Winter Work

Thanksgiving came and left with a blink of an eye.  Now it's time to focus on the upcoming holidays.  For my family, Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year.  Today, my husband is getting all of the decorations out of storage and the kids couldn't be more excited!  That special "holiday spirit" is in the air.

Winter Work

To keep this "holiday spirit" with  our ongoing learning, I decided to create a winter-themed CVC practice for my kindergartener.  This resource was created for my son to practice his CVC words, as well as his initial, medial and ending sounds.  My favorite part about this resource is the differentiation.  Some pages just have a missing initial or ending sound, but there are pages that have both of those sounds missing, which increases the difficulty.  My son loves the pages that have a blank under each picture.  He feels so accomplished after sounding out each sound and finally creating a word.

What I truly love about this resource is its versatility.  It allows me to use the easier pages just missing the initial or ending sound with my PreK son.  Any resource that I can use on more than one of my boys at the same time is a keeper in my home.

My Book Report - Story Elements, Sequencing & Review

Please accept my most sincere apologies...it's been a long time.  The start of a school year, selling and buying a home, moving, 5 boys...it caught up to me.  Now that things have started to settle a little bit, I have finally been able to get back on track.  It seems like it has been a long journey to get through this busy time, but I am embracing getting back to normal.  

My first task at hand was to get my creative juices flowing again.  I needed to stop for a minute and look at what my kids needed academically.  This is always my starting point for creating.  My oldest son is in kindergarten.  Though I've tried to give him a good reading foundation, I knew it was time to start bringing in more comprehension skills.  Our nightly ritual is to read a book before bed and I knew that this is where I could begin extending his knowledge.  Every night we read a different book and discuss it.  I decided to make a simple change.  Instead of reading a different book nightly, I decided to just focus on one book each week and each day we would work on an important comprehension skill.  With this change, my new creation came to fruition.

My Book Report - Story Elements, Sequencing & Review

I needed something simple, but yet effective where I could introduce and reinforce story elements, sequencing and giving an opinion.  It had to be easy and quick since we would be doing this before bedtime.  And without further ado, I introduce to you...My Book Report - Story Elements, Sequencing & Review.

Each night after reading a book, my son and I take a couple of minutes to discuss a skill (story elements or sequencing) and he then either draws or writes (sometimes both) what we've discussed.  The action of writing or drawing what we have discussed has increased his understanding and retention of the book that we have been reading.  I have found that since we have started this nightly ritual, his comprehension has improved greatly...this comes from his teacher.  

Here is our schedule of nightly activities:

Monday: I read the book and we discuss the story elements and sequencing. My son retells the story.  He completes the title and author part of the book report.

Tuesday: He reads the book (sometime he asks for help from me...sometimes he doesn't) and he completes the characters and setting.

Wednesday:  We discuss the story and he completes the problem and solution of the book report.

Thursday:  We discuss the story and complete the sequencing.

Friday:  My son gives his review of the book.

By the end of the week, we have completed a book report and it gets pinned onto his cork board.  It has somewhat become like a trophy case.  

Though this resource has become very useful to us, I know that it can also be a useful resource in the classroom.  For this reason, I included a "speak and listen" page.  If this resource is being used in the classroom, it gives students the opportunity to share their review and listen to a classmate's review.

Regardless of where you use this book report, I know from experience that it has become a useful and essential part of  my son's reading progress and has greatly helped him increase his comprehension skills.  Another win for mom!

Pre-Primer & Primer Dolch Sight Word Cards & Booklet

With the start of the school year for my boys being tomorrow, I have been trying to stay a step ahead on their curriculum.  My oldest is going into kindergarten and I know that his reading abilities will really develop this year.  I have already begun creating many products to reinforce the skills taught in kindergarten and  I couldn't be more excited about my latest product... my Pre-Primer & Primer Dolch Sight Word Cards & Booklet.

Pre-Primer & Primer Dolch Sight Word Cards & Booklet

This resource includes all of the pre-primer Dolch words for my son to learn and practice.  It also includes a booklet with the words broken up into lists that I can use as an assessment of his knowledge.  The booklet includes a cover, two different checklists, the pre-primer Dolch sight word lists and a certificate of mastery.  This resource also comes in a Primer set or as a Pre-Primer & Primer Bundle.  Best of all, this I have created 5 themes to best match any classroom...confetti kids, bears, jungle, farm and superhero.

Of course my son chose the superhero theme for me to print out, laminate and assemble, but if he is as excited about this resource as I am, I know that it will be a success and a great learning tool for him.

Getting in the "Back to School" Groove

It's been a while since my last post...yes, I'm guilty.  This summer has been particularly busy for us.  Daily outings, t-ball, and never ending home improvement projects have pretty much consumed our entire summer.  Where did time go?  Now we are faced with the end of summer and the return to school.  As a teacher, it's a bitter sweet thing for me.  One part of me is ready to go back.  The classroom is MY space.  I am in my element here and feel like the master of my domain.  The other part of me feels that I just need some more time to RELAX.  My kids on the other hand are so ready to go back.  They miss their friends and are so excited to meet their new teachers.

Getting Back in the Back to School Groove

This last week of our summer vacation, my household is preparing for the start of the school year.  Here are some tips that have been successful for getting my boys in the "Back to School" grove:

1.  Start waking up and going to sleep earlier.  My kids and I have been on summer mode where we sleep in and go to bed a little later.  By making this simple change, I won't need to deal with cranky kids once school starts.

2.  Reread some of the summer reading books that were read early in the summer.  This will help your kids refresh their memory of all the great books that they have read throughout the summer.

3.  Open of the summer work workbooks or sheets that probably have collected dust since the last time your kids used them.  We always start strong as soon as the school year ends, but slack a little due to all of the activities that go on during the summer.  This will get them back into that "school frame of mind".

4.  Start organizing school clothes.  For us it's uniforms, but my kids start sorting out all of he uniforms that we ordered and organize them in their drawers.  My boys actually love this.  We go piece by piece and put them into a pile for each boy.  Just the sight of their uniforms get them talking about school.

5.  Going out and purchasing "back to school" supplies.  The school that my kids attend include their everyday supplies (trust me, we pay a fee for this), so for us its backpacks and lunch boxes.  This is probably their favorite activity in getting back into the "school groove".

The tips above work great in our household, but I'm sure that you have great tips, too.  How are you preparing for the return to school?  What successful tips do you have? I would love to hear what works for you and your kiddos in your preparation for the start of the new school year.