers, for some ELECTION VOCABULARY. Mark your ballot for Election Hink Pinks, Hinky Pinkies, Hinkity Pinkities, & Hitinkity Pitinkities.  

Campaign for these riddles with rhyming answers and soon your students will rally behind your efforts.  

If you are unfamiliar with Hink Pinks, et al., you are in for a treat.


Hink Pinks, et al., provide critical thinking exercise and vocabulary development disguised as fun. Students love them and beg for more.

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Halloween Phonics Sort Literacy Center

If you are looking for a fun, easy, low prep, literacy center for your class, I've got just what you need.

Get your little ghosts busy, practicing the sounds of O.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Election Day Learning

It's about time, teachers, for Election Day!

Regardless of your political leanings, you will want to share some lessons about this fundamental rite of democracy.

Mock elections are fun, but not always easily understood by children. Most elementary students will find the political platforms of the candidates unfathomable. (Adults, too?!?) In a mock election, then, they will most likely vote for the candidate their parents support. That's fine, just not packed with learning.

There are ways to make it comprehensible, however. Even primary students can grasp the process when you apply the election to a subject they understand. Take ice cream, for example.

(Yes, please!  I'll take chocolate chip mint on a waffle cone.)

Hold an election to determine your children's favorite flavor. Begin by dividing your class into 2 equitable groups. Each group, i.e., caucus, will discuss their favorite flavors of ice cream. Through persuasive discourse, i.e., campaigning, each group will come to consensus about the best flavor, i.e., candidate. If consensus is difficult to achieve, you may even conduct primary elections.

Once the 2 flavors are selected, i.e., nominated, your students can begin trying to persuade their friends, i.e., constituents, to support their flavor, i.e., candidate. Posters, speeches, bumper stickers, etc. are all appropriate.  Rallies might best be saved for recess.

Students will need to register to vote. Election judges will check voters off their lists before giving them a ballot.

Once the polls close, the election judges will tally the votes and declare the winner. A post- election celebration may be in order -- featuring the winning flavor, of course! [If you are able to enlist the help of parents, have them count the ballots and announce the winner by distributing ice cream of the winning flavor.]

Don't you just love all the learning that this experience will bring your students? Maybe the elected flavor is not their very favorite, but they will learn about the art of compromise, majority opinions, and the election process.  

A mock election will have far greater impact when conducted around a subject that has meaning for children. 

Take TIME today to appreciate someone who does something you take for granted.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Columbus Day Poem

I have a poem to share with you, as well as some possibilities for teaching with it.

This poem and its possibilities are from my Poetry Possibilities - Fall Edition.  There are 25 more poems and custom designed possibilities for each one in the unit.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016


It's about time, teachers, for a FLASH FREEBIE!  

Today, 9.29.16, only!

Feedback & followers are always appreciated.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Alphabet Letter Associations

After several decades of teaching first grade, I became a Reading Recovery teacher. Best. Training. Ever!!!! And, oh so, humbling. It was through that training I came to realize some of the mistakes I had been making as a teacher of emerging readers. And, now, it's about time I share some of those revelations--

Chief among them is the realization that the traditional, alphabet letter associations are fraught with pitfalls, especially for reluctant readers. The first problem comes with the letter e. Common picture & letter associations are elephant and egg. Neither is representative of the letter sounds, despite the fact that they bear an initial e.  

As accomplished readers, we know that there is a short e sound of the beginning of elephant.  For emerging readers, however, it sounds for all the world as if the first sound is L.  
(Elephant was at the zoo.)

Similarly, egg sounds like it begins with a long a, at least here in the midwest. I am fortunate to have an easy solution for this "e dilemma;" my students learned to associate the letter e with Evans, my last name!  That will not likely work for you, however. 

So what's a teacher to do?  My kiddos have grown quite fond of these alternatives:

In RR, we let the child provide the association, which is most likely to be the long sound of vowels.  Of course, if s/he supplies elephant, envelope, egg, elbow, ear, or any of the other "confusing" words, it is just fine. As a classroom teacher, you may want to consider such potential confusions when you select your display posters.

Another consideration when choosing vowel associations, is to avoid r-controlled examples. In my experience, however, this is far less problematic for young learners than the above examples.

With regard to consonants, hard consonants are easier for building associations. Think cow vs. circus; game vs. giraffe. Similarly, consonant blends are less clear than simple, initial consonants. Think grapes vs. gorilla; ship vs. sun; chip vs. cap; three vs. tent. You get the idea.

Time is not measured by clocks, but by moments.

You may be interested in these alphabet posters:

Thursday, September 1, 2016


It's about time, teachers, for a LABOR DAY SALE!

I've done the labor so you can rest and relax. Shop my LABOR DAY SALE, 9/2/16 - 9/5/16. Everything in my store is marked down to just 99₵ (except bundles).  

With 270 products, you are sure to find something lots of things for your classroom. As the enrichment specialist for my building, I have developed curricula that stimulates critical thinking and requires stamina for all elementary grade levels. Much of my curricula integrates multiple subjects.  

Also trained in Reading Recovery and having worked as a literacy specialist for years, many of my products are focused on early reading skills and language arts in general. Again, the materials span all elementary grades.

Recently, I have discovered the joy of creating classroom decor. Nearly 60 products later, I am just getting started!  Forest Friends is my current favorite.

Take a few minutes to peruse my store. I think you'll like it.  Oh, and have a great, long weekend.

Time spent with family is worth every second.