Monday, 30 November 2015

Are You Ready for a Sale?

I am sure you have heard by now but if not then here is the big news:  Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a 2 day Cyber Monday sale!  On Monday, November 30 and Tuesday December 1st you can shop and save 28% off your purchases if you use the code SMILE.  I am linking up with Jen from Teaching in the Tongass and sharing my most wishlisted products.  

This is one of my favourite products!  My parents love that it is packed with information to help them support their children while reading at home.  Teachers love that there are leveled comprehension questions for levels A - S.  It is a favourite and best selling item in my store.

This is a new product that has been purchased many, many times but no one has taken the time to leave feedback :( .  It is the perfect addition to your Guided Reading and Shared Reading Resources. I keep mine on a ring (as shown) and pull it out when I need a comprehension question. The questions are sorted by comprehension strategies so you can plan ahead and have the proper questions ready for your small group or Shared Reading lesson.  

This blog post tells a bit more about this resource and a related resource I use to teach during my Guided Reading time.  

This product is my pride and joy!  I swear by it and have blogged about how I believe the Word Jail with truly TEACH your students to read and spell tricky words.  Check out below to head to a blog post with more information about how I use the Word Jail.  

All of these resources and many more are on sale during the Cyber Smile sale.  Here are a few of my newest (and not so new) holiday resources.

Happy Shopping!

Until next time,

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Swap Meet - A Product Swap Blog Hop and Giveaway

Hello and welcome to the first Swap Meet! Product Swap Blog Hop and Giveaway.  I am so happy to be co-hosting with Melanie from Momma with a Teaching Mission.   We, along with 14 other teachers, have swapped a product with another teacher and used it with our students. The point of these posts and this blog hop is to share with you are reviews of each of the products.  This is your chance to get a look at a product in action and see if it might be right for your students.  So, lets get started shall we?

I am sharing a product from Melanie at Momma with a Teaching Mission.  I "met" Melanie through Facebook groups and our mutual love of creating products.  She has a store full  amazing products that you can find {HERE}

For the swap I was looking for something to use with my firsties during Guided Reading right now and this fit the bill.

What I initially loved about this product was that it was very simple and clean.  There are few graphics and the font is very easy to read.  These are selling points for me in a world where a lot of worksheets or printables have a lot of clip art and great fonts that aren't always practical for the first graders reading them.  This is what the pages look like.  There are two options:

With any product it is important to figure out just how it will work for your students and I did the same with this product.  I used these passages with 2 students in particular that are reading really well for 2 months into first grade.  We used the passages to work on 3 different skills, which are highlighted in the pictures below.

On Day 1 we did a read through with one of my favourite reading tools - reading lights.  Each girl had a different reading passage and were simply reading to understand the text.  You can see that we also used my decoding strategies wands.  These are the strategies the girls are working on right now to decode words.  Keeping the wands right in sight helps them to remember what to try when they get stuck on a word.

After our read through their first task was to go through the text again and circle all of our word wall words.  This is not something that Melanie suggests in her product but it is one of my go-to activities if we are using printable passages.  On the following day we focused on searching for word families and they used a yellow highlighter to highlight word families .

Next, we moved to the comprehension piece.  Each passage comes with 2 comprehension questions. In most cases both questions can be answered using text evidence, although some require the students to infer or make a connection.  I was specifically looking for passages with answers found in the text. My students used another colour of highlighter and highlighted words or phrases that answered the question they were answering.  I have to add here that any chance to use highlighters is such a motivator too.  I love to highlight the evidence in the text to make it very concrete for my students and it is not as possible when teaching with a book (although highlighting tape is an option within the text).  Not pictured is the work we did on our last meeting when they looked at the highlights and wrote a sentence to answer the question.  We did not use the second version of the passage with short and long vowel sorting because we haven't worked enough on that skill.  I will pull these passages out again later on with a new group of students and we will use the sorting page.  It is great that it is an included option.

I highly recommend her passages for all the reasons I have stated.  My students loved the stories and were able to personally connect to the topics that they had - a birthday and things to do with friends. Check them out if you are looking for passages to use with your first graders at the beginning of the year.

Now that you know all about Melanie's product how would you like to win it?  As part of our blog hop we are giving 1 lucky winner all 16 products - that is over $90.00 in K-3 products.  My Mystery Letter is below and it is super simple to enter.  Find my entry in the rafflecopter below and follow the instructions.  After you have entered, scroll down to find the link to hop to the next blog and hear about another great product.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 2 November 2015

Global Glitter Tribe - October Linky

This is my first time linking up with the Global Glitter Tribe for their monthly link up.  I am an admin with the group and will be blogging over there at a later date.  I will be sure to let everyone here know so you can check out my post over there!  

Anyhow this month I am responding to the prompts above.  

Totally Inspirational!  

First Grade Writers.  Let me explain.  They come to me in September with little to no ability to write. I hear the same thing time and again....I can't write!  I don't know how to!  Well, we work super hard in the first few months to stretch out words, write their sounds and do so with a level of independence.  It is the end of October and I am FINALLY seeing progress.  I am inspired when I see that those kids have been listening and practicing and trying and are now writers!  Some of my little guys are even excited about visiting our writing center - YEAH!  


I have always felt that you have way more bang for your buck when you do small group teaching. Kids are less likely to disengage when they are at a table of 4 - 6.  We, as teachers, are able to spot that disengaged stduent and bring them back to the lesson.  It is harder to do that when you are teaching a group of 20+ kids. Being prepared for that time is also super important.  I just blogged about a new product I am using in my guided reading to better teach comprehension - Comprehension Check Cards.  I am using them with small groups and can target the comprehension skill I want to work on with a particular group of kids.  Working on Making Connections with one group?  Flip to that set of cards and you are ready with question prompts and look fors.  Another group working on analyzing text?  Flip to those cards and you have questions at hand.  Small group teaching is the way to be most responsive to your students needs. 

Igniting Passionate Readers

I could not put both ideas in the graphic but I think exposing students to amazing text and teaching them strategies builds readers.  Just like I mentioned above with writing, kids need to see themselves as readers and need to be given skills so they see they can do it.  I explicitly teach decoding strategies using my decoding strategies posters/wands/bookmarks.  The kids get to know the character, like Stretchy Snake, and with just that prompt will try and sound out words.  

Bridging the Gap

I am trying to find time in the day for mini assessments with my struggling students to see how the interventions we are doing are helping.  A number of my students still do not know their letter sounds.  Each day they are getting a triple whammy of practice time with 3 different adults.  I check in with them frequently to see if this is an effective way to improve their skills.  

Enjoying your time

I love a good book and right now I am flying through a few on my Kobo E-reader.  I am trying to get back into reading a bit before I go to bed to try to unwind.  My brain seems to go into overdrive before I go to sleep thinking about all the things I still need to do.  

Thanks for stopping by!