Saturday, July 26, 2014

Organizing Word Works

The life of a lower-primary teacher could accurately be compared to that of a sideshow circus clown. We run around, entertain the World's most distractible audience and actually have to make our time productive enough to get these little rascals to read, write, etc.  Sometimes, when I walk through my door after a long day at school, I just plop from exhaustion. (Imagine turning a partially melted ice-cream cone upside down. Yep, that's me. PLOP. Does anyone else PLOP?) 

So, with all of that being said, I know more than anyone the importance of being organized within this profession, where moments of sanity are few and far between. During my Summer School experience (where I first implemented Word Works), I immediately began searching for an effective means to organize this mass of instructional material. I was afraid it couldn't be done, but I accidentally stumbled on the most effective way EVER. (You may know a better way, but this is pretty great and makes lesson preparation oh-so-easy.) 

Here is how it works! First, you'll need some organizing goodies. The list here is enough to organize and store one WW set. 

- One 3-ring binder with a 2' width
- Mini-Velcro dots (at least 20 per set of WW)
- One (20 pack) of Martha Stewart Home Office Top-Secure 2 Pocket Sheet Protectors (Follow this link to see them on SHEET PROTECTORS (I love these things!!!!) 

When you have everything together, you'll need to place the sheet protectors in the binder and add the Velcro-dots on the flaps to keep them secure. You can see this in the picture below.  This protects the materials from falling out. This step may not be required to contain the items, but if you're like me (SUPER CLUMSY), it may be worth the extra precaution. :) 

Next, you can label each pocket any way that makes it easy for you. I simply numbered the pockets 1-20 with a Sharpie. This way, I just have to remember what day of the set I'm on, and I can pull out the materials as I need them. You can sort of see my numbers on the bottom left of each pocket in this picture:

After that, you'll just have to use the sheets included in the WW Sets that sequence the lesson days (shown in the side pocket below) to organize the pieces. For example, I put all of the cards for  Day 1 Sentences, Rhyming Words, Beginning Sounds, Ending Sounds, etc. in one pocket. So, when the time comes, I just grab them from the binder and put them up on the bulletin board for the lesson. Then, afterwards, I just place them back into the pocket and that is that. 

I can't stress enough how EASY this makes this program! You will never stress over this part of your day because it will be SO SIMPLE. You will not regret taking the time to do this, I promise!! 

I hope this helps all of you wonderful Teachers that have requested organizing information. If this isn't thorough enough, I'll be happy to elaborate more. Just leave me a comment. :) 

God bless!! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grab a Free Poster Set!

Very suddenly, my life has gone into a whirlwind of excitement. Not only have I already had great success with my Word Works Daily on TpT, but my school district has now made it mandatory that all Kindergarten Teachers in our county use it! I knew it would benefit my students so much, but I didn't really comprehend the effect it could have on our entire district. I'm so excited! Can someone please pinch me? They are providing all of us with every material needed to implement it this school year.YAY!!!

I am just so blessed that my great friend Mrs. Grigsby found such an interest in it. She is our Reading Specialist and she just radiates mounds of experience and AWESOMENESS any time she is around. If you're reading this Mrs. Grigsby, thank you! I love you! <3

There is also another purpose for great excitement, but I can't spill those beans just yet. :)

I feel like I should pay-it-forward and offer some kindness to others. So, here you go! For the next 24 hours, I have my Bright Scalloped Alphabet Posters listed as FREE right now on my TPT store.  This will change tonight, so grab yours now! Leave me a comment and tell me what you think. 


God bless everyone! Thank you for the continued support!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Word Works Daily: See the Routine Here!

I remember so clearly the incredible sense of fear and happiness I felt when I found out that I was going to be a Kindergarten Teacher. I felt so blessed to be among the few people I graduated with that actually found a job that summer. I also felt a distinct need to grow a beard, obtain a fake passport and fly to a remote island to escape my fears of teaching a grade level I knew nothing about. It was weird. Bipolar moment for sure.

Where am I going with this? Bored of my yapping? Yeah, me too. So, the point I'm trying to make is this: It would have been nice to see some Kindergarten teaching in action. That is why, when I created this resource (WW Daily), I knew I wanted to demonstrate it for those newbies that may not know what in the World to do with something like this.

So, here it is. Me, my deep-mountain accent and six incredible kids that I taught at Summer school this year. This isn't a true representation of a full classroom (I had 27 darlings this past year) but it does show the routine. I definitely could have benefited from this when I first began!
Hope you enjoy! Leave me a comment and tell me what you think! :)  



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Word Works Daily: Reading Skills Routine for Kindergarten (Win it!)

Wow, wow, wow! It has been a busy time. I haven't blogged in 4-EV-ER. I really don't have time now with working at Summer School every day, preparing for another year of Kindergarten and trying to take a breather while it is summer...... but some things have to be shared. This is it:

My baby is ready to enter the World!! No, I'm not pregnant (as much as I wish). I'm referring to my Reading Skills Routine BABY!!!

This is her! Isn't she gorgeous? (Click on any image to visit her on TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS!) 

This is the beginning of a REVOLUTION in Reading Skills Practice. We test over these skills, we know their importance in a child's ability to read, but do we really give them the attention they deserve on a daily basis? 

I didn't and I'm not ashamed to admit it. (Okay, maybe just a little.) :(

But, I do have an excuse. My excuse is, I didn't have the resources or the know-how to incorporate these skills daily. But, after many months of pondering, creating and prayers.. I'm here.
Here is a little more explaining: 

Here are some close ups of some of the skills that are included in Set #1.

Word Counting (Word Discrimination): 
When using this portion, I don't show the sentence at first. I read it to the students, they repeat it and then count the words. Students ten put their thumb up if the know the answer. 

I then choose a child to demonstrate. Before allowing them to come to the front and putting up the number card, we read the sentence (while I point to the words) and then we go back and count the words.

 Rhyming Word Recognition (and Production): 

This seems easy, but for beginning Kinders it is NOT. In order to master the skill of rhyming, it has to be encountered over and over again.  With this much exposure, students will definitely get the hang of it. Further continuing practice, internalizes those abilities even further. 
When completing this component, I remind students what rhyming words are and even ask for students to recall. I then say, "Find the word that rhymes with.." and put up my picture card. They then raise their thumbs when they recognize it. Sometimes, depending on the abilitiy levels and the pictures, I will dictate the choices. 
After a child has identified the answer, we sing a song with the two words inserted and then I ask for volunteers to produce other words that rhyme with the identified word. 

Syllable Blending: 

This component is referred to as "What's the Word?" In set #1, it begins as syllable blending. As students progress, this will progress into phoneme blending. 
As shown in the picture, it begins with two posted graphics. When students are listening, I then dictate the word I want them to choose as syllables. For example, I would say, "zip  -  per." The students would then raise their thumb and I would choose a child to come up and place the correct picture in the box. 
To take this a step further, I would then say, "Okay, let's try another without any pictures. What word do you hear now... trac-tor." This ensures that students are getting practice without the extra scaffolding that the pictures offer and that higher-performing students are being challenged a little more

Counting Syllables is a student favorite in my summer school class. During this practice, I first reveal the word by putting up the card. I say the word, students repeat, they "clap-it-out" and "chin-count." They then know to hold up their thumb. I choose a student to demonstrate the clapping and counting and they get to come up and add the number next to the picture. I do take this skill a step further by asking them to produce other words with two syllables. 

 Beginning Sound Recognition:

In this part, I simply have the two pictures on the bottom already up. When we get to this section, I then reveal the first word (hand). I do slow down the first sound for students to hear (if they need this extra help) and then dictate the other two words. When students get better at the skill, they won't need that. They then identify the right word and I have them come up. 
After that, we go around and produce other words that begin with that sound (/h/ in this instance).  

This part is identical to beginning sound recognitoin except for ending sounds. Becuase this skill is a little tougher, we do slap out the sounds of the words on our arm. (First sound is near the shoulder, second sound in the elbow, last sound on the wrist.) We catch that last sound and then test the other words to see which has the same ending sound. Once students get a solid understanding of this skill, we discontinue the slapping-out part. 

My product is very unique. I know this because I searched for something like it to use in my classroom and nothing surfaced. After using it in my Summer-School Classroom, I know its abilities and have seen a difference in my students. 

Would you like to have a free copy? If so, follow my BLOG and comment with your thoughts and e-mail and I'll choose three lucky winners to get this first set for FREE. Right in time for the new school year. You'll only be required to tell me about your endeavors with it. I'll choose the winners on July 18th and notify you by e-mail. 

Like my FB page for another chance to win as well! (Click on the FB symbol at the top of my blog.) These are two separate chances, both yeilding 3 winners each. That is a total of 6 WINNERS! :)


Monday, April 28, 2014

Obsessed with Kindergarten Door Decorations

You know what one of my biggest infatuations with the Teaching Profession was before I graduated college? Decorating my OWN classroom door! I literally COULD NOT WAIT! (I can hear the tenured Teachers laughing and rolling out of their chairs this very second.) I basically daydreamed about my plans to cover my door with magnificent d├ęcor. When I finally landed my own door, I would have the most lavish decorations imaginable. Yep, that was my plan and I had it all figured out. Well, guess what college kids? That plan was quickly aborted sometime around August the 1st! Real-life set in within the blink of an eye and former ideas passed away. 

When you have been in a classroom with 27 rambunctious little ones all day, staying after school with a huge roll of paper and a hot glue gun isn't as lovely as it once sounded.  Especially when you are relied on to provide the sole foundation of their entire learning experience within one school year! Not to mention Common Core Standard aligned lesson planning, new-Teacher training and countless ours of PD and Program Review! Shew, the last thing on my mind now is the flimsy paper hanging from my door.

But, regardless of my new grudge against the act of  door decorating, I still find it to be an important aspect to my job. It is not something I'm paid to do, but something worth putting the effort into for the betterment of my classroom environment. The door facing is what welcomes my Students' into their classroom, it is something they walk by every day on the way in and on the way out.  Why would it not be important to make this an appealing aspect of our classrooms?  So yeah, I somehow manage (within all the craziness) to put my big girl britches on and get it done!

So, today I'm sharing my favorite doors from my first year of Teaching. I worked hard on them whether I enjoyed the time involved or not. I'm proud to say not one of them went unappreciated by the little ones that this door closes in every day.  That is the most important thing anyway, right? <3

This is my very first door of the year, from the time I still had that glimmer in my eye that represented a complete misunderstanding and underestimation of what the real life of a Teacher is like. LOL. This door went along with our Looney Tunes theme. I had Buggs Bunny, a childhood favorite. I really enjoyed preparing it for my new Kinders and even had some help from a great Teacher friend. That was an exciting time for me, and a time when I had not the slightest idea about what I was actually getting in to. :)

This is a door for our Red Ribbon (Drug-Free) theme. I found the skeletons at the Dollar General for $1 a piece (SCORE!).  I made the slogan up from there. Then, this next idea spawned from that and EVERYONE loved it, especially my students!!!  "We're not Boneheads, We're DRUG FREE!" I joked with my co-workers that this is a picture of me from when I was a few pounds lighter. LOL!!

  As if putting my students heads on skeletons wasn't cute enough, we did this next. I made a template for them to create their own Penguin and put their little heads on those too!! Cute!!! Waddling into Winter is a theme I found online, but I just decided to put my own little twist on it. It lasted me from November to around February!

Here is the STUDENT FAVORITE door of the year. One parent walked by my room and announced, "You know you just turned your whole room into a circus fun-house, right?" Yeah, she was right. Every day I left it up for them was a WILD day! LOL. 

Even though we had a ton of snow during the months of January, February and March, I still managed to get up a quick Lorax door for Dr. Seuss week! Yay! 

Here is my door right now. We are testing next week and our Kick-Off theme is Disney. I quickly decided on Disney's UP. In my opinion, it is one of the best films of ALL time, animated or not. I love the slogan some friends helped me to develop. "We're flying UP to Distinguished!" Yeah buddy!

So, that is a glimpse at some door decorating action from this past year. I wonder if I'll find the time or energy to put effort into one more before summer?

We'll see I guess! :)

God Bless! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Free CVC Center: Rattle, Roll & Read

Mondays are tough. No Primary Teacher could look you straight in the eye and deny it. So, I'm hoping to brighten your first-day-back-after-a-short-and-restless-weekend just a bit! Personally, nothing brightens my day better than finding a great Free Resource online that I can use with my students.  It is like instant smiley emoticon, truly. So, I'm spreading the love on this Manic Monday. :)
This is a center that I introduced to my students a few weeks ago and they really seem to enjoy it. I call it, "Rattle, Roll & Read!" 

You will need: 
  • Cheap Foam Dice: One color for consonants, different color for vowels (I heard Dollar Tree has them but I got mine from a Math training.) 
  • Cups (Dollar Tree!)
  • Printer & Lamination (if desired)
So, I initially began writing random letters on the dice until I realized the possibility that a bad word may pop up. I could just here 27 astonished gasps filling the atmosphere. It would be tragic for my center-management skills. Ha! So, I very tenderly thought about my letters and left out any bad-word-inducing combinations that I could think of. :) 

After I had my letters written on the cubes, center cards printed (and laminated) and cups purchased... I let my darlings go to town! (In case you are unaware of my country-fied slang, that means I let them loose to play with it.) They really enjoy it, especially the RATTLING part. Any excuse to make excessive noise (that doesn't immediately get shot down by me) is a win for my kiddies. 

And here are a few of my beauties enjoying the game: 

Here is a good shot of the RECORDING SHEET that is included in this freebie. Students have to decide whether the word they rattled & rolled is a real or silly word. It really shows each students abilities to blend and recognize random CVC words.

I've included two versions of the center mat. One for those ink-drinkers like myself, who have to have everything in vibrant color. And, a version for those smart ink-savers, who know that it doesn't really matter either way.  

Here is the full Recording Sheet: 

I hope this freebie will be enjoyed by many! Follow this link to get your copy from my TpT Store: Rattle, Roll & Read: Free CVC Literacy Center

God Bless!! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easter Centers for Kindergarten and My Kindergarten Math Buddy!

Shew, I thought I could find time to blog at least every month. Apparently, I was wrong! (As I often am.) :) But here I am again, on a weeknight, ready to spill my heart out to the wonderful people in Blog land. I read so many blogs on a daily basis, shouldn't it count for PD credit or something? ;)

I was just going to give a peek inside of my new Easter Activities and Centers Pack. My students have not used this resource yet, but it will be introduced on Monday and placed in our Center tubs for our Easter Theme next week! It is something I created to fit the personalities, strengths and needs of my own Kinderoos. If you find it useful, that just makes it all the better!

I used some super cute Easter Clip Art I found here on TpT by the Enlightened Elephant. It was love at first glance. <3

 One of my favorite activities from the set is this Easter Basket CVC Word game!! I just love playing it myself, so I really can't wait to introduce my students to it. They love anything colorful, and they are totally mastering their CVC word skills right now!

My students are also very fluent with rhyming words, so I created this egg-match activity for their independent center work. If your kids aren't as fluent, it would be very easy to write matching numbers or letters on the back of the rhymes for self-check purposes. This is great for multiple-levels of learners because it has the picture cues as well as the CVC word. I KNOW this will be a hit! My kids love any puzzle-like activity.

We are just beginning our endeavors with addition. They are getting pretty great at it thus far, so I wanted to get an Easter Math Center prepared for next week. Since they aren't experts yet, I will be writing answers on the back of the carrot cards just for self-check purposes. I will also only be using the Sums to Five for the majority of my class, and will have Sums to 10 available for my highest center group. This game is called Feed the Hungry Bunny! I love the CLIP ART! I could stare at it's beautiful colorfulness all day! :) 

Here is another Math Center. It is simply an Easter-Themed Twenty-Frame Center. At this point, my kids do sometimes struggle with their teen numbers so I find this to be great practice. Plus, I just love ten frames and so do my students. I try to use them several times a week, just because they help my darlings to visualize numbers so easily. It has truly deepened their understanding. Here is the center. I think this will also be a great "rabbit trap". (That is a Dr. Jean term. If you haven't heard her story behind it, Google it ASAP!) 

This packet also includes some of the best printable sheets I've ever created! They are ADORABLE and yes, they are kid tested! (I tried, but could not wait until Easter week to use them!) Here are some of my smarties and their work on the "Label the Easter Picture" sheet.

Here are some of the other sheets that are included. So cute! (Did I mention that I LOVE THIS EASTER CLIP ART!??!?!)

All in all, I think this pack is going to make for a great week for my kiddos. They love any holiday, and Easter is such a special time. I am looking so much forward to our upcoming learning experiences! 

Visit this Link if you are interested in purchasing my Kindergarten Easter Activity/Center Pack! 

:) :) :) :) 
On another totally random note, I also want to share another product I created a while back but haven't implemented completely in my room. It is called "My Kindergarten Math Buddy." It came along after a suggestion from my classroom volunteer, Ronnie. 

It was the very first time I presented a "Before and After" number activity to my students and they bombed it! At that time, they had no clue how to count backwards and I had NO IDEA. That was a big ole' eye opener for me, in case you haven't had it happen to you before. After seeing their struggle, Ronnie suggested the idea of providing each student with a 100 chart to keep handy at their desk. (We have one in our room, but it isn't big enough or convenient enough for each student to view as needed. That is something on my to-do-as-soon-as-possible-list.) As a result of Ronnie's idea, I created this and I adore it! I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner. Although she refuses to take credit, RONNIE... THIS WAS YOUR IDEA!! :) <3 <3 <3

This "Math Buddy" has so many components that will assist my Kindergarten kids throughout the year. I simply printed the pages, pasted them to a file folder, and laminated. Easy-Peasy Lemon Squeezy!
This is the back cover: 

  These are great to pop right into their little desks so they can have them handy when they need them. It is a great way to differentiate instruction and assessments and provide accommodations for special learners.  

Visit this Link if you are intersted in purchasing a "My Kindergarten Math Buddy!"

As I said before, I created this for my students. But, if you purchase this from my store and find that you need different/more components, I would be glad to add additional pages based on your needs! Just email me your requests at 

I'm going to go into a Kindergarten-Teaching Induced Coma any minute now. Better wrap this up before I face plant into the keyboard. :D 

God Bless!!