Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celebrate Calm

Last night Carolina Day hosted Kirk and Casey the father-son team from  Celebrate Calm.  I'll be honest, I was not exactly excited about going to a workshop on a Monday evening.  I must say I am so glad I went.  Not only did they give GREAT advice, they were very entertaining.  They were able to use humor and honesty to approach some tough scenarios that we as teachers, parents, etc. face each day.  It challenged me to do some self reflection on my own personal management.

Kirk offered excellent suggestions for breaking the (unsuccessful) cycles we sometimes fall into with kids who are oppositional, have difficulty managing energy, or have difficulty with social situations.  Casey offered the perspective of the child who has these struggles and what did and did not work for him growing up.  

They have a series of videos which I highly recommend- but if you get the chance to see them live take advantage of it.

Here is their website: http://celebratecalm.com/

Check it out!

Candi : )


Hi Everyone-
I saw this really cute and helpful clock idea from the Learning Ideas Grade K-8.  I like that it has the hour listed but also the kiddos can really see the five minute increments.  You should check it out!

We do a similar clock created by our 3rd grade teacher.  Hopefully I can get pics of that up soon!
Candi : )

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One more use for Painter's Tape

I know.... I know.....last post today I promise!  I was browsing through my photos (for a slideshow for school) and my husband spotted this one, and said I should post it. So here is one other way I use painter's tape.  For those of you using Singapore Math or Math in Focus you are working with number bonds.  We use Math in Focus as supplemental materials.  So I built number bonds on white boards using the tape so that my kids could use them while they needed the frame, but I would still have my mini-white boards still intact.

Parents- this would be an easy review tool for homework.  Tutors this is an easily transported manipulative.

PS- I got the boards in the Target Dollar Section (my fave!!!)
-Candi : )

Framing Your Thoughts

So I know I am breaking the "more than one post in a day" rule....but I have to have something to distract me while I fret over the Carolina game. (Go Heels!)  I have already loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, laundry is in progress, and lesson plans finished. As usual my husband is yelling out the score from the other room.  You see my Pa and I have this crazy idea that we can be bad luck charms to the Heels...so we only watch a few minutes periodically.    Here is my sweet Pa:

Anyways.... enough Madness here is something else- Project Read has an approach to Grammar and Sentence Structure called Framing Your Thoughts. I have been using it since the beginning of the year and I have seen quite a difference with my student's writing skills.  I like their idea of a "Bare-Bones" sentence- where the student develops just a noun and a verb.  From this point you build using parts of speech to create a complete sentence.  I like the sequential approach to it.  Plus it uses grammar for its intended and most useful purpose- Writing!

Here are some pics from my class:

Here's to a Tarheel win!  Candi : )

Painter's Tape

 Hi Everyone!

I have migrated to my new website www.theinstructionhub.com.

I hope you will join me there and follow me on Instagram and Facebook - @theinstructionhub

Thank you! Happy Sunday Everyone!
I hope you are having a great weekend.  I just wanted to share a quick tip that you may already know- but just in case you don't.  A co-worker of mine introduced me to the idea of using blue painter's tape on a magnetic board (or any white board) in order to create handwriting lines.  I have also created a place value chart on my second board.  I have used electrical tape before- but it leaves a sticky residue.  The painter's tape pulls right off with no residue.  As my student's handwriting has improved I have made the space between the lines more narrow.  It has been great for handwriting practice, spelling, and sentence construction.

Hope this is helpful.  Have a great week!  Candi : )

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Test Post

So we are switching email accounts as a school so I had to change over my blog email.  If you have ever tried to change the primary email on a blog it can be confusing at first.  But our faithful tech extraordinaire  (Thanks Bo!) figured it out without me throwing my computer or accidentally deleting everything.  Anyways- in doing so my profile has now changed and maybe a few other things that I may have not noticed yet...so give me a few days and I will have everything back to semi-normal again.

Grandparent's and Grand-Friends Day is tomorrow, so I am off to clean up for company and finish solar system dioramas.  Pics to come soon!

Happy Thursday!
Candi : )

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's Ridiculously Long Lasting.... Gum

 Hi Everyone!

I have migrated to my new website www.theinstructionhub.com.

I hope you will join me there and follow me on Instagram and Facebook - @theinstructionhub

Thank you! So as I was walking into class this morning I heard one of my friends say, "Here want to try my new gum it's ridiculously long lasting."  Now that is some great marketing if you can get a firstie to recall your catch-phrase. 

We do let our kiddos chew gum only in our classes (not lunch, recess, etc.) as a way to increase focus.  We also try to have gum be peppermint in flavor, because of the research behind peppermint being a flavor/smell that wakes up your brain.

Anyways- I found it humorous and thought of all the reasons for him to offer to share his gum....I really think he just wanted to say "ridiculously long lasting."

A freebie for you:
We are working on the multiple spellings of long e.  I teach it as e by itself (most of the time at the end of short words and open syllables), e-e (most of the time at the end of a word following the e-consonant e/silent e pattern), and ee in the middle (most of the time) of a word.  We will move into ea (most of the time in the middle of the word- also words you eat....eat, meat, treat) and y (at the end of a 2 + syllable word).

Download it here!

Happy Wednesday!

Candi : )

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


 Hi Everyone!

I have migrated to my new website www.theinstructionhub.com.

I hope you will join me there and follow me on Instagram and Facebook - @theinstructionhub

Thank you! In first grade we are learning to decode new words, building new reading and writing skills, and everything is going along smoothly until....you add initial and final blends.  The bug-a boo of many firsties! 

For my Orton tutors, teachers, parents, and friends I use the blending drill pack that you may have seen in training, at school, or for homework.

Those of you who are not familiar with the blending drill pack you can of course make these with colored notecards. Prior to practicing with students, place colored sticky tabs on the blend cards- one for each sound in the blend.

1. Pull a vowel and have the student say the long and short sound.
2. Pull a consonant and place it following the vowel.  Remind students the vowel will now be short    because it is "closed in" by a consonant (closed syllable).
3. Then have students "push the button" (sticky) for each consonant sound followed by the vowel and final consonant.
4.  Then have students slide two fingers underneath blending the whole syllable/word together a second time for a smooth read.
5.  Flip the blend card for a new word.
*Double check possible word combinations beforehand....sometimes a word combination might surprise you.*

You can do the same thing with final blends. You can also change the syllable type and vowel sound.
I have found this really helps students see the two (or more) sounds in the blend, and aids them in pulling them apart and putting them together again.  It is also helpful when they are reading a word in text with a blend....I will place a small dash under each consonant and they "push the button" with their pencil.

This exercise will also help when they go to spell words with blends.  Below is a picture of how I do this exercise in class.
(We label the vowels with dots, and consonants with c.) They always have to "swoop" back under the word to blend and read smoothly.
Happy Blending!  : ) Candi

Road Trip and a Freebie

Well I have made it to Lexington to visit some of my favorite teacher friends the ladies from The Learning Center at The Lexington School.  I get to spend the day visiting with them tomorrow and then it is off to Indianapolis for the AOGPE conference.  A whirlwind of a trip, but I am looking forward to it!

So as I was looking for a document today for my grad class, I happened upon an oldie from my first year of teaching in fourth grade.  My kiddos at the time were very musically inclined and came up with a catchy tune to remember the steps of double digit multiplication.  So although I would not use it with my firsties, I thought those of you who teach older kids might find it useful.  If you are not into catchy jingles this is not for you!  Our fifth grade teacher sometimes cringes (with a smile) at the math jingles I use.  Hey- it's great to be in first grade!

Anyways- long story short download the doc here!

Candi : )

Monday, March 12, 2012

Get Your Brain Juices Flowing!

Hi Everyone,
I just wanted to give a shout out to my little sister (well 24 year old sister) who created a "Get Ready to Learn" obstacle course for our school.  My wonderful principal partnered with my sister (who has her masters in exercise science) to create these stations to help our students get their brain juices flowing!  We use these during our mini-breaks (kids get a quick snack, water, opportunity for movement).  She researched which specific exercises worked on core muscles and vestibular motion.  Plus it increases their ability to focus on a task following the exercise.  Here is a picture of her modeling a station:
This station is called "Wibble-Wobble" and it is a kiddo favorite!
A book on the market that describes the impact of exercise on learning is:

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by: John Ratey


We give our students "Brain Breaks" that are purposefully built into our lessons as often as needed for your particular group of learners.  Other types of "brain breaks" I use are quick and easy yoga moves, humor, music, stretches, and basic plyometric exercises (also known as "superman jumps" to my kids.

Parents:  I would encourage the use of "brain breaks" in homework to minimize the complexity of homework time.  

So go get moving!
Candi : )

Sequencing, PA, and Spelling Patterns...oh my!

Happy Monday Everyone!
So I tried an new activity today in LT (Langauge Tutorial).  
I saw this version of this activity at the 2012 NCIDA conference.  Susie Van der Vorst F/AOGPE of Camp Spring Creek, shared this during her presentation.  I also believe Kelly Ellis and Parker Tegeler of the Triad School also shared this activity in their presentation at NCIDA.

You can use this with poker chips if you would like to do it on the table.  Susie had put the vowels and consonants on foam circles- consonants one color and vowels another.  This worked great for first graders!!!  It gave them the chance to move and build sequencing, phonemic awareness, and spelling skills.

*This is also a easy and cool review activity to do at home to maintain skills over the summer!

I added one more element just to extend the options for my kiddos.  I put the short vowel flags, silent e, and digraphs on a third color.  So here are the steps:
1. Have students sequence the alphabet- telling them to begin on one side with a, ending with z, and m/n will be in the middle of their rainbow.
2. Have students tell you why there are two different colors (vowels and consonants).
3. Have students bring letter to the middle to create a syllable or word, and always remember to have them swoop under to read the word or syllable.
4. Have students change the beginning, middle, and final sounds to create new words.
*Bonus Layer: as they create new words, they have to put the previous letter back in the correct place.*
5. After we had manipulated several words, I then had digraphs, short vowel flags, etc. on a third color to have them practice building words using each of these.
This is such a great activity.  Thank you Susie, Kelly, and Parker for sharing! I am working on better pictures, but this is what I have so far:

*Note- This idea was borrowed from Susie Van der Vorst of Camp Spring Creek in Bakersville, NC (here is her website: http://www.campspringcreek.org/
and Kelly Ellis and Parker Tegeler of the Triad School of Winston Salem, NC

All pictures are property of The Key School.  Please site this blog when sharing pictures.

Enjoy your week!    Candi : )

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A DIsney Star with Dyslexia

As a teacher who works with extremely bright students with dyslexia, I appreciate this Disney star sharing her story.  This is so cool!  She is the star of Shake it Up!  I love that she tells her story of sometimes something may seem hard, but it's not impossible.  Take a look at the link:


Have a great week!
Candi : )

Friday, March 9, 2012

VCCCV Monster Words

 Hi Everyone!

I have migrated to my new website www.theinstructionhub.com.

I hope you will join me there and follow me on Instagram and Facebook - @theinstructionhub

Thank you! So there is method to the madness of the English Language!  I wish I had learned these syllable division patterns earlier in life....how helpful would that have been.  So the "Monster" Words as we call them, are those few words that don't follow the VCCV (vowel, consonant, consonant, vowel- divide between the two consonants) rule.  These words have blends and digraphs. My students look for the blends and digraphs in the word, knowing they stick together and so they are able to divide the word.

I have uploaded a New Information Page freebie for you.  Happy Syllable Dividing!
Have a great day!   Candi : )

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Number Bond Practice

For those of you who are working with Number Bonds as a tool for math instruction, here is a very simple, but free google doc.

Have a great weekend!    Candi : )

We are now a website!

Hi Friends!

We are now listed as a website!  Here is the link:


Looking forward to sharing ideas with you!
Candi : )

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

V*CV or VC*V Syllable Division

 Hi Everyone!

I have migrated to my new website www.theinstructionhub.com.

I hope you will join me there and follow me on Instagram and Facebook - @theinstructionhub

Thank you! In class we are reviewing "Tiger Words (V * CV)" and "Camel Words (VC * V)" for syllable division patterns.  I teach my students to try dividing the word both ways and reading it aloud to find the familiar word.  If they are having trouble reading the word, I have them cover one syllable with their finger and read it aloud, then do the same for the next syllable.

Here is a quick practice guide I made to review both.  I had them divide and swoop the words first, then write them in the correct category.
Download the freebie here!

: )  Candi

Cool Graphing Website

This week we are working on graphs.  This is a neat site for creating your own graphs.  We did it today in class and my kiddos loved it!


Enjoy!  : )  Candi

Sunday, March 4, 2012

V * CV Tiger Words

 Hi Everyone!

I have migrated to my new website www.theinstructionhub.com.

I hope you will join me there and follow me on Instagram and Facebook - @theinstructionhub

Thank you! Tomorrow my class will be working on the syllable division pattern V *CV. 
I have uploaded my new information sheet for you to download here!

Have a great week.

: )   Candi


Wow! The NCIDA conference went really well this weekend. There were some great presenters and I look forward to next year's conference in Hickory.

  Thank you to all of those who attended our math session.   I hope you were able to find it useful and purposeful.  I also hope you were able to take away some ideas for your class. Have a great week!

: )  Candi