Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fluency Binder and FREEBIE

We ALL know how important fluency is. I found this quote from the National Reading Panel.
"Students who do not develop reading fluency, regardless of how bright they are, are likely to remain poor readers throughout their lives."
Wow! Sometimes I think we get a little caught up in accuracy and comprehension and forget how important fluency is.

I'm excited because I just finished my FLUENCY BINDER packet. It's a project I've had in the works for sometime now.
This packet contains over 50 practice pages. You can make each child his/her own binder and add pages as the child progresses. Or make 4-5 binders to use at different times during the day.
The packet can be used in a variety of ways. Just choose which works best for you and your students. 
It can be uses:
  •  when teaching a new skill
  •  as a review or assessment
  •  in guided reading
  •  as a self-start
  •  with a parent or peer tutor
  •  in centers
And that's just to name a few.
It covers a wide variety of skills from an emergent to fluent level. 
The pages include:
  • A-B-C letters
  • the first 100 Fry Sight Words
  • 80 Fry Phrases
  •  long & short word families
  •  blends
  •  consonant & vowel digraphs,
  •  frequent number & color words
  •  bossy R
  •  hard or soft C & G
  •  simple sentences 
  • simple stories
VERY EASY PREP!
Just print in color or change the setting on your printer and print in black & white. 

Check out the preview on TpT for a FREE practice sheet!
Click HERE to link over.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One Day Bonus Sale!

Yep! One Day Bonus Sale on TpT!
Everything in my shop is 20% off including my all ready marked down bundle packets. Promo code: MORE15 for more savings!
Thanks for the banner by Ms. K  Math
Happy Shopping!



Friday, August 7, 2015

Valuable Homework

So you're busy getting everything ready for the new school year. Homework, hopefully, is something you have thought about or will in the near future. I'd like to add a few things for you to consider when you do think about homework for your students this year.
Let me begin by first telling you where my experience comes from. I am a mother of four (some were gifted learners and some struggled with reading), grandmother of 11 (6 of which are in school now), and a teacher of the primary grades for 38 years. I've spent many evenings with crying, frustrated kids trying to complete their homework, some of which were trying to find the right costume for a book report or finding sugar beets from Idaho for a science project but some were nothing more than just useless busy work. I've had parents tell me to 'shove' it and others threaten to go to the principal and rat me out if I didn't find more worksheets for their child to do at home. When it comes to homework I think I've seen it all and even assigned most of it. There has always been a debate for and against homework. Does it really help create disciplined minds? Is learning accelerated? Are study skills learned? Does it interfere too much with home activities? Does it cause students to dislike school? And so the debate goes on. Many studies have been conducted and tons of books written on the subject.

I know many districts and principals require it and some parents want it and some detest it. The problem I always have is trying to make everyone happy. How much and what is valuable? Some parents complain that the homework is too much and too hard while others want more. It's hard to please everyone. 

After reading lots of research, talking to lots of educators and parents, and from my own experience, I came up with my own opinion on the subject of homework:
DO WHAT IS BEST FOR THE CHILD!
 IF YOU ASSIGN HOMEWORK- MAKE IT QUICK AND FUN BUT VALUABLE!

Please don't send home useless busy work. Parents are NOT going to think you are a fabulous teacher because you send home cutesy book reports or amazing projects to complete. Believe me it only adds to their stress level.

Research shows strong evidence that, when homework is appropriate it can benefit student achievement but too often the tasks are nothing but 'fluff' and time consuming which can cause frustration or take away from family time and extra curricular activities. In the Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006) study they suggest: "homework must be realistic in length and difficulty given the students' abilities to work independently. Thus, 5-10 minutes per subject might be appropriate for 4th graders.  ...too much homework may diminish its effectiveness or even become counterproductive."

Here's a little guideline I use when assigning homework:
  • Design and assign purposeful homework. Make sure students can do it independently but not necessarily fluently. It should have a legitimate purpose such as practicing skills, elaborating on information to deepen knowledge or understanding, or provide opportunities to explore.
  • Involve parents in appropriate ways such as allowing them to see how well their child is learning. They should NOT act as teacher or police homework completion. Too much contention is damaging.
  • Be sure amount of homework is appropriate for students' age level and does not take too much time away from other home activities.
  • Be flexible, work with your students and parents to make it a positive experience.
So in conclusion, I just wish all teachers would think about the homework they assign and decide what is best for each child. 
Is it valuable or fluff?
 Is it quick to complete? 
Does it make learning fun? 

Good luck, dear teaching friends, trying to find the balance of good valuable homework.

This is a post I have wanted to write for a very long time. One that I should have written before now. And just let me say this is MY OPINION and I know others have a different opinion and I'm good with that. I agree to disagree.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Back to School SALE!

It's finally HERE! 
The annual Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School SALE!
Time to stock-up.
It only lasts two days- Monday and Tuesday. So get your wishlist ready.
May I suggest some of my FAVORITES?

Another must have--
There's MORE...
number charts in several different themes to match your room.
PLUS:
sight word practice!
Everything in my store is 20% off, and I mean everything- even my bundles which are already a savings. 
Then add the code BTS15 for more savings. 
Even my newest packet is on sale too.
Happy shopping everyone!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Exercise!

EXERCISE!
I know that most of us have a love/hate relationship with it. We know it's good for us but have a hard time doing it especially before or after a loooong day at school.

One of my goals this summer was to start a regular exercise program, the problem was finding the right one for me. I love to walk but walking around the neighborhood early in the morning just wasn't enough and I wouldn't be able to keep that up once winter came. (I hate to be cold!) I've tried going to the 'gym'. When I exercise 'it ain't pretty'. Actually, it's pretty comical so the gym isn't for me. I've bought DVDs and love doing it in the comfort of my own home but I get bored doing the same DVD over and over. I have a treadmill but again BORING. In my search to find the perfect fit for me, I stumbled across it on YouTube at JESSICASMITHTV.

Jessica is a certified trainer with all kinds of training certificates and her goal is to make fitness FUN! The best part is: it's FREE! Just go to YouTube, search Jessica Smith TV and tons of workout sessions pop up. When you find one you like, just click 'like' and start creating your exercise playlist.

 The other thing I love: it's not BORING. There's a ton of variety. She does power walking (which is my favorite), yoga, strengthening & stretches, pilates, kickboxing, barre, zumba, and tons of cardio.

Another plus is the time issue. Sometimes I only have a few minutes and other days I have lots of time to spend exercising. Some of the videos last only 6 minutes while others are as long as 60 minutes, most are around 15 - 30 minutes. You can do a combination of whatever you want. Plus you can hit the pause button when you need a break.

She shows you how to ramp it up for advanced exercisers or how to take it down for the beginners.

You can also take it on vacation with you. All you need is the internet and a phone, iPad, or laptop.

Here's one I like to do after a looong day. It helps relieve stress.

She also has DVDs for sale on Amazon.com

By the way, I am NOT getting any kick backs for writing this post. I just found a cool thing that works for me and want to share hoping it might inspire someone else to get on the exercise train.
Happy EXERCISING!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Story Behind the National Anthem

Happy Summer ya'all!
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer break! (I hope everyone is out of school AND ON break. I know except for our friend down under hang in there!)
I found the most AMAZING video on YouTube about the National Anthem. It's the story behind it and the events that happened to inspire Francis Scott Key to pen the words. 
Your kiddos really need to watch this! 
I am so grateful to live in this country with the freedoms that I enjoy. I am indebted to the brave men and women who fought and are fighting to preserve my liberties. 
(Clipart from Educlips)
Happy Independence Day to all my USA friends!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Birthday Bundle

I just completed my newest packet and I gotta say I love it!
This packet has 9 different activities to choose from to make birthdays special in your classroom. 
Here is a detailed description of the activities included.
If you're like me I like to have everything ready for when school starts and getting the birthday stuff together is the first thing I start on in the summer. That's why I wanted to get this packet done and out there.
I hope you'll check it out in either of my shops. Just click the sidebar for a link to my shops.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you're having an awesome summer!