Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Genre Pack News!

So I have been working on updating my genre pack for awhile now.  It became almost an obsession that I am glad to finally be done so I can work on some other projects I need to get done before school starts.  This summer has sped by so quickly and I feel like I have not accomplished everything I hoped to but oh well!  My little tornado Thomas has been my main focus this summer.  He is a nonstop ball of fun:)

I wanted to share a peek at my updated pack.  If you have already purchased it please go and re-download it ASAP!  It has grown from 15 pages to 131!  I told you I became obsesses with it.  I finally had to make myself stop.

I created this great preview using Picasa.  If you want to learn more about it check out my recent post on Teaching Blog Round Up called Techie Tips.

I will give this pack FREE to the first three bloggers to comment and leave me their emails.  If you miss it the freebie then don't fret it will be half off through tomorrow night! 

Thanks for reading,

Friday, July 26, 2013


PHONICS FRIDAY is back from vacation!!   It's been a busy week with my anniversary and my daughter getting braces.  It took me a moment to process that Friday had snuck up on me:)

Today's Phonics Friday is dedicated to my genre pack editor Roxanne:)  I really appreciated her feedback and assistance!

This mini lesson focuses on the double vowel syllable (vowel teams).  
Although the "rule" the first vowel says its name is not universal it does apply most of the time.

This lesson begins with a student clicking the boat to access a song that introduces the lesson target.  My kids love this song with the catchy tune of the first vowel does the talking and the second vowel does the walking.  I hope yours do too!

First go over the rule of the pattern that the mini lesson targets.  

I just added this slide while writing this post tonight.
It is important for students to understand, recognize 
& understand the objectives of the lesson.

 When introducing a new syllable type it is important
 to demonstrate how to mark up words containing this pattern.  

1.  A scoop for each syllable.
2.  Circle the vowel team because this syllable may not always be long.
3.  A "d" to stand for the double vowel syllable.

  Practice having the students read and identify the pattern/sound.

Then practice, practice, and practice!!  

This lesson includes a sort, writing the "double vowel" word,  
a word building activity, & basketball hangman.  

All of these activities help reinforce the double vowel syllable!!

I hope you enjoyed this PHONICS FRIDAY!!  
I would love to hear how you teach vowel teams. 
As always if you have any requests for next week's post
 just leave me a comment below.  
CLICK HERE to snag your copy of this lesson.  
Also make sure check out my Facebook Freebie!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dog Days of Summer at TBR!!!

The bloggers at Teaching Blog Round Up have but together a fun FREEBIE link up and giveaway!!!

Make sure you visit TBR to enter the giveaway and win some great goodies from some awesome bloggers.

I am going to keep it short and sweet today because I am trying to make the most of my last days with of vacation with the fam:)  Today we are going to visit Middleton Place which is a beautiful southern plantation.  I am a big history buff so I always enjoy visiting historical landmarks.  Okay so I am a total GEEK even on vacation:)


I have a little FREEBIE to share with everyone today!!
 Click on the picture below to get a SHORT I memory match freebie.



 Feel free to join the fun and link up your FREEBIE!! 
Also my entire store will be 20% off through Sunday. 
If you are a Facebook Fan there will be a special FREEBIE for everyone this weekend.

Friday, July 12, 2013


I hope to utilize my IPAD more this coming school year.  I am beginning to research what phonics apps might be good for my kiddos.  I thought I would share with you a few apps I have found that look promising. 

Word Wonderland from McGraw-Hill looks like a cool app.  I am loving the price of FREE.  It  reviews long and short vowels, the r controlled syllable, blends, and more.  I am going to give this app a shot for sure.  I have their Everyday Day math apps and think they are well done so I am excited to discover this app.
Word Wonderland will guide preschool through young elementary students through basic phonics skills using word sorting. Students can practice long and short vowels, blends, digraphs, r-controlled vowels, words ending with –le, dipthongs, word families and more with this engaging game. - See more at: http://bestappsforkids.com/2013/06/word-wonderland-primary/#sthash.jp4dl6Kc.dpuf
Word Wonderland will guide preschool through young elementary students through basic phonics skills using word sorting. Students can practice long and short vowels, blends, digraphs, r-controlled vowels, words ending with –le, dipthongs, word families and more with this engaging game. - See more at: http://bestappsforkids.com/2013/06/word-wonderland-primary/#sthash.jp4dl6Kc.dpuf


ABC Phonics Lite is FREE but if you decide you like it and you want to upgrade to the full version it is $2.99.  This app teaches letter sounds, letter formation, and beginning blending of sounds into words.  The Lite version has 20 words included.

iPhone Screenshot 3

iPhone Screenshot 1

Monkey Word School ($1.99) by Thup Games is definitely worth two dollars.  I plan on adding it to my app collection because my bud Lisa from Always an Adventure in Kindergarten tried it out with her kiddos last school year.  So I have watched kids totally engrossed in this app and the best part is they are really learning and practicing skills!

iPhone Screenshot 1

iPhone Screenshot 3

Hairy Letters by Nessy ($1.99)  This APP looks so great.  It starts introducing letters and then builds to blending three sounds to form a word.   The creator of this app is a UK based company.  They also have a couple of dyslexia apps which I find interesting.  This one is definitely going on my wishlist.

iPhone Screenshot 2 

iPhone Screenshot 4 

I hope you found an app or two that you could utilize in your classroom next year.  I would love to hear what phonics apps you use to reinforce skills.  If you use a good one that you think I should check out --please share-- I would love to know!!!!

I arrive at the beach tomorrow and I am super excited to spend some quality time with the family.  PHONICS FRIDAY will be on vacation next week too but it will return on the 26th.  

Stay tuned for a little bit of fun that the bloggers at Teaching Blog Round Up have planned for next week beginning on the 18th!  You won't want to miss it!! 

Until next time:)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Drum Roll Please!!!


 I was very honored and excited to receive the Liebster award from my buddy Lisa over at Always an Adventure in Kindergarten.  Also from Sara at over at Primary Buzz.

Primary BuzzAlways An Adventure

   The Liebster Award is an award for new blog.
 Liebster is a German word that means:
      DEAREST & WELCOME!    

 Here are my "rules" for accepting the nomination:
To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

One of the things I love most about the blogging world is that daily I get to discover and learn from new amazing blogs.  Here are a few of my favs:

Matt from Digital, Divide & Conquer.  I am always up for learning about new tech ideas. 


I just discovered Haley's blog--My Silly Firsties
Luckily in time to snag a couple of awesome freebies!

I just discovered Katie from Resource Room Roundabout through Just Reed's 10 pin linky.  She stopped by my blog and left me the sweetest comment.  I have really enjoyed following her posts.

Anna from Giggles and Glue Sticks has a wonderful little blog with some great FREEBIES.

Gluesticks N Giggles

Kate from Kdots Learning Spot has a lot of energy.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Kdot's Learning Spot

1.  If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
If I could live anywhere it would be Charleston, SC.  I love the south, the beach, the history of the city.  I would love to live in a place that never had snow.  I attempted to win the HGTV Dream home on that was located near Charleston this winter but alas I did not win.

2.  What is your favorite grade to teach?
My heart lies in first grade.  I am passionate about teaching reading and that is where the journey really begins.  Also it is where students go from being non readers to being readers.
3.  Do you collect anything?
I am not much of a collector.  I do have a few addictions.  I can't stop myself from purchasing children's books.  My school library and both of my children are not lacking for books.  I also have a weakness for professional photographs of my children.  I probably have them taken way too much and I use them to decorate my house.  I am not even going to get into my clip art addiction:)
4. How many years have you been teaching?
I am starting my 14th year of teaching.  My entire career has been working with at risk and students with some type of disability.  I do hope that one day I may be able to change things up and have my own general ed classroom.

5.  What's your least favorite household chore and why?
Laundry because it is never ending.  I feel like I am constantly on a hamster wheel of doing laundry.  I get it caught up and don't look in the laundry room for a day and one small towel has multiplied into a huge mountain of dirty clothes.

6.  What's your favorite thing to do when you get a night out?
When I get a night away from the kiddos, my hubby and I usually have a nice dinner or go to a movie.  Usually I get to have a martini:) which is a bonus!

7.  Where did you go to college and did you originally major in something other than education?
My college experience was not very exciting.  I went to the University of Akron for my undergrad and Ashland University for my masters.  Education is the only major I ever had. 

8.  What's the best concert you've ever been to?
I have been to several very good Matchbox Twenty concerts.  I am a sucker for Rob Thomas.  I would say the Maroon 5 concert that my husband and I went to where we were in the 2nd row.  Adam Levine was so close that I could have touched him!!!  Great music and a cute guy definitely a win! win!  

9.  Favorite all-time movie?
My favorite movie is a classic that will show my age:  The Breakfast Club
The story of a brain, a princess, a basket case, an athlete, and a criminal what could be better. 

10.  What's the best thing about blogging?
I love that blogging because it gives me an outlet to share and geek out about school stuff.  My mind does not ever stop and I am constantly thinking about what I could do better, what I could create, what I should learn, etc.  Blogging has taught me that I am not alone:) 

11.  What is your favorite food or drink?
I have a horrible coca cola addiction.  I really should give it up but I really mentally need to have at least one can a day.

Now for 11 Random Things About Me

1.  I have had two sets of braces and have spent a total of 5 years wearing a mouthful of metal.  

2.  I met my husband on EHarmony almost 9 years ago.

3.  The last movie I saw was The Heat and I loved it.

4.  I am one of four children.

5.  I am leaving for vacation tomorrow and I have not packed yet.

6.  I have a horrible sweet tooth.

7.  My dream is to one day travel through Europe.

8.  I am still friends with my bestie from nursery school.

9.  I love the city of Chicago.

10.  My favorite Broadway play is Rent.

11.  The last book I read was Looking for Alaska.

Now I am sure everyone is tired of hearing about me!!!  Let's talk about YOU!  Here are 11 questions for my nominees to answer.

1.  What is your guilty pleasure?

2.  What is your favorite technology toy and why?

3.  What is your MUST have for the upcoming school year?

4.  What is your favorite APP and why?

5.  What is your favorite subject to teach?

6.  Are you a glass half full and a glass half empty person?  Explain.

7.  What is your favorite TPT product created by someone else?

8.  Why do you blog?

9.  What is your best organizational tip?

10.  Do you have a favorite TV program?  If so what is it?

11.  What inspires you?

That's all folks!!  Make sure you check out these awesome bloggers if you haven't already.

Friday, July 5, 2013



Today I decided to link up with Cara from The First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday therefore doing a PHONICS FRIDAY:  Pinterest Edition.  I choose 10 of my favorite phonics pins to share with everyone.  I am very excited to link up because one of the first blogs I discovered was the First Grade Parade and I stalked it for many years before having the courage to enter the blogging world myself.  

I have linked all of the pictures to there original source so if you are interested in learning more just click and go:)

Games are essential for small group work.  As an intervention specialist, I use games to reinforce concepts all the time.  What could be better than the kids learning and having fun doing it.  Here is a I Have .....Who Has game that focuses on short vowels.  This game is that not only is it adorable but it is FREE!
 I Have... who Has - short vowel - FREEBIE 
This was one of the first pins that I actually tried out.  It may not necessarily be considered a "phonics" pin but it is a great pin all the same.  The idea is to put a red dot in the center of words therefore forcing the student to center in on the whole word and not just the beginning of the word.   Like anything else it works for some kids and not for others.
Did you know that placing a red dot in the middle of words can help children see the whole word? Try it for students who just look at the beginning of words and then guess. 
This is a great idea for multisensory tapping and blending of words.  Students say the sound and hit the light.  Once all the lights are on they blend the sounds together to form the word.

Tap light for each sound they hear in word...phoneme segmentation!

This is a fabulous freebie from What the Teacher Wants.  The three sounds of ED are a hard concept to teach and get the students to understand which is why I initially pinned this goodie.  (at least it is for my at risk students)   This freebie includes not only an activity to practice the three sounds but posters for a visual reminder/prompt!!  Since I do small group work I will often shrink full size items by printing multiple pages to one page.  I feel like smaller cards/pages are easier to carry from room to room.

The Three Sounds of -ed posters

Those of you who follow me would know that I would probably be apt to pin a song here and there.  I love to use songs to teach and reinforce concepts.  Luckily my collaborating teachers like me because we do a little singing in small group:)    This is actually a great set of "or" sound songs--there is 4 to the set.  The best news is that it is totally FREE from Swimming into Second.
Awesome reading songs
The school I went to as a kid did not teach phonics so I was taught to read by memorizing.   All the phonics knowledge that I have I learned as an adult.  I am still known to research rules at times just to make sure I have it right before teaching it to my kiddos.  This is a handy pin that has a list of 18 phonics rules that can be applied MOST of the time.  (It is a free resource.)

Phonics Generalizations - A FREE handout listing the 18 phonic rules that have been proven to work at least 75% of the time. 

I love this spinner idea from the From Life in First Grade.  There are so many different phonics concepts that can be taught through a game like this!!  

 I love the idea of using a student's name to practice phonics concepts, consonant, and vowel recognition.  Then the students build words with the letters in the students name!!  This is the only pin that I could not find the original post.  I just linked it back to the Growing Kinders blog.

Videos are a must when teaching phonics!!  If you have downloaded any of my Smartboard lessons then you know that I use them whenever possible.  This video teaches the digraph sounds of sh,ch, and th.  The pin is actually not from the Electric Company site but I do use the Electric Company frequently in my Smartboard phonics lessons because they have a ton of short phonics videos and songs that are free.

I love this idea to use in my small groups.  I think it would be fun to have the students feed the monster!!  This could be used to reinforce any phonics concept. 

Thank you for joining me for another PHONICS FRIDAY!!!  I can't wait to read through everyone's favorite pins!!  I have a little Pinterest addiction myself:)  As always if you have a request of a skill you would like me to discuss next week feel free to let me know.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


In celebration of my new blog design, I promised a little FREEBIE!  
 Here is a story map that can be used with any book.  Just click the picture to download.


I had so much fun last week sharing math pins.
I decided to link up with JUST REED again to share 10 reading pin ideas.  
If you click on the pictures to go to the post where the PIN was originally discovered/pinned.


1.  I just discovered this pin as I was looking for pins to share.  It is a very handy FREEBIE to utilize when do reading conferences with students or even small group.  I find that I am always doing and thinking so many different things that it helps to have a reminder to keep me on track.  Hmmm.....maybe I have ADD like many of my students:)

2.  I love this idea for my kiddos that are movers and shakers.  The idea is to have the kids hop on each dot for each letter sound and then blend the sounds together to form a word.  My kinders and beginning first graders will love this!

Sound Hop  Use rubber dots for hopping the sounds in words. The children hop on a dot as they say each sound in the word. This is great for kinesthetic learners.

3.  What an awesome IDEA to teach kids to recognize the setting of a story!  Kids can find pictures that represent a time and place. Then you can laminate and hang the poster in your classroom as a visual reminder.  I know there I go again with visual reminders/prompts!  It is kinda an obsession for me:)
Setting Collage by @Jane Ferguson, ESL Teacher at Lake Myra Elementary

4.  A word wall that allows kids to take the ring of words that begin with the letter back to their seats when working on writing.  It is very handy and mobile.  Anybody have any great ideas on how to make one similar to this that is portable from class to class?

5.  Open MIC Fridays for fluency practice!  The kids won't even know that they are improving their reading skills because they will be having so much fun!  I would also love to have the microphone from the post but it is kinda pricey.  With all the AIMS assessment that I have to do FLUENCY practice is a MUST!!  It would be awesome to make it fun.
 Open Mic Fridays. Sign up for your turn at the microphone once you have practiced your poem for fluency. Great idea. Could even do with writing pieces! {I already do Friday Readings, but I like the idea of calling it "Open Mic Friday!"  So cute!}

6.  Take a picture of your students holding up class sight words.  Then make a powerpoint presentation so that you can review them daily with your class. I am thinking that this could even be done so that it can be reviewed on an IPAD.  Another idea would be to have the students work together to build the word and then take a picture instead of just having them hold up a sign with the word already written.
7.  I love discovering things I have pinned.  This is a fabulous FREEBIE!!!!  What a handy cheat sheet for character traits.  I already have it downloaded for next year.  I can't wait to utilize it!!
FREE! Character Traits Categories- writing folder ideas

8.  This pin goes along with #7 above.  The students decorate the outside of the bag to LOOK like the character showing PHYSICAL TRAITS and then on the inside they put words that DESCRIBE the CHARACTER TRAITS or the inside/personality of the character.
Paper Bag main character project - put research questions on the outside, put items to represent character on the inside 
9.  I am always looking for portable ideas to use in small group since I move from class to class.  I love this idea of creating a portable anchor chart.  I definitely plan on doing something similar next year.
10.  I could not end my post without sharing a song pin:)  I love to use songs to teach even though I have absolutely no musical ability.  It is great that the kiddos get into the song and the concept gets stuck in their heads.  Students are also frequently able to retrieve concept knowledge with greater ease when taught through music.  This is a great FREEBIE from  A Teeny Tiny Teacher.
 Ideas for when we learn about questions 
I hope you got some great ideas!!  
I can wait to check out everyone's pins 
& see what other creative ideas are out there that I haven't found!!