Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Let Them Eat Pie...A Second Helping

Word Wall Pie

In my last blog post, "Let Them Eat...Pie!" I detailed one of my most favorite word work games to play with my little ones! Today, I present you with a fun, math-integrated word work activity that is GREAT to plug into a rotation during The Daily 5!

It is a "second helping" because it too has to do with pie...I LOVE dessert! I love the quote from that quirky show "The New Girl" where they talk about how they don't trust someone who doesn't like dessert, and I completely identify with this statement!

So anyways, the name of the game is "Word Wall Pie...Spell with Fractions" and it includes two variations depending on whether or not the students are focusing on searching for vowels or consonants.

Word Wall Pie

I like to first have my students spell out their word wall words with tiles prior to completing the activity. 

Students must count the number of consonants or vowels and then the total number of letters in each word. Next, students manipulate the tiles on the provided circle boards to visualize the fraction of consonants or vowels in each word. I find that it is really helpful for students to see the letters on the circle board to assist them in completing the activity. 

Lastly, students simply write the fraction and draw a picture of their vowel or consonant "pie" on their accountability sheet!

Ta-dah! Fractions made fun by simply highlighting the pie aspect to your own little ones. I hope y'all enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Let Them Eat...Pie

So after a mini-hiatus from my computer, I am now back to continue on with my blog post series that's all about WORD WORK!

My first introductory post on this topic, "Feature Presentation...Word Work" highlighted the importance of encouraging a high level of accuracy to develop a successful word work program in my classroom. Grab my freebie graph to use in your classroom if you haven't already and would like to have a way of monitoring your class's progress towards becoming fantastic spellers!

Tonight's mini presentation if a fave of mine! I LOVE desserts, and I like to tell my little ones that I planned out these word work activities and games while baking..."I think of y'all even when I'm at home baking!" So true, and I think it makes them feel loved:)

So the first game is a surefire hit called...Lemon Meringue! Yum. I mean how could this game be bad?!

The rules:

 Teacher and students all begin by holding hands while standing in a big circle. The teacher calls out various spelling words (or words that require students to apply the phonics skill currently being taught...they love a challenge!) and selects a student to kick off the fun and games.

Next, the selected students begins to spell the word by calling out the first letter. After exclaiming the first letter they simply squeeze the hand of the students standing beside them to let them know it's their turn to have a go! For example, teacher says the word is "burst." Selected student says "b" and hand squeezes to Student 2 who says "u." This continues until the word is successfully spelled and the hand squeeze is passed to a student who must then state the word that has just been spelled! My little ones favorite part is after they have correctly spelled the word as a team they all hand hug and do a little dance while chanting this sort of happy tune--I think I must have done it once, and it just stuck!

Phew! You have to be on your toes and listening carefully to stay in this game, because if a student's hand is squeezed to spell or state the word and they're not ready then the kids will giggle "You sour lemon!" The sour lemons sit in the middle of the circle and continue to participate in the game with their giggles and stating of the correctly spelled hard feelings...I promise! We talked about how it's hard to spell things on the spot sometimes, and being a sour lemon sometimes is just part of the game;)

Give it a go, and let me know if you and your little ones like it! I think it is one of my most favorite word work games because it requires a lot of focus, listening, teamwork, and ALWAYS results in loads of giggling!

Stay tunes for Let Them Eat...Pie part II before moving on with other staples to the way I like to set up and practice word work in my classroom in the coming week!

Monday, May 7, 2012


I was so humbled yesterday evening when I saw the thousands of downloads of my featured freebie The Academy Awards: A Night at the Oscars, and even more so by the many kind comments...I truly hope this is a helpful and fun treat to you and your little ones!!

While the freebie hop is behind us, I wanted to take a moment to quickly remind my blog followers that I have 3 additional products in my store that are ALWAYS FREE for you! Plus, remember that ALL of my products are still on sale for 20% off plus an additional 10% off when you enter the coupon code TAD12 during checkout!

Also, if you were too busy snagging the many great finds from fellow blog hoppers yesterday and did not have the attention span to go through each teacher's store yesterday (I know I felt that way and will be going through them more throughout this week!) then please take a moment to glance through some of my most popular store items!

I think y'all are fabulous, and I am so grateful for all you do as teachers each day to make a difference in the lives of all our little ones! THANK YOU!!

Discover Plants
Dance the Dance of Poetry: A Complete Poetry Unit
Love Bug Writing Menu
Amphibians Literacy Rotations


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Teacher Appreciation JACKPOT!

 Teacher Appreciation Sale

I hope that by now people have had the chance to pop into my store and pick up my special freebie for the day:  
The Academy Awards: A Night at the Oscars

The Academy Awards: A Night at the Oscars!

This unit is usually priced at $4.00, and includes rotation plans and activities in the areas of word work, writing, and math that will keep your kids celebrating their learning for a whole week!

I completed this unit with own batch of kiddos during the week leading up to the Academy Awards, but think it would be the PERFECT unit to complete as an end of year celebration too!

I hope y'all enjoy this freebie because you deserve lots of teacher love in the midst of this gigantic sale!

Here in sunny North Carolina, the weather is warm, summer is just around the corner, and our little ones are just about ready to move-it-on-up to the next grade!

We have all worked our little tails off this year to make sure our students have grown their brains, and even more importantly, are ready to be successful in their future years as well!

In the true spirit of teacher blogging, which is really all about sharing inspiring ideas with fellow teachers to benefit ALL of our children, it is important to celebrate and reward all of our efforts! I am also thankful to the website Teachers Pay Teachers for its dedication to providing an accessible source for sharing products and ideas in addition to the blogging world...wahoo!

So to show my gratitude to all the fellow teachers out there who go to work with a smile on their face and a positive attitude (even when non-smile-inducing events happen in our lives!) I have teamed up with April from A Modern Teacher, Laura from Corkboard Connections, Adrianne from The Tutor House and over 130 bloggers to bring you an incredible teacher appreciation event! This is a blog hop you do not want to miss!

So my dear teacher friends this Sunday, May 6th, you will have the opportunity to download BUNCHES of teaching materials for FREE!! Over 130 participants, myself included, will be giving away one free product to celebrate and honor YOU! All free products will be valued between $3 and $8. So for all you math whizzes out there, that means you could be pocketing $450 worth of free lessons in just one day! Consider this my Sabbath Day gift to take the day off from planning!

If you are interested in PreK-2 products, be sure to come back and visit here on Sunday for the jackpot where everyone's FREE PRODUCTS will be listed.

Here are all the links you will need:

PreK-2: Teacher Appreciation Jackpot
3-5: Teacher Appreciation Jackpot
7-12: Teacher Appreciation Jackpot
ALSO,  Teachers Pay Teachers will be holding a sale in addition to this grand Teacher Appreciation Jackpot event!! I would be honored if you drop by my store this Sunday to pick up some of my products (which my students think are pretty flipping fantastic!) for your own class of little ones ON SALE!

Happy shopping my friends...this is the jackpot spree you deserve. Feel special, because you SO are!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Feature Presentation...Word Work!

Over the next few blog posts I will be featuring a variety of different games, activities, songs, and dances that I use with my own class of learners as we all become better readers and spellers! I don't know about y'all, but I have a cluster of about 10 different word work games I just love to play with my little ones when we are practicing how to spell and read our new word wall words for the week or review words from weeks past!

Before I can begin this feature presentation all about what Word Work means in our class, I will begin by highlighting the importance to this teacher and her students of accuracy! I have a classroom bursting with creative ideas and talented little writers, but they know that at this point in the year they are expected to represent every sound they hear with a letter, apply learned phonics patterns, EDIT by using the ample number of resources plastered around the room, and to spell learned words correctly.

The spelling program our first grade team uses was developed by our school's literacy specialist and requires the teachers and students to be responsible for learning 5 word wall words each week in addition to words that follow the phonics pattern or skill of the week. So come Friday my little ones complete a spelling test on 15 words plus 2 bonus words that require my first graders to apply the phonics skill to see if they can still figure out how to spell the tricky, unknown word!'s a lot of work for these little people, but they love it, and really look forward to the tests that make them feel *oh-so-second-grade-like!*

How's Our Spelling?

Truly, my favorite part about spelling tests is how we graph our class's success rate on Monday to track "How's Our Spelling?" This is something relatively new I tried a few months ago, and I have noticed a HUGE difference in my students' spelling throughout the day. Simply record the date of the spelling test in the pink box and assign students to take turns coloring in the graph to mark how many kids in the class spelled all spelling word correctly!

Some might ask: "Why is graphing how many kids spell their words correctly on a spelling test helpful?" or even worry "Does is make kids feel badly if they know they were one of the ones that deterred the class from reaching their progress goal?"

My response to these questions is that because students don't know about how their individual peers scored on a spelling test, but rather the emphasis is placed on the accuracy of the class, I have found that by graphing our progress, my kiddos have become highly motivated to not just know the words for themselves, but to take Word Work rotation veerrryyy seriously for the sake of their teammates! They 100% model my "teacher talk" with one another, and I get such a kick out of them going above and beyond after finishing their work by excerspelling and hula hoop spelling to make sure that all of their group members are ready to rock it out on Friday's test!

To close out this prologue to the real feature presentation of this Word Work series is to highlight the true shining star purpose behind the blog posts! For me, spelling tests and accuracy are important and the attention to detail translates to success across the content areas, but while I "grade" spelling tests to send home I DO NOT use them as real grades! The real success test for me comes from when I see my little authors spelling words correctly and using phonics knowledge while writing the most incredible short stories, poems, and letters to one another! Spelling tests are not an authentic measure of writing or spelling ability, but they are a great way for students to measure their progress and have been a fantastic motivator in our classroom!