Missing Teacher {Low Prep Resources}

After several weeks off from school and I unexpectedly needed a sub for a few days.  BOOOO!  I've been so excited to come back and be with my little learners.  I have multiple low prep resources but not one that helped prepare myself for multiple days off from school so I decided to create one.

Here's a preview of all that is included in this file...

A link is provided in the graphic above!

I have several other low prep resources for Elmer and The Case of Stripes.  Each image below has a link to a blog post sharing all the resources available in each low prep file.

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Soaring High in the New Year {Freebie}

Happy New Year!  I want to share a small freebie I've used with my students for the past several years entitled Soaring High in the New Year.  It makes a really cute display around the classroom.  

Link in cover graphic above!

Here's an example from last year.

If you're looking for additional resources for the New Year, I have a best selling Book Companion for Squirrel's New Year's Resolution.  

Link in cover graphic above! 

Wishing you and your students the best this coming year!

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Reading is Fundamental {Free Resources}

I'm popping in today to share a remarkable FREE resource for educators, students and their families.  

I was contacted by Reading is Fundamental on Instagram and was instantly drawn to their cause.  Reading is Fundamental {RIF} is committed to a literate America where all children have the opportunities that literacy provides.  

RIF was founded in 1966 and is a leading voice in children's literacy.  As the nation's largest children's literacy non-profit, Reading is Fundamental maximizes each contribution received.  I'm writing you today to share a few ways to help and how to access some amazing resources!  

RIF has a partnership with grassroots network and distributes over 400 million books, impacting lives of more than 40 million children in the most at-risk communities by providing new books and literacy support materials to children with the greatest need, creating needs-based content to support varying literacy levels for children of all ages, and engaging educators and/or parents with actionable and trackable resources that can benchmark student progress.

Every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential.  

I mentioned FREE resources!  Literacy Central is RIF's free digital site designed to foster a love of reading and literacy development for children.  There are high quality, supplemental materials available on demand for educators and families to access.  You can search by book title, Common Core standard, Lexile, theme,  and grade level!  

Literacy Central features literacy activities, games, leveled reading passages, lesson plans, activity calendars, videos and more.  What's better?  You can organize your favorite titles and resources in a collections folder.  

One of the newest resources is BeeLine Reader.  This engaging technology displays text using a subtle color gradient, which wraps from line to line.  This technique assists in visual tracking to support comprehension and a tool for struggling readers.

Let's take a closer look...

I'm a lover of all things STEAM!  Iggy Peck Architect is a remarkable text for theme extension activities.  

Reading is Fundamental has an app that makes searching for resources a breeze!  You can access your saved resources, open lessons and explore extension activities with a simple click of a button.

One of my favorite features is the read aloud.  Providing my students with a way to listen to the story independently as an early finisher or during literacy centers is key for me!  

There are multiple lesson guides available.  The lesson template for Iggy Peck allows me to assist my readers whole group with comprehension and provide ideas for making a themed STEAM day for additional engagement.  

Can you believe this is all free?

I mentioned before you can help.  RIF is sharing the gift of literacy this holiday season.  Gifts that Give Back site, as well as Literacy Central, are accessible at RIF.org and allows anyone to provide children nationwide with the gift of literacy.  This online site makes it easy to provide books and literacy resources to kids with greatest needs.  You can donate a book, support a RIF child, support an educator, support a community, support a classroom, or support a school library.  I encourage you to take a peek. 

As previously stated, Literacy Central is a FREE Resource but their company and mission needs donors support to thrive.  Literacy is an essential life skill that provides the foundations for a lifetime of opportunity.  Help this cause because when children develop a strong reading skill, they have the confidence to strive for anything!  

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First Observations in First Grade

Hi, sweet friends! I hope those that are back in school have started off with a bang! We've officially completed our first week and it was a whirlwind.  

I begin the first few days introducing rules and getting to know each other. We filled the hours with storybooks, expectations, name games, collaborative activities, problem solving, morning literature tubs, exploring manipulatives, afternoon math tubs, and investigating science tools. 

The independent exploration of morning and afternoon tubs are critical for me to pull away and observe. I meet with a small group of kids to gather information about their academic abilities. The tubs consist of the alphabet and beginning sounds in the mornings and number sense in the afternoons. 

My morning lit tubs have activities that will review standards from kindergarten. The kids trace alphabet roads with cars, match upper and lowercase letters with playdoh, construct letters with alphabet parts, and sort beginning sound pictures to the corresponding letter.  

Freebie from PreK Pages.

The afternoon tubs are equally as engaging for my group of six year olds. The kids build numbers with playdoh in tens frames, work on matching numbers into 100 boards, sort different ways to make numbers through 20, and combine numbers through ten before parking toy cars in the correct parking spot. 

Freebie from Pocket of Preschool

I'm now gathering intel. Are the kids able identify letters and numbers? Can they associate sounds and values? Overall, I have a very diverse group of kids. Some will need letter formations and correlating sounds but most are able to build words in the semiphonetic spelling stage.  A few are devleoping in the phonetic spelling stage.

While determining which students had a strong understanding of beginning sounds, we played an infectiously fun game of Beginning Sound Beanbag Snag. Students were given the task to collect beginning sounds based on words I call. I was able to see which students had misunderstandings. This block of time was filled with giggles!

Yesterday, I met with a group of students and gave them a set of differentiated dice based on my early observations. Some students were building words with the alphabet dice while others were working with the word family dice. 

Based on my observations in the first few days of tubs, I gave students specific dice to see their level of understanding.

Others were given timers based on their ability to write basic sentences with ease. It's amazing how excited a six year old gets when you add a little twist to a simple activity.

A few had enough skills to combine blends with word families.  I quickly identified the long vowel word families were a bit out of the comfort for my group and pulled them for later in the year.

By day six, I've determined my profile groups based on their SIPPs performance levels and my observations of kindergarten foundational skill levels. These groups will remain until I receive data from district required diagnostics.  

Many of the activities in this post are from Oriental Trading's Language Arts Curriculum. The Alphabet Dice are foam and come with upper and lowercase letters with vowel sounds in red and consonants in blue for $4.49. The Word Family Dice are also foam and include letters, blends, short and long vowel word families for $6.99. The Alphabet Beanbags come in four bright fabric colors and will be put in use throughout this school year.

My back to school phonics instruction was based on the needs of my students. We have leveled classes in our title one setting. I have a large percentage of language learners. We will continue to practice basic phonemic awareness and phonics activities to build a strong foundation. The activities will continued to be part of our daily instruction until it's performed with automaticity.  

Best wishes to you as you navigate through the first month back from summer break!

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