Category Archives: Reading | Writing

Reading, Phonics, Comprehension, Word Work, and Writing

Sight Words for Word walls

Those CRAZY Word Walls!

WORD  WALLS

I can honestly say, in my 27 years in first grade,

I have “redone” my word wall

probably 26 times!

My dilemma is always the same…

How to put them on the wall so kids can

access them ( at ANY reading level!)?

At first, I thought “A..B..C” order.

Then, I thought “by curriculum unit..week 1..week 2, etc”.

Next, I thought ” phonics sounds ..short a..short e…etc”.

Last, I thought “they don’t even LOOK at IT!”

and so…

I WAS  FRUSTRATED!

What to do?  What to do?

ASK  THE  KIDS!!!

 

So what do THEY want?

What will THEY use?

What do THEY want it to look like?

And they TOLD ME!!

They helped me “SOLVE” our Word Wall “PROBLEM”!

WHAT? You want ME to help SOLVE our WORD WALL PROBLEM???

My Word Wall 

Now our word wall has sight words we use for 6 weeks

( 1 unit of our curriculum).

 

These words will be in our stories 

AND 

on our TESTS!

 

We study them EVERY day ( at Morning Meeting ) 

AND

we play I SPY with the words wall DAILY!

The kids practice with each other, too!

Partner Practice…yippee!

We use our chromebooks, write on our desks with whiteboard markers, flash cards to take home, and we play LOTS of word games!

 

My WORD WALL focus’ on sight words.

I teach vocabulary words, but those go on our focus wall for weekly connections. 

This year…I am adding personal word walls to their writer’s workshop folders. 

 

They will add words THEY need to use in THEIR writing.

 This was last year when we did WAY TOO many 

words at one time!

 

Now…LESS  IS MORE

Word Wall by ABC order

Large Word Wall by ABC order

Sight Word games from the Word Wall

Lots of games to practice our “words”.

I have some games and products

 to help with WORD WALLS.

Check them out!

So to Conclude…

When putting up word walls, fewer WORDS at one time is BEST!

Teach to MASTERY!  Review!  Practice!  Be consistent!

PINTEREST HAS A MULTITUDE of resources to help.

I found these:

         Especially Education  

       All Students Can Shine

    A Sunny Day in First Grade

222  SIGHT  WORDS from 1stgradefireworks

Here are MORE ways to help your students learn to READ

I hope this helps your students become BETTER readers and writers!

Leave me a comment. How are things going? Anything I can do to help?  🙂

Wendy   1stgradefireworks

 

Do you like to play games? GOTCHA!

I LOVE GAMES!

I really do.

My kiddos LOVE to play games.

They learn to take turns, to negotiate, to strategize…
and to win peacefully, 
and lose graciously.
So…I created a game.
Not just ANY game.
A game kindergartners can play WITH second graders…
AND  WIN! 🙂
Here is my newest product:
(Think 4-in-a-row type games.)

 

The directions are pretty simple…
Take turns placing your tokens on the MAT…
Try to get 4 in a row.
You can get 4 in a row horizontal, vertical, or diagonal!
BUT…be careful!
Your partner will try to BLOCK YOU!
When you BLOCK them…
YELL…

 

Multiple game mats are included.
You can play a variety of levels, as needed.
Differentiation at its BEST!

 

The tokens are what make the difference.
There are a variety of leveled tokens.
From ABCs & 123’s…to short vowels…to contractions, and more!
Players must READ before playing a token!
READ?  and have fun???   
WOW!

 

Packet includes:

3 differentiated game mats.

16 different themed player tokens.
Here is a PREVIEW of the packet.
Click Below
 
 
Happy Summer my friends!
Wendy  1stgradefireworks 

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

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

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 my EL’s with writing, when you don’t speak the same language?

We are OK.

BUT…

English PRINT?

WOWZA! Another WORLD!

FIRSTLY…

 We begin…BEGIN…with  Phonemic Awareness.

Sounds…

ORAL…

However, NO PRINT!

Letter Sounds, Vocabulary Words, Rhymes, Alliterations,,

SOUNDS

and LOTS OF THEM!

Secondly, 

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 excel!

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!!!

Click HERE to see it…

Lastly, 

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.

How to Prepare for a Successful Reading Workshop in First Grade

Reading Workshop

“Creating a Community of Readers”

via…LUCY  CAULKINS!

This is my newest FAVORITE thing!

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!

When I teach reading, 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 to create a community of readers

 How?

What do you do BEFORE reading?

Frontload any vocabulary that may change thinking, distort comprehension, or unfamiliar to them.

Take a picture walk. Cover the words.

Make them use the visual cues in the story.

Have them make predictions PRIOR to reading.

After reading, check their predictions.

When you finish reading, do something!

 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!

Read MORE!

 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!

Use your eyes to read…not your fingers.

 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 reread text

 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!

Lucy Caulkins Thank You

A HUGE THANK YOU to Lucy Caulkins!

So there you are…

GET  READING!

Remember…

When in doubt…

ALWAYS make it

BALANCED  LITERACY

For more early literacy reading and writing resources

Check out

 1stgradefireworks

Surviving December by Working SMARTER not HARDER

I Love the MONTRA…   Work SMARTER, Not HARDER

Sometimes I find something ( or do something )

that I think…

“DUH!!!  WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN DOING THIS FOREVER???”

This is one of those things…

Here is SPELLING for the Whole YEAR  to help you WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!

Here is SPELLING for the WHOLE YEAR!

I Am in KINDER…see me SPELL!

KINDER SPELLING

We use MUST DO’s & MAY DO’s for centers.

MUST DO’s & May Do’s

Must do’s & May Dos

 Work SMARTER, Not HARDER

Have you ever used

REPOSITIONAL VINYL LETTERS??

OMG!  I LOVE THEM!

I got mine…at STAPLES

http://www.staples.com/Cosco-098135-Vinyl-Letter-C-N-1-Helvetica-Black/product_712405

BEFORE…last 23 YEARS…

I would write the numbers & Content areas

EVERY WEEK..

 Work SMARTER NOT HARDER!

NOW…I can just add the words / skills

& the kids ALWAYS know where to look!

You can erase over the letters

AND

when you remove them..

NOT sticky ucky  GLUE stuff!

I use multiple sizes for interest…

MY NAME is GIGANTIC!

(Don’t ask me how to spell…MRS. McCARTY )

Love Love Love this!

Again…as we begin a NEW YEAR…
a great time to
WORK SMARTER…NOT HARDER!

Balanced Literacy – Week 1 of 8 – READ ALOUDS

How to Fit it ALL IN?

The Guided Reading COMMAND CENTER

FREE from me to YOU!

 

Happy Holidays from 1stgradefireworks

Wendy

My October Dilemma…What to teach? Freebie!

So my dilemma.
We have a two week vacation
 from Oct. 1-Oct. 15.

(NO COMPLAINING HERE!)
BUT…

We return on Oct. 16.

 MONDAY

15 days (exactly ) until….

YOU  KNOW  IT

TUESDAY, October 31, 2017

HALLOWEEN!
Parties,
CANDY,
Kids who can’t wait to get home ( highly DISTRACTABLE!)
(some schools…not mine….)
COSTUMES!

So …
My  dilemma.

When we go back,
Do I put out HALLOWEEN themed centers?
Do I keep it OCTOBERish with Columbus, Halloween, Fall, Pumpkins,etc?
Do I just “touch” on the “HOLDIAY” stuff…and Promote the FALL  stuff?
Do I  add  THANKSGIVING?

Should I keep it ALL going until THANKSGIVING?

What to do?  What to do?????

BTW…   I  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE   FALL!
My favorite  season.

YUMMY!
But…
CONTENT is EVERYTHING!
My student’s MUST take a BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT in December.
I want them to do well.

( I don’t think there will be a HALLOWEEN question on it.)
Unless it’s about 

HOW MANY CANDIES DID YOU EAT ALL TOGETHER?

So ..what to do?   What  to do?

INTEGRATE!

I must teach SCIENCE and SOCIAL STUDIES!

( Living things…life cycle…Plants/animals…Lifestyles Long Ago..)

So here is MY plan:

Reading:
  • Nonfiction about pumpkins, apples, plants
  • Biography about Christopher Columbus, Squanto
  • Fiction about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
I am checking my district curriculum ( yes, we have one )
for REQUIRED (Tested )  Skills & Strategies for this quarter.

As we delve into our reading…I make SURE to incorporate TESTED strategies.
Questioning? Sequencing? Retelling? Etc..etc…

Vocabulary?   Again…check NECESSARY vocabulary for success!
I spend A LOT of time on necessary vocabulary. I have 10-12  English Language Learners.
They need visuals, modeling, & practice before they can “TAKE ON” the new information.

Phonics?   Spelling?   Grammar? 
 Required phonics skills for this quarter.
What to use for  Spelling? 
BOTH!
  Required spelling skills AND  thematic vocabulary words. 
WHAT?      WHY?

Because…I want them to have some  INTRINSIC vocabulary to use easily in their..
WRITING!

I want MY Mummy!  🙂
Sorry….couldn’t  resist.
Writing:

  • “How To”..grow..carve…etc… about pumpkins, apples, plants
  • “Informative”  about Christopher Columbus, Squanto,Pilgrims
  • “Narrative”  about Fall, Halloween, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving
  • Thank You cards, Invitations, Lists, Etc.
Again….I am checking my district curriculum 
for REQUIRED (Tested )  Skills & Strategies for this quarter.

Whatever our REQUIRED writing prompt will be
( I already know mine  is INFORMATIVE)

We will practice, practice, practice!
I won’t skip the other genres.
Just FOCUS on the INFORMATIVE!

BUT wait!
I want crafts! I want CUTSIE! I want products! 
I Love BOOKS!

And so…we will make CUTSIE lapbooks, paintings, charts, stories & crafts
 about???

Fall, Halloween, pumpkins, apples
, plants, Christopher Columbus, 
Squanto, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving

DON’T  tell  our FIRE MARSHALL..

I might HANG THINGS UP!
Definitely!

I won’t tell,  if YOU won’t tell.

MATH:
  • addition / subtraction
  • missing addends
  • place value
  • graphing
  • story problems

And MATH??
Lots of Graphs, addition & subtraction, problem solving, story problems
ALL ABOUT THEMES!

How many apples, pumpkin seeds, candies, turkies, indians, etc, etc.
(Math Journals are GREAT for this!)

and, yes..

I will need to keep it going until Thanksgiving.
And I will need to use EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY!
And yes… it will take planning, and prepping…

BATS! 



Black  Cats

Growing  Pumpkins

Making APPLESAUCE!
Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed!


And YES
I WILL LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

You see…
FALL IS MY FAVORITE SEASON OF THE YEAR!
To those of you who hung in there to the bottom of this LONG POST…
A FREEBIE FOR YOU!
Happy FALL!

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

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

3 Steps to Sight Word Fluency

3 steps to sight word fluency.

Not exactly steps..a hop..a skip..and a JUMP!

When teaching my kiddos to read,

I use MANY tools!

Books, whiteboards, markers, pocket charts, flashcards, etc..

But… when teaching sight words

or

high-frequency words

or

FRY words, Dolch Words etc, etc, etc.

It ALL comes down to this…

IF YOU CANNOT READ  SIGHT WORDS

You WILL NOT read at grade level!

Scary??    YES!

 HOW  DO  WE HELP???

We research.  We try. And we try AGAIN!

There are MANY resources on Pinterest

to help you find lists, and lists, and lists of words!

Awesome Sight Word Activities

27 Awesome Sight Word Activities

Sight Word Activities

Learn Sight Words Through Play

And LOTS of OTHERS!

Awesome Sight Word Activities

HFW Dots

NOW I know what to teach…

 HOW  do  I Do  IT?

Here are your

3 steps to Sight Word FLUENCY!

Step 1

Matching  Game

Each student makes their OWN word cards on colored paper.

(Practice sounding out, spelling, & writing EACH word)

I use 8 – 10  words.

Then they cut them apart.

Find a friend who has a different colored paper.

Both friends turn their word cards face down.

Rock, paper, scissors…winner goes first.

Choose one of YOUR word cards and one of your friends.

READ BOTH CARDS…friends help if needed.

If they match…keep BOTH cards. If not, turn them over and partner’s turn!

Winner has the most matches at the end of time

( or when ALL cards are  turned over)

PLAY  AGAIN!

Awesome Sight Word Activities

Great PARTNER work!

STEP  2

Pocket Chart

MAKING WORDS

and

MATCHING WORDS

I use

MAKING WORDS

 GRADE  1

Awesome Sight Word Activities

for my word study WORD WORK.

I make the letter cards and the word cards.

We pocket chart them ( my kiddos like to play SCHOOL during MAY DO time).

One of the Activities is

MAKING  WORDS!

Awesome Sight Word Activities

After MAKING WORDS

we play

MATCH IT!

Awesome Sight Word Activities

Turn them over & MATCH IT!

We also invented

SPEED READER

(NOT SPEED RACER!)

I turn them over & as a class,

we read as FAST AS WE CAN!

Step 3

Word Wall for Sight Word Fluency

We play

I SPY

They use their whiteboards

and I call OUT…

I SPY A WORD ON THE WORD WALL that

starts with a “_____”  and RHYMES with “____”.

They find it on the all…and write it on their boards.

Sometimes I will change it up with

“A verb that starts with a “__”, etc. etc.

 The main theme here is PRACTICE…PRACTICE PRACTICE!

No matter how many “steps” it takes…

they need practice activities & time

to HOP, SKIP, & JUMP  into FLUENCY!

ALL Classrooms should be a BALANCED LITERACY Classroom!

ALWAYS  begin with BALANCED  LITERACY!

And so we begin.

Matching Words

Making Words

I Spy

To help with Sight Word Mastery
CLICK on the links for help!

Small Groups

Those Crazy Word Walls

Hi Ho Hi Ho..It’s Off to High-Frequency Work we GO

Ready to TRANSFORM your Classroom 

into a 

BALANCED LITERACY Classroom?

Here you are! 

Balanced Literacy 

If you need more help, check out my TPT Store. LOTS of goodies in there!

Wendy

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 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