Sunday, November 16, 2014

Body Sound Boxes & RtI

Moving in Sound Boxes to segment words

This week we have been using sound boxes on the floor to help us hear sounds in words and to link those sounds to the correct letters.  HUGE help!  Some of my little guys needed this added step of moving their bodies as they segment the words.

Moving in Sound Boxes to segment words

I have a bunch of scrapbook paper that wasn't being used so I taped the edges together on the backs to hold the boxes together.  Then the large sound box unit was laminated.  Students just grab a unit and stand in front of it ready to move and segment!  I show the students a word and they step it off to help them str-e-tch it out to read it and to hear the sounds.

Moving in Sound Boxes to segment words

This student was working on hearing ending sounds- something that has been difficult for him due to his speech issues.  These boxes helped him a great deal!

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Wow!  Our first cycle of RtI will be completed in 2 weeks!  That has gone by so fast.  But at the same time, I always feel like I need more time to do a bit more teaching with them.  I always look forward to giving our DRA assessments after our RTI cycle is completed to see what kind of progress our students will show.  We will be using my Happy Fall Y'All Literacy Centers a LOT this week because it covers a lot of skills.  If you want to download the visual plans so you can have the hyperlinks, just click the picture above.  


Just finished these fun Holiday Task Cards!  Our school is really using exit slips for checking student learning and these work great for that and in literacy centers.  Click here or the picture to see them!

Link up with Deedee with this week's plans!



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Round-Up of Bright Ideas


Welcome to the November edition of the Bright Ideas Link- Up! This one is a special one! Over the past 10 months, we have shared thousands of great ideas through our monthly Bright Ideas event. This month, we’re re-capping all of those great ideas, just in case you missed any! Below you will find some of my bright ideas from the past several months: 


Some of my students' favorite activities are Table Top Twitter & Graffiti Tables!  They can really interact with each other but it is in writing instead of speaking.  Great way to strengthen their writing skills too!  Click on the picture below to check it out and see our special tables that we can write on!


My March Bright Ideas post has ALL kinds of ways to use book order forms, besides the obvious way of ordering books!  Sometimes you have lots left over and some months you just don't use the forms.  Don't throw them away!  Turn them into real world lessons!  Just click below!


While you are thinking about real and authentic activities for your students, in April I showcased some great apps for your classroom that are not games. Just click the picture too see them!


Are you needing some easy peasy to prepare activities that your students will have fun doing but still be learning?  My May Bright Ideas has you covered- like with a game of Splat!   Click below to be taken there!


I worked on this Bright Ideas last night!!  Brag Notes!  Kids love them and parents appreciate them.  A little positive goes a long way!  This post has ideas on keeping the note writing organized and looking great without spending a lot!  Click on the picture!


Check out my Small Group Material Organization!  Click below!


All kinds of ways to use Paint Strips!  Out of courtesy, be sure to ask if you can use them for school rather than just taking a huge amount!  Click below to see how to use them.


Organize your Interactive Reader's Notebook materials in an easy to manage way! Click below!


And last, but not least...I Can Use Posters!  Great quick checks to monitor student learning and help them be responsible for their learning!  Of course, just click below!


I hope that you’ve enjoyed these bright ideas and that you have found an idea 
that you can use in your own classroom. Be sure to check out the link up below for tons more bright ideas from my friends! 



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Using Anecdotal Records to Drive Instruction


I kind of enjoy data.  Yes, I know that may sound weird, but if you have stuck with me for very long you know that I am a supporter of RTI and that is definitely data driven.  I like to apply that same thinking to my guided reading groups.  


I keep an anecdotal notebook to help me keep all my data organized and easy to use.  Actually, I have 8 anecdotal notebooks- one for each of my groups.  I tried keeping it all in one notebook, but it was much easier for me to keep them in separate notebooks and just grab the notebook for that class when their group begins.


I do a lot of running records and I like to keep notes on what I see students doing or areas they still need more teaching.  With pages like the one above, I can also keep track of reading behaviors the students should be showing and mark those off as I observe them.  Those behaviors that I am not seeing but should become teaching points.


A great way to differentiate your instruction is to know what skills each of your students have mastered and then move them forward on the ones they have not.  Making tally marks on a quick check sheet helps me do that.  I can quickly glance at a page and know where most of my group is at and what skills I need to go back and work on with other students.



I do the same thing with phonics too.  Since most of my students are behind, I must find a way to close up the gap as quickly as I can and move them forward.  


If you are one who likes to keep short notes on what important teaching targets you want to focus on, small group target notes are a good way to do that.


I try to quickly check my younger students on their letters and sounds while they are busy reading or working in a center.  I can drop in and quickly check what letters and sounds they know.  Then later when I am conferencing that student or even in small group, we can go over those letters and sounds they haven't mastered yet.  Love doing these quick check-ins!


A lot of my students are working on mastering their sight words to achieve automaticity with them.  I can just quickly check in on words we have been working on and mark the ones they know.


We use the Dolch sight word lists, but the same thing can also be achieved with the Fry List.  

So that is how I keep all the information on each of my students organized and use that information to drive my instruction to move my students forward as quickly as I can.  I can keep a lot of information in my head, but not all of this, so an anecdotal notebook is a must for me.  It is also a wonderful resource when a parent wants to chat about how their child is progressing.  You have all the data you need right there at your fingers!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shelfies, QR Codes & RtI

Favorite books from the Shelf and QR Codes

We just finished up with Parent/Teacher Conferences at our school.  Our halls were all decked out and looking great with student work.  When this time of year comes around, I am look for something that will work for all my students across the grades.  I found a couple of ideas and meshed them together:  Shelfies and QR Codes!

Favorite books from the Shelf and QR Codes

Each student chose one of their favorite books off the "shelf" and I took their pictures.  Only their eyes and up showed above the book.  Then, I used a free QR Code maker on my iPad to make the codes.  I displayed the directions for parents about downloading the app and scanning the code to find their child's picture.  

Favorite books from the Shelf and QR Codes

The kids were so excited to see their pictures and for their parents to try to find which one was them!  In the directions that I posted with the display, I suggested to the parents to talk with their child about their favorite book.

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Part of this idea came from Colleen over at Literacy Loving Gals.  You can check out her post by clicking on her button above.  She has some great ideas!

RTI Reading Interventions plans and resources

We only have a few weeks left of this first cycle of tier II in RtI.  I cannot believe how fast it has gone.  Students are showing lots of progress and moving on to new skills.  This cycle has been a bit difficult to manage since most of my students this time have been on different interventions.  That can definitely test your management skills!  It is so rewarding to see your struggling students make progress and feel good about themselves when they realize they mastered a skill and are moving on to something new!

Reading Intervention Visual Plans and Resources

You can click either picture to download the plans and the links to the resources or click here.


Be sure to link up your plans too!


I have a question for you about the RtI visual plans.  Teachers email and message me about the templates that I use and if they are available in my TpT store.  I would love to hear from you what you would like or what you would need in a template for RtI plans that would make things easier for you to plan RTI.  Please take a moment and let me know what you would like to see.  Thank you so much for that!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Fall Y'all!!

Scarecrow CVC Build A  Word

It is fall y'all!  Pumpkin patches and apple orchards.  Candy corn and pumpkin spiced lattes!  That last part would be for me, not the student! 

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the changing colors and fall decorations.  I will be breaking out these Fall Literacy Center Activities for some fall fun!  My RtI students will be using part of it and I will use other parts for my small groups.  This Scarecrow CVC Build  A Word will be fun for my first graders to get in some short vowel review.

Candy Corn Blends and Digraphs

I have one RtI student who is working on blends and digraphs and this Candy Corn activity will be great for her.  She needs practice blending the onsets and rime of words.

Apple Basket Syllable Sort and Fluency Strips

Another RtI student is working on reading words with more than one syllable and will enjoy this Apple Basket activity.  She can also work on her fluency with the fluency strips.  The apples are there to guide students across the page if needed.

Short and Long Vowel Leaf Sorting

One student has really struggled with reading cvce words so I am going to have him on this activity.  He will have the recording sheet to practice reading the words after he sorts them.

Short Vowel Blending

My first graders and next month some of my kindergartners will work on blending sounds together.  


You can click on any of the above pictures or click here to see my Happy Fall Y'all Literacy Centers.

Bright Ideas

Did you catch my post on using I Can Use... to help students get involved in their learning?  I am a part of the Bright Ideas hop and if you missed it, click here to read that post and to see the other great Bright Ideas!

Lesson Plans and Resources for RtI Reading Intervention Groups

It's been a busy time with our RtI!  Students are making progress, some in small steps and others mastering their first intervention and moving on to a new one.  They feel so good about themselves when they see that progress!  You can click the picture above to download the plans.  The resources are hyperlinked for you.   Be sure to link up your plans too!



This week will be our parent/teacher conferences.  I look forward to meeting with students and letting their parents now about their child's progress!  When are your conferences?


Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Can Posters


How many times have you taught a skill to your students and you think they have it, but then don't apply it to their work?  I know it happens with my students!  How about wanting to build metacognition in your students and make them aware of what they are learning?  I have found a great way to meet all these needs in what I call "I Can Use" posters.  This idea is not mine.  My good friend, Tammy from Forever in First, introduced me to it quite a while back.  Check out her blog if you haven't already!  




After teaching skills and students get to put them into practice, let them sign their name to the skill they used or on a Post It note.  I appreciate how this strategy forces the students to think about which strategy works best for them or works best for that particular situation.  Little things that drive us crazy like missing capitals or ending punctuation can be handled this way by handing over the responsibility to the student.  I particularly like using the I Can posters for using reading strategies.  I expect my students to learn different strategies and to know which one will work best depending on the word or situation.


My second graders have been reading informational text and how authors place text features in the text to help us understand the information.  Having them sign as to which text features they were using helped to solidify that learning.


In my first grade groups, we have been reading some fantasy stories and I don't want them to lose skills we have previously learned.  The I Can poster comes in handy to remind them to be thinking as they read and use the skills they have been taught.  Thank you, Tammy, for the great idea!  

You can use these I Can posters for so many different skills.  Our school has started a new teacher evaluation program and one of the indicators the administrators will be looking for is whether the teacher is checking for student understanding and mastery.  This is a quick and easy way for students to show understanding in a lesson by writing their name on a board or sticking a Post It note to the skill used.  

If you have enjoyed this Bright Idea, I would love to have you follow me for more great ideas!  You can find me on Bloglovin, TpT, and Instagram.  




For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!