Thursday, June 30, 2011

Helping Struggling Readers

As a first grade teacher, one of my primary goals is to have every child walk out of first grade at or above grade level. I assess every child the first week of school using several assessment tools. My primary tool is to have each child read to me that first week and take a Running Record to assess his/her reading level. In addition, I also assess sight words and whether they know their letters and sounds.

As the year progresses, I do Running Records on a monthly basis with each child. In addition, I often will do a running record on a specific child during Guided Reading time - I want to make sure that every child is making the progress that they need to be making.

I am fortunate that my principal purchased a classroom license for Reading A-Z. I print out the books for my children and put them together and send them home nightly, with a little note that says, "Read to three people and return this book." I, of course, have read the book with them beforehand. When the book comes back to school, a parent volunteer will reread the story with the child.

Finally, for the children who are having difficulties making the progress that I feel they should be making, I tutor them - either during a recess or before/after school. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Owl Game Giveaway

Plug-n-Plan is having a giveaway of a unit on Owls called, "It's Owl Time!" It looks absolutely adorable and I, for one, just love owls, so I hope I win! My class would just love it. Go to her website and enter to win!

Shop 'Til You Drop!

Our Dollar Tree closed last month - I was horrified! I was in mourning - and then, I found out that they'd moved, not closed - and down the street, to a huge store, instead of the tiny store they used to be in. Needless to say, I was THRILLED! As we all know, the Dollar Tree (next to Target) is THE Teacher Hangout!

Join Kristen's Linky Party and tell everyone where you like to shop!

Blog Design Giveaway

First Grade with Miss Snowden is having a Blog Design giveaway to celebrate 400 followers! Wow! Check out her blog for details!

Graphing Math Talk

Since we're all talking about Debbie Diller's "Math Workstations", I created a Math Talk file to go along with the Daily Graphing file that I attached yesterday. I hope they'll be useful!

Graphing Math Talk PDF


A few years back, my district sponsored a Professional Development day with Rick Morris. He was wonderful and I got a lot of wonderful ideas from the course – it was truly one of the best inservices I’ve ever attended! He spoke a lot about transitions and how to successfully use musical theme songs (like Jeopardy or Mission Impossible) to help students transition from one activity to the next. The best thing about the theme songs is that the kids know them and love them, so they hum along and dance while they’re completing the transition to the next activity! By the end of the song, everyone is where they need to be. I just love it!  Rick Morris has his theme songs on his website for you to check out: go to and roll over “As Seen At Seminars.” Once there, scroll down to the bottom and click on “TV Theme Songs”.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Organization Linky Party

Extra Special Teaching is hosting an Organization Linky Party. Just after school got out, I made a "list" of things I needed to do this summer, and one of them was organizing my files -I have THOUSANDS of files, all jumbled up in My Documents. It's a slow process, you know?

However, lately I've been using OneNote, a program that comes with Microsoft Office, to help organize ideas that I find from all the wonderful teaching blogs - OneNote is neat, because it will "snip" the parts that I want to keep and organize them into tabs. So, I have a Math tab, a Reading tab, etc. - it really is very useful!

As for my computer files, well, I'll keep working away at it. Maybe by the end of summer they'll be organized...just in time for the beginning of a new school year!

Daily Surveys/Graphing

Yesterday, I was rereading the first few chapters of Debbie Diller's "Math Workstations" book and got thinking about surveys or graphing. I don't know about you, but my first graders have a very difficult time with graphing concepts. I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I could do a daily or weekly graph as part of the morning routine of the day?" So I made a few. As I create more, I'll uploading them for you all. I haven't added any questions to the graphs yet: The first few would just be to get the children acquainted with the concept of graphing. If you have other ideas for daily graphs, let me know; I'll be glad to try to create them.

Please let me know what you think! I love comments!

Daily Graphing Survey for Blog PDF

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Explanation of Task Cards - and a Recording Sheet to Download

Yesterday, I uploaded some task cards that I created and have had a couple of inquiries asking how I used them. I use a variety of task cards as centers or work stations. The children can use them independently or with a partner.
I number the cards and put them on a ring. (I also laminate them for extra durability.) The children simply solve the task cards and write their answer on the recording sheet, which I’ve uploaded for you tonight. I train the children to write their answer in the box with the corresponding number on the task card: This way, they know which cards they’ve done, and which cards they still need to do. (So, for example, if the card the children are working on has a number 3 at the bottom, they write their answer in the box numbered 3.)
I also included a task card recording sheet without numbers for you as well, so you can customize it for your own classroom. I hope this explanation and the task recording sheet will be helpful!

Task Card Recording Sheet PDF

I Can Comment Again!

I have to call out a big, "Thank you!" to both Jenn at Finally in First and Leea at Set This Circus Down. Both of them worked hard to help me get my comments back up and working! Yay!  It was a simple fix, too: I now have to sign in every time I use gmail and blogger but it's worth it if I comment again! Thanks, ladies! I appreciate you both!


My blogging friend, Jenn, over at Finally in First, is having a giveaway to celebrate 700 followers! Wow! That is a huge accomplishment! You can win any item from her TPT store that you'd like! Check it out by clicking on her button here:

First Grade Frenzy is having a giveaway! You can win the cutest jewelry, a vowel sort game, and a "Later Gator" creation done by her fabulous hubby! It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Click here to go there and comment.

Yearn to Learn is also having a giveaway to celebrate 100 followers! You can win a gift card to Lakeshore if you win. Who doesn't love Lakeshore?

Grade 2.0 with Mrs. Adcock is giving away a Target gift card! Go check out her cute blog!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Giveaway (hurry!)

Hi, everyone! Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher is having a giveaway that ends today! You can win a Target gift card (my favorite place in the world!) Click on the button below to go to her blog!

Lutton 519

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One More, One Less, Ten More, Ten Less Task Cards

Here's a freebie for you all! My first graders struggled with the concept of one more, one less, ten more, ten less. So I created task cards to put in a math center. I hope these will be helpful to you. There will be a total of four files, once I upload them all.

1 more 1 less 10 more 10 less task card1.pdf

1 more 1 less 10 more 10 less task card2.pdf

1 more 1 less 10 more 10 less task card3.pdf

1 more 1 less 10 more 10 less task card4.pdf

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blog Stalking Linky Party

Clutter-Free Classroom is hosting a Blog Stalking Linky Party! There are LOTS of new blogs to explore and I can't wait to give them a try.


I've Created a Button (at least, I think!)

I've admired all of your buttons as I've blogstalked, and knew I had to try it for myself! Here's the result.
You can grab this button on the right!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to My Blog!

After blog stalking for months - and being gently teased by my husband for my hopeless addiction to it - I finally decided to just "go for it" and start my own blog! What better time to create it than during summer break?

I hope you'll find my ideas and projects useful and that you'll enjoy my blog. I'm new at publishing, but I feel like I know you all through your posts and emails! Let me know what you think!