Sunday, January 31, 2016

Monthly Freebie: Editable February Newsletter

Well, it's the beginning of February, and I actually have my monthly freebie ready on time! Maybe I will be able to stay on track this year after all! :) Here's the preview for the February newsletter template!
You can access this newsletter here. I hope it will be useful for you in your classroom!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Winter Word Work: Sight Word Snowball Toss

I intended to share this idea earlier, but there's still plenty of winter (and indoor recess days) to put this little tactic to good use! I came across the "Sight Word Snowball Toss" at Growing Book by Book, and it's just a genius idea. I'll readily admit: her version is way cooler than mine... her snowballs are made with socks, so they look "real," and her kids made forts, which would be awesome...

But I recycled used printer paper to make into "snowballs," and I used a miniature laundry basket as my "target." I didn't show my students her version, so they don't know I'm cutting corners here.

And did I mention that they LOVE this...?!?

This is how my version works: I pour all the snowballs out on my table, and I set my timer to 20 seconds. For 20 whole seconds, the students just get to toss the snowballs and try to get as many into the basket as they can. Then they gather all of the "missed" shots from the floor and put them back on the table for round two. Meanwhile, I empty the basket onto the floor, and they return to collect as many snowballs as they can hold. Each student has to read the sight words on the snowballs before putting them back into the basket. Then they get to try to toss the remaining snowballs into the basket for another 20 seconds. This time, however, the basket is partially full from round one, so it's a bit more challenging. We repeat the process, and they read the new snowballs, plus the originals from the first 20 seconds.

Does that make sense? You could easily adapt this to fit the content you are teaching. For me, it's an awesome quick little activity that gets them moving and reading. You can never read sight words too many times, and my students are so eager to read them with this activity. This has been a great, fun activity for us so far this winter, and let's face it; these may very well be the only snowballs we see in Mississippi for a while...

Maybe we should build a sight word snowman next!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

On a Roll with Student Writing!

Forgive the cheesy name... but I just couldn't resist.

I came across this genius idea for teaching sentence mechanics with "Run-on Repair" at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational, and couldn't wait to share it with my students. Please hop on over to her blog for the full details of this little activity!

Once I had my roll of register tape, I wrote a long run-on sentence for my students. They were amazed at the length of the sentence as they rolled it out.

Then we began editing with markers...

and when I handed them scissors... oh my goodness they loved it!

As we worked on larger pieces of writing, I continued to use this same concept to write, edit, and literally build a paragraph with register tape. It takes up some floor space, but that is a small price to pay for the way my students were so engaged in this writing activity!


This definitely puts a new spin on the typical writing process! This is a great visual representation of the way writing can be so messy and good at the same time. I think I love this as much as the students!

By the time they invested so much effort (and fun) into writing their narrative, they were excited to transfer their writing onto notebook paper for a final draft.

What do you think? Let me know if you give this a try in your classroom!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Better Late Than Never... a Monthly Freebie!

Yikes. So January is pretty much wrapping up, and I never shared the editable newsletter freebie for this month. I sincerely apologize. In the aftermath of the holidays, we celebrated our baby girl's first birthday, and party-planning pretty much dominated my focus around here. Nevertheless, I do have a January template, for anyone who is interested. If you want this editable newsletter, you can grab it here.
The good news is that I'm not quite this behind on things for February, so you will have access to that monthly freebie at the beginning of the month next month. I'm trying to get back on track! :)