In January, when the temperature drops and snow starts to fall, I begin teaching one of my favorite units: Animals in Winter. I designed my own non-fiction unit that covers hibernation, adaptation, migration, camouflage, and more! You can read all about it here. Many teachers also begin this unit in January so I wanted to share some fiction and nonfiction… Read More
This time of the school year is perfect to work on goal-setting. The students are returning back from break and it’s a great time to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start. Students will of course need some guidance with setting their goals. Using picture books is always a great way to help students understand a concept. Here… Read More
Gingerbread men are a staple during the holiday season! So many people are a fan of the little elusive cookie that everyone wishes to devour. Maybe that’s why there are SO many different versions of the classic story. But you don’t have to go digging through all of them to find the best picture books for your gingerbread man unit…. Read More
If you teach kindergarten or first grade, you know what it’s like to be asked how to spell a word over and over. . . and over again. You likely have some sort of word wall or sound wall on display in your classroom. We often use these “walls” to help students learn sounds or spelling, but they can also… Read More
When we teach reading, we don’t expect our students to pick up a book and read, without explicitly teaching them everything from print concepts to decoding and comprehension strategies. So why don’t we do this with writing instruction? In many classrooms, students are expected to just write sentences- or even stories- with very minimal instruction on what a sentence even… Read More
Stretching the sounds and blending them, aka sounding it out, is a go-to strategy for helping students decode. It’s the oldest reading strategy in the book, but perhaps still the most important. If you’re familiar with my reading strategy resources, you’ll know I use fun characters and interactive PowerPoints to teach decoding strategies and follow up with meaningful activities for practice. … Read More
Using read-alouds to practice phonological awareness activities is a great way to motivate your little learners while exposing them to lots of important skills. Here are some great picture books for teaching phonological awareness and phonics. I also added ideas for activities to do with most books! *You can click on any title to purchase the books via Amazon. These… Read More
Did you know that phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of reading success? And even though it can be “done in the dark,” that doesn’t mean it has to. It’s so important to make sure our students get enough practice with phonemic awareness along with phonics instruction. Here are some important things to know about phonemic and phonological awareness!
You don’t have to wait for the end of the year to make a memory book! Make a yearlong scrapbook that doubles as a writing portfolio for kindergarten and first grade! It’s so great to see how your students’ writing progresses throughout the year and doing this little by little avoids trying to cram it all in at the end (which results in rushed and poor quality writing!). Read this post for some tips to make it easy and save you time.
A great way to scaffold for your emergent writers in kindergarten and first grade is using wordless picture books. These include pictures and students add the text. The word bank helps with spelling and vocabulary. They also include editing pages and students can add details to revise. Read this post to find out how to use these to help your beginning writers become more confident.