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Sticky Letters

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

I love back to school!  Students, for the most part, come in excited and happy to be back.  The floors are all shiny and our classrooms are neat and organized.  Teachers are eager to see their students and begin teaching.  One of those skills I will be teaching is letters and students' names.  You might think that at this time most students would come to us knowing most or all of their ABCs.  But sadly, this is not so.  Every year, I have a few that "x" may be the only letter they recognize.  So I have got to get these letters to be "sticky"  or stick with my little students so they remember them.  Working with our names is a great way to start because it is personal and meaningful to them!

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

One fun way is Pinch A Pom Pom!  This activity also builds hand muscles for holding and writing with a pencil.  Hide the letters of  the student's name in a container with pom poms.  Have the student find the letters and get them out with small tongs.  You will have to stress that this must be done only with the tongs.  It is easier for them to use their hands, but some of mine really need to build up hand strength so I insist on No Hands, Only Tongs! 

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

This is a favorite activity of my students, especially the boys.  All students need to be able to get out of their seats and move.  But for some boys it is almost essential for them to add movement to their learning.  I put bean bags with the letters of their name in a basket.  I also add in 3 letters that do not belong in their name.  They pull out a letter, decide if Yes it belongs or No it does not.  Then they get to toss the bag into the bucket for yes or no.  They are learning their name, letter recognition, moving and learning the words yes and no.

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

I don't know about your students, but mine LOVE, LOVE working with Rice Boxes and on Cookie Sheets!!  They get lots of practice identifying letters and matching lower case letters to capitals.  When working with rice (you can fill the container with pom poms or other materials), I like to sit the box on a cookie sheet to help contain the rice.  Add colorful ice cream scoops and they love it!

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

Using magnifying glasses to go on letter hunts is fun too!  Just adding fun props makes the activity more engaging and keeps it fresh for the students.

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

Letter sorts helps students to notice the features of letters and can be helpful to students who are struggling to identify letters.  You can sort straight, curved or even both.

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

Letter Puzzles are fun for students.  Some will need you to start out slow and only work with a few at a time, then build up as they learn.  I have high expectations of my students to form their letters correctly so for some tracing patterns with arrows demonstrating how to write them is important.  I teach in my class that they form the letters the right way to help eliminate reversals.  

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

ABC Arcs and alphabet books are other great ways to practice recognizing letters.  Students enjoy matching the letters to the books.

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

Here are a few alphabet books that my students really enjoy!

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

This game brings out the competitiveness in some students!  But the letters are competing not students against students.  They spin the clip, say the letter or picture (this is important that they say it every time) and write the capital or lower case letter in the boxes.  They color the star when a letter wins!

ABC & Name Activities to teach letters of the alphabet

Reading an ABC chart every day is a big part of our learning too.  After they get better at it, we change it up and read it backwards from z, or backwards across or from the bottom, only the vowels, etc... I call out what letter comes after Pp or before Gg and they mark letters with clear bingo chips.  



There are so many different ways to help students learn their ABCs.  Keeping it new and engaging helps!  


Meeting the Parents

Meet the Teacher Night

We had our Meet the Teacher night this past week.  Or from the teacher's perspective, Meet the Parents night.  I enjoy this night so much!  I love seeing all the kids come back from summer vacation looking taller, dressed in new school clothes and excited to be back!  Most are smiling and talking as they lead their parents down the halls to their new classrooms.  

I set had it set up this year so that parents were notified in their child's classroom that they qualified for Title 1 Reading and to stop by to see me and pick up their child's reading folder.

Commit-Mint to Your Child's Education Freebie

Besides the reading folder, parents and students were treated to mints for their Commit-Mint in their child's education.  This cute poster comes from Nicole Bunt's store and is a freebie!!  You can pick it up by clicking here.  

Meet the Teacher Folder to pass out information to parents

In the reading folders, parents could find all the information they would need about Title 1 Reading and how to help their child at home with reading.   The orange sheet explained Title 1 and how it helps students with an extra boost in their reading skills.  Parents get concerned sometimes when they are notified that their child will be in Title 1.  The most frequent concerns are does this mean the child is now in special education, do we think something is wrong with their child and what will the child miss in the regular classroom if they attend Title 1 classes.  

Reading Flip Chart for Meet the Teacher Night

The flip chart is just more information for the parents.  I find if I use colored paper, make it in different formats my notes are more likely to be read.  

Reading Flip Chart for Meet the Teacher Night

This is inside one of the flaps.  Under the frequently asked questions flap, I address ways parents can help their child read at home.

Reading Strategies Poster and Bookmarks

On the other side of the folder is the reading strategies that we will be using printed on card stock so parents can have a handy chart at home.   I want parents to be using the same strategies at home that we are using at school so we can all be consistent when helping them read.  The bookmark is for the student to use in their books at home so they too have a visual reminder of how to help themselves.

Reading Strategies Posters

The pictures from the chart for home match these posters that I placed on black construction paper and then hung on the wall.  

Reading Strategies Posters

This is a close up of one of those posters.  Super cute work is also from Nicole Bunt.  Click here to be taken to see it!

Small Group Material Baskets

I also placed a copy of the visual bookmarks in each of our small group baskets.  Students will have these visual cues everywhere to help them be better readers!

Next week, I will post my classroom reveal!


Teacher I Spy at IKEA

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

Until a couple of weeks ago, I had never been to IKEA.  We don't have one in my area.  Maybe that's a good thing!  Eight of us teacher friends decided to take an overnight trip together and one of the stops on this trip was to IKEA.  Out of all of us, only one teacher had ever been inside!

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA


This trip was so much fun!  I definitely could have spent a lot longer here looking at all the fun ideas for your home and your classroom.  SO MANY IDEAS!  While I walked along being amazed, I snapped a bunch of pictures so those of you who also have never been could see what fun things there are inside!

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

This speech bubble and arrow came as a set.  I was thrilled by the speech bubble because it is one of the colors in my room.  I wasn't sure how I would use it, but knew I needed it.  It is in my fluency center now.  When I do my classroom reveal, I will show what I did with it.  It wasn't until after I got home that I noticed this speech bubble kind of matched the speech bubble in my blog header!!!  Love that!

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

I really liked these buttons!  Big plate sized plastic buttons to decorate your wall.  

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

All kinds of frames in all kinds of sizes!  I know a lot of us could use these for all the posters/charts we hang and for the art work the students give us.

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

I loved these fun hooks!  The kids would think these were pretty funny to see hanging around in our rooms.

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

I really enjoy having different seating options for the kids.  This one looked nice and comfy!  I think without even trying, I am just attracted to things that match the colors in my room!

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

These number cube baskets were really fun!  

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

I think we have all seen these rug pieces.  Great way for students to be able to define their space and have their space be mobile.

Teacher and Classroom Ideas from IKEA

How fun are these matchstick tally mark pillows??  If you are teaching math, you need this for sure!

Classroom Set up

I have these type of decorations hanging in my room.  But not the size or shape of these!  Some of them were huge!!  

Classroom set up

I got the idea of these little frames on stands from my friend, Tammy at Forever in First.  My students need vowel picture/sounds reminders and Bb Dd charts to remind them which way the letters go.  These are going to be very helpful this year!

Classroom Set up

These crates on wheels could be so handy for files, book bags, indoor recess games, etc...  I really liked that they were on wheels and would make it really easy to move.

Classroom Set up

I really wanted to check out these stools.  The red on the bottom left is very popular.  They are cheap in price and come in different colors.  The stool did seem pretty good, but not as sturdy as a regular chair maybe.  But if a student breaks one, it wouldn't be as expensive to replace either.

Tell me, have you been to IKEA?  What fun finds did you get for your classroom??

Make It, Play It, Learn It Sight Word Fun

Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

If you will make it, they will play it and they will learn it!  Sometimes you just need some easy, low prep activities, but ones the students will enjoy and be engaged in so learning takes place and not just play.

Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

My students in summer school did this sight word activity.  It is so easy to differentiate.  Whatever words the student is working on is their list.  They work on 5- 10 words at a time building them in the small pocket chart.  This pocket chart is on the side of my desk.  Great way to use space that is not being used!  The key is the student needs to read out loud the word as they build it and then to read the whole list after building the entire list.  It won't help to just match up letters.  They can have a peer come listen to them read the list or the teacher can come check them.


Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

Another fun and engaging way to learn sight words is with Heidi Songs sight word dvds.  I have Heidi's sight words dvds volume 1 and 2.  Kids love to sing and they love to move!  Most children learn more quickly and easier if it is in a song and if there is movement to go along with it.  Heidi is using both in her dvds.  Kids love to sing and move along with her and I have even sent the dvd home for a parent to work with their child who was really struggling to learn sight words.  You can click Heidi's picture above or you can click here to be taken to Heidi's site to check out her sight word resources!

Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

Another really quick and easy way to get in some sight word practice is to use the iPad or other tablet.  My students LOVE any reason to get to use the iPads.  This app is Magnetic ABC Lite.  Students just need their word list and then can build their words right on the iPad.  Again, every time they build a word, they need to be reading it out loud.

Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

I use these cubes all the time!  They are so great for so many different activities.  I got mine on Amazon, but they can be found at teaching stores too.  I use them for ABC activities, fluency, and phonics activities.  But this is a super simple easy prep activity that you could use pre-printed sight words or just write them yourself.  Then just roll, say the word and write it.  It's all designed to get those words to be automatically read and written.

Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

Anything with a swatter is going to get kids' attention!  They can just scatter out their word cards on some bulletin paper.  You wouldn't even have to use the paper, but it does give them a boundary so the cards are not all over the room.  Then another student calls out a word for the swatter to find and swat.  Popular game!  Be sure to go over expectations for that swatter!  :)

Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

Sight Word Monster is a very popular game in my room!  I use it a lot during RTI time.  All the word cards face out and a monster or other type of card is hidden behind one of the cards.

Low Prep Fun Sight Word Activities

Students choose and read a card that they think the monster might be hiding behind.  The card is pulled to see if he is hiding behind there or not.  My students would literally play this game over and over if they could!

Today I am guest posting over at A Spark of Inspiration!  Go check out my post about how to manage differentiating sight word learning!  If you have missed it in the past, it is about how I use file folders to help differentiate and accelerate student learning.  



Reading ~ It's Epic!

Using Epic ebooks in the classroom

We all need new resources, right?  I know I am always needing/wanting new books for my classroom.  But sometimes those can be hard to come by.  Well, I discovered EPIC for the iPad this summer.  My kids just LOVE it!!  And guess what!  It's free for teachers and librarians!  Don't you just love when a company recognizes that we need resources for our students and is willing to help us out?  And this is not a paid promotion for them either.  I just really enjoyed their product.

Using Epic ebooks in the classroom

Each profile you set up has stats that are kept on what the student reads.  Books finished, time spent reading, their reading log, etc...  I like in the reading log you can see the books they read and the time spent on each book.  I can tell if the student just flipped through the book or actually spent some time reading it.  That is a nice feature.

Using Epic ebooks in the classroom

Some days I had my students read the books to themselves.  You can choose the levels and the type of books they can then choose what interests them.  But then on some days, I had them listen as the book was read TO them.  That was a great option.  Some students really enjoyed reading themselves and some enjoyed having it read to them.  I like that they can listen to a fluent reading from time to time.

Using Epic ebooks in the classroom

Epic has lots of books to choose from including fiction and informational books.  Scaredy Squirrel was a popular choice!  Students adapted so quickly to reading on the iPad and it was engaging for them.  After the book is completed, the students get to have a voice by rating how much they enjoyed the book.  My students looked forward to that option at the end of each story because everyone likes to have their voice heard on what they enjoy and what they don't!

New Resources

Using Context Clues acivities

Context Clues Task Cards:  My students struggle with this skill.  They can have fun building their vocabulary with words like malarkey and knickerbockers while practicing their context clues skills.

Context Clues Activities

Then the same task cards can be used for students to record what words were clues to determine the meanings.  This is particularly difficult for my readers. 

ABC Activities

Roll It, Say It, Write It:  I've used these cubes a lot!  They are great for my young students to practice the letters in their names and the ABCs.  

ABC Letters Activities

Students can practice letter pairs.

ABC Letter Activites

Or capitals or lower case letters too.  You can click the pictures to see the resources.