Sunday, January 20, 2019

100th Day of School Activities

The past couple of weeks have felt like a blur! Getting back into the swing of things after the holidays AND preparing for my daughter's fourth birthday party celebration have kept me busy, busy, busy!

Last Friday was our 100th day of school, and I am so grateful to my fellow teachers for sharing some awesome activities they were doing in their classes. I can't take credit for any of them; I'm just sharing our versions of these awesome ideas. :) These activities were easy for me to plan and prepare, and my students enjoyed having a couple of opportunities to be creative throughout the day! 

We did have a couple of tests on the agenda for the day, so I provided this little treat for them to enjoy while they took their tests. What is it about smarties that kids love? My students also really like peppermints, and we have a nut allergy in our class as well, so this 100 was a good treat for us!

Here are a couple of other 100th Day Creations...

They created something new using 100. I thought these were so creative!


Then, they used brown paper sacks to create an image of themselves, all wrinkled, at age 100.

One student, however, did not want to wrinkle her paper sack. In her writing, she explained that she might have wrinkles, but she will wear enough makeup so that no one will be able to see the wrinkles. Hilarious, right?

Aren't those creative? I am so glad my teacher friend shared this idea; I think it will be a good one to carry on with my future students as well.

At the end of the day, our wall was full of 100th Day Creations! They did pretty well on those tests, too... must have been the peppermints. ;)

How do you celebrate the 100th day of School? There are so many awesome ideas out there... Happy 100th Day, to those of you who are also getting close!

Monday, December 10, 2018

... and the Scores are Released!

I know I'm a little late sharing this. If you're like me, your days have become increasingly crazy seasonally festive and full. I just haven't stopped to fully process this... It's such a huge relief, and I really am ecstatic to share it with everyone...

I passed, friends. After three years of working, praying, and waiting, I am finally a National Board Certified Teacher. Seeing these fireworks was a surreal moment.

If you're in the middle of this journey, hang in there. If you're considering pursuing National Board Certification and you want to know more about my experience, feel free to contact me. And of course, congrats to those of you who also received good news this month! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Easy-to-Assemble Blending Boards Notebook

I am so excited to share this today. This is, by far, one of my favorite resources to create. It's not a new concept at all, but the organization and structure of it is new... for me, at least. Some of you may remember one of my blog posts about my Bossy R materials. Well, this whole resource stemmed from the blending board flip chart I included within that resource pack. I shared the whole product with a teacher friend at a nearby school, and she said her students loved the blending board more than anything else. Then she went on to say, "You know, you could create the same thing for other syllable types and patterns as well, couldn't you...?"

Well, yes. Yes, I could. And I did. And I'm loving it.

So that's what I want to share with you today... my blending board flip chart resource and how to use it in your classroom.

If you are Orton-Gillingham trained, then drill packs and blending boards are not a new concept to you at all. The problem I have had in the past is the amount of time spent sorting cards and preparing the right combinations for different groups of students. I needed a more efficient way to organize and use blending board materials.

So this whole idea is based on using a 3-ring binder to organize, store, and actually conduct blending exercises. I color-coded the beginning, middle, and ending sounds for each word so each section of the notebook is super easy to assemble.

But this is my favorite part... within my blending notebook, I have seven different blending boards, including the following:

* Basic CVC words
* Words ending with -ck, -tch, and -dge
* Words ending with -ff, -ll, -ss, -zz (also known as fizzles)
* Magic E words
* Words ending with -nk and -ng (glued sounds)
* Words with digraphs: ch, sh, th, ph, wh
* R-controlled syllables

I simply used tabbed dividers to label and separate each type, and that's it! I have those blending boards ready to use, at a moment's notice, and I don't. have. to. sort. those. cards. anymore. 


It really is one of my favorite teaching tools. I know that all of the appropriate combinations are in the appropriate places, so I can either guide my students through a blending routine as normal, or I can hand the notebook over to them and give them control. They love that! I let my students work with a partner to practice blending, and they love to take turns being the "teacher." The notebook works like a flip chart, and they simply flip the cards to manipulate sounds at the beginning, middle, and/or end of the word. It's really amazing how disciplined the blending routine is even when the students take charge with that oversized pointer. :)

Plus, since there are so many blending boards together in one place, students can practice reading with multiple spelling patterns within one exercise. In this way, it provides a great tool for reviewing previously-taught skills.

If you are interested in using this tool in your classroom, you can access the "Easy-to-Assemble Flip Chart Cards for Blending Boards" in the Tally Tales TPT store here

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear about your experience if you use this with your students!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Syllable Division

So... you want to spend more time teaching syllable division in your daily instruction? WONDERFUL! But... you don't know exactly where to start? You're not alone. In fact, I know a lot of teachers who don't invest much time teaching syllable division for several reasons: (1) It seems tedious. (2) There are too many rules, and it's overwhelming to decide exactly how to structure instruction. (3) Who has time for that??? Can you relate to any of these? No judgement here... there's a lot to teach every day, and syllable division can easily get pushed to the back-burner if you aren't determined to intentionally use it every day. Here's the thing, though... teaching students the rules for syllable division can drastically impact their abilities to decode multisyllabic words accurately and fluently. It translates into their writing as well by supporting their ability to spell multisyllabic words. So it really, really is important, even if you aren't a phonics nerd like me. 😉

I have something to share today that just might support your instruction in syllable division. 

First of all, you need a good set of reference posters. I actually have several versions of these displayed in different areas of my classroom, and I find my students using all of them at different times. Explicit instruction with each syllable division pattern is necessary; the more visual aids you provide for your students, the more capable they will be of applying the division rules to their independent reading and writing. Never doubt the value of a good reference poster to support your phonics instruction!

I also think it's important to provide students with multiple opportunities to apply rules for syllable division in isolated, focused activities. Word sorts are excellent for this! I also created a roll-and-read activity to help students build fluency with decoding multisyllabic words based on specific syllable division patterns. These are both great options to help students train their eyes and minds to recognize and apply rules of syllable division.

Finally, I think it's beneficial for students to independently apply phonics skills to create something tangible. Syllable division is no exception, and there are tons of activities/products students can make using syllable division patterns. One thing I have created that seems to resonate well with my students (and is also a helpful take-home tool for parents to reference as well!) is an interactive syllable division flip book. Typically, I lay the groundwork for this project in a small-group setting. We do a page or two together as we focus on the initial syllable division patterns. By the time students are halfway through their flip books, most of them have developed the understanding to complete the remaining pages independently. 

These are just a few materials on which I have come to rely to help support my students' understanding, and application, of syllable division. If you are interested in accessing these to use with your students, click here.

Do you have any questions about instruction with syllable division patterns? Any specific needs? Let me know... I am always interested in hearing feedback or learning about new ways to support fellow teachers!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

TPT Cyber Sale!

It's Sale Time!!! Just stopping by today to let you know that all products in The Tally Tales store will be 20% off during the TPT Cyber Sale November 26th and 27th! Happy shopping! 😊