Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Book Chat: The Colour Thief


My boy and I found a great new book at the shops this morning. Ok, we found three, but I promise I am trying very hard to cut back. This one is called "The Colour Thief" and after only just reading it, I am seeing so many possibilities for the classroom. It is written by Gabriel Alborozo.


I deserve extra points for managing a selfie with a book cover and an excited 2 year old that just wanted me to keep reading. My daughter is 7 and I know she will love this book too, so it covers a good age range. My little man was just captivated by the illustrations, even though many of them were in grey. They are very expressive and capture attention!



It starts by telling the story of Zot. Hello cvc words opportunity!

Zot lives on a planet that has no colour, and he dreams of visiting the one he can see that is filled with colour (Earth). 

After a trip in a very cool spaceship, he arrives and starts stealing all the colours.

Look at this illustration - I can see lots of ideas for student artwork right there, with paper chipping and newspaper. Friends, I am on it, and will show you something soon!


He takes all the colours and sets off back home. He suddenly realises what he has done, and returns the colours he has taken. A sweet boy offers him a balloon to take home, which he is thrilled with. He takes it back home and it warms the hearts of all his drab grey friends. The final line "A little colour can go a long, long way" is perfect.


I cannot wait to read this to my first graders! 

I think it would be perfect to do with Kindergarten also, at the beginning of the school year. You can use it as a great springboard for discussions on feelings, friends, taking things, considering others and sharing. It also has a great message about not needing to destroy or take everything from someone, and that a little effort makes a huge difference. 

Of course, it is perfect for teaching about colours. My friend Cindy has recently blogged about her colour unit-of-work, over at Blog Hoppin, with some amazing ideas for art as well. You can find her post HERE




Head over to Mrs Jump's Class to find more book chat posts! 



Word Card Rhyme


I have a little idea to share with you today - am easy-to-prepare, fun activity you can use with ANY set of word cards you use in the classroom - word wall cards, flashcards, game cards! 

I like to do this with the 5 or 6 focus sight words I have for my class each week. 

Display the word cards on your board, easel or in front of the students somewhere. Take a pointer and quickly jump from word to word. Say the rhyme "We can read, words all day. Make this one ..... to say". And insert a word like 'loud or soft'. Then the students say the word you have landed on in the particular voice you have asked for. Repeat until you have read all words. Maybe even be brave and get a student to do the pointing. Risky, I know, but sometimes it pays to be brave. 

They. Love. It.

For at least 2 weeks.

I am working on a blog post, to share more about my 'Ultimate Word Card Collection' resource, with more ideas for word cards. This little activity would work well with any of the cards in this set also. 


You can download a printable for the rhyme - HERE - I find it helps my tired old brain to have visuals for just about everything. Also helps that I like every chance I can get to print something out!


Have a grey day my friends, thanks for stopping by!



Sunday, 14 September 2014

Teaching Addition in Small Groups

Hi friends! I have Week 5 of my Small Group Number program ready for you to take a peek at! 

You can find the week overview in my downloadable plans. You can easily edit my plans to incorporate different needs for your particular students. 

When I plan 'small groups' I intend them to be an opportunity for students to practice skills they have been learning in whole group lessons. This week's focus is 'addition' - in my whole group time, I would be providing the students with a LOT of opportunities to play with concrete materials and practice addition by combining groups of real-world objects. Games like these ones in my plan, help students to gradually make the leap from concrete to abstract. 

My 'Group 1' students are those that are still working away on being confident with counting and numeral identification. I want them to be introduced to addition, but for small groups, I have picked two activities that also have a focus on counting and numerals. 

The first is called "One More". I just listed it at TpT, and you can grab it for FREE for this week! It includes a 'One Less' game, that will be used in Week 6 - for subtraction. 

Students must roll a die and identify the number. They then have to identify the number that is one MORE than this, and find it on the game board. It can be played in a small group, or as pairs. 


'Bee Number' is the second activity for this group. It is a 'write and wipe' activity and students write the number that comes before and after. I would ask my students to just write the number after, as the focus is on adding one more, and I like to stick to the skill as closely as possible. 


My 2nd group are students that need practice in combining groups to model addition. These students are confident with counting and numbers, but need to see/touch objects to add them - they are not confident with visualising just yet. 

"Two Cheeky" is a game in my Addition Packet. Students roll a die twice and add 'freckles' to their game board kid. They then find the total. I would ask my students to write these numbers down in their maths journal or on a whiteboard - just to keep them focused and on task.


Addition Match gives these students the visual support to add, but will move students a little closer to being able to create a visual in their mind to solve addition. 


My third group of students are confident with combining two groups to model addition. They are ready to start learning to 'count-on'. 

I have chosen 2 games for this group, that have visual support. Egg Flip requires students to flip 2 cards and find the total. Students need to identify the larger number, say the total (without counting) and then count-on the additional number. In the example below, the students would identify 3 instantly and then say "3, 4", counting on the extra 1. If you hear students saying "1, 2, 3, 4" remind them that we say the 'big number' and count-on the small. 


In Addition Pup, they turn a blue card and a green card. They say the number, and count on the dots. 


My fourth group contains students that are more confident with the counting-on strategy, but still require practice. You may still see these students using their fingers for adding, but they start from the 'big number'. The games I have picked still leave visual support (dot patterns on dice) as this is the first time counting-on has been planned in the year, and I would observe the students closely to see how they cope with the games. 

In Giraffe Addition and Busy Beehive, students roll 2 dice and find the total. They count-on from the larger number rolled. If I found that the students were coping with the game very well, I would substitute the dot-dice for numeral-dice, as it would provide less visual support. 



Here is the overview:

and you can download my MS Powerpoint file HERE

Please head over to TpT to grab 'One More One Less' for FREE


Many of the games in these plans are in my 'Addition to 10 Pack 1', also at TpT. I have it on sale for the week!


Also, head over to the fabulous Mrs Wills' blog to find more plans to have a peek at!


Thank you so much for stopping by!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Five for Fri-yay!


Friends, it is time for 5 for Friday. Prepare for the beauty of random.

1. Fri-yay - Yep, I know I am going to get about 2 weeks out of this before it gets too much - but I think its worth a shot. I am going to do a 'Fri-yay' each Friday - a random goodie for you to help celebrate the awesomeness of Friday.......um... yay!

It could be a freebie, a sale or a discounted resource!


Today, I have reduced the price of my new 'Pumpkin Match' cvc game to just $1. Yay! 

Or should I say... Fri-yay!







If you are a blogger and would like to celebrate with a 'Fri-yay' you are welcome to use my button. 



2. Caramel Slice. I told you about the slice-from-heaven-with-no-photo last week. I made another one this week, just so I could take a photo for you. I swear that is the only reason.

If you would like to make one yourself, it is super easy, the ingredients are vitamins, all sorts of vegetables, water, air, and fat free fat. I am telling you - delicious.


3. Digger in the sand. I got the sunshine, the beach air, a hot cup of tea and a chat with my Dad. My beautiful baby boy got to see one of his heroes - a digger. I mean, what are the chances of finding a digger at the beach. 


4. Scrappy Capital Letter Kids are on their way. 



5. For the last one, I have no photo. It is just a message of love to all my US friends. I watched through social media as you all reached out to one another with your 911 stories and messages of support. You are an amazing nation of people and it is wonderful to see how you cope with tragedy  with such dignified unity, maturity and love. You are inspirational. 

Thank you so much for stopping by my friends, have a great Friday!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Fold and Create - Easy Prep Craft Pumpkin



One of the skills I like to teach early in the school year - is pleating. Folding paper can cause some students unnecessary anxiety, but with a few structured activities like this one, you will give your students some paper-folding-confidence.

You can read more about how to teach 'pleating' HERE

I have provided templates for this project, but they really are just the skeleton! You can modify the activity to incorporate other skill and content areas, to make the most of your students' time. 


I have listed it for FREE this week on TpT! Head over HERE to find it!



If you are looking for more easy-to-prep craft activities, you can find this 'Fold & Create Alphabet' packet at TpT as well. 


Here are a few of my favourites!


Thanks for stopping by today, I will be back very soon with some small-group plans for the week!


Friday, 5 September 2014

Five for Friday Sep 5

You know how much I love 5 for Friday already. Like most weeks, I have had another 'random' filled week. 

I made a killer caramel slice this week. It didn't last long enough for me to get a photo though.

We had a very wet rainy week, my rascal dog Maggie decided to drag the contents of my garage across the backyard. As fast as I was running around picking up things, getting wet, dodging the mud,  she was dragging more things out. Again, no photo. 

My beautiful baby boy nestled in nice and close to me on the lounge, as you do on a cold wet day, and we read story, after story, after story. He is such a special little soul, but sadly, again no photos...

Are you getting the picture? Next week, it is TOP of my to do list, to get the camera out so I am more prepared for Friday! 

I am not going to try to hide it, I do love to laminate. There, I said it. I take over the kitchen, make a cup of tea, put some trashy TV on and fire my sidekick up. Here are 5 random samples from my lamination-stash this week!




Time for Rhyme - ready for cvc words and working on rhyming!


Dinosaur Double is from Down Under Teacher and it is FREE! My students will love this!


Missing Pencils is from my Back to School games pack, and will help with forward number sequences and counting order!


Just Roll With It is a fabulous new creation from Mrs Wills and I could not wait to get this one laminated. I ADORE jumbo dice with clear pockets and my students always get excited when we use them. Deedee's packet is filled with flexible and effective learning games!


Capture the Treasure can be easily differentiated and is also a FREE creation! Hop over to the Facebook Page of my friend Brooke (Teachable Moments) to find it!


Race to the Top with the Cat's Colorful Buttons is in Mrs Jumps Colorful Cats unit. Deanna's activities are always a hit with my students and I know that this one will become a favourite too!


Please tell me I am not the only one who is thrilled with a productive week of lamination love!?

Head over to Doodle Bugs blog for more random happenings! 




Thursday, 4 September 2014

Bed for b and d Reversals




Today, I made a classroom poster for you. You can use it to teach a concept for helping to prevent b/d reversals. The concept being, that if students imagine a bed and the word 'bed' they will visualise how to write a b and a d correctly.

Download the FREE poster HERE


I have used this concept for a few years now, but have found that just showing the students the picture is largely ineffective. 

I have found that a visual will not help the students that are having visual problems - like reversing letters. Students that have strength in visualising things will already be good at writing b and d correctly. 

To help my struggling students, I present this concept to them, talk about the bed, show them the visual, display it in the classroom AND let them FEEL the visual.

I want them to FEEL the concept of the visual. In this case, I would have students make the word 'bed' with manipulatives, like magnetic letters. I would tell them to put the b first, then the e and finally the d. I would ask them to run their finger down the straight side of the b. I would tell them to feel how straight and tall it is - just like a bed post. I would get them to trace the straight line down the magnetic letter and then trace down the bed post visual, in the same direction. 

 I would ask them to point to each letter and sound out the word b-e-d - quite a few times. I would remind them that 'b' is coming out of their mouth first, it is the first sound in 'bed' and it is first on the bed word/picture (pointing to the visual). 

I would do the sounding out myself, stretch the b-e-d put reaaaaalllllllly slow. Show them how my lips are pressed together really tight before I make the 'b' sound. My lips are tightly shut and I would draw a line across my closed lips - a straight line - JUST like how we start writing the letter 'b' - with a straight line. Then for the 'd' when we make that sound, our lips are open, in a rounded shape, just like when we write the letter 'd'.

I would also give them lots of opportunity to write the word 'bed' for themselves - constantly reminding them that we are starting the 'b' like the beginning of 'bed' with a straight line. Laminate the poster and have them trace over it with a dry-erase marker. 

I also made this game for my TpT store, that will help reinforce the position of the b and the beginning of the bed. It will also get your students sounding-out cvc words. 

It is called 'B's in the Bed' and your students will match b's with different vowel-consonant combinations to make words. They will need to sound out the letters to read the words. The constant revision of putting the 'b' first and making the bed visual, will reinforce and solidify the concept.

Then, when they look at the poster you have displayed in your classroom, they will have a connection, or memory of making words and USING the concept, and it will be more meaningful and effective. 



You can find it at TpT HERE

I would love to send a copy of 'B's in the Bed' to the first 3 people that leave a comment here on this post! Thanks so much for visiting!