Saturday, November 28, 2015

"A vs. An" Instructional Resources for Little Words

A and an... such simple, small words, right? I have noticed, however, that while reading these words poses little difficulty, very few of the students I see daily have actually mastered the correct usage for these words in writing. They often use the two words interchangeably, with no clear discernment for which word is actually appropriate in context. To help alleviate this problem, I have created a new product that focuses solely on understanding when to use a and an.

The product is intended to provide thorough materials that will help students learn the rule behind the usage of a and an, practice applying the rule through differentiated sort activities, and then apply the rule independently in writing. You can see detailed images from the preview file below.

"I can" statement poster ...
 Rules posters for a and an combined as well as separated ...
Differentiated sort activities that feature words as well as pictures so students have multiple ways to apply this rule, depending on their needs prior to and throughout instruction with this skill ...
A tree map recording sheet that corresponds to the sort activities and also features a "challenge" component as well as a final "a vs. an" page that may be used as independent practice or as an assessment for this skill if needed ...
Now, this is how I have already used parts of this product in my classroom. The sort activities, in particular, are beneficial for my students. I was careful to include the option for pictures, which eliminates any confusion over reading potentially unknown words. This also helps students to focus on the sound at the beginning of each word, rather than simply looking for the letter. 
Once students become comfortable using the picture version of the sort, I then transition to the words. They love using the puzzle pieces, and aligning the cards just right is one extra challenge for those fine motor skills!
To keep the pieces for this sort activity organized, I made my own little pocket foldable. This is such a helpful little tool that the students can easily use as well.
I hope you can find a way to use this in your classroom as well! So far, it has been helpful to students of multiple grade levels in my classroom, and I tried to create a product that would be easily adaptable for your classroom needs. If interested, you can access this newbie here in the Tally Tales TPT store!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Classwork Display "Window"

If you're looking for a fun, but easy-to-manage method of displaying classwork, then you may be interested in today's post. :)

This little display is now outside my classroom, just waiting to have some of my students' work added to it! Check out my new classroom "window"...
Now, take a behind-the-scenes look at the way it is (easily) made and operated!

If you want to make one just like mine, you will need the following materials:
  • 4 gallon-sized ziplock bags
  • duct tape
  • one wooden dowel rod
  • 2 Command hooks
  • Butcher paper (for the curtain)

Simply lay the ziplock bags in the shape of a square, with the ziplock logo face-down on the table. You will want this on the back side of the window so that it doesn't show from the front. I have inserted pieces of blue paper into the bags so you can easily see how the logo will disappear once student work is inside. Use the duct tape to lay across the edges of the bags, connecting them enough to hold them in tact and create the window-pane appearance. Lay the dowel rod across the top, and simply fold the top half of the duct tape over it to attach it to the zip lock bags. That's all!
Here's a view from the back side, where you can simply unzip the bags to insert student work, and change the display any time you want! 
I attached command hooks to the wall, and the dowel rod is just resting on those hooks to hold the window. I made a "curtain" out of butcher paper, and that conceals the rod as well as the hooks. I can pull the "window" down and swap out the contents of our display any time I want. 
What do you think? 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Magic Writing with Sight Words

One of my teacher friends recently shared this idea with me, and I thought it was such a marvelously-simple, fun idea. I couldn't wait to use it with my students, and luckily, since it is so easy to incorporate into classroom instruction as a quick review activity, I was able to use it right away. As it turns out, my students love it just as much as I do. (Isn't it great when things work out like that?!?)

This is a great activity to use for those hard-to-learn sight words. If you use the Orton-Gillingham red words technique, then this exercise is a great extension activity to help reinforce those words! 

As I said, this is a really, really simple activity. Start by having your students write their work in large print with a white crayon. You will need to model this for them. After all, you are writing with a white crayon, so it helps if they can watch first to gain a better understanding of the size and spacing for their letters. 
Next, the students use a marker to color over their writing. They can watch as the word "magically" appears!
How neat is that? Of course, you won't have a perfect image of each word, but the point is to provide students with an additional, unique experience with these words. This activity will definitely be exciting for them. My students immediately begged to "magically write" all of our red words!
I hope your students are as excited about magic writing as mine were! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monthly Freebie: Editable November Newsletter

How is it possible that it is already November?!? Does anyone else feel like the months are flying past? Either way, it's time for my monthly freebie. As always, if you ever experience trouble downloading or using one of my products, please feel free to contact me! I am grateful for any feedback, especially if I need to make an adjustment or two! :)

You can now access a free, editable template for a November newsletter here.

See the template design for this month's newsletter below...