Personalized Hand Sanitizer

What teacher doesn't keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy?

To send along Christmas wishes, we made personalized hand sanitizer bottles for my daughter's teachers at school.
They are very easy to make!

Here is what we did:
First we bought the clear bottles of hand sanitizer and removed the labels.  (Goo Gone works great to remove those stubborn labels that just don't want to come off easily!)

Then my daughter did her magic and drew pictures for each teacher with a black sharpie.

Then I scanned the pictures into my computer and resized the drawings to a size that fit just inside the front of the bottle.  (You can skip this step entirely if you have your child draw a picture that size to begin with.)

Here is the important step:  Print/copy the picture onto an overhead with a laserjet printer/copier.  Do NOT use an inkjet, the printing will fall right off of the overhead and into the sanitizer/soap.  (We learned this the hard way last year!!)

Once it is printed, cut it to size and roll it up (with the writing facing forward).

Slide it into the opening of the bottle and use end of the soap dispenser to push it forward and move it into place.

Add a bow and you have a great personalized little gift! 

We had fun making these as gifts for family members last year using clear hand soap!

Decorating the Seasons

I have been having so much fun decorating this year!  
Not only does it make the children smile, 
but the the adults enjoy it too!

Who likes snowmen?  I really do!  

This is who is on our door right now:
(I apologize for the poor quality of this photo.)

This is who is on our refrigerator at school:

And of course I had to build one at home, too:

And finally, this is who was on our door before the invasion of all the snowmen!

Phoneme Isolation-Beginning and Ending Sounds

Before working on segmenting all of the phonemes in a word, children need to be able to hear the individual phonemes.  According to research, children develop their phonemic awareness on a continuum.  When kiddos start the phoneme level, they begin by listening for the sound heard at the beginning of a word, then the end, and then move onto the middle sound. 

 Many of my students are working to isolate and name the sounds they hear at the beginning and end of words.  They seem to do well with hearing sounds at the beginning of the word, but then tend to become confused when asked to name the sound at the end.

I updated my pack that helps students with the concepts of "beginning" and "ending" in words using the following visual:
I can't remember where I first came across the star with the arrow, but it is something I have used ever since with my little ones.  I have found that it is really helpful in making those concepts more concrete for the kiddos.

I begin my instruction by explicitly teaching the students how to use the visual through modeling.  Here are my general directions:
1.  Start with your finger on the star.
2.  Slowly stretch out (or say) the word.
3.  Slide your finger toward the arrow as you slowly stretch out the word.
I then repeat it again and again, showing that when you begin to stretch the word out, your finger is on the star.  And as you come to the end of the word, your finger is on the arrow head.

As students become more proficient with it, they generally internalize the visual and it is no longer needed.  (This is evident when you see them slide their finger across the table or even in the air.)

Here is what is included in this pack:
~  Star with arrow visual for teacher modeling.
~  Star with arrow visual for student use.
~  27 Picture cards for group work or sorting

~  6 Worksheets for independent practice that provides students with systematic practice as they develop their phoneme awareness (as listed below):
-  "What is at the beginning?"-all pictures begin with continuous consonants.
-  "What is at the beginning again?"-combined pictures of continuous and stop initial consonants.
-  "What is at the end?"-all pictures end with continuous consonants.
-  "What is at the end again?"-combined pictures of continuous and stop final consonants.
-  "Where is the sound?" and "Where is the sound again?"-combined tasks of beginning and ending isolation where the students identify where the sound is heard.

Please note that my initial instruction is based at the sound level.  This is when the students use the visual and picture cards to name the sound they hear.  As students gain knowledge in their letter sound correspondences, I then begin discussing what letter the word would begin or end with and introduce the worksheets for more independent practice.

How do you practice isolating phonemes?

New Updates-I See Student Readers!

Are you familiar with my Emergent Student Readers?  
I use them throughout the year to help develop my students into readers.

Each year I start my students off with the following reader:
This reader practices the sight words:  I, see, the, a.
I use it to reinforce:
~  concept of word, sentence, and space
~  1:1 correspondence when reading
~  use of picture clues when reading
~  rhyming
~ onset-rime blending

This year I added another reader that is very similar, yet different:
This reader reinforces the sight words:  I, see, my, a,
along with the same concepts written above.

How do I use these?
I begin my instruction by writing out each sentence on a sentence strip.  I attach the corresponding picture and display them in my pocket chart.  We review the sight words in the reader and discuss the use of picture clues if we become puzzled on a word.  Then we name the pictures shown.

I model how we read by pointing to one word at a time and we read through each sentence together.  I then have each student come up and read with a fun pointer.  Once each student has read, I give them each a copy to begin their Student Reader folder.  

As additional Student Readers are introduced, I will add them to the folder.  Each week the kiddos go through and read through their folders independently to practice fluency.

I will also have them take their Home Reader home with them to read to someone special.

I have combined the two readers into one download:
If you had already purchased the first "I See" Emergent Student Reader, please go back to download the file again so that you can receive the second "I See" Emergent Student Reader!!

Click on the picture below to see all of the Student Readers I have created:

A Letter ID Game for the Entire Year!

As a Reading Teacher who works with Kindergarten students who are below grade level, I tend to work on letter and sound identification throughout the entire school year.  One way I do this is by playing a fun pocket chart game all year long that they just LOVE!  
Here is how to play:
~  Display the target letters on a pocket chart.
~  Choose your picture to "hide" and place it behind one of the letters.
~  Have your students take turns pointing to one of the displayed letters and naming it (and the sound sound).
~  If identified correctly, remove the chosen letter to see if the graphic is hiding behind it!

Here is a close up of the game in use in my classroom:
It is really, very simple!  I will use the same letter cards but change the graphic to go along with the seasons or holidays of each month!  The kids love trying to find the hidden picture!  (The first round of each new month is really fun because I don't tell them ahead of time what is hidden!)

Another nice thing about this game is that I always have it displayed in my pocket chart.  So if I have an extra few minutes here or there, we play a quick game.  The kids have fun and it is reinforcing their letter-sound knowledge! 

I created a document that puts all of the letter cards and pictures together in one download.  The download includes:
-  Cards for the 26 upper and lower case letters.
-  12 pictures to correspond with monthly holidays and/or seasons to hide behind the letter cards.

The uses of this game are endless!  I personally use it with sight words, sight word phrases, and CVC words.  It could be used with numbers, math facts, vocabulary words, etc...  Have you played this game before?

Rhyming Activities Pack

I have been working hard with some of my kinderkids to build their rhyming skills.  I have been reading aloud lots of rhyming texts, chorally reciting rhyming poems and chants, and playing games.

I decided to update my Rhyming Activities Pack and made it bigger (and better)!

I tend to do a lot with picture cards in my small groups, so I decided to add more.  Now there are 12 pairs of Rhyming Picture Cards along with suggestions for use.  

I also added 10 cards for a Rhyming Around the Room game.  My kiddos LOVE having a clipboard in their hands, so this activity is fun and engaging for them!

To help provide some independent practice of rhyme, I also included 3 worksheets for rhyme recognition and 2 worksheets for rhyme production.  So that is a total of 5 sheets for them to show me what they can do independently!

What are some fun rhyming activities you do with your kiddos?

Letter Identification with Alphabet Charts

As a reading teacher, I work with many kindergarten students who come to school having little to no exposure to the alphabet.  So in addition to building their critical phonemic awareness skills, I spend a lot of my time exposing them to letters. 

The first place I like to start with my kiddos is with the 
ABC Song and an alphabet chart.  
We begin by singing the traditional melody of the ABC Song because many of the children are familiar with it.  (However there always seems to be a child or two who is not, so the extra practice and reinforcement is generally helpful to all.)  As we sing the song, we point to each letter of the alphabet.  This can be challenging at first, especially for the little ones who do not yet realize the relationship between the letters they are speaking and the letters in print.  It is important to slow the song down so that each letter can be heard, especially the L-M-N-O-P.

We use many different tools for this activity, including fun pointers, our own fingers, alphabet strips, and alphabet charts.  As the students become more proficient, we use different ABC songs and gradually transition into reciting the alphabet (removing the melody and pausing at the end of each row), while pointing to each letter.  

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?  Alphabet charts provide so many opportunities for teachable moments!

I like working with alphabet charts in this manner for two main reasons:
First, this helps to build understanding of the organization and basic features of print as they follow the letters from left to right and top to bottom.  (Sound familiar to anyone?)  Not only are they improving their ability to recognize and name the upper and lower case letters of the alphabet, but they are tracking print from left to right (understanding directionality), tracking print from the end of the line to the beginning of the next (return sweep), 
and pointing to individual letters (using one-to-one correspondence).  These are big skills for our little literacy learners!
Secondly, this activity provides the students with a strategy to use to help them figure out unfamiliar letters on their own.  Almost every classroom environments are rich in print.  Every classroom in our building has the alphabet posted and most students have the alphabet printed on their name tags at their seats.  So as long as they have the alphabet in front of them and can recite or sing the ABC Song as they point to the letters, they will have a means to name unknown letters.   

Here is a FREE Alphabet Chart to share with you!  To help our little literacy learners develop return sweep, you will see that I alternated the bee and the butterfly for each row.

I also created some letter cards and letter matching/identification worksheets to go along with the alphabet charts.  
You can find them here:
(Here is the link for my TPT shop.)

Here are some links to other letter matching/identification activities I have made to go along with the Fall that include alphabet charts:

 Do you use alphabet charts yourself?  Where do you start with the children who come into school who have had little to no exposure to the alphabet?

Draw Write Now Review and Giveaway!

Have you ever heard of
 Draw Write Now?  
It is a collection of beginning drawing lessons with text to help students practice their handwriting.  Best part is, it was developed by a teacher!!  There are currently eight books in the series that include science, math, social studies, reading, geography, and creative writing and they come in this beautifully illustrated case.
My daughter will be entering Kindergarten this year and she loves to draw, color, and do any type of craft.  She knows how to form all of her letters, but there are times when she confuses the direction of a few.  She is not a fan of writing the same letter over, and over, and over, and over again.  This program doesn't do that!  In addition to providing step by step directions, using simple strokes to draw cute pictures, Draw Write Now allows the child to practice forming their letters while writing simple sentences about the topic at hand! 

Here she is drawing and writing about cows.

The lessons can be modified to meet your needs.  You can use them with large groups, small groups, and even in one-to-one settings.  You can use any type of paper and/or change the text to suit your needs!

Want some great news?
Barker Creek will provide one of you with a copy of their Draw Write Now Boxed Set!  Rafflecopter will randomly choose one lucky reader to win!  Please be sure to leave your email address!
Congratulations Karen!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Barker Creek for contacting me to review this program!  It is great!  If you haven't visited their site, make sure you pop over to check out all of their teaching resources and supplies!

Letter and Sound Fluency at Home

As a reading teacher, parents frequently ask what they can do to support their child at home. Each week, I send my kinderkids home with a packet of homework to complete.  This allows the families to see what the child is working on in class with me.  The packet consists of a Student Reader for the child to read each night, along with activities to practice their phonological awareness and other early literacy skills. 

My district implemented AIMSweb for the first time last year.  I noticed that many of the kids became nervous during progress monitoring, simply because they were not used to being timed.  We find timers everywhere nowadays, (cell phones, microwaves, stovetops, games, etc...), so I decided to include something in the homework pack to provide extra practice with their letters and sounds at home while using a timer.  

I just put the finishing touches on this document to share with you!  It includes 10 different forms intended for homework or 1:1 review with an adult.  Directions are included for kiddos to go through and name their letters, then their sounds, along with an opportunity to repeat the routine to beat their initial score!
 Not only did this provide my students with additional practice with their letters and sounds, but I also found that the more they practiced with a timer, the more comfortable they became.

~ Enjoy!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Can Do! Phonemic Awareness Game Show

I am excited to be able to share my thoughts with you about Lakeshore's Can Do! Phonemic Awareness Game Show!
Although it is indicated for students in Grades 1-2, I played this with my kinderkids, who had so much fun practicing identifying and matching initial, final, and medial sounds.
I was able to put the software right into my computer and guided the student through the game.  

I liked that the 
Can Do!  Phonemic Awareness Game Show 
allows you to choose:
~  up to 4 different teams teams.
~  a futuristic player for each team.
~  the length of the game.  There are options to play up to 4, 6, or 8 points.
~  whether or not you want instructions to play throughout the game or not.
~  to print out a score report at the end of the game. This report is broken down by each category (beginning, middle, and ending sounds).
~  to print out a pre and/or post assessment.
My students had fun selecting a player to represent themselves.   When it was their turn, the robotic host told them to spin the wheel and answer a question to earn points.  Each time a question is answered correctly, something fun happens to the avatars of the other players (the Ice Device is activated, the Super Gooper pours cheese, ketchup, dish soap, or some other goopy material on the players, etc...)

Thank you Lakeshore for allowing me to review the 
It was definitely a hit and will be a great addition to help build my students' phonemic awareness!  I keep hearing, "Can we play that robot game again?"

Ladybugs Letters and Sounds Game

Need some new games to help your students practice letters and sounds?  Many of my students are still working to master them, so I created these cute upper and lower case ladybug letter cards and currently use them with my students in two different games.
Teachers Notebook
Teachers Pay Teachers

One of the games is called, "Ladybugs".  It is a simple card game where you mix up the letter cards and additional playing cards into a pile and place facedown (or put them in a cute Spring themed container).  The students take turns selecting a card and naming the letter and/or sound, or follow the directions written on the card.  Once all of the cards are selected, I flip through each student's pile of letters and have them name the letters or sounds to practice fluency.

The second game is "Find the Ladybug".  This can be played on the tabletop or in a pocket chart.  I use a pocket chart and play this game if I have a few moments to spare before our group time ends.  The kids love it!  This is the same game that I posted about here.  Head over to that post for directions and pictures!

What are some things you do to help your students master their letters and sounds?

I Have, Who Has Blending and Rhyming

Hi all!  
Do your students like "I have, Who has" games?  Well, since I work with small groups of children, I wanted a quick activity where they could practice blending their sounds and also reinforce their rhyming skills at the same time, so I created these two games.  

The two games are identified by the color of their borders, one yellow and the other pink, with eight rhyming pairs each.  Each game creates a loop, so the last question is answered by the first answer set on the table.  The students are encouraged to work together to determine the correct answers.  Directions are included! 
Click on the picture to download.

I also have another "I have, Who has" game to help reinforce rhyming.  This game is much longer and includes 24 rhyming pairs.  In this  game, there is no text for the students to read.  They match the rhyming pairs using only pictures.
Click on the picture to head over to my TPT shop!

Have you ever heard of LoopWriter?  It is a program you can buy/download that can create looping games just like these.  They also have a FREE "I have, Who has" rhyming game with pictures.  You can access that here.

Thank you!


Have you been over to Teaching Blog Addict (TBA) in the last few days?  If you haven't, you really need to stop by!
We are hosting an ultimate FREEBIE celebration to celebrate 
filled with FREEBIES for different grade levels!

Click on the picture below to head to the 
PreK and Kindergarten FREEBIES:
Once you are there, you will find 8 or more pages of 50 FREEBIES to each page!  
And that is just for PreK-Kindergarten!

Click on the links below to find the other grade levels:

So get your printer ready and stop by to grab some amazing FREEBIES!  
You are also invited to link up your own FREEBIES!

How amazing is that?
I feel so blessed to be an author for TBA and can't believe it has already been 2 years!  I look forward to celebrating many, many more!!

Zippin Down the Freebie Trail

I am so excited to be part of the FREEBIE trail!
I hope you have found some great activities to add to your toolbox!

I would like to share a fun game called
The Bunny Trail

This game can be used to reinforce so many different skills.  I use it to reinforce fluency with letters, sounds, and sight words.

To play, write whatever needs to be reinforced on the included flash cards and also in the empty boxes on The Bunny Trail game board.  Mix up the cards and have the child read through each card until they get to the first target on the trail.  You then continue the same routine until the bunny gets to the end of the trail!

Now, click on the egg below to zip on down to our next stop and see
Learn With Me in Grade Three

And if you are just starting with us, click on the egg below to head to beginning of the trail!

St. Patrick's Day Literacy Activities

Here are some St. Patrick's Day themed activities that I will be using in the next few weeks to reinforce some foundational literacy skills.  Click on the pictures to learn more about each activity.

To help practice isolating and segmenting sounds, we will be using plastic gold coins to complete
St. Patty's Day Phoneme Segmentation:

To help practice letter and sound identification, letter writing, and phoneme isolation, my kinderkids will be completing activities from my newly updated 
Lucky Letters Literacy Pack:

And to informally assess correct responses to various phonological skills, I have my students
Color a Lucky Clover:

ABC Mouse App!!

I previously wrote a review for the website
Since then, this site has become a favorite in my house with my little lady.
BUT, have you seen the free apps from ABC Mouse on iTunes?
They have interactive stories, beginning readers, and an interactive zoo!

Their newest app is 26 A-Z Music Videos!
These music videos are great!!   The graphics are cute and colorful and all of the songs are fun and catchy!  They are designed to help reinforce letters and sounds.  

Did I mention that it is FREE??

Now, when you download the app, you start with 3 videos for the letters A, B, and C, along with 100 tickets.  Each time a short video is watched, 1-3 tickets are earned!  Once in awhile, there is a cute little wheel to spin to earn additional tickets.  The tickets earned can then be used to unlock additional videos for free!  (You also have the option to purchase the videos if you choose.)

Now, if you want to check out their other apps, click on the picture below:

Photo courtesy of
OR if you have an iTunes account, you can also click here.

And finally, if you wanted to read the review I wrote back in August for the ABC Mouse website, click here.  
(You can learn how to set up a FREE classroom account!!)

Want to have some fun?

Anyone up for having some fun?

I found this cute little picture in my daughter's room.
The first 3 people who can tell me the author and title of the book that is pictured, will win my updated
Lucky Letters Literacy Pack!!

Jessica, Michelle, Kimberly, and Casey were all right!
It is from The Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon.
A favorite here in our house!
Thanks for playing along and please check your email ladies!  I'll be sending you the file!

Lucky Letter Literacy Pack UPDATED!

In getting ready for St. Patrick's Day, I updated my Lucky Letters Literacy Pack! 

This pack includes upper and lower case versions of:
Lucky Letter Finds (alphabet charts)
Lucky Letter Mix-Ups (letters are mixed up)
Color the Lucky Letters ABC Paths
Write the Lucky Letters
It also includes worksheets for the students to circle the
beginning, ending, and now middle sounds of the words pictured.
I realized that some of the original pictures did not align with the Common Core Learning Standards (a few pictures ended with "l" or "r"), so I went ahead and changed them.  

Here are some of the Kindergarten Common Core Learning Standards that can be addressed when using the Lucky Letters Literacy Pack:
RF.K.1d- Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
RF.K.2d- Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words.* (This does not include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)
RF.K.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.
RF.K.3b- Associate the long and short sounds with common spellings (graphemes) for the five major
LS.K.1a- Print many upper- and lowercase letters.

New Student Reader-"I See"

Now that assessments are done and I have added new kinderkids to my caseload, new groups and routines are underway.

I really wanted to start reinforcing concept of word with some of my groups, so I wrote a new Emergent Student Reader called, "I See".
Teachers Notebook
Teachers Pay Teachers

I will be using it to reinforce:
~  concept of word, sentence, and space 
~  sight words:  I, see, the, a
~  1:1 correspondence when reading
~  use of picture clues when reading
~ onset-rime blending
~ rhyming

I start by writing out the sentences on sentence strips and placing them in the pocket chart.  I model how we point to one word at a time when reading.  Of course I make a mistake or two (I read "a" instead of "the" and insert the word "can") for the students to correct me.  This helps ensure they are focusing on the words.

I then have each student come up and read with a pointer.  Once done, they receive their own copy to begin their Student Reader folder.  (As we read additional Student Readers, they will be added to the folder.)  They will also be taking home the Home Reader to read to someone special.

 This reader is a bit more simplistic than the first one included in my Emergent Student Readers Set 1. If you want to learn more about the Student Readers I have created and use with my students, you can click on the pictures below:

Thanks and enjoy!