Sunday, November 15, 2015

Turkey Trot Blog Hop

Welcome to “The Chalkies” Turkey Trot! We hope you enjoy a jog through our blogs gobbling up freebies, ideas, and recipes for some holiday joy!

We have a new blog name!  We switched out the word "Primary" for "Elementary". We want to meet the needs of any teacher K-6. Our blog has been thoughtfully designed to help you find what YOU need for YOUR classroom level!

I love those grade level tabs {seen above} that help me grab what I need. This trot will also take you through the grade level blogs of your choice. After you finish the hop with the grade level of your choice, you might want to go through the other hop to see what kind of goodies are there, too! Many of the ideas can be used for any grade level. ;)

We hope you enjoy this little meal from appetizer to dessert!

For a little appetizer to get us started, I thought I'd share something from my Gingerbread Literacy Pack. This thing is loaded with deliciously-engaging activities. I'm telling ya, the gingerbread theme catches everyone's attention. Kids love these! They are not any different or more special than the next thing, but the cute little gingerbread people just make learning more fun. Ha! To see more of this unit, click here. But don't forget to come back and finish this hop. :)

Now to brighten your holidays with a quick and easy idea. We are always looking for ways to motivate our students, keep learning interesting and fun, but also manage the craziness. The holidays can get crazy. It's so fun and I always look forward to it, but let's face it, the kids can get a little too excited sometimes. :) Here's an idea to reward good classroom behavior:

Have your class work together to retell a story by having good behavior. Set out the parts of your favorite story. Here, I used Whimsy Workshop's adorable clipart, but you could also just have your students draw these cards. (That way you could do for any story.) When you want to reward the class for great (or "sweet") behavior, add a story card to the story board. Call on a student to choose which card goes next. This way, you are reinforcing sequencing. When you fill up the chart, you could give the class some sort of reward. Now, mind you a reward can be as simple as an extra recess. It could be a small gingerbread cookie. You could even be a youtube Gingerbread "movie". If you search "Gingerbread" on youtube, a bunch comes up. Mostly there are people reading the book but for some reason this feels more special, right? Sort of a movie? The reward can be as big or tiny as you want. The point is to get them working together to build the story.

I also studied Jan Brett every winter. You could do this with that story too. 

Download this idea with the template here. 
Note: The clip art does not come with this. You can buy the gingerbread clip art here. Like I said earlier, you could also draw it though. :)

I know this barely counts as dessert, but I love coffee, so it counts for me! I am a daily coffee with light cream gal, but those darn seasonal drinks get me every time. I have no self discipline. I just have to have them. They just make me happy to drink them. Well, that is, until this year when they started giving me stomach aches. Aging isn't pretty. My stomach is getting so sensitive! So after about four failed attempts to drink my favorite latte, I thought I'd do the sensible thing- I googled it. Ha! I know the sensible thing would be to save money and just not buy them. But that's not very fall-tastic is it? I came across this fabulous recipe for homemade pumpkin spice lattes. Apparently I wasn't the only one with the stomach issues... So I made it.

Perfection. It was so so yummy!

It really wasn't that hard either.  You pretty much brew some coffee or if you have a fancy espresso machine that's probably better. On the stove you basically mix pumpkin, some spices, some sugar and some milk. Heat it and put it in the blender for that frothy feel.  Pour it into a cup with some coffee and you've got yourself some (almost) guilt-free, homemade, real pumpkin spice latte. 

Here is the entire recipe and the source of my newfound happiness:
It's from The Kitchn

Let's not judge how much nicer this person's latte looks. ;) This is downright beautiful. I opted not to add the whip cream this time, but I will next time! 

This would be perfect on Thanksgiving or for any party you are hosting. The recipe makes enough for a few lattes. It's quick and easy! Impress your guests with this drink before or after a meal.

If you are looking for more products to fill you up for the next few months, check out these winter related products:

These are some of my staples all year long!  Click here to see these.

These products will be 30% off today!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Short Vowel Phonics Activities (UPDATE!)

I just updated this CVC Printable Intervention Pack. The first thing I added was this short vowel bookmark. This is SO useful for my students. They use it with the activities in this pack and when they are writing.

A photo posted by @snippetsbysarah on

I also added bout 90 pages! Yes, you read that right. This year I had some students who really needed to start from square one. They were not solid on the vowel sounds so I found that they were not ready for the original short vowel intervention pack since it was mixed vowels on each page. My students needed to practice each vowel separately using several different activities to get those sounds to stick!  So I made about 15-20 pages per vowel. The activities are the same as in the mixed vowel version, but the difference is that there is only one vowel at a time. I found this really helped!  We spent time on each vowel. I used some of the pages for my RTI time, and some pages were sent home for extra practice. Several activities could be done during center time, too.

After that, we moved on to the regular Intervention pack with mixed vowels.
This was perfect because they were ready to put it all together. The bookmarks really came in handy here. I can say that they are now solid with those short vowel sounds and we have moved on to consonant blends. :)

So here's how I organized it. It might sounds strange...

The mixed vowel pack is still the same:

All of the pages are in plastic sleeves. They are put in folders with the three-prongs. 
Helpful tip: Put in the empty plastic sleeves first. That will make it easier to close the prongs in place. Then add the pages to the sleeves. It will be thick!

Here's what I did with the extra pages that were single vowels. Since there are about 15 pages for each individual vowel, I put them into one sleeve. Yes, one sleeve. I know that sounds crazy. There was a small group- only 4 kids. Each day we did two activities. One would be showing on the front and the other on the back. The other pages were all in between. You can kind of see it in this photo. The next day, I would change the order of the sheet. I would put the ones we just did in the very middle. Then I'd have two new pages showing on the front and back. 

Another option would be to have a separate folder for these single vowel pages. You could also store them in a filing system. You could put two pages in each sleeve (front and back.) That would mean you would have about 8-9 sleeves per vowel. Store all of them in the file folders, separated by vowel. Short a would have 4-5 sets together in a file, short e would too, etc. It's a lot of sleeves, but once you get it all together, you have intervention ready every year! 

I've got to tell you, it is so nice to have these ready each day. I don't have to do anything once I put all these together. Next year will be SO nice! :)

I also have a consonant blends pack and a silent e pack. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October Insta-Ideas: Kindergarten RTI

October is always so much fun for teaching because you can get really into the Halloween/Fall spirit. I'm definitely not unique with my love for theme-teaching. I've been posting on Instagram all month but haven't done a blog post yet. I thought it would be fun to post at the end of the month to show them all in one place. Even though it's too late to use them now, you could always pin now and use next year. :) These activities were done with my RTI groups. These are those kiddos who are having a hard time remembering their letters. For them, we need repetition, repetition, repetition. The problem is, repetition can get boring and we need these kids' full attention! So, our job is to find a way to give them repetition by teaching them the same thing over and over but in a way that looks different.

This first idea is simple! It's nothing special but the kids loved it. I just used some small sentence strips (keep those handy always) and wrote the letters we were working on. Notice how there aren't that many different letters. I set out the sentence strips with the same letters written in different order. Then I added a number to each one. Throw in a dice and a witch's finger and you have a game. All we did was roll and read it. One student is working on sounds so she gave the sounds. The other needs to learn the letter names so she said the letter names. After they read the strip, they got a "point" which didn't didn't really lead to anything.
A photo posted by @snippetsbysarah on

This is an app that I love. It does cost money, but it is a fabulous resource. Kids have to form the letters correctly or the little ghost starts over. I have them say the letter name and sound as they form the letter. We do the same letter several times. Here is an article on the importance of correct letter formation and handwriting.

A photo posted by @snippetsbysarah on

This next activity requires your favorite Halloween clip art and a clothespin. Don't we all have tons of clothespins laying around? :) I used random scraps of card stock (from other projects) and wrote the letters we have worked on. When it comes to RTI, I don't move on too far with new letters until most, if not all, of the letters I have introduced have been mastered. For this activity, I would either say a sound or a letter name and they would move the clip to that letter. Nothing fancy again, but about five minutes of repetition like they need. The more you involve your Halloween "characters", the better. "Fly your witch to the.." or "land your bat on the..." "float that ghost to the.." Make it a short story. "The witch needs a certain letter for her spell. Help her find it!"

This is a favorite for sure. In my Fall Guided Reading Pack for beginning readers, I included an editable template. This was originally for sight words, but I ended up using it for just letters. Kids spin and read the letters under the picture they land on. Great for repetition and anything with a  spinner is fun. You can make your own version! Grab your favorite Halloween clip art to make a spinner and use the same for the headers on the paper. You don't have to type out the letter, you could just write them in. If you are good at drawing, you could do that too! :)

I made just a couple of these, but the kids had fun with it! They matched the initial consonant with the letter. I just cut up some small sticker labels and stuck them on the shapes. If you like this, you can grab it for free here. :)  I changed it so that it included more letters since we all teach letters in different order. You could use this as a center in class.

One last fun game to share with you! They roll and count that many spaces. They have to say the letter names or sounds that they pass. :)

You can get this game here.

Don't forget to pin and save for next year. Hope you can use some of these ideas!

You can follow me on Instagram here
See all of my previous posts for more ideas. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween Resources for your First Grade Classroom

With Halloween around the corner, I've made a few updates to my Hands on Halloween pack.

You can get this here.

I also made a few of the centers editable because I found myself going back and changing things to fit the needs of my students. I wanted you to have that same option!

This center originally had circles you could cut out. Then I realized that these circular math counters were way easier! I love using these circles for making words!

I added an editable version of this center. 

I also added an editable board for this one so you could type in any vowel or vowel pair in that middle spider. Right now I'm focusing on short e but you may be onto vowel pairs. Now you can choose which vowel you want to focus on. 

Also an editable version of this board. 

I added a long vowel version to this center. 

You could use these as centers during Halloween week or you could use them during your guided reading groups.

I also have a printable Halloween pack. I love the activities in this pack! Perfect for morning work, homework, and seat work. I use the reading passages in reading groups, too! The writing prompts are perfect for a mini-lesson because they include planning pages and rubrics. Skill building pages (phonics and grammar) are great for extra practice and for an informal assessment.

You can get this here

I made a COMBO pack in case you wanted both hands-on and printable Halloween activities. :) 

I posted this freebie a couple years back. Enjoy!

And here's a picture of a simple activity you could do this week!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2nd Grade Literacy Centers for October

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a great school year so far! I know I'm terribly late with posting this, but I figured better late than never. A few weeks ago, I updated my 2nd grade October literacy centers. I'm so happy with the make-over! I was motivated when a new teacher at my school asked me for centers. I looked over them and realized they were in need of a 2015 update! 

I know I printed this in color, but when I taught first grade and used these menus, I didn't bother with the color. I just printed black and white and it looked great still. :) 

Just like the first grade menus, there are four categories and four centers under each category. 

This is the easier version of the Read and Sequence. In this pack, there are two different choices for Read and Sequence AND two levels of difficulty with both choices. 

There are three different versions with varying levels of difficulty for the Read, Visualize, Draw.

Read and Comprehend probably takes a bit longer than the other two. There are lots of options. you can have students do an Anticipation Guide where they answer questions before and after reading. You could have them simply write four facts or do a comparison chart. Either way, they are reading and showing their comprehension. 

On to Word Work. Students will see how many words they can make out of the words scarecrow and harvest

This is a simple real/nonsense word sort. There are three different sets of words (oo, ee, and -dge)

This is one of my favorite activities: matching the two syllables of a word. 

Here, students will sort short and long e words. It's extra tricky though because I use ea words so they really have to read the word to determine if it is short or long. 

One of the biggest changes to this menu is the writing section. I wanted to align it better to Common Core, so I added an opinion writing center. There are two choices of prompts, both with a planning page. 

This is another favorite! Who doesn't love writing a real letter to a friend or family member. This spinner gives them some guidance though. :)  Some prompts call for descriptive writing,  one for "how-to" writing, and one for persuasive writing. 

These writing prompts are the same but I added some planning pages for more guidance for kids. 

Sticker Story is always a hit in my classroom. Halloween stickers are everywhere! I always encourage them to add detail to their picture so it's not just a flood of random stickers. Yes, I definitely made that mistake in my early years. I would get papers with TONS of stickers on them and no real picture. Putting a limit on stickers definitely helps!

I also added Fill a Sentence to the menu because I remember at the end of first grade this was always a great center. I thought adding the adjectives gave it an extra challenge. 

Super sentence is the same but always a fun one. :)

There are four sentence scramblers. In the 2nd grade edition, I leave our the capital letters for an extra challenge. They have to write the sentence with the capital letter though. I would make a big deal out of this so they remember!

Last, is Word Endings. Students will add the correct word ending to the sentences. 

In case you haven't seen this before, students color the menu to show they finished a center. The picture on the cover of the folder that holds that activity matches the picture on the menu. The folder goes into the magazine holder with the reading, word work, writing, or sentence building label (just like the menu has those labels.)

Since October is half over, I've put this on sale! Grab it now and have it ready for next year or introduce it now so your students get the routine for November!

You can get my October centers for 2nd grade here:

You can see my 1st and kinder centers by clicking on the pictures below.