Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"BERRY" Good Books: Week 5

The Ducks Says is a fun introduction to speech bubbles and storytelling. The duck talks to everyone and everything on the farm...and soon is story is fun!

The Ducks Says is a fun introduction to speech bubbles and storytelling. The duck talks to everyone and everything on the farm...and soon is story is fun!
The Duck Says is a duck who talks all the time. He talks to everyone and everything (even the boulders in the pond). He talks like a pirate. He talks to the animals.  He talks to warm the animals and he talks and talks and talks.
The Ducks Says is a fun introduction to speech bubbles and storytelling. The duck talks to everyone and everything on the farm...and soon is story is fun!

The Duck Says is an obvious introduction to speech bubbles.  Students will love using the duck as the springboard to writing about what characters are saying.  BUT, it's also a great introduction to cause and effect.  If you get on a horse, you just might be in for the ride of your life. If you knock down a beehive...you'll need to run for your life. It is also a great lesson for exclamation points and ellipses.  The duck uses both to tell the story.
The Ducks Says is a fun introduction to speech bubbles and storytelling. The duck talks to everyone and everything on the farm...and soon is story is fun!
Read the book in it's entirety.  THEN, read it a second time by just reading the speech bubbles. This is a speech bubble FREEBIE.  Students can use the provided pictures to tell a story in the speech bubbles.

Enjoy the book and enjoy the FREEBIE.  CLICK HERE or the picture below.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Does Pinning Matter to a Blog Post?

Does pinning matter? I have been told to make sure I pin my posts, but didn't do it for every post.  Then, when a few posts I thought were good weren't read, I decided to try it and see if it mattered.  You'll have to read it to find out.It started with a series of blog posts that were not read by a big audience.  Last summer, I wrote 5 blogs that I really liked.
  • 5 Things Students Want Their Teachers to Know
  • 6 Things the Reading Specialist Wants Teachers to Know
  • 5 Things "NEW" Teachers Wand "OLD" Teachers to Know
  • 6 Things Teachers Want Parents to Know
  • 5 Things Teachers Need to Know About Parents
I was proud of their content and their message, but no more than 34 people saw any of the posts. That's right, my largest audience for any of these posts was 34...the smallest was 18.

I was bummed!

So I decided to try an experiment.  Confession: Up until recently, I wasn't really consistent with pinning my posts. It was one more thing to do when I posted...and I wasn't so sure it mattered.  But, did it?  It couldn't hurt to try and figure it out.

Step 1:  Update the Blog Posts

I did not update the content or the pictures (although I could have). I went in to all five posts and filled in the "Search Description" box to the right.  I summarized the post with a few sentences.  Then did a copy & paste to add that description into the picture "title text" and "alt text" on each picture.  That's it.  I didn't know what this was when I started posting, but I had been told this should be part of my posting routine.  I figured if I was going to try something new for these posts, why not?

Step 2:  Make a Pin

I used the dimensions my blogging gurus, Carla and Julie, told me and made my own pins.  I uploaded the pins, added the "Search Description" from the blog to the "Pin Description" box and uploaded.  As soon as it was uploaded, I linked the pin to the blog post.

Step 3:  I waited.

I didn't even wait a long time.  About a week later, I checked the dashboard of my blog to see how many views each post had.
Does pinning matter? I have been told to make sure I pin my posts, but didn't do it for every post.  Then, when a few posts I thought were good weren't read, I decided to try it and see if it mattered.  You'll have to read it to find out.

What do you think?

Did it matter?  I think so.  I'm so glad I tried it...and pinning each post has certainly become a part of my posting routine. 

I certainly can't pass this moment up to blog about other blog posts...but, if you'd like to read the posts, click on the pictures below.





Friday, June 24, 2016

Decoding Fix-It Strategies and Why I Don't Use "Fishy Lips"

Should we talk "kindergarten-talk" to kindergartners or should we treat them like all other learners? I think we should treat them like all learners and empower them with expectations, real-world vocabulary, and lessons that will last over time. What do you think?
So, I have to confess every time I'm on Pinterest I cringe when I see reading strategies with "fishy lips" and "flippy dolphin." Oh my, the gasping is audible. Let me explain.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching kindergarten. It's my passion, as I'm sure you've discovered if you've read any of my posts or met me in person. I think kindergartners are A.Maze.Ing. and should not be underestimated. As a matter of fact, I think we should give kindergartners tools not excuses to create successful readers and lifelong lovers of literacy. BUT, I don't think we need to make everything "cute" for kindergartners.  I don't mean the classroom, but I mean the language we use. Honestly, some things drive me a little crazy...here are 3.
Should we talk "kindergarten-talk" to kindergartners or should we treat them like all other learners? I think we should treat them like all learners and empower them with expectations, real-world vocabulary, and lessons that will last over time. What do you think?

3.  Let's Use Editing Tape

If we are striving to create independent writers, we shouldn't be afraid of mistakes. The first thing I tell me students about writing is there are no mistakes in writing, because every mistake can be fixed. I don't want my students to be afraid of writing so I'm not sure why I would call it "boo boo" tape. Boo boo's make us cry.  I would never want students to associate writing with crying. Another argument against "boo boo" tape is wanting my kindergartners to know they are editing their work when they fix mistakes. Using this language will make them stronger writers - or at least more willing writers.
Should we talk "kindergarten-talk" to kindergartners or should we treat them like all other learners? I think we should treat them like all learners and empower them with expectations, real-world vocabulary, and lessons that will last over time. What do you think?

2. Let's walk down the hallway quietly...

You know what I'm talking about. Here's my take on this:  when you tell students to "put a bubble in your mouth," you are taking control of their behavior.  You are telling them...you can't be trusted to walk in the hallway quietly, so I'm going to make it impossible for your to do so.  BUT, what if we let them know our expectations and the reasons why we have those expectations.  Before walking in the hallway, I remind my students we will walk quietly in the hallway.  I ask the students why we should walk quietly.  Some responses might be, "So we don't disturb other classes," "So we don't ruin someone else's chances at learning," "We are respectful of others who are learning," or maybe even "Because we are responsible."  This dialog with students seems to empower them, not try and take their power.  (On a side note, they look really silly walking in the hallway with a "bubble in their mouth.)

Should we talk "kindergarten-talk" to kindergartners or should we treat them like all other learners? I think we should treat them like all learners and empower them with expectations, real-world vocabulary, and lessons that will last over time. What do you think?1. Let's Get our Mouth Ready

When I was first learning about fix-it strategies, I was taught with the language "get your mouth ready" and "flip the vowel."  I actually hadn't heard of "fishy lips" or "eagle eye" until a first grade teacher came to me.  It was at the beginning of year and she was surprised.  "I'm surprised your students don't know their fix-it strategies." I was shocked. What do you mean?  I teach all the fix-its, we practice the strategies, and I know THEY know the strategies.  She proceeded to tell me when she told my students to "use their eagle eye" they didn't know what to do.  So I asked a painfully obvious question, "What does "use their eagle eye" mean?" It was her turn to be shocked. "It means look at the picture for clues."  So, continuing this question filled conversation, "Well, why don't you just say "look at the picture?"  After our conversation, I was stunned.  She was right, my students didn't know about fishy lips, eagle eyes, or stretchy snakes.  I had taught them "get your mouth ready," look at the picture," and "slide and sound."  Once she explained to them the strategies I had taught them were the same fix-its she was using, they understood what she was asking.  My theory...and it's only my theory...is students will use fix-its beyond the "cute" terms.  

So, what are your thoughts.  I know I'm in the minority...because the majority of fix-it strategies on TPT, Pinterest, or google searches contain these "cute" titles.  I'm not saying one is right and the other is wrong, just sharing my opinion.

Pin for Later:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"BERRY" Good Books: Week 4

Here's the plan.  I'll post a new book each week during the summer.  The books will have a small FREEBIE and some ideas for sharing these with your students.

Another "berry" good book!  Duncan can help students with cause/effect, problem solving, empathy, and even affricates.  Duncan is a cute dragon with a great message.


Another "berry" good book!  Duncan can help students with cause/effect, problem solving, empathy, and even affricates.  Duncan is a cute dragon with a great message.
Duncan loves a good story.  Honestly, who doesn't?  But being a dragon makes it harder than you would think.  You see, every time Duncan gets excited or scared or shows any emotion he breathes fire.  Why would this be a problem?  Because books are made of paper and paper and fire are NOT a good combination.  SOOOO, he never finishes a book!
Another "berry" good book!  Duncan can help students with cause/effect, problem solving, empathy, and even affricates.  Duncan is a cute dragon with a great message.

This book can have multiple lesson introductions.  You may want to let Duncan help with cause and effect.  You may choose to let Duncan help you with introducing problem solving to students.  You may choose to let Duncan help the children with understanding empathy.  Duncan is also a great phonics introduction for the "dreaded" affricates.  You know, that "dr" that makes early learners write "chr."  Duncan can be a great anchor to a chart on affricates.  
Another "berry" good book!  Duncan can help students with cause/effect, problem solving, empathy, and even affricates.  Duncan is a cute dragon with a great message.
This is a sorting FREEBIE.  Students can sort pictures for "dr," "tr," and "j."  There is also a cute writing paper for students to write on.  MAYBE they can even right a letter to Duncan telling them how they could help him finish a book.

Enjoy the book and enjoy the FREEBIE.  CLICK HERE or the picture below.





Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"BERRY" Good Books: Week 3

Here's the plan.  I'll post a new book each week during the summer.  The books will have a small FREEBIE and some ideas for sharing these with your students.
"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading: Frog on a Log? What a fun book about the rhyming. Everyone is happy about rhyming, except Frog.

"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading: Frog on a Log? What a fun book about the rhyming. Everyone is happy about rhyming, except Frog.
Oh My.  This book made me laugh out loud.  Why should a frog HAVE to sit on log.  "Logs are all hard and uncomfortable.And they can give you splinters. Ouch!"  It's a perfectly good argument, but cat doesn't want to hear it.  Frogs belong on logs, just like parrots belong on carrots.  The cat seems to making making points, but frog continues to argue until he asks the wrong question, "WHAT DO DOGS SIT ON?"
"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading: Frog on a Log? What a fun book about the rhyming. Everyone is happy about rhyming, except Frog.

Before reading the story, students need to be comfortable with rhyming.  This book looks are all different types of animals and shows where they would sit in the rhyming world.  Ask for predictions about where they think several of the animals would sit.  
"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading: Frog on a Log? What a fun book about the rhyming. Everyone is happy about rhyming, except Frog.
This is a rhyming FREEBIE.  There are 3 rhyming activities in the set.  I have provided 24 rhyming sets.  These cards can be used as a whole group activity or pocket chart activity.  I have also provided a "I Have, Who Has" using the same rhyming cards.  Finally, there is an individual rhyming sheet for students.  

Enjoy the book and enjoy the FREEBIE.  CLICK HERE or the picture below.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"BERRY" Good Books: Week 2

Here's the plan.  I'll post a new book each week during the summer.  The books will have a small FREEBIE and some ideas for sharing these with your students.


"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading:  the cow loves cookies.  What a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.
This is such a cute book.  It is perfect lesson for compare and contrast.  It's quite obviously a play on the traditional story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  I can see boys and girls both loving this book.  It is written with a limerick rhyme pattern that will keep everyone engaged.

"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading:  the cow loves cookies.  What a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.

  • jammed
  • fans
  • croon
  • soprano
  • porridge
  • studio
  • explore
  • mike
  • stand
  • headphones
  • dozed
  • keys
  • cottage
  • drooling
  • slumbering
  • albums
  • rock charts

"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading:  the cow loves cookies.  What a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.
The FREEBIE today contains both a Venn Diagram and a Math Comparison activity.  The Venn looks at the original story and the "rockin" version.  This can be done with a document camera as a whole group OR as an individual activity.  The math comparison activity is a size sort relating to the story.  Students can use the 

Enjoy the book and enjoy the FREEBIE.  CLICK HERE or the picture below.



Friday, June 3, 2016

Aqualicious...Flip Flops, Beach Chairs, and Mentor Texts

I love the summer.  My idea of a perfect day is sitting in a beach chair with the waves touching my toes, a breeze off the ocean and a book in my hand.  Nothing better.  BUT, let's put that love in the classroom and teach with this beachy mentor text.
Join The Reading Group for a Summer Mentor Text Link Up, Aqualicious is a great summer read and mentor text. Using the vocabulary from the story, students can sort pictures by syllable in the FREEBIE sort.
This fun link up will give you lots of ideas for summer reading and activities.  Click through our posts and up your chances for winning by following our bloggers in a variety of ways.  You have a chance at winning TPT gift cards.
Join The Reading Group for a Summer Mentor Text Link Up, Aqualicious is a great summer read and mentor text. Using the vocabulary from the story, students can sort pictures by syllable in the FREEBIE sort.


I chose Aqualicious...the newest book in the Pinkalicious series.  What if you found a seashell at the beach?  AND what if that seashell had a mermaid in it?  AND what if that mermaid was a merminnie...and tiny mermail?  That would be a memorable day, would it?

Join The Reading Group for a Summer Mentor Text Link Up, Aqualicious is a great summer read and mentor text. Using the vocabulary from the story, students can sort pictures by syllable in the FREEBIE sort.







That's exactly what happens to Pinkalicious.  She's at the beach with her mom, dad, and brother all decked out in her pink suit, her pink sunglasses, her pink hat and her pink bucket is full of shells.  She can't believe it when she finds a merminnie in the shell.

They will have a few adventures before Pinkalicious and her brother help get the merminnie back home again.

Join The Reading Group for a Summer Mentor Text Link Up, Aqualicious is a great summer read and mentor text. Using the vocabulary from the story, students can sort pictures by syllable in the FREEBIE sort.







My FREEBIE is a syllable sort.  Using words and pictures from the story, students can sort by syllable.  I provided large word cards for whole group sorting and an individual sort that can be copied and used as a follow-up.  I chose the supply the word on the sort.  Students can use the "get your mouth ready" strategy to determine between the bucket and pail.

If you would like the FREEBIE, CLICK HERE or click the cover below.



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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"BERRY" Good Books: Week 1

Here's the plan.  I'll post a new book each week during the summer.  The books will have a small FREEBIE and some ideas for sharing these with your students.

"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading:  the cow loves cookies.  What a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.

"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading:  the cow loves cookies.  What a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.
This is such a cute book.  It has a great rhythm and you find yourself routing for the cow!  The book starts with the farmer feeding his animals.  The horse gets hay.  The chickens get feed.  The geese get corn.  The pigs get the gooey glop.  The dog gets doggie treats.  BUT the cow loves cookies.  And, by the way, the farmer loves cookies and... MILK. Everyone is happy.

"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading:  the cow loves cookies.  What a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.
Vocabulary focus:  VERBS

  • feeds
  • nibble
  • eats
  • loves
  • gives
  • scratch
  • cluck
  • peck
  • honk
  • flap
  • slop
  • oink
  • snort
  • grunt
  • pay
  • gulps
  • gobbles
  • savors
  • much
  • adores
  • dunk


"Berry" Good Books for Summer Reading:  the cow loves cookies.  What a fun book about the farm.  Everyone's happy on the farm, especially the cow and farmer.
The FREEBIE today contains both a verb match and initial consonant match.  The first activity is a recording sheet.  During the read aloud, ask the students to listen for the verbs in the story.  After the first read, use the vocabulary list above to match the verbs with the animals.  In a separate activity, have the students match the initial sounds to animals from the story.

Enjoy the book and enjoy the FREEBIE.  CLICK HERE or the picture below.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_ESxPSKuOGvU3lEX3FoYllHMHM/view?usp=sharing