December 1, 2017

Warm Up with a Winter GIVEAWAY!!

With the temperatures dropping and December right around the corner, we thought it would be a great time for a GIVEAWAY!!
We are so excited to have teamed up with some of our wonderful teacher friends to give away three exciting prizes!

First Prize....a $100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card!
Wow!! Think of all the great things you can buy!

Second Prize....a Kindergarten pack with a 
product from five different TpT authors!

All of these products will be a great addition to your classroom!
Here is a little look into all the awesomeness you could win:

1. My Happy Place ~ 
Winter Holidays Fine Motor Skills Task Boxes (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa) 
This product is full of fun activities to promote the development of fine motor skills.

2. Crayons and Cuties in Kindergarten ~
 Gingerbread Emoji Math Centers
Fun emoji math centers to help your children learn numbers 1-10! 

3. Kelly and Kim's Kreations ~ 
Mitten Mischief! (reading, retelling, & writing for The Mitten by Jan Brett) 
Your children will have so much fun retelling this story with the included story props and lacing mitten to store them. 

4. Creation Castle ~ 
This unit will help your children learn about hibernation and why animals do this in the winter.

5. White Desk Design ~ 
Turkey Claus: Literacy & Math Activities
This product includes a variety of activities to go along with an adorable read aloud.

Third Prize....a 1st Grade pack with a

product from six different TpT authors!

Just look at all these amazing products!

1. First Grade Fun Times ~
Christmas Writing Prompts for December
These daily morning quick writes are a way fun way to write about seasonal activities.

2. Differentiation Station Creations ~
January Word Wall : Penguins, Hibernation, Winter Thematic Word Lists
Children can write about winter anywhere they go with these portable word wall lists!

3. Shafer's Shenanigans ~
Holiday Thank You Notes (Fully Editable)
These are perfect for writing thank you notes to parents, students, or staff members or creating gift tags!

4. Brenda Tejeda ~
Reading Comprehension Cut & Paste Passages WINTER
Read and answer questions to practice comprehension and fluency.

5. Resource Ranch ~
Winter Writing Activity Draw Three and Write with Me
Put a creative twist on traditional fairy tales by drawing surprising
characters, settings, and problem combinations.

6. Create, Educate, Inspire ~
Motivational Bubbles (for students)
These little notes are a great way to encourage students in your classroom!

Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win one of these three wonderful prizes! Share with all your teacher friends, too!
This giveaway will run from December 1st - December 3rd. Winners will be announced on Monday, December 4th!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 7, 2017

Are your students confused by the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies?

Hello there!! I have a few things (including a freebie!) that I am super excited about and can't wait to share with you all! In fact if you follow me on TPT, Facebook, or Instagram, you have probably already seen a few of these items. :)

About a year ago or so, the Reading Recovery Teacher in my building came to me and expressed concern with the Beanie Baby Reading Strategies that are so popular these days. Don't start throwing tomatoes at me yet! Hear me out. I used these strategies all the time and used to love them. However, we started realizing that our struggling readers were often getting confused by these strategies. They may work well for some students (and that's great!!), but they don't work well for all students. So I set out to create something simpler for those students who were getting confused. That's when I came up with the Reading Strategy Tools.

In order to create something that would be beneficial for all students, I looked to our amazing Reading Recovery teacher for guidance and utilized one popular resource: Jan Richardson's The Next Step to Guided Reading (if you haven't read this yet, you should! It's filled with amazing ideas and information.) Also, after getting my Masters in Literacy, I knew that MSV (Meaning-Structure-Visual) was going to need to be a huge component in these reading strategies. 

So here we are. Reading Strategy Tools. By know you might be wondering what these look like. Well let me break it down for you.

(Check them out in my TPT store!)

These reading strategies are broken down by type of reader. There is a set for Emergent readers and a set for those Early-Transitional readers. 

The Emergent set has 4 basic reading strategies that beginning readers can utilize when they get to a tricky word: point underneath each word, look at the picture, say the beginning sound, and does that make sense. 

The Early-Transitional set has 8 basic reading strategies that readers can utilize when they get to a tricky word: look at the picture, think about the story, say the beginning sound, look for parts, does it look right, does it sound right, does that make sense, and go back and reread. 

Each set includes bookmarks, posters, table strips, and bulletin visuals.

Since implementing these strategies, I have seen less student confusion. Before, when students approached a tricky word, the dialogue would go something like this:

Me: What strategy could you use to help you figure out that tricky word?

Student:  Um... eagle eye.

Me: Ok.. what does that mean you have to do?

Student: I don't know. *Student blankly stares at me*

Using the Beanie Baby strategies is a 2 step process. They had to know what strategy they were using AND what it meant. With the Reading Strategy Tools, its only 1 step as each strategy tells you exactly what to do. While going from 2 steps to 1 step may seem small, to struggling readers, it could be a game changer.

Now, the dialogue goes like this:

Me: What strategy could you use to help you figure out that tricky word?

Student: Look at the picture.

Me: That's correct! Now, what would make sense?

I'm not saying these strategies are perfect, or perfect for everyone (we all know teaching is not a one size fits all), but I can tell you that I have seen less confusion with my struggling readers. :)


On another note.. I have a freebie for you!! I use these Hello Name Tags every year as part of my door d├ęcor and welcoming the students to my class. My students love them (they get to take them home at the end of the year)

They are FREE and they are EDITABLE!! What more could you want?!

(Check them out in my TPT store!)

Thank you for stopping by!! :)

March 1, 2015

You Can, Toucan, Math (Mentor Text for Mental Math)

This week, my second graders have been practicing mental math. They were struggling to make the connection from their 'worksheets' to what we meant by doing mental math. I'm not a huge fan of worksheets, so I took a step back and remembered I have a great tool at my disposal. I told my students to put everything away as I pulled out the book "You Can, Toucan, Math" by David A. Adler.

If you haven't heard of this book, and you teach math in the primary grades, I'd highly suggest you go pick it up. It's one of my favorites for math. According to, it is less than $10, and it  "introduces kids to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in a fun and unthreatening fashion. Math riddles encourage young readers to think through math problems as they study both the amusing verse and pictures."
If you haven't heard of David A. Adler, he has written books for children such as, Cam Jansen, Picture Book Biographies, and books related to math strategies (fractions, money, area/perimeter, etc.)
Anyways, as I read the first word problem to the kids, we talked it through. I picked a fairly easy one. Then I prompted with questions like...
 How do you solve this problem?
Do we need to add, subtract, multiply, or divide?
Ok, now how do we know what to add?
Alright, so what answer did you get?
Are you right?
Are you sure?
You're positive?
Well, so and so got a different answer, so who is right?
All of you try it one more time and see if you get the same answer.
Well then how did you get to that answer?
What strategy did you use?
As the kids got the hang of it, I didn't use as many prompts. Eventually, I would read the riddle and wait for them to raise their hands to give me their answers. Often, I would have each student (keep in mind I'm working with groups of 2-4) whisper me their answer so the others couldn't hear and copy off of each other. Then I would prompt with, "Are you right?" and "Are you sure?" I would follow up by asking them what strategy they used (ex. counting on).

I have noticed that many of my kids, when asked, "Are you right?", they would immediately change their answer because they are so used to being wrong when questioned. I try to question my students whether they are right or wrong. I want them to gain the confidence in their answers and start thinking more for themselves.

If you decide to try this out with your kiddos, or you have used this book in other way, I'd LOVE to hear about it!! :)

Until next time..