Category Archives: Reading | Writing

Reading, Phonics, Comprehension, Word Work, and Writing

What does READ AT HOME really look like?

I am a BLOG STALKER!
I admit it.
 
I am ALWAYS trying to find the BEST, FASTEST, & EASIEST ways
to make my classroom run smoother & more effective while being 
academically successful.
I want my students to continue to practice their reading & writing skills and strategies 
AT HOME!

BUT..What does Read at HOME really look like?

 
Aren’t we ALL?
 
So each year I try to “change” a few things for the better.
NO THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER!
 
(  For YOU youngin’s…  Don’t get rid of the good stuff while trying NEW stuff! )
 
So here is something “NEW” ( or New to ME )  that I am doing this year!
 
I am NOT ( Ugh…),
NOT  
choosing the Student’s TAKE HOME BOOKS each week.
( Let it go! Let it go!)
 
I LET THEM!
The power is in the CHOICE. 

I thought if I chose reading books that were ON their reading level

THEY would MAGICALLY fall in LOVE with READING!

NOT!
I have RAH ( Read AT Home ) envelopes…
Purchased at REALLY GREAT STUFF
BUT ANY envelope will do!
 
Each WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY they bring their RAH folder back.
I have them choose 2 books…YES…2 books to put in their folder.
( I place a pile 20 or so, of books at each level …
 
*disclaimer…right now I have 5 Guided Reading groups..I group their 
PILES of books by the Guided Reading group level…
 

So they really are taking home books at THEIR reading level.

Just a little teacher “nudge” in the right direction!

 
They choose two books, put them in their envelopes, and put them in their cubbies.
They keep them for 2 nights..hence bringing them back WED. & FRI. 
We change them for two NEW books … and here we go again!
 

Some nights I add a READING RESPONSE page to their homework.

USE ONE OF YOUR RAH BOOKS!

( Your choice!)

 
You can get my READING RESPONSE Packet HERE  
Some nights I have them do a page or two from my
Book Reports.
Accountability?
I do have a paper…lined…for parents to sign each night.
DO ALL OF THEM SIGN IT?
 NO!
If YOU take a horse to water…Can you FORCE it to drink it?
NO!
Let it go! Let it go!
So then what?
If you have a parent who won’t support reading at home…
 READ, READ, READ at school.
 
YOU may be the ONLY adult who reads with “THAT CHILD”..
We ALL have “that child”.
 
Don’t fight it!
Don’t PUNISH the child.
IF he/she could read it BY THEMSELVES…..THEY WOULD!
 
They can’t.
So
Let it go! Let it go!
BUT…
I do REWARD those who make the continued effort to read at home
EVERY NIGHT!
 
When they bring their envelopes back, I check the paper.
IF the parent HAS NOT SIGNED…I highlight in RED that date.
 
At the end of the MONTH,
I give a reward (and a SPECIAL BRAG TAG ) to those who have read
EVERY NIGHT!
 
I know…NOT fair for “that child”
Fair is NOT Always EQUAL!
 
I want my kiddos who 
DO THE WORK
to know…
I NOTICE!
 
And so my friends…
I keep stalking.
 
LOTS of great ideas out there in 
BLOGGY LAND.
 
And PINTEREST  LAND.
 
AND  INSTAGRAM LAND.
 
If you need some ideas..
 
 
 
 
Happy  Reading my Friends!
 
 
vowel kids

Welcome the VOWEL KIDS!

I would like you to meet my newest friends!

The vowel kids!

This is KATE. ( long a)

 Her twin sister is Anna. ( Short a )

Anna left us for a short “vacation”

…so I can use her picture for LONG A!

Thank you to Nikki from MELONHEADZ for the cutie pies!

We took each vowel family and did some writing!

We brainstormed words ( see the word box) 

that have our phonics pattern for the week.

 Then we did an interactive writing .

( see my BALANCED LITERACY packet, 

if you haven’t done INTERACTIVE WRITING)

The kids decided on her story. And then…

WE  WROTE!

Meet the vowel kids

Meet the Vowel Kids

They were so cute! Best editors ever! 

 

After we finished…

they critiqued. 

 

They decided yellow was too hard to read.

 

They said that handwriting is very important,

 if you want others to read it.

 

They said spelling is important. It can change the meaning.

 

And lastly, writing large and spacing our words,

makes it easier to read. 

WOW! They were listening! 🙂

And so …each week for the next 4 weeks

I will introduce another friend.

Long e, Long i, Long o, and Long u.

 

We will chat, create, and write!

I Love my JOB!

If you are looking for more

writing ideas..

Stop on by!

Daily Language Practice

Balanced Literacy

Write ON!

1stgradefireworks

Balanced Literacy

Helping kids EDIT their WRITING

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

OCTOBER Baseball! But… MATH BASEBALL?

Yes! It is OCTOBER!

If you don’t follow baseball…

It’s time for the playoffs & CHAMPIONSHIPS!

AND  then… THE WORLD SERIES!

I have 4 kids.

My 3 boys ALL played baseball ( for MANY YEARS).

And my daughter played SOFTBALL for 16 years!  She even played in the Softball World Series! WAHOO!

So, baseball is in our home. A LOT!

Even though MY team, SF Giants are NOT in the playoffs, we still LOVE the game!

SF Giants Logo

My favorite baseball team! Go SF Giants!

 

But, I am teaching first-graders in OCTOBER!

I need academic “FUN”!

And so… we play!  And we play a LOT! 🙂

The expert of anything, was once a beginner!

The expert of anything was once a beginner!

Remember, baseball is about skills, strategies, and hard work.

It is a TEAM sport.

You must work hard, practice, and have the DESIRE to be BETTER!

WOW! It sounds like my classroom MOTTO!

Work Hard, Play hard,

LIFESKILLS!  🙂

Inspire others.

Inspire others.

I have created a Baseball MATH Game for OCTOBER!

WHAT?  A MATH GAME?  YES!

A fast-paced math game for K-3 students!

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Directions for MATH GAME are included!

Easy Prep… lots of giggles!

 

Math Mats for Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Mats for Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Facts Baseballs

Math Facts Baseballs

Math Manipulative BASEBALLS for LITTLE ONES!

Math Manipulative BASEBALLS for LITTLE ONES!

Place the “MITT(s)” in a big circle.

Students take a “baseball” card and QUICKLY, place it in the correct MITT!

HURRY! Then “RUN” to the end of the line. The next “batter” is UP!

They choose the next baseball card & place it in the CORRECT MITT!

Some baseballs have numbers, some have math facts,

some have MANIPULATIVES ( ten frames, dice, dominoes, etc )

to represent the NUMBERS!

The winners are the “players” who get ALL of the baseball cards into the MItts!

Teamwork is REQUIRED!

Can you HEAR the CHEERS??? 🙂

We love to have fun, play games, and practice TEAMWORK!

What more can you ask of First Graders?

Maybe…learn to tie your shoes?   HAHA   HAve fun with this!

Need MORE?

SPORTS BANG! Sight Word GAMES!

5 games in a BUNDLE!  WOW!

Sports BANG! Sight Word GAMES

Sports BANG! Sight Word GAMES

Check it out!

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Baseball in OCTOBER

Math Baseball for OCTOBER

Helping FIRSTIES become Better Writers

Can First Graders become BETTER WRITERS?

Hello everyone!

My name is Wendy McCarty.

I am the creator behind…

1stgradefireworks

I create classroom and homeschool materials

that engage young minds and help the teacher to support instruction.

You can see my products in my TPT Store:

1stgradefireworks

Today’s Topic…

Writing in First Grade

Now… I wish I was PERFECT.

I wish my kiddos were PERFECT.

There are NO Perfect PEOPLE!

NO Perfect KIDDOS.

No  Perfect.

Now that we have gone there…how do we get close?

We get  BETTER!

Better Readers.

Better Speakers.

Better Writers.

Better..Better…Better

( My Mantra )

HOW?

We write EVERY DAY.

Usually..more than once.

We write about our day in school

…things we like

…stories we have read

…new words we have learned

…new thoughts we have had

etc.etc.etc.

I try to do a mini-lesson on a strategy.

I add new vocabulary.  In CONTEXT.

We make connections.

We expand our thinking.

We TALK!

And it can be noisy.

It’s OK.

Sometimes LEARNING is messy.

And loud. And busy.

It’s OK!

We do writer’s workshop.

My kids write.

AND they LOVE IT!

HOW?

Give them paper, pencils, markers, colored pencils, etc…

Give them…TIME!

And … LET THEM TALK!

My classroom is NEVER quiet!

Talking

about writing,

 during writing,

and after writing.

TALK, Write,  Create!

Are they perfect?

NO.

Is that OK?

YES!

*(Update)

I have added new

VOCABULARY BANNERS

to my

Writing Center.

Fall Vocabulary Banners for WRITING

Fall Vocabulary Banners for WRITING

The banners

help my

 beginning writers

( HOW DO YOU SPELL…..??? )

and my

EL students

(LOTS of VISUALS )

See how I use the

VOCABULARY BANNERS

Here.

For WRITER’S WORKSHOP

 If you need a starting point...

Monthly Writing Pages

WITH

VOCABULARY Helpers

at the

bottom of EVERY PAGE!

I LOVE TEACHING!

I am currently headed into my 27th year teaching…ALL of them in first grade!

My kiddos ask me “WHY don’t YOU ever GRADUATE to Second Grade?”

I tell them

“First Grade is IN my HEART!”

You can follow me at:

https://1stgradefireworks.net

https://www.facebook.com/1stgradefireworks

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/1stgradefireworks

https://www.Instagram.com/1stgradefireworks

https://www.pinterest.com/1stgradefirewor

Follow me:   TPT    FB   IG   Pinterest

1stgradefireworks

Are your students ready for CENTERS?

How to add games for independent centers!

We have been in school for 4 weeks. I know…we began JULY 31! I spend 3-4 weeks working on whole class routines & schedules. Then we spend a week or two working on centers ( without me actually taking reading groups) so I can monitor HOW they are doing during independent centers. AND THEN????

We begin INDEPENDENT CENTERS without the teacher!!!  WHAT???  Yes!! 

Release the KRACKEN!

Release the Kracken

Release the Kracken

And yes..we begin small group reading.

I used to call it GUIDED READING.

But I have added Guided Reading Skills & Strategies.

Sometimes, we work on words. Sometimes we work on skills. 

Sometimes we read. Sometimes we write. 

I use my assessments to guide my instruction. 

I know WHO needs WHAT.

So what are the other kids doing?

MUST DO’s & May Do’s.

And this week..enter their FAVORITE CENTER SO FAR!

( Yes…in their WHOLE LIFE…as they say!)

Here is the FUN game for centers!

And they are LEARNING!    WIN!  WIN!

 

 

SHORT VOWEL DOMINOES 

294 CARDS! WOWZA! 

294 domino cards for short vowel practice. Domino games can be differentiated by vowel sounds, picture cards, or word cards. Fun activities for student learning. Games help students stay engaged while practicing short vowel CVC word families.

They LOVE THIS! They beg for more time! Get your WORK done so you can PLAY!

YES!  I love it when a plan works!

And so here we go!

Small groups for me..independent centers for them.

WIN! WIN!  All around. Check out the video!

UPDATE! Math Practice for the WHOLE YEAR!


Really?

For the WHOLE YEAR???

YEP! YEP!
Math Practice …Common Core Aligned
Daily skills for kiddos to practice!
My newest packet requires..
NO   LAMINATING!!!
Really?
I mean REALLY?    YES!

I Mean NO! NO  LAMINATING!

HOW? Tell me HOW?
 

First…Print  the  cards  on paper  or cardstock.

I choose…FLUORESCENT!
Pink, green, blue, orange , & yellow!
BRIGHT    BRIGHT   BRIGHT
I have Black walls  ( Wal Mart  Twin  Sheets!)
LOVE THEM!
Bright cards LOOK GREAT!
So how do I put them on the walls?

Sheet Protectors!

Cut them to size….
( I added tape to the bottom of some to make a “POCKET”)
and
VOILA!
To see the whole wall….
Close your eyes!  READY??
Love Love Love it!
Here is a preview!
And here is the best!
The kiddos use this printable
doing 4 sets a day, for 5 days 
AND THEN…
take the cards out of the pockets…place a new card in front…
AND DO IT AGAIN!

New card…same skill!

Here is the student printable:
YOU SEE?

Work Smarter….NOT HARDER!

Now available at 1stgradefireworks

Is reading MORE..really ENOUGH??


Consider this my DISCLAIMER…

I read. I read a LOT!

I am NOT A College Professor.

I do NOT have a MASTERS ( or above )

in ANYTHING!

Just a READING CERTIFICATE!

I teach reading!

I am just a teacher.

A first-grade teacher.

A Veteran (27yrs ), first-grade teacher, in a TITLE 1 SCHOOL!

I read!They read!

I have seen a LOT!

Done a LOT!

Hear me ROAR!!!!!

Ok. So again.

I am a teacher.

(Aren’t they cute????)

I have been through:

Whole Language

Environmental Print

Interactive Writing

Phonemic Awareness

Leveled Readers ( DRA, GSP, AR, Lexile)

Phonics

Words Their Way

HFW

Sight Words

High-Interest Reading Books

SIPPS

Read Naturally

Daily 5

And 

A MULTITUDE OF PUBLISHER’S CURRICULUM!

New sets every 7 years!

Having said this…1 thing most curriculum’s have in common :

READ!

READ A LOT!

And then…READ SOME MORE!

So …

My little sisters…

YES…both of my LITTLE SISTER’S are

PRIMARY TEACHERS!

We were discussing school.

( I know..we are NOT supposed to discuss SCHOOL during SUMMER VACATION!)

But…um…we were discussing school…

and we are trying to WRAP our minds around the

“READ..READ..READ more”

and they will

“GET IT!”

(way of thinking.)

Well, maybe

I  LOVE reading with kiddos!

See my post here about the GUIDED READING TABLE!

My concern is…

When I “release” them to read,

When I want them to become INDEPENDENT readers,

Where do they “learn” the skills to use when they “get stuck”?

Will they use strategies, when they don’t know what’s happening?

When a story isn’t making sense…do they keep reading?

If they keep reading…

Will it ALL come TOGETHER?

At a recent PD, my little sis said she understood the

READ, READ, READ philosophy.

Integrate science, social studies, math, technology

INTO  READING!

YES!

Writing and Reading COMPLIMENT and Coexist WITH  each other!

You can’t have one without the other!

THEY NEED EACH OTHER!

BUT…

-Me  SPEAKING-

There needs to be a BALANCE of:

Skills & Strategies

in conjunction with independent reading & writing!

THERE!

I said IT!

Reading & Writing SKILLS:

Letter Sounds

Blends

Vowels

Word Families

Chunks

Grammar

Punctuation

High-Frequency Words

Capitalization

Handwriting

and MORE!

Comprehension

Questioning

Summarizing

etc, etc, etc…

(I sound like my Education College Professors!)

I was listening!

ALL of these “lessons” MUST be taught

IN CONJUNCTION with

Reading & Writing!

Yes…To be a better reader…

YOU  MUST  READ!

BUT…to be a better reader who UNDERSTANDS…

You must have skills and strategies

to use

WHEN

you read and write!

NOW…CAUTION!!!

Unless you are teaching ADULTS in a COLLEGE CLASS…

A 40-minute LECTURE on diagramming sentences

IS NOT…I REPEAT..

NOT

the way to do it!

If you WANT to spend 40 minutes discussing grammar…

CHUNK IT!

Do 2-3 MINILESSONS over a few days…

Let it SINK IN!

Show  kiddos:

  What it looks like.

Where to find it.

How to use it.

Why we use it.

When to ask for help.

Kinder-Grade 1-Grade 2 teachers…

UNITE!

Mini-Lessons with a WORKSHOP!

Use SMALL Groups for STRATEGY & Skill Groups!

Let kiddos have a chance to PRACTICE what YOU have taught them!

Let it SINK IN!

And  Then..

LET  THEM  READ!

and

READ!

and

READ!

and then

WRITE…and write  some  more!

Skills, Strategies, Reading, Writing

They will become “BETTER”

..

and isn’t that what we ALL want to be?

BETTER!

Need some HELP?

Here are some “HELPERS” for YOU!

Check out ALL my reading & writing products!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/1stgradefireworks

Partner Reading. A HUGE component of Balanced Literacy.

Partner Reading. The How & The WHEN.

I LOVE to watch kids read!

Their faces “light up” when they “GET IT!”

They giggle at illustrations.

They laugh OUT LOUD,

when things are FUNNY!

They squint with their eyebrows touching when they can’t figure something out.

It’s MAGIC!

And then..we ask them to 

SHARE!

Share the excitement of reading with ANOTHER!

ANOTHER?

It’s like I have asked them to “give a kidney!”

They don’t want to share.

NO! NO! Don’t make me give away my LOVE of reading!

STOP!

I didn’t ask you to give it away…just spread the LOVE!

And so..we share.

We PARTNER read!

 We share a lot..and we share WELL!

I LOVE Daily 5

( no affiliation or permission from 2sisters…just LOVE their stuff!)

I am sooooo  excited!

Today I took the legs OFF of one of my tables!

I have NEVER done ANYTHING like this BEFORE!

SO FUN!

My kiddos LOVE it!

I told them it was a “WORK PLACE” and only students who are

“WORKING” can be there!

IT WORKED!

They worked, and worked, and worked!

Here they are:

Later in the day…there were 10 students on ipads with headphones

ALL engaged! 

HAPPY TEACHER!

Now BACK to Partners..

We use chairs facing each other.

We use chairs NEXT to each other.

We sit on the floor and read.

And we lay down and read.

And HOW do I choose PARTNERS?

3 ways:

Sticks,

My choice,

Their choice.

I use popsicle sticks with their names on it,

if they are rereading text we have read together.

That way, the partners reading level is NOT an issue.

Just a reread.

I choose the PARTNERS if the story is a “LEVELED” read.

That way I can be assured both partners

 have the necessary skills to comprehend the text.

And…they choose!

We do MUST DO’s and MAY DO’s

for guided reading.

My class has a list of centers they MUST DO

before they MAY DO their choices.

Usually the “paper” center is a PARTNER CENTER.

They can choose a partner who can “help” them.

Or they can choose to “work by themselves”.

Last, It’s their CHOICE.

They look for the PARTNER symbol on the MUST DO board.

I like the discussions and the community that comes from a busy classroom.

They learn from me and from each other.

I am looking into more alternative seatings for groups in my classroom.

So more partners can work together.

How do YOU group students for working in YOUR classroom?

Write On Journal Pages

Helping my EL’s with Writing.

My kiddos come with a SMALL  amount of ENGLISH print.

MOST..not all..but MOST have enough English to communicate 

everyday NEEDS to me.

BATHROOM, Recess, and When is LUNCH?

How to help EL’s write, when you don’t speak the same language?

We are OK.

BUT…

English PRINT?

WOWZA! Another WORLD!

FIRST…

 We begin…BEGIN…with  Phonemic Awareness.

Sounds…

ORAL…

NO PRINT!

Letter Sounds, Vocabulary Words, Rhymes, Alliterations,,

SOUNDS

and LOTS OF THEM!

Next…

We ADD 

PHONICS!

A symbol (letter/word) to the sounds.

Alphabet, HFW, Word Families, emergent readers, etc.

For those who make READING a priority…

they excell!

For those who don’t have a LOT of support at home..

It can take LONGER…

But..

THEN…

We WRITE!

We write well and we write A LOT!

Lists, poems, booklets, stories, and they LOVE IT!

The problem occurs when they don’t have an ENGLISH word to attach to the “word” in their head!

Vocabulary MUST be a HUGE part of the daily writing minilessons.

And RESOURCES!

We use Step Up to Writing…

Writing Stoplight

and

I “supplement”…Ummm

SUPPLANT

with

LUCY CAULKINS!

YESSSS!!!

http://www.heinemann.com/products/E07729.aspx

Click HERE to see it…

FINALLY..

We  use  my

WRITE ON!

 papers because they have 

VOCABULARY

built in!

Write ON! Writing and Vocabulary to help EL’s with Writing.
Write ON!
Write ON
Write ON
Write ON

Available HERE

My kids are doing GREAT!

(Most could only write their names at first!)

Daily PROGRESS! 🙂

First Grade Student Writing

First Grade Student Writing

First Grade Student Writing

And so..

we 

PRACTICE, we TALK, WE SING,

WE CHANT,

AND ..we

  WRITE ON!

And HERE is a FREEBIE to Help you on your way!

Check My Writing. Post Writing Checklist.
Check My Writing. Post Writing Checklist.
Creating a Reading Community

Creating a Reading COMMUNITY!

Reading Workshop

“Creating a Community of Readers”

via…LUCY  CAULKINS!

This is my newest FAVORITE thing!

https://youtu.be/cgN2WUMW6zM

I LOVE Lucy Caulkin’s 

READING, WRITING, 

COMPREHENSION LESSONS

If you get a chance to hear her, see her, and/or youtube her…

DO IT!

During Reading Workshop,, I don’t want my students to stop and ask for help.

I want them to have skills to be independent readers.

I want them to be problem-solvers.

So, I am…

 How?

 Take a picture walk. Cover the words. Make them use the visual cues in the story. Frontload any vocabulary that may change thinking, distort comprehension, or unfamiliar to them. During Reading Workshop, have them make predictions PRIOR to reading. AFTER reading, check their predictions.

 I LOVE this! After reading..then what? DO SOMETHING! Reread it for NEW information. Retell it to yourself or a friend. We use our 3 fingers retell. I love this part…DIGEST IT! Just as a good meal…when you are finished, appreciate it. Think about it. ENJOY IT!

 You are NEVER done! When you finish…read more! My kiddos love to stack ALL of their books on the left..as they finish reading a book…place it in a pile on their right. Keep reading! Their goal is to read more every day! STAMINA! Reading MATS are used to make goals. Our goals are to read MORE! Reading Worshop takes time. Make the time for it!

 We want kids to quit using their fingers to read. Good readers use their EYES! “SCOOP” up words (phrases) with your eyes. When reading, put 3-4 words together and read the phrases! GREAT time to teach prepositions & prepositional phrases!

 Always,always…reread! You will see more, read more, and understand more when you reread a story. Read it to a partner, a parent, a friend. The same book can sound new when you are reading it the second or third time!

A HUGE THANK YOU to Lucy Caulkins!

So there you are.. Reading Workshop…

GET  READING!

🙂