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! :)