December 28, 2015

Learning How to Compare Numbers with a FREEBIE

This is the time in Kindergarten when we start to work on comparing numbers and dig deeper into place value. Do you remember learning comparing numbers using the alligator signs from when you were little? I do! 

To introduce comparing numbers, I created this anchor chart using the alligator mouth to teach "greater than/less than". I saw a similar anchor chart on Pinterest, but couldn't find the original creator. I like this chart because it uses numbers and base 10 blocks to teach comparing numbers and place value. It's a great visual for students to see why 12 is bigger than 3.  It also seems that children remember this skill better when they think of the alligator eating the biggest number. 
This Number Gators video on Youtube is also a fun way to introduce comparing numbers! 
I do not have these, but have seen other teachers use these before and wanted to share them with you because they look awesome!  These Greater Gator Answer Boards are from Really Good Stuff.  They are dry-erase for students to fill in the numbers and then they can move the alligator mouth to show the correct sign.
To start to learn how to compare numbers, I used this FREE Place Value comparison mat from KTP on TPT. I put students into pairs and gave them some manipulatives. Each student grabbed a handful of objects and counted them out. They had to write down the number they had and then fill in the bottom of the mat stating if the numbers were great than, less than, or equal to. Later on, we used the mat with base 10 blocks. 
These boys thought it was so cool they had an equal number.
The card game WAR is a perfect and fun way to work on comparing numbers. My students would even ask to play this during their free time at the end of the day.
Since my class enjoyed playing WAR so much, I created this FREE Snowball Fight comparing numbers game to be played in math centers. Students have to flip over a number card and whoever has the highest number gets to add a snowball (cotton ball) to their snow fort. This works on numbers 1-50.
I used this mClass Math DIBELS bundle each month to help students learn how to find missing numbers, compare numbers, and number fluency. Here's the Winter version that I throw in centers for students to work on comparing numbers 1-20. 
If your class has mastered comparing numbers, you can try this Comparing Numbers Fluency & Fitness. It helps students work on comparing numbers and gives them a chance to get in some movement. It's a Powerpoint slideshow that you simply project onto your wall. Click through the slides and students can either say the biggest number or if they're ready they can say what sign would go in the bubble. When they see an exercise kid, they get to do that exercise until you decide to switch to the next slide. Students LOVE doing these Fluency & Fitness activities because they don't even realize they are learning - they think it's just a fun brain break!!

December 7, 2015

Thank You "Snow" Much Gift Basket w/FREE gift tag

I wanted to get a gift for all the teachers that let me come in to volunteer and take photos/videos for my blog. I know they love when I come in and give them free activities and help their students get some small group time, but I appreciate it just as much. Now that I'm not in the classroom anymore, this is a way for me to get my kid and teaching fix and help students that need a little extra boost.

I came across an idea on Pinterest, but wanted to change it up a bit. I decided to do a snow themed gift basket with some things that can help them relax over their Christmas break. To start, I was going to make some jars filled with white chocolate pretzels, mini Kit Kats, and yogurt raisins and turn them into snowman. I found these mason jars at Target and then got the blue ribbon and buttons at Hobby Lobby.
The jars came with the labels and ribbon for only $4, but since I was going for a snow theme, I decided to change out the ribbon to blue. I added the buttons with some glue dots. I think it might look a bit better with all one type of candy/food, but oh well! This alone would be a very cheap and great gift, however I wanted to add a bit more. 
 
Here are the rest of the items that will go in the basket. I found this adorable snowman mug at Hobby Lobby for 50% off for $5 and the blanket came from Wal-Mart and was about $5 too. 
I found this basket at the Dollar Tree, added all of the gifts, and made up a cute little gift tag that says: Thank You "Snow" Much! The whole basket cost about $20.
You can download this FREE gift tag here to make your own snow themed basket! 

November 29, 2015

3 Ways to use Fluency & Fitness

Have you tried using Fluency & Fitness PowerPoints in your classroom? It's such a fun way to practice reading and math skills, while incorporating exercise. You can use these during your literacy and math blocks, as brain breaks, during transitions, or for indoor recess. Students don't even realize they are learning because they are having so much fun! Many classroom teachers say their students beg to do Fluency & Fitness, which makes my heart so happy!! This was my goal when I created these activities---to make learning fun again! To get more use out of your product, I wanted to show you 3 ways that I use Fluency & Fitness.

#1: PowerPoint Slideshows
Most teachers use Fluency & Fitness as a slideshow where students name what's on the slide (letter, number, sight word, etc). When an exercise slide comes up, they do that exercise. The teacher gets to click from slide to slide, so as students learn the skills you can go slow, and once they master it, you can go faster. You can also stay on the exercise slides as long as you want this way :) 

These kindergarteners are mastering their sight words because they use the Dolch Words Fluency & Fitness Bundle daily!

These 2nd graders are working on their math facts with the Subtraction Fluency & Fitness bundle.

Here's a 2nd grade class doing the Place Value Fluency & Fitness bundle.

Here's a sneak peek at students doing the Letters Fluency & Fitness. Each set of slideshows has a variety of 5 exercises for the students to do: hop on 1 foot, toe touches, jog in place, jumping jacks, and push-ups. For some reason, the kids get SO excited for the push-ups. :) 
Here's a peek at the Missing Numbers Bundle. If you do the Dibles Math assessments, this is a great way to practice for the missing numbers test.
I have a lot of videos of Fluency & Fitness on my Youtube page, if you want to see more of these bundles in action in classrooms.  

#2: Assessments
This class is working on their beginning sounds using the Sound Fluency & Fitness Bundle, but they are taking an assessment as well! As students see what's on the screen, they write down the answer in a box. For this bundle, they write down the letter that goes with the beginning sound in the word. For math facts, they'd write down the answer to the problem. For CVC words, they could write down the vowel they see....so many possibilities! When they see the exercise kid, they get to stand up and do the exercise. Tip: You'll need to make it double sided if you are using a slideshow that has more than 50 slides. 
Simply grab the assessment sheet for FREE here
Students won't even realize they are taking an assessment. :)
#3: Literacy & Math Centers
This CVC Fluency & Fitness is going to be played as a literacy center with the slides being used as flashcards.
This is how I print the slides on my Mac. 
Go to Print --->Print What--->Handouts 6 slides per page. 
They may be a bit small depending on your students, so you may want to print 4 per page. I was trying to save ink. Throw them in a tub and have students pull out a card. They either say the word or do the exercise. I tell the students to do the exercise 5 times since they won't always have a teacher in charge of how long they exercise. 

What's Included in this MEGA Bundle?
-EDITABLE Fluency & Fitness (create your own game!)
-FREE assessment sheet
-FREE game board
-Tips on how to play whole group, use in centers, how to add timers, & how to add music
-Future bundles (K-3) for FREE
-40 bundles (209 activities)

---Reading---
Letter Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Sounds Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Rhyming Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Phoneme Segmentation Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Syllables Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Nonsense Words Fluency & Fitness Bundle
CVC Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Short Vowels Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Silent e Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Blends Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Digraphs Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Long Vowels Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Vowel Patterns Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
R-Controlled Vowels Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Word Families Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Fry's 1st 100 Words Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Fry's 2nd 100 Words Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Fry's 3rd 100 Words Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Dolch Words Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Sight Word Phrases Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Parts of Speech Fluency & Fitness Bundle 

---Math---
Colors & Shapes Fluency & Fitness
Number Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Number Sense Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Patterns Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Graphing Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Even & Odd Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Missing Numbers Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Comparing Number Fluency & Fitness
Subtraction Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Addition Fluency & Fitness Bundles
Missing Addend Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Addition/Subtraction Fluency & Fitness Bundles 
Time Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Money Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Fractions Fluency & Fitness Bundle
Multiplication Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Division Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Place Value Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Skip Counting Fluency & Fitness Bundle 
Division Fluency & Fitness Bundle

This MEGA Bundle includes all of my Reading and Math bundles K-3. You'll save over 4% OFF with this bundle compared to buying the sets individually.  

What Teachers Are Saying...
"This bundle is AMAZING! My kids absolutely love practicing their skills with this fun and engaging fluency practice. This has become a staple in Math and Reading. Won't teach again without it!" - Sofie

"This has become my favorite Tpt purchase. There is so much included in the bundle, and my students are engaged from start to finish. They can't get enough of it, and neither can I!" - Jackie

"My students need to get their wiggles out pretty often, and they love doing Go Noodle videos, but these are taking brain breaks to the next level! I had students begging me to do the slideshow again. Thanks so much!" - Hannah


More Tips/Tricks
Some people have asked how to add timers to the Powerpoint slideshows, so they don't have to click through each slide manually. I made a quick YouTube video showing you how to add timers easily.
Another thing people have asked for is music on the exercise slides. I cannot add music since this is a commercially sold product without having to pay artists/producers/etc. a fortune to be able to use their music. Thanks for understanding. :)  I have however made a video to show you how to add music/sounds for your own classroom use. 
I hope you have found a few new ways to use your Fluency & Fitness activities!

November 17, 2015

Rockin' out Rhymes

Rhyming can be a difficult skill to grasp, but is important for students to learn. Rhyming helps students to hear smaller chunks in words which will help them when decoding words when reading. It improves their phonemic awareness skills too. I used a lot of rhyming centers at the beginning of the year to really give students practice with this skills. 

This Raking up Rhymes game can either use the rhyming cards to hunt for matches or play it as a memory game! It also come with 2 differentiated recording sheets. 
When I went to visit my 4 year old nephew, I took a few of my rhyming games to play with him. These Rhyming Sound Mats help him sort rhyming pictures to the correct mat.
Here's another simple game that can be played as a matching game or Rhyming Memory game. 
This Scoopin' Up Rhymes activity is a bit hard because students have to match up the pictures and words to their correct rhyming word. This can be differentiated so students can match up the words-words, the words-pictures, or all three!
If your students need some movement, you can use these Fluency & Fitness Powerpoints which help students practice rhyming words and get in some exercise. Students look at the bigger picture on the left side of the screen and then say which picture rhymes with it. 
Here are a few FREE website to work on Rhyming. I love the website Professor Garfield! It has a lot of great games to work on phonemic awareness skills. The Meet the Gang Rhyming Words game helps students find a rhyming picture matches. 
To work on reading rhyming words, you can play PBS Kid's Frog's Rhyming Machine.

November 5, 2015

10 Ways to Practice Sight Words

Sight words make up anywhere from 50-75% of words in children's books. By helping students learn sight words, it build confidence in their reading. Sight words are meant to be learned and read with automaticity so students do not have to stop and try to decode that word when reading.  Below are 10 strategies that I used in my classroom to help students get repeated practice with sight words.

I found these keyboards at The Dollar Tree a few years ago and instantly knew I needed them! Students simply draw out a sight word card and type the word. This gives them practice with keyboard skills as well.
Do you get any of the Scholastic magazines? These are a great way for students to "hunt" for sight words. I let them use a Sharpie marker, which of course makes everything more fun!
Go Fish is a popular children's card game, so why not incorporate sight words too? I used this Sight Words Go Fish game that includes pre-primer and primer words. It's also editable so you can enter your own words!
I love the idea of the game hangman, but I didn't want to call it that in class. Instead, we played "build a flower", "build a pumpkin", "build a snowman", etc. We played this game whole group, small group, and with partners sometimes. Students had fun trying to come up with a harder sight word that will trick their friends. :)
This is one of my favorite ideas to work on sight words. When students came into the room they had to High 5 a sight word and say it. I changed a few words out each week and kept some of the harder words up for awhile. Some students would even do this as they left the classroom because they enjoyed doing it! I stood by the door so I could make sure they were saying the word, helping them if they missed it, and making sure they aren't just doing the same word every single time. I found these hand accents in the Target dollar spot a few years ago, but you can find similar ones on Amazon here
Another center that I used for repeated sight word practice was this Rainbow Writing Sight Words game. It's even editable, so you can add your own sight words!!  Students roll a color, choose a sight word, and write the sight word in that color. They continue until all rows are filled. 
Have you heard of the game SPLAT? You say a sight word and the students have to smack the word with a flyswatter. I found this GIANT flyswatter at The Dollar Tree to make this more fun! Let 2 kids compete to find the word the fastest, for added excitement.
Kaboom is an easy game made with popsicle sticks and a small Pringles can. Just cover the can with this FREE paper, write sight words on popsicle sticks, and write KABOOM! on a few of the sticks. Students simply draw out a stick and read the word. If they draw the KABOOM! stick, they have to put all of their sticks back in the container. I put this game in my centers and use it for letters, sight words, numbers, math facts, etc. It's so simple but the students LOOOVE it!
Below are a few ideas to incorporate technology into your sight word practice. You could do this on your Smartboard or with an iPad and Apple TV. I use a wipe off board style app such as Show Me. I write a word on the screen or on the app. Students at their desk have a notebook and paper because they are going to try to write the sight word as many times as they can before the word is erased. I pick a student to be the "eraser". Once the word is erased, students count how many times they wrote it. The ones that had the most then get something special to write with (marker, pen, highlighter). I do this until everyone in the class has something fun to write with. Who knew that writing sight words could be so much fun?!?
Lastly, and one of my favorite way to practice sight words is with this Dolch Words Fluency & Fitness. This Powerpoint projects words onto your wall for students to name. Occasionally, there is an exercise screen to get students up and moving! Teachers get to control how fast or slow they click to go to the next slide. At the beginning of the year, I go slower as students learn the words, and then faster once they are mastering them! They love trying to say the words before I can click to the next slide.
If you teach Fry Words instead, I have bundles for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th 100 words. 
Try this Sight Word Phrases Fluency & Fitness for a bit more of a challenge. 
By using a variety of activities to learn sight words, it keeps the students interested and engaged. Then they'll start bragging at how many words they know how to read in their books! :) You can find 10 MORE sight word ideas with this new blog post I wrote here
If you want more activities, you can find many sight word activities in my TPT store here!

Disclosure: There are some Amazon affiliate links included in this post. 

October 30, 2015

A Halloween Scare in Indiana

If you saw my Instagram post last week, I was really excited when I came across this book A Halloween Scare in Indiana by Eric James at Barnes & Noble. I was looking at books for my upcoming vacation and I always check out the children's section too. I knew my Kindergarten friends would enjoy this book! I made up a quick writing activity to go with it too! 
I visited 2 Kindergarten classrooms earlier this week to read this book and do the writing activity with them. They LOVED seeing all of the Indiana connections and you could see their eyes get big when I mentioned a city name or place they recognized! I gave them time after the book to "turn & talk" to tell each other what they saw in the book from Indiana. What an easy way to teach text to world and text to self connections! This book has a ton of rhyming words and good vocabulary to teach too!!
I had the students write and illustrate their Halloween costume that would scare the monsters away. If they don't dress up for Halloween, then they just came up with a costume they think would scare the monsters. Here's what some of them came up with. 

Ghost
Captain America
Witch
Spider Man
Mummy
It was fun walking around and watching them write independently and I love seeing if I can read their words without them telling me.

There are MANY versions of this Halloween Book for many different states and countries. You can see all the different versions on Eric's website here. It was a lot of fun reading a book with personal connections for the students. 
Get these 2 worksheets for FREE here