Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Building Fluency - The Quick and Easy Way!

As we all know, fluency is a key component to reading success! Students need a LOT of opportunities to practice sight word recognition and newly learned decoding skills.  I wanted to create a packet that would help build fluency and allow for assessment.  Our new Fluency Strips (Set I) is a quick and easy way to practice, build fluency and assess students!

There are 480 different simple sentence strips in this packet!  
This packet offers a TON of practice to help build fluency and confidence!

Question #1
What is a simple sentence?
The simple sentences in this packet are made of basic sight words and decodable CVC words.   This provides kids with a genuine opportunity to practice reading sentences they can decode with early phonics and basic sight words. 

Question #2
How do the sentence strips work?
There are 480 different sentence strips in this packet.  The sentence strips are divided into 10 groups. I printed each set on colored cardstock and laminated them for durability.  Each set of sentence strips are labeled to provide for easy assessment and/or differentiation. 

Printed each set on a different colored cardstock...    

Laminated them…
I have a personal laminator, but when it comes to larger jobs I always take them to the teachers supply store.  This ends up being more cost effective and it saves me a bunch of time!

Hole punch them, cut them out and placed them on a ring…
Quick tip: Hole punch them BEFORE you cut them out!  It makes it a whole lot faster!  Sadly I realized this towards the end.

The rings are great because they are all in one place and will not get lost.  

It is also helpful for kids to know which "color" fluency packet they are working on.

I am SUPER excited about these Fluency Strips!  With 480 DIFFERENT simple sentences, this will provide us with a LOT of fluency practice!!  The best part is that they are READY to GO!

Question #3
How does the assessment piece work?
Each set of sentence strips corresponds to 4 assessment sheets and there are 48 fluency strips per set.  For example, set 1 has 48 simple sentences, set 2 has 48 different simple sentences and so on.  The assessment sheets break the fluency strips into 4 smaller sets for quick practice and easy assessment.  This also helps the child feel less overwhelmed :)

The cute cover strips are included in the packet and they are the ONLY thing you need to print in color :) 

I LOVE the look of our new fluency strips!  They are like eye candy :)

This makes it easy for kids to know which set they are working on and also makes it easy to differentiate...

Take set 4 for example...

Set 4 has 4 corresponding assessment sheets.  There are 12 sentences for each assessment sheet. This really helps break it down, especially in the beginning of the process. Kids can feel overwhelmed with too many sentences and teachers may not want to sit through LONG assessments.   However, as time goes on, they will be able to read an entire set quickly and with ease!    
Quick and EASY assessments!

Each Fluency Strip  has a number.  In this case, this is from set 4 sentences 37...

As the child reads the sentence, it is easy to follow along with the assessment sheet...

I like to make notes along the way.  You can use this assessment sheet any way that best fits YOUR needs.  I like to check off the sentences that are read correctly, circle sentences that a child is unable to read and write the word that the child said in place of the actual word.
In this case, you can see that my daughter read "pig" for pet.  This tells me that she is recognizing the beginning sound, but it looks like we may need to work more on middle and ending sounds.  She is guessing at the last two sounds because she is not taking the time to sound it out...VERY typical for beginning readers.  There are also a few sight words that we need to work on.

As I mentioned, you can use the assessment sheets in any way that best fits your needs.  As the student reads the fluency strips, you can follow along with the assessment pages and make anecdotal notes to help identify areas of difficulty and/or strengths.  By identifying areas of difficulty, it is easier to target a child's need for specific instruction.  Or…you can do away with assessments altogether :)

Data Tracking
There are both individual and class check off sheets for each set.  This allows a child to work at his/her pace and allows the teacher/parent to keep records of of the sets that have been read fluently.  I plan on using these Fluency Strips with the littlest Moffatt Girl since she just started reading. She needs a LOT of extra practice and support and this is just PERFECT!  

I will be using this Check off List so we can both monitor her progress.  She feels SO proud when she can finish a set! Of course we have a prize in place when she finishes reading all of her fluency strips!  I know that she will not be completely "fluent" after reading these the first time, so this will be something we will use again and again throughout the year.

It doesn't really matter what set they start with since they all use basic (pre-primer) sight words and simple CVC words.  Therefore, I let her pick the color she wanted to start on and of course it was pink :)

In this simple sentence fluency strip you can see there there are 
two sight words: the and here
three CVC words: big, bug, dug

Then of course we had to try the pink set...

"Help" is one of the sight words, but it is also a decodable word so she tried sounding it out...

I am SO happy I made this packet!  This is EASY for me and a QUICK way to practice fluency!

I hope this makes practicing FLUENCY quick and easy!

You can pick this set up HERE

Coming Soon: Set II and Set III

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pretend and Play Calculator Cash Register Review

Learning Resources is celebrating 30 years of growing imaginations!  In honor of the celebration, The Moffatt Girls received the Pretend and Play Calculator Cash Register!  (Limited Edition) What a FUN resource!

I always appreciate resources that can be used for different ages and this is definitely one of them!  I begin by letting Sophia, my 4 year old,  play with the cash register. She LOVES playing and pretending, so this was an immediate success.  

I started by having her sort the bills and coins.  It was great for coin and bill identification.  

Then I had Audrey, my 7 year old, make a sign for School Supplies and write the cost of each item.
Then I gave her some money to go shopping. If you notice, some of her prices are a bit expensive :) 
Dot Markers… $2.00 (EACH!)

Then she started shopping...

For example, she wanted to buy 2 pairs of scissors for $1.45 each.  She didn't have the exact change, so it was a great opportunity for me to show her how to make change.

The lady at the cash register was very helpful and managed to give us the correct change...

I absolutely LOVE this approach to learning money!  LOVE it!

Audrey was having difficulty figuring out how much change she should get if she gave Sophia a $5 bill.  I suggested that she ask Sophia for five $1 bills in exchange for her $5 bill.  Sophia had to count out five $1 bills which was the perfect type of math for her.  I couldn't have prepared a better lesson for the girls!

I also had Sophia work on coin identification by asking her for 2 quarters or 3 dimes.  She hasn't mastered her money yet, but we are excited to work on it!

All in all, this is a WONDERFUL learning tool!  Thank you Learning Resources!

If you are interested in this product or any of there resources, be sure to use the 20% coupon code they offer!
 Coupon Code: ASALE20 at check out!
Such a great way to keep the FUN in learning!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Get Organized - School Papers

Do piles of paperwork drive you CRAZY?  Me, too!   I especially dislike piles of paperwork that just sit there, begging me to put them away…somewhere…anywhere!  I like to think of myself as organized, but in reality it's a struggle!  It is especially hard for me to stay organized when I don't have a specific place for something.

Last school year I struggled with my girls schoolwork!  Where do I put?  Should I keep it or toss it?  Do I keep everything or just some things?   About the middle of the school year I realized that the piles of paperwork was causing me STRESS!  I decided that this was NOT working for me and so I made a change!

I need to set myself up for success and that is where my month by month files come into place.

I created a very simple file box that works for me.  It is ready to go at the BEGINNING of the school year so I don't have to think about it later!  Everything has a place and that place is ready to be used!

I started off by getting a file box and some hanging file folders.  You can get them anywhere, but I picked mine up at The Container Store.  I have a little obsession with The Container Store right now :)

I write each name and month on a file, so it's ready to go!

I only file the papers once a month.  I like to paperclip each subject together and add the stacks to the files.

It's ready to go and there are no more piles of paper just laying around!  I have to admit…I don't keep everything.  Some papers find their way in the "round" file :)

I also like the fact that at the end of the year I can close the box and put it away in storage.  Our paperwork is easily accessible and you can see the month by month progress! I only have a few things from childhood, but my girls will be able to physically see how much they learned!

I think you can adjust this method to fit your need and make life a bit easier!  

I hope this helps!
Happy organizing!

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