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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I just wanted to take a moment to say have a spooktacular Halloween.  Don't forget to visit my store.  It will be on sale until the end of today!

When I first saw this last year, I laughed out loud.  Hope you enjoy the day!

Monday, October 28, 2013


I have been counting down or up depending on which way you want to look at it until I finally reached 100 "likes" on my Facebook page!  It happened (I think) in the wee hours of the night or morning.  When I woke up this morning, there it was!

I know that most people celebrate when they reach like 300 or something, but this has been a good weekend for celebrating.  My first ever blog hop went fabulously well!  I increased my followers on Bloglovin considerably, which is great because the more people you get to know, the more you get to learn from others!  And then my 100 likes!

Okay, so on to what my good fortune means for you.  My whole Teachers Pay Teachers store will be on sale starting tomorrow (Tuesday) and running through until Halloween.

In addition, I am having a flash freebie on my bestselling item for 24 hours.  Pick it up before 9:00 PM Central time on Tuesday! (Okay, so that's like 24 hours and 10 minutes) Click on the picture below to get yours!

Thanks everyone!  Happy Monday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Sleuth Blog Hop - Stop #27

Hello my fellow detective!  You made it!  This is stop #27.  You are almost there!  If you are starting here, you will want to go to stop #1.  Otherwise you are going to miss some VERY important clues, and that's where you will download the all important recording sheet!

I think that being a detective is all about finding patterns and being observant.  I know that you know this, but students sometimes have to be reminded that most of the words that we use when we read and write have patterns (except those "jail" words).  If you are explicit with your teaching of those patterns, students will pick them up.  They may just have to put their detective skills to work!

I used this strategy all the time when I taught third grade and have been using it with my small reading groups. This blog hop gave me a chance to clean and spice it up!

The nice thing about this freebie is that it is great to use with any grade!  The students start by making sure that they have their detective hat on.  The detective hat is just the hat provided for you copied onto card stock and laminated.  I then attach construction paper strips to it to make a "hat" that wraps around their head, but also looks like a detective's hat.  I then make sure that they have their magnifying glass.  This helps them examine the words that they are studying more closely!  Every little gimmick helps right?

I then tell the children that hey are going to hear me say some words.  Their job is to guess which column the word I am saying goes in.  At first, they have no idea which column the word goes in and are just merely guessing.  As more words are up on the board and on their papers, they start to detect (pun intended) some patterns within each column.  Here are some of the organizers.

They are also in black and white.  They would be great for a Smart or Promethean Board.  Then the students could use the black and white ones to have their own copy as you go through the lesson.

Here is an example, I recently used this with one of my first grade groups.  My word-work target was for them to notice and hear the "sh," "ch," and "th" sounds.  I started naming words and the students were guessing the columns.  They knew what the rule was before I even had the 3rd word in each column!  I then challenged them to each give me a word of their own to put in each column.  I had every hand raised.  It was awesome!

It also works for some of the older students.  In my third grade group, we were differentiating and sorting for the short a and long a sounds.  I used a Words Their Way sort for this.  Once they were pretty proficient at hearing the difference between the two, I told them they were now going to be a word detective.  They have been studying mysteries in the classroom, so being a detective was right up their alley!  I used 4 columns and had them guessing which column the words went in.  My sort was:  column 1 a-e, column 2 ai, column 3 ay, and column 4 oddball.  They started to understand by about the 3rd or 4th word in each column.  We then named each column with the rule.

Their job was not done!  Now they had to look for anything else they noticed about the columns.  One student detected (there I go again) that "ay" was always at the end of a word (all were one syllable words at this time).  "Yes!" I said, "What else?"  One of my quiet girls said that she was not sure of tail and tale because both were right and you needed to know the definition to know which one you were talking about.  "Yes, yes!"  I said.  Well, I could keep going, but this post is getting long and you have one more stop!

Anyhoo, where do I get the words or ideas for sorting?  From a few sources actually.  I do make some up as I go.  When in doubt, I turn to the experts.  Here are a few:

I love the assessments in the Words Their Way books and the Phonics From A to Z is a really good tool for understanding different patterns.

Well, that's it!  Click on the picture below to grab your freebie!

Here is your letter:

If you like what you saw try following me on Bloglovin!

And finally, here is your next stop!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Conferences, Blog Hops, and Dinners, Oh My!

Last week, we had conferences on Thursday.  Last night we had day 2 of conferences, and tomorrow is Day 3 of conferences.  I hope that on Friday I can manage to get through the day forming almost complete sentences!

On top of conferences, I am getting reading to participate in my first Blog Hop.  I am really excited!  One of the reasons I chose to take on this blogging endeavor was to branch out and learn from others.  I am in a building where I have been the only reading specialist (until this year, I have 1 hour of a reading teacher for help).  I sometimes feel like an island, so it is so nice to hear from the blogs that I stalk that others are going through the same problems, conundrums, and celebrations as I am!  This Blog Hop has been a great way to get to know others in a similar position as me!  I am hoping to go from stalking to blog buddies!

And what can I say about dinners?  I am thankful for a husband that can cook pasta.  I am also thankful that we live less than 5 minutes from a Portillo's (you Chicago people will know what I am talking about).  And I can't say enough about pizza delivery.  My mom has 5 sisters and 2 brothers.  All of my aunts know how to cook very well.  I even have an aunt named Betty Crocker!  I kid you not!  My wonderful mother said she had a great present for me one Christmas.  She said it was a book filled with all of our family recipes.  I was so touched that she had taken the time to write them down and share them with me.  When I opened it, I saw that it was an organizer of take-out menus from all of the places that my husband and I love.  What can I say, the woman has a sense of humor!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Flash Freebie

I was catching up today on some posts on Bloglovin' and I ran across this great post from Lovin Lit.  It seriously made me laugh, even though I am a Bears fan.  You should check it out.  So apparently, after every Saints win, she posts a flash freebie for about 1 hour.

Because Notre Dame won their game yesterday (and I was lucky enough to be there to see it), I am putting my Sight Word Assessment Bundle (normally $8.00) for free until 10:00 Central Time!  Be kind and leave some feedback for me!

On a separate note, there are only 5 more days to get ready for our Super Sleuths blog hop!  Look below for the all of the the participants.  I'll bet there are some you recognize already!

Don't forget to get updates for mine and all of the reading/literacy specialists below.