August 15, 2017

Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Fluency & Fitness Brain Breaks?

Did you know that Fluency & Fitness could be used in multiple ways? I'm going to show you a variety of ways to use your Fluency & Fitness resources so you get the most bang for your buck!
What is Fluency & Fitness?
In case you've never heard of Fluency & Fitness, let's first start by learning what it is. I created Fluency & Fitness years ago as a way to help students get up out of their seats to MOVE while still learning! Our school was very strict on making every moment count. I wanted to make sure that this brain break was also educational, therefore it didn't take away from our instructional time. Students are loving the chance to get up and move and they don't even realize their learning! ;) This idea for my classroom has slowly grown into bundles for over 50 literacy and math skills and ranges from preK through 5 grade. Read below to see how you can help your students get their bodies and brains moving!

5 Ways to use Fluency & Fitness
1. Slideshow
The most common way to play Fluency and Fitness is as a slideshow. You do not have to have a smart board to play; a projector is all you need! You can simply project it onto your screen or just use your whiteboard. You get to choose how fast/slow you click through the slides, but can add timers as well (see below).
This can be used during your literacy and math block, for morning meeting, transitions, inside recess, or simply just a brain break any time your kiddos need to get some energy out!
Here's a little preview of some Fluency & Fitness in action! Visit my YouTube page here to see more videos.

2. Literacy and Math Center Tubs
One way to use Fluency & Fitness for center time, is to print out the slides and throw them in a container. When students draw an exercise card, they can do the exercise 5 times or for 5 seconds. They can then keep the card and another student can have a turn. Keep playing until all cards are gone. You can decide if you want just the 1 student to do the exercise or all of the students in that group to get up for a quick brain break.
I print 6 or 9 slides per page so they are smaller in size.
3. Ipads
Did you know that you can play Fluency & Fitness on your iPad. This could be helpful for individual student use, small groups, parent volunteers working with students in the hall, or if you have Apple TV and want to use the airplay option. 
Directions to get Fluency & Fitness on your iPad:
  • Since the files are uploaded as .zip documents, you will need to download an app to unzip the folder on your iPad such as iZip. This app will extract the files from the folder, so you can open each file individually. 
  • Make sure you have Powerpoint downloaded on your iPad as well. You will want to open the files in Powerpoint so they show up in the correct format.
  • Students can click the "play" button at the top of the Powerpoint file, to play the slideshow.  
I made this tutorial to show you how to do this. 
4. Computer Center or Home Use
You can use Fluency & Fitness again for centers if you have a computer station. Students could simply play the slideshow on their computer and do the exercises by their seat. It can also be used at home with your own little ones! My nephew asks to do Fluency & Fitness when I'm babysitting him! Right after breakfast, he was ready to learn. :) 

5. Assessments
Sometimes doing assessments can be very time consuming and boring for your students. Now you can use Fluency & Fitness to test your student's knowledge! Simply print out this FREE assessment sheet for each of your students. Instead of doing this whole group, students will do it individually at their seat. As you go through the slideshow, students will write the answer in the boxes.  Here are a few examples: if the screen shows a math fact, students will write down the answer to the problem, if it shows a 10 frame, students could write down the number, if it shows a picture, students could write the beginning sound, etc. You can grab this FREE assessment sheet here
Grab a bundle:
After many requests, I started making bigger bundles of Fluency and Fitness so teachers can buy everything they'd use for their subject or grade level in 1 bundle. So far I have these BIG bundles: PreK, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, Reading (K-2), Math (K-2), Spanish, and my MEGA bundle. The MEGA bundle gives you ALL of my K-2 sets, bonus extras (see below) and any new sets I add to that bundle, you get for FREE!!! 

MEGA Fluency & Fitness Bonuses
If you own the MEGA bundle, you get a few BONUS items! This Fluency and Fitness game gives your students some small group practice on skills and gives them a chance to get a small brain break if they land on a certain square.
Another MEGA bundle bonus, are these exercise flashcards. Anytime throughout the day that your students seem to be getting a bit silly, you can simply hold up a card and have them stop working and do the exercise.

The MEGA bundle also includes an EDITABLE version so you can make your own games! 
Are you still not sure if Fluency & Fitness is right for your classroom? You can try this Alphabet version for FREE here!!!
I hope that you have discovered some new ways to use your Fluency & Fitness resources with your students. It's always nice to be able to buy 1 product and use it multiple ways!

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can I add timers to the slides?
    • One thing that I felt was important, was to let the teacher be in control of the game. I do not have timers on the slideshows because I like to click through the slides slower as students learn the skill, and then faster as they are at mastery level. It makes it exciting for students to try to be faster than me once we get clicking fast. :) Don't worry, for those teachers that don't want to have to click the slides and want to walk away from the computer to participate in the fun or just get a quick minute to do other tasks, I have created a video here showing you how to easily add your own timers. 
  • Can I add music to the slides?
    • YES! Due to copyright laws, I am not allowed to include music in a slideshow in this format. I have created another video here showing you how to add your own music. Honestly, I don't even use music when we play. Some teachers just use their phone or a CD player during the exercise slides. Just do what works best for your kiddos!
  • Is this editable?
    • No, yes, and sort of :) My MEGA Fluency & Fitness Bundle is the only one that does include an editable powerpoint where you can type in your own words or create your own set. The other bundles allow for you to move the Powerpoint slides around so they are in a different order each time you play if you'd like, but you cannot edit any of the content. 
  • Why should I buy the MEGA Fluency & Fitness Bundle?
    • The MEGA bundle is the biggest value. It's my most discounted Fluency & Fitness bundle and it contains all of the math and literacy bundles I've made for grades K-2. Since it's a growing bundle, you will also receive any new reading/math K-2 sets I make and can download the new ones for FREE!!! The MEGA bundle is best for people that work with multiple grade levels, would like to have resources for their high and low students, would like to have a resource in case they change grade levels, or simply would like to save money buying 1 bundle compared to multiple smaller bundles. You also receive some BONUS resources that are not included in other bundles (editable version, game board, exercise flashcards) 
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Fluency & Fitness can be used as a classroom brain break or you can add it to iPads for individual or small group use. It's a great way to incorporate technology in the classroom while helping students learn and have fun!
Fluency & Fitness can be used as a classroom brain break or thrown into literacy centers and math centers so students can have fun learning! There are over 50 literacy and math bundles (preK-5th grade) to choose from.
Fluency & Fitness can be used as a classroom brain break or thrown into literacy centers and math centers so students can have fun learning! There are over 50 literacy and math bundles (preK-5th grade) to choose from.
Try this Alphabet Fluency & Fluency for FREE! Fluency & Fitness can be used as a classroom brain break to help students have fun learning! There are over 50 literacy and math bundles (preK-5th grade) to choose from.title
Fluency & Fitness can be used as a classroom brain break or thrown into literacy centers and math centers so students can have fun learning! There are over 50 literacy and math bundles (preK-5th grade) to choose from.

July 27, 2017

Kindergarten Assessments Using Data Folders

Do you dread report card time? It can be very time consuming to pull each student back and give assessments. I have an assessment system that I use that I find helpful in organizing student work and checking their progress. 

A few years ago, our district implemented data dashboards. We have to have a bulletin board graphing the progress of the class as a whole on certain skills. I decided to also create individualized folders for students to track their own data as well.
Instead of pulling students back all at once in October for report cards, I work with students individually periodically to see how they are progressing. Sometimes I work with them at center time so they don't even know I'm assessing them! One thing I love, is having all of a child’s assessment data in 1 spot! This makes it very easy if a parent or administrator has a question about how a kid is doing. I can also have my aide or parent volunteer take the folder to see what skills that particular students needs to work on.
For the cover of the folders, I use full sheet labels that I got a Office Depot. I also found them on Amazon below. Of course, you can just glue them on too. I have a variety of covers, so you can customize a folder to your student’s skin color and hair color. :)

I have tracking sheets included in the folder for things such as letters, beginning sounds, sight words, and numbers. My Kindergarten Assessment & Data Folders set includes some flashcards as well to use with these tracking sheets.
You can find these alphabet flashcards for FREE in my TPT store here

I use different colors of pens and crayons to graph the results and show how students are progressing.
I think it is very important to let the students color in the graph. This helps them take ownership and pride in their work and progress.
The folder contains very basic Kindergarten skills and doesn’t include every single thing I need for report card time, but these are the basic skills I felt that I needed to test verbally. I can use other worksheets to test number sense, math facts, etc. therefore I didn’t include that in the folder.
The Dolch Primer sight words are the list I used for this file since it is a common list. However, since we all dont teach the same sight words, I created an editable file so you can edit the sight word tracking sheet and the sight word flashcards.
I’m sure you have your own set of assessment sheets for report card time, but hopefully giving you the idea of creating individualized folders will help save you time by having everything for each kid all in 1 place. If you're interested in my Data Dashboard folders, you can find them here. Do you have any tips/tricks for assessment time?

April 9, 2017

Easter Fluency Find It

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 Easter Fluency Find It in action in a few classrooms. The CVCe words are from the Kindergarten bundle and the Place Value game is from the 1st grade bundle. 

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 Bunny run down to the Easter basket. :) 

Differentiation
I've included 2 ways to play: timed slides or manual slides depending on how fluent your students are in that skill. This is the CVCe game in the Kindergarten bundle.
Literacy & Math Skills
Each bundle includes 5 different games to work on a variety of reading and math skills. It also includes an editable version so you can make your own! :) 

Below is the place value game from my 1st grade bundle. 
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, you can check out all of my Fluency Find It games here, along with my GROWING bundles! 

March 27, 2017

10 More Ways to Practice Sight Words

Teachers are always on the hunt for new ways to help their students learn, review, and practice their sight words. I previously did a blog post with 10 ways to practice sight words, which you can read here. I keep seeing teachers ask for sight word activities in some of our Facebook groups, so I wanted to show you even MORE ideas to use. Some of these may be things you've done in the past and just forgot about, some may be new ideas. Either way, now you'll have 20 activities to do whole group, small group, or independently at centers, so your students never get bored.  
Sight Word Towers - Simply write sight words on small cups. I found these baby solo cups at Target. Students will read the word and then build a tower. They can read them again as they take it down.

Hide and Seek - Students can play this game in pairs. One student hides a bear under a cup. Then, the other student has to name a sight word to guess where the bear is hiding. I like finding multi uses for materials I buy for the classroom, so use these cups in a variety of ways!

Mystery Words - Write words on white paper with a white crayon. Students paint over the words with watercolors to make the mystery words appear. This is by far a favorite activity!

Find the... - Put some sight words in a pocket chart. The students in the group will cover their eyes, while 1 student hides the picture behind a word. The other students then have to guess words until they find the picture. Whoever finds the picture, gets to hide it next. Simply change out the image for each month and you can use this center all year! 

Bead the Word - Students can build words with letter beads. Use pipe cleaners, so they stay in place. I like these letter beads from Amazon here. (affiliate link)

Bend and Spell - You can use pipe cleaners, yarn, wikki stix, etc. to have student simply bend the pieces into letters so they can spell a word.
Playdoh - Playdoh is a great way to incorporate fine motor skills while learning sight words. If you put a sight word list in a sheet protector, they can make off the words as they go.

MagnetsMagnets are always a fun and easy way to work on words. Use a variety of sets, so students recognize different fonts. I have a huge drip pan I got in the automotive section at Walmart to make a really big magnetic center.

Letter Tiles - Some reading series come with letter tiles which you can have students use to build words. If you don't have any, you can find some for only $10 on Amazon here. (affiliate link)

Scrabble - This scrabble spelling is similar to using the letter tiles above to spell out words. However, if your students are able to, they can also then add the numbers together to see how much their word is worth. This is a great way to incorporate math and reading together! You can use normal scrabble pieces, but these are some giant scrabble pieces that my college found at JoAnn Fabrics one Summer.
Hopefully you've got a whole new collection of ideas to try out with your students to make learning and practicing sight words a bit more engaging!

Don't forget to check out my other post here with more fun ways to practice sight words!

March 13, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Fluency Find It

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 St. Patrick's Day Fluency Find It in action in a classroom. This is the Kindergarten counting by 10s 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 Leprechaun run down to the pot of gold. :) 

Differentiation
I've included 2 ways to play: timed slides or manual slides depending on how fluent your students are in that skill. This is the counting by 10s game in the Kindergarten bundle.
Literacy & Math Skills
Each bundle includes 5 different games to work on a variety of reading and math skills. It also includes an editable version so you can make your own! :) 

These students are playing the contractions game from my 1st grade bundle. 
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, you can check out all of my Fluency Find It games here, along with my GROWING bundles! 

March 1, 2017

Building Words Literacy Center Game

Teaching students how to build words can help them on letter sounds, spelling, blending, and reading. I use these building word cards throughout the entire year to help students word on reading simple words, but to also have them identify beginning, middle, and ending sounds. I love how these cards are differentiated, so I can meet the needs of all of my little learners. 
At the beginning of the year, we work on beginning sounds. I give students a card and have them look at the picture clue first. We then practice listening for the first sound in the word. After students say the sound, they then identify what the letter is, and hunt for that letter.  For students that are ready to work on reading simple words, we'll point to each sound and start to blend the word. 

All the cards are differentiated so you can meet the needs of your students. One set of cards has dotted letter clues for kids to simply match up the letter, while the other set has an empty box so students have to figure out the missing sound on their own. You can use any kid of letter tiles, letter beads, magnets etc. I'll provide the affiliate links, so you can find the ones I like to use in case you need some for your room.  I found these white letter tiles on Amazon here
After your students master beginning sounds, you can start on the ending sounds cards. Since students will already know how to play this game, you can easily throw it in your centers and tell them this time they are working on ending sounds. I like using similar games throughout the year because it makes planning easy on me and giving instructions for new centers easy on the kids! These alphabet letters are actually beads, so besides using them for this activity, students can string these beads to word on building words, sequencing the alphabet, practicing their names, etc. I found them on Amazon here. I have the uppercase set, but it'd be nice to get the lowercase set as well so students are building the words correctly. 
When you are ready to teach short vowel sounds, you can whip out these middle sound cards.
Each set of cards comes with a recording sheet as well. Students will write down the missing sound they found to build their word. This is a nice way to hold your students accountable for their work while they are at centers.
You can find this Building Words Bundle in my TPT store here

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.