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Archive for 2013

postheadericon A Big Fish for Max



Unit 2.2 Reading Street

We just finished our week with Max the bunny. Many of the children knew Max from stories they had read at home and at school. Some wanted to know why Max didn't stay at the pond longer to catch the fish. We had lots of great discussion about the characters and all the fun things Max caught. 


Here is the skills sheet for this story. I send this home at the beginning of each story. 

A Big Fish For Max skills sheet

Here are the high frequency words. You can create flascards easily at Lakeshore Learning. 

2.1 High Frequency Words


2.1 Spelling Cards

I also created this worksheet using some of the spelling words and high frequency words. 


sh, th Digraphs

I found this for FREE at Teachers Pay Teachers. I did this at my teacher table with my students. I have them read the words and underline the digraph. Then, at their independent center, they cut and pasted the words into the correct column. 


Also, be sure to check out Mrs. Castro's post on teaching the sh and th digraphs. Click HERE.



After reading the story, we sequenced the things Max caught using our sequence words. I laminated these and cut them out. I used them with the sequence words (see below) and we put them in order. 

A Big Fish for Max picture sequence sort

Here are some sequence cards I used for my pocket chart. You can download this for FREE at TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS



postheadericon Early Workstation Finishers

We all have early finishers (no matter the grade) who constantly interrupt the teacher table.  I have tried everything from wearing my "do not disturb" lei to the 3Bs rule (bathroom, boo-boo, barf), but somehow I always seem to have at least one that disrupts the flow of the workstations by being off task or interrupting me during my group.  So what's a teacher to do? Have you tried a Menu Board?

I use a version of the Daily 5 format for my workstations.  Though I have never been formally trained by the sisters, I have read their books and follow them online.  My 4 independent stations include Read to Someone, Work on Writing, Word Work and Read to Self/Listen to Reading. I alternate read to self with listening to reading until my first graders have reached a stamina of 15 minutes of independent reading (without distractions).

Each day I have an assigned task for each workstation.  Once that task is done, students can then choose an activity from the "choice board."  I created a few menu boards that fit my classroom and the materials I have on hand.  Menus can be made a variety of ways depending on the grade level.  I like to use pictures as much as possible to aid the students in making their selections.




I keep all my workstation materials near each group.  I store the materials in baskets, clear shoe boxes, totes, whatever I have available.  Each is labeled and includes directions or a picture model for the students to refer to.  The key is to provide menu choices that the students are familiar with.  They must be pre-taught activities (nothing new). These should be review activities that students can do independently without asking you for help.




postheadericon The Elf on the Shelf arrived!

Our elf, Merry McJingles, arrived last week in our classroom. He arrived with a letter to the students and his book. The kids were so excited to see an elf in our classroom. I, too, was excited to have a new friend from the North Pole! 


photo copy 2


 I want the elf to be a fun experince for the children, but I also want our elf to inspire our young writers in the classroom. I wanted the kids to be able to write about him each day. 

Here's a couple of things I found on Teachers Pay Teachers:


This was my favorite FREE download. 

You can download this HERE or click the picture to download from Teachers Pay Teachers. 


I use this as our morning work. The children get practice in writing the date and writing about the where-abouts of our silly elf. We encourage the children to complete the sentence and to end their sentence with a period. When they are done, the kids can draw a picture of our elf. 


I also loved this FREE writing pack at Teachers Pay Teachers. 

Click on the Picture to download it from Teachers Pay Teachers. 





postheadericon Teaching sh/th digraphs

In Unit 2- Week 1 of Reading Street, students are introduced to the consonant digraphs th and sh.  "What's a digraph anyway?" I'm glad you asked.  It is two consonants that stand together to make a single sound

Teaching the hard and soft sound of th can be daunting, especially for your ELL and special education students.  Many students confuse the /th/ sound for different sounds including the /f/ sound.  There are many ways to teach digraphs.  This week we pair th and sh together.  Some teachers like to teach the H Brothers (th, sh, ch, and wh) all togetherHere are some of the activities I used this week to make it a little easier for all learners.


Teacher Table- Introduction- oral activity using the sh and th Lively Letter cards

I begin by telling the students that the S makes the /s/ sound and that the H makes the /h/ sound but when we put them together they make the /sh/ sound. I place my finger on my lips and say shhhh. When we put these two letters together they become the digraph /sh/.  I then go around and ask students to give me some examples of /sh/ words.

Words with initial sh sound

  • ship
  • shoe
  • shop
  • shut
  • shed

Words with final sh: (on level and advanced groups)

  • fish
  • crash
  • smash
  • trash
  • dish

I then say T makes the /t/ sound and H makes the /h/ sound but when we put them together they make the /th/ sound. There are two sounds for /th/ digraph, a quiet and a noisy sound.  We then go through each sound using the lively letter cards as a visual guide.  I then go around and ask students to give me some examples of quiet /th/ words and noisy /th/ words.

Words with hard/noisy th sound- bite your tongue and blow

  • that
  • this
  • these
  • than
  • there
  • them
  • then

Words with soft/quiet th sound

Initial th:

  • thing
  • thank
  • think
  • thin

Final th: (on level and advanced groups)

  • bath
  • math
  • both

I wrap up by placing the th cards and the sh card in front of the group.  I call out a word and students (one at a time) have to point to the card that tells me which sound is in my word.  I then reverse roles with my students and ask each one to think of a word and they have to "quiz" me to see if I know which sound it makes.

2013-12-05 07.41.47

workstation activity: sh/th word sort

You can download this at TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS












workstation activity- digraph picture cards using Florida Center for Reading Research ~ I used these materials to create a center that worked for each group and adjusted the rigor accordingly. 




workstation activity- sh and th digraph flipbook

I have the students use this sh worksheet and this th worksheet, both available for free at They only use the heading and the bottom portion of each page .  Students use the headings to create the front of their flipbook tabs and then color and cut out only the pictures with the sh or th sounds. They glue each picture under the appropriate flap. 



A good book to teach the sh digraph is Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep by Kathy Stemke


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