Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sight Word Passages

My oldest child is about to enter kindergarten. I knew I wanted to teach him some sight words before kindergarten, but I could not find the resource I was looking for! They have sight word books, but they are costly and you don't get much bang for your buck. Then there is the "tried and true" method of flash cards. I am sure I will be using those, but I didn't really want to start him out that way. I needed something inexpensive, that would give him many opportunities to really read sight words. I wanted it to be a frustration-free experience for my very early reader.

I couldn't find the resource, so I decided to make it myself. Voila!

Here are the sight word passages I have completed so far. I will be working on more and more as my little one progresses. I am focusing on the first 100 Fry words.

I am using these to teach my little one, but I could see them being a great resource to have in the classroom. You could use them during guided reading. Students could have their own "books" of sight word passages for in depending reading. You could put them in the middle of tables. You could send them home as homework. You could have students circle words. The possibilities are endless!

Some examples:

If you think you may be interested, I've uploaded the first two sets in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Click here for set 1. Click here for set 2.

I hope these are as helpful to you as they are to me!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Table Makeover

So I haven't posted in nearly a year. On September 19th, 2013 I gave birth to twins... a boy and a girl. We had a fairly traumatic delivery which resulted in an unexpected c-section and a 1 week NICU stay for our little boy. I am not complaining. As I type my little sweeties are napping, healthy as can be! That is all that matters! Introducing little Miss M and little Mister W. They are wonderful, happy babies!

 I've been looking for a spacious craft/play table for my little ones. Of course, the ones I like best are the large tables from Pottery Barn Kids! Adding two children and taking away one income from our family pretty much means that expensive PBK play tables are not an option! So I started to look around. I looked at a few other tables but they were way too small for my purpose. I ended up finding this:

This table is actually made for adults. It is solid pine and it only cost $65!!! We are very pleased with it. It is solid!

We sawed the legs so that the table would stand 24 inches high, just like the Pottery Barn Kids tables I liked. I stained the top with Minwax Wood Finish in Special Walnut. Then I painted the legs with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Eulalie Sky. I did a bit of a distressed finish on this part, allowing the wood to show through here and there. To finish, I coated the entire table in soft wood wax. The results were perfect!

I love that the table is so spacious! I know that my children will be eating, crafting, and playing on this table for many years to come. I think this project would be great for a classroom. You could even leave the tables unfinished and just do a sealer to prevent marking on the wood. We know how expensive classroom tables are from catalogs. This is a great alternative and I feel it would be very durable. What a good option for a writing or listening center.  The possibilities are endless!

I do realized that those chairs aren't really working. They go with another toddler table my son had. They are way too short. We will probably be constructing a bench and purchasing two bigger chairs in the near future. The canvas school map you see is from the 1960s and was rescued from the trash. I got the wire book basket on Amazon and the glass jar for the crayons from Target.

Thank you again for reading!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Fun

We had a fabulous Christmas celebration in our classroom! The children learned about Christmas around the world. We even had some parents from Denmark come and share some Danish traditions with us. It was a blast. Here are a few snapshots from around our classroom during the last couple of weeks.

The children made these reindeer during our Christmas party. Cute!

These poinsettias were part of our Christmas around the world celebration. We read The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tommy dePaola and learned about Mexican wedding traditions. I am hoping to get all of my Christmas around the world stuff compiled into a unit available for download, but it's not ready yet. Hopefully it will be available next year! :)

Nothing beats the simplicity of simply decorating a paper tree. The children used spangles, gems, paper,  markers, and glitter to decorate their trees. They were displayed on a clothesline in our classroom for most of December!

Below is some cute Christmas writing along with some gorgeous illustrations! We adorned our writing with tissue paper wreaths.

We did a lot of "fun centers" this month.

Some children play with Instasnow (since, chances are, we won't be seeing any of the real stuff here in Southern Alabama).

What to do with TONS of marshmallows leftover from Polar Express Day? Why, make marshmallow/toothpick sculptures, of course!

Here the children decorate their own snowmen. The adorable results are below!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, restful holiday! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Decorations & Math Centers

We've broken out the Christmas decor! I love this time of year! I just wish it lasted longer. I've also been enjoying the hush that comes over my class when I play Christmas carols. They're completely entranced. Who knew that is what it would take?

Our tree isn't too exciting yet. It will be. I like to decorate it with their creations.

We made these little trees today because our room was completely bare after I sent all of the fall/Thanksgiving crafts home. They were very easy. I had the craft prepared in about 10 minutes. When I am cutting things out, I always cut six or so at a time because I have a GREAT pair of scissors. Every teacher should have one pair of killer scissors.

In other news, we've started doing math centers regularly. I know I am late on this. My class just really wasn't ready until recently. Every group is different. I completely changed how I structured it from last year. This year, the children stay with their table group. Four of my tables stay seated and get a math tub. One table goes to computers. One table plays with blocks/building materials. I totally view blocks as math. :) I also view it as a good way to get some play into an intensely academic day.

The children go to one math center per day. I keep up with rotations through clothespins clipped to their table signs.

This plan requires me to maintain four math tubs. Within each math tub is:

1) a game or puzzle (see examples below)
2) a math manipulative for free play once they finish the game/puzzle

Sometimes they play the math game the whole block of time. Sometimes they play it once and move on to the pattern blocks or whatever is in that tub. This has worked nicely for us so far.

Students play a game of Tapatan. It is very similar to Tic-Tac-Toe and a class favorite!

Students practice number order with some little animal puzzles I made.

This game is called Spotty Dog. The children race to  cover their dog with spots.

One group goes to blocks/building. 

The children enjoy free play with manipulatives at their seats upon finishing the game or puzzle.

This game is called Five Frame Pickup and involves rolling a number card and picking up a matching five frame. If you roll a six, you loose a card! The player with the most cards wins!

I recently created this number practice sheets for my class. I love designing my own resources because I can hone them to my class's specific needs. Many in my class are not able to identify the numbers 10-20. Our math program was not cutting it here so... voila! I supplement with these when needed! I am using the smaller numbers (0-9) with my math intervention group.

So there you have it! That's what we've been up to lately! I am looking forward to posting about our upcoming Christmas Around the World unit! :) Have a fabulous week!

** If you are interested in the math games or number practice sheets featured in the post above, you can download them at my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking the links below.

* I am also working on another pack that is slightly more challenging.*


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all getting some much-needed rest and enjoying time with your family. Here are some pictures from my classroom from this week.

Not the greatest pilgrim girl hat. I see my design flaw now! Next year will be better! Haha! :)

Our Charlie Brown teepee. We've been learning about Native Americans. We definitely learned that different tribes lived in different sorts of houses. However, a teepee was easy to make with some branches in the surrounding growth around the school... and yes, those are jump ropes you see holding it together.

I also wanted to let everyone know that I am participating in Teachers Pay Teachers' Cyber Monday sale. My store will be 28% off. If you were thinking about purchasing one of my units or kindergarten or first grade morning work sets, this would be a great time to do so! :) The sale starts on Monday and extends to Tuesday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is ONE WEEK away! This is one of my favorite times of the year. I LOVE teaching about pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving. It brings back a flood of memories from when I was in school. Memories of wearing a little white paper bonnet, tied with yarn under my chin and sitting in my classroom for a Thanksgiving feast.What a wonderful American story! I also love that it makes us stop and think about all of our blessings. Too often we get caught up in our hectic day-to-day lives and we forget.

Of course, we cannot do a Thanksgiving unit without turkeys!

For this little project, we used watercolors to paint these adorable little turkeys. I then cut them out and mounted them on colored paper. The children added the sentence "I am thankful for _____. " I love watercolors. Such a simple, easy activity that always comes out looking gorgeous. Sometimes I feel like I am in a fine art gallery in my classroom... :) If you are interested in doing your own watercolor turkeys, you can download one for free by clicking here.

Later in the week we read Run, Turkey, Run! It was the perfect book to preface our next craft.


The children were charged with disguising a turkey. This is how they started out:

Each table got a bin with oodles of supplies. They had felt, pipe cleaners, feathers, wiggly eyes, pom poms, sequins, gemstones, construction paper, tissue paper, and more! The children were thrilled.

Here are some of the highlights. Can you guess what they are?

a superhero, a princess, a sheep, a monster, and an "Indian" 

I hope you all are enjoying this season as much as I am! Have a great night!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Squirrels and Other Fall Happenings

Fall is in full swing here in Alabama. Mid-November is really our peak as far as leaves go. The weather has FINALLY cooled off. Boots, scarves, and leggings are out! :)

One thing I love to do with my students in the fall is study squirrels. Most children are fairly familiar with squirrels, even if they haven't had a lot of enrichment in their lives. We opened our squirrel study with some funny videos from Youtube of squirrels going through obstacle courses and stealing candy from vending machines. Fun!

Then we read two books about squirrels. One fiction, one nonfiction. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Scaredy Squirrel. I'm not sure that all of my kinders "got" the humor in it yet, but at least I was entertained! 

Later, we made these adorable little squirrels. I used butcher paper because we had no brown construction paper. Brown is always the first one we're out of... hmm...and it's always the brown crayons that my children seem to not have. Anyway, they turned out super cute!

One of my kindergarteners (after seeing the YouTube video of the squirrel raiding a vending machine) suggested that our squirrels should be holding a candy bar wrapper, rather than an acorn. I thought that was clever! 

A teacher friend laughed and said that they looked "crazed". Haha, maybe so...

We also wrote about squirrels. We used this "fun fact" graphic organizer from my Reading Graphic Organizers Pack. I gave the students the option to either draw a picture representing a fact or write out a fact. We also did some examples on the board. I love reading their precious little words and sentences! I also <3 little smiling squirrels with stick legs! :)

If you would like to make these squirrels in your classroom, I have a free template that you can download.

We also started our unit on Native Americans this week! More to come on this soon!

And for fun, here are some torn paper jack-o-lanterns that we made in October! I love torn paper art. It is time consuming, requires very little prep, and is always adorable! I love how some pumpkins are perfect little circles while others are an explosion of orange, black, and green! :) And yes, those are pumpkin seeds you see them eating as they work. We needed to get in a pumpkiny mood.

Have a GREAT weekend! :)

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