Thursday, June 25, 2015

Phonics Strips!

I am so excited to introduce my latest creation! Phonics strips!! I created these out of necessity from the beginning reading trends I have seen with my incoming first graders. I have students entering first grade at many reading levels each year. A few are slightly below where they should be, a good number are right where they should be when entering first grade, and a fair number are far beyond a typical first grade beginning reading level. This is basically the norm for the student population at my school, which is known in our area for an abundance of parent participation.

So… with the array of learners to teach, I needed a way to stick with an appropriate first grade phonics  pace, by providing my strugglers with continued support and intervention, while challenging the students reading beyond a first grade level. I created phonics strips that students can use in a number of ways. They can be used for independent practice, at home review, as a guided reading tool, a buddy reading option, fluency check, and also as an assessment.

There are 87 strips with a vast array of first grade phonics skills. All strips are labeled with the skill and I have a challenge strip for each skill (multisyllabic words, inflected endings etc.). I print the strips out on card stock, cut, laminate, and hole punch the top left corners. I then put them on binder rings for easy flipping and organization. 
As I teach a phonics skill, I have the students add the strip to their binder ring. During the week we read the words working on our decoding skills. When I see the students are ready (for some this may not be until the end of the year), we add a challenge strip. You can have one ring for each student, or an at home ring and an at school ring for each student. 

Short a
Strip Example
       Short a Blends and
Short a
Example Strip
I have also included assessment strips as an easy and quick tool to check for understanding. I love using these laminated. They can be written on with white board marker and vowel teams and blends can be circled.  These strips can also be used for fluency practice. Although the words are found in isolation, a cold and hot read can be timed to see how automatically the students are reading words with specific phonics skills.

Grab the Phonics Strips here!

Update!!! I have created a new resource that pairs nicely with these phonics strips. Check out a new post about my Sentence Fluency Phonics Strips here!

Happy Teaching!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge! Week 1: Makeover Madness!

I am taking part in a fun four week challenge created by Third in Hollywood to make my TpT store even better! Welcome to week one of the challenge. This week I gave my best selling product a makeover. Take a peek at the sad looking cover before and the new colorful version!

I changed the entire product, not just the cover! But let's begin with the new eye-catching cover. I added new text boxes, a new border, and changed the background color. Doesn't it look much more inviting?!

I also added 4 pages to the product and redesigned each page. I created new cut and paste activities and added new clip art and borders. I also included a page describing other products in my store that buyers may be interested in.

This product was originally added about a year ago, so it was in desperate need of the makeover. Thank you to Third in Hollywood for hosting such a fun challenge. I can't wait for next week's challenge!

To celebrate my product's new look it is now on sale! Head over to my store to grab it.
Happy Teaching!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How to Draw Farm Animals- Writing Center!

I am so excited to introduce my newest Draw and Write creation! How to Draw Farm Animals- Writing Center will be a packet I use with my students at the beginning of the year. This unit will be great for introducing how our writing center works. Check out what comes in this 30+ page packet below.

I have two versions of the draw and write. I have used both in my classroom. I will start the year with the draw and write with fewer lines (on the front) and then as my students progress we will move to the two sided version with the lines on the back.

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Engage New York Math Supplement- Bundle!

This year as I was navigating through the Engage New York math curriculum, I found that my students needed a little more practice in some areas. I created some student friendly resources to help my class with some of the skills and concepts we were covering in module 1 and 2. Most of the resources I have created are cut and paste, use dominoes, or dice. I have posted the materials in my TpT store and was recently asked by a buyer if I planned on bundling the items. I hadn't thought of this, but it was a great idea! So here it is… the bundle of resources!

The bundle of 15 products is valued at $52.00 but you can get it for only $30.00 here. All of these items can also be purchased separately. Check out the products included below!

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Classroom Management Punch Cards!

As this school year comes to a close, I always think about the year and what worked well and what adjustments I can make for the following year. One thing that worked very well in my classroom this year are the classroom management punch cards I created for my students. I print these on colorful card stock and start out the year giving one card to each student.

I use a clip chart for classroom management and each time my students clip up to "Outstanding" they earn a star punch on their card (I bought a three pack of hole punchers with a circle, heart, and star from Amazon). The students keep their cards in their pencil boxes and are responsible for keeping the cards safe and not losing them. Once they achieve five punches on their card, they may choose a prize out of the prize box. Each Friday is prize box day.

It is so interesting to see which students save their cards in hopes of better prizes in the following weeks. They also took it upon themselves to write the number of their card on the back. So each time they cash in a card for a prize, they write the number on the back to keep track of how many cards they have had during the year. I stamp the back to ensure a card isn't cashed in more than once ;).

This system has worked very well in my classroom this year and it is something I will definitely bring back next year. Get the classroom management punch cards here! I can also personalize them for you. If you are interested in a personalized version with your name, please purchase the pack and email me the purchase date, your TpT user name, and your personalization request at
Happy Teaching!

Informational Anchor Charts

When conducting our ocean research this year, my students and I needed to find a way to record the information we were learning from informational text. I have used Have, Can, Are charts in the past and they worked wonders for this unit! Not only do the students have to recall important details from the text, but they need to decide which category is best for their fact. These charts are wonderful tools for students when writing informational text and compare and contrast writing. Check out our fun ocean anchor charts below!

I love to make the charts colorful and pretty so I like to draw the animal we are studying in the center. I then divide the poster in three parts for each section. If you are interested in learning how to draw these ocean animals or want to teach your students how to draw them, check out my How to Draw Ocean Animals Writing Center!

Happy Teaching!