Why are SIGHT WORDS important?
I am a firm believer of a language arts program that teaches and reviews sight words. Sight words are those words that have a high frequency presence in printed materials that children read. As children build their sight word recognition, they are able to read more books.
Why are WORD FAMILIES important?
I teach the patterns in word families throughout the year because they help my students develop their decoding and ability to sound out words. Once they learn those word families, they are able to decode so many words quickly. This puts them well on their way to reading and decoding success!
Why is a SPELLING program important?
I use a spelling program in my classroom so every student has a list of words to learn and practice at home. My spelling program is mostly phonics based and each unit I teach reviews the short and long vowels, digraphs and diphthongs, blends, and more.
I use each week to review the phonetic concept that is present in that spelling unit. My students develop not only the ability to spell words, but read and understand a new phonetic pattern or rule.They can then use those skills to read new material and write independently.
Word study and phonics lessons and activities occur frequently during our week. I usually have a designated time of the week to work on spelling, sight words, and word families.This coming year I plan on incorporating the Daily 5 system of word work, where my students will be working on something everyday. With the Daily 5 system you need to organize your literacy blocks throughout the day, instead of the whole class working on the same activities at the same time.
During this time, I pull small groups to work on word study concepts, while my students are completing their word work activities.
Activities Completed Each Morning:
If you are interested in a copy of my morning meeting schedule for the week to use for teaching a word study program, click HERE to download!
Sight Word Resources
What are the key components of your word study program?
Teaching whales for kids? Read this post for a beluga directed drawing idea, activity to build whale vocabulary, and engage your primary students in science and ELA lessons.
Complete Whales for Kids Nonfiction Unit
Whales are by far my most favourite animal! They are completely amazing! Not only do they live in our oceans, but they are they the largest animals in the world. I love teaching kids about whales and sharing my own enthusiasm and amazement over these majestic creatures.
Whales for Kids: KWL
Just like with any new science unit, we start off by sharing what we already know. Another reason why I love teaching about whales is I find that kids do not usually have a lot of prior knowledge about them. This builds the excitement to learn about whales even more.
We share what we wonder about whales and come up with “deep thinking” questions with a partner. I always let kids write their questions on sticky notes. I think this gets them more excited about doing it. They share their “wonders” and we add them onto a poster.
Whales for Kids: Anchor Chart
I use a large anchor chart with the labels “can, have, are, eat, look” to record facts as we read from some different whales books over the next few days.I use a chart like the one below to keep all of our new learning organized and attainable. Later, we use this useful chart to help us with our whale non-fiction writing.
Whale Facts for Kids
Whales for Kids: Nonfiction Book
- Define the word.
- Illustrate meaning of their word.
- Teach the class.
Whales for Kids: Art Activity
Other Nonfiction Subjects for Kids
Teach children about keeping the Earth clean with these engaging Earth Day ideas. Includes a free writing and art activity and book suggestions.
Earth Day Ideas: “Earth Day is EVERY Day!” Classroom Activities
Earth Day Ideas: Great Books
Earth Day Ideas: More Activities
We read a poem of the week called “Earth Day Everyday!”, and we complete our follow-up poetry activities. This poem and activities plus many more are available here.
We write about why everyday should be Earth Day using the ideas we have brainstormed about on a chart. I give my students a template that they may wish to follow for ideas.
For the student “Holding the Earth” art activity, I start by taking a photo of each student pretending to hold a ball over their heads.
I print them out in black and white off the computer.
We each colour a coffee filter with green and blue markers to look like the earth.
We spray the filters with water and let them dry.
Lastly, we assemble and glue our writing, photos and earth onto green tag.
This is my favourite bulletin board of the year.
We have the parents in to show off our writing and how cute their children look holding up the earth!
We also make “Recycle Kids” self-portraits on newspaper. First, we start by drawing a self-portrait with pencil. We then use sharpies to trace the lines. Next, we color our clothes and hair (not skin). We glue onto white tag for durability and cut out.It was an interesting activity because my students had never reused newspaper this way before. They said it seemed strange to have newspaper print as their skin color.
This creates a meaningful result and a special bulletin board with an important message.
I also add a large earth my class made in a previous year by tearing out pieces of blue and green paper from old National Geographic magazines and gluing them down to look like the earth. What a great project of team work that was. I enjoy REUSING the Earth again each year!
Earth day is a great day to remind yourself and your students about the importance of keeping our earth clean and healthy.
I had a parent come and tell me today that her daughter no longer wants to have baths, but “quick showers that save water!” It makes everything we do to teach our students worth it when it changes an attitude or behavior for the better.
Earth Day Ideas & Resources
Number Line games are so much fun! Here’s how to teach and play the human number line math game with 3 digit addition and subtraction.
This post introduces the human number line math game, a super fun game I created for my students to practice 3 digit adding and subtracting with the number line.
The Best of All Number Line Games – The Human Number Line!
HOW TO PLAY THE HUMAN NUMBER LINE GAME
STEP #1: Print off all the pieces for the game that you will need.
(Link for the FREE game below)
STEP #2: Cut out the game cards and number signs for your number line. Laminate for durability.
With this freebie you receive 24 rainbow math flash cards with 3 digit addition, subtraction and mixed equations on them. You receive a blank template to print off and use for any skill you want your students to practice using the human number line.
They are also great for flash cards and any other game you can think up. The colored numbers are provided for you to label your number line. Blank circles are included and would be great if you wanted a number line to 20 or higher.
Want a Freebie for your Number Line Games?
Grab the FREE Human Number Line Math Game HERE!
More Number Line Games Fun with These Activities:
A step-by-step guide to preparing student portfolios for student-led conferences. The post includes free printable resources for conferences.
Student Portfolios: Preparing for Student-Led Conferences
My favourite way to display student work is in a work portfolio. First, I prepare these at the beginning of the year and add to them throughout the year so they are ready to go for the conferences. Then, I select and put aside workpieces that the kiddos worked especially hard on, as well as a few great pieces of artwork. Afterwards, I keep their samples set-aside by month and later file them in a tub that is separated by name.
Before conference time, I put together their portfolios by stapling and gluing in their work samples. I also made this cute cover page for them to write their names (in fancy writing or block letters) and to color before I glued them on the cover.
HOW-TO MAKE A STUDENT PORTFOLIO
- I cut a large piece of bristol board in half to make a front and back (each piece should be 14″ x 22″).
- After that, I cut large pieces of construction paper into 13″ x 21″ pieces. I like to have 2 pieces of paper for each month of the school year (20 pieces of paper). I like to use black paper because it makes for a nice backdrop, but you could use any colors.
- Then, I bind them together with a ring. If you do not have a binding machine, you could staple it together with a heavy-duty stapler.
- You are now ready to add student work! Once it’s been bound together, it is easy to open and flip to the next page. There is room for 1 or 2 things on each large page.
I have created this simple writing paper for my students to use and they always turn out great. I will also add a photograph of them at school to go next to their writing.
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCE PREPARATION
The week of the conferences is focused on preparations. We practice and prepare what our families will see. We complete a reflection and goal sheet and a student-self assessment.
1. Reflection Sheet
This is usually surprisingly hard for them as young children live in the NOW and often forget what they’ve already done. Reminders are necessary!
I wish for them to share things they are good at. In addition, I boast about how they have learned to READ and WRITE and ADD and SUBTRACT!
Then, I get them to share their favorite part of school.
They also need to come up with a goal for the rest of the year.
Finally, I request a “powerful” picture that will “WOW” our families that is neat with lots of details and careful coloring. We hang these up on our “WOW Work” board for families to see.
2. Student Self-Assessment
We sit together at the carpet with a clipboard, pencil, and eraser in hand. I explain that I need them to be honest about their answers and to think about themselves personally, but not too critically. I tell them it is okay to not get all smiley faces and that no one is perfect. That there are things that everyone works.
We go one question at a time, reading the questions and coloring in the faces to show if they do something all the time, some of the time, or needs work. It’s nice to see how honest my students are about their strengths and areas to work on.
3. Conference Practice
4. Classroom Preparation
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCE FREEBIE
Learn More on Classroom Management
Number of the Day Activities to Boost Math Success
I am here today to tell you how I run number of the day activities in my first grade class.
Using Number of the Day in the Classroom
Every week we study one number up to 20 with my age group, but you could do more than one each week. I have each student grab a small white board, dry erase marker, and find a spot at the carpet where they can see our “Number of the Day” chart.
Number of the Day Builds Confidence with Repetition
Number of the Day Resources
Do you do number of the day activities with your class? How?
More Engaging Math Activities
I’m here today to share how to make a Valentine mailbox for the classroom or home. This is a cute and fun way for kids to have somewhere to put the cards they make or buy for their friends. It requires some preparation on the part of the teacher or volunteer helper, if you have one, at first.
Easiest Valentine Mailbox: Valentine’s Day Heart Pockets!
Directions for Making this Cute Valentine Mailbox:
Want to Add More Fun with this Valentine Mailbox Idea?
Tips for using table groups as a classroom behavior management system in the classroom. Includes free team signs to hang and record points.
Table Groups: The Classroom Behavior Strategy that Works!
How the Classroom Behavior System Works
How it works is each group earns points throughout the week. They earn points for many things like leaving desks neat and tidy, working quietly, working hard, being bucket fillers, remembering to put up chairs, and lots more!
This class management technique is a teacher’s best friend because it is simple and encourages teamwork. The kids really work hard together and encourage each other to work hard and do their best!
At the end of the week, the team with the most points earn the team trophy on their desk for the whole next week and those students get to pick a coupon from the coupon box. I also award the whole class when every group earns 40 points for the week.
It works and it’s super easy to run! (And, just in case you didn’t know – Class Dojo offers a way to keep track as well)
FREE Table Group Signs to Easily Implement
I’ve included the signs as a FREEBIE for all interest to print, laminate and try out! This freebie includes 4 full-size signs to hang over tables in the 4 primary colors. I’ve also included the 1-page sheet that has all four mini signs on it, which is great to use on your board to keep track of points.
If you are interested in my table group signs to use in your classroom and want to start using table groups as a classroom behavior strategy, please click the image below!
MORE Classroom Behavior Management Ideas