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25 Days of Gifts - Day 4: A Gingerbread Freebie

I'm so happy to be hosting Day #4 of TBA's 25 Days of Gifts!!!

My Kindergarteners love practicing their sight words by playing games.  We've been playing my Catch that Turkey! game, but I figure it's time to move on now that Thanksgiving is over!  I created this super cute Gingerbread game for them to play.  Even better, this game could be used through the winter since it's not specifically related to Christmas.  Click the picture below to get your own copy!

A special thank you goes out to Learning With Mrs. Parker for organizing the 25 Days of Gifts!  If you haven't checked out her blog, you should stop by.

Graphic by Scrappin Doodles.

Giving Thanks Day #3 (with a freebie)

I meant to post these Long O CVVC activities a few weeks ago, but I became a slacker.  So here they are!
Click on each picture to download!

Giving Thanks Day #2 (with a freebie)

Today I'm thankful for these 3 little ones...

I knew having triplets would pay off eventually with some free labor!  These guys are AWESOME at pulling laminating sheets out of the laminator.  Of course, it might be a little self-serving on their part since they know I won't let them play any games until I get them all laminated!

I made this CVC game to help some of my Kindergarteners who are learning how to decode CVC words, and I have a 3rd grader who is also working on this same skill.  Plus, the triplets are also learning how to do this and could use the extra practice.

Click on the picture to download your FREE copy!

Check back tomorrow for the next freebie!!!

I'm Thankful poor neglected blog!

I have been in a blogging funk lately.  I've just been overwhelmed with the usual goings on of life.  I've made a lot of changes in my classroom the last month, and it's been a lot of experimenting and trying to find the best set-up for my class.  I started a really modified Daily 5 approach.  We really only do Read to Self and some sort of Word Work.  The only choice I let them have is where they sit for Read to Self.  It's working out good so far, but I have 2 students with autism that just can't focus to read independently.  I'm not sure what the solution is for that.  I recently read Jan Richardson's Next Step in Guided Reading book and fell in love with her ideas.  So I have started Guided Reading using her lesson plans.  And I redid my schedule.  It looks like this:

8:00 - 8:40     Corrective Reading/Reading Mastery
8:40 - 8:55     Group A Guided Reading (others do Read to Self/computer/word work)
8:55 - 9:10     Group B Guided Reading (others do Read to Self/computer/word work)
9:10 - 9:25     Group C Guided Reading (others do Read to Self/computer/word work)
9:25 - 9:30     Read Aloud

The major downfall is that the 15 minute blocks are just not enough time to do a good Guided Reading lesson or Read to Self.  I just don't really know how to get by that part though.  I think it's working ok, but I do feel stressed that I can't accomplish very much in the short time.  I do struggle with keeping some of my kids on task and not interrupting my reading group.  Keeping them independently working is a challenge.  I do feel better that I'm giving each student some instruction at their level each day.  Are any other SPED teachers doing Guided Reading or Daily 5 with their kids?  How are you keeping them independently working?

Now onto the best part.....the freebie (Sorry this is no longer a freebie)!  Click on the picture to check it out at my TPT store for $2.

Stay tuned this week!  I have other freebies that I've made and not shared.  So in the spirit of being thankful for all you guys, I'll post a freebie a day until Thanksgiving (plus, it'll get me back in the swing of blogging)!

Chunk It! and a Great Resource

This week I'll be working with my students on the strategy of finding chunks that you do know in words.  I made this page of words to practice this skill with them.  These are words that my students probably can't read on their own, but I'm hoping this practice will show them how to they can figure out how to read bigger words.  Click on the picture to get your own copy.

A FABULOUS resource I've found for teaching reading comprehension is Read Works.  The best part is that it's FREE!!!  You guys all know that I love free!  You do have to sign up for an account to access some of the stuff though.  There are lesson plans by grade level and comprehension skill, along with reading passages with comprehension questions that start at grade 2.  The reading passages are difficult for my kids to read, but I've used them to model the skill and talk about it as a class.  I highly recommend everyone checking out this website.

We have a teacher planning day (aka I'll be in training all day) tomorrow and then a 3rd grade field trip on Tuesday.  Since it's a short week, we're not going to start a new word study pattern this week.  I have made 2 of the games for the next pattern (Long O CVVC, Long O CVCe, and Short O).  I'm going to try and make the 3rd game this week and then I'll actually be ahead!  I'll post them when I get done.

Long A CVVC games (FREEBIE!)

I'm a little late getting my stuff ready for this week, because my husband came back from a 2 month school he went to in VA.  It's been nice to have him home and get some back up with all these kids that outnumber just me!

This week we'll be learning about the Long A CVVC pattern and continue practicing reading and writing words that have the Short A and Long A CVCe pattern.

At the end of the week, I always give my students a cloze sentence test that includes different words that they have learned using the week's word study patterns.  Would anyone be interested in me posting these tests?  Most of my students do fairly well each week.  I try to keep the sentences fairly simple and use patterns we've already studied, sight words they should know, and short vowel words.  But I have one student who has failed the test the last 3 weeks in a row!  I don't know why.  He can read the words whenever he slows down and pays attention.  I even reminded him to slow down before giving him the test this past Friday.  I looked at it when he was done and he had gotten 2 right out of 10.  I gave it back to him and told him to go back over it carefully.  He then got 5 out of 10 right the 2nd time.

I'm not sure what to do with him about this and get him to slow down, think about the words and what the sentence means.  His dad is worried about this also.  I'm going to go through the test again with him this week and try to figure out where he's going wrong.  Any suggestions for this?

So now onto the fun stuff!!!  I've made 3 games this week.  I decided to include my challenge words in the weekly games from now on.  For the majority of my students, these words will be very difficult to read but there's only 10 of them added.  I figure it will help the ones who do get the challenge list (really just 1 student who is an excellent speller) and will give my other students exposure to some higher level words.  I've also included the oddball words want and said in 2 of the games for additional practice.

Click on the Switch picture below to get your own FREE copy!

You might also be interested in these Long A games.

Graphics from Scrappin' Doodles

Repost of Final /k/ Sound Games

Sorry everyone! I posted one game twice and left one off. Please click {here} to go to the edited post and get all the free games.

Final /k/ Sound Spelled -ck, -ke, or -k

I got a new transfer student this week that is much lower than my other students.  He's coming from another state and was able to be seen under the speech impaired label, so I'm not sure what his disability officially is right now.  He's in 3rd grade but only knows 26/40 preprimer sight words from Dolch list.  I gave him 1 minute to read a list of CVC words.  He read 12 words but only 5 of those words were read correctly.  He had trouble spelling basic CVC words and was not able to spell words with blends, diagraphs, or long vowels.  He can do basic addition but not basic subtraction and no problems with regrouping.  We're starting the process to get him tested and given the correct diagnosis.  In the meantime, I'll be seeing him daily.

I've been racking my brain this weekend on how I can give him the individual instruction he needs plus teach the other students.  I have an aide for about 40 min in the morning who will be able to work with him.  I just don't know what to do in the other times.  I'm open for suggestions if anyone has any.

This week my students will be working on spelling and reading words that have the final /k/ sound, which can be spelled -ck, -ke, or -k.  My students have a difficult time spelling words with the final /k/ sound, and I see a lot of this in their writing - mack for make and tack for take.  I hope that this week will help reinforce these skills, and it will start to sink in.  I've made 3 games for this week, and they all have a recording sheet.

Click on each picture to get your own copy!

Roll, Say, Keep Game

Hook a Big One Game

Kick It! Game

Graphics from Scrappin Doodles

Review of Long Vowel CVCe Resources

Next week, my students will be reviewing the Long Vowel CVCe pattern for word study.  I'm taking the week off from making games, and I'm going to use some games I already have found and/or made.  Just in case some of you would like these same games, I'm giving you the links to where you can find them.

First, we'll play The Silent E in Space game that I made last year.  This game is already a big hit with my students.  You can get your copy by clicking the picture below.

If you click {here} you can go the ProTeacher website (love this site) and download a FREE Magic E Uno game.  You'll need to scroll down the post a little bit and then you'll see the game and directions.  I actually downloaded this game last year but never played it with my students.  We'll try it out this coming week.
Mrs. Wills Kindergarten has posted a Back to the Barn: CVCe Game on TPT.  I downloaded this game a few weeks ago but haven't cut it out yet.  That will be on my list to do for this weekend.  Click on her button to take you there.  By the way, Mrs. Wills does have tons of cute games on her TPT site (and some are free).  I would definitely check her stuff out!
You can click {here} to download 2 free CVCe games from Adrian Bruce. He also has other games listed on his site and tons of phonics posters.  I hadn't planned on using these but figured I would share the free resources.

If I get really adventurous this weekend, I may try to make some kind of picture sort.  However, I may just take the weekend off.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'm exhausted.  I need a break already, and we're not even through the 1st nine weeks!
Graphics by Scrappin Doodles.

Long U CVCe Freebies & Autism Advice Needed

I have a 3rd grade student with autism who is the sweetest boy.  He doesn't have any behavior issues and is seriously one of the cutest kids I've ever meet.  However, he is in his own world a lot.  During small group instruction, I have to prompt him many times to stay on task and keep working.  During whole group instruction, he's really not with me.

His oral and reading comprehension is fairly low.  He can decode ok, but the words really don't have much meaning for him.  When I'm instructing class, he's staring into space a lot and not following along.  If he is following along, I feel like a lot of times there's just no way he can comprehend what I'm trying to explain (for example: complete sentences, comprehension strategies, science in the gen ed class).  The gen ed teacher is seeing the same thing in her class.

I really don't know how to best instruct him or reach him.  If any of you have any suggestions or advice for me, I would really appreciate it!  I want to do the best I can to make him successful; however, I don't really know where to go from here.

Now onto the freebies.  This week we'll be doing the Long U CVCe pattern.  Can I just say that I despise teaching Long U patterns?  Seriously, this is my least favorite pattern.  The Long U sound sounds funny to me.  I feel like it's hard for kids to get.  The words aren't very common and they're not very many of them.  So this is one unit that I struggled to come up with stuff.  Anyone else feel this way about Long U?

Don't Be Rude!
Short U & Long U CVCe Game

Short U and Long U CVCe Word to Picture Match

You might also like this game:
Surfer Dude!
Short U & Long U CVCe Game

Don't Be Rude graphics from Microsoft Office Clip Art
Surfer Dude original artwork from Whimsy Primsy
Short U & Long U Word to Picture Match original artwork from Scrappin' Doodles

Treading Water & Long O CVCe Games (freebies)

Does anyone else ever feel like you're just treading water trying to get by?  Our students came back to school on August 22nd, and it has been so busy!!!  I've been so overwhelmed with paperwork, meetings, schedules, students' needs, collaborating, assessing, teaching, etc., etc.  Not to mention that my husband left for a 2-month training the day after school started, so I have been going solo with the 5 kiddos for the last month.  Ahhhh!!!!  That's what I feel like doing anyway!!!

My Daily 5 reading plans haven't really worked out like I had hoped.  I honestly haven't even attempted to build any reading stamina or do much independent reading.  I have several students with autism that have a very, very hard time focusing and paying attention.  They have a hard time focusing during guided reading and direct instruction.  I'm spending a lot of time redirecting and prompting them to stay on task even when we're at the small group table, and I can't imagine them being able to focus enough for independent reading.  I guess I've been afraid that it would be an impossibility for these students.  Does anyone have any advice or suggestions?  Should I try it anyway?  If you have ANY tips for helping keep these students on task or focused, I would greatly appreciate it!

I had mentioned back in the summer that I was afraid I would be making my word study games the weekend before we used them.  Well, guess what?  We're studying the Long O CVCe pattern this week.   Today, I made the games!  This not looking like a good start.  Will I be spending every Saturday making games this year?  I know I won't have to do that next year, because the games will be made, BUT it's a lot of work this year.  I need to find some way to get ahead.

Now onto the fun part that I know you're waiting on.......the free games!!!  There are 3 this week.  So far this year, my students favorite game was the Long A Go Bake! game.  What game have your students enjoyed the most?

Click on the picture to get your own FREE copy!

Roping Up Long O Game
Long O CVCe Game with Recording Sheet

Go Home Farmer Stone!
Short O and Long O CVCe Board Game

Give a Dog a Long O Bone
Word to Picture Match with 2 Recording Sheets

Original clip art for Give a Dog a Long O Bone can be found at Scrappin' Doodles.  Original clip art for Rope Up Long O and Go Home Farmer Stone can be found at Digi Scrap Kits.

Calling All Special Ed/Resource Teachers (and there's a freebie)

I teach special ed in a resource room setting. I do mostly all pull-out, although I am going to try do more push-in services for my Kindergarten and 1st grade students. I'm not sure how it will work with scheduling though.

I really, really want to do some sort of Daily 5 with 3rd grade students that I pull for reading. I'll be starting the year with 5 3rd graders that I will be pulling from 2 different classrooms. So their schedules should be similar, which means I should be able to pull them for the reading block at the same time. This will be a HUGE improvement over last year. I do have to use the Corrective Reading (probably Decoding B1) intervention series with them daily. Last year, it took me about 45 minutes to do one entire lesson though, even though I rarely got to do an entire lesson in one day thanks to scheduling.

Has anyone used some sort of Daily 5 in the resource room setting? Does anyone think this could work or have any idea of how it could work? My semi-plan at this moment is to do this for an 1.5 hour reading block:

30 min - Corrective Reading lesson (and if I don't get a lesson done in one day, we'll finish it the next day)
30 min - Guided reading (because I just don't feel like Corrective Reading helps with comprehension at all) and Word Study time
30 min - Chapter read aloud, 20 min of independent reading, and AR time (I'm not sure if that will all work)

I'm not really sure if this will work, but it has to be better than last year's merry-go-round of kids coming and going all day long so I felt like nothing was done effectively. I'd really appreciate other special ed teachers letting me know how they do things and if they can use Daily 5.

Now onto the freebie, which looks like this:

Next Friday will be orientation for all of the students to come to school and find out who their teacher will be and see their new rooms. Last year, not many of my students came by my room to meet me. I do know most of my students already, but I still want to see them and talk to their parents. It's nice to see the parents at times other than IEP meetings. And I moved rooms, so I want the kids to know that as soon as school starts.  I made these cards to put on their desk in the general education classrooms. I hope that the parents will see it and bring their kids on by in my room. I'm not sure how effective it will be, but it can't hurt! There are 2 versions. One is for students that I already know from last year. The other is for new students that were either in the self-contained classroom and are transitioning to general ed or they are new to the district. I've also included two different cards with different graphics.

By the way, have you guys visited Digi Scrap Kits?  They're having a great sale until August 17th where their kits are $0.88!!!  I loaded up yesterday and may have to go back today for some more.  I got these graphics by Trina Clark there.

Long I CVCe Unit

I've finished all the games/activities for the 2nd (or maybe 3rd) word study unit, which is all about Long I CVCe words.

It's been a little time consuming to make all these materials, so I'm starting to get a little concerned about being able to have everything done this year.  I have a feeling I'm going to be making the games every week right before I teach the unit!  Ahhh!!!  That's going to be stressful!

The first game in the unit is Diving for Long I.  This game concentrates on CVCe words only.
The next game is Hive Memory.  It's a word to picture memory game focusing on CVCe words.  There is a recording page at the end to help reinforce the skills and give some accountability.
Hike for Long I (there's a theme here with the names of these games) includes short I and long I CVCe words.  A recording sheet is also found at the end.

Finally, there's a Long I CVCe word building activity.

Short Vowel Safari

In between moving classrooms, making several to-do lists, and enjoying my last few days of summer break, I've been thinking about my 3rd grade word study program {you can find it here}.  Tonight, I made this game.  Click on the picture to check it out in my TpT store (sorry but this is no longer a freebie).

I decided that I am going to make my first unit be a short vowel review.  The first full week that I have students will be a 4-day week anyway.  I didn't want to waste the week by not starting our word study yet.  I figure this will be a good way to introduce the students to my expectations and get back in the swing of things.  I haven't made my word study list yet for this unit (on the to-do list though!), but I made this game tonight to use during that week.  There's also a printable activity at the end to reinforce the skill.  I'll also have a few first graders and kindergarteners that can play this game during the year, so it should serve several purposes.

Math Fact Fluency, Class Rules, and Reading Incentive Chart...

Well, isn't that a mouthful for a title!  Teachers go back to school on Monday, and students start the following Monday.  Like many of you, I've been spending my time getting things ready, making things, and setting up my room.  Here are some things I use in my classroom that I thought might be helpful to others.

Math Fact Fluency
Last year, I started using Dad's Worksheets to help my students practice their math facts.  Since I teach special education, my students needed a lot of daily practice with their facts.

If you go to the Dad's Worksheets site {here}, you will see on the right-hand side a menu bar.  When you click on addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, the first or second option will be a link called Space Ship Math.  That will take you to a page that looks like this:

There are leveled worksheets that build upon each other in a systematic fashion.  There are 4 versions of each level, and they go from A to Z with A being the easiest and Z being the hardest.  I use these sheets daily for fact practice.  I started in November last year with addition.  I had one student who got through all the addition levels and part way through subtraction.  The other students were still working on the addition levels at the end of the year.

I used a file like this to organize the sheets by level:

I gave my students 2 minutes to work on their leveled sheet.  They would only level up if they completed ALL of the problems in 2 minutes and they did not miss more than 3 problems.  This may be too much time or too many problems missed for a general ed student, but it was difficult for my students.  If they leveled up, they got to pick what cheer they wanted the class to do for them and a small piece of candy.  Once they completed the entire chart, I let them pick a prize from the prize box.  

My kids loved doing this every day.  They called it their "times test" and wanted to do it everyday.  They were really proud of themselves when they leveled up and were always counting down.  I'll be doing this again this year in hopes of improving my students' math fact fluency.  Below is the chart I used to record their progress.  Click on the picture to get your own copy and the label for the accordion file.  

Class Rules Posters
I found this great website with FREE clip art that can be used for nonprofit use.  Others may know about  Phillip Martin's site, but I ran across it by accident tonight.  Click {here} to check out his work.  I wanted to revamp my class rules this year, so I made a few quick posters.  Click the picture below if you think you can use them.

Reading Incentive Chart
My school participates in the AR reading program.  There are school-wide rewards (each grade level has higher points needed to get their star on the wall) and many of my students' general ed teachers have class rewards.  However, some of my students didn't really buy into the AR program, and it started to feel like it was something I was "nagging" them about every week.  I wanted to do something in my classroom as an extra incentive.  

My students are struggling readers and have to work extra hard to read.  Sometimes, I feel like it's very discouraging to them when they see their general ed peers whipping through harder, bigger, "older" books and earning lots of AR points.  I want them to feel equally successful and get recognized for their own accomplishments.  

So this year, I decided I would make my own class incentive program.  Each child will get their own reading chart (there are 4 in the download).  For every book that they read, take the test, and pass the test with an 80%, I will put a star sticker on their chart.  Once their chart is full, they can pick a prize from the prize box or earn a reward like free game time.  There are spaces for 20 stickers.  I feel like 20 books is an achievable goal for my students.  If I see some students are really struggling, I'll probably cut the bottom stars off so they can feel successful by only having to read 10 books to get a prize and then work up to reading 20 books.  Click on the picture to get your own set of incentive charts.

Crate Seats and Cheap White Erase Boards

I saw this super cute idea on ProTeacher and just had to create some myself. You can click {here} to the original post and pictures. I set out today to make my own set. Here's the what the final set looks like (please excuse the picture quality from my Iphone).  P.S. I know the spacing is a little funky but Blogger is not cooperating with me at all tonight. :/  
Now onto how we (my hubby and I) made these today.

I headed out to get all the supplies I needed. Let me start by saying that dragging 5-year-old triplets along to shop
for cutesy stuff for your classroom does NOT make for the best shopping experience for yourself or the other customers. I found my crates at Target for less than $4. They had black, lime green, aqua, and pink ones. You're also going to need cute coordinating ribbon, some board, something to cover the seat, adhesive glue, and some little tacks.

To cover the seats, I used bath mats that I found at Target. I found these at Target for about $4 a piece. My husband found a nice piece of board at Lowe's that was already sanded on both sides and big enough to make 3 seats for about $13. He was kind enough to cut each piece to fit right inside the crates and rest on the inside lip. I used these pieces to trace the correct size onto the mat and cut the pieces out.

We used this adhesive spray to attach the mats to the boards. Be warned that this stuff is SUPER strong spelling and should be used outside.

To be extra sure that the mats stayed put we used these little fabric u-shaped nails to secure them to the board.

We used those same u-hook fasteners to attach the ribbon to the bottom side of the boards.

And that's all there was to it! I plan on my students using these for independent reading time throughout the room. I haven't decided what I will use the storage area for yet.

On another note, did you know that Lowe's sells marker board that they will cut into pieces for you? I had heard other teachers mention this but hadn't gotten any myself until today. The marker board was less than $12, and it was big enough to be cut into 8 pieces that are about 16 x 12 inches in size.

Go Bake! ~ Making games is more fun than word lists!

Well, I didn't get any farther on my word lists for my 3rd Grade Word Study Units because it's pretty boring!!  Instead, I decided to do something a little more fun and made a new game that should finish off my first unit that focuses on words with short A and Long A CVCe words.  Between the Long A Skate game, Long A Birthday word to picture match {found here}, and this new Go Bake! game, I think I'll have enough activities to keep the kiddos busy and give them plenty of practice.  

Now the big question I make games for Unit 2 or go back to finishing the last 13 word lists??

Click on the picture to get your own copy!

Graphics from Scrappin Doodles.

3rd Grade Word Study

Last year, I used Words Their Way for my 3rd graders' spelling program.  There were a lot of things I did like about the program.  Mostly, the way spelling patterns were systematically introduced.  Due to time limits, I wasn't able to fully implement the program the way that I wanted.  I only had about 30 minutes daily to teach spelling and writing to my students.  Let's be realistic, there was no way to teach spelling or writing in a way that I felt like I was giving my students everything they needed (especially since they are below grade level).  I did have some students who were really good spellers and that was their strength.  Those students would move on weekly with the next word pattern.  Then I would have other students who would need weeks on the same pattern.  By the end of the year, I had students in 4 different groups, and it was a nightmare.

This summer I came across this GREAT post by Beth Newingham:

I LOVE the way she teaches and introduces the spelling patterns.  I really felt like this is something that could be doable this year for me.  I'm redoing how I teach reading and spelling this year.  I plan on focusing on a phonics pattern a week (such as my Long A CVCe Unit).  I decided that I would just focus on the phonics pattern and spelling pattern together each week.

1.  This will help me save time.  I can do it as part of my reading block.  My students that I do not see for Language Arts will still get the same instruction but just won't have to do the spelling tests or spelling homework.
2.  My students need this systematic instruction anyway and A LOT of practice in the spelling and reading of long vowel patterns.
3.  I hope that this can free up some time for me to teach writing next year.

So instead of making games the last few weeks, I've been busy working on the Word Study plan for spelling.  I've done the first 16 units for the year.  I really liked how Beth Newingham has setup her forms and plans, so I copied her format.  I hope to finish up the word lists for the rest of the year by next week (I have family coming into town this weekend).  Then I plan on tackling the games and activities that will go along with each unit.

I don't know if anyone will find this useful but here is what I have come up with so far.  It is pretty tedious finding the words and trying to not use the same words twice.  I hope I can be done with this part soon, so I can move onto the fun stuff........making and posting games!!!

Click the picture to view my lists. It's still a work in progress and will be completely updated once I have done the lists for the whole year (updated 1/7/12).