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Remembering Sandy Hook

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

Christmas in Paradise Giveaway!

I teamed up with my favorite Hawaiian teacher bloggers to bring you a special giveaway!  We didn't want to keep all this warm weather to ourselves so we figured this was the best way to share some Christmas warmth!

You could win seven different holiday/tropical goodies, plus a fancy new pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies!  Click on the images to check out their descriptions on TpT {and to add them to your wishlist in case you don't win!!}

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All About Word Work (Freebies!)

When I pull my 3rd grade intervention groups, we always start with a phonics lesson.  I try to have a variety of word work activities on hand to keep our lessons engaging and not the same boring activity every day.

I keep all of my small group materials in a binder.  I've printed off 7 copies of each activity and placed them in a page protector.  That way I can reuse all of my materials and kids love writing with a dry erase marker.  Of course, I had to make a cute cover for my binders.  

You can download a copy of my covers by clicking on the picture below.

With my low group, I like to start off reviewing the short vowel sounds.  Why is it that 'e' and 'i' are so tricky?  I love using these vowel sound cards that you can download {here} for free.  The graphics and hand motions really help my students remember the correct sounds.

When we are introducing new phonics patterns, I typically start with a card sort.  I give students several cards (depending on group size) and let them take turns sorting the cards into our pocket chart.  We then read the cards up and down, as a group and individually calling on students.

After the first introduction to the phonics patterns, I try to switch up our daily activities.

The sound boxes are really great if you're wanting students to concentrate on middle sounds, blends, or digraphs.  We just spent last week working on R-blends.  Oh man, I didn't think we were ever going to gr, tr, and dr with my lowest group!

Word Ladders are always fun and my kids love manipulating the letters to make new words.  This is also a really great tool to see if your kids are catching onto the patterns.  They really have to listen to your directions to know what letters to change. 

Analogy charts are great if you're wanting to kids to compare 2 or 3 different patterns.  I used this last week when I wanted my students to really focus on gr- and dr- patterns.  They were having a hard time determining when to use which pattern.  The Analogy Chart made them really have to pay attention to the sounds.

I usually save the Spelling Sort for the last day of our work on those specific patterns.  This is another tool that really makes students think about which vowel sound they hear in the word and which phonics pattern they need to use.

I wanted to give you guys all of my Word Work Printables as a freebie.  I've added them as a Facebook Fan Freebie.  All you have to do is visit my Facebook Fan page {here}, "like" my page, and click the Fan Freebie button.  Then you will be able to download these for yourself.

Do you have any tips to help make word work interesting with your students?

Five for Friday

I haven't linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her awesome Five for Friday posts in forever!

So here's a look at our week.

1.  We've been practicing partner reading in my intervention groups (yes, we're outside but that's for another post).  I've been using these Text Based Evidence Reading Passages by Miss Decarbo.  They're perfect for struggling 3rd graders.  We get to work on fluency and comprehension at the same time!  There are nonfiction and fiction passages that go along with the seasons.  Perfect!

2.  My Fluency Task Cards have been a big hit!  We've been working on reading with expression.  They love listening to how their voice changes.  Did you download your freebie November Fluency Task Cards Reading with Expression yet?

3.  I do progress monitoring on my intervention groups ever Friday.  My kids did GREAT today.  Almost all of them showed growth since last week.   I love seeing those graphs go up!  Remember how I mentioned we were outside?  Well, it does make it difficult for some kids to read well when there are Navy jets flying overhead.  :/

4.  Do you subscribe to the Daily 5 Weekly Tip Newsletter?  If so, you might have recognized some Hawaiian bloggers in it!  I was so honored to be in the newsletter, along with Teaching in ParadiseTonya's Treats for TeachersTeaching with Style, and Surfin' Through Second.

5.  I have officially removed all candy in the house from Halloween!  Were you kiddos crazy?  I found my daughter asleep like this last weekend.

Have a great weekend!

Fluency, Fluency, Fluency (and a FREEBIE too!)

I've been working hard with my 3rd grade intervention groups on fluency.  Some of my kiddos like to read word-by-word in a monotone voice.  And I have a bunch of them that just say what they "think" is coming next even if it doesn't match the words on the page.  Does this sound like some of your students?

Everyday, we've been talking about what fluency means and what fluency sounds like.  We've been echo reading, choral reading, partner reading, rereading, reading and reading to help practice being fluent readers.  Of course, we've been working on decoding and comprehension skills, too.  I'll get to those in another post.  :)

I wanted some quick fluency exercises that I could use daily that would be engaging and good practice for my students.  So my fluency task cards were born.

My kids love using them.  I call them our "fluency warm-ups."  I typically pair my kids up into partners and each student gets a card.  I always ask them to read the bottom sentence first and raise their hand if there are any unknown words before we get started. 

I have the kids each read their card and then swamp cards.  Sometime we swap partners, depending on how much time we have left.

Yes, they are sitting on the ground outside.  I've got a whole post coming up about my set-up for interventions.

This is my favorite picture.  He's helping her with a word she wasn't sure about.  Love seeing the kids help each other!

You can check them out more by clicking on the picture below.

My task cards have been such a hit, that I made some specific for November.  You can check them out more {here}.



And I wanted to give you guys a freebie set to help your kiddos that need practice reading with expression.

You can download your freebie set by clicking the picture below.

I hope these will be useful in your classroom!  I'd love to hear if they were helpful with your students and how you used them.  :)

My Truth Monday - Becoming a Teacher

I'm joining up with Sunny Days in Second Grade for her My Truth Monday series.  

Today's post is all about how I became a teacher.

Although this job is more demanding than I expected, I have to say I do feel like this is the right job for me.  When I left the Marine Corps, I was lost for a little bit.  Being a Marine isn't just about doing a job.  It's a way of life and there's so much tradition and camaraderie that goes into being a Marine.  Through teaching and blogging, I was able to find others that were just as passionate and invested into something.

How did you end up teaching?

November Currently and the Giveaway Winner

First, I have to announce my Creative Teaching Press giveaway winner.  Halloween made this week CRAZY, and I didn't get to it yet.

Linda, please check your email for more details.  :)

Now onto Oh' Boy 4th Grade's November Currently.  I seriously love these!

Listening:  I had a moment of weakness and agreed to let the neighborhood kids sleepover.  What was I thinking?  They're still on a candy high.  (They are also reading this over my shoulders).  :/

Loving: My 10 year anniversary gift from my hubby.  So happy he upgraded my ring!  I can't stop looking at it.

And just because, I'm throwing in this picture.  He deserves a shout out on my blog since he got me this awesome ring.  This is us at the Marine Corps ball last weekend.

Thinking: I'm soooo tired!  Seriously, wore out this week.  Really, Halloween on a Thursday?!

Wanting: Someone to walk my dog, actually dogs.  But the cute fluffy one is mine and the big one is my hubby's.  Aren't they freaking cute???

Although, it's raining and I really don't want to walk them.  If I don't walk them, I'm sure I'll come home to this.  Who knew how much fun 50 page protectors could be??

Needing: Something to help with comprehending word problems.  I know it's a Friday night, and I shouldn't be thinking about work.  But yeah, I am.  My kids just don't seem to understand word problems.  They see 2 numbers and add those suckers right together no matter what it says. Anyone got any products or hints to help with this?

A yummy pin:  OMG, they are so yummy that I made them TWICE this week.  And super easy!  I ate WAY too many!  You gotta try these Cheddar Bay Biscuits by Slow Roasted Italian.