Saturday, November 28, 2015

Weekend Warriors November Edition: Holiday Gift Ideas!

Happy Holidays Friends!
The Weekend Warriors team is back this month with another FABULOUS linky!
Who doesn't love Holiday Gift Ideas?
I grabbed some of my favorite December gift ideas to share with you today!  Up first, some fun Parent Gifts from Students-

My students have been making these Reindeer Gift Bags for many years now!  It is a treasured favorite!  Click here or on the image below to grab the directions and the link to the free template-
Another gorgeous parent gift are these easy-peasy ornaments!  You can get the details from my blog post here or click on the image below!
My students also make Christmas Cards for the family.
I have several templates to choose from so enjoy this special freebie to use at Christmas! 
 Simply click on the image below ;)

Teacher Gifts to Students:
3rd Grade Thoughts shared this SWEET idea and if you click on the image below, you can snag her message templates for free!!!  Thanks Stephanie!
The lovely Mrs. Leeby has this great tutorial on making holiday crayons for student gifts!
Mom-Spotted also blogged about  these TREE crayons that are super cute!
Feel free to click on the  image below to check out her process!
Then I really HIT THE JACKPOT at Hobby Lobby last week!

I am going to ask a parent helper to peel the crayons ahead of time, making my job very easy!

I also use my bonus points from Scholastic Book Club to order two books for each student.  I write a special little message inside each book to personalize the gifts and the kids really love that!
This year I ordered these holiday faves:

Parent Helper Gifts:
 Pinterest helped me find this adorable "mani" thanks gift for my parent volunteers!!!

Gifts to Co-Workers:
A little sweetness for those special colleagues!

How about these amazingly-fab personalized chalkboards!!!  
Any Teacher would love!

My Teacher Wish List:
What's on my Holiday Wish List?
Now the fun isn't over just yet!  Grab the image below and join our linky, sharing some of your favorite Holiday gift ideas!
Have a wonderful weekend friends!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


This summer, I made a very important connection on Twitter.  Daniel, from Speakaboos, invited me to explore using Speakaboos with my first graders this year.  Of course, I couldn't pass down a wonderful opportunity like this so I jumped at the chance and now I am thinking.....How did I ever teach with out it!  
If you haven't heard of Speakaboos, let me give you a brief bio on this amazing online literacy platform that is taking over classrooms by storm!
The Speakaboos team has spent several years testing content for its platform with the goal of developing the world’s best reading motivation platform for kids ages 2-7.
In 2015, Speakaboos has built a digital library of over 175 interactive storybooks that reflect the research and pedagogy of Dr. Alice Wilder, Chief Learning Officer for Speakaboos and one of the world’s leading experts on literacy through media.
Dr. Wilder has taken her experience creating and producing beloved children’s programs such as Blue’s Clues and SuperWHY! and applied it to a uniquely effective learning model that is anchored in active learning, comprehension-based storytelling, and formative research.
This Speakaboos library is now the premier reading motivation platform with children spending an average of over 20 minutes per session and reading more than 55 stories each month. That’s 3-times the national average.
With the best platform now in place featuring a rich library of interactive stories steeped in expert research and educational intent, Speakaboos is ready to bring its one-of-a-kind reading motivation and literacy support to educators and parents around the country!  
We’re already making waves with Speakaboos being used by hundreds of districts and thousands of educators, libraries and program leaders nationwide.
Tour through the platform

The Speakaboos website features an interface designed to enhance search capabilities for parents and educators. Inspired by user feedback, the website search function is designed specifically for adults and makes it easy to browse stories based on their needs and children’s interests. The entire Speakaboos library of over 175 stories can be explored by entering keywords into a search function that allows adults to quickly find Speakaboos stories by Type (Story or Song), Genre (Fiction or Non-Fiction),  Theme (22 different high-interest themes), Educational Concepts (Math, Art, Financial Literacy, etc.), Character, Lexile Level, Mode (Read to Me, Read and Play, Read it Myself, Sing to Me) and Story Length (short, medium, and long).
Teachers can quickly find a specific story to read to their class or pull up for an individual student. They can also use the search function to identify stories that fit within their daily lessons and reading initiatives.
While adults can find specific stories immediately for a child, independent discovery of Speakaboos stories by children is an important part of the platform. If a student wants to explore the library on their own, a kid-friendly “pop-up book” search format can be accessed by an easy to find “For Kids” button on the web. The “pop-up book” is the standard way to explore the platform on our apps. This dynamic and animated interface has also been updated and features new high-interest story categories such as Dinosaurs, Pets, “Find-its,” and Farm Animals. By offering several stories within each category, students continue to engage in stories based on their interests and remain motivated to read more.
The Speakaboos search feature for parents and educators is currently only available for the web. Speakaboos is working towards making this new feature available within iOS and Android versions of the app in the future.
Speakaboos Partners
Speakaboos works with some of the biggest names in both content and distribution. Speakaboos works with top content partners delivering premier licensed stories featuring today’s most popular educational and entertaining characters. These partners include Mattel/HIT Entertainment (Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Mike the Knight), The Jim Henson Studios (Sid the Science Kid) and Scholastic’s Weston Woods Portfolio (Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, etc.). Speakaboos is looking forward to adding even more very well-known children’s characters to its portfolio in the near future!
Consumer facing distribution partners are: Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Lexibook, LeapFrog, Fuhu (Nabi) and Youtube.
Institutional distribution partners are: Findaway, Overdrive, HMH, Pearson, Google Education – Classroom, Capstone Digital, McGraw-Hill, Donor’s Choose, First Book, LSI, MLA, AKJ, Follett, Amplify and AWE.
International distribution partners include Amazon, Educomp, Al Sayegh, Sunburst, Kyown and Abril.

Speakaboos Pedagogy:
All Speakaboos content is developed to be both educational and entertaining based on the acclaimed research of Dr. Alice Wilder, Chief Content Officer for Speakaboos and one of the world’s leading experts on literacy through media. Dr. Wilder has taken her experience creating and producing beloved children’s programs such as Blue’s Clues and SuperWHY! and applied it to a uniquely effective learning model that is anchored in active learning, comprehension-based storytelling, and formative research.
You can learn more about the unique Speakaboos pedagogy by clicking the following link :
6 Ways that Teachers can Utilize Speakaboos to Influence Lifelong Learning:
  1. Assignments
  2. Suggest for supplemental learning
  3. Creating Curriculum using the App
  4. In-class reading with “take-home” or progress notes
  5. Influence and share with other Teachers and Administrators
  6. Parent – Teacher engagement
Speakaboos loves celebrating big THEMES too!
Click on the image below to check out some awesome stories just in time for Halloween!
Frankenstein copy
This week's Speakaboos Story Spotlight is on
click on the image below to read the details.
I am still getting my feet wet with ALL the various tools and platforms Speakaboos provides...
This reading teacher couldn't be happier to have such fantastic literacy connections right at my finger-tips!
I have been using Speakaboos for Read Alouds, Shared Reading, Listen to Reading (Daily 5), featured on iPads and our Computers.
I have also introduced Speakaboos to my classroom parents!  WOW!  What a life saver for parents limited on books to read at home or just about any busy family that is on the go 24-7.  I think I appreciate the iPads a bit more after this venture!
Now I know that ALL my teacher friends and colleagues love to get a little FREEBIE once in awhile.
I have a special Halloween treat JUST for YOU!
I have a FREE 30 day membership with your name on it!
Use the Coupon Code that follows this post and be prepared to BE AMAZED at all that Speakaboos can provide you and your students.
In return, I simply ask that you leave a comment with your name, grade level, and email so I may have the opportunity to touch basis with you once you have had time to explore the Speakaboos website and platform in your classroom.

Get Connected with Speakaboos here!
Twitter: (@speakaboos)
Instagram: (@speakaboos)
Pinterest: (@speakaboos)
Speakaboos Blog:

Thanks for sticking with me throughout the entirety of this post! Your treat has arrived!  
Click here (or on the image above) 
to visit my "special" Speakaboos homepage.
Sign up and enter this trial code to get started with SPEAKABOOS
Thank you so much for stopping by today!  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekend Warriors: Sight Words Edition!

Happy Weekend Friends!  The Weekend Warriors Crew is super-stoked to present you with our September Theme on SIGHT WORDS!
There are so many fabulous ideas out there for incorporating Sight Word Study into our classrooms.
Today, I will be sharing a mix of how I incorporate First Grade Sight Word instruction into my weekly schedule.  As I've mentioned before, organization is a must for me. This little planning system works perfect for me because everything is sorted in the envelopes for the entire year.  I just grab & go each week!
Our first grade district team is currently using a shared curriculum planner to scope out sight words(and phonics skills) for the year.
click on the image to download.
We have 6 sight words to focus on each week.
I laminated 30+ manilla envelopes with these weekly headers on the front. Click here to download my header pages!
These sight words I consider to be Tier 1 words.
Inside of the folder, I have my word wall cards ready to go for the focus wall, and a master copy of each daily sight word poem and warm-up activity.  I run the poem and fill-in activity front to back.  This is a daily morning warm up exercise, so kids will get this done for morning work and have it ready to go for fluency circles later in the morning. 
I also keep our PlayDoh mats in the envelopes-
Along with Sight Word Fluency Sentences that align with each of the 6 sight words for the week.  (These items will be added to our Daily 5 Word Work tubs.)
Our CAFE Critter, Lizard the Word Wizard is always excited to make an appearance every Monday to give clues to what our new 6 words are!
For more details on the Reading Strategy Posters, click here.

The Sight Words then go up on the focus wall for Word Work practice throughout the week.
We also use Miss Decarbo's Sight Word Passages in small groups and my kids absolutely LOVE this exercise!  Eagle Eye, another accuracy critter, always flies in to check and see if the kids are "looking closely" for new words of the week!

After Morning Meeting, we celebrate our "word of the day" and then I demonstrate what the Sight Word Poem should "sound like" We then break into two teams and get busy reading fluently.
 Sight Word Poetry Pages: 100 Fill-in-the-Blank Practice Pages That Help Kids Really Learn the Top High-Frequency Words
On this particular day, the odd students were meeting at the pond carpet to recite the poem, and then the even students met at the Library carpet to rehearse.

After several repeated readings, the team leader of each group will raise a hand to signal they are ready to "ROCK THEIR FLUENCY!"  I listen to both teams and the team with the BEST fluency gets a scratch and sniff sticker on their poem! 
These daily repeated readings of the poem is one of my favorite parts of the day.  To see students in social circles, working as teams, having discussions about their fluency....sure does make this dear teacher HAPPY!

Last year I created my WILD ABOUT SIGHT WORDS incentive program and all I can say is....WOW!  What a dramatic difference from last year.  The kids are so eager to master each level and move on to the next!  I decided to use FRY words (1-1000).
In August, we set up our incentive ribbons in the hallway-
Each student has a purple folder in the purple bin.  Each week, a parent helper comes in to assess each child.
The black tub has awards, word lists, and extra copies inside.  The orange binder on top is for the kids to hold and read their leveled lists of words.
Today, My little was so excited to sit out with Mr. Smith and read his Level 22 word list....He passed!!!
Each time a student passes a level, they earn a brag tag for their ribbon-
AND, a very special award is sent home to celebrate the success with mom and dad!

At the end of the year last May, our hallway was BEAMING with Brag Tags and the kiddos were so proud of their year-long accomplishments!

 The last week of school, we had a huge WILD ABOUT SIGHT WORDS celebration! Giving the students a chance to reflect and look back at where they started was definitely an eye-opener to say the least!  These kids were feeling very proud by the end of the day!
We packed up their purple folders to take home....

 Inside the folder you could find the student's growth chart,
 and the new levels to practice over the summer months.
 Students also get to take home the remaining brag tags.
 As they pass each new level, they can continue to add brag tags to their ribbon.
The kids  thought this was so exciting and couldn't wait to take their Sight Words Folders home to share with mom and dad!
For more details on the Wild About Sight Words Incentive Program, click here or on the image below.

Do you have some fabulous ideas for Sight Words?
The Weekend Warriors invites you to link up with us and share your great ideas!
Be sure to hop on over to these awesome friends to learn more on today's topic of Sight Words!
Happy Learning!

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