Category Archives: Reading | Writing

Reading, Phonics, Comprehension, Word Work, and Writing

Where do I put ALL of this “CENTER”… stuff????

Where Do I Put ALL of my CENTER Supplies?

Today my tip is about storing ALL of those center supplies!
Who doesn’t LOVE all of those cute centers!
Holiday centers, reading centers, writing centers, skill centers…
And so on, and so on...
BUT
WHERE DO I PUT ALL OF THEM????

Where Do I Put ALL of my CENTER Supplies?

How do I store all of this stuff???
Well…I have a solution.
 
I LOVE Sterilite drawers!
 
NO…I mean
 I REALLY LOVE SERILITE DRAWERS!
 I did NOT put the casters on them.
I line them up on my counter…
I TOLD YOU I LOVE My drawers!
I teach 9 months a year ( Approximately )
SO…
 
9  English Language Arts drawers 
AND
9 Math drawers!
 
Conveniently they come in stacks of 3! 
These fit nicely on my counter.
9 ELA drawers
I used scrapbook paper to “cover” the front of the drawers.
(Hides the mess  contents  inside…)
9 Math drawers…Math is blue..just for me!

Where Do I Put ALL of my CENTER Supplies?

How do I organize it all?

Each drawer has a label on the front:
Each drawer has a month
AND
The skills my MATH PROGRAM teaches each month.
Yes, I have a math program I must follow.
My kids are assessed on these skills.
So I organize them by the skill for each theme taught each month.
 I always, ALWAYS need an ETC drawer!
Who doesn’t have EXTRAS???
I partnered up the first two months of school to get an extra MATH drawer.
Mostly the same concepts for the first two months.
Each ELA drawer has the same.
Each one has a month and the skills taught in my ELA Program!
Yes, we also have an ELA program!
Tested skills… 
So now..my drawers are labeled…NOW WHAT???
As I create or purchase centers,
I laminate, cut apart, and put in GALLON ZIP-LOCK BAGS!
Then…place in the drawer by SKILL!!
What about cutesie ones that are holiday-themed, but in the wrong month?
FOR example…
I teach short a & short i in August..
what if I have a cute short a center with SANTA on it?
SO WHAT?
MY KIDS LOVE SEEING SANTA IN AUGUST!
or
Bring it out again in December for review…
It won’t hurt them!
Centers are for independent practice…ALL THE TIME!
When we finish a theme…place them back in the drawer! DONE!
Sometimes drawers get “messy”…
THAT’S WHY WE COVER THEM!
Close the drawer & walk away!
Can you see me SMILE?
So, as you are doing SPRING CLEANING or
this SUMMER when you have “extra” time…
Think about drawers…I LOVE THEM!
( I have another set for Guided Reading…6 drawers for 6 groups!)
Here is a freebie of drawer labels for YOU…
 
Leave me a comment.
 How  do YOU organize your centers?
PS… Here are a few LINKS to centers in MY store!

How do YOU FIT IT ALL IN? Balanced Literacy, that is!

BALANCED LITERACY IN FIRST GRADE!

I can’t believe this is year 30!

MY own twins were in first grade

My first year of teaching!
( NOT in my class…TG…)

Each year things CHANGE!

 Literacy has changed!

It is SO very important!
CHANGE is NOT a BAD thing!
It can make you rethink, reevaluate, redo, remake, revitalize!

After 30 years…I can HONESTLY say..

I will NOT throw out the BABY with the BATHWATER!

WHAT????

OK…We have a new curriculum.  AGAIN!
EVERY  7 YEARS.
Whether you want it …or NOT!

And so, here we go again.

It really doesn’t matter what “program” you give me.

BALANCED  Literacy
is
BALANCED Literacy

My “STRESS” level rises when I try to plan.
 

Reality check…

Some days I can…some days I can’t.

 

It’s ok. 
Life won’t end if you don’t do it ALL!
BUT…
 
TRY!
 
Let’s start with :
 

 #1.. READ ALOUDS for Literacy Mentor Texts

 
READ  ALOUDS!
 
I start my day with READ ALOUD.
AND
I end my day with a READ ALOUD!
 
( I try to make ONE of those Read Alouds
 a SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES, or HOLIDAY story)
 
INTEGRATE whenever YOU can!
 
After EVERY story…We Discuss.
 
Characters.
Setting.
Problem.
Solution.
 
EVERY Read Aloud.  
Discuss for  10 minutes …MAX!
Highly Effective! 
 
When students THINK about a story,
“turn & talk”
about it,
use the “academic language”
from the story, they are engaged!
They might NOT take it on
for themselves the first time…..
but…over time, they will!
 
This week I heard some “reading partners”
 discussing  our anthology
story.
 
I heard “MAIN CHARACTER”, 
“Beginning, Middle, END”, 
“How did they SOLVE that Problem?”
 
WOWZA! 
 Teacher  Happy DANCE!
 
If you need suggestions for Read Alouds…
PINTEREST!
 
Next on my BALANCED LITERACY plan…
 
#2   INTERACTIVE  WRITING
 
So, how?  Where?  WHEN?
 
I LOVE interactive writing!
Interactive Writing is when the KIDS do the writing.
 We use chart paper. We discuss a story PLAN. 
We start with MAIN IDEA. Then we add 3 detail ideas.
 We add a conclusion. 
 
They help each other spell.
We sound out words together.
We discuss grammar.
 
And we write..and read..
and edit..and rewrite!
 
What a wonderful cycle!
 

I am using my interactive writing skills to

 incorporate our

#3  Word Work

NEW long vowel phonics concepts. 
We made a chart. 
Together we thought up words
that use our long vowel
 word families.
We made a vocabulary box
on the chart 
to remind us of words
we want to use in our story.
 And…THEY  WRITE! 
Smelly markers are a must! 

And we read..This happens during our morning

meeting time. 
We spend about 5-10 minutes writing 
each day for 5 days. 
Mondays..we begin a new story.
THEY LOVE THIS!
 
We started with Kate.
Long a with silent e.
Then Irene.
Long e with silent e.
Next week…
Long o with silent e.
 
Check out ..
Next we preview…
 
WRITER’S  WORKSHOP

How to Make CHUNKY CRAYONS for your classroom.

Have YOU ever made

CHUNKY CRAYONS?

ALL kids LOVE to draw.
They LOVE big, chunky crayons!
 
MAKE THEM!
 

Use the broken crayons from your classroom…

AND

BEG OTHER TEACHERS FOR THEIRS!

 
Teachers LOVE to get rid of broken crayons.
 
Then …start searching stores ( including thrift stores, Goodwill, etc )
for silicone shaped candy molds!
 
If not… my BFF…AMAZON PRIME!
You are NOT making food…
They can be “recycled” …wink , wink!

 

I found some snowmen, trees, and gingerbreadmen 
at Goodwill for $1.00 !!
 
Now what?
 
Have the kids…
YES THE KIDS
…take off ALL the paper wrappers!
 
DON’T  TELL  THEM  WHY!  🙂

 

 

 

Paper wrappers …I did them MYSELF!
 
Should have had kids do them…
they would have ENJOYED IT! 🙂

 

Gingerbreadman

 

Christmas Trees

 

Lots DONE… FAST…EASY
If you don’t have a LOT (it takes a LOT) of broken crayons,
ask for donations from other teachers.
 
Bring the unwrapped, broken crayons home.
 
Break up the crayons into LITTLE  chucks!
 
Put them into the molds…press them down a little.
 
Place molds onto a cookie sheet.
 
 Bake 60 minutes (1 hour) at 200 degrees.
 
Take them out & let them cool.
If rushed…PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER!
 
(Don’t POP them out…until they are SOLID.)
 
POP them out…
 
and   VOILA!
 
 
 
I also made them in the SUMMER.
 
Check out this blog post.
 
More fun making CHUNKY  CRAYONS!
 
Have fun! 
 
Let me know if YOURS work or not.

Updates and New for You

I have been BUSY updating some older products, refining them, and creating some new goodies!

It’s TOO HOT (106 degrees) in Nor Cal to go outside.

We even turned OFF the heater in our SPA, so we could have a COLD spa to go in.

Nice and cool in the hot afternoons. 

But, I am always trying to get ahead.

Updating, refining, and Creating.

My Teacher BRAIN will not shut off!

And after 30 years, I just go with it.  

I remember the summer vacation to Mexico, where I brought back a brand new suitcase FULL of Large SEA SHELLS I purchased.  I needed them for my  OCEAN UNIT!   Silly me!

And so, it goes.

This year, I am trying to learn the Science of Reading, Secret Stories, and Orthographic Mapping.

LOTS OF NEW PD!

To help MYSELF, I have been updating products, refining some older ones, and creating some NEW ones.

Here is a PREVIEW for YOU!

These are NEW!

81 SIPPS Beginning Sight Words for phonics, orthographic mapping, and letter formations for reading and writing. 324-word cards for SIPPS beginning sight words. Check these out! You will LOVE them!

These I have Updated. Again… 

Updating, refining, and creating! 

CVC ShortVowel  SCOOT Games  5 Short Vowel Games | 188 Cards  

CVC ShortVowel SCOOT Game
5 Short Vowel Games
188 Cards 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CVC Word Ladders for Phonics Activity Pages

You have been so good! You have hung in there all the way to the bottom!

How about a FREEBIE?  A NEW FREEBIE? 

FREE Download to help students practice rhymes, orthographic mapping, phonics, letter sounds, handwriting practice, letter formations, and sentence writing. It includes capitalization, word spacing, grammar, and punctuation as a teacher-led lesson.

CLICK HERE

And so, my summer goes on. All of this work has made me tired.

I think I need to jump into the nice, COOL spa.

And then a nap. Yes!  A Nap. 

Enjoy your Summer. It’s moving fast!

Rest, relax, and recharge.

I think I will keep updating, refining, and creating.

Keep your eyes open! FOLLOW ME! 

FB     TPT     IG     Blog     PIN

Wendy

First Grade Writing – NONFICTION

First Grade Writing

So…we have taken the step  jump  LEAP into writing

NON-FICTION.

As a Title 1 teacher

with half of my class CELDT Levels 1&2 ( low English),

I am ALWAYS trying to give my kids more vocabulary, visual clues, and

FRONTLOAD information

…before we WRITE!

So this week…was

REINDEER  WEEK!

I was going for REAL REINDEER.

We read books, watched VIDEOS, did real research ( yes, ONLINE!)

We even attempted to watch the

REINDEER.CAM

Can’t show kiddos in my district…

TOO MUCH SANTA!

I know…don’t go there!

So …I kept it real!

ONLY REAL REINDEER!

I was going for NON-FICTION!

They did great!

As an adult, I felt they had mastered

 a LOT

of information!

What do reindeer LOOK like?

Where do they LIVE?

What do they EAT?

( One of our movies mentioned MUSHROOMS…

BOY did they pick up on that!)

And then…

what makes them different

 (special )

from

other ANIMALS?

Here are some of our writings…

(Don’t judge….we have NOT edited for CONVENTIONS..

Just  CONTENT!!  🙂

Sorry pics are turned…

Can’t get them to TURN! UGH!

No where…no how…

did I   MENTION

SANTA  or   RUDOLPH!

99%  of my students wrote

that the important thing about REINDEER is…

THEY PULL SANTA’S  SLEIGH

AND

THE LEADER IS…RUDOLPH!

And THAT is NON FICTION!

HAHAHAHA

But that is their

 PRIOR  KNOWLEDGE!

SO CUTE!

They brought it into their writing!

Let their VOICES be heard!

And so…

ADULTS  BE  AWARE!

The little ones WILL be HEARD!

I LOVE TEACHING FIRST GRADE!

They make me GIGGLE!

If you need some writing help…

WRITE  ON!

ENJOY!

Write On! Journal Pages with Support!

 

How to Teach GRAMMAR in the SPRING

Do YOU teach prefixes and suffixes? WE DO!

I teach at Title 1 school. My first graders are learning English, trying to learn to read, and for some, WE are their biggest supporters!

When I introduce grammar…. it can be a struggle.

The BusyTeacher Library

The Busy Teacher has a great post on 5 Fun Ways to Teach Grammar to ESL students.

4 resources for teaching grammar to ESL students

Fluentu.com also has a great post on teaching grammar to ESL students.

First, one of my grammar lessons this week was teaching first graders ( EL’s & EO’s) how to add prefixes to base words AND how to define them for reading and writing!

A very HIGH LEVEL CONCEPT for seven-year-olds!

Then, I started with LOTS of vocabulary. We started with BASE WORDS. Then we added prefixes. LOTS of classroom discussions. We moved around the room working with different partners. We played games, And… we worked HARD!

My newest product helped us A LOT!

SPRING PREFIXES!

Match the FLOWER and the FLOWER POT to make new vocabulary words!

Spring Prefixes for creating and defining higher level vocabulary words.
Spring Prefixes for teaching grammar and vocabulary.

Finally with practice, chants, dances, movement, discussions, partners, and lots of practice… ALL students can learn to add prefixes to their repertoire of skills and strategies for reading, writing, and word work.

NEXT? SUFFIXES! Here we go! 🙂

Spring is HERE my friends!

Here are some SPRING RESOURCES to help YOU out!

Robby Rabbit’s Garden… a complete plant unit reading, writing, math for SPRING!
Spring Math Task Cards Addition and subtraction
SPRING Word Trees updated with EXTENSIONS
SPRING PREFIX VIDEO CLICK HERE TO PREVIEW VIDEO

Guided Reading

How to help students EDIT THEIR WRITING

Have fun my friends! Leave me a comment and tell me…

HOW DO YOU TEACH PREFIXES TO YOUR STUDENTS?

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!
 
 

I Needed a KICK IN THE PANTS!

I can tell it’s SPRING…

I’m getting

LAZY!

But I have FINALLY, updated one of my MOST Valued PRODUCTS!

BOOK CLUBS! 

HURRAY!

Now…I work 3 jobs…

I get up at 5:00 AM and go to bed at 9:00 PM.

I think I deserve some DOWN time!

BUT…

Then…I..get…really….complacent…

procrastinate…LAZY!

So every once in a while,

I need someone to give me a little

PUSH    SHOVE

KICK IN THE  PANTS!

Time to git ‘er DONE!

This has been one of those weeks!

So…

I have a packet I made that I use in my classroom

A  LOT!

If any of you already have this…

DO NOT FEAR!

Help is on its way!

Now,

MY KIDS LOVE THIS!

The packet is full of independent activities, comprehension questions, word work, etc

ALL related to the BOOK OF THEIR CHOICE!

I can use it with ANY book.

My independent readers can read a book

 and as a GROUP

( can we say COLLABORATE )

they can DISCUSS & complete the pack TOGETHER!

Now I don’t use it daily…maybe once every two weeks or so.

It takes them awhile &

I really want them to “get into it”.

Lots of rewards, positive notes, specials when completed.

It’s a GOOD THING!

BUT…

It’s OLD. Really OLD.

It was in need of “A LIFT” ( in all the right places ).

Sounds like me! 🙂 

I DID IT!

I GOT ‘ER DONE!

And here she is.

ALL gussied up and purdy!

She has grown from 14 pages to 44!

She is ALL GROWED UP NOW!

I added a booklet style because

PAPER & INK ARE AT A PREMIUM!

So now…less paper… less ink… more productive teacher & students!

My Little LOVE…

Book Club

 is available

at my TPT store

1stgradefireworks

You will  LOVE this!

Happy Earth Day & A FREEBIE!

Earth Day is EVERY DAY!

New packet to help our kiddos understand that

Earth DAY is NOT a holiday!

It is a “lifestyle”.

We take care of  “MOTHER EARTH” and

she will take care of US!

This packet helps young kids understand the “value”
…in coins… of  RECYCLING!
They read story problems and count coins! ( 2 FUN things !)

 

Here’s your   FREEBIE!

 

Spring gardening 101 and a FREE CHICKEN DANCE!

I love SPRING!

DID I MENTION…

I LOVE SPRING!

And I Love to GARDEN!

This Spring I taught my students how to recycle water bottles into seed germinators!

I Love Spring!

I am an AVID  Gardener!

 
LOVE to get my fingers in the dirt.
 
We call my hubby “FARMER WITHOUT A FARM!”
 
We are “suburbanites” with a backyard farm.
Chickens included!
 

Black Chicken

Sunshine – white chicken

 
 
More on that later.
 
 

This year we installed

PALLET  GARDENS!

Grow plants in a PALLET GARDEN!

So easy!  
Lay down wooden pallet.
Fill with potting soil & steer manure.
Plant!
 
We did seeds.
And more seeds. (Rotate your crops)
 
We didn’t have a lot of room for “vines”.. so we did NOT grow pumpkins.
 
We did grow some BEAUTIFUL SUNFLOWERS in the back.
They need A LOT OF room. They got 10-12 feet TALL!

             Check out my Sunflower Seeds Plant Unit.          AWESOME!

 
Grow vegetables that you eat.
I wanted to show the kids
ROOTS, STEMS, LEAVES, FLOWERS, etc.
Choose plants that will help with that!
It’s SPRING!
Time for new growth!
 
We also made individual planters for the kids to take home.
 
As we had been studying EARTH DAY…
 
We RECYCLED 
water bottles as seed planters!

Recycled Water bottles for planting.

Start with water bottles.
Cut them in half.
Poke a hole in the lid.
Tie a knot in string & thread through the hole.
When lid is ON…string hangs DOWN.
Flip the  TOP of bottle..into the  bottom.
The bottom will hold the water.

Cut bottles in half. Add soil.

Add soil.
And seeds to top.
Fill the bottom with water.
The string acts like a wick…to water itself!

Recycled water bottles with seeds.

We have sprouts!

Soon… sprouts!
We took them HOME at OPEN HOUSE!
The kids were SO excited to show off their garden.
Maybe THEY will become MASTER GARDENERS some day!
 

Happy Dance!

 
In honor of my 
CHICKENS…
 
Chicken Dance is FREE!
 

Chicken Dance Word Game from 1stgradefireworks

Happy Spring to all!
Wendy