Sunday, February 24, 2013

Visuals, Visuals, & more Visuals

I was lucky enough to have a three day weekend!  Thanks an ice day on Friday.  I really needed it too!!  I have been fighting a sinus infection and my little guy was not himself Thursday or Friday but luckily he is doing better now:)  I am rested and ready to start back to the daily grind tomorrow (hopefully).

So other than trying to recover, I have also been working on a little something for this week.  I was really happy with how my students performed on comprehension tasks when using the visual supports relating to story grammar like characters, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end, and important events.  I decided that I need to create generic supports that I could use with any story we were working on.  I wanted to give everyone a little peek of what I came up with;)  Obviously I am in spring mode because I chose to use a rainbow background!! 

I would love any feedback, comments,  or suggestions you have about my visual support cards.  I have a bigger pack in the works but I need to tweak it a bit before I post it in my TPT store.  But until then snag this little freebie so you can try the cards out first hand!      CLICK HERE!    ENJOY!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Diphthong, you say.....

Diphthong is an interesting word.  It sounds funny.  It has two back to back digraphs which I think is cool.  Oh and of course it has a welded sound;)  But what is it and why teach it?

A diphthong is when one vowel glides into another vowel in a continuous motion like in the vowel patterns  OI and OY.  It is important for students to be able to recognize these sounds when they encounter them in text.  I know exciting right!  So last week, I did a little mini lesson for my second grade students about oi and oy.

One way to start phonics lessons off is by asking the students to state what the pictures have in common.  

Then go over the concept kids need to learn and/or review.  In this lesson in particular, I focused on what a diphthong is and how a student can recognize whether it is oi or oy.

 Then do some practice marking up of words and discussion of vowel patterns, syllables, etc.  This will get kids familiar with recognizing syllable types when they are reading and will aide them in figuring out tricky words.

End the lesson with a game or two that reinforces the pattern as well.  Luckily, Smart Notebook already has games that you can just enter in pictures and words that you need to instruct!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Recap and Two Little Cuties!!

Boy, do kids love Valentine's Day!  My two valentines are 12 and 2.  They are my pride and joy:)  Of course, I also have a ton of love for my hubby as well.  But look how adorable they are!  I could just eat them up.

Today my daughter totally blew me away by writing a short story that was amazing.  She totally just wrote it for fun because she was inspired by a song.  Where does she get this gift?  I have NO idea!  Definitely not from me.  I am so proud to be her mom.  On the other hand, my son is sleeping in his own bed for the second night in a row with no tears.  I may be on a roll!

So here is a little recap on my valentine comprehension activities.  In all honesty, I was totally blown away by my students.  I could not have asked them to perform any better.  There are a few tweaks that I would still like to make........I always feel like I could make things better.  I am not sure if that is a blessing or a curse.  

I am so tickled!  These are examples of two students who worked accurately and fairly independent!  Always a bonus:

Here are examples of my kindergarten comprehension assessments.  I did them "one on one" only because I wanted to know what they knew without any influence of their peers.  I was super happy with the results.  The little guy that I am concerned about did great with the visual supports and is beginning to understand the meaning of story grammar independently.  Yay!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by:)  I would love to hear your your thoughts and comments!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hearts, Candy, & Valentine Comprehension

 I have a student this year that needs to learn story vocabulary like characters, setting, beginning, middle, and end, etc.  but requires visual supports to aide in this learning process.  It is not always easy to find story grammar with visual cues unless of course you use a board maker program.  I wanted something a little more fun to work on this skill with my kiddos so I decided to create a valentine "mystery" for the students.  This allows me to also discuss another genre with the kids, which is a total BONUS.  Of course we started today out by connecting to the students prior knowledge about Valentine's Day!  I could almost see the sugar glaze in their eyes when they talked about the treats, cards, party, etc.

My main focus with the book is to work on comprehension skills like discussing characters, setting, problem, solution.  I also want the students to sequence story events visually in the correct order of beginning, middle, and end.  To target all of these skills, I created visual supports that accompanied the story.   Today, I discussed not only the genre with the students but the story vocabulary as well before reading the book.

 The students and I then read the book chorally.   Of course some groups required a little more support than other but all groups were able to answer the questions relating to the book especially with the visual supports.  Goal for tomorrow is to reread the book and answer comprehension questions about the story.

 I am hoping that the kids are successful with the following activities.  I am hoping that they are able to complete the a visual story event sequence independently (which is at times difficult when working with at risk students).  I made two versions for the students.  One version only has three events and the other has 4 story events.

I also want to check whether the students understand the meaning of vocabulary-- characters, setting, problem, and solution so I wrote questions for the students to respond to related to the for concepts I am targeting.   My major goal was to be able to check comprehension of the students who were not quite writing yet fluently.  So I came up with comprehension questions with visual responses.  I am very excited to try them out with my kinders tomorrow.

 Thanks for taking the time to check out my post.  I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on using visuals or teaching comprehension.  The first FIVE people to comment can have my book, 22 visuals, and comprehension questions for free.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Linking Up with Freebielicious

I am excited to link of with FREEBIELICIOUS for their monthly FREEBIE linky.  My kids are totally into penguins right now.  They are so into it that they surprisingly want to research a penguin to LEARN more!!  I created this FREEBIE as a template for their penguin reports.  I hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Currently and a Short A Smartboard Lesson FREEBIE

I have decided to link up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th grade and join her monthly linky in honor of my unexpected snow day.

Phonics is my thing thus my blog title:)  I do weekly mini lessons that are phonics/Fundations related in classrooms K-2.  In doing this I have created smartboard lessons to accompany the concepts that I teach.  Today I am going to share how I begin Kindergarten word families.   I always begin with the short A families, which I am sure that is no surprise since they are the easiest.

I always start out by brainstorming with the kids what they know about FAMILIES.  I use the picture to show how families can be similar.

 In the end, we discuss that families can not only "look" the same but "sound" the same as well.

We then discuss that words can also be members of a family that "look" the same and "sound" the same.  If you are into WBT (Whole Brain Teaching) then teach the students to cup their ear for "sound" the same and put a finger under the eye for "look" the same.

At this point, we usually watch a video that relates to the word family we are discussing.  Hooked on Phonics has excellent videos that the kids love for all the short vowel word families.  SchoolTube has all the videos for free.

Then we talk about where families can live houses, apartments, etc.  But our word families live in a house.

So the next step is to have the student brainstorm word family words and as they brainstorm I write what they say into the column.  We typically do one family at a time.  As we write words, we also talk about the meaning of words and whether words have blends or digraphs.

 After the word family house is complete then we do several activities that relate to the family we are focusing on during that lesson.  This lesson could definitely be broken up into two days especially with kinders!!

 Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Fluency Intervention that Works! Yes!!

Fluency is a big focus for our district and of course it is a a main area that we are targeting during the RTI process (for those kiddos not meeting AIMS benchmarking/monitoring).  After many different attempts, my co-teacher and I have finally found something that works for us and our students.  Our weekly monitoring is coming up slowly but surely!  Over Christmas break, I discovered a sight word fluency pack created by Christina DeCarbo from Sugar and Spice!  I was lucky enough to get it during an after Christmas sale.  It is FANTASTIC!!  Each passage has four target sight words.  Students color the sight word in the box a certain "color" and then color all the matching words in the passage the same color.  An example is shown below....

We have the students do a cold read of the passage and then have them color sight words etc.  Students then put the passage in a plastic sleeve that they keep in their book box to practice during Read to Self and Read to Someone.  Students also bring the passage with them to group for repeated practice daily.  We track student progress on a data sheet like the example shown below.  In this particular classroom we do the recheck of the practiced passage and the cold read on Fridays.  In other classrooms, I am more flexible and do it based on the student.  Therefore, I may practice the passage longer than a week if the student needs the extra time.  I would love to hear what works for you!!  Please feel free to share:)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Sale, Fundations, and a Freebie!

I am having my first SALE!  I am very excited.  I have posted a couple new items tonight just in time for the sale.  I have been working on a word mark up packet for the second grade teachers in my district that practices Fundations skills in level 2.  I have finally finished it and got it posted at my store.  I created a bookmark cheat sheet for students to accompany my pack and that took me some time.  I am still not sure if it is perfect yet so I am hoping for some feedback!!

Here is a peek at my new pack!  It includes daily practice for Level 2 --Units 1-17.

 Below is a copy of my Cheat Sheet bookmark for students.  I am still not 100% sure that it is completed so any ideas or suggestions please feel free to share!