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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Working with Words

Have you ever started a project that you just fell-in-love with? Well, you are about to see my new love. Here's some background where this new love came from.
I am a HUGE phonemic awareness and phonics teacher. I have found some teachers confuse the two or are not aware of the differences (especially if they are not primary teachers). So in a nutshell phonemic awareness is the listener's ability to hear, manipulate, and identify the smallest sound unit. Phonics is the ability to take those same sounds and connect them to print. 
This year, I found this amazing (but older 1997) book for phonemic awareness at
It has really made me stop and think about how important this skill is for young readers. I love the  lessons from the book, mostly because they are ENGAGING. Not "just repeat after me" type lessons, but hands-on, show me what you hear lessons. It has some really great ideas which move from the very basic to a deeper understanding of sounds. I LOVE it...
I have searched high and low for a just as wonderful phonics or word work type program. While I love Making Words, (I own the Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade books); it only has word building and simple sorting activities. It's not "rigorous" enough for me. It also does not have several phonics skills that we teach in first grade. 
So, with all that being said, my new love was born...
May I introduce Working with Words...
This is the first set I have completed. It has everything you need to teach the sound of "ew,"  as in  "chew." 
It has all the same activities for the spelling patterns /ew/, /ue/, /ui/, and /oo/. The activities are designed to be taught whole group and then used in small groups or centers. 

I am so in-love. It is just what I needed for my students when we return from Spring Break. I am working on a few other Working with Words.
You can check it out at my TPT store... I would love to hear what you think!

Friday, March 8, 2013

How To Make Ice Cream Writing Common Core

Let me start by saying, I'm not crazy! I know that it is snowing and freezing almost everywhere this week. Thankfully, I planned and taught this lesson last week. Let me remind me you,  I live in Florida. Last week we had beautiful, sunny, hot weather! It was perfect for making ice cream! The idea do to do it on a full moon Monday, well, not so brilliant. =) But we did it...
 We began first thing Monday morning reading this book...
Which is hysterical. They loved it. 
Then we read  this cute ice cream poem...I could not find the author, but if you know who it is, please leave me a comment so I can credit them!
From the poem, I told the students it was time to make ice cream. 
Then we made ice cream, step by step! 
 The students were loving this, of course! They got to mix all their ingredients.
 Here they are just a shakin' away!
 After about 15 minutes, we had ice cream! They were beyond thrilled.
(I, with the mess, not so much. But it was so worth it.) 
 After we ate our ice cream, the kids gathered on the carpet and we charted our ingredients and materials. The students then went off to draw and label the list of ingredients. 
The next day, we reviewed how we made ice cream. I modeled for the students how to draw sequenced pictures of the steps to make ice cream. They illustrated the steps on a graphic organizer. Here is my model. 
These are the students illustrated steps. 
How awesome is this one below!?
The next day, we reviewed transition words and a complete sentence. Here is my model. 
The students then went off to write sentences to match their illustrated steps. 
(Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step!)
The following day, we reviewed topic sentences. We brainstormed a list of topic sentences they could use for their writing. (At this time of the year, most of my students can develop their own topic sentence. I have a few ELL students who are still struggling. So I find that it's important to brainstorm several and then they have a choice as to which one to use.) 
Here is my anchor chart with my topic sentence. We also read this great informational book about making ice cream. It had a great topic sentence!
These are the students' organizers for their topic and conclusion sentences. 
The next day, we began our draft. 
I was out sick on Friday, so Monday we reviewed the entire process so far. The students finished their drafts. Later in the day, we went back and reviewed conclusions. 
They added their conclusions. The next day, we edited their drafts and created the matching craftivity. They had two choice for a craftivity. 

These are some final pieces. 

This is what my wall now looks like. It is surrounded by the kids' writing. I am so happy with how this writing project turned out. 
You can find this lesson on TPT by clicking the photo below. 
First three people to comment and leave their email will get a free copy! =)

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