Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dia de Los Muertos

We have a lot of fun activities planned to celebrate Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.
  • Introduce the word TRADITION and define as a group
  • Discuss tradition of Halloween in United States and Dia de los Muertos in Mexico
  • Pass out mini booklet about Dia de los Muertos and read together
  • Compare and Contrast Halloween and Dia de los Muertos 
  • Help students locate United States and Mexico on map discuss similarities of cultures (Love of family, value of relationship with and memory of people we love, enjoy family celebration with food and loved ones)
  • Invite students to enjoy traditional Mexican Horchata and Pan de Muerto
  • Decorate skeleton cookies at station 
  • Paint skulls and add glitter and flowers
  • Watched videos about Dia de los Muertos on Encarta Kids

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Word Work Activities

I don't know about everyone else, but I get tired of looking up and seeing the students playing at their word work stations instead of working.  I have been searching for recording sheets to use and I found a few, but I was unsuccessful overall.  Therefore, I created my own word work recording sheets.  I created 25 different word work recording sheets that go right along with my word work center instructions.  I don't have one for everyone of them, but there are quite a few.  The students love most of the stations.

Word Work Stations:
  • Pyramid Spelling: Make one letter of the word, then two on the next line, etc. making a pyramid.
  • Hidden Words: Draw a picture and hide the words inside it.
  • Rainbow Write: Write each word with 3 different colors. 
  • Bubble Letters: Write the words with bubble letters.
  • All Smiles: Make a smiley face with the word as the smile.
  • Goofy Letters: Write the words with goofy letters.
  • What's it Worth?: Build the words with scrabble letters and add up the points. 
  • Three Times: Write the word with pencil, crayon, and marker. 
  • What's the Buzz?: Make bees and write the words inside them.
  • Connect the Dots: Make the words with dots and connect them.
  • Rhyme Time: Write the word and a word that rhymes with it. 
  • Crack the Code: Use a code chart to decode a word or make a code for the word. 
  • Playful Words: Use play-doh to make the words.
  • Across & Down: Write the words across then using the first letter write it going down.
  • Colorful Words: Write each letter of the word with a different color. 
  • Shaping Up: Make shapes and write the words inside them.
  • All Aboard: Make a train and write a word in each boxcar. 
  • Dicey Words: Roll a dice and write the word that many times.
  • Word Search: Use graph paper to write the words.  Fill in the rest of the squares with letters.
  • Square Off!: Make squares and write a letter in each square. 
  • Flower Power: Make flowers and write a word in each petal.
  • Stencil it!: Write the word with stencils.
  • Stamp it Out!: Write the word with stamps.
  • Magnetic: Make the word with magnetic letters. 
  • Scrambled Words: Write the word and then scramble up the letters. 
  • Backward Words: Write the word and then write it backwards. 
  • ABC Order: Write the words in ABC order.
  • Upper & Lower: Write the word in capitals and then in lowercase letters. 
  • Type 'Em: Type the words.
  • Bang: Draw a card and read the word.  If you get a bang, give all your cards back.
  • Roll, Read, Keep: Roll a dice and read the card in that box. 
  • Paint It: Paint the words.
  • Creamy Words: Use shaving cream to make the words. 
  • Scratch It: Use the scratch paper from the stores or make it and scratch the words into it.
  • String It Up: Use bead letters to string the words onto necklaces. 
Other word work ideas not included in my pack!
  • Use a thumbtack to punch dots in the word.
  • Write the words with hot glue and the students trace them with crayons.
  • Make paper chains with the words on them.
  • Use the words to write a story. 
  • Make the words using Wikki Sticks or Bendaroos. 
  • Play Boggle.
  • Roll a word (2 consonant and 1 vowel dice) and decide if it is real or nonsense.
  • Roll a word (word dice) and graph them.
  • Use blue to write the consonants and red for vowels.
  • Write the words with markers and make color patterns.
  • Write the words on dry erase boards.
  • Use the words in sentences.
  • Find the words in books.
  • Write the words in sand.
  • Write silly sentences with the words and illustrate.
  • Use a phone and write the number to call that word.
  • Sort the words by syllables. 
  • Write the words on Magna Doodles.
  • Cut the letters from magazines or newspapers. 
Before tests, we like to get up and move and do something fun.  We dribble a ball and spell the words, cheer the words, kick the words, etc. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Solution for Sight Word Practice!!!

Well I had a long Fall Break to work (our school went to a balanced calendar so all our breaks are 2 weeks long) and I got a lot accomplished.  During the break, I got to babysit my beautiful little cousins.  One of them is in Kindergarten.  She is so smart.  She is ahead of many of my first graders!!!  We had a ton of fun playing dress up and dancing.  The little skirts obvisouly wouldn't fit me so I put one on each leg and my head!  It was a blast.

Anyways, back to the reason for this post.  I think sight words are one of the hardest things to teach, because the students are so spread out.  I have some kids that can read the first 400 words and some that can't read the first 5.  If everyone was practicing the same words, then I would be teaching over some of their heads and holding some back.  I have been searching for a good way to teach the sight words over the last 3 years.  Here are the ideas that I have came up with or borrowed.

The second semester of my first year, I decided to start giving each student an individual sight word list.  It sounds complicated, but it actually is very easy.  Once you get use to it, you just fly through.  So what I do is...I keep a binder with a list of all the "Seeing Stars" sight words in it.  Each student has their own list.  The first day I circle all the words the student knows.  I keep going until they miss five in a row or I see them struggling.  Then, I put the first 10 words that the student missed on their sight word homework list. 

I send the homework home each week.  I tell the parents to practice the words with them all week and on Thursday the parents have to test the student and circle the words the student misses.  The next week I put the words the student missed on the new list plus the next words from the student's sight word list that is in my binder.  (I make all of their homework lists ONE document, which makes it easy to type the student's words then go to the next one and printing is easier!) Now, I always like to do a quick test with them on Friday to make sure they do actually know the words. 

While I am testing the students, I like to use this sight word sticker book that I made to get the student's excited about doing it.  I check all the words they get right and then let them put stickers on them.  This helps in case the stickers fall off too!!!  This will be for sale shortly in my TPT store!

I have decided to take a slightly different approach for the rest of the year.  While I was babysitting, I helped my cousin with her homework and this idea came from her teacher...sight word folders.  For the remainder of the year, I am going to use the sight word homework instead of the other homework.  I am using colored manila folders.  I made a cover for the front of the folder.  It explains the folder and how to use it.  I want the students to be able to READ and SPELL the words.  They will practice one list at a time.  The parent will sign the page on the back when the student can read and spell all the words on the list.  I will test the student and put a sticker next to it letting the parents know that they can move on to the next list.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Parent Teacher Conference Time!!!

Well everyone, this is my VERY first blog!  EVER!!!  I am very new at this so I hope that I am doing it right.  I have so many great ideas and I thought it would be a shame to keep them all to myself.  Enjoy :)

I am a little OCD...when it comes to teaching at least!  I like everything in my classroom to be very organized.  I also keep thorough notes about each student because I am very scatterbrained.  I think it is because I have too many ideas in my head at once.  Parent teacher conferences are approaching quickly and I like to have handouts to give the parents.  This helps me remember what I want to talk about (I have a fear of public speaking...when it comes to adults anyways) and it keeps me on track.  There are several different forms that I use for conferences.

First, I send home an initial letter letting the parents know when conferences are.  I let the parents choose their top 3 choices.  As the forms are returned, I number them.  I assign times on a first come first served basis.  I use these forms to make a final conference schedule.

Then, I send home a letter informing the parents of their assigned times.  This letter also includes a survey that the parents complete and return.  This gives me an idea of what the parent would like to talk about.

The day before conferences I will send home a reminder with each student.

For the conference, I prepare a progress report and an "I Can" checklist.  The progress report includes student data/grades, strengths, and areas of concerns.  I use this during the conference as a reference or guide.  

Each nine weeks, I prepare an "I Can" checklist for each student.  I write each skill that we covered that nine weeks.  I quickly assess the students or use my notes and put a check next to each skill that they have mastered.  I give this to the parents as a guide to what the students have mastered and still need to practice. 

I also have the parents sign in to document all the parents who attended the conference.  As an extra special treat this year, I am going to give each parent a small bag of popcorn with a tag that says, "Thanks for popping in!"  I included these in the file!  I used popcorn from a store called NOT JUST POPCORN!  It is amazing and you can purchase different colors and flavors.  

I make cute little folders to put all the testing data, report card, and classroom data in to give to the parents.