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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Best Reading Program EVER

Back when I was teaching I had this amazing reading program.  It's called "Teach Your Child How To Read in 100 Easy Lessons", and if you've even started searching around to find a home-schooling reading program you have probably heard of it.  This program is intended to be taught by a parent to their child, all cuddled up on the couch together.  I checked it out and fell in love, so when I had my first classroom, I decided to modify it for teaching to a group.  The only problem is there are not a lot of supplemental worksheets and reading tools out there for this program, so I ended up creating my own.

One of the best ways to do this was to send flash cards home to the parents of my beginning readers so that they could practice their sounds with mom and dad at home.   Back in the day, mine weren't so colorful and pretty.  I revamped them for a refreshed look. 


Another way was to create my own phonics activity worksheets that went along with the beginning sounds, so that my classroom kids would have a chance to interact with the new sounds they were learning in a variety of ways.


Now that I have children of my own, I have gone back and refreshed the very curriculum I used in my classroom for my kids to use.  This sheet above was one of the very first activities that my son and I did together when we started working on his reading together.  (One of the reasons I love this reading program is because it introduces children to very simple words that they can read in the first few lessons).





Practicing writing their sounds is a key component to this program, which uses a non standard style of font as it first teaches sounds to children.  These worksheets I created are great for this practice!




Since my son and I are working on this curriculum these days, it just seemed to make sense to make it available for others to use as well.  So, with my young son testing it out for me, we have put together a phonics printable packet that is now available on the Teacherspayteachers website.  It's available for instant download for a dollar.  Here's the link:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/After-Five-Phonics-Packet-1732533

This is just for the first five lessons of the program, so keep tabs on us for future packets! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Preschool Crayon Organizing Hack



I'm not gonna lie:  I did not come up with this myself.  It was something I pinned and at the time I pinned it, I thought, "Yeah, maybe I'll try that sometime, but if I do try it, how long is it going to stay THAT neat and color organized?" 

Well, my little ones amaze me sometimes.  Truth:  I never organize this.  It stays color coded.  The kids keep it that way themselves.  Maybe it's because there is room for them to put the crayons back in.  Whatever the case, I love this.  Best time spent on recycling baby food jars, EVER!

Truth is, a crayon box is not easy to keep organized and neat.  Even for me!  I hate trying to stuff crayons back inside one of those, especially if there are broken ones.  I guess it must be just as tough for kids, because this simple hack of using baby food jars, that I painted has worked wonderfully.

And now I cannot find the original pinner to give credit where it is due.  However, I am going to post this because it is an easy little hack that helped make life just a tad easier with three small kiddos.


I used acrylic paints on baby food jars (you could use cans or other small jars) because that is what I have on hand at the moment.  I glued them all together using a super glue made to work on glass.  It stays together and it stays organized.  I love it!  Best Crayon Hack Ever. 

So, thank you, Anonymous Original Poster--I owe you one!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The First Is Always Free


I was a first year teacher who had just been hired to teach in one of those tiny towns that have few children and schools that are composed of five grades in one room.  I had trained for elementary, so I was game for this challenge.  But I had some strong opinions about the reading program I wished to use.

Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons is an excellent reading program.  But it isn't really geared for a classroom.  It was intended for parents to teach their children in the comfort of their own home.

It's a very scripted program, though you can choose how fast you and your child move forward.  I had discovered this program (often utilized by homeschoolers) and had decided I would modify it for my classroom.  Only problem?  There weren't many printables available for follow-up and I had four other classes to prep for.  How would I do this?  Make my own in all my spare time, I finally decided.

I wasn't disappointed in my choice.  By the end of the year, half of my Kindergartners were reading effortlessly at a second grade level.  And I kept my printables, planning some day to use them with my own children.


Which indeed, I am now doing.  I know this program is still used by many home-schooling parents, at least.  And as we set out on our new venture of creating curriculum, it seems silly to just sit on these printables and not offer them for others' use.  So, we decided to do just that.

I will be uploading these printables as free materials to supplement the excellent phonics program for those who are using it.

UPDATE:  This is a popular link on Pinterest, and I decided to consolidate my freebie worksheets that go along with "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons".  They are now available for free download at this link.   

UPDATE #2:  In addition to the above Freebie, I now also offer a Free Packet for this reading program that includes more supplemental worksheets, easy crafts, flash cards and other helpful activities.  You will need to have completed Lesson 40 to make the most of this free packet, but check it out!



In addition, I also now offer packets of printables that coincide with the lessons of "How To Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons".

After going through the first five lessons, this packet will be helpful:  After Five Phonics



Once you complete lesson 10, you'll find this packet to be helpful:  After Ten Phonics



And after getting through lesson 15, you'll be moving into larger packet territory with this packet:





We're trying to keep costs super low, and quality high, so check out the links and see if these will be helpful for you and your kiddos.  Happy Reading!

We now offer a Bundle for the first 50 lessons, and this will be a cost-saving way to pick up these supplements, all the way through Lesson 50.



In addition, we are in process on the lessons 55 through 100.  Some packets are already up and available in our store  (After 55) and (After 60).  Keep posted or follow us here on our blog or at our store to stay up on the latest news. 




Saturday, February 14, 2015

Letter of the Week for Z


Zazzle-Dazzle, we have a letter Z letter of the Week packet here.  Let's talk about this fun letter Z.


We begin our letter of the week with introducing the letter along with a snoozing Glimmercat.  Notice, she is surrounded by zinnias. 

The old standby for Letter Z is usually the Zebra, and we definitely have our Z is for Zebra Day, including a Zebra "Matching the Letters" practice sheet. 
These pages are such good review for connecting the capital and lowercase letters.

Now, you could make little foam zebra heads like this:


But in our packet, we have this interesting craft, that involves putting the stripes on a Zebra in a unique way, rather than gluing or painting them on.  And it was fun!


First, I cut out the zebras and the rectangles for the kids.  There are so many little tiny details on the zebra form, that it was better to not over-stress them by having them attempt this.


Next, I put just a touch of glue-stick on the back of the zebra and glued him temporarily inside of an empty salad box.  (On the craft page, I suggest using a cardboard box, and that would work too, but this was helpful for us to use, since you could watch your zebra stripes appear.  You can see, we have also added a line of black paint inside the box, near the zebra and there is a toy ball inside, too.  (The toy ball didn't work as well as we were hoping, so we upgraded to a marble to get it to roll well).


Then the fun began.  My son shook that box and he twisted and turned it, and as the marble rolled through the black paint, stripes magically appeared on the zebra.


What fun we had!  The pictures are a little fuzzy because as you can tell, there was much shaking and jostling involved with this project.  And it turned out great!


After Zebras, one of the next letter Z favorites is Zoo.  We created several activities for Zoo. 

This one involves making zoo animals out of rocks and the little images seen here.  At the end, we had become zookeepers with our small collection of rock animals:



But we also created a printable where kids can create their own little zoo with this cut and paste activity:

 
For our reading literacy activity, we chose the book, "Never Ever Shout at the Zoo".  And for our activity, the kids will need to use ordinal number understanding to put everything in order. 


For our last craft, we chose to do something with zinnias.  We made our petals with fingerprints.


Easy and satisfying!  Those are the best kind of crafts.  Granted, this can be a tad messy.


We started with the outer layer of petals, and we turned the paper around to make it easier to put on the thumbprints.  


And then we found it was best to stand up to really get into those thumbprints.  Look at all those fun petals!

For a lot more Z activities, printables, reading literacy activities, flash cards and a Letter Z Matching Game, head over to our teacher store.



And here's the full list of our Glimmercat Letter of the Week packets!

Letter of the Week for A

Letter of the Week for B

Letter of the Week for C

Letter of the Week for D

Letter of the Week for E  

Letter of the Week for F

Letter of the Week for G

Letter of the Week for H


Letter of the Week for I

Letter of the Week for J

Letter of the Week for K

Letter of the Week for L

Letter of the Week for M

Letter of the Week for N

Letter of the Week for O

Letter of the Week for P

Letter of the Week for Q

Letter of the Week for R

Letter of the Week for S


Letter of the Week for T

Letter of the Week for U

Letter of the Week for V

Letter of the Week for W

Letter of the Week for X



 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Letter of the Week for Y


Our Letter of the Week packet for Y is up and running.  No yawns here...well, actually, we did add a Yawn craft, just for fun.



We set up our lesson plans for this Letter of the Week packet to focus on something that starts with Y for every Day.  So, for instance, the first day we focus on Yaks.


As you can see, we have a fun little Yak printable craft and a Yak dot to dot.  On another day, we focus on "Yarn".  Children can put together this little puzzle:


And, they can also Glue some Yarn along our Yarn Craft, as displayed by the red color...


Now, I love to add in other ideas that you could do here on this blog, and here is one that was a lot of fun, even though it is a very hands-on craft that is not something you can print out.  But first, the song intro to this idea:


Yeah, we cheated a little bit by calling a "Yellow Submarine" a craft for "Y".  But why not?  The song was originally intended as a nonsense song for children, according to Sir Paul McCartney, and it is still as catchy to little ones today as it was to adults back in the 70's.

Here's what we did to make ours:


That's a toilet paper tube, two holders from an egg carton, and a yellow straw.

The little gold thingys are beads I had on hand that looked like they would make good portholes.  (You could also use little white O stickers, or maybe even stick a photo of your child on the submarine, to make it look like he or she is looking out the window.) 

We gathered a large piece of yellow vinyl (from a plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Store) around the whole she-bang.  Cinched it up with a little clear rubber band, right around the straw.


Then, we took another holder from an egg carton that has a hole already created in the top, slid it over our straw, and hot-glued it into place.  I also hot-glued on the little brassy circles.


Then, to ensure it was really yellow, I had the kids finish off the top piece with yellow.  Make sure and sing "We all Live in a Yellow Submarine" while you do this craft.  That's definitely a prerequisite.


For our Reading Literacy Activity, we chose this book:



This little book is all about a child who has a "Yes Day!" with his parents where every answer to every question is "Yes!"  Such a fun story, and here is our Reading Literacy Activity that goes along with it:


And to follow up, we did another Yes craft.  You could use items like plastic beads or dried beans and rice for this craft, but we decided to use edibles that don't need to be glued down.


 But "Yes!" they DO get to be eaten up upon completion of the craft.


It's one of those simple, low prep, low mess kind of crafts where everyone is happy with the result at the end.  Especially the kids.


This was definitely a favorite.  Only trick is making sure they don't eat everything up before they fill in their letters.  But then, if they do, does anyone really mind all that much?


The final craft we came up with was a new one.  Y is for Yawn.


For making a Yawn, you have to create a character to do the yawning, so this picture is of a charming young man with squinting eyes so that when his mouth opens (as children pull down on the tab), it completes the look of an actual yawn.

The craft has a color code, where children choose a color for the skin and then fill in every shape with a triangle the color they chose.  We talked a bit about varying skin colors and what might be realistic, but if you wanted, I'm sure your child would happily create a purple skinned boy with orange hair.  Keeping the skin a consistent color, however, does help with the perception of the yawn. 


But the one thing that MUST be added, no matter what, is the Yawn sound effect.  This is where you get laughs and giggles and many yawn sound effects will be tried out and enjoyed by all.

For a lot more Y activities, printables, reading literacy activities, flash cards and a Letter Y Matching Game, head over to our teacher store.



For the other alphabet letter of the week packets, we offer the following blog links with crafts included:

Letter of the Week for A

Letter of the Week for B

Letter of the Week for C

Letter of the Week for D

Letter of the Week for E  

Letter of the Week for F

Letter of the Week for G

Letter of the Week for H

Letter of the Week for I

Letter of the Week for J

Letter of the Week for K

Letter of the Week for L

Letter of the Week for M

Letter of the Week for N

Letter of the Week for O

Letter of the Week for P

Letter of the Week for Q

Letter of the Week for R

Letter of the Week for S


Letter of the Week for T

Letter of the Week for U

Letter of the Week for V

Letter of the Week for W

Letter of the Week for X


Letter of the Week for Z