Stop and Write- Using Read Alouds in Making Words Activities!

As you know, I do "making words" activities with my little kindergartners and 1st graders daily.  Something new I've done with my little friends recently combines a read aloud, iPads (with the free ShowMe app) and making words all into one quick activity!

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS. ELA-Literacy. RF.1. Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3a Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant. 

Each student has an iPad in front of him/her and I choose a story to read aloud.  I am currently using simple readers that do not have too complex language because my next goal with this activity is to have a little friend do the reading while the others make words! So, I read the story and take out my stop sign every other page and have the students "stop and write."  The students are just writing one word that I say from the page I just read.  I currently am choosing CVC words, CVCe words or sight words from the text since they all need practice with these. However, in the future I will align it with our focus of the week from our reading series, so that they can also be making words with digraphs, blends, r controlled vowels, etc. (That'll take a little more planning on my part in regard to which book I can use as a read aloud, but will be so worth the extra effort so my little friends get some more practice with various skills!)

After I read through the whole book, each student can practice reading all the words he/she wrote and then either read their words to a partner, or if you are in the ShowMe app, they can record themselves reading it.  I am really loving this activity because it takes only a few minutes, it's fun for the students and it provides me with a quick little assessment of who is struggling with what skills.  I love the fact that I am able to use a read aloud as yet another way to practice some literacy skills-- aren't books just amazing? :)

Oh and of course you can definitely also do this exact same activity with whiteboards, notebooks, magnet strips, computers (or whatever else you have!), but I choose to do it with iPads since we are so lucky to have them! So far I feel like it has been a success with my little friends, so I think I may spend the last few minutes every other day doing this activity. This is something you may want to consider adding to your small group lessons or even to whole group read alouds.  For more "making words" ideas, check out this post!

One last important thing for the day: I'm linking up with Dana over at Fun in 1st Grade for Inspiration Monday...on Tuesday. :)  I found this on Pinterest (of course!) and I have to say that I really do love to learn new things and this quote kinda just says it perfectly.... Hope you are inspired today! Head on over to Dana's post to read more inspiring quotes.

Have a great day!


March is right around the corner and a Freebie!

I have to say the fact that it is March 1st a week from today has really been my motivator all week long!   March always means spring to me (even though it'll likely stay cold for a good portion of the month)...but March also means it's almost Spring Break, so woohoo! 

My little friends worked hard all week long with a variety of reading activities, but one thing has become glaringly obvious to me in the last few students are MAJORLY struggling with vowels this year.  I'm not sure if I've done something differently than I normally do or if i've simply forgotten that they always struggle at this time of the year, but regardless, we've been introducing long vowel silent e words one week at a time for 5 weeks now and for some reason every single time we come across a silent e word in a story or on it's own, I still have to say- "what does that silent e make the other vowel do?" AND even with saying this some of my little friends still just give me a blank stare and then just say the short vowel sound! So we review each time what the silent e does, yet three words later in a story I hear myself again saying- "wait, let's try that again- what does that silent e make the other vowel do??" Anyway, as a result of this I've been trying to incorporate a variety of games/puzzles/sorts/etc that relate to vowels into our reading activities with the hope that one of these days they really are going to know what silent e does without me having to ask them! So my freebie for this week is a vowel literacy center with a St. Patrick's Day theme- in my class we will likely be repeating this center on a weekly basis till St. Patty's Day rolls around and maybe come St. Patrick's Day, I'll be back on here saying we've figured the vowels out! (At least I surely hope so!) And don't get me wrong, I am SUPER happy with the progress my little friends have made, but as we know, they just have to keep on going and I know we will get there with vowels as's just taking a little...ok a lot...longer! Hope you can use this vowel center for extra practice with your little friends too! 
Check out this freebie here or by clicking the image below!

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3b Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3c Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.

On the St. Patrick's Day Theme, I also have a pack of 4 literacy centers (Common Core Aligned) that will be perfect for the month of March. I'm super excited to start using these very soon! The pack includes literacy centers focused on: vowels vs consonants, blends, digraphs and long vowels sorts (and some reading badges just for fun on St. Patty's day!). You can check it out here

Freebie Fridays

Happy 'almost-March'!



Technology Tuesday!

I love alliteration (that might be the first clue I have been teaching first grade for several years!) So "Technology Tuesdays" and "Techy Teacher Tuesdays" are right up my alley!  can't help but to look forward to them.  This week I wanted to write about a tool that we have found very useful (and easy to use!) in first grade.  TodaysMeet is a website that allows students to connect with others in a safe space.  Lately I have been using TodaysMeet to check for understanding of students on various concepts.  I have used TodaysMeet after read alouds, to create math discussions, to brainstorm PBIS rewards, to respond to listening centers and so much more-the opportunities to use this website are endless!

Follow the step below when you go to  to get started: 

That's it!  Ask a question to students or simply let students start discussing.  Here are some screenshots I took of my kiddos conversations after watching a BrainPop video on Doubles.  

To start students off I gave them a question and gave them the starter "I learned..."
As students finished the video they just started typing....

Most of my students were able to name a doubles fact.  Although there were a couple that were a little bit off. :)  

Reasons I love TodaysMeet: 1. It is a safe way for my students to discuss ideas and learn from one another. 2. Accountability.  Students are required to type a name to join.  There are times where I want to know who is saying what so that I can better gauge their understanding for  specific topic.  However, there are also times where I tell students they can use their S Number (a special number given to each student through our school) so students can remain anonymous to classmates.   3.  This is a quick activity and very user friendly even for six year-olds!  

For more ideas on how to incorporate TodaysMeet into the upper grades head over to our friend and coworker's blog at iteach1:1!  Kristin is an amazing teacher and friend! She has taught me so much in the classroom and the blogging world!  I am so grateful for her!

Don't forget to check out Technology Tailgate and Queen of the First Grade Jungle for more awesome technology ideas!


Happy Tuesday!

President's Day Fun!

So Amanda and I had school today rather than a 3 day weekend, and although it's a bummer that so many other people were off today (including my husband who is also a teacher!) I decided to look at the positives from being at school today:

1. Traffic was barely existent this morning so I got to school in record time- can't beat that on a Monday morning!
2. My little friends were all super today!
3. We got to do my fun President's Day CVC Word Sorts actually on President's day! Woohoo!

I thought I'd pop on here real quick and just show you what we did- if you are looking for a fun way to include some presidents into your lessons this week, check out this CVC Word Sorts Pack here! My little friends did a super job with these sorts and they really read a whole lot of words because there are 60 CVC words in this pack! They sorted the first set of words by short vowel sound and then in the second set, they sorted by word family.  Each time they had to choose a word from the bucket, read the word and then sort it.  My 1st graders did an extension to the activity by choosing 2 words and typing sentences on their computer using those words.  (There are also recording sheets for each word sort!) For the 2nd sort with word families, I turned it into a little game for one of my more active groups so they didn't have to sit the whole time- they were able to choose a word from the bucket, read it and then walk around the circle to find the matching word family...this was pretty exciting to them! (Whatever works, right?!)

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3a Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3b Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.

Have a great day!


100th Day Fun, Comparing and Contrasting and a Freebie Friday!

We completed our 100th Day of School and are officially 100 Days Smarter!  Last year one of my teammates came in with the idea of "dressing like we are 100 years old!"  Oh my word, what fun!  If you have not yet tried it I suggest that you do because it makes the day that much more exciting!  This is a bold statement...BUT...I think 100th day of school just might be my favorite day of the year! It is a riot seeing first graders dressed up as if they are old.  Most of the little boys come in with eye-liner mustaches/beards and the little girls come in with gray hair, glasses, and older women looking clothes!  It is too funny!
Our fabulous first grade team (although it may be hard to believe we are all in our twenties!) 
The 100th day is jam packed with activities! As the end of the day quickly came and I began telling my kids (in my old woman voice) that we had to start getting ready to go home they all whined (a good whine) and said "but we don't want to go home!"  which of coarse warms my heart.

Looking back on the day some of my favorite activities include:

100th Day Crowns
My kids are obsessed with penguins so I couldn't resist using them as much as possible to make this day special.  Students were each given 10 penguins and were asked to count by 10s on each piece to get to 100, then they colored, cut and glued the penguins to create their 100th day crown!

In 100 seconds I can...

We put the timer on the SMART Board and as a class we completed many activities in 100 seconds.  It was silent in the room as kids counted in their heads (this was the key to it being quiet!) how many times they could clap, blink, stand/sit, write their names, hop and do jumping jacks in 100 seconds!)  

WheI a100 years old...
Look at that mustache!  Being in a 1:1 classroom makes pictures that much better!  Instead of drawing a picture for this writing activity students took a picture of themselves in Photo Booth and started typing about when they are 100 years old.

100th Day Mystery Number Hunt...

Penguins numbered 1-100 were put up all over our classroom...on cabinets, tables, word walls, everywhere! 

Students then went on a hunt to find one mystery penguin that was left marking every numbered penguin that they found on their number grid!  

For all of these 100th Day Activities and many more please check out: 

The 100th Day of School was a blast and I am sad to see it go but there are so many more fun days to come!

For a similar activity pack that is also common core aligned please check out my St. Patrick's Day Activity Pack:

Comparing and contrasting is a skill that we are currently working on in first grade.  It can definitely be a fun skill as kids love coming up with ideas to go inside a Venn-Diagram!
When introducing this new skill to the class I started by discussing things students are familiar with.  In our classroom we used a basketball and a soccer ball.  I wanted to start by using things students were able to see that had obvious similarities as well as obvious differences.
Students did a great job coming up with loads of ideas from color, to texture, to shape and size of the  the two recreational balls.  We were ready to move onto bigger and better things!

Friend Venn-Diagrams!  Students loved working with their partners during reading centers to figure out similarities and differences.  We did this as a laptop center and when students finished they recorded themselves talking about things they had in common with their peers.    
Students working on their "Friend Venn-Diagram."
In this freebie there is also a list of questions to help students discuss different similarities and differences with one another.  

The finished venn-diagram! 

To grab this Venn-Diagram Freebie click here and to find lots more freebies click below! 

Happy Friday!

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