February 14, 2017

Sight Word Books for Pre-Primer Dolch Words with a FREEBIE

Sight words are an important skill for students to master. If students are able to recognize many sight words while reading, it can help aide in their comprehension and build confidence. In Kindergarten, students are still learning how to decode words, but if they can recognize some of the words on the page already, they will feel like they are readers! These sight word books are a great way to help students learn how to become readers. 
I like to use these sight word stories in small group to work on the focus sight word(s) of the week. We practice with this book for a few minutes each day of small group. This Sight Word Stories bundle includes 40 books to work on the words from the Dolch Pre-Primer List. I've included a 5 day lesson plan in this bundle to give you an idea of how to use these stories. You can also combine the lessons and do a few lessons in 1 day.
Each book has 4 pages of simple sentences. The sentences are repetitive with only 1 or 2 words changing, therefore students can start to predict the text. This also helps build in confidence in reading! Students can use the picture clues to help them figure out the tougher words. We read this book all week doing choral reading, partner reading, and independent reading. For added fun, have students highlight the sight word on each page.
At the end of each book is an interactive page where students can color, trace, and build the sight word. I like to let students use skinny markers to trace the words because it writes similar to a pencil, but is more exciting!
To save on printing, each page has 4 books. After the week is over, I let students take the book home to read to their families or put in their book box for read to self/read to a partner. They love having a book of their own! You can find these sight word books in my TPT store here.
If you'd like to try a FREE sample of the "see" book, you can find it in my TPT store here.

January 29, 2017

Why I LOVE my Treadmill Desk

First, I want to start by saying I am not getting paid to do a review on my treadmill desk, nor did I get my treadmill desk for free (I wish!). This is a 100% honest review. I simply have had many teachers ask me how I'm liking my treadmill desk, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you. I'll answer a few of the most common questions I have received. 
What treadmill desk did you buy?
I did some research before purchasing a treadmill desk and found many great reviews for the LifeSpan Treadmill Desks. I thought for the money, features, and positive reviews, it was the best option for me. I decided to go with the LifeSpan TR1200-DT7 Treadmill Desk which you can find here. It is pricey at $1,499, but I have put on about 20lbs since I left the classroom 3 years ago, and needed something to get me off of my butt. I sit on my computer for hours and work on TPT and on my husband's business. I do not like to work out, so I figured this was a great way to get me up and moving, while having the ability to stay productive. I knew I'd be wasting money on a gym membership, so I decided to invest in this instead. I also priced regular treadmills and they weren't that much cheaper. 

There is another treadmill desk (LifeSpan TR1200-DT5) for $200 less, but the desk itself has to be moved manually up and down instead of electronically. I knew that if I wanted to take a break from walking and a put a chair on the treadmill to sit for a bit, it'd be nice to just push a button and lower the desk. I read reviews that the DT5 was a bit hard to move up/down by yourself. 
Is there enough room to work?
Here is what the desk looks like. I got the gray color, but it does come in 4 colors. The desk comes in 38" and 48" sizes. I went with the 38" desk because my office is kind of small, and I figured with just a laptop, that would be plenty of room.
What features does this treadmill desk have?
Here is what the control screen looks like. You can keep track of your time, distance, steps, calories burned, and speed. I never used a FitBit or Apple watch to keep track of my steps, because I knew I was always sitting on my butt all day working and wouldn't have even gotten close to 10,000 steps. I didn't need something tracking how lazy I am. :) Now, I love seeing how many steps I have in! I've even gotten over 21,000 steps in one day.  Since I work from home, I typically get in 4-6 miles a day with some days going up to 8+ miles! 

If you hit the stop/reset button on the treadmill to take a break, it will keep all of your information on the screen. I really like this feature, because I may walk for 3 different segments throughout the day, and then I can see how many calories/steps/miles/etc. I did for that entire day. You can hold down the stop/reset button and it will clear all of your info, so you can start from 0 if you'd like. I reset it each day. 
How big is the treadmill desk?
The whole treadmill desk measures about 69"x38". Remember I said my office was kind of small, so I knew this would look a bit big in the room. I figured it'd be worth it to get me off my butt! :) I think it took my husband about 45min or so to put this whole thing together.
How fast do you walk?
I read most people typically walk at 1.5mph. I'm a fast walker as it is, just ask my past students; they were always way behind me in line LOL! I was walking at 2mp to get used to working and walking. I didn't have any trouble focusing or learning how to work and walk. After a week of walking at 2mph, I decided to try 2.5mph. This is a great pace for me: not too fast, not too slow. It does go up to 4mph, so you can find what pace fits you. The 4mph is more of a speed walk, so I wouldn't recommend it for working. However, 4mph was too slow to run. These treadmills are not meant for running. I will also say that it seems fairly quiet. I can have my TV on in the background and hear it just fine without having to turn the volume way up.

Is it hard to work and walk?
For me, not at all! I don't have a problem creating resources, answering e-mails, writing blog posts, etc. I can honestly say that I feel more focused working. Yes, I take breaks to go run errands, sit and watch TV, eat, etc. because of course those are the benefits of working from home and having a flexible schedule. However, I used to sit on the couch and work (even though I did have an office) and I found I would get distracted easily. It could be the fact that I'm getting more oxygen to my brain to help me focus, my determination to lose weight, or just the fact that I truly enjoy walking and working. I NEVER wanted to work out, so this is perfect for me. I get so focused on TPT sometimes, that I forget I'm even walking.
I have recommended this treadmill desk to my sister who also works from home, to other full time TPTers, and to other teachers that would like to just move a bit more without having to lose their time to work. You can easily grade papers, lesson plan, blog, etc. while walking.

You can search the LifeSpan website here, to see what options are best for you. If you already have a standing desk, you may just want to buy the treadmill to go under it. They also have bike desks as well.

Let me know if you have any more questions that I can answer! This was a big purchase, and I was nervous about it, but it has turned out to be worth every penny!

January 12, 2017

Companion Activities for 6 Popular Winter Books

Even though I'm not a big fan of Winter, some of my favorite children's books are read in the Winter such as The Gingerbread Man, The Polar Express, and the Mitten. These books are so much fun to read, that I like to use them for a whole week. I created a Winter Stories Bundle with some activities to go along with 6 popular books many teachers read in December and January. This way you can teach with this book all week long. I will include affiliate links to these books on Amazon in case you don't have any of these. 
Each bundle includes the same activities, so you students will start to learn what to do without you having to explain the directions over and over. 

Activities included
• teacher large vocabulary/retelling cards in color
• student small vocabulary/retelling cards in b/w
• full sheet poem/quote from the book (color or b/w) 
• small poem/quote from the book (b/w with image)
• small poem/quote from the book (b/w without image, students illustrate it)
• sequencing cut & paste worksheet
• student book (shortened summary of the book)
• comprehension quiz

Students enjoy having their own set of puppets/vocabulary cards to retell each story. They also enjoy making the small books, so they have their own version to read during reading time or to take home to their family to read. I like using the comprehension quiz and sequencing worksheet so I can see if students were listening to the stories and comprehending what was happening. 
Some teachers read The Gingerbread Man at the beginning of school and send their kids on a hunt (tour of the school) to find the Gingerbread Man. I like to read many of the Gingerbread series books in December. We always start with the original The Gingerbread Man before adding some of the newer Gingerbread titles. It's a fun story about a Gingerbread Man cookie who tries to run away from everyone so he doesn't get eaten. 
The Gingerbread Girl is such a cute book about her getting revenge on the fox for eating her brother The Gingerbread Man. 
The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett is adorable and always a student favorite as it has a new twist on the gingerbread cookie trying to escape. 
The last week of school in December, we read The Polar Express and watch the movie on our last day before break.  Students enjoy this book because a little boy gets to ride a train to the North Pole and receives the 1st gift of Christmas!
Another great book from Jan Brett is The Mitten. It's a cute story about a boy who drops his mitten in the snow and many animals try to climb inside to stay warm.
I couldn't find this exact book for sale anymore, but I did find another Frosty the Snowman book if you need it. This book has a fun song to go with it and the story sparks students excitement about a snowman coming to life to play. 
You can find all of these activities for each individual story, or you can buy the whole Winter Stories Bundle and save $$$! 

December 28, 2016

Best of 2016 TPT Sale

I'm joining some friends to put some of our best selling resources from 2016 on SALE! Simply type in the hashtag #bestof2016sale into your TPT search bar and find some of the best resources out there! 
Not surprisingly, my Fluency & Fitness sets are 8 out of my top 10 best sellers. My #1 best selling resources of 2016 was my Addition & Subtraction Fluency & Fitness set. Teachers and students are loving these sets because kids can get up out of their seats to move and exercise without losing instructional time! 
My #2 best seller was my Writing Center Primary Bundle. This bundle has many resources to help your students become better writers and it has a variety of writing sheets. This writing center can provide your students with a CHOICE of what they want to write about. 
Read more about my writing center here
More Fluency & Fitness sets take up spots 3-8. My Dolch Words Fluency & Fitness set is #3. 


My #9 best seller of 2016 are my Silent e Flip Strips. These strips help students read CVC words, then they can flip over the "e" to read the CVCe word. This easy concept helps students learn that words can be changed from a short vowel to long vowel by adding e to the end of the word. You can read more about some silent e activities here
   
These top 10 best sellers of 2016 are in my TPT store here and are 20% OFF until January 30th! Any easy way to search for more top selling resources of 2016, is to type in the hashtag #bestof2016sale into your TPT search bar.

December 16, 2016

Secret Santa Blog Hop GIVEAWAY

I'm joining my friends at The Elementary Entourage for our Secret Santa Blog Hop. We are sharing some of our favorite resources and spreading the holiday spirit with some freebies, sales, and giveaways!
I LOVE my new Fluency Find Its series because it incorporates movement and team building into your literacy and math lessons. These fun holiday themed games work on essential reading and math skills that students should be fluent in for each period of the year, while giving them a chance to get out of their seats and move a little bit. 
Here's a little preview of my Christmas Fluency Find It in action in a classroom. This is the addition game, but it comes with 4 other skills too. 
How to Play:
Students get in small groups and stand behind their table with their worksheet in front of them. Students will say what they see on the screen, then hunt for the answer on their paper. After a couple of turns, a screen will pop up prompting students to switch players. The student finding the answers, will go to the end of the line. The switch spots screen is animated so they can watch the Santa run down the chimney. :) 

Differentiation
I've included 2 ways to play: timed slides or manual slides depending on how fluent your students are in that skill. 
Literacy & Math Skills
This Kindergarten bundle includes 5 different games to work on a variety of reading and math skills (beginning sounds, middle vowel sounds, ending sounds, addition to 5, and missing numbers to 10). It also includes and editable version so you can make your own! :) 

You can find Fluency Find It bundles for K & 1st in my TPT store here
Recording Sheets
Students can play in groups to help each other hunt for the answer on the paper to match what they see on the screen. There are 2 worksheets you can use to differentiate learning if needed. You can have students color, circle, or highlight the answers, write in the answers, or I found some fun stamps to let them mark their answers as well.  

Assessments
You can use this as an assessment and have students play this individually and then when the switch spots screen comes up, they can grab their paper and move to another spot at their table. Collect these at the end to see if kids know their letters, how to write their numbers, etc. 
If you like this idea, I have a GROWING bundle here which will include these games for 7 different holidays but at a bigger discount. Due to many requests, I now have a 1st grade version of this as well!

I am having a GIVEAWAY for my Winter Fluency Find It bundle. You can choose either the Kindergarten or 1st grade bundle if you are chosen as the winner. Just enter below! The giveaway ends Sunday night and the winner will be e-mailed on Monday. 

See what goodies these other bloggers have to offer. 
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December 12, 2016

Santa's Sleigh Book FREEBIE

Have you seen any of the adorable books from Eric James in which he includes different states in the books to make it more familiar to kids? I have the Halloween Scare in Indiana book and knew I had to snatch up the Santa's Sleigh book too! You can find his books on his website or I got this one on Amazon here.
I wanted to create a writing prompt to go along with the story. I like to always have a differentiated option since not all students are on the same level. 
Students can use this version below that has a writing prompt to get students thinking about what kind of treats they would leave for Santa. They can do the writing, then illustrate their picture. 

The other writing prompt is open ended. Students can write about what they want Santa to bring them, their favorite part of the story, what treats they would leave for Santa, etc. 

Just pick up the book for your state and you're ready to go! You can grab these 2 FREE writing prompts here

(I just realized my sample pages in these picture are incorrect because it still has the apostrophe for its, don't worry, the FREEBIES are corrected) :) 

November 30, 2016

Addition & Subtraction FREEBIE w/Toys from the Dollar Tree

As teachers, we LOVE scouring the Dollar Tree for cheap and easy toys and items we can use in the classroom. I ran across this bowling set and jumping frogs game and immediately thought I could use this to work on math facts. Lucky for you, I have created 2 FREE worksheets that can go along with these games!
Here is what the games look like and I found them in the toy aisle.

You can use the jumping frogs game to work on addition. Students grab a handful of frogs and see how many they can get to jump into the pond. They then record how many landed in the pond, how many were outside, and how many that is all together. Differentiate the amount of frogs they use, so they can make up different math problems. 
 
To work on subtraction, you can use the bowling game. Have students set up the bowling pins. They then roll one ball. Next, they will count how many pins they knocked down and record their math equation.
I made a colored and black/white version for each so you can have students use the worksheets, or slip one into a sheet protector so it can be used at a center with a dry-erase marker. Grab this FREEBIE in my TPT store here