Flower ABC/123, Buzzing Revision, Giveaway

I am almost embarrassed to say this, but I made this Flower ABC and 123 Pack a few months ago and completely forgot about it.  
(Is that bad or what?)
So I need to share it with you now 
before I forget about it again!!
This pack includes:
Flower Letters ABC Boards (upper and lower)
Flower Letters Color the ABC Path (upper and lower)
Flower Numbers Color the Path (1-25)
Write the Missing Flower Letters (upper and lower)
Write all of the Flower Letters 

I have had some requests to incorporate numbers in some of my packs.  I haven't done this in the past, (frankly because I work on literacy skills and the activities I share with you are those I create to use with my own students) but since it was easy enough to incorporate some basic numbers in this pack, I did!

Also, I revised my Buzzing Through Letters and Sounds a bit by adding to additional pages to the file.  I condensed the pages to list the two upper case versions together (twice) on one page (for a total of four on the page) and the same thing for the lower case versions.  I thought it would help save paper and space in student folders when documenting student progress.

Finally, just wanted to remind you about the giveaway I have going on until for the Easi-Speak Digital Microphone!!
You guys are so clever!  I love reading about all of the different ways you would use it with your little ones!!

Fluency and an Easi-Speak Giveaway

Tonight I am going to start the first giveaway of a few giveaways!  I feel very blessed to be offered the chance to review different products on my blog.  But to be completely honest with you, I don't accept unless I can see how it will help benefit my students, my teaching, and you guys!  When Learning Resources contacted me about reviewing this product, I knew it was a tool that fit perfectly into my small group instruction!
Please know that even though Learning Resources has provided me with an Easi-Speak and has asked me to review it, the opinions I list are all mine.
The Easi-Speak is a digital recorder that is held up to your mouth and you speak into, just like a microphone.  Instead of projecting the voice louder, it simply records what the child is saying.  

Here are the points that I love about this product:
-  It is hands on and looks just like a microphone.  My kiddos were so excited when I pulled it out and knew what to do with it right away.  (In fact, when it I took it out of the packing box after receiving it in the mail, my honey at home asked if we were going to be rock stars!)
-  It is easy to use.  The child simply holds it close to their mouth, pushes in and holds down a red button, and speaks into it.  
-  No batteries are required!  You charge it up by inserting it into your computer!
-  It is so very easy to transfer the voice recordings from the device to the computer!

This tool could be used in SOOOOOO many different ways, but here is how I used the Easi-Speak in my instruction:
I have been talking a lot about what fluent reading sounds like with my first and second graders.  I talk about how our reading should not sound robotic and instead sound smooth, just like we are talking, without too many pauses.  Our rate should not be too fast or too slow, but just right. And how our voices change based on the punctuation we see in our reading.
After reading a short text at their reading level into the Easi-Speak, I have them listen to what their reading sounds like.  They rate each aspect of their fluency (rate, accuracy, expression, punctuation) with a fabulous self-reflection tool shared by Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants.  Then we discuss it.  (Thanks Rachelle for sharing!)

Another way I used the Easi-Speak was with my little rock star!  No, we didn't rock out with it (yet), instead she has used it to "read" her books.  She did well holding the button down while turning the pages and keeping the story going!  Here she is reading one of her favorite books, The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.  I love watching her eyes light up as she listens to herself reading the story!
Now here is the fun part.  I get to give an Easi-Speak away to one of you (a $69.99 value)!!
Enter below through Rafflecopter:

Buzzing Through Letters and Sounds

My students have been working hard this year building their letter and sound knowledge through different games and activities.  I monitor their progress as I show each child a letter chart and they name each upper case letter, lower case letter, and the produce the sounds for each with the following tool:

But we know that it is not enough to just to be able to accurately name the letters and sounds.  Children must also be able to accurately name the letters and sounds automatically.  This fluency with letters and sounds becomes very important as they decode words when reading connected text.

To help monitor their progress and practice these skills both at school with me and at home, I wanted to create something that would look and sound fun to the little ones. (And of course I am a sucker for cute clip art so I wanted something that looked cute!)  I created 

Teachers Notebook
Teachers Pay Teachers
This activity addresses the following Common Core Learning Standards:
K.RF.1.d-Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
K.RF.3.a-Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant.

It includes two forms for upper case letters and then two forms for lower case letters.  The forms can be used to monitor letter identification or sound production.

It is pretty simple to use and is similar to other probes out there for the same skills where you simply set the timer for one minute and have the child name as many letters (or sounds) as they can until the timer goes off.  BUT, to make it sound fun to the children, I ask them to BUZZ through their letters (or sounds).  As they BUZZ along, I write a slash through or circle the incorrect responses.  I then record the number of letters (or sounds) named on the bottom of the form and circle letters or sounds.

What fun and engaging activities do you do with your students to incorporate fluency into your instruction with letter identification and sound production?

Developmentally Ready to Comprehend??

I need your help.  
I would love it if you could weigh in on something.
Have you heard about any new "brain research" regarding reading comprehension?

I haven't read the research myself.  I don't even know who published it.  Instead it has been discussed by few in our school, with suggestions that we may be expecting too much from our students when it comes to their reading comprehension.

It has been said that the research indicates that children are not developmentally ready to comprehend text until 3rd grade.   

What do you think about that statement?

This pretty much goes against all I have learned and the philosophy of the teaching within our school.  Then when you look at the Common Core Learning Standards, students in first grade are expected to master the ability to ask and answer questions about key details, retell stories and demonstrate an understanding of the central message/lesson.  Our kinderkids are expected to do some of these things with prompting and support.  My four year-old is already able to do some of these things.  Hmmmmm....

So I wondered if any of you have come across any of this research in your readings?  What do you think of it?

I think I know the answer to this, but your school doesn't begin comprehension instruction until 3rd grade, right?

I would really love to hear your thoughts!

Capital Region Gathering

Okay fellow Upstaters are you ready?
Back in February I posted about a possible get together and boy did things get busy and time flew by!
Well, look below because we finally have a date set!!  
(The location has not yet been determined until we see how many of us are actually available for that date!)
So, if you are interested, leave a comment here or head over to let our friend Tara know over at
Can't wait!!!!!

Sight Words at Home

Do you agree that sight word instruction is a must when we are building the foundation for our little literacy learners?  Sometimes skill and drill is necessary, but I believe that it is important to make your instruction with sight words enjoyable.  I try to provide engaging activities that are hands-on to reinforce sight words in and out of connected text.  Because I work with students who are below grade level expectations, it is important that they are getting the extra practice in school with me, but it is also very helpful when they get additional practice at home. 

When I was writing up my report cards, I found that I was typing the same comment for many of my students :
"____ has made a small amount of progress with his ability to read sight words.  He is able to read ___ out of the 50 sight words kindergarten students are expected to know at the end of the year.  These are words that cannot be learned through pictures or by their sounds and appear frequently in all books.  It is important he learn these words and become automatic in identifying them.  Our goal is to have ____ read the sight words effortlessly.  On the back I have highlighted the words he knows.  Please practice the remaining words with ____ at home."

I think this is important information to share with parents, but I also wanted to provide suggestions of simple activities that parents could do at home with their children in case they didn't know how to practice the sight words at home.  This will help provide the children with much needed practice.  So I compiled a short list of activities I have come across throughout the years and will be sending it home with my report cards.

(Click on the picture below to grab your copy!)
Do you think you would find this useful as a parent?  If you decide to grab your own copy, I would love to hear your ideas!
~  What are some activities you use to help develop sight word vocabularies?
~  What are some ways you encourage  parents to get involved?

Spring Sight Word Find FREEBIE

Today was a beautiful Spring day here in Upstate New York!  
Tomorrow is supposed to be even better!!  
Then back to work on Monday.  

This upcoming week is filled with 3 days for the NYS ELA Assessment.  The following week is filled with 3 days for the NYS Math Assessment.  Even though I am not working with anyone in the testing grades, I am proctoring so it is a huge interruption in my schedule.  Do your students have state assessments coming up?

On a different note, have you seen the new features over at Teacher's Notebook?  They have many new features and they make life sooo much easier!  I am going to send you over there now to pick up my  newest Spring Sight Word Find for kindergarten.  
This Sight Word Find addresses the following Common Core Learning Standard:
K.RS.FS.3c:  Read common high-frequency words by sight.

I have hidden 18 teeny, tiny sight words for students to find using magnifying glasses!

In case you missed them, I also posted two additional Sight Word Finds for our Kinders and Firsties.

Love Birds Sight Word Find
This Sight Word Find addresses the following Common Core Learning Standard:
K.RS.FS.3c:  Read common high-frequency words by sight.

Let it Snow! Sight Word Find

This Sight Word Find addresses the following Common Core Learning Standard:
K.RS.FS.3c:  Read common high-frequency words by sight.

I do want to apologize because I just realized that I am sending you to two different shops!  If you click on these last two Sight Word Finds, that you will be going to my TPT shop!

Emergent Student Readers Set 2

I am so excited because I just uploaded my second set of 
Emergent Student Readers!!

This set includes 4 different student readers with sight word flash cards and picture cards to go along with each.  Something new included in this set are the Home Readers I created for the children to take home.  I found that my students really enjoyed reading each Emergent Student Reader and wanted to share their successes with their parents.  I would end up drawing boxes on the bottom for parents to document each time their child read.  Now the Home Readers have the boxes already prepared on the bottom and are ready to be sent home.  I have my students bring it back to me when all of the boxes are filled in for a special treat!

I introduce each Emergent Student Reader by writing the sentences on sentence strips and then place them in a pocket chart, displayed with the picture cards.  We review the sight word flash cards and then the students use a fun pointer to practice concept of word as they point to each word and read the story.  Here is one of my kinderkids reading "The Footprint" which is from my first set of readers:
Because I have different groups reading at different levels, I found that I didn't always have the time to switch out the sentence strips to change to a different reader.  So instead of using the big sentence strips, I cut out the sentences of the reader itself and placed them in a small pocket chart as shown below:
After we read it together, the Emergent Student Reader is then printed out and kept in the students’ own personal folders (the ones with the brads on the inside), along with the flash cards for the students to practice and reread.  

The students love them.  Their folders also become a nice activity if we have an extra minute or two at the end of our group or if I need to work individually with a student for a short amount of time.

If you missed my first set of Emergent Student Readers, click on the picture below:

These activities address the following Common Core Learning Standards:
K.RS.FS.1:   Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
K.RS.FS.1a:  Follow words from left to right, top to bottom.
K.RS.FS.1b:  Recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequence of letters.
K.RS.FS.1c:  Understand that words are separated by spaces in print.
K.RS.FS.3:  Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words
K.RS.FS.3a:  Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.
K.RS.FS.3c:  Read common high-frequency words by sight.

Well, it is Wednesday evening and my vacation is halfway over (**big sigh).  It has been such a wonderful mix of visiting with extended family, relaxing, and spending time with my immediate family.  I really thought I would have the time to catch up on my blog hopping, but I haven't been able to do so yet!  But hey, my entire vacation isn't over yet and I still have half of it left!  Woo hoo!!

Stay posted because I have some additional activities I am in the process of finishing up and uploading.  I also have some great giveaways coming up once I get back into the classroom!  I have two different pieces of technology and a membership to a great site to give away! 

Lessons I learned...

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!

We suffered a minor little catastrophe in my house.  Saturday night, I accidently spilled an entire glass of water all over the keyboard of my laptop.  Not cool.  The next morning I couldn't get it to turn at first.  Once I did, my keystrokes were so wacky.  Sometimes capital letters would come out, other times lower case.  Then throughout the day I couldn't get it to turn on and stay on.  I have so many files on that little guy!  Files AND pictures!  Did I panic?  
Not only was I worried about losing my files and pictures, but I do soooo much on my little laptop.  It scared me to think that I would be off this week without my laptop!

Luckily I had backed up a lot of my files on Dropbox.  Do you use Dropbox?  I used to be the kind of gal who backed my files up onto flashdrives, but then would be so worried that I would lose the the flashdrive itself.  Then I used Google Docs for awhile, which I still do.  But I find that Dropbox is easier to organize.  You can access your documents from any computer with internet service and can download something right to your desktop.

Yesterday I ran out and bought myself a new laptop.  Between Dropbox and sharing between homegroups in Windows 7, I was able to save everything!  YAY!!

My lessons learned:
~  Back EVERYTHING up! (Do you?  If so, how?)
~  When I am eating or drinking, my laptop will be nowhere near me!

Finally, just wanted to share a pic I made through Instagram.  
My little lady makes everything in my world all better!
 Have a wonderful day!  
Hopefully today will be much less stressful in our house!!

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, Do You?

I was so excited to see that 
Mo Williems
is reading his book
this month for 
Online Storytime at Barnes and Noble!

I LOVE Mo Williems!

I have posted about the Online Storytime at Barnes and Noble a few times now!  Are you sick of it?!  LOL!
I can't help it!  I love the books they feature and the authors and celebrities they have reading them!!  I also love that you can view the books they featured in previous months!

And by the way...I am now officially on Spring Break!  
Wooooooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Bunny Hop Freebie

I am so excited to be hopping along the bunny trail with TBA!
Thank you so much for joining us!

On this stop of the bunny trail, I am sharing a fun little game that can be used to help reinforce so many different skills as your students help the bunny hop along the bunny trail to reach his friend with the carrot!  I use it to help reinforce letters, sounds, and sight words.  But you can also use it to reinforce numbers, math facts, or any rote skill!  
To play, simply write whatever you would like the child to practice in the empty boxes on the bunny trail and also create matching flash cards.  Mix the cards up and have the child read through each until they get to the first word on the bunny trail.  Continue until you get to the finish and the bunny with the carrot has been reached.
I included two versions, one does not have a colored background in case you wanted to save some ink!

Are you having fun hopping on the bunny trail?  
We sure hope so!
Click on the egg below to continue hippety hopping along our bunny hop!

Next you will be visiting Mrs. Lyons