Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating Literacy Giveaway!

Wow!  Creation Castle is having a HUGE giveaway to celebrate literacy and Banned Books Week!  There is a total of (6) prize packages for all grade levels- kindergarten to grade 12.  Enter to win literacy packets for your favorite children's books!

I am so happy to be celebrating literacy and am offering my picture book packet for Cloudette as part of the grade 2 prize package! I am joined by several other creative and amazing TpT teacher authorsCheck out this prize package for grade 2!


Click the button below to visit Creation Castle's blog to browse all of the prize packages and to enter the giveaway. Be sure to visit their TpT store to grab some goodies at a 20% discount until tonight!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Customer Appreciation Sale!

As I reflect on the last few months, I am just so very blessed with my blogging and TpT adventures... and... I have YOU to thank!!  I do really sincerely appreciate you all so much for following my little blog and TpT store... for your inspiration, your purchases, and your wisdom.  The TpT and blogging community have helped me to grow professionally and I have made many new friends along the way.
My little sale is a token of my appreciation!  Enjoy!

Autumn Theme Packet for Speech Therapy and Literacy

There's a hint of autumn in the air... leaves are starting to change, the nights are cooler, a golden hue appears on farmers' fields, and pumpkins are everywhere!  With the change of seasons means I had to create a new speech therapy articulation packet for my five year old.

My newest packet focuses on the /k/ and /g/ sounds as they appear in initial, medial, and final position of fall theme words.  Although this was designed for speech therapy, it can also be used for literacy instruction as you teach fall theme words!

My new packet contains:

* (32) fall theme word cards with fall picture and word underneath.

* Two sorting mats. Child reads/repeats word and sorts onto the /k/  or /g/ mat.
*Two make a sentence mats. Child places card at the end of the sentence starter and reads or repeats sentence to use words with targeted sounds in context.
*Brainstorming sheet and stationery for older children to write a story using words from word cards.
*(12) tracing cards for students to trace words using the targeted sounds to reinforce kinesthetic and visual learning.
*If using in a literacy center, students can arrange in alphabetical order, write sentences, or use the word cards as flash cards to learn about fall.  For more fall fun, use the cards to write a language experience story!

I love the adorable graphics I used by Scrappin Doodles, My Cute Graphics, Graphics From the Pond, and Ms. Fultz's Corner.  Tracing letters are by The 3AM Teacher!  Thank you, ladies!

Click the picture at the top of this post to see the listing in my TpT store.

And finally, here's a FREEBIE for you!  Click the picture below to grab two original fall poems that are included in my Pumpkin Patch Dolch Phrases packet. I use these for fun fluency practice and for teaching visualizing. 

May you have a restful weekend and have time to enjoy the beauty of the season!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Picture Books for Children With Selective Mutism

Since first writing about Selective Mutism and my son's struggle with this anxiety disorder, I have received several encouraging messages and comments.  Some have asked how he is progressing this school year, so I wanted to give an update and share a few picture books that we have enjoyed reading that are perfect for the SM child and their friends who may not understand this "shy" child and their inability to speak aloud.  Plus, October is Selective Mutism awareness month, so I thought now is a good time for another post on S.M.

 Selective Mutism Awareness - Chicago, Illinois

First, my five year old has made tremendous progress these last three years and is now whispering to almost all his teachers this year in kindergarten!  This is his third year at his school where he attended the 3 and 4 year old preschool classes.  So, he feels very comfortable, the faculty is familiar to him, and several of his friends from previous years are in his class. Although he is interacting more with other students, I still have not seen nor heard him initiate conversation with his peers.

To witness him first hand, participate in class to answer questions (in a loud whisper) is a blessing and makes me want to cry happy tears!  What is the secret to his progress?  I'm not really sure... My family and his teachers have prayed for him, we have trusted that God would equip me, my husband, and his teachers to best know how to work with him, and the faculty at his school (where I also teach) has embraced him, loved on him, and has been so patient with him.  Removing the pressure to speak aloud is critical to S.M. children.  So is treating them like any other student and making sure that they are included in all activities, even if the teachers knows they may not participate.

My son loves to read, and I found a few picture books that deal with quiet, shy characters.  These books can help the S.M. child realize that they are not alone with their silence (my child verbalized last year that he thought he was the only one in the world that didn't talk at school...awww!). Additionally, they can help other children understand that shy, mute children are different, but are more like them than they might think!

 Danny the Duck With No Quack (Storytime)
  • Danny, the Duck With No Quack by Malachy Doyle This sweet picture book was a gift to my son from my teacher-friend who read the book and thought of him.  Danny never has a word to say, and the other barn yard animals do not understand why he is so scared to talk.  One day he leaves to find a story to tell and has a big adventure and quacks about it! My son enjoyed the gorgeous illustrations and the lesson that he will be able to talk to his friends in his own time.
 A Home for Bird

  • A Home For Bird by Philip C. SteadI stumbled upon this beautiful picture book a few weeks ago at the library.  Vernon, the toad, finds a new friend, a small bird, who is silent.  Vernon does not understand why his new friend is so shy and quiet.  Vernon says, "Bird is shy, but is also a good listener." The book's message reinforces the message that we can be thoughtful friends to our quiet, shy friends!

Below are picture books written specifically for children with Selective Mutism.  I have not read them, but will be purchasing them for my son.  Click the pictures to read the product descriptions on Amazon.

Cat's Got Your Tongue?: A Story for Children Afraid to Speak
Understanding KatieShining

If you are a parent or teacher of a child with Selective Mutism, I hope that these book recommendations will be helpful to you! If you have other books you would recommend, please leave a comment!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fairy Tale Fun

Whew! Where did the weekend go? We enjoyed gorgeous, fall-like weather here in south, central PA all weekend and throughout today.  Even though I've been back to school for four weeks, I am still adjusting to my demanding schedule now that I have added TpT and two blogs to the mix! However, I'm lovin' every minute of it and have been so blessed by my fellow TpT and blog colleagues and followers!  Thank you for your inspiration and the myriad of knowledge I have learned. 

I wanted you to be the first to know that I finally finished my latest project and now have it listed in my store. As soon as I saw the adorable fairy tale sets from Scrappin Doodles, I knew I had to have them! I used these charming gingham frames from Ms. Fultz's Corner, one of my favorite graphic artists! My fairy tale genre and reading posters set features (27) mini-posters to supplement your teaching of genre and reading strategies.

I designed these to use on my focus wall, and I take them with me when I am visiting classrooms to model lessons.  Often, I try to make extra copies to leave with the classroom teacher for students and the teacher to reference and as a "thank you" to the teacher for sharing her kiddos with me.

My focus wall:  Header cards available in my store

Using my posters when modeling a lesson in kindergarten

All posters feature stories from "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", "The Three Little Pigs", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and the Beanstalk", and "The Little Red Hen".  I used simple, "kid-friendly" explanations to make learning and remembering easy for my little readers.  Designed for grades kindergarten to second grade, these posters will add some color and fairy tale fun to your classroom!  We use the Treasures reading series at my school,  I designed these mini-posters to align to our program and to Common Core State Standards.

Grab this "Parts of a Book" freebie poster that is part of the packet here

Scrappin Doodle License- TPT  55976

 If you like it, you can check out the listing for these posters in my store.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pinterest Inspired

With four weeks of school under my belt, my kindergarten, first, and second grade intervention groups are in full swing! I am always looking for new tricks, tips, and inexpensive activities to make literacy learning fun!  Of course I turn to my two "go-to" sites:  TpT and Pinterest!  Over the summer I found just a few million ideas that I wanted to experiment with.  This week, I tried out a few of these with success!

 After a trip to the dollar store a few weeks ago, I came home with these goodies!
 I use the small white boards in my groups all the time and finding erasers that aren't too big and that are easy to use can be a problem.  Pinterest to the rescue! I took an idea I found that is brilliant, and I'm sure you have seen it floating around too!  I glued a large, neon pom pom to the end of an Expo marker and had a fun and instant eraser!
They sure are a conversation starter, kids are motivated to use them, and they are durable and easy to use! Plus, did I mention how much fun, inexpensive, and easy to make they are?

 And speaking of white boards and Expo markers, how about using a brightly colored plastic plate instead of a white board?  Another brilliant idea that is perfect for those of us on a tight budget! I got (10) plates for a dollar!  Again, the novelty of using a plate to write on motivates students, and I don't have to worry that I don't have enough white boards for my students!  These are light weight, and I can easily store them in my tote when I am visiting and pushing in to classrooms!

 This year I wanted to have more of a variety for pointers to use during reading to teach and reinforce one-to-one matching.  Again, being on a tight budget, I could not afford the cute finger pointers I have seen on teacher supply sites. I also wanted something a little different than what the classroom teacher is using. Last year I used colored popsicle sticks, but my little cuties were always putting them in their mouths, and I worried about the paint and the wooden sticks splintering.  No worries, because I found these adorable tropical theme drink stirrers from the dollar store!

Of course the girls love the floral ones, and the boys think the green palm tree is cool!  We used these yesterday as we were doing a shared reading in kindergarten.  Fun!  Fun!

Finally, I found these Playdough letter mats to use with my kindergarten students from Jessica at Littlest Scholars and they were free!  They were perfect and just what I was looking for to use in my small group. I printed the black and white pages and placed in page protectors.  Students were so excited to use the Playdough to trace the letters! They had so much fun and did not suspect for even one minute that they were learning letter formation and using their fine motor skills!  The kids took turns showing us the creative ways they traced the letters and we brainstormed words that started with each letter.

So there you have it: a small glimpse into my week!  Hopefully, I've shared some new ideas with you!

Hooray!  It's the first official day of autumn!  Enjoy!
 Kids Playing in Leaves

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heather's Heart Giveaway!

I'm popping in just for a minute tonight to share a HUGE giveaway that Heather's Heart is having.  You can win $100 in prizes!!!!!  Two very fortunate winners will snag a $50 Target gift card, a $25 Lakeshore card and a $25 TpT gift card!  It's a major shopping spree!

Click the picture above to hop on over to Heather's blog to enter!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sight Word Coloring Book: They Like It!

Finding interesting and novel methods to teach, review, track progress, and assess sight words can be a challenge.  In the past, I have used sight word rings, envelopes, and other ways for students to practice sight word recognition both at school and at home.

This summer, I created a sight word coloring book and had my five year old son try it out to see if he liked it.  My idea was to make a little book template with all the pre-primer to grade 1 sight words.  Beside each word I placed a small black and white graphic of a forest animal.  Students color in the little picture when they can read the word. My son loved cutting and assembling the book as well as coloring the pictures. He even told me it was fun!

So, I tried it out this week  with two different first grade reading intervention groups I work with.  They loved it!  I told them that since they were big kids now in first grade, they could cut/trim their book pages and I would help put them in a-b-c order and staple the booklets. They colored the cover page and I was able to walk around and assess individual students on the target sight words for this week.

I flat out asked them if they liked making their booklets and got a resounding "Yes!".  They will take the booklets home to practice a few times a week.  Once they master all the pre-primer words, we will make a primer and finally a first grade booklet.

As I was observing them working, I noticed how invested they were in making their books.  One thing I had not thought of is that by having them cut out the individual pages and compile the booklets, they gained ownership of the books.  My hope is that this, in turn, will motivate them to practice and read their words.

Of course, this is only one activity I will use to teach and review sight words.  We also spend a lot of time reading the words in context with decodable and predictable texts, playing games, making words, and using the words in our writing.

If this sounds like an activity you would like to try with your students, this booklet is available here as part of my word wall set.  Or, click here if you just want the sight word coloring book.

If you do use this sight word coloring book in your classroom, please let me know your feedback!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fun With Eric Carle! For Preschool and Kindergarten

I first read The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse last winter when my mother purchased the book for my five year old son's birthday.  What a perfect book for my son who is an aspiring artist and has an affinity for Carle's artistic style.  Immediately, I fell in love with the empowering message of this beautiful picture book:  we are all artists... we are all unique... we all have our own style and create our own masterpieces.  There is no right or wrong way to express ourselves artistically.  A horse does not have to be brown!  I can choose to create a purple horse with green polka dots, for instance!

When my friend, who teaches the four year old preschool class, shared that the color of the week was blue, my first thought was of this creative and imaginative book!  She had not heard of the book and I offered to let her borrow it to read aloud to her preschool class.

 The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse 

I also gave her a copy of my literacy packet for the book that I created this summer (I love, love to share with my colleagues!).  I created this packet for my sons as an art and literacy activity over the summer.  I knew that I would most likely not be able to use it this year with my caseload.  So, I was curious as to the designs the students would create; I also wondered if they would enjoy it.  I received very positive feedback from the teacher!  You can view the listing in my TpT store by clicking the picture below.


I had so much fun creating this packet! Carle's book is is a great choice to use as a read-aloud at the beginning of the school year to foster creativity, risk-taking, and using one’s imagination in the learning process. This activity packet allows students to create their own creative critter and write about it!
Aligned to Common Core State Standards for Maryland:
-Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text
-Standard 4.0 Writing

The packet includes:
  • Favorite color writing
  • Animal templates to color, paint, decorate
  • Graphic organizer to write about animal
  • Bulletin board header
  • Color cards and color words matching activity
After reading, students choose an animal from the animal template pages (snake, toucan, monkey, giraffe, and many more!) to decorate. Suggested art supplies your little artists can use:  paint, glitter, tissue paper, buttons, sponge paint, paper shred, ribbons, or just about anything that adds color and texture to the design.  I would recommend printing the animal template pages on card stock especially if you use a heavy material to decorate.

Check out these masterpieces that the four year old class completed!

 How rewarding to know these little cuties not only enjoyed the book, but also had fun while learning colors and using their imaginations!

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."
 Albert Einstein
Enjoy this official last week of summer!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall Theme Giveaway!!

Celebrate autumn by entering Diving Into Learning's Fall Theme Giveaway!  Jenna is offering **12** huge prize packages!!!!  This cornucopia  of prizes includes autumn and Halloween themed activities for math, literacy, and even includes clip art packages!

I am so happy to help Jenna celebrate the season and am offering my Pumpkin Patch Dolch Sight Word Phrases packet as one of the prizes.

Click the picture below to enter!!  Happy harvest!  Happy autumn!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core

As I was up way too early on a Saturday morning blog hopping, I ran across a blog post from Pocket Full of Kinders on Common Core State Standards for kindergarten and an incredible CCSS workbook giveaway!

Although I work in a private school, our recently revised reading and language arts curriculum is based on the CCSS.  Part of my job as a literacy coach is to assist teachers in implementing the curriculum to ensure that the standards are met as we prepare students for 21st century learning.  Kindergarten is a focus area of mine this year, and learning more about the CCSS is one of my professional goals.

So, I was beyond excited to read about this CCSS workbook resource for kindergarten on Shuna's blog!
With over 600 pages, this Kindergarten Common Core workbook has activities, worksheets, activity centers, and posters for all the kindergarten standards for math and English!  This is a must-have for me and how convenient that all the materials and information I need are included in one resource!

If you are a kindergarten teacher, click the picture above to check out this amazing workbook!  If you are a blogger, click here to learn how you can win this book for free!

Happy learning!  Happy weekend!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Favorite Freebie Linky Party

Cynthia from 2nd Grade Pad is hosting a very fun linky party!!!

 Oh, how timely this party is!  I just about depleted my lil' PayPal account this weekend as I was TpT shopping for next week, and I went on a little clip art binge! Add a trip to the Dollar store and to Walmart, and I am in desperate need of a few freebies!!  This linky party has incredible freebies created by very talented teacher-authors!

My favorite freebie:
My Noah's Ark Retelling cards set is my absolute favorite FREE item in my TpT store.  This is a "walk and talk" retelling activity that can be used with any story!
Noah's Ark Retelling Cards for Walk and Talk

 I was inspired by the work of The First Grade Parade who made adorable retelling cards using a Wizard of Oz theme. I work in a Christian school and thought it would be cute and appropriate to change it up a little and use a Noah's Ark theme!  This is one of my favorite Bible stories; I love the strength and obedience that Noah demonstrated. Plus, I named my middle son Noah.  He and his younger brother still have the Noah's Ark theme going in their room.

How I Use the Cards:
I laminated the cards and arrange them on the classroom floor in a path-like fashion.  After my primary reading intervention students are familiar with the components of retelling, I model using this walk and talk activity.  Students love hopping from one card to the next with a partner and retelling a recently read story.  This year, I will mount the cards on a wall in the room as a visual reminder of how to retell a story.  When we're ready to walk and talk, I will place them on the floor.  So much fun!

Hop on over to the 2nd Grade Pad and link up to share your favorite freebie that you have created!  Just click the button below.

Welcome to 2nd Grade Pad 

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