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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Acorns Keep Falling on my Head!

Acorns keep falling on my head!  Really!  Our oak trees are dropping acorns like a rainstorm. Ouch!  But, kind of like Newton and his apple, those pecks on the head inspired me to create some acorn centers.

One of the centers is Acorn Patterns.  There are 2 sizes of acorns and each size points in 4 different directions. By providing that number of variables, it will be easy to differentiate instruction for my students. They can make a simple a-b-a-b pattern with sizes. Or, I can challenge my G/T students to create something far more complex. Because the acorns are uncolored, students can make even more complicated patterns by the way they color them. 

You can grab a copy of my Acorn Pattern math center at Google Docs.

In addition to the math center, I made 3 literacy centers: Collecting Acorns (compound word match), Acorn Contractions, and Acorns & Leaves (long vowel sort). If you like the patterning center, and I hope you do, you can get the whole set on TpT.

Other fall products you may be interested in:


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Family Reading Night

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 Family Reading Night 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.")  How amazing is that???

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.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Halloween Boggle Board

A few weeks ago, I posted about the brilliance of Boggle boards that are sweeping into school rooms everywhere.  I love, love, love them!  Then, as I was cleaning out some old files, I discovered that way back when I was first teaching (a few decades ago), I made a bulletin board for Halloween that was a predecessor to the Boggle boards. 

That's how we did it back in the day ... construction paper, markers, and free hand drawings. Nevertheless, my students had fun identifying the holiday words on my Jack-o'-lantern. 

Fast forward to the 21st century and the wonders of desk top publishing.  Although my new version is not exactly like the Boggle boards I admire, it works the same way; words can bend and turn at will.  There are at least 35 seasonal vocabulary words included. 

You can treat yourself to this FREEBIE by going to my TPT Store.

Until next time...

You may also be interested in these Halloween products:


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Boggles Your Mind

Being a word-phile [yes, I made that up], I am always attracted to activities that employ ... words! So, for several weeks now, as I traverse the Pinterest world, I have been consistently drawn to the Boggle™ boards that are popping up. Brilliant!!! Wish I had thought of that.

Since I didn't think it up, I can at least promote this wonderful idea.  Initially, I found bulletin board Boggle™ boards like these:

These boards are awesome for early finishers, as anchor activities, and/or sponge activities.  It also occurs to me that they could be carefully manipulated to provide extra practice on word families, spelling lists, and phonics foci.  As a Reading Recovery teacher, I see potential to highlight high frequency words that my students know or know with lapses.  (That's official RR speak.)

But, the Bogglebrilliance carries on ...  Boggle™  has found a niche in literacy centers. Brillianter!  [I made that up, too.]  

If you visit Miss Martin's TpT Store, you can grab a FREE Boggle recording sheet.  Thanks Miss Martin!

The beauty of Bogglecenters is that you can so easily differentiate instruction for your students.  Certainly you can manipulate the letters/words used in the boards, again incorporating the focus of your current instruction (short a words, words with blends, word families, content area vocabulary, ...).  Making the array larger increases the challenge, as well.  I can envision high school teachers posting 12 x 12 arrays of letters. Perhaps the chemistry teacher can place the elements in the board.

Then I came across this product:


By putting numerals on your board, you can challenge your students to find equations in whatever operation you are studying.  You can ask them to find numbers with a specified number of digits; perhaps requiring a specific number in the ten's place. The potential for differentiation is huge.  

What else can you imagine in using Bogglemath boards?

It Bogglesthe mind!

You may be interested in these products from my TpT Store: