Freebies for February!

This has been quite the week- two "cold" days at the beginning of the week and then today is already the last day of January, which means Valentine's Day is right around the corner! That being the case, I wanted to share two Valentine's Day freebies with you that I love using with my little friends!

My little friends just love QR codes (just like I do) and they will certainly enjoy making words with these pages! I only pull these out around Valentine's Day because of the cute little heart border, but really they can be used any time of year.  If you've never used QR codes, this is a great way to introduce QR codes to your little friends while getting some word-making practice. You can grab this freebie here!

My little friends will also be filling out these graphic organizers next month to respond to our reading.  They will be identifying a character they like from our story, drawing a picture of that character, making a list of describing words and writing a sentence describing why they like the character. I pulled out all my February books today for our bookshelf so I have a few options to use this graphic organizer for in the upcoming weeks!

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3 With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

You can grab this freebie here!

Thanks TBA for the always amazing Freebie Friday linky!

Freebie Fridays
Have a great weekend!

Tried It Tuesday: Guided Reading Goodies

I know everyone does not love to teach reading, but I really truly do love that I get to teach reading all day, every day! All my experience has been with teaching little friends and one of the best things about teaching reading to these little ones is seeing firsthand the progress they make- whether it takes a whole year or a very short amount of time. Guided Reading is definitely what I spend most of my time doing with my students, so I am constantly trying out new ideas to see what works best for each one of my little friends.  Today I wanted to link up with the awesome Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper to share some things I've been trying in my guided reading groups. 

The best part of guided reading is that students are doing daily what they need to do in order to become better readers....which is...READ! No matter what leveling system you use or books you have, the key is that we become better readers when we read more.  We use Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking System to assess our students three times a year where we find each student's independent/instructional/frustrational reading level. We then use their instructional reading level to guided our guided reading lessons. As an intervention, we use Fountas & Pinnell's Leveled Literacy Intervention System (I use the green kit for the little ones). We just began using this kit this year and the main reason I love it is because there are lots of books for my students at their ability level. 

As soon as we starting assessing our student's with this benchmark system at the beginning of the year, I quickly realized I needed to 'up my game' in regard to what comprehension questions I was asking my students each day. I created what I call "thinking questions"- these relate directly to the F&P levels of Within, Beyond and About the text and the Common Core Standards.  Each section is slightly more challenging than the previous one because it requires my little friends to really think about the text and find evidence within the text to support their answers. I have a reference chart that I use to plan my lessons and question cards on binder rings to use while actually going through our guided reading lessons- this has been a huge help to me in actually getting me to ask a variety of questions of varying levels.

Here's a peek at my Guided Reading materials...

The question cards and all the rest follow my "Constructing Readers" theme- I tell my little friends they are working so hard to build themselves as readers, just like construction workers who build things! My girls and boys both love this because they know how hard they are working each day. Before we read each day, we review our fix up strategies that they can do while reading by pointing to the various tools  on the page and providing a little example of how they can use that strategy.  After reading, we also refer back to this page and each student points to which strategies they used that day! This page goes in their Reading Toolbox Folder, which I have for each little friend. 

One important thing that every teacher should try to include in their guided reading time (especially with little ones) is reviewing the strategies to use before reading and then following up with which strategies the students used for reading that day. By doing this each day or at least a few times a week, kids will begin to do this naturally on their own rather than with your prompting all the time and they will hopefully even use the strategies while they are reading on their own! 

The Reading Toolbox folders also include graphic organizers that I have my students complete once done reading as a way to respond to their reading to ensure they were actually paying attention to their reading and are able to cite evidence from the text. I choose a few to use each week based on the stories and allow my little friends who are quicker readers to begin completing the graphic organizer while another student may still be reading so everyone is busy! Once everyone is done reading, we come back together to discuss questions (within, beyond and about the text) and then everyone gets busy responding to the specific question of the day on their graphic organizer. The question cards and graphic organizers help me make the most of our guided reading time so my little friends are learning how to read and learning how to be readers who are thinkers which is critical to begin early on so that comprehension comes more naturally to each student as a reader. If you have only 10-15 minutes to do each guided reading lesson, these graphic organizers can work well as a follow up activity after students have left your guided reading table! 

Earlier in the year I also snagged these ridiculously cute erasers shaped like tools from the Dollar Tree-- I mean really, they are so cute and so cheap- my little friends just love them (and so do I!). I usually switch up our pointers based on the season to keep it exciting, but truthfully these tools are my students' favorite pointers. Nearly every week someone asks me, "where did you get these??" :) Anyway, these little tools also happen to fit perfectly with our Constructing Readers theme! 

I keep all my materials together in my Guided Reading Basket right on my table-- got this basket recently at the Target Dollar Spot. I've used a lot of different containers for housing my guided reading materials, but currently I'm loving this one a whole lot!

One last important piece of guided reading- Word Work! I generally do a phonics skill or sight words that relate to our stories on the iPad-- check out this post here for more specifics of sight word ideas.  This is usually just a few quick minutes of our guided reading time to get my students in the mind frame of whatever it is we are reading that day.

Check out this pack here if you are looking to add something new to your daily guided reading groups!

Thanks Holly for your awesome weekly Tried It Tuesday linky!

Have a great day!

Using Doubles and Near Doubles to Promote Fact Fluency

CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.C.6 Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. 

We continue to work on fact fluency in first grade.  Fact fluency is practiced each day at students' independent centers.  Recently I introduced the "doubles" and "doubles plus one" strategies to my firsties.  They are so proud to be able to share all of the doubles they now know!
Introducing Doubles and Near Doubles: 
At the beginning of the week we we worked through understanding the Doubles and Doubles-Plus-1 (or near doubles) strategy with our work mats.  Students saw how knowing and understanding doubles helped them to solve many more number sentences quickly.  The idea of doubles is that when you have those facts memorized (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, ect.) you then can add problems such as 1+2, 2+3, 3+4 by just adding one to the sum.

Centers, centers and more centers:
After learning about the doubles and near doubles math strategies students were off to practice independently during math centers with their peers.  I wanted my students to be able to explore this math strategy with hands on activities that helped them develop this strategy.
Students sorted doubles and near doubles math facts.  
Students played Bump with partners to continue practicing doubles and near doubles math facts.  

Students played "Doubles Dice on Ice!"  another math game to promote fact fluency.  

We used the SmartBoard during centers to match up some "Ladybug Doubles!"
These games and many more can be found in my Doubles and Near Doubles Math Centers. I have both a winter and a spring version.  Click here or on the picture below to see more about these games and activities.    
Jump Game:
Students loved this game!  I used butcher paper to create a large game mat and wrote all of the doubles sums on it (I even added some tricky ones to challenge my higher students.)  One student was in charge of reading the doubles fact while two other students "jumped" to the correct sum!  Although the game was called "Jump" I quickly told students they need to walk and "hop" to the numbers because some of my little friends were getting a little too excited at the idea of jumping across the game board!  Students had fun hopping to squares to practice their doubles facts!

What good would a Saturday be without a freebie? :) We used these doubles task cards this week to practice our doubles and near doubles math facts during transitions.  They are great because some of my kids still need the visual of counting/seeing the blocks and others add the doubles facts without the pictures.   Click here or on the picture below to grab your set!
"How many doubles facts do you know?"
This week finished with an informal assessment.  I asked my students question that now seemed simple to many of them, "How many doubles facts do you know?" Students were then given about 3 minutes to write as many doubles facts as they are able.  It was awesome to see the excitement as students filled their white boards with addition sentences.  Many students also realized as they were adding that their doubles facts followed a pattern of counting by two's which allowed them to reach even higher numbers!  

Thank you Teaching Blog Addict and Doodlebugs {First Grade Rocks!} for letting us link up and find so many other teaching ideas all in one place!  


Happy Saturday!


Sight Word Practice on the iPad

Sight words are a big part of learning how to read, so I am frequently trying out new ways to make learning sight words exciting. Recently, I added a quick, simple activity to our weekly sight word practice.  

First,  my little friends each chose a sight word they knew from our pile. Then, using the free ShowMe app, they took a picture of their sight word card, then wrote the sight word and last they recorded themselves using their sight word in a sentence. 

 I love that all three steps: taking a picture, writing and talking/recording can all be done right within the app so there is no need to switch back and forth between apps.  There are just a few steps to follow to get these all done- click the picture icon, snap the picture, select use & done. Then simply choose the marker color of choice and use your finger to write the word. Last step- just click the red record button and say the sentence. You can then save and listen to each recording! 

 After recording their voices, we played through each one and listened to their sentence. Oh my, did my little friends ever love hearing their voices coming from the was so cute- they couldn't stop giggling with each recording! ShowMe is such a kid friendly app and can pretty much be used for anything and everything. This is definitely one of my top used apps in my classroom and I love it!

This activity is great for a center or small guided work, even if you just have one iPad. I will be doing this at least once a week since they loved it so much and it helps them practice their sight words. Thanks to the amazing Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for hosting Tried It Tuesday!

Have a great day!


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