Monday, November 30, 2015

Alphabet Intervention

This year I've been working really hard with my kindergarten students to help them with alphabet recognition. For some kids, this is a quick process. For others, it requires a lot more repetition. I truly believe that with these students, repetition is key. Each time I introduced a letter, I found myself searching for more ideas-more ways to practice the same thing over and over. Each time I taught a letter, I took the multi sensory approach where students say it, feel it, write it and build it. I created these alphabet mats to put all of these in one place.  

Listening for the initial sound is also such an important phonemic awareness skill. I kept it simple where students just have to identify if it is the target sound (in this came /g/) or not.

There are two options for this part. They can cover or color the circles like above, or they can write the letter (pictured below.)

As I was laminated these mats, my younger son saw them and wanted to do his own "homework." He   loved this! As you can see, he is working on his fine motor skills as well. He isn't quite to the point where he feels confident enough to trace the letters, but coloring in these circles is the first step. Even after just doing a few of these over a week, he improved his ability to color in the circles (which as you know will soon lead to the ability and confidence to trace and write real letters.)

I have to warn you, though. There is some prep involved in this! I laminate these two pages two-sided. Then I use puff paint, glitter glue, and/or colored sand (with glue) to make the letters for students to feel. I also pre-cut the WikkiStix so they are ready. I have them on the board and take them off for students to rebuild the letters. Now that they are all done, I'm SO happy though! I have them organized in a filing system and I just pull out the mats for my small group. Ready to go! 

If you are interested, you can get these here:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Printable Activities for Digraphs

I have been loving these printable phonics packs! It's been so nice to these ready to go and organized into folders. Convenient and the kids love having their own folders to work with. The best part is I can reuse them for multiple groups. I've used these in two ways: as a warmup for guided reading and as an intervention resource. These are designed with intervention in mind. Students who struggle with learning to read need repetition. They need multiple opportunities to practice each phonics skill. These packs are flexible in that there are tons of different pages to choose from, but you don't have to use every one. Use what you need for each student. You might have one student that needs every single page, but others who simply need a few. Either way, your folders are ready to go when you need them! :)

This pack mostly has sh, th, and ch. There are a couple pages with wh and ck. 

This page is the first page I use when introducing each digraph. Students will search for the letters that make that digraph and cover the circles as they make that sound. 

Next, students listen for the digraph in words. 

For this page, students will listen for where the digraph is (beginning or end of the word.) These pages are available for th, sh, and ch.

There are several more pages where the digraphs are separated so students can get practice with each digraph. 

The remaining pages are mixed digraph pages. 

There are 65 pages in this pack. Like I said, for some students you will be able to pick and choose which pages to use. Other students may need to spend more time with each phonics skill so it's nice to have plenty to choose from. 

You can get this  by clicking here or on the picture below:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Turkey Trot Blog Hop

Welcome to “The Chalkies” Turkey Trot! We hope you enjoy a jog through our blogs gobbling up freebies, ideas, and recipes for some holiday joy!

We have a new blog name!  We switched out the word "Primary" for "Elementary". We want to meet the needs of any teacher K-6. Our blog has been thoughtfully designed to help you find what YOU need for YOUR classroom level!

I love those grade level tabs {seen above} that help me grab what I need. This trot will also take you through the grade level blogs of your choice. After you finish the hop with the grade level of your choice, you might want to go through the other hop to see what kind of goodies are there, too! Many of the ideas can be used for any grade level. ;)

We hope you enjoy this little meal from appetizer to dessert!

For a little appetizer to get us started, I thought I'd share something from my Gingerbread Literacy Pack. This thing is loaded with deliciously-engaging activities. I'm telling ya, the gingerbread theme catches everyone's attention. Kids love these! They are not any different or more special than the next thing, but the cute little gingerbread people just make learning more fun. Ha! To see more of this unit, click here. But don't forget to come back and finish this hop. :)

Now to brighten your holidays with a quick and easy idea. We are always looking for ways to motivate our students, keep learning interesting and fun, but also manage the craziness. The holidays can get crazy. It's so fun and I always look forward to it, but let's face it, the kids can get a little too excited sometimes. :) Here's an idea to reward good classroom behavior:

Have your class work together to retell a story by having good behavior. Set out the parts of your favorite story. Here, I used Whimsy Workshop's adorable clipart, but you could also just have your students draw these cards. (That way you could do for any story.) When you want to reward the class for great (or "sweet") behavior, add a story card to the story board. Call on a student to choose which card goes next. This way, you are reinforcing sequencing. When you fill up the chart, you could give the class some sort of reward. Now, mind you a reward can be as simple as an extra recess. It could be a small gingerbread cookie. You could even be a youtube Gingerbread "movie". If you search "Gingerbread" on youtube, a bunch comes up. Mostly there are people reading the book but for some reason this feels more special, right? Sort of a movie? The reward can be as big or tiny as you want. The point is to get them working together to build the story.

I also studied Jan Brett every winter. You could do this with that story too. 

Download this idea with the template here. 
Note: The clip art does not come with this. You can buy the gingerbread clip art here. Like I said earlier, you could also draw it though. :)

I know this barely counts as dessert, but I love coffee, so it counts for me! I am a daily coffee with light cream gal, but those darn seasonal drinks get me every time. I have no self discipline. I just have to have them. They just make me happy to drink them. Well, that is, until this year when they started giving me stomach aches. Aging isn't pretty. My stomach is getting so sensitive! So after about four failed attempts to drink my favorite latte, I thought I'd do the sensible thing- I googled it. Ha! I know the sensible thing would be to save money and just not buy them. But that's not very fall-tastic is it? I came across this fabulous recipe for homemade pumpkin spice lattes. Apparently I wasn't the only one with the stomach issues... So I made it.

Perfection. It was so so yummy!

It really wasn't that hard either.  You pretty much brew some coffee or if you have a fancy espresso machine that's probably better. On the stove you basically mix pumpkin, some spices, some sugar and some milk. Heat it and put it in the blender for that frothy feel.  Pour it into a cup with some coffee and you've got yourself some (almost) guilt-free, homemade, real pumpkin spice latte. 

Here is the entire recipe and the source of my newfound happiness:
It's from The Kitchn

Let's not judge how much nicer this person's latte looks. ;) This is downright beautiful. I opted not to add the whip cream this time, but I will next time! 

This would be perfect on Thanksgiving or for any party you are hosting. The recipe makes enough for a few lattes. It's quick and easy! Impress your guests with this drink before or after a meal.

If you are looking for more products to fill you up for the next few months, check out these winter related products:

These are some of my staples all year long!  Click here to see these.

These products will be 30% off today!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Short Vowel Phonics Activities (UPDATE!)

I just updated this CVC Printable Intervention Pack. The first thing I added was this short vowel bookmark. This is SO useful for my students. They use it with the activities in this pack and when they are writing.

A photo posted by @snippetsbysarah on

I also added bout 90 pages! Yes, you read that right. This year I had some students who really needed to start from square one. They were not solid on the vowel sounds so I found that they were not ready for the original short vowel intervention pack since it was mixed vowels on each page. My students needed to practice each vowel separately using several different activities to get those sounds to stick!  So I made about 15-20 pages per vowel. The activities are the same as in the mixed vowel version, but the difference is that there is only one vowel at a time. I found this really helped!  We spent time on each vowel. I used some of the pages for my RTI time, and some pages were sent home for extra practice. Several activities could be done during center time, too.

After that, we moved on to the regular Intervention pack with mixed vowels.
This was perfect because they were ready to put it all together. The bookmarks really came in handy here. I can say that they are now solid with those short vowel sounds and we have moved on to consonant blends. :)

So here's how I organized it. It might sounds strange...

The mixed vowel pack is still the same:

All of the pages are in plastic sleeves. They are put in folders with the three-prongs. 
Helpful tip: Put in the empty plastic sleeves first. That will make it easier to close the prongs in place. Then add the pages to the sleeves. It will be thick!

Here's what I did with the extra pages that were single vowels. Since there are about 15 pages for each individual vowel, I put them into one sleeve. Yes, one sleeve. I know that sounds crazy. There was a small group- only 4 kids. Each day we did two activities. One would be showing on the front and the other on the back. The other pages were all in between. You can kind of see it in this photo. The next day, I would change the order of the sheet. I would put the ones we just did in the very middle. Then I'd have two new pages showing on the front and back. 

Another option would be to have a separate folder for these single vowel pages. You could also store them in a filing system. You could put two pages in each sleeve (front and back.) That would mean you would have about 8-9 sleeves per vowel. Store all of them in the file folders, separated by vowel. Short a would have 4-5 sets together in a file, short e would too, etc. It's a lot of sleeves, but once you get it all together, you have intervention ready every year! 

I've got to tell you, it is so nice to have these ready each day. I don't have to do anything once I put all these together. Next year will be SO nice! :)

I also have a consonant blends pack and a silent e pack.