Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Top Back to School Resources and a Sale 2019

It's that time of year again when you get the back to school jitters and you worry about all you have to accomplish. My hope is that some of these resources might be helpful to you.  

All of my classroom products at TpT are 20% off Aug 6-7 this Tuesday and Wednesday. If you use the promo code BTS19 at checkout, you'll get an additional 5% off.

This would be a great time to check out some of my top teaching resources for the beginning of the year at an awesome discount or even the ones I offer for free via the link before. Many are already part of discounted bundles so watch for that in case you want to save even more. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

Just click any pics to be taken to these resources. 

This a bundle that includes so much to help you start off your first week of school with success. From the first day of school/ get to know you activities including a bilingual English and Spanish survey to classroom decor that serves a purpose.

 Back to School Resource

Speaking of classroom decor, I love having these motivating quote posters up in my room for my students and they also make for great Monday morning meeting discussions while teaching positive character traits. 

 Classroom Inspirational Quotes

At my school, we use reading and writing workshop for literacy but as many of you know the phonemic awareness portion is lacking, so when I see that a student is not reading at grade level I assess them as soon as I can using the resource below. 

Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Inventory

This helps me fill in their phonemic awareness and decoding gaps as quickly as possible in small-group targeted lessons based on their needs before we tackle guided reading books. I have seen students quickly grow their reading levels by three or more in one trimester by starting here. 

I also have phonics posters and games that I use to fill in their gaps in the associated bundle in case you are interested in those items too. Please see my previous blog for more info about these resources!

Don't forget to follow my store and have notifications turned on to receive updates about any new resources at 50% off and information about free updates to any resources you already own so that you can download them again.

Remember the sale ends at 11:59 EST and don't forget the code BTS19 at check out.

I hope you have a great start to your school year and I wish you and your students lots of progress and growth!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

3 Ways to Improve Phonemic Awareness in Students and a Giveaway

I have three tips and resources to help your struggling readers improve their Phonemic Awareness.

But first an awesome giveaway for #teacherappreciationweek. Teachers deserve appreciation all year long, but I'm glad we have this week each year because we need something to cheer us up when we are faced with too much testing, and school-wide events not to mention kids (plus teachers) struck with a case of summer vacay fever. Also, I realize how many teachers don't live anywhere near the awesome Target Dollar Spot so I collected some items to giveaway to my blog readers!

Pictured below are four different prize packages for four different winners that I can send your way! Just sign up for my email at the at the top of this page or via any other pop-up you might see. You're welcome email will also send you to my TpT store to check out 20 different follower freebies! One winner will be chosen from IG and three from my new subscriber list. If you subscribe already just tag a friend on IG and you click the picture below to find my IG post or look me up @teachermsh on the app to participate. What do you hope to win? Tell me in the comments. *Giveaway is only open to those 18 years of age or older and you must be a U.S. resident due to shipping constraints. Entries will be accepted through Sat. May 11th, 2019 and winners announced and messaged the eve of Sun. May 12th, 2019.

 IG TAW 2019 Giveaway Post

Now for my tips to improve phonemic awareness in students! 

1) Assess student gaps in phonemic awareness. 

2) Teach students about common phonic sounds, patterns, and rules to help them decode easier. 

3) Have students practice reading words that contain targeted sounds and phonics patterns for at least 20 minutes a day ideally in a small group with you so you check for accuracy while others participate in centers. Use flash cards, games, or phonics readers.  

Here are some awesome resources I have used that have helped me accomplish all three goals. I have seen my students increase two to three reading levels in one trimester using these item. 

Just recently I created a new small group game to keep them interested and motivated during reading intervention time. Reading City includes all the sounds, and phonics patterns in word context so students can practice their decoding skills! Students chose a card from the pile and it to you correctly they can read it they get to move the number the number of spaces shown on the right top corner of the card. You can have first, second and third place winners if you choose to keep the game going. You can separate the cards they use into correct and reteach piles. Then use the reteach pile or any of the cards as flash cards. I also plan to add two more sets of cards for older readers soon. 

Keep in mind when I publish new resources they are always on sale for 50% off for the first 48 hours after I publish them and this is new one too, so if you are interested please check it out soon or follow me on TpT for more great deals.

Since, TpT is having a site wide sale May 7th and 8th so be sure to use code GIFT4YOU at check out to get an additional 25% off of anything pictured and in my store.

                    Just click any pic to be taken to these resources.

 Reading City Board Game

By using these resources consistently I have seen my readers grow their phonemic awareness knowledge quickly. I've also seen tremendous growth with most students moving up a few reading levels before I even began to work on guided reading. We use Reader's Workshop at my school and often we have very little in the way of resources that focus on foundational reading skills that include phonemic awareness and engage students. 

 Reading Intervention Bundle

FYI this is a growing bundle and more posters will be added as well as additional cards for the reading game. I'm also working on adding my Reading Goals and Strategy Bookmarks resource to the bundle. Right now the price is low but it will go up as I add more items to the bundle.  

Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Inventory

The Phonemic Awareness and Decoding Inventory is great because it helps me know what phonemic awareness gaps I need to fill. You can also use the same sheet to assess your students' progress up to three times a year by using a different color highlighter or colored pen to show new growth and mastery. Then using the Phonics Posters help me teach all the phonics rules and patterns so that students readily crack the reading code to become stronger decoders.

 Phonics Rules and Patterns Posters

If you do decide to get any of these resources be sure to follow my store and have notifications turned on to receive updates about any new additions to the resource you get so you can download the updated version again for free.

Please let me know if you have questions about any of these resources in the comments or on TpT in the Q and A and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible. I hope you find these resources to be helpful and don't forget to sign up for email at the top of the page for more notification of new resources, updates, giveaways, and sales just a few times a year.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Teaching the Civil Rights Movement in the Elementary Classroom

My Visit to the National Civil Rights Museum

A few summers ago, I got to visit the amazing National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennesse. The museum was built on the site of Martin Luther King Jr's. assassination at the Lorraine Motel in 1968. The museum took almost the entire day to go through as it has two parts. This is because they later acquired the former hotel across the street where James Earl Ray stayed. Ray fired a single shot from his hotel room's bathroom window at King who was standing on a balcony outside his second-story room alongside other leaders of the African American Civil Rights Movement.  My hope is to provide teacher background by relaying what I learned at this museum and share some resources for teaching this history at the end.

The original museum begins by chronicling the history of slavery and racism against African Americans. Violence and hatred by groups like the Klu Klux Klan, and segregation through out much the south, alongside many stories of hate crimes such as Emmett Till led to the Civil Rights Movement. Most historians sight the beginning of the movement with Brown v. Board of Education a case brought before the Supreme Court that declared school segregation unconstitutional in 1954. But several years earlier a landmark case in California over segregated schools was brought by the parents of Sylvia Mendez. Several organizations came to their aid including Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP.  Later on this case would help them win the national debate. (You can read more about this case in the book Seperate Is Never Equal linked to at the end.) Often the schools where students of color were required to attend were dilapted and contained old and outdated materials if any. In 1960, Ruby Bridges was not allowed to attend her neighborhood school as they had refused to integrate. Progress was slow as it had been six years since the Supreme Court ruling. Inequity in education, and racism were the catalyst for many early protests.

The museum also covers the Montgomery Bus Boycott that began with Rosa Park's refusal to give up her seat and that was preceded by other brave black women who began protesting, in the same way, a year earlier. 15-year-old Claudette Colvin and 18-year-old Mary Louise Smith who were also arrested for challenging the Montgomery bus segregation. They were encouraged to take these actions by Jo Ann Robinson the leader of the Woman's Political Counsel who was the first to demand a bus boycott. Since Rosa Park was also part of the NAACP her protest received a larger audience and soon Martin Luther King Jr. joined to help lead the boycott.

Jim Crow laws were enacted to segregate and limit rights for people of color in the south. An interesting fact I learned is that the term Jim Crow was a pejorative term for black people that originally derived from a white actor's performance in blackface intended as an insulting caricature of black people. Many painful stories of protestors and counter-violence that activists endured during the fight against Jim Crow Laws are shared. Children were even jailed for protesting segregation. Major events like the Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, the Freedom Riders bus tour and the March on Washington are chronicled. The passage of the Civil Rights Acts in 1964 and the Nobel Peace Prize that King received are also covered. Finally, the first museum ends with the events of the I Am A Man protest led by Martin Luther King on behalf of black Memphis garbage workers and the site of his assassination outside his hotel room on April 4, 1968.


The second part of the museum I mentioned is at the site of the hotel where the shooter stayed. This side covers more about the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr's. death. A wealth of information and evidence about the shooter James Earl Ray is presented. and a view of his hotel room next to the bathroom he shot out of is visible. It was very chilling and disturbing whereas the prior exhibits brought mostly tears, anger, and confusion at the mistreatment of others. The rest of this museum which is smaller than the first side covers the lasting affects of the movement and how the changes affected other minorities and America.  If you get a chance I highly recommend a trip, because you will learn so much that you may have missed out on in your own schooling and because you can take what you learn and come back to share it with your students.

How I teach what I've learned and resources I use

At the bottom of this blog, I link to some wonderful books that I have found to be effective in my own third-grade classroom to teach students about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. We cover these topics in a few ways. First students have access to many biographies of famous Americans that include African Americans and we teach students how to read them as part of our Reading Workshop unit on biographies in December. Students must also complete a research project on someone they read about. We use mentor texts that include Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks among others like Cesar Chavez for some of our read alouds and to model the research project. Second, after this unit concludes we began our Social Justice unit that begins in January and it includes many of the mentor texts below, that cover the Civil Rights Movement and more. (More about the biography project options and social justice lessons will be shared in a future blog post so please follow me or subscribe if you want to be notified about these posts.)

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I play my students the speech below called, "My Little Girl" where King tells the story of how he had to explain to his daughter why she couldn't go to Fun Town a local amusement because of segregation.  If you want the text of this speech I found it here. I like playing this speech for my students because it really helps them to understand segregation. They can relate to the idea of going somewhere fun and the idea of not being allowed to go really speaks to them. You can also hear King's heartbreak at having to tell his daughter why and my third-grade students pick up on that and become very empathetic with some even tearing up at the thought of being excluded for their skin color.  The classroom discussion that follows is always very powerful and meaningful. Finally, after some read alouds about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and/or watching these videos that I have saved on my YouTube channel they fill out this free poster /graphic organizer from Curriculum Castle.

Here are the books I recommend and use in my classroom. These are Amazon affiliate links and I earn a small commission of a few cents if you buy through these links. Your support of my blog and classroom are very much appreciated!