Hello friends!

Raise your hand if you like teaching and working on sight words?  In my classroom, I use HeidiSongs to teach the words using music.  What is also great about the resources on her sight, is that she has quite a few things to make games and centers for classroom use.  However, for me, since I use the Daily 5 method for my literacy centers, I can go through her resources pretty quickly.  One of the literacy stations is called "Word Work."  For my classroom, I do a mixture of ABC letter work (games for identification, letter order, letter sounds) and sight word practice.  I created a new packet for my team and I to use as it follows the words outlined in our reading basal (SRA).  The activities are actually all ideas that came from my class last year, so I have to give them credit on helping this adult come up with some things a kindergartner and first grader would enjoy!

The words in the packet are:  a, the, and, go, had, he, I, see, has, you, we, of, in, am, at, to, as, have, is, it.

The first set of activities comes from a group of boys in my class that loved to use color codes and find a mystery picture, whether it was symbols, numbers, or words.  Here is a picture:

The second set of activities is a version of "I Have, Who Has."  My students loved games and were always ready to play for a review, instead of just a traditional flash card review.  The cards are clear and easy to read:

The next activities  are perfect for a "Word Work" type of center, handwriting practice, or even spelling practice.  (Yes, I said spelling in regards to a kindergarten class.  I have heard of school districts assigning spelling lists for as young as kindergarten.)  The first set is designed to work with a set of stamps and two ink pads in red and blue.  You have the child read the sight word aloud and then stamp it out, using red for the vowels and blue for the consonants.  Then they can use math skills (Look! integrating sorting and counting) and figure out how many vowels and consonants are in each word.  I had a few kiddos last year that loved to do this all the time.  The second set of activities is a nod to my girls who would rainbow write EVERYTHING last year!  You can use any type of crayon or marker and let them write the sight words in a pretty fashion! :-) 

The last group of activities in the packet are sight word mini books.  There are 20 mini books, one for each word.  The mini books are not designed to tell a story, but rather just give the ability to practice reading the sight words in phrases and sentences.  There are some non sight words in the books, but hopefully with a little beginning decoding skills and using the picture clues, the students will be able to read the books.  Again, the inspiration came from my class last year.  Many of them did not like to read the stories that were forced to have a plot based only on certain words.  In fact, many of them just enjoyed reading sentences to practice the sight words.  I thought if the sentences had picture cues and was in the form of a book, it would practice proper book reading technique, yet the students wouldn't have to practice reading comprehension skills AND practice sight words at the same.  Which proved to be stressful for many.  I felt I could practice either comprehension or sight words but not both on the same day.  

I hope this proves to be helpful to many of my fellow early childhood teachers!  Enjoy!  (Click on the link below the picture to go to my TpT site.)

Here is a preview of a new unit I posted today on TeachersPayTeachers today.  I created a Noah unit to use with Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms!  I made a reflection journal to help apply the story of Noah to a child's life. Also, to help build life application skills, there is a graphic organizer so a child can write about four ways they obeyed just like Noah. n Included are two games; a version of "I Have, Who Has" and an Animal Matching Game.  I also added a Bible verse sheet and two activity pages practicing rhyming and counting by two.  Finally, there are some fun art projects: making a tissue paper rainbow and a collage of Noah and the animals.  Here are some screenshots below:

Do you have Olympic fever?  I do.  I have always loved watching the Olympics since I can remember.  When I was younger, my cousins and my sister and I would pretend we were figure skaters with our socks on linoleum flooring.  I thought it would be fun to incorporate the Olympic fever into some math activities for my classroom this year.  Below are some samples:

Currently in my classroom, we just finished celebrating 100 days of school and have started a unit on skip counting in our math curriculum.  Also, I added in some common core skills with some algebraic operations in creating ten with addition.  I know that these are skills in math for most kindergarten classrooms at this time of year.  As much as I wanted to add some things in about Sochi, Russia or add some USA pride in it, I tried to make it as neutral as possible to provide usability again in four years and for other kindergarten teachers worldwide to use it.  I think it is a fun way to incorporate the excitement children may have watching the Olympics and dreaming about it into the classroom, especially in math, which can be hard to make interesting for everyone.  I also have included a graph activity so the class can find out their favorite winter sport!  You can find it at Miss Amy's Schoolhouse on TeachersPayTeachers or at:  

Enjoy and be blessed!!

      Hello friends! I can't believe the first nine weeks is already over! It seems like I was trying to stay updated and suddenly it is now the end of October!  I wanted to share with you some beginning of the year activities that might be helpful for intervention or supplement.
     The beginning of the year can be difficult for teachers as we lesson plan. For me, I like to lesson plan with my students and their abilities in mind, but obviously that is hard when you don't know your students.  This year we are starting off with a quick alphabet letter review.  Wedid two letters a day, focusing on letter identification and some beginning sound work.
      My favorite thing to use to work on beginning letter skills are these two books I bought a few years ago from The Mailbox Publishing Company.  I love the simple black and white pictures because they are clear and easy to figure out what the object is.  They are also very up-to-date with the words they use, using items that the children of the 2000s know, i.e. no records or record players on the R booklet or activities.  (Not that I am against record players.  It just makes practicing letter sounds difficult by having to stop and explain what a record is.  Better to save that for a music appreciation lesson!  :-)  )  Anyway, here are some samples from the books below:

   As you can see the pictures are clear and the activities provide great practice with letters and following directions.  The D page on the right shows me that this student can identify capital D, but may struggle with auditory directions since they were supposed to draw a line instead of circling the letter.  This student wasn't the only one to do that, so we have worked on quite a few activities where we follow directions when they are given out loud. It is fun to make the ABC booklets because at the end, the kiddos will each have a whole alphabet set!

The D and F page are from the Big Book of Beginning Sounds.  The activities provide great practice with identifying beginning sounds as well as increasing vocabulary of the students.  The students not only love the accomplished feeling with the cut and paste, but they love coloring the pictures.  As we build our word wall throughout the year, I am very impressed as they suggest words to add that come from these activities.

Both things provide such good practice with fine motor skills using coloring, cutting, and pasting, I can't imagine starting off the year any other way!  It sets a great foundation as we move into reusable items such as puzzles, games, and flash cards.

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Today I wanted to share with you a brand-new activity  for sequencing.  For early readers, putting things in the right order of events can be difficult.  I created eight sets of sequencing cards to use as a center in the classroom!  My goal in creating these cards was to pick everyday life events in order so that students would be able to successfully put the cards in order.  I based them off of some sequencing cards a reading specialist let me borrow.  I don't know where she got them, but I have never been able to find any quite like them.  I loved them because of that everyday life  feature.  For example, I have a set about doing laundry and washing hands.  I find that if they can make the real life connections to what they are doing in the classroom, the students are more confident about their abilities to understand a skill.  Once they have mastered the skill, it is then easier for them to transition to putting it in use when we read stories or even later in the year as they begin to write their own stories!  Here is a sample below:

Don't delay, go download these for your classroom today! you can find them at Miss Amy's Schoolhouse Store.  Happy Sequencing!! 

What literacy center method do you use in kindergarten?   This is my 3rd year to use the Daily 5 method, and I wouldn't have it any other way to do literacy centers.  

The Daily 5 consists of five literacy centers that are considered the anchor centers.  Each center is designed to function the same, but the activities change.  The centers are:  Read to Self,  Read with a Buddy, Word Work, Writing, and Listening.  The Sisters that created this method outline a day-by-day, week-by-week method of teaching the centers to the class to get started.  These past two weeks we have worked on the basics of a Read-to-Self center.

When I first start teaching the students about how to do Read to Self, we talk about how we can read a book in three ways.  You can imagine the responses from the kindergartners.  They all look at me like I am crazy.  Many of them will start to mutter that they cannot read.  I then tell them that we can read a book in three ways:  read the pictures, retell a story, or read the words.  I stress that we don't need to worry about reading the words right now.  A blessing of the reading series we use at my school is that they come with these really great decodable readers:

Did you notice something?  Yup.  There are no words!  I will pull these books out and we will practice reading the pictures of the books.  It helps the students then make that transition over to the books in the Read to Self area.

Just like every year, this class has its own personality, so we actually spent two weeks breaking down the Read to Self center and what it entails, including on how to pick a "just right" book.  They are doing a fantastic job and I can't wait to see how next week goes when we learn how to Read with a Buddy next week!  As the weeks progress, and I begin to really see who my readers are, I will fill the Read to Self center with books on their levels.  Right now though, I encourage them to bring their readers to the center or look though the books I have place there.  I have chosen books that go with our themes of going to school and all about me right now.  I also make sure that any book I read aloud goes in the center so they can retell it.  And of course, the class books we have made!

Today was our first day of kindergarten for the 2013-2014! It was so much fun!  The children were all sweet and excited to be here.  Today they were strangers, but I know by the end of the year we will be family.

For me, the first day of school is always unique every year.  I try to follow the same plan every year, but I always find something new and different to do.  Like a new management system for lunches or a new way to line up.  Today it was a new way to start off the year writing.

The school that I teach at has very strong academic expectations, especially in writing, which  fits well with the new Common Core emphasis on writing.  This year in my Back-To-School packet I created, I added a writing activity, which now turned into our first class book!  I love doing the class books and especially love at the end of the year when I raffle off the different ones to the students.  What a precious keepsake to have for your lifetime!  Anyway, back to the class book.  I am sharing it with you all, because it was so easy to do and the results were fantastic!

We read the book, Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten.  It is a great first day of school book to read!  I love it because the pictures are so detailed about all the different things people do to get ready for school!  Plus, the author uses alphabet order for each character, which is really fun as well. After we read the story, I had the class go to free play centers which consisted of legos, books, puzzles, and a special color sheet on which they traced the lines using markers, practicing the fine motor skills.  While the free play centers were happening, I called small groups over to work on the writing page.  I had them draw the pictures describing step by step their own getting ready for kindergarten process.  Then I wrote the caption underneath as they dictated to me what happened.

The results are below!  They did a great job drawing pictures to describe how they got ready for kindergarten that morning.  There were lots of teeth being brushed, lots of pancakes eaten, lots of new backpacks, and lots of car rides to school!  They loved connecting their real-life experience with the book!  Here are the pictures:

I hope you enjoyed seeing their work as much as I did!  I am so excited for this year! Go try this activity with your students!  Happy Writing!