Friday, October 25, 2013

Five for Friday ~ October 25

What, two post in one day? I just couldn't resist posting my Five for Friday linky this week! We really had some fun and I can't wait to tell you all about it! If you would like to link up, head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and share your 5 things that you've done this week.

Today's the day! The Super Sleuth Blog Hop is live!!!! You can start here or head over to Stop #1. Make sure you get through all 28 post and collect all of your clues. At the end of the hop you will be able to solve the mystery and enter to win 1 of 6 $30 TPT gift cards donated by all of the amazing bloggers. But don't wait to long, this hop ends at 8am Monday, October 28! 

To get the kids pumped up for Red Ribbon Week and National Anti-Bullying month my school hosted a door decorating contest. I just love being creative and letting the kids express themselves without worrying if it's CCSS related. Everyone on my hall decided to decorate their doors for Red Ribbon Week and I wanted my kids to stand out! I decorated our door to teach about bullying. After reading some informational, yea I still tied in the standards, books about bullying my students wrote thought bubbles about ways they can help prevent bullying at our school and in our community. 

During my lunch break I saw something moving outside my window. When I looked out there was a fox! Yes, a fox! By the time I fished my camera out of my bag he had walked to the edge of our field but I still managed to snap a quick photo of him. I swear he knew I wanted a picture because he just stopped, sat down, and the second I snapped the picture he got up and walked away down our nature path! He sure was beautiful. I love wild life, and being this close to the city and seeing a fox made my day. 

My fifth graders were just dying to do something fun. With our fall festival coming up, tomorrow actually, I wanted to tie in some fall activities. After reading some informational articles about scarecrows I gave them a "fun day" to make scarecrow heads. They loved making these little guys! 

I had my very first project funded this week!!!! How exciting! I requested an ipad mini and a Microsoft Surface to use to help my kids build their reading skills. I was very lucky to have Chevron's Fuel your School Program fund over $800 of my project. My project was funded Monday and I received  my tablets Thursday around 3pm. I couldn't believe how quickly they shipped out and arrived. I've been playing with them both and downloading tons of apps and books for my groups. I can't wait to reveal these to my students on Monday. 

As you can see, I had an AWESOME week! How was your week? What are your top 5 things that happened? Link up and let us all know. 


P.S. I've started my own giving page. Currently I have no projects listed. If you have a reading related project listed on DonorsChoose, that  you would like me to promote, leave me a message with a link to your project. I really want to get 3-5 projects posted before the weekends over! I'll review your project and why you want it added and let you know if I pick yours.

Super Sleuth Blog Hop! Decoding Skills

Decoding Skills

Decoding skills are essential for early readers! Having the ability to decode words means that the reader has an understanding of letter-sound relationships. When students understand this relationship they are able to recognize familiar words as well as figure out unfamiliar words quickly. Some students will learn decoding skills quickly and with little guidance while other students may struggle and need additional support in learning to recognize the letter-sound relationships. One way that you can help all of your students is through the use of phonics. I know that many schools have stepped away from using phonics programs but you don't need a program to teach phonics skills to your students.

Often, with students who struggle with decoding, you will notice that the child has difficulty matching sounds to letters. You may notice that the student struggles with reading words and guesses at words based on the first letter or two. You may also notice that even though you've taught certain blends, sounds, or patterns that the student isn't applying them while reading. When you begin to notice these problems you know that you have a decoding issue on your hands. Don't worry, there are many things that you can do to help your little readers!

 1. Allow students to play with letters (magnetic, letter tiles, etc) and give them simple tasks such as putting the letters in alphabetical order
2. Collect pictures (from magazines, newspapers, photos, etc.) of common words the students may see throughout their homes, school, or community. See if students are able to identify these words quickly.
3. Have students sort pictures and words by sounds. They can sort by beginning, medial, or ending sound. You can also have them sort by blends.
4. Don't teach phonics in isolation! Have students practice their phonics skills, building on previously taught skills, by completing reading or writing activities using the skills they have learned.
5. Keep students engaged. Find fun and meaningful centers, books, and activities that help the students practice their decoding skills.
6. Utilize technology. Find interactive games for students to practice matching sounds to letters, words, or pictures. Use programs such as Starfall to help students build fluency and decoding skills. Make interactive white board games for students. Use iPods and tablets to play education apps. There is so much that technology can offer your students, so be sure to use it!
5. Make extra time to help your targeted students.

When I'm working with my small group 1st grade class we always focus on phonics. My students are very low readers and many of them do not know the sounds that the letters make and I have a few who still don't understand the relationship between letters and sounds. To help my struggling readers we practice each letter's sound everyday! After we practice our sounds I will focus on a specific letter or blend for the day. After practicing on our daily letter/blend we then always do some sort of hands on activity. My little learners love playing on my interactive white board but sometimes I really like them to have something tangible to complete that I can place in their folders or display around my room. They have been working very hard to gain a better understanding of the letter-sound relationship and I can't wait to let them to get their hands on my Mystery Words! decoding activity.

This is a decoding game that I created to help my students practice individual sounds as well as blended sounds. I can't wait for them to get their hands on these fun words and to realize how much they have learned in the past few months. This activity is great for struggling readers or for beginning readers.

To get your copy of Mystery Words! Cracking the Phonics Code click the image above. Positive feedback would be greatly appreciated! 

Now that you've learned a little about decoding, you're ready for my clue.  On your form, you can record the letter...
Click the "R" to download your recording form! 

Thanks for visiting today.  I hope you'll enjoy my unit with your students, and if you'd like to keep informed of upcoming events from our group, please click the Bloglovin or Google Friends button to follow my blog.  I appreciate your interest in reading instruction and wish you a wonderful school year.

If you want to be the first to know about flash freebies, new blog posts, and other exciting opportunities be sure to follow me on facebook: A Day in the Life of a Title I Teacher 

Now, on to the...


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Reading Workshop

Welcome to Workshop Wednesday, hosted by Ideas by Jivey.

This week the focus is Reading Workshop. This week I will be sharing a way that I stay organized while teaching 4 grade levels, with 7 different groups of children, and over 50 students a day. As the Title I teacher I don't have a Reading Workshop but while the students are with me that's pretty much exactly what we do!
One thing I like to do, to keep me organized and maximize my 30 minutes per group is keep a small basket ready that has all of the essential supplies we might need during any given lesson.

The light blue basket is our main basket that holds all
of our reading goodies and essential supplies!

 I actually have 3 special baskets!  I keep one at our main group table and the other two are usually kept on an extra desk near my white board. I like to call these baskets my "Special Teacher Basket." Inside my  main "special teacher basket" I keep things like: extra pencils, dry erase markers, colored ink pens, Mr. Sketch markers, index cards, sticky notes, erasers, highlighters, and my guided reading cards. In my other two baskets I keep things that we don't use everyday but that I want to have handy when we need them. One basket contains scissors, glue, and markers. The other basket houses all of my white board markers, Mr. Sketch markers, and my "magic wand" (as the students like to call it); this basket is always located at my white board! It allows me to keep the area clutter free but I have easy access to materials.

 Look at my boys using the baskets! They know they never have to ask to use anything that's located in the basket(s). These are their supplies to use to keep from stopping instructions to ask for supplies. 
 Do you see the two dark blue baskets on the table under my board? This is where I like to keep them. The students know that if we need glue, scissors, etc. to grab the whole basket and bring it over. If I need my dry erase markers they are all right there! I love having everything super handy when it's time to use it. 

Having all of my materials ready, in advance, allows me to jump into my lessons the second we walk in the door! No really, I start teaching the instant the students are in my room. What time saving tips, or other helpful Reading Workshop strategies do you have? Head over to Ideas by Jivey's blog and link up or have a look around to get more ideas.

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to come back Friday, October 25 at 8am EST to get some amazing reading strategies tips and freebies during the Super Sleuths Blog Hop!