Monday, April 29, 2013

Children Teaching Children: Daily 5 and CAFE Tips

 Please welcome my guest blogger today, Alison, from

 She came all the way from Victoria, Australia to share how she uses Daily 5 in her classroom.  Take it away, Alison!

Thank you to Teacher Mom of 3 for allowing me to be a guest blogger on her blog. Today I want to show you how I teach each CAFE skill individually and still have enough time to teach everything else on the never ending list of thing to cover!

I moved to a new school this year, a school that had been teaching Daily 5 and CAFE for some time (and believe me, Australian schools have been a little slow on the uptake of the Daily 5 phenomena). Because of this, rather than me being the one to introduce the concepts to the children, many children in my class are already familiar with the skills taught as part of CAFE.

In the past during whole class shared reading, I have always introduced a skill, then we have them practice it, and then it's added to our CAFE board under Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency or Expand Vocabulary.

This year is different. Children already know, have practiced and can discuss CAFE skills and with a class of 54 children and 2 teachers, there is a more structured program, not just time to sit down and read a book when we feel like it (very sad, I know) – enter Children Teaching Children.

A couple of times a week we find 20 minutes to teach these skills. I choose 5 picture storybooks and 5 CAFE skills to split up between my class and do the same for my teaching partner. We show the children the books, talk about it a little, then show the CAFE skill the child will need to teach. Children are bursting with their hands up, wanting to run their small group and teach that skill. We break the children up and off they go.
 This is an adorable picture of some of my girls working.

After about 10 minutes, we stop them, bring them back in where each group comes up and talks about their skill and models it to the class. We then decide where the skill goes on the CAFE board and staple it up.

This alternative way of looking at teaching the skills has been a lifesaver for me! Remembering that the school year is different in Australia, as we head into Term 2, children are well rehearsed in the skills involved with CAFE and together with the Daily 5 are all ready to start setting themselves goals and guided reading.
These skill cards are available for download from Down-Under Teacher.

Thank you!

Thank you so much Alison, for allowing us a glimpse into your classroom and for the Daily 5 and CAFE tips!

  If you are interested in guest blogging for Teacher Mom of 3, please complete the form here. Thank you for your interest!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Seasonal Saturday: Spring Has Sprung!

Welcome to another

It appears that spring is finally here!!  We began the month with cold, frigid temperatures and I know that some of you have had snow this month! Time to welcome spring!  Today's feature is from Lisa at

 ...and her items are perfect to bring a little spring fun into your classroom!

Lisa is a second grade teacher who in addition to blogging also sells her teacher resources here on Teacher's Pay Teachers. She has a great selection of literacy, math, and Common Core aligned materials all at fantastic prices!

First up is Lisa's Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring creative writing activity.


This unique and fun writing activity for first through third grades also includes an adorable bird craftivity!  

Highlights from this packet include:
  • Brainstorming sheets and framed writing sheets for students to write verses saying goodbye to winter and hello to spring
  • Skill focus:  elaborating sentences with details
  • Rough draft page and stationery paper for the final, published copy
  • A simple, but super cute bird craftivity complete with tracers for students to use.
  • Pictures of a sample bulletin board display with the writing and birds.
Plus, much more! Click the preview below to check it out at Lisa's store.  At just $2.50, this packet is a bargain!!!!   

Next, is Robin Red- Breast, another innovative spring literacy resource that is CCSS aligned to reading for information

Highlights of this packet for grades 1-3 includes:
  •   Cards with informational text about robins that you post around the room for students to read
  •  Students have to read the cards to ask and answer the 5W questions and to determine the main idea
  • Thinking map, brainstorming sheet, and Brace Map about robins
  •  Recording sheets and writing paper

You get all (26) pages for just $2.50!!  Click the preview pic above to see the complete listing and to purchase the packet.

I thank Second Grade Stories for sharing her well-made and interesting literacy resources with us!  Make sure you stop by her blog and show her some love!

 **If you are interested in submitting a literacy or picture book seasonal item for me to feature, please complete the form here on Google Drive. I am now accepting submissions for spring, May, May Day, Mother's Day, Children's Book Week, and Memorial Day.

Have a super, sunny, weekend! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guest Blogger: Fun Phonics and a FREEBIE!

Hello there!
It's Beth Ann from Taming My Flock of Firsties.

I wanted to thank Lauren for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her AMAZING blog!!!

I wanted to talk about Phonics today.

We use Fountas and Pinnell's Phonics Program.
Phonics Lessons
letters, words, and how they work

We have been using this for years. I like how easy it is to use. It's very straight forward in each lesson.

They have broken down the lessons into:
Early Literacy Concepts
Phonological Awareness
(and Phonemic Awareness)
Letter Knowledge
Letter/Sound Relationships
Spelling Patterns
High Frequency Words
Word Meaning
Word Structure
Word-Solving Actions

They also line up the lessons for the entire year.
This is wonderful because they leave you enough time during the month and at the end of the year to go back over things if needed.

Every lesson has a page with explanations.

Consider Your Children
"This lesson is appropriate when the children have begun to notice the parts of words and can separate first and last parts. They should have some experience changing parts of words to make new words. In this lesson, children work with the rime, or last part of a word. As children explore more complex concepts, consistent language will be helpful; for example, "word parts" for onsets and rimes, "letters" when referring to individual graphic signs, and "syllables" when referring to word breaks." p. 447

Working with English Language Learners
"When children are just learning words in English, it may be hard for them to change the parts of words. Start by showing them words that have the same phonogram by different first letters. Let them notice and talk about the connections. Then explicitly demonstrate how you can take one word and change the first letter to make the other word. Provide many opportunities for practice. Be sure that the children understand the meaning of the words that you are using as examples. Use pictures if necessary." p. 447

You Need...
(a list of resources)

Understand the Principle
"A powerful strategy for decoding in reading or spelling in writing is to make connections between words. Students learn flexible ways of moving from known words to new words by seeing that they know something about the word in question. They can use the first part of last part they know." p. 447

Explain the Principle
"You can change the first part of the last part of a word to make a new word." p. 447

They end with links to Interactive Read-Alouds, Shared Reading, Guided Reading, Independent Reading, Interactive Writing, and Independent Writing.
Expand the Learning
and finally
Connect with Home

Each of these lessons is very detailed and easy to follow. 

We have Phonics everyday for 15-20 minutes. This is their mini-lesson and then they have some practice time during Daily 5 Word Work.

It has worked very well in my classroom with Daily 5.

I have made up several products to go with the lessons because although the lessons are very good, the printables are very simple.

This one is for one of the lessons on changing the first and last parts of words.

Here is a BINGO game with sight/high frequency words.

Here is a Compound Word FREEBIE for you.

Thank you so much, Beth Ann for your informative post and for the FREEBIE!  Make sure you stop by her blog to see even more literacy ideas!


Don't forget to enter my giveaway sponsored by Educents and Conscious Box!  You could win a box full of all natural, healthy, nontoxic items from food to cosmetics. Winner will be selected tomorrow!  You can enter here!

If you are interested in guest blogging for Teacher Mom of 3, please complete the form here. Thank you for your interest!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Giveaway from Educents and Conscious Box!

Boy Hugging EarthGirl Hugging Earth

Happy Earth Day!

 I am so very pleased and excited to be hosting a giveaway by 


Educents & Conscious Box have teamed up to offer you a chance to win a free Conscious Box – delivered right to your door!
Conscious Box offers a monthly subscription service that delivers the purest, most natural products on the planet, right to your doorstep! You’ll be introduced to the purest, most ethical companies on the planet, every month!  So what are you waiting for, enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win and teach your kids about being eco-friendly!
As you wait to find out if you’ve won the box, we encourage you to:

  • Like Conscious Box ( and EduCents ( on Facebook!
  • Leave a comment and tell us why you want the box!
  • Share the giveaway with your friends!

 PLUS, if you aren’t the grand prize winner, you can still get a 3-month subscription to Conscious Box for less than $12/month by heading over to Educents. For one week only, Educents will be offering the Conscious Box for 40% off!  In addition, ALL profits from the sale of this box will be donated to The One Fund, which will provide funds to help those families most affected by the tragic events that unfolded during last week's Boston Marathon. So enter to win, and then head on over to buy the Conscious Box for yourself or a friend to celebrate Earth Day and support our fellow Americans in Boston.

 one fund boston

Enter to win below. The winner will be announced on April 26. Shortly after that, Educents will be in contact with you to arrange shipping of your Conscious Box!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day FREEBIE! Reading for Information

Back when I was a middle school language arts teacher, I loved, loved celebrating Earth Day! In the 1990's, we had a lot of freedom with our curriculum; my teammate and I taught thematic units that we wrote ourselves.  One unit was our environmental unit where we read, discussed, conducted experiments such as the effect of an oil spill on wildlife, made our own recycled paper, and learned about the importance of reducing our land fills.

I'm no longer in the classroom, but I still enjoy reading about environmental issues, teaching my own children about the importance of conserving our natural resources and creating teaching resources for them and for the little ones that I tutor.  I needed a nonfiction text for this week that gives an overview of Earth Day, so I created one and want to share it with you!

 This FREEBIE includes a two page reading for information text that I wrote for a student I work with who is reading on a second grade level.  My first grade son, who reads above grade level, read it just fine.  It includes a comprehension sheet and a mini-poster. Visit my Facebook page, like my page, and grab your freebie!  Just click the picture below!  Perfect for whole group, Guided Reading, or for a literacy center.  Just print and you are ready for tomorrow!


Make sure you stop back here tomorrow where I will have a very special Earth Day giveaway sponsored by Educents! You don't want to miss this one!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Seasonal Saturday: Featuring First Grade Buddies

Welcome to another

Today I feature two teacher-authors who collaborate together to sell their educational resources at their Teachers Pay Teachers store, First Grade Buddies.  They also write about their first grade adventures over at the blog

First Grade Buddies

Both Tamra and Sarah are from North Carolina and both have their Master's degrees in reading.  Tamra has earned National Board certification and like me, Sarah is the proud owner of two dachshunds!  You are going to love their two spring products that I am featuring today; both items can be used for your Earth Day celebration or throughout the spring season.

First up is a twenty-eight page literacy packet for kindergarten through second grades.

Highlights of this packet include:
  • Activities are aligned to CCSS
  • SPRING acrostic poem
  • Brainstorming sheets and graphic organizers for discussing the season of spring
  • Reading response sheets
  • Activities for three picture books:  Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More both by Karma Wilson  and Duck! Rabbit!  by Amy Krouse and Tom Lichtenheld
  • Take home rabbit activity with journal entry ( my son just did a similar activity with their class mascot, Ollie the Owl- he loved it!)
  • Spring egg hunt with literacy, math, and science question prompts. 
  • All activities are visually appealing and will have your little ones springing into some major thinking and fun! 

Click the picture above to see more of this incredible literacy packet that is just $3.00!! Click here to read a little more about this packet and to grab a freebie on their blog. Check out the links below to learn more about and purchase the above mentioned picture books on Amazon.



Next is an Earth Day packet featuring the classic song What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong:
This unique activity has students responding to the song lyrics to make a class book!  Included in the packet are: the song lyrics, a note to families about the project,  a book cover, book pages to be illustrated by students, and pages for families to write comments.

I love this idea for celebrating Earth Day and for encouraging literacy at home!  See below for sample pages of the class book:

Click here to read more and to purchase this resource for just $2!

I thank Tamra and Sarah for submitting their items!  I always enjoy meeting new teachers and bloggers and discovering new picture books!
 **If you are interested in submitting a literacy or picture book seasonal item for me to feature, please complete the form here on Google Drive. I am now accepting submissions for April, spring, Arbor Day May Day, Mother's Day, Children's Book Week, and Memorial Day.

Blessings to you this weekend!  My heart and prayers are with friends in Boston and in Texas.   ♥♥♥

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Time for Reading! A Picture Book for Teaching Time

 Happy National Library Week!  I am not here today, but I have a fabulous guest blogger today who is sharing a fun picture book to use when teaching telling time.  Please give a very warm welcome to my guest blogger today, Jenna, from~

Hi everyone, I'm Jenna from Diving Into Learning. I'm guest blogging today! A little bit about me, I have experience teaching Pre-k through 1st grades and I love working with this age group. I love finding fun and different ways to practice math skills. I know when I was in school, I did not enjoy math and surprisingly I now love to teach it. When I am planning for a new math unit, I try to find a story to read to the class that incorporates the skill that we are getting ready to learn. During our telling time to the hour unit, I found this really cute book called "The Clock Struck One."
click here to see the book on Amazon
This is a cute story about what happens on each hour and my entire class was laughing by the end of the book. We have read it a couple of times and it is also available in the reading center for students to read on their own. Along with reading this book, each student made their own book focusing on telling time to the hour. Each page follows the same format and the students fill in the missing time and then they can decorate the clock that is shown on that page. This book (along with telling time to the half hour) can be found at my Teacher's Pay Teacher's store. This also led into a writing activity in our writing center where students could write a short story about what happens every hour. I love how reading a book leads to the creation of many activities, plus it shows students that math is all around us, not just on worksheets.
Thanks for reading my post!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

DEAR? Or SQUIRT? Independent Reading FREEBIES!

Whether you do Guided Reading, Daily 5, Reader's Workshop, literacy centers, or a combination,we know the value of independent reading. We know how vital it is for students to have uninterrupted time to read to themselves for enjoyment, to practice and apply skills and strategies learned in the classroom, and to learn that reading is a life-long skill.

This little kinder sweetheart allowed me to interrupt her
reading and responding.
 We love Skippy Jon Jones!

Some may call independent reading D.E.A.R., S.Q.U.I.R.T, D.I.R.T., S.U.R.F., S.S.R., Read to Self, but no matter what cute name or acronym you use, the fact remains that it is vital that we allocate silent reading time and lots of it during the day for our little book worms!

April 12 was National D.E.A.R. DayCheck out this website for instructional ideas including FREE printables and how to celebrate all month long!  This week (April 14-20) is also National Library Week! Check our ALA's site for information and ideas of how you can celebrate.

Are you wondering for what the above named acronyms stand?  Check out this little eight page FREEBIE I created that includes mini-posters for various independent reading names.

Click here to download the freebie from Google Drive. Also included is a reader response form and stationery sheets for students to write and draw about their reading.

My colleague and BFF, who also just happens to be my son's first grade teacher is a doing an author study on Tedd Arnold. She does a read-aloud and then places the book in the classroom library for independent reading.  I'll share two titles that she told me kids are gobbling up, but first here is a pic of us. I have dubbed her the "Queen" of reading!

The Queen on the left and me on the right!
Ok, if you're looking for new books to add to your classroom library for read to self time, check out Tedd Arnold.  First and second graders will love him!

Enjoy the freebies and let me know what you call independent reading time!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Seasonal Saturday: Earth Day Ideas!

{Happy Saturday!}

Today, I am so, so pleased to feature two fabulous teacher-authors and their creative literacy resources for celebrating Earth Day!
 Earth and Nature

First up is Christina from Krazy in Love With Kindergarten.  She along with teacher-friend Kathy, make up this dynamic duo who have over forty years of teaching experience! Both of them teach kindergarten but also have experience in grades K-3.  After you are finished hanging out here, pop on over to their cutie-patootie blog.

 Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 and if you're looking for a fun and relevant activity, check out Christina's Earth Day Sentence Puzzles!  
Highlights from this literacy packet include~
  •  Fourteen page packet for grades kindergarten to grade 3
  • Includes a total of (6) sentences in puzzle form for students to put together.
  • All sentences are about taking care of our Earth!
  • Includes recording sheets, follow-up practice pages, and (4) writing sheets.
  • A great hands-on activity that has kids writing, illustrating, cutting, and gluing!
This packet looks ideal for use in a literacy center or for small group instruction.  I would love to use this in my reading intervention groups!  You can check out the complete listing by clicking here.  
 Big Tree
Next is Jenn from the Teacher's Pay Teachers store 2nd Grade Snickerdoodles which offers over (60) resources for all elementary content areas for, well, 2nd grade!!  Jenn has a flair for creating book units and this week she submitted a resource for the book Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel and David Catrow.
One of the things I enjoy about Seasonal Saturdays is that I not only get to meet new friends, but I learn about new ideas and books.  I have not read this book, which by the way, looks like an excellent choice for Earth Day, but it is now on my wish list!!  It appears to be a more serious story about a beloved tree and also teaches readers about experiencing a loss.
 Highlights from this literacy packet include~
  • (32) pages of very thorough activities for grades first, second, and third.
  • Aligned to second grade CCSS
  • Promotes critical thinking skills
  • Includes printables for comprehension strategies such as inferring, predicting, questioning, and cause-effect.
  • The inferring chart included in the packet is a favorite of mine.  I love how Jenn includes quotes from the story and has students link their own thinking to make an inference.
  • Opinion writing
...and more!!! Click here to see the complete listing and to view the preview pages.
Want to learn more about this beautiful, tender story?  Click the pic below to view the book on Amazon.

I hope you enjoyed today's features as much as I did!  Have a beautiful weekend and I'll see you back here tomorrow where I will have a little FREEBIE just for you!
   **If you are interested in submitting a literacy or picture book seasonal item for me to feature, please complete the form here on Google Drive. I am now accepting submissions for April, spring, Arbor Day, Earth Day,National Library Week, May Day, Mother's Day, Children's Book Week, and Memorial Day.
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