Updated Snowman Letter Identification-LiPS

Hello there!
Completely unrelated to teaching, I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from the past few weeks of my little ladies.  
Paige was an angel in her school Christmas play and she lost her first tooth (she pulled it out all by herself).  She has been loving the snow that has been falling for the last few days and is excited to celebrate her birthday just next week.  Saydie is also enjoying the snow and the Christmas season!  
She LOVES to open presents, too!

Do any of you have to complete an Evidence Binder?  In case you have no idea what I am talking about, it is now part of New York State's new teacher evaluation plan.  Since the beginning of the school year I have been shoving my "evidence" into the front of my binder.  I really need to sit down to sort through and organize what has been collected so far.  

I added some fun game cards to my Snowman Letter Identification!
Now in addition to using the letter cards with the alphabet charts, you can also use the letter cards with the new game cards to play a fun card game to reinforce letters and sounds.
You can find my Snowman Letter Identification in both of my shops, just click on one of the links below:

Last, but not least, before break I was able to attend a one-day training for the Lindamood-Bell Phoneme Sequencing program called LiPS.  Do any of you currently use the program?  I would like to start incorporating it into my instruction with some of my kinderkids who are REALLY struggling with letter identification, but would love some feedback from real teachers who are using it!  What are your thoughts?

Sleigh Full of Goodies-Presents!

Thanks for continuing along the
If you missed the two stops on the blog hop from Day 1,
make sure you click on the picture above!!

In my sleigh, you will find my 
Christmas Present Letter Identification pack 
This will be FREE, for the next 12 days!

In addition to the blog hop, I am also linking up with Day 1 of 
hosted by Amy of Teaching My 3.

Click on the picture below to hop over to The Lower Elementary Cottage to see what she has in her sleigh!

Thank you Beth from Thinking of Teaching for hosting this merry blog hop!!

Do you have something you would like to share?  
Please link up and join in the fun!!

Are You Ready for the Holiday Season?

Getting ready for the winter and holiday season?  
Well here are some products that I use with my little literacy learners to help reinforce letter, sound, and sight word identification.  

Here is my newest product:
This pack includes cute penguin versions of both upper and lower case versions of:
~  Letter Finds (alphabet charts)
~  Letter Mix-Ups (letters are mixed up)
~  Letter Cards
~  Brr... Game

I use the following for both letter and sound matching:

Here is a cute little FREEBIE:

I use this to reinforce letters, sounds, and sight words:

And don't forget the three sets of 
Winter Wonderland, 2 Games-in-1 Packs
to help reinfoce the first 300 Fry Sight Words:

Finally, don't forget to hop over to TBA to check out Freebie Friday!
Freebie Fridays

Color a Turkey FREEBIE

When reviewing foundational skills with my students in my small groups, I like and need to hear responses from each student individually.  To give it an extra boost of fun, I reward my students for correct responses by having them do the following:
How do you use this?  
Simply print the document and cut it into the four strips.  
Have your kiddos write their names on the back.  
As you complete your planned activity, have the student color in a turkey for each correct response.  
So simple, but the kids love it!!

This could be used in so many ways, with any type of skill!!  What will you use it for?

And don't forget to head over to Teaching Blog Addict for some other great FREEBIES!
Freebie Fridays

Hurricane Sandy-Teachers Help Teachers

Hurricane Sandy was nasty.  
She came and left a path of destruction in the Northeast that it has never seen before.  Some of my loved ones are still without power and/or are displaced from their homes.  It has been almost two long, and cold weeks.  Others lost every little thing they own.

Laurah over at The ESOL Odyssey is organizing a movement to help other teachers affected by Sandy, called:
She is reaching out to those who have create materials to share or own a store on TPT or TN, and would like to donate some products to help other teachers in need.  

Click on the picture above and then follow the directions on Laurah's page.  It is so easy and every little bit helps.  She will be working hard to gather the products and distribute them to schools and teachers in need.  Teachers of all grade levels are encouraged to participate.

Will you help out too?
Thank you Laurah for doing this!

Turkey Letters and Sounds

One of my favorite holidays happens to be just around the corner!
Thanksgiving of course!
I love gathering with family and eating delicious food!!  
What can be better than that?!

Are you working on introducing and reinforcing letters and sounds?  I created a Turkey Letters and Sounds Pack just for Thanksgiving, with cute little turkeys!  

Don't forget that I also included some cute Thanksgiving pages in the Roll and Say activity to help promote fluency with letters and sounds.

Finally, I have a game board that could be used when reinforcing almost anything.  It is available for FREE!!

Gobble!  Gobble!!

Fluency with Letters and Sounds

Today was a short day at school.  We were dismissed early and will not have school tomorrow due to Sandy.  Being in the northeast, we luckily we have emergency days built into our school year for snowstorms and other emergencies.  Who knew we would use the some of those days for hurricanes two years in a row?  Good news is that it has given me time to let you know what I've been up to!!

I have mentioned in previous posts that my district has adopted and implemented AIMSweb for the first time this year.  Through this assessment, many of my firsties showed weaknesses in both Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) and Letter Sound Fluency (LSF).  For those of you who are not familiar with the assessment, the students are presented with rows of random upper and lower case letters and are asked to name as many letters as they can in one minute for LNF, or as many sounds as they can in one minute for LSF.

LNF and LSF does not tell me what letters and sounds my students know or continue to need more practice with.  To help learn more about this, I also assessed them with my
I found that they did know most of their letters and sounds.  When I put the results of the two assessments together, it showed me that they need extra practice naming their letters and producing their sounds automatically and fluently.  
As a reading teacher, my time with students is limited.  So in addition to providing instruction to my firsties, I also want to provide them with some time for extra fluency practice.  The first few minutes of my intervention time is devoted to practicing this fluency through a quick activity, depending on the day of the week.  
Here is what I have started to do:
Here are some examples of quick activities I do each day:
On Move it Monday, I generally play a quick game where the students are moving game pieces or their bodies.  For example, games like 

On Time it Tuesday I have been using my 
I just updated this pack to include a combination of upper and lower case letters.  

For One Breath Wednesday, a wonderful colleague and I created several little ticket-sized boxes with two rows of letters.  My students select their "ticket" and then read each line in one breath. 
Totally unrelated to letters and sounds, I wanted to share with you that we created these tickets after downloading and using Donna Coleman's fabulous "One Breath Boxes" for sight words! 

For Throw it Thursday we will play 
This is a brand new pack that I just uploaded to TPT.  I included two versions for the months of October, November December.

Flip it Friday is usually done with some type of alphabet letter cards.  I have many different sets with different themes, so they are "new" to the kiddos almost each and every time.  I quickly flip through the pile for my students to name the letters or produce the sounds as quickly as they can.

Hopefully these quick daily speed drills will help my firsties increase their automaticity and fluency with their letters and sounds!  What are some activities you do to help promote these skills?

And for those of you who are also affected by Sandy, my thoughts and prayers are with you!  Stay safe!

My New Toy-Cricut Mini

I have a new toy!
It is a Cricut Mini!
love the size of it and the fact that it has so many uses!  It is small and portable and can sit right next to me on the table when completing my projects!  It can cut 8.5 X 11 pieces of cardstock, vinyl, thin plastics, fancy paper, and more!  I also learned that the blade is interchangeable with gel pens, markers, and a scoring tip!   

My Cricut Mini came with a step-by step guide to help me get started.  I first downloaded Cricut Craftroom software.  
This software is easy to use and allows you to view all of the images available in the Cricut library!  You can drag, resize, and move the images you want right on the screen.  Once you are happy with the placement, you then put the material you want cut onto the mat and then press the "cut" button and the Cricut Mini takes care of the rest!

 The machine came with the images and materials to complete my first project:
Then using the Cricut Font and Basic Shapes cartridge included with the machine I made the made the following banner for my classroom
Here it is hanging in my classroom:
Their website has quite a comprehensive Project Center. You can find inspirations for new projects and directions on how to complete them with your own machine.  There are several different categories that include celebrations, holidays, school, etc...

I had never used a Cricut machine, but have always wanted to.  So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give you my honest review of the Cricut Mini!  I can't wait to make more projects with my new toy!

Do you have one?  What have you created with yours?

Words to Live By Right Now-FREEBIE

Hi all!
How is everyone doing?  Things have been a bit stressful in my neck of the woods.  Between SLO assessments, DRA2s, and benchmarking for AIMSweb, I have been doing lots and lots and lots of assessing.  

Without getting into too much detail beyond that, I wanted to share a little quote I came across while on Pinterest.  I fell in love with it because it fits things perfectly right now!
I decided to type it up with some fun fonts that are available for FREE!

One of the fonts was made by my very dear friend Leslie from
called "Leslies Hand".  This is the green and purple text and is my favorite font right now!  Thanks Leslie!

The other font was made by Amanda from
called "Pea Tracy".  This is the pink and turquoise text.
Aren't they great?  I would love to create my own font sometime!

How does this quote fit with your life right now? 
Am I the only one feeling extra stress these days?

It is Fall!!

It is Fall!  The air is crisp in the evenings and the leaves are beginning to change color here in the Northeast.  I am looking forward to the beautiful changes Mother Nature has in store for the season!

Just for Fall, I wanted to share with you one of my Emergent Student Readers called, "The Colors of Fall"

This Student Reader is a part of my 
Emergent Student Readers Set 1

Here are some other products I have available that are perfect for the season to help reinforce early literacy skills for your little literacy learners!

Fall Letter Finds and Mix-Ups

Pumpkin Letter Identification

Open House Night-FREEBIE

Last night we celebrated Open House!  Have you already celebrated yours?

In my school, children come with their families to visit their classrooms and visit different places in the school.  The classroom teachers have the children complete a scavenger hunt with their families to find places like the library, computer lab, cafeteria, and the gym.  Because we like to see the kiddos and their families too, the reading teachers are also placed on the scavenger hunts!  This year we had a few goodies waiting for the kiddos and their families when they stopped by.  

I created this first handout last year about every child needing a laptop.  Do you encourage your parents to provide laptops for their children?  You should!  They are free!  This handout definitely has a cute little twist that the parents enjoy as it discusses the importance of reading aloud to children, right on their own built-in laptop.  
If you missed the post from last year, you can check it out and grab your own copy by clicking on the picture above.

This year I created some bookmarks to go along with the handout, using the quote that I have seen floating around on Pinterest from Emilie Buchwald: 
"Children are made readers in the laps of their parents."  
I just love it and thought it fit perfectly!
We printed these bookmarks on colorful cardstock and the kids enjoyed taking these home.

I realize a lot of you have already celebrated Open House, but I could see these also being provided at parent conferences, literacy nights, etc...  What kind of handouts do you provide for the families of the children you work with?

Before I head off to bed because I am just absolutely exhausted, I wanted to share my new love with you!  
It is my new ruffle purse!
Isn't it adorable!!  I love, love, love the ruffles!!  It is another handmade bag that I found on Etsy from a shop called Gathered and Sown.  Angie was so easy to work with and I just love it so much that I had to share!  
What do you think!?  

And finally, don't forget to head over to TBA to check out the FREEBIES available for Freebie Friday!! 
Freebie Fridays

Making AIMSweb Cute FREEBIE

How many of you are administering AIMSweb?
This is the first year we will be doing it, and since Thursday was the first day of school for our kiddos, we still have yet to start!

But, I really dislike the ugly, boring training binder that our district gave us.  It just isn't the least bit cute, so of course I wanted to make it look a little more appealing! 
So I went ahead and made some binder covers for myself, my colleagues, and am sharing them with you too!
AIMSweb has a wonderful matrix showing their recommendations by each grade level that you can find here.  But because I am a reading teacher, I am only interested in the reading portion of AIMSweb.  So I pulled out all of the math components and created an AIMSweb Reading Benchmark Grid.  Now I can easily see what is needed for each grade level during the benchmarking periods.
I am using the type of binder with the clear sleeves on the outside.  So I am simply sliding the cover into the front and the Reading Benchmark Grid into the back!

Here is my binder!  It just happens to match my bag!  LOL!
  (I have a slight addiction to Chevron right now, can you tell?)
And since so many of you are wondering about my bag, let me add the info for you!  It is a handmade XL Hobo bag from a shop called JanetElizabethLLC, listed on Etsy.  She is so wonderful to work with!  Right now she is catching up on completing some current orders for her Hobo bags, so the links to the hobo bags are not active.  But she thinks she will be all set by the end of this week!  Check her out!

How does your school administer AIMSweb?  Who administers the benchmark assessments?  Do your classroom teachers, reading teachers, or a combination of both?

ABC Mouse

I was excited to be offered the opportunity to explore an educational website called ABCmouse with Paige and be able to share my experience with you! 
ABCmouse was developed by a team of educators especially for children ages 2 through 6.  It is a comprehensive site loaded with learning activities to address reading, math, science, social studies, art, and even music!

You begin by selecting a teacher avatar for your child along with creating an avatar to look just like your child.  
Paige had a lot of fun with this! 

You then go on to choose the Learning Path for your child.  There are six different curriculum levels.  Preschool (levels 1 and 2), Pre-K (levels 3 and 4), and Kindergarten (levels 5 and 6). Each Learning Path provides a series of lessons where the child is guided from one lesson to the next.  They are set in different environments, pine tree forest, mountains, beach, etc... with activities to correspond with each environment.  The activities include books, art, puzzles, games, songs, and even printables.
As a parent or teacher, you can also build lessons with specific activities to customize the child's learning through Guided learning.

Paige can also choose the activities she wants to do on the website through Independent learning.  Outside of learning path she can do visit the farm, zoo, classroom, library, etc...  Even if she decides to go off of the Learning Path, each activity on the site has one or more learning objectives.  

Here are some of my favorite points about ABCmouse:
~  It is very easy to use for both adults and children alike.  I especially liked the mouse/pointer tutorial for children who are not familiar with using a mouse.
~  You can set up the account for up to 3 children with a parent account.  
~  You can track the progress of each child individually and create individualized lessons.
~  Creating the avatar that looked just like Paige along with an avatar for her teacher was lots of fun.
~  There is a ticket reward system!  After each activity is completed, the child earns a certain number of tickets.  They can then use these tickets to "shop" for decorations for their room and other things.
~  The child can save their favorite activities to revisit them in the future.
~  There is a Basics area that allows the child to practice their foundational reading and math skills.
~  The activities are fun and engaging.
~  The site is child safe.  There are no ads or links to external sites, providing a safe learning environment!
~  It is okay for the child to explore the site independently, not always sticking to the learning path because each activity on the site has one or more learning objectives.  

When I asked Paige what her favorite thing is about ABCmouse, she said:
"I like to go shopping (with the tickets she has earned) for furniture for my room, fish for my aquarium, and just shopping."
(I think she takes after Mommy here!)

I also learned that for a limited time you can set up a FREE classroom account for up to 40 students if you teach in a public or private school!
Click on the picture below to learn more!

Thank you ABCmouse for this opportunity!