Monday, March 25, 2013

TGISB (Thank God It's Spring Break!)... Plus a Quick Freebie

Today was the first official day of spring break.

It. Was. Glorious.

It certainly helped that I had the house (well, condo) cleaned professionally. That is a much-deserved little luxury, right?

Well, my big project is overhauling my plant unit this break, since we're going right into it as soon as spring break is over.

But in the meantime, I'm sharing this little freebie:

(Click either one to go to Google Drive for the download)

I love me some Scholastic book orders. Inexpensive books, titles the kids like, BONUS POINTS... What's NOT to love? Well, as much as I love 'em, paperback books with stapled bindings don't hold up too well with 29 little firsties. So rather than having my students come up to me at inopportune times ("Look! Look! A page fell out!"), I'm going to be laminating and slapping that sign onto one of our large, clear book bins and placing it right near the library. The little slips will be copied and placed in a little basket next to the bin. Your book has something wrong with it? Take a note, fill it out, and stick it like a bookmark into the book, then place the book in the Book Hospital box. I can get the book back to the right kiddo, I know what's wrong, and I can confer and meet with groups in peace.


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, March 8, 2013

How I Teach Vocabulary and More FREE Fonts

First of all, I'd like to congratulate Sarah on winning my 100 follower giveaway! She's walking away with some awesome prizes contributed by some fabulous bloggers.

So, I thought I'd share a little bit with you about how I teach vocabulary to my first graders. I teach in a school with a very high ELL population, and I always have a range of linguistic needs in my classroom. Vocabulary is SUCH a critical area to develop in all students, and particularly in ELLs, since it's key to comprehending reading. Without a specific vocabulary instruction program, I began searching for ideas for how to teach vocabulary several years ago. I found a wonderful post (I think on A to Z Teacher Stuff) but I cannot for the life of me find it anymore. It had a wonderful idea for teaching vocab, and I've used it ever since.

My read aloud time tends to alternate between a theme or author study and a chapter book. I try to read a range of chapter books to my students, including longer nonfiction books, like level 3 or 4 Time for Kids readers. For each book, I try to pull out about 15-16 Tier 2 words, or words that are not terribly common (like "green" or "milk"), but that aren't highly academic (like "photosynthesis"). These are the kind of words I'd like my students to use more of in their own speaking and writing, and that they're likely to encounter again in their reading.

I take a piece of chart paper and fold it into 16 squares. Each day, I write two or three new words on the chart, one per square. I leave the rest of the square blank. Before reading, I tell the students the words they should listen for in that day's chapter. When I get to the word, students put their thumbs up. I often will stop and reread a couple sentences before and after the new word. Then, we discuss the word, using context clues to help determine the word's meaning. We do a lot of acting out, and discuss scenarios in which the word makes sense. Sometimes, I draw the picture right then, to help give students another visual to associate with the word, but other times, I draw the picture after school. I may also write a synonym underneath the picture. By the end of the book, we have a chart that looks like this:

(This was a chart for Toys Go Out, which is a GREAT read aloud about toys that come to life when their owner goes to bed. It's hilarious and very engaging, especially for my boys.)

After we complete the chart, I give pairs of students each a card with a vocabulary word on it and we play charades to review the words. The next day, my kiddos take a short quiz, using the words in a sentence and briefly defining the words with pictures and words:

We accumulate these charts on our wall, and the students get a kick out of hearing a lot of the words in subsequent read alouds and making connections between words that mean the same thing.

At the end of the year, we cut the words into squares and I give each kid a stack of words to take home. It sounds lame, but I think it's like the kid version of Oprah's Favorite Things. They seriously shriek about it! Ha!

Finally, I have a freebie for ya to start your weekend right!

Two free fonts for you! You can use them in personal or commercial use documents (like TpT products), and a link back to my blog is appreciated but not required.

And, in honor of turning the big 3-1 yesterday, I'm throwing a SALE in my TpT shop! 20% today through Sunday! Click {HERE} to go to my store!

Have a great weekend!!!

Freebie Fridays

Sunday, March 3, 2013

100 (120+?) Follower Giveaway!

Wow! I can't believe I've reached the 100 follower mark (and then some... Over 120 at the time I'm writing this)! HOLLA!

In celebration, I've planned a GIVEAWAY!!!

I'm so excited!!!

Here is the list of AWESOME prizes you can win, contributed by some fantastic bloggers and visitors to this site!

"Let's Learn About Quotation Marks!" for the Primary Classroom from The Brown-Bag Teacher

WINNER'S CHOICE from JD's Rockin' Readers

PK and K Classroom Management Posters and Punch Cards from This Little Piggy Reads

WINNER'S CHOICE from Smiles from Second Grade

Smiles from 2nd Grade

$20 worth of products from Stampin' Up!

$10 gift certificate to TeachersPayTeachers (who couldn't use that?!)

And any three items from my TPT store!

Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 1, 2013

Currently March and {FREE!} Fonts by Yours Truly!

Well, it's been quite a while since I've been on here. Last week, things got to a whole new level of cray cray at work. It's a long story.

Anyways, I'm back!

And I'm linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade and Freebie Friday for Currently March and a little gift to you all!

It's been a rough few days in these parts... We moved both kiddos (2.5 years and 9 months) into the same room last weekend, and it's been ugly. Hence the "like, love, hate" part of the currently.

My trusty MacBook is on its last leg. Like, it's hobbling along and going to give up fighting any day now. I guess I can't complain about a computer lasting six years. We'll definitely go for another Mac (I'm a total convert), but I'm not sure which... MacBook Pro or MacBook Air?

And I am in LOVE with iFontMaker! I tried it out for the first time this week, and I can't believe how easy it is! I got hooked and made THREE different fonts for you (all variations on my handwriting). I'm loving the names... Look for more with sweet, ice cream-inspired titles. 

Click the picture above to download these three fonts FREE from my TPT store!
Freebie Fridays

I'm at 99 followers... Can't wait to get to 100! It'll be giveaway time!!!

Good night, all!

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