Saturday, March 30, 2013


     I love this time of year.  In the classroom you get to see a whole year of growth.  Students have mastered their letters and sounds, they are decoding, and identifying sounds in the beginning, middle, and end, they are rhyming, they are recognizing sight words, and able to write.  I love it, and they are so excited about all they can do!  They are READING!!  I could go on and on, but I want to tell you about a project my classroom kiddos did.  We've been talking about opposites, and I really wanted to give them a chance to get creative and really challenge them to use all of their new skills.  I have a lot of cartoon lovers and superhero enthusiasts.  So.....  I asked them to create two superhero puppets and they had to have the opposite powers of each other.  Then they took their puppets and created a story about them.  By this time, we've written a few books already and they like to read their creations to the class.  The criteria for the project:  They had to have a Cover and it had to contain a title, they had to acknowledge themselves as the author and illustrator and tell what they did in that role.  They had to write their story giving it structure, tall letters tall and short letters short, with spaces in between.  They did an awesome job!!  I will post pics later, when I can borrow a camera.  Then when the products were finished, they shared them, reading them to their peers.  They were all really good!  We had characters like Mr. Thin and Ms. Thick, Ice and Fire, Tough and Weak,, Tall and Short, Fast and Slow, etc.  It was really cool to see to, how some of the kids not only had their heroes with opposite powers but they also included other opposite elements to the stories as well.  So much of a students success depends on making the curriculum relevant and giving a student purpose in their daily activities.  Watching students collaborate, create, and spark ideas off of each other, sharing in discussions, and participating, all excited about their ideas and just beginning to understand all of the things that are now possible to them with their new developed skills!  My job rocks!!!

Our Super Hero Puppets!!!!  Here are just a few!!!

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


     Ever had a student who just couldn't rhyme? It's such an important skill because research shows a correlation between rhyming and reading. So you work with that child and you work with that child, you try picture matching, you try explaining orally what is alike and different in different words, you read Dr. Seuss, you try sorts, etc. But they just aren't able to get it.  I felt like I was banging my head against the wall, and was just not getting anywhere with some of my kinesthetic learners.  Well.... try this, it worked for me and my little kiddos.  Teach it like you are teaching onset and rime comparing two words to begin with, (you can use more words later and even try which word doesn't rhyme as an activity for another day after experiencing success with two words.) and use your hands.  The left hand is the onset of the first word, and the right hand is the rime of the first word.  Then repeat for the second word, left hand is the onset and right hand is the rime.  Then you can have them refer to their right hand to see if both words had the same ending.  I have had my non-rhymers practice this strategy.  Then for the assessment I had them demonstrate the strategy using the onset and rime activity and then look at words to circle the part of the word that was the same.  For example, if they thought map and cap rhyme, they would refer to their right hand and feel/and listen to see if there was a similarity.  If yes, then they look at the words and circle the part that is the same.  With cap and map they would circle the -ap word part.  Finally, SUCCESS!!!  That's right, they now get rhyming!!  This way you are taking the skill and also showing them how it relates to text, allowing them to make that connection.  Then you can have them start finding rhyming words in a sentence, and taking an ending and make new rhyming words by changing the beginning sound.  Think about it, we've all used the strategy of the hand under the chin for syllable counting to help our students discriminate with the difference between syllable counting and counting sounds in words, so they don't confuse the two.  Now here is a strategy for the kinesthetic learner as well.  Hope you will try it!!  I love it with the group I have this year and look forward to trying with other groups as well.  

Happy Teaching!!!