May 24, 2014

Flip-Flip Swap Hop!

We recently teamed up with an awesome group of educators and offered to swap products, try them out in our own classrooms, review, and share our experiences with our readers! 
We are very excited to be part of this Flip-Flop Blog Hop!

We swapped products with the lovely Kelsey Brosey from Aloha to Kindergarten!

Our students have been working on improving their spelling in their daily writing, so this was the perfect time for some vowel pattern practice!

Kelsey shared her Ee and Ea Rollercoaster of FUN! vowel practice pack with us and our students got right to work on their /ee/ and /ea/ words with several rollercoaster-themed games, sorts, and reading activities. The rollercoaster clip art from Scrappin' Doodles added to the engaging and fun activities!

First, the children were able to sort word cards by their 'ee' or 'ea' vowel patterns after decoding the words to read them correctly. We liked seeing words like "beet" and "beat." It lead to good discussions on homonyms and some of the children were able to expand their vocabularies as well.

Then, they sorted pictures by whether they were 'ee' or 'ea' words also.

They also were able to play a cooperative game to practice decoding these words some more.

All ready to play!
They used the gameboard provided in the pack, plus dice, and counters for game markers. 
The beautiful smiles were an added bonus!

Roll, move, and read!

Kelsey also included a similar version of the game with the words on cards to allow for random selection of words. The children enjoyed challenging each other to see who would reach the finish line first. Notice how close they are on the game board, one piece is two spaces in front of the other.

Yay!! You read the word correctly, move ahead two spaces! Now they are tied. Who will win? No matter who reaches the finish line first they are all winners with their learning! (We are always working on good sportsmanship too!)

Also in this pack was a reproducible book that included several /ee/ and /ea/ words. 
The children read the passages and illustrated each page.

This was our favorite portion of the pack because it really showed the students' fluency with decoding the /ee/ and /ea/ words, while showing their level of comprehension also.

After reading, the children really did some brainwork by comparing the two roller coasters from the story and then writing about their similarities and differences.

Thanks again, Kelsey!

You can check out Kelsey's TpT store here and her blog here!

May 22, 2014

Hot Dots! Thank you, Constructive Playthings!

We were recently contacted by Constructive Playthings with the opportunity to choose a product to use in our classrooms and then review. Lucky students for sure!

We were so excited by this opportunity, but how do you pick just ONE of their wonderful products to try out? After some discussion, we decide on Hot Dots, Jr.! We have both heard about them, but have never actually seen them in action. We were so very excited when they arrived!

We received two boxes, Beginning Problem Solving, Beginning Science, and a pen. 

Here is a picture of some sample cards with the pen:

These cards all have a sentence at the top that tells the children what they are looking for in addition to picture support. The first card says, "Match the part to the animal." The children then have three picture choices (bird, shark, camel). The child will use the pen to touch the black dot next to the correct picture. The pen uses lights, sound effects, and encouraging words to cheer the child on.

Among the positive responses are:
"Wow! That's Excellent!"
"Way to Go!"
"Good Choice."
"That's Brilliant!"

If the child chooses the wrong answer, the responses are still encouraging and let the child know it is okay that they guessed wrong, just to try again. Some of the wrong responses are:
"Aww, nope!"
"Nice try!"
"Whoops, not it!"

This has quickly become a favorite center among our children!

We asked our children what they like about the Hot Dots. Here are some of their answers:
"I like them because I like trying to pick the one that is right."
"I like that it says oops or good try."
"I like that you get to push the pen down to hear if you are right or not."
"I like when you get it wrong, it says oops, try again."
"I like the flashing lights for right or wrong."

There are so many skills included in these cute little boxes. Here is one that shows a community helper and the children need to find the vehicle that he would drive. 

This child is finding the correct animal to match the tracks shown.

Then, they were looking for the type of plant an orange grows from. After the red light and "Aww, nope!" prompt, they were able to find the correct answer and learn something new!

We love Hot Dots so much that we had to get another set so we both had them in our classrooms. We even ordered two additional boxes for other content areas!

Constructive Playthings has Hot Dots available for children from Pre-K through Sixth grade that gives tons of independent, peer, or guided practice in vocabulary, comprehension, science, math, and more. What a fun way to practice and review classroom content! Check them out!

If you love Constructive Playthings, you can also follow them on Facebook for coupons, classroom activity ideas, and more!

May 21, 2014

New "Rhyme to Read" Emergent Reading App!

Have you seen the new "Rhyme to Read" beginning reading app?

Its awesome authors, Sara Hines and Lynn Klaiman, both have a great deal of knowledge and experience in various learning and literacy fields and have been working at tweaking this app so it is just right for all of our little learners!

Rhyme to Read is awesome for early childhood reading classrooms because... is colorful and engaging! integrates technology! is research-based! is repetitive! supports visual and auditory learning! builds on prior reading skills!

 There are 20 different leveled readers that children can choose from. Children can pick a new book or pick up from where the bookmark saved their place.

Each new page of text begins with a word list where children can read on their own or touch the color-coded word parts to hear the onset and rime blended for them.

The following pages have text that combines high-frequency words, previously learned word family words, and the previous word list into text that matches the illustrations. This also allows students to comprehend what they are reading. After each page would be a great place to engage in conversation about the story's events with a peer, teacher, or parent.

At the end of each story is a review of sight words included in the book for review, as well as a cumulative list of word family words taught in each book through that level.

Our students love technology that also helps them learn to read and the "Rhyme to Read" program is a great addition to our classrooms!

You can download a FREE sample of this app to try out today!

If you love it, you can upgrade to the full version for only $9.99 for the full 20 books to keep for your children at home or your students at school! These books would make terrific decodable books for your growing readers!

May 11, 2014

And the Winners Are......

Our first giveaway has come to an end. We would like to thank all of our wonderful teacher friends who donated an item to our little giveaway! We are so blessed to be part of a profession where everyone supports each other. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts!

And the winners are......drum roll please....

Thank you to everyone that entered our giveaway also. Please be sure to come back and visit us and be on the lookout for future freebies! Have a great week!

May 2, 2014

Butterflies, Free For Alls, Giveaways, Oh my!!

We had such a fun day today with our kindergarten friends!! We have been learning about insects this week and spent the last few days specifically on butterflies!

Our caterpillars came in the mail (always an exciting time). The day after the caterpillars arrived the children came to school asking if they had turned into butterflies yet. Haha!! Patience, our little friends!

Here are the caterpillars starting to move up to the top to build their chrysalis!

Earlier in the week we learned about the life cycle of a butterfly:

We also read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and made an adorable caterpillar to help with retelling:

Some even got to use our fun puppet!

We also made our fun caterpillar necklaces again this year! So, so cute!!

Today we discuss the body parts of the butterfly:

We made the cutest butterfly hats:

Even the Build a Bear got to wear a butterfly hat today!

Then we pretended we were butterflies and drank "nectar" (apple juice) from a flower using our "proboscis" (a straw).

To top it all off we made an edible insect using marshmallows, frosting, pretzel sticks, chocolate chips, and Doritos. Yum!

Thanks for reading all about our fun insect week! We have another fun filled week next week with even more insect activities!!

Please come and check us out on the Facebook Free For All this weekend. We are giving away our newest sight word game: Insect Investigator!

There are lots of freebies to download for grades K-2nd! Click here to get started.

Also, don't forget to enter our 500 Follower Giveaway here!

Have a great weekend! We hope you are doing something fun!

May 1, 2014

500 Follower Giveaway!!

We are just over the moon and so grateful to all of you for helping us reach one of our many goals!! We have reached 500 *amazing* followers for our TpT store! To show you our appreciation, we are hosting a fabulous giveaway!
Below you will find all the wonderful products that so many of our colleagues were generous to donate to our giveway. The giveaway will run from May 1st-May 9th. On May 10th we will pick one winner for each of the grade level groups (Pre-K/K, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade). The winner will recieve all products listed in that grade level prize pack. Wow!! How amazing is that?!?! After you check out the products, please scroll down and have fun entering away using the Rafflecopter!

Good Luck Everyone!!

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