Workin' on It Wednesday: Consonant Diagraphs and Blends Word Work

I've just finished this word work pack! It's one item on a looooooong list of things I'm working on for next school year. The words used in this resource correspond with the word sort lists in the Words Their Way Letter Name Book Sorts # 15-24. These worksheets can be used in the classroom during Word Work for Daily 5, as a supplement to the Words Their Way Program, or for homework. Leave a comment and I'll give one away for FREE! Be sure to leave your email address. 

Consonant Diagraphs and Blends

See what other teachers are working on:


I've been on summer vacation for one week and I haven't accomplaished very much...but, it is summer after all. 
I've done some reading: The Daily 5 (second edition) and The CAFE Book
I've gone to Zumba three times, but I negated that effort with wings and cheese fries :-(
I really need to get with the program, ya'll!!!!! 

BUT today I was inspired by chapter 5 of The Daily 5 to make myself a check-list of all the foundation lessons so I don't have to flip through the text constantly.  And, I created some organizational labels for my Word Work drawers based on some suggestions by the sisters.  You can download them for FREE by clicking the links below the pictures. 

I made one change to the Work on Writing foundation lessons. I changed "Underline the Words You Do Not Know How to Spell, and Move On" to "Write all the Sounds You Hear and Move On". Beginning of the year firsties would have to underline LOTS of words! But if you want the list the "right" way, there is a second list (page 2 of the download) that lists "Underline...". 

Foundation Lessons Checklist

D5 Word Work Organization Lables

Are you doing any professional development type reading this summer? Also on my list is Marvelous Minilessons for Teaching Beginning Writing, K-3 by Lori Jaminson Rog and Interactive Writing: How Language & Literacy Come Together, K-2 by Andrea McCarrier, Gay Su Pinnell & Irene C. Fountas.

Happy reading!

Daily 5 (2nd edition) Book Study Ch. 1-2

Last summer I read The Daily Five and did my best to implement the structure during my literacy block. I heart D5! I did a really good job at implementing much of the structure, but there is definately some room for improvement next year. I had just began reading The CAFE Book, when I read on Kristen's blog, A Day in First Grade, about the second edition of The Daily Five and the summer book study linky party. I immediately knew I wanted to participate. I checked with my principal today, and sure enough, she had a copy of the second edition and I got to bring it home. Plus, the sisters are coming to Texas this summer and I just might get to go to the training ;-) 

Chapter One

Chapter one shares how the sisters classroom management evolved over time, as well as how the D5 evolved and how it has been refined since the first edition was published. 

p. 2 We no longer do all five roundsof Daily 5 each day, which confirms what many of you are already doing.
p. 14 ...we are calling our children back for a focus lesson because time has run out rather than because off-task behaviors have shown us their stamina has run out. This is our indication that it is time to drop off one more round of the Daily 5 in order to give children more uninterrupted time to read and write. 

I am soooo happy she said that!It seems like time is never on my side!!! Announcements are over at 8:08 am and we go to recess at 10:45 am. Do the math... 2 hours and 37 minutes. My district expectations include Read-Alouds, Reading Workshop (minimum 70 min.), Word Study (15-20 min.), Phonological Awareness (15 min. as needed), Writing Workshop (50-60 min.), Shared/Interactive Writing 15-20 min.), and Handwriting (10-15 min.). I tried to marry the my distirict's expectations with the D5 structure. For example, my district uses Words Their Way for word study so that's what we did during D5 Word Work. At the beginning of the year I barely managed to fit in all five rotations. As the year progressed I changed to four rotations, then three. All the time, I worried that I wasn't implementing D5 correctly, but I was convinced the kiddos needed more time and I required more time in guided reading groups as the year continued. As soon as I read that line I thought, "KaSandra, you've been doing it right all along; you just didn't trust yourself." 

P.S. I'm not complaining about 2 hours and 37 minutes. In middle school you get 50 - 65 minutes for reading/language arts per day. That said, I simply did NOT have time for a mini lesson between each rotation when my class was trying to complete all five tasks every day. 

Later the sisters talk about choice and it being a key reason students love D5. This is where I can improve. My firsties had some choice...choice in what they read and where they read, or what they wrote about, but not a choice in the order that they completed the D5. I was too worried about who would be where when I needed to pull them for guided reading or an RTI group. I prefered for the kids to miss Read to Someone or Listen to Reading over Read to Self, Work on Writing, or Word Work. By creating a schedule I could controll that. Children rotated to different tasks at different times. Some kiddos were at Read to Self while others were at Work on Writing and so on...but I controlled the rotation. I substituted Meet with Teacher for Listen to Reading or Read to Someone when I wanted to meet with somone. 

Next year, I vow to do better. After we have learned the expectations, mastered the procedures, and practiced, practiced, practiced, I'm just going to go for it. My firsties are going to have more choice!!!

Chapter Two

The second chapter details six of the seven core beliefs that serve as a foundation to D5. To keep this post from getting extremely long, I'm just going write about the Brain Research section.

The sisters mention Ken Wesson and his research that suggests that the average number of years our children are in age parallels the average number of minutes they can maintain attention during direct instruction. This gives me 6 minutes!!! I can keep it to 10 or 15, but 6 seemed out-of-this-world until I really thought about it. I don't talk, talk, talk for 15 minutes straight. We turn and talk to each other (peanut butter, jelly time!) and answer questions, and write things on our anchor chart, and magnetize things to the white board, etc. I got this!

I also think the chart, How Much Students Read and How it Influences Achievement on page 31 should be shared with parents. I really like how it shows the percent increase in word exposure with an added 10 minutes of reading per day. 

If you haven't read The Daily Five, I strongly encourage you to do so. I love, love, love it. It's great for the kids and the teacher. Plus, you save a ton of time because there is no need to prepare traditional centers. You save some trees because you don't really need worksheets. We have a monthly paper quota on my campus that is for real! When you use up all of your copies, the copy machine will not spit out anything but white paper for you. D5 really helps out :-)

Head on over to A Day in First Grade to read what other teachers had to say about The Daily 5 (second edition) chapters 1-2. 

Minute-to-Win-it! {Last Day Fun}

Well, it's over. My first year in first grade is behind me. I loved every minute of it and I'm already excited at the possibilities for next year! The last day of school for the kiddos was Friday. It was an early release day, so we said our goodbyes at noon. We went out with a bang, of course ;-)

When I taught middle school, my students loved playing Minute to Win It on the last day of school. I thought my firsties would have fun doing it too if I simplified things a bit. I found some Minute to Win It clips on YouTube and, after lunch each day of the last week of school, we watched a couple of games and tried them out. Then, on Friday we played our hearts out! If you are not familiar with Minute to Win It, you have one minute to complete a deceptively difficult task. Here's a few pics of our favorite games. Please excuse my mess; I had started cleaning and packing my room.

#1 Use a tape measure, small ball, and a mini glass (errrr...a shot glass). Roll the ball down the measuring tape and into the glass to win. This was a crowd favorite!

#2 Use a stream of water to push a balloon into a basket. Tricky, tricky, but so much fun!

#3 Alternate paper plates and plastic cups to build a tower ten plates and ten cups high. 

#4 Use cheerios to build a tower ten cheerios high. On the game show, contestants stacked apples five high to win, but I forgot my apples at home. I made a substitution of cheerios because I had the cereal left over from the bird feeders we made earlier in the week. 

#5 Keep the balloon off the floor by tapping it back and forth between partners. It took 20 consecutive taps to win. 

There were more games, but I was too busy timing, giggling hysterically, and playing referee to take pics of them all. 

Last week I posted about a foil fish activity I was planning for the last week of school. Well, the fish turned out great! My partner teacher thought the fish looked like the fish in The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. So we combined the book, the foil art, and a related writing prompt into a lesson about individuality. 

The book is about a beautiful fish who finds friendship and happiness when he learns to share. The books teaches the value of being an individual. The fish in the story has distinctive shiny scales. 

Here's how our fish turned out:

 We used black sharpies and a guided draw to complete the outline of the fish, then brightly colored sharpies to fill in our fish.

 The kids really enjoyed completing this project!

It feels like today was the first day of summer vacation (even though I have a work day on Monday), so me and my little sharks hit the pool for a couple of hours and we have a zoo trip planned tomorrow.

Enjoy your summer vacation!

Lemonade Financial Literacy...and June Currently

I can't believe it is June already! My first year in first grade flew by. I have four and half school days left with my fabulous firsties and one teacher workday. Then, it's sleeping late, soaking up the sun, splashing in the pool, Vegas baby! and more. 

I have been consumed with end of the year testing for three weeks. But that's over. Thank goodness. I can breath again. In between testing kiddos, we did accomplish a few things. 

We reviewed money by making coin monsters. I called out an amount and the kiddos made a bug or monster using that amount of money. This was a lot of fun. This past week was all about money. In our financial literacy unit, we learned the difference between money as a gift and earned money (income). We decided to try to earn a little income by selling our artwork. 

I showed the class how to draw lemons and a glass of lemonade using a black crayon and white copy paper. Then they used water colors to complete their artwork. They picked a price and added it to the painting. The prices ranged from 1 cent to 99 cents. 

Then we sold the paintings to teachers in the building to raise money so we could make lemonade in class! 

Lemme tell ya - every single painting was sold! The teachers on my campus were more than happy to play along and purchase these adorable paintings. The kids were soooo proud when their artwork was bought and they got to deliver it to a teacher's room!

Needless to say, we made enough money to buy the ingredients to make fresh lemonade! Each child got to squeeze the juice out of three lemon wedges using a hand press. It took 10 lemons to get a cup of juice. Then we added 3/4 cup of sugar, 4 cups of water, and ice. It was the best lemonade I've ever tasted. For sure! And, all of the kids really loved it, except one little guy who says he's never liked lemonade. 

Then we wrote the recipe down to take home...on 2nd grade paper! Errr....notebook paper. My firsties got a kick out of writing on notebook paper instead of our first grade lined handwriting paper. 

 And now, my June CURRENTLY...

Listening - My hubs is watching Final Destination.

Loving - The last days of school are filled with writing and craftivities including a bird feeder, gift for Father's Day and this foil fish art. I'm going to draw the outline of the fish on sheets of foil. Then the kids will use a black Sharpie to add fins, gils, etc. and colorful Sharpies to color it in. It's just coloring, but it looks really cool and the marker strokes create texture in the foil. This peice will accompany writing titled, "If I were a fish..."

Thinking - I'll be in Vegas in July. The top of my wishlist was Britney Spears at the Hard Rock Hotel, but  it turns out she's on hiatus in July. Any recommendations???

Wanting - It seemed like a great idea when I said I'd spend a couple of hours three days of week working as an administrative assistant to my husband (financial advisor) or spend a couple of hours two days a week doing guided reading groups at my daughters' daycare, but now I'm like..."WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???!!!" Just sleep, work out, get some sun, and repeat!

Needing - Ha! My house is never clean anymore. Please don't visit unannounced. :-)