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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Rhyming Picture Sort Center--Response to Intervention Activity

Hello Fellow Teachers,

I hope your year is going well and you are finding time to enjoy the holiday season.  I am not one of those amazing people who have their Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, so I am finding time here and there to shop. Although my outside lights and decorations have been out since last week, we have not gotten our Christmas tree up yet.  But today is the day!

Before I head out, I wanted to hurry up and post.  My blog posts are few and far between.  Mostly because of the business of teaching.  Although I don't have my own classroom anymore, my RTI position keeps me pretty busy.

Lately I have been exploring all of the RTI resources on the internet.  My search is in the early stages, but I have found some valuable websites.  For example, did you know that the Dibels benchmark assessments and progress monitoring tools are all FREE on the dibels website?  You can find them here:  Another fantastic website is

There are many phonological assessments available on the internet.  Some good testing resources can be found here  PAST test, and PAST answer sheet.  For more resources, Jen Jones at Hello Literacy has a wonderful blog post:Hello Literacy RTI Assessments.

Anyway, I just used the PAST test on a few students who are struggling to find out where their holes were in their phonological awareness knowledge and both had an issue with rhyming.  I wanted some quick rhyming activities, and while I had rhyming cut and paste picture sorts (Sample), I wanted a center that I could hand to a student to complete more quickly than cut and paste.  I also think my rhyming cut and past picture sorts may be too difficult when first teaching rhyming because they contain a lot of voiced vs. unvoiced sorts, and really, I need two distinct rimes for these students to start with and then maybe reinforce the skill with the cut and paste rhyming sorts later.

So I created these easier Rhyming Picture Sort Centers that start out easy and then have a few difficult ones at the end.

You can obtain a sample center here: Free Rhyming Picture Sort Center

If you are interested in all of the centers, you can find the set of 13 here:

Rhyming Picture Sort Centers

Thanks for stopping by.  Hopefully I will blog again soon ;)


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Free Digraph Posters

Hello All,

I know it has been a while since I posted!!!  Well, I decided to move to Louisville, KY.   While I loved my family, friends, and colleagues in Charlotte, NC, it became very clear to me that being a teacher and growing old in NC are not compatible, unfortunately.  I hope things will get better in that wonderful state.  The amazing weather alone might have made me stay.  The great news is that I love living in this wonderful new city!  Locals here constantly say how much they love Louisville and growing up here.  I have not picked between U of L and UK, but I hear that it is only a matter of time until I will be forced to decide.   I am now an RTI coach/teacher and love my new school! 

Creating things has also been on the back burner, but necessity being the mother of invention, I had to get back into the swing of things.  During the move, I downsized a little too much and could not find my digraph posters, so I made new ones.  Here they are:

 You can get them free here:  Free Digraph Posters--Ch, Sh, & Th

I hope you all are having a wonderful year!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Good Readers Pay Attention to Patterns of Behavior

As the year winds down I am reflecting on the teaching I've done this year. There are many parts that I am proud of, however, sometimes I tend to dwell on the things that I could have done better.  I am writing this post to lay my thoughts to rest once and for all about this particular comprehension piece of instruction.

We were teaching our kids that good readers pay attention to patterns of behavior in stories.  I was reading Cynthia Rylant's book Pinky and Rex and the Bully.  With the help of my fabulous literacy facilitator, I created this anchor chart.  I had never taught student to look for the pattern in a character's actions so deeply and I was very excited to see how far I could go with the students in such close reading.

It wasn't just noticing the pattern of the actions.  The students had to evaluate the main character's response to the bully and then look for a pattern in his response-something first graders would probably not do on their own.  We noticed that Pinky was always insecure about himself and that he always was allowing someone else to solve his problems. After realizing this, we had rich discussions about why Pinky does what he does throughout the story: He wants to stop being called Pinky (his favorite color) and decides to give his beloved stuffed animals away to his sister.  Instead of being confident and standing up to the bully who is teasing him, he decides to change who he is. 

So far so good, right?  Kind of.  We had an awesome discussion, and many students fell in love with this book.  I could tell, because they constantly wanted to write about it in their Reader's Workshop Notebook. 

But then reading assessments came at the end of the year. It really didn't effect the kids who were at grade level, but it mattered to a student who was above grade level.  You know the student who will learn and remember everything?  All you have to do is teach it right the first time and he/she will remember and apply everything.  The sponge.  During a reading assessment, she noticed the pattern of the main character's actions.  I was so proud.

And that is when I realized I had failed to emphasize one important detail.  As I looked at the assessment rubric, I realized her answer was not sufficient.  What she was not able to do was to explain how the character's action at the end (when the pattern changed) effected the story.

So I added the green words on the bottom of the anchor chart. We revisited Pinky and Rex and I asked her the questions.  We had a wonderful conversation and I think she would have been able to do it had I just taken it one step further. What a wonderful growing experience.  For me.

17 more days until summer.  I hope you all had a wonderful year.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Free Rhyming Cut and Paste

It has been a while since I created something new, but I felt like I needed a resource that only involved listening.  Rhyming is such an important skill.  When I was a literacy facilitator, an enormous amount of students who had difficulty reading, also had difficulty rhyming.  This experience really drove home the value of phonological and phonemic awareness.  So here is my latest creation, a book dedicated solely to rhyming. 

Click here for the Free Rhyming Cut and Paste Worksheet

If you are interested in the whole book, you can find it here:   

Happy Spring!  

Freebie Fridays

Friday, February 28, 2014

Free Listen and Write Long Vowel Patterns Worksheet

I have been an awful blogger as of late, not attending to my blog, but this year has been a year of change.  I wonder how many of you out there feel the same way.  There have not been enough hours in the day to keep up with it all.  However, necessity is the mother of invention, and I have some kiddos who needed some extra beginning long vowel practice, so something had to be invented.

These students have completed the Cut, Paste, and Spell picture sorts, and while that has helped them a lot, they need a little more help practicing noticing the difference between long and short vowels.  Here is a chart that I am using to help them take charge of their learning by encouraging them to "discover" long vowel pattern rules like, if you hear the long o sound at the end of a word, use the ow pattern.  There are lots of discoveries kids can make.  I spent the first few years teaching word study and pointing things out, thinking that kids would remember.  I said things like, "look!  If you hear a long vowel use ch (like in peach) and if you hear a short vowel use tch (like in catch).  I would hear "ooohhhh" like everything was clear as a bell but many still would forget the rule.  Now I do everything I can to have students discover their own rules.  I won't give it to them ever.  It doesn't help.  If they discover it, they own it.  You will sometimes see me pulling my hair asking kids what they hear and what they know about sounds and how are the sounds the same and how are they different and any question I can think of without telling them a rule.

I also created some worksheets that are not cut and paste, but I still wanted the students to look at the pictures and practice listening to themselves say the words and write the words looking for patterns.  In addition, other students are finishing their morning work more quickly these days and I needed something that provided some more practice but was quicker than the cutting and pasting.  I created phonics worksheets that was similar to sorting, but also made them choose whether they heard a short or long sound first, so that I could train them to ask themselves that question first.  Until it is automatic, it will delay them noticing patterns related to sound.

Here is how it turned out:
You can grab this freebie here: Free Listen and Write Long O Worksheet

If you are interested in the full books, I have created 4 of them to correspond to the pictures in the 4 Cut, Paste and Spell books.  They are available as individuals or as a set.  Each book has at least 30 pages.

Listen and Write Books, Set of 4

Listen and Write Word Families
Listen and Write CVC Words
Listen and Write Blends and Digraphs
Listen and Write Long Vowel Patterns

Thanks for stopping by!  If any of these are useful, please let me know in the comments section.  I have had almost 30,000 visitors, and I would love to hear from some of you!

Happy Teaching!