7 Ways to Recharge your Batteries


7 Ways to Recharge your Batteries

Wow – what a year we’ve had. 

It is hard to believe that only a few months ago we were teaching conventionally in classrooms. Being in the classroom feels like it was years ago.

So much has happened that it can be extremely overwhelming to think about what the next year of education will look like. 

For most of you, school is out for the summer- or will be soon. While you may be concerned with what the fall will look like, now is the time for you to take some time to recharge your batteries. 

With such a different end of the school year, you may be feeling very unsettled. 

Let me just say this: I understand. 

I, too, feel unsure as to what next year will look like, but it is important for you to take a breath. We have to prepare ourselves for whatever next year will be. 

One of the best ways we can do that is to slow down and mentally switch off. 

With so much conversation about the guidelines of social distancing and some areas still being closed, many of our go-to self-care/recharge places are not options. 

With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few alternative ideas for you to recharge your batteries this summer. 

7 Ways to Recharge Your Batteries

Read!

With education’s quick transition to online learning, we have all spent so much time on computers, screens, phones, and other forms of technology. 

If you’re like me, your brain is a bit fried. We were not wired to have our eyes trained on screens for so many hours a day. 

Let your eyes and your brain take a break from the computer by reading a printed book. If you’re looking for great PD books, you can check out a previous post I’ve written about that very thing. 

There is nothing wrong with pulling out your favorite novel, either, for a complete break from school! 

Connect with Someone!

Has your day been filled to the brim with Zoom calls, virtual conferences, and endless emails? I get it! 

Take the time to connect with a friend or family member in whatever way feels most comfortable to you. 

Note: sometimes it is really nice to talk to someone and not even discuss teaching. Other times it is really nice to talk to someone about teaching. I suggest doing whichever one helps you relax!

Get Organized!

I don’t know what the restrictions are in your district or how much time, if any, you had in your classroom at the end of the school year. But if possible, I always find that getting reorganized helps my brain relax. Knowing that I have my classroom organized makes me feel like I don’t have to think about it over break. 

Enjoy Your Mornings!

Ah, what a joy it is to have your hot morning beverage as it was intended to be, hot! However you prefer to use your morning hours (sleeping in, exercising, reading,etc.), enjoy the freedom to do so over the summer months.

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Do Your Version of Self-Care!

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more information on self-care than I have these past few months. With everyone feeling the stress of our situation, more people than ever are talking about self-care. 

The most interesting part of this is you can see some versions of self-care and go, “oh no, that is not for me”, or “that would stress me out more, not relax me”. 

So, find your version of self-care and take the time to do it. 

Keep a Gratefulness Journal

I think this one is especially important because of everything that has happened this year. The world can feel hopeless at times, which is why I think it is really important for us to take time to really reflect upon what we have to be grateful for. I know my attitude changes when I focus on gratitude instead of my own frustrations. 

Give Yourself Time

If there is one thing that every teacher has in common, it is the fact that we are all givers. We give of ourselves, our time and energy, our focus and attention, we give our lives to our jobs. 

But remember, you have summer break for a reason. Give yourself some time to not think about work. Give yourself space away from your work. You need it to be able to come back to your students recharged and prepared for the fall. 

I hope that you are able to take some time over the summer break to recharge your batteries and prepare yourself for the next school year, whatever it may look like. 

Do you have other ways to recharge your batteries? I’d love to hear them. Let me know in the comments below. 

Already Preparing For Next Year? 

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Why You Should Use Civics Interactive Notebooks In Your Classroom


Why You Should Use Civics Interactive Notebooks In Your Classroom

In Florida, middle school students need to take an end of course (EOC) exam for Civics. For most students, this is one of their first experiences with taking an end-of-the- year final exam.

In addition, many middle school students still struggle with executive function skills, such as organization. Most of them can’t find their papers from last week, let alone last semester. This is a frequently occurring issue for teachers trying to instill study skills in middle school students.

On top of disorganization and lack of study skills, civics is just a hard subject for a lot of students. I really enjoy civics, and I had to really think about why kids often hate the class. (I don’t remember loving it as a student, either.) What I realized is that civics deals with a lot of abstract concepts, like freedom and justice.

Why Civics is Difficult for Many Students

According to development psychologist Jean Piaget, abstract thinking doesn’t develop until the final stage of development, the formal operational stage. For the majority of people, this stage occurs between the ages of 11 and 16. (Abstract Thinking, Goodtherapy) Middle school students are usually between 11 – 14 years old, so many kids have not fully formed the ability to use abstract thinking when they take civics in seventh grade.

Furthermore, civics become engaging when you can see how laws directly affect you – just ask driver’s ed teachers about their students’ motivation levels. Students start to show more interest in civics when they are close to driving, voting, and draft age (not to mention legal drinking age.) For younger students, they often do not see the connection between laws and government and their lives.

How Civics Notebooks Help Students

Let me explain my anecdotal experiences with interactive notebooks. My daughter is definitely a math person, and her class was the first to take the civics EOC. She came home one day and informed me she needed help because she wasn’t passing any of the practice tests. I asked her how long she had, and it was only a week before the test. (This is pretty much par for the course with my kids asking me for help – last minute.)

Interactive notebooks were being discussed a lot by other teachers and education writers, so I thought we would give them a try. I frantically took the civics standards and created interactive templates with guided questions on them. My daughter and her friend came, and I taught them the entire civics class in a week.

They both earned top scores on the EOC.

I thought, “Wow, that is pretty amazing!”

It just so happened that I had to cover some of the same standards in my 5th grade classroom, so I edited the questions to fit the standards and tried them out. Many students that had complained constantly about every little activity were suddenly engaged and willing to at least attempt the work. The cutting and gluing allowed them to get the kinesthetic movement in and settle down to focus. Their retention of the concepts increased when I compared the test scores to previous units.

That is how I became convinced that notebooks are worth the effort.

Do you have to use interactive notebooks?

Honestly, no. I think any specific organized notebook system works. You need to find a style that works for both you and your students. Not every kid does well with interactive notebooks, just like some won’t do well if they have to copy notes.

Futhermore, I have seen different styles of interactive notebooks, and they are not all the same. When I use them, I create them in a specific way that I found worked better for my classes:

Why You Should Use Civics Interactive Notebooks in Your Classroom

  1. I always include guiding/scaffolding questions or at least topics. 

Most students have not yet learned how to efficiently take notes on just main ideas and key details. They either write everything or nothing.

A lot of students also need the reading support for heavy reading material, as a lot of social studies texts are.

    2. I use simple shapes 90% of the time.

So many students do not have strong fine motor skills. In my opinion this is a direct result of too much focus on early reading and testing, because we no longer have enough time to do arts and crafts and other activities that build fine motor skills. At home, parents often focus more on gross motor skills (sports, sports, sports.)

I had fifth graders that could barely cut with scissors. 

With that in mind, I stick to graphic organizers with straight edges, because circles and cut shapes take forever to cut out. I cannot justify the class time sacrificed to cut out cute shapes every week.

    3. I keep my templates flush together on the page.

By putting the edges of the templates together, I saved a lot of cutting time (and headache) of having to cut each shape separately. It takes fewer cuts to cut out the templates, and I am often able to get the week’s templates cut out in one session.

I just planned ahead and have the students glue all the templates in on the same day. That way, we didn’t haven’t to pull out supplies, cut, glue, dry, and clean up every single day – and saved a lot of class time.

  4. Not every template folds.

Honestly, just because you are taping or gluing things into your notebooks doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. (Nor does everything need to be on a paper glued into the notebook – sometimes it is better to just write on the page.)

I look at the information I want students to learn, and I decide what I think is the best way for them to understand and analyze it. Sometimes is it just a map that we will color and label; other times it might just be a table. 

  1. I build in review. 

I like to also add in sorting activities and other ways to make kids think about the information they have written in their notes. One, it is more fun than a multiple choice or test-like activity. Two, it is more accessible for students that struggle with certain skills, like writing a lot of text or visually tracking information on a page (like in a matching activity.)

To check these review activities, sometimes I had students turn them in to me first to check. The next time we glued, we would glue the reviews right in our notebook. My motto was always no loose papers. (A loose paper is a lost paper.)

  1. Some students really need print outs or support cutting and gluing.

There are always a few students who just really cannot cut. Sometimes they do have an IEP for a learning challenge (like vision or motor skills.) No matter how simple the shapes are, some kids will always need a little more support.

When teachers began using digital resources, including digital notebooks, I realized that it would be very convenient to have the same foldables in a printable format for students with IEPs. At that time, I began creating digital versions of my interactive notebook.

As a bonus, the digital notebooks are great if you are 1 to 1 or sometimes just like to switch things up. I found that having both options allowed me to select the format that was best for my needs. If the wifi is down, you could always print the things out. If you had a sub and couldn’t use your tech, then have paper copies allowed you to not have to completely redo your plans.

Personally, I prefer to use the cut and paste traditional versions and supplement with digital. That kinesthetic movement allows kids to use some energy, and I do feel the action of folding and processing what you are learning helps. However, there are definitely times where digital is better.

Do you still have questions about civics notebooks? 

Contact me by commenting below or emailing me!

I’d love to help you be a success with civics. 

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5 Ways Teachers Can Celebrate the End of the Year


5 Ways Teachers Can Celebrate the End of the Year

COVID-19 has changed the way every teacher approaches education. We’ve had to quickly pivot our lives from in-person education to technology-based learning. 

We’ve talked a lot over the past few months about how to make the most of the technology you are teaching with. A few weeks ago, we discussed how to celebrate the end of the school year with your students. 

This week, I want to look at how we can celebrate the end of the school year with the teachers we know and love. 

Considering we won’t have that last staff meeting or in-service day, how can we celebrate the end of this (crazy) year with our teacher friends? 

I’ve come up with a few ideas for how to celebrate the end of the school year with your teacher friends that I’d like to share with you today. 

Celebrating the End of the Year with Your Teacher Friends

Virtual Happy Hour

In the same way that our students have missed the small connections we make with them every day in the car line, at recess, etc., we miss seeing our teacher friends! 

There is something so comforting about having someone around you who knows exactly what you are going through, and I think that is one of the things that has been difficult for teachers as things have changed so dramatically. 

With that being said, organize a teacher virtual happy hour! 

Have everyone grab their favorite drink and meet up on Zoom, Google Hangouts or wherever you do your video chats. Come up with one topic for everyone to discuss or just let the conversation go where it leads. 

Just like students, teachers crave connection. 

To make your virtual happy hour extra fun, have everyone dress up in their end of the school year gear (whatever it is).

Have A Teacher Game Night

Last month, I hosted a teacher game night where we played Wits and Wagers and I have to say, we had a lot of fun. The game choice is up to you, just make sure it is something that doesn’t require a lot of items from each player. Sweeten the deal with prizes like virtual gift cards or pizza delivered to the winner’s door! 

If you don’t want to meet in Zoom, my friends have used the House Party app to meet. There are games available in the app to play.

Teacher Care Package Train

There is no one better equipped to say what a teacher needs after a year like this than another teacher. Organize a care package train where each teacher is assigned another to create and leave a care package. Set a price limit and set a date to leave the care package on. This way you know everyone is involved, and the packages won’t break one person’s bank.

Video Messages

As a teacher in this interesting climate, you have seen how people appreciated you from a distance during teacher appreciation week. One group of students I’ve heard about recorded video messages to send to their teachers, thanking them for all their hard work over the past year, but especially in these last few months. 

Wouldn’t it be fun to see these same types of messages from our peers? Start a trend of encouragement and kindness within your peers by letting them know how much they mean to you.

Plan Your Next In-Person Get Together

We’ve all been doing our best to recreate personal connections over the internet, but we all know there is nothing quite like sitting around a table together, drinking coffee (or your beverage of choice), and chatting about anything and everything. Take some time and plan your group’s next get together.

Do you have plans to celebrate the end of the school year? Let me know in the comments below.

Want to purchase premade decks? Check out my Boom Decks, created from my task cards.

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5 Reading Resources for Google Classroom

Google Classroom is an amazing resource for both students and teachers.  Here are my 5 favorite reading activities using Google Classroom. You can reinforce many skills with these reading resources including phonics, encoding, decoding, and fluency.  These activities are perfect for distance learning. (distance learning, google classroom, reading activities, reading interventions)

These days I am using Google Classroom more than I ever imagined!  It is such an amazing resource for both teachers and students.  I have always used it as a hub for student materials and links, but with distance learning, I am assigning digital activities to my reading groups exclusively through Google Classroom.  Here are my 5 favorite reading resources for Google Classroom:

1. Read and Cover

Read and Cover is as simple as it sounds!  Students read the word and then drag the X to cover the word.   When I assign this activity, I make sure that each student has their own slide to that I can provide individual feedback.  The Google Slides provide evidence if the students were able to accurately read the word and find the picture.  I use screencastify to record myself giving feedback to the students on their Read and Cover Board.

2. Digital Flashcards

Digital Flashcards are a great way to provide students with additional practice applying a specific vowel pattern.  I alternate between posting flashcard sets with decodables words and phrases/sentences.  Students can click their way through the slide show.  I also like to add a bitmoji of myself as the last slide so they know when they have reached the end. By linking the slides to Google Classroom, they can read the words to themselves, a family member, pet, or even stuffed animal!

 3. Digital Task Cards

Digital Task Cards are another great activity that provides an opportunity to see your student’s work and provide feedback. The task cards that I use have text boxes for students to type the missing letters or type the word.  My students are working on a variety of skills, but the good news is I have a variety of task cards!

I can also assign the task cards in Google Classroom via Google Jamboard or add a link to the task cards is Seesaw.  This interactive whiteboard app allows students to use the pen tool to write directly on the set of task cards.

I can leave comments on individual slides via a screencastify video or text, private comments once they have turned their task cards in, or record myself doing a walkthrough of their work with screencastify.  This is another activity where you will want to make sure that each student has their own copy. 

4. Self Checking-Phonics Games

Self Checking Phonics Games are an engaging way for students to practice specific skills and get immediate feedback if the answer they chose was correct or incorrect.  If they answered correctly, they are prompted to the next word or picture.  If they answer incorrectly they are prompted to try again.  This is an activity that the kids are always asking for!

5. Digital Literature Circles 

Digital Literature Circles are a great way for students to collaborate virtually.  It also provides an opportunity to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. Literature circles are such a versatile resource and can be used with both fiction and informational texts as well as chapter books and articles!

When sharing via Google Classroom, it is important to choose the middle option that students can edit.  They will need to be able to work collaboratively rather than each having their own sets of slides.  If you want to learn more about Digital Literature Circles, check out this blog post.
How else are you using Google Classroom?  Let me know in the comments. 

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Google Classroom is an amazing resource for both students and teachers.  Here are my 5 favorite reading activities using Google Classroom. You can reinforce many skills with these reading resources including phonics, encoding, decoding, and fluency.  These activities are perfect for distance learning. (distance learning, google classroom, reading activities, reading interventions)



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4 Freebies to Help with Distance Learning


Check out these four technology-related freebies to help you transition into distance learning and asynchronous teaching. These 4 free resources have made teaching remotely more manageable.  I hope you enjoy these teacher tech tips as much as I have!

In transitioning to distance learning and asynchronous teaching, there are 4 free resources that have made teaching remotely more manageable.  I hope you enjoy these teacher tech tips as much as I have!

1. SlidesMania

I love Google Slides and used to spend hours making them look just right before adding the content.  Then I discovered SlidesMania – what a game changer!  It has a wide variety of beautiful templates and has saved me so much time!  The slides are available in PowerPoint or Google Slides.

This template, in particular, has been amazing for distance learning!

2. Screencastify

Screencastify is a chrome extension that has been key in creating lessons for my students.  It saves your recordings to Google Drive which makes it even easier to add in Google Classroom.  There are options to record your screen, yourself, or a combination of both.  It also has annotation tools!
It is a great resource to provide my students with a walkthrough of what their independent work looks like and my expectations.  I also use Screencastify to provide feedback for students on their assignments.

Here is a screenastify walkthrough of Google Jamboard which you will see later on the list!

3. FlipBook

FlipBook takes any PDF that you have and turns it into a book with pages that turn.  It is a very simple process and can be added to Google Classroom or as a link in Google Slides/Docs. 
You can take decodable readers from Reading A-Z, articles, and any other resource that is in PDF form.  It makes the content more engaging for students and looks like the actual book complete with pages you can flip. 
Here is an example of what it looks like using a decodable text from Core Knowledge Language Arts.  You can check out their free resources here

4. Google Jamboard

I stumbled upon Google Jamboard while I was looking for a whiteboard app.  One thing I have struggled with during distance learning is finding a way for my younger students to show their work or annotate a text and Jamboard solved that problem!  Added bonus – it easily integrates with Google Classroom because it is part of the Drive.  
My students and I had never used Jamboard before the emergency closing, but since it is like a combination of Google Slides and a Promethean board I felt like my students could handle it.  Here is an example of how I had my students work on digital task cards in Jamboard.

Check out these four technology-related freebies to help you transition into distance learning and asynchronous teaching. These 4 free resources have made teaching remotely more manageable.  I hope you enjoy these teacher tech tips as much as I have!

5. Wireless Headphones

I know that this list is supposed to stop at 4 and this next item isn’t a freebie – but these wireless headphones have been an absolute lifesaver during distance learning and I had to share.  They are connected to my laptop and my phone.  Much of my day is spent on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Screencastify or watching a webinar so these are perfect!  They also have a built-in mic which has great quality for zoom-ing and recording.

Is there anything else that you love that isn’t on the list?  Let me know in the comments.

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Check out these four technology-related freebies to help you transition into distance learning and asynchronous teaching. These 4 free resources have made teaching remotely more manageable.  I hope you enjoy these teacher tech tips as much as I have!



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Why You Should Be Using Boom Cards In Your Virtual Classroom


Why You Should Be Using Boom Cards In Your Virtual Classroom

Over the course of the past few months, the landscape of education has drastically changed. 

We have quickly moved away from traditional classroom settings to Zoom meetings, Google Classroom, and other technology-based learning environments.

While we wait for a sense of normalcy to resume, we do what teachers do best, we adapt! 

I’ve very recently discovered Boom Cards, and let me say, if you aren’t using these in your classroom (virtual OR traditional), you should be! 

Boom Cards are digital, self-checking, interactive task cards that you can use in your classroom any time. I think they are perfect for centers or assessments.

Reasons I’m A Boom Card Convert

The Variety of Boom Cards

Boom Cards are really diverse in how you can use them, making them a great tool for your classroom. You can create questions that consist of:

  • Multiple Choice
  • Fill-In-The-Blank
  • Click The Answer
  • Click And Drag The Answer

Having a variety of ways to answer in a Boom Deck makes them even more appealing to students and teachers. 

Differentiated Instruction

Once you have decks (sets) of Boom Cards that work for your classroom, you can assign different cards to different students. If you have a student that is still struggling with a concept, assign them a deck that helps support their learning the concept. If you have a student who has mastered a concept the rest of the class is working on, assign them a deck with something different. This keeps everyone working on what they need to do. Since Boom Cards are self-checking, you don’t have to worry about walking around and checking each answer!

Boom Cards Grade Themselves

Speaking of self-checking, Boom Cards grade themselves! You know what that means? Less for you to grade! This is why Boom Cards are a great way to assess your students.

Incorporates Technology in the Classroom

With all that has happened in the past few months, I anticipate a much higher use of technology in the traditional classroom in the near future. With this in mind, Boom Cards are a simple way to incorporate more technology into your classroom.

Boom Cards Are Engaging

Complete with sound effects, Boom Cards are engaging for students. Your students will want to review concepts with these Cards that will keep them guessing what will happen next.

Get the Most Boom for Your Buck

Teachers can make their own decks or purchase them. They can even share them with other Boom users – perfect for teams.

Once you purchase a Boom deck, you have forever access to them. Like I mentioned before, you can assign different decks to different students, which means you can use these decks over and over again. Being digital, you also save money and time since you don’t have to print and cut them out.

Teacher Can Track Students or Free Play

Boom accounts are free, and this can be used for fast play, where students play decks without the teacher gathering any progress data. 

With a free account, teachers can add a handful of students and assign decks. If teachers want to use Boom with an entire class and get data, the yearly subscriptions are very responsibly priced.

Ready to Try Boom Cards?

If you want to try Boom Cards for yourself and your students, you can click here for information on a free trial before you purchase (the extremely affordable) subscription. 

Want to purchase premade decks? Check out my Boom Decks, created from my task cards.

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Game Changer: Self-Checking Poke Cards


Self-checking poke cards are an absolute game-changer to reinforced a variety of phonics skills.  These motivating and engaging poke-cards are the perfect independent activity for morning work, seat work, centers, partner work, small group warm-up, and more!  Learn how you can them in your classroom and/or reading groups! [includes: ● rhyming ● segmenting words ● syllables ● short vowels ● long vowels ● blends ● digraphs ● bossy r ● diphthongs ● hard/soft g and c]
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My life has forever been changed by using self-checking poke cards in my classroom!  They are an engaging, independent, self-checking activity for students. Poke cards can be used in a variety of ways and can cover a wide range of skills.

What are poke cards?

Poke cards are easy to use and self-checking! Students look at the front of the card and determine their answer.  They use a tool to poke their answer (coffee stirrers are our favorites) and then turn over to check.  A colored circle on the back will tell the students if they are right or wrong.

Self-checking poke cards are an absolute game-changer to reinforced a variety of phonics skills.  These motivating and engaging poke-cards are the perfect independent activity for morning work, seat work, centers, partner work, small group warm-up, and more!  Learn how you can them in your classroom and/or reading groups! [includes: ● rhyming ● segmenting words ● syllables ● short vowels ● long vowels ● blends ● digraphs ● bossy r ● diphthongs ● hard/soft g and c]

When do you use poke cards?

Poke cards are a really versatile activity for students.  As a Reading Specialist, I sometimes use them as a quick warm-up to practice a certain spelling pattern and/or vowel sounds. They also come in handy when I need to give a quick assessment and students have to be engaged in an independent activity. 

Self-checking poke cards are an absolute game-changer to reinforced a variety of phonics skills.  These motivating and engaging poke-cards are the perfect independent activity for morning work, seat work, centers, partner work, small group warm-up, and more!  Learn how you can them in your classroom and/or reading groups! [includes: ● rhyming ● segmenting words ● syllables ● short vowels ● long vowels ● blends ● digraphs ● bossy r ● diphthongs ● hard/soft g and c]

I have poke cards covering such a variety of skills that I have an entire storage bin dedicated to them! Now that they are organized, I am able to set them out and the students can easily choose the set they want to do and put things back in the right place.

Some ways to use poke cards in the classroom are: 

• morning work
• seat work
• centers
• partner work
• small group warm-up
• and more

Getting Started

Poke cards are an easy activity to prep. Once you have printed them you can quickly cut them. My favorite tool for cutting is my Fiskars cutter . I have one of these at home and at school and it is a lifesaver!  The cutter has a wire line that shows you exactly where you are cutting!  It is so much more precise than using a big paper cutter and so much faster than using scissors.

It is easy to spot the right answer when you are poking the holes because it is marked in red!  To indicate the correct answer for the students, simply flip the card and mark the correct hole punch.  You can do this with a sharpie or a marker, but my personal favorite are these colored hole reinforcers

When you have cut and punched the poke cards, it is time to find something to poke the card with.  My students love Starbucks coffee stirrers.  You can most likely get a bunch for free if you tell the barista that you are a teacher and need them for an activity!  Some other favorites are pipe cleaners and party straws.

I love to store mine in my rainbow storage bins to give myself and my student’s easy access to them. You can purchase them separately or in the storage container from amazon!

What next?

Sometimes I give students these cards with a smiley and unsure face.  Once students have checked their answers, they put it into the appropriate pile!  They can also be used for flashcards.  You can grab these cards for free with this link.

Self-checking poke cards are an absolute game-changer to reinforced a variety of phonics skills.  These motivating and engaging poke-cards are the perfect independent activity for morning work, seat work, centers, partner work, small group warm-up, and more!  Learn how you can them in your classroom and/or reading groups! [includes: ● rhyming ● segmenting words ● syllables ● short vowels ● long vowels ● blends ● digraphs ● bossy r ● diphthongs ● hard/soft g and c]

I currently have 14 sets of poke cards that are available individually or discounted as a bundle.  They cover:

Self-checking poke cards are an absolute game-changer to reinforced a variety of phonics skills.  These motivating and engaging poke-cards are the perfect independent activity for morning work, seat work, centers, partner work, small group warm-up, and more!  Learn how you can them in your classroom and/or reading groups! [includes: ● rhyming ● segmenting words ● syllables ● short vowels ● long vowels ● blends ● digraphs ● bossy r ● diphthongs ● hard/soft g and c]

● rhyming ● segmenting words ● syllables ● short vowels ● long vowels ● blends ● digraphs ● bossy r ● diphthongs ● hard/soft g and c ● homophones ● plural words ● parts of speech ●

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Self-checking poke cards are an absolute game-changer to reinforced a variety of phonics skills.  These motivating and engaging poke-cards are the perfect independent activity for morning work, seat work, centers, partner work, small group warm-up, and more!  Learn how you can them in your classroom and/or reading groups! [includes: ● rhyming ● segmenting words ● syllables ● short vowels ● long vowels ● blends ● digraphs ● bossy r ● diphthongs ● hard/soft g and c]



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How to Teach Blending and Segmenting

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

Blending and segmenting are important components of phonological awareness.  In order to become proficient readers, it is critical that students are able to blend and segment words automatically.  Check out these free activities for teaching blending and segmenting.

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

What is blending and segmenting?

Blending is when a student hears sounds individually and then puts them together to make a word.  For example, the sounds /c/ – /a/ – /t/ would be blended into the word /cat/.

Segmenting is the opposite, the student takes a word and then identifies the individual sounds.  For example, they would take the word /cat/ and say /c/ – /a/ – /t/

Teaching Blending and Segmenting

Here are two examples of the process that I used to introduce blending and segmenting with Google Slides.

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

Blending:

  • show the pictures /rain/ and /bow/ 
  • say each word 
  • have the students repeat each word
  • Model (then eventually ask) what the word is
  • Students will say rainbow 

Segmenting:

  • show the picture /rainbow/ 
  • say the word
  • have students repeat the word
  • Model (then eventually ask) what the two parts are /rain/ /bow/
  • Students will say /rain/ /bow/ 

Here are two quick videos showing the process:

Using Manipulatives

Once students are solid using visuals, you can move onto manipulatives.  There are so many different manipulatives that you can use but my go-to is basic colored cubes.

You can repeat the same steps listed above to blend and segment syllables.  This time, have students touch the cubes when saying the word.

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

Click HERE for a list of compound words that you can use for this activity.

Oral Blending/Segmentation

Using visuals models for blending and segmenting compound words helped students to understand the concept.  Using manipulatives allowed them to practice with some support.  Now it is time for students to show what they know and blend and segment orally!  You can use the list of compound words provided above.

For blending, simply say the two words and students will tell you the compound word.  For blending, say the compound word and students will tell you the two words!

What’s Next?

Once students have mastered blending and segmenting syllables in compound words, you can move onto the individual sound (phoneme) level.  You can use the same three easy steps to introduce blending and segmenting of words with 2 sounds, then 3 sounds, and so on and so forth!

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

Additional Resources

Google Slides Freebie:

If you haven’t already grabbed a copy of the free Google Slides resources for blending and segmenting – click here to grab yours now!
Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

Word Lists: 

Here are three different word lists (all free) that you can use for these activities.  They are broken up into words with 2, 3 and 4 sounds.

Guess My Word: 

Guess My Word is a fun and engaging activity can be used to practice blending and segmenting words with 2, 3, and 4 sounds in a whole group or small group settings.

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

Self Checking Poke Cards

Poke cards are an independent and self-checking activity that students can use to practice certain skills.  How Many Syllables[link] focuses on segmenting the syllables in word parts.  How Many Sounds [link] focuses on segmenting the sounds in words.

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

More Digital Resources:

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.

Pin For Later:

Are you looking for free activities to teach your kindergarten and first-grade students how to blend and segment?  Look no further!  Check out these digital and paper freebies to get you started with teaching blending and segmenting. In order to become proficient readers, blending and segmenting are critical skills that students need in order to decode words automatically.



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Celebrating The End Of The Year (Virtually) With Your Students


Celebrating The End Of The Year (Virtually) With Your Students

The end of this school year will look far different than what it usually does. 

Instead of our usual class parties full of games, dances, and snacks, teachers have to figure out how to celebrate virtually. 

How do we celebrate this school year ending from our computers? 

Here are some ideas for you!

Easy Ways To Celebrate At Home

Virtual Talent Show

Everyone likes to show off what they are good at. Organize a virtual talent show by giving your students time to shine doing a talent (previously approved by you). Join in on their fun by doing something yourself!

Guest Speakers

Just like in a real classroom, students in your virtual classroom are probably tired of hearing you speak the whole time. Arrange to have some guest speakers chat with your class. In a similar fashion to a talent show, you can have guest speakers do something they are good at, like magic tricks or reading a story.

Typing Club 

Typing Club is a fun way to reinforce your students’ typing skills. They even coordinate with Google Classroom as an easy add on. Have your students challenge each other to increase the virtual interaction. Click here to learn more. 

StoryJumper

StoryJumper is a really fun way to encourage students’ creativity. Using StoryJumper, students can create their own story, design their characters, and even add their own voice. If you give students enough time, you could have a StoryJumper Day and have them present their stories to the class. Click here to learn more. 

Have a Virtual Class Party

Organize a time for students to meet online for a class party! Have everyone bring their favorite snacks. Turn on some fun music, turn on a fun backdrop, and party. You can play a game with them. Have students share their favorite memory from the year. For inspiration, check out John Krasinski’s Some Good News on YouTube, and see how he held a virtual prom.

Record A Video

I am really of the opinion that students miss seeing your face. There is something so incredibly reassuring about seeing your teacher and I think our students are missing that. 

With that in mind, record a video to share with your students. Talk to them about how thankful you are that you had them in class, how proud you are of how they figured out how to do school at home, etc. 

What are your ideas for ending the year? I’d love to hear them!

Looking For Resources To Use In Your Virtual Classroom?

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The post Celebrating The End Of The Year (Virtually) With Your Students appeared first on Teaching Resources and Lesson Plans – Teaching Ideas 4U by Amy Mezni.



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