Image Map

Reading Groups with Classroom Volunteers

Hi everyone, it's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive. As we continue talking about reading groups, I wanted to take a look at some resources that can assist you when planning time is short, or when a volunteer shows up to offer assistance.

At my school, the principal gets teacher aides to assist with reading groups.  We also have parent volunteers who are looking for family hours of service, or high school students that come back to help out.  Unfortunately, this doesn't happen in a consistent way in which I could teach one or two people the basics of guided reading. Because of this, I have found it extremely useful to have binders that focus on a particular skill, along with a guided reading kit ready to go.  When a volunteer shows up at my door, I pull out a binder, grab my toolkit, and put them to work!

My first binder works with letter recognition and hand writing skills.  Included in it are the following resources.

I use this one mostly for my students who are struggling with fine motor skills, and writing their letter backwards.

Next up is my letter sounds and beginning reading.  This one also contains some of the wand resources from Tara West, but most of the binder is from the following resource:

That particular resource is so full of amazing activities, that is you were to only buy one of these resources that I suggest, it should definitely be this one!

For sight words I use:

When students need work on their fluency and reading smoothly, I also use activities out of Miss DeCarbo's ELA pack and I also have:

Last, but not least is my reading comprehension binder.  In this I use:


For the read and sequence, I printed them all out, cut out the bottoms, and attached velcro to the pieces so that they could be used again and again.

I store all of these binders behind my teacher desk, where they are easily accessible.

I also bought this crafting supplies bag at Hobby Lobby, and it holds all of my fun little supplies for the kids to use.

Inside, you will find the following things:
1. Toobaloos
2. Halloween witch fingers
3. Magnetic wands with magnetic chips
4. Small white boards
5. Letter Tiles
6. Dry erase markers
7. Erasers
9. Elkonin boxes

It took me a little while to set-up all of these binders and my guided reading kit, but the time was well worth it whenever a helper comes into my class.  All of these resources are pretty self explanatory, so that when I do get assistance, I can just grab a binder, grab a couple of students, and get them working quickly in a way that is fun and engaging!  If you would like a copy of my binder covers, click below.

Reading Groups in Kindergarten

Hello Kinder Tribe friends! Heather here from Learning with Mrs. Langley and today I am all about reading groups! Actually...on most days I am all about reading groups! In kindergarten the BEST teaching comes during these small group times. I get to chat with my kiddos, see their individual needs, and really make a difference when it comes to reading.

Reading Groups didn't just "happen" for me. It took me the better part of a year to get a good routine and learn how to group my students according to their needs. If you want to read more about how I do that you can see that HERE. We use DIBELS in our district as our assessment tool so I talk a little about that too. 

Today I will be focusing in on my ON LEVEL group and some of the CVC word work we have been doing together. They love these activities! 

#1 Warm up! 
We start our warm up by reading CVC words together and really focus in on pointing to each letter and reading each sound. We concentrate on one vowel sound at a time. On this day we were working on middle E words. 

#2 Blending
 As students go through the process of learning to read they get to the point where blending two sounds starts to happen pretty naturally. I've noticed that kids will read the first sound then blend the last two together. This doesn't lead to natural sounding reading and they end up reading everything in chunks. I learned this painful lesson when I moved to first grade and spent the entire year trying to get kids past this. It was frustrating! 

My second year in first I started having my kiddos cover the last sound in a CVC word and just focus on blending the first two. By ending with that vowel sound you don't get a hard ending and blending into that last sound is more natural. Students can drag out that vowel sound while their brain processes the last sound in the word. It sounds something like heeeeeee/m (read that middle e sound as a short sound!) to get the word hem. As they practice this it gets quicker and quicker. I tell them to cover the last sound, blend the first two, then say the last sound fast! 
Cover the last sound, blend the first two, then uncover and say the last sound fast! 

I give them the same page in black and white to practice throughout the week. They keep them in their browsing boxes. 
Practice pages can be used in groups and sent home to practice blending anywhere! 

#3 Building Words
After we warm up and practice blending we play a game to build words. This activity has them spinning for beginning and ending sounds while the middle e sound stays constant. Once they spin for the sounds and write them on the lines they determine if the word is real or make believe. A lot of great vocabulary discussions come from this activity! 
Work on fine motor skills (spinning is hard work!) and CVC words at the same time. 
This activity has them building words with tokens first (not pictured) then writing the sounds. In addition to being a great word building activity it also gives me a chance to work on some handwriting issues with each individual child. Just one more reason to love small groups! 
Dry erase markers are our favorite! Slip pages into page protectors and they erase easily. 
Of course I use my little readers from our reading series and all of the small group materials too from Reading Street (I love their small group stuff!) but this is what I supplement for hands on word work with me. Once they learn these routines I can use these in an independent center. They especially love the spinner activity. 

Pin this post for later! 
If you would like to see any of the above activities in my store you can see them HERE. These tips for sounding out and blending CVC words can be used with any of your CVC materials. Thanks for stopping by KinderTribe today. Be sure to join the KinderTribe group on Facebook to connect with other KinderTribe friends.

Reading Groups: The clock is ticking...

Happy February! It's the 2nd day of the month so you're hearing from me, Breanna, at A Pinch of Primary. It's February and reading groups are pedal to the metal. Kids are in the routine, books are being read, strategies are being taught, books are going home, and those little kinders are READING. Different levels? Ohhh yes! But seeing those milestones for each individual reader is #Heartwarming.

We follow the Daily 5 model (we only do 4 rotations each day) so my students have their learning time broken down like this:

  • Read to Self/Guided Reading Group
  • Mini-lesson
  • Word Work/Guided Reading Group
  • Mini-lesson
  • Listen to Reading/Guided Reading Group
  • Mini-Lesson
  • Read to Someone/Guided Reading Group
I *try* to meet with 4 groups each day Monday-Thursday. With this pretty jam-packed reading schedule, time is money. My reading groups last about 15ish minutes. 15 minutes sounds like a lot of time until you want to take a picture walk through the new book, preview some new words, give the teacher eye to the student talking and disrupting your group time, read the book, ask questions, etc., etc. You all know the deal. Before you know it BAM time's up and you didn't get to any sight word activities or running records. Now, this might sound very obvious to all of you in this lovely Kinder Tribe, but I had this epiphany that I needed something for my students to work on as they transitioned to guided group time and I could switch over my group materials to the next group's level. It would be so much better than just sitting there waiting on Johnny and June to get to the table so their group could start. 

Each day that my kids come back to my table, they have activities they are to grab and start working on as soon as they sit on their stool. These activities can be anything quick and easy, and I believe they should be LOW PREP. (Can I get an AMEN on low prep?)
Here's some things in my Early Bird Bucket:
  • Sight Word Flashcards
  • CVC Fluency Strips on whiteboards 
  • Sight Word Spinners (differentiated levels)
  • Sight Word/Letter Sound/Letter ID puzzles
The beauty of this is that I can get a quick idea of what a student is struggling with and help them right then and there (and sometimes its before June even makes it to the table LOL) and it is something that doesn't require teaching directions each time they sit down. I believe this also reduces the possibility of behaviors arising because of boredom waiting for June to continue picking up all the magnetic letters she dumped on the rug. It has worked wonders!

How do you like to keep your reading groups efficient? 

My Valentine to YOU: A Give-Away & a FREEBIE

It's Time For A Give-Away!!!
Take a look at what you can win !
"Early Years" from DJ Inkers!
It comes in 2 versions: CD or Download.

Click the image.

 and I have made so many of my products with them.
DJ Inkers is giving away an entire set of their 
"Early Years" graphics and fonts 
to one of my lucky readers!

There are over 900 clip art images
including nursery rhymes & characters, kids at play, 
ABCs, 123s, shapes, colored crayons, and dress-up kids! 
And you get all of the graphics in both color and black & white. 

Click the image.

You also get 3 fabulous fonts!
Click the image above. 

Can't wait?
to grab the 
"Early Years" set
Enter my give-away 
to win this awesome set

I even made this little FREEBIE using 
graphics from DJ Inkers Early Years.
It's perfect to use as a center during February!

click the image above. 
This center activity 
comes with 10 cute hearts 
that will help your students 
subitize and match sets of dots 
with their matching numerals.
They also get a chance to trace numerals 
printed with a dotted font.
to grab this FREEBIE.

I also used graphics from 
DJ Inkers "Early Years
to make a cute 
Valentine's Day Subtraction Book 
that is perfect for your students complete 
at your Valentine's Day celebration!

Here is a sample of just some of the pages: 

Click the image above to grab this entire set.

You can grab my newest 
Valentine Take-Home Book

This "Early Years" set 
has become my new favorite set
from DJ Inkers!

Don't miss the DJ Inkers Valentine SALE 
which is going on right now!
CLICK HERE to see their 
Valentine's Day Sale.

Here is your chance 

to enter the contest for 
a Free"Early Years" set 
with 900 graphics and 3 fonts 
all from DJ Inker's
Enter before Feb. 4.

The winner was 
Angela Rooney!
Congratulations, Angela, and thank you all for entering!

(Angela, I emailed you.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Rafflecoptor will begin at the stroke of midnight on Jan 28 and the winner will be announced here and on
 KFUNdamental's Facebook page 
on Feb. 4.
Good luck!  :)

File Organization to Maximize Planning Time!

Hello teacher friends!  It's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive with a quick organizational tip for some Winter file clean-up!

If you are anything like me, you have a million resources all over the place.  Resources that belong to your school or district curriculum, resources that you've purchased from TPT over the years, and things that have inherited from other teachers.  Every class is different, and I definitely don't use the same resources every year, so I have quite a collection of resources at my fingertips.

To begin with, I make a curriculum plan for the whole year usually during my summer break.  I try to match-up my different resources, and focus on the same things each week, such as penguins, pumpkins, reindeer, etc. I use this resource to help me see the big picture.

Curriculum Planning Calendar 2016-2017 School Year

I check my school calendar, and give each week a number.

I transfer the week numbers over to my planning calendar, and I start to organize my files. I label each file with a week number.

I put in all of the resources that I think I will need for the week, including homework and art projects.  I really do use a lot of TPT materials, and over the years I have prepped and laminated so many resources!

I used to keep every resource in a separate binder, and pull out things as I needed them, but storing all of my materials by week has really helped me be efficient in my lesson planning and copy making.

Every Wednesday, I pull out the file for the next week, and fill out my lesson plans on
If you haven't checked out Planbook before, you really should! It takes a little bit of effort to set-up, and the first year is a little more labor intensive, but it really keeps me organized! I love how easily you can designate standards for each lesson, and get a tally of how many times you have taught each standard in a year.

My copies are already in the folder ready to go.  From year to year, there are some things that I keep, and some things that I change, but this system has saved me an incredible amount of time.  I hit print on my lesson plans, and head off to the copy room!  Honestly, after having this system in place for about 9 years, it takes me a maximum of 30 minutes to complete my lesson plans, and get my copies ready for the upcoming week!

I know this is a super simple technique, and I hope all of you are already using it!  Hopefully it will help some of you out there cut down on your planning time, so that you can focus on one of the other million things on your to do list! : )

Classroom Organization: Getting a handle on all of the STUFF!

Hello Kinder Tribe! Heather here from Learning with Mrs. Langley. Today I am here to talk all about organization. Let me be honest....I am the WORST! I have great intentions and then I start making piles and throwing stuff in my closet and pretty soon I can't find a thing. I usually spend a day each Winter break cleaning out said closet and getting everything back in order. This year was no different! 

I don't have a picture of this one because I had to take my haul to the dumpster before I could change my mind. STOP hoarding! You will feel so much better...I promise! I had an entire garbage bag full of coffee cans that I have been tripping over for months and I can't think of a thing I want to do with them so I gave them to a friend instead. I threw away/recycled about 2 boxes full of other stuff and it gave me SO MUCH ROOM in my closet. Now my brain can function again.

Have you ever realized that you missed a fun unit because you FORGOT you had it? ME TOO! I started keeping these binders with my master copies of everything for the month to help solve that problem. I keep our Monthly Homework in these binders and some monthly Easy Prep Centers in case I need to grab something quick. 
I also keep our important school supplies in clear drawers with labels so I can send kiddos into the closet to grab more glue sticks if we need more. It helps me know when we are getting low too! 

I also keep my Reading Street materials in binders so all the extras I have to go with each unit have a home. I keep the unit I am teaching on my desk and these stay in the closet. 

I have slowly added to my collection of clear plastic bins so I can see what is hiding on every shelf. The $1.00 shoe bins are my favorite!

It took me all day but I got my closet cleaned out, made my trip to the dumpster and the recycling bins, and donated the rest of what I didn't want. I started 2017 with a little extra organization under my belt and it helped things run smoothly those first few days back.  
Thank you for stopping by Kinder Tribe today. I hope some of these tips can help you get a great start to a new year! 

Happy New Year..Let's get ORGANIZED!

Happy New Year from everyone at Kinder Tribe! We are so excited for 2017! 

I'm Breanna from A Pinch of Primary and this month the Kinder Tribe members are going to be discussing all things ORGANIZATION. 

Organization can mean a number of things for you, your teaching BFF next door/across the hall, or the loud voiced teacher that needs to close her door because she gets so into her read-alouds (maybe that's just me?? LOL). To me organization is something huge and/or something tiny. Whether you're cleaning off a few papers on your reading group table from September (hey, no judgement) or completely revamping your classroom library so it makes sense for you and your kids...IT WORKS and you can make it happen.

Now, I'm still on Christmas Break for another week few days (where did the time go?! #Denial) and I cannot deny that thinking about school has been the last thing on my mind. I haven't touched my school bag and I probably have the start of some dust bunnies on my beautiful Erin Condren planner, but that's what break is for, right? I scroll through Instagram and I see so many teachers working on so many amazing things to get themselves ready to go for the second half of the year, which gets my wheels turning. Yes, they might only be turning between shopping trips and SVU episodes, but they're still turning.

A very simple organization tip that I do at the end of Christmas Break is get the new school supplies out of my tubs and ready for the kids to come back to. They do not get all new supplies, but they will get new crayons, glue sticks, and pencils/erasers. I KNOW I am not the only one whose kids end up with roughly 11 half-broken (possibly half-eaten) crayons by Christmas. I mean, half of my kids haven't seen their black crayon since about Halloween...possibly before then. During Back to School time, I purchased these crayon boxes at Walmart for $1.00 per box (link is not through Walmart).

These have been LIFE SAVING! They fit 24 crayons perfectly and they fit so well in my supply caddies for my table groups. I use the standard supply caddies from Really Good Stuff.

To make my life (and their life) a little easier, I realized the 2"x4" shipping labels fit PERFECTLY on the boxes. 
Add some clipart and a few cute fonts and VOILA, they're ready to go. There's nothing quite like the smell and look of fresh out of the box Crayola Crayons. 

The lovely ladies at Kinder Tribe are going to have some amazing ideas for you and I can't wait to see what's up their sleeves. (Mostly so I can get it together this month!) #StillRecoveringFromChristmasBreak

Have an amazing New Year!