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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sale Time!

It's about time, teachers, ... to give thanks. Because I am so thankful for this new era of cyber sharing and collaborating, I am joining the sales on TpT and TN.

The Teachers Notebook's 3-Day Sale is Sat., 11/24 - Sun., 11/26.  In addition to my discounted prices, there will be a 10% reduction at check-out given by the site administrators.  You don't want to miss it!

Teachers Pay Teachers' annual Cyber Monday sale starts on Mon., 11/27 and continues through Tues., 11/28.  In addition to the discounts I'm offering, you can apply their coupon code, CMT12, for an additional 10% off your entire order.  You've just got to make time to shop at this sale!


You know this is a very busy time of year.  If you are not exhausted, yet, you soon will be. So, treat yourself to some tried and true lesson plans and units.  You deserve it!  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Poetry Freebie

It's about time, teachers, . . . for Thanksgiving.  In the spirit of this holiday, I'm pleased to share with you a --

Prior to our Turkey Day break, I like to share the following poem with my students:

After we read it, we do some or all of these Poetry Possibilities:

Enjoy the poem and, if you try any of the Possibilities, I'd love to hear how they worked for your class.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This comes from my product, Poetry Possibilities - Fall

You may also like these Poetry Possibility products:

Find them at my TpT Store or TN Shop

Friday, November 16, 2012

Let's Talk Turkey

It's about time teachers ... for Thanksgiving!  So let's talk turkey - Let's Talk Turkey Words, that is. This is a new product I've posted on TpT and TN. Because I have so very much to be thankful for, I have listed it for FREE!

As you probably guessed, Let's Talk Turkey Words is a language arts activity.  It is perfect for literacy centers, small group instruction, and as an activity for fast finishers.  There are letter tiles for 4 seasonal words -- Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, turkey, & Mayflower.  Each word is in a different color to assist you in getting the right letters to each student.

The goal is for students to create as many words as they can from the letters in their set.  At a center or in a small group, giving each child a different set of letters has proven to discourage Billy-the-Borrower from simply copying his friend's list of words.  

Let's Talk Turkey Words exercises your students' abilities to be fluent and flexible in thought and oral language.  It will also inform you about your students' command of common spelling patterns and sight words.

Used for differentiation, this activity readily accommodates the differences in word generating abilities.  You can make the task more challenging for your higher functioning students by - 
  • denying them the right to make words with less than 3 letters 
  • requiring 2 or more syllables
  • allowing them to use common suffixes, such as -ed, er, or -ing, despite not having those letters before them
  • giving parts of speech parameters (5 verbs, 7 nouns, 3 adverbs, 4 adjectives, ...)
  • etc.
Copy the letter sets on cardstock, laminate, and cut apart.  A recording sheet is provided. This product is CCSS aligned for you.  You're welcomed!

You can get Let's Talk Turkey Words on TpT or TN.  While you are there, check out my other turkey centers and activities:

and my original book, Where is the Thanksgiving Turkey?  It is an emergent reader perfect for practicing chunking and phrasing.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Family Reading Night

It's time, teachers, to celebrate National Children's Book Week.  

At my school, we have Family Reading Night in which families return to school in the evening. They are encouraged to visit up to 3 rooms where guest readers are sharing some favorite books. Our committee works hard to find some local celebrities to read.  We implore radio personalities, the weather girl on the local TV station, a player or coach from the U of I's athletic teams, ...  Ironically, the most popular reader is always the retired kindergarten teacher who touched so many of our children's lives and invoked their love of literature.

One of my favorite activities for National Children's Book Week incorporates my passion for poetry.  I share the following poem with my students:

I love to challenge my kiddos' creativity while helping them focus on the /ook/ rime.  To that end, I point out the lines,
          "Chefs read cookbooks,
          Pirates?  'Hook' books!
          Little kids read lift-and-look books!"
Working together, we think up other "-ook" books and readers.  For example, fishermen read bait and hook books.  Or, Chess players read rook books.  My students never fail to amaze me with the lines they create.   The all-time favorite line came from a student who had just returned from vacation in the Pacific NW.  Her line was "[Native Americans] read Chinook books."  (I inserted the pc term; she actually said, "Indians.")  Can you imagine???

If you are looking for a set of books that promote reading and a love of literature, I recommend the following:

  • Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco
  • The School Mouse by Dick King-Smith
  • Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
  • Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
  • Born to Read by Judy Sierra
  • Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr
  • The Best Book to Read by Debbie Bertram & Susan Bloom
  • The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertram & Susan Bloom
  • The Best Time to Read by Debbie Bertram & Susan Bloom
  • Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don't) by Barbara Bottner

If you like this poem and activity, you can find more fall poetry, teaching points, skill lessons, and activities in my product, Poetry Possibilities - Fall.

It is available in my TpT Store or in my TN Shop.

You may also like:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Where is the Thanksgiving Turkey?

It's almost turkey time, teachers!  In response to requests by some of my wonderful followers, I have created an emergent reader book for the time leading up to Thanksgiving.

The text is simple, predictable, and supported by the pictures.  Each page follows this pattern:
The turkey is [preposition or prepositional phrase] the [object].

The prepositions may not be familiar to your students.  However, they should be decodable, using the finger masking technique described in my last blog post.  That is, use finger masking to help your students find a recognizable chunk.  For example, on the following page, inside may be unfamiliar to your students.

However, in should be a familiar word.  By covering the rest of the word, you help your student focus on something known.  

Remind your student to quickly check the picture for a clue.  Then direct her to start the sentence again, drawing your finger back as she reaches the masked word.  Repeat this procedure, as necessary, with the other prepositions she encounters.

Where is the Thanksgiving Turkey? also provides the opportunity to work on phrasing and fluency.  Through both direct instruction and modeling, teach your students to phrase as follows:
/The turkey is/   /inside the barn./
/The turkey is/   /in the leaves./

The pattern lends itself perfectly to 3 word phrases, with one exception:  
/The turkey is/     /on top of/     /the pumpkin./

I think it is always wise to put something in that is a little unexpected.  After all, we do want our students attending to the text.

Now is the time to hop over to my TpT store to get your copy of Where is the Thanksgiving Turkey?  It is copy ready in black & white.  Your students will enjoy adding color to the pictures.  It is currently selling for just $1.

There are some great linky parties that you should check out:

  • Margaret @ iHeartLiteracy is hosting a linky party for FREE Literacy Resources.  Hurry over there!  Who doesn't love FREE Literacy Resources??

  • Linda @ Primary Inspirations is hosting a Turkey Time linky.  There are scores of resources there for you to peruse.  I bet you'll gobble them up!

Until next time...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Word Work, the Reading Recovery Way -- Pt. 9

In the course of your word work, teachers, it’s now time to introduce flexibility for spelling patterns that change sounds.  To this end, make 3 words with the same spelling pattern, but differences in sounds, e.g. come, some, home.  

Say the words for your student, pointing out that the spelling pattern is the same.

Now, make 3 more words with a spelling pattern that changes its sounds, e.g. bear, wear, near.  

It’s time to put the task on the child.  Ask her to say the words.  Then ask her if they are words she has heard before.  If she is able to correctly pronounce all of these words, she is demonstrating flexibility.  If, however, she struggles with this, demonstrate for her how readers try different sounds until the word is familiar.  

If the student struggles with flexibility, you can also address the issue in text reading. For example, Marianne Berkes' book, Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef, is a counting book that rhymes.  Such a book is great for flexibility because it give your student inherent clues for using flexibility.  On the following page, two is a tricky word with an unusual spelling pattern.

When your student pauses at two, quickly cover the text with your hand and ask her what would make sense there.  

If you receive a blank stare, ask her to reread from the beginning of the page.  When she reaches two, insert the /t/ sound for her and wait for two to pop out of her mouth.  Most often it will pop out.  If, however, it doesn't, remind her that this book is a counting story (there is even the numeral 2 on the page) that also rhymes.  Reread with her from the top of the page, thereby pushing her to read more fluently.  When you reach two, again give the initial sound.  Now it should pop out of her mouth.  If, by chance, she still does not produce two, point to the numeral on the page.  Then, have her reread from the top yet again.  

After she reads it correctly, draw her attention to the word two, and ask her if two makes sense there.  Then ask her if the word looks like it could be two.  Assuming she answers affirmatively to both questions, reassure her that, indeed, it does say two, even if it doesn't look like to or too with which she is familiar.  If she still struggles with this text, it may simply be too difficult for her.  Toss it aside and choose another book.

As always, stay with this task until you are confident she understands it.

The time has come to end this series about Word Work. Hopefully, it has been helpful to those of you working with emergent readers.  The complete text, including points not covered in this blog, is available in my TpT store.

Now that we are in the holiday season, everyone tends to feel a time crunch.  In an effort to ease the stress, Melissa at Mrs. Bushnell's 4th grade blogspot is hosting a holiday linky party. Check it out!  It just might save you lots of planning time.

While you are blog hopping, be sure to check out 3 fabulous giveaways.  Stop by Teacher's Toolkit where Wendy is having a huge giveaway to celebrate 200 followers.  (I'm donating a product of the winner's choice.)

Jennifer at Live. Teach. Create. is having a giveaway, too.  (I'm donating Poetry Possibilities - Fall.) Take a minute to enter.

Nicole at One, Two, Three: Math Time is hosting a monthly giveaway.  Her November giveaway has more than 40 teachers donating products.  (I'm also offering Poetry Possibilities - Fall for this giveaway.)

Until next time...