Showing posts from April, 2012

My Review of Talk Blocks from Learning Resources

I was excited to be given a set of these Talk Blocks to try out and review about a month ago by the good folks at Learning Resources! Talk Blocks are blocks with a removable cover and a little recorder inside, so that you can record anything you want on it! Then, all you have to do is push the button and listen to it! I decided to use my Talk Blocks for language arts instruction; specifically, I used them at the writing table as a supplement to my word wall! I just printed out some words that the children were likely to need, and cut them to the correct size of the top of the block. Then I recorded my voice saying the word by changing the slider button in the back to "record" and pressing the button down. You continue to hold the button down as you speak, and then let go when you are finished. Then slide the button back again to "play" and then listen to your recording! If you like it, you're done! If not, then just slide that button back t

Finding Phonics Spelling Patterns EVERYWHERE!

Today I am going to tell you how I taught my kids to find the Sounds Fun Phonics spelling patterns in just about everything that they see!  We have been using highlighter tape for this, and they absolutely LOVE it!  In fact, it is a favorite activity to do during their PLAYTIME, if you can believe it!!! The children want to take the tape and wander around the room, searching for an “ing” or a “th.”  In fact, I finally had to put the tape AWAY, because I was pretty certain that there were NO MORE “un-taped” words with spelling patterns left on the walls to tape, and plus- they were just about driving me cRaZy!!!! The Sounds Fun Poster with Highlighting Tape On It This is how it all got started.  Recently, each grade level team at my school was given the opportunity to go on a “Learning Walk” through each of the classrooms in our own grade levels and watch one of our team mates teach a lesson.  (Yes, this was a bit stressful for some of us, and there was a bit of g

S.T.E.M. Projects in Kindergarten Are SO Much Fun!

About a year ago, it was suggested to me by my supervisor at Staff Development for Educators (SDE) that I try to develop some STEM projects for my class and try to include them in some of the sessions that I present at their conferences .  (For a complete list of my upcoming presentations, please click here !)  My first thought was, “Uh... why would I want to teach about stem cells in Kindergarten?” And then my next question was, “What is STEM?”   (Unfortunately, this only revealed my own ignorance in the subject, LOL!) For those of you that are still in the dark regarding this topic like I was, the term “STEM” in relation to edu-speak refers to projects that integrate all four of these subjects:  science, technology, engineering, and math.  Hence the term, STEM!  So for the purpose of this blog post, this discussion has NOTHING to do with stem cells at all, thankfully!  And as far as the “engineering” part of it is concerned, all the children have to do is simply build som

Helping Kids Conquer DIBELS!!!

Do you do DIBELS at your school?  If you are a parent, does your child take DIBELS tests?  DIBELS seems to be quite a mystery for many adults, both parents and teachers!  In this blog post, I will try to shed some light on what the "dreaded DIBELS" tests are, what they are supposed to measure, and what the results are supposed to mean.  Finally, I will give you some ways to help your child improve his or her phonemic awareness and phonics skills so that he or she can do better on the next round of DIBELS tests. DIBELS stands for "Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills" and many, many school systems are now using these tests as a measure of how their students are doing in reading, and as an identifier of students that may be "at risk."  Children that are considered "at risk" are those that, according to research, are most likely to possibly fail at some point in their school careers.  Therefore, extra assistance is often suggeste

Loose Tooth Subtraction!

Today I am going to share a cute little subtraction activity that I made up a couple of weeks ago that is similar to the Shark Teeth Addition that I made up last year, but this time uses kids rather than sharks and is for subtraction rather than addition!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my kids did!  There's even a free download in it for you! For those of you that missed the Shark Teeth Addition activity , it was simply an addition lesson in which the children rolled dice or used a spinner to determine how many teeth to draw on the upper and lower jaws of the shark.  Then they counted the total of the teeth and wrote an equation. There are some worksheets that go with it.  The first activity was a free download , and then we created more of them and made them available for purchase as the demand for them became known. In my new Loose Tooth Subtraction Activity , we start with a picture of a child with ten teeth.  Then we roll a die to see how many teeth th