Sunday, November 15, 2015

Classwork Display "Window"

If you're looking for a fun, but easy-to-manage method of displaying classwork, then you may be interested in today's post. :)

This little display is now outside my classroom, just waiting to have some of my students' work added to it! Check out my new classroom "window"...
Now, take a behind-the-scenes look at the way it is (easily) made and operated!

If you want to make one just like mine, you will need the following materials:
  • 4 gallon-sized ziplock bags
  • duct tape
  • one wooden dowel rod
  • 2 Command hooks
  • Butcher paper (for the curtain)

Simply lay the ziplock bags in the shape of a square, with the ziplock logo face-down on the table. You will want this on the back side of the window so that it doesn't show from the front. I have inserted pieces of blue paper into the bags so you can easily see how the logo will disappear once student work is inside. Use the duct tape to lay across the edges of the bags, connecting them enough to hold them in tact and create the window-pane appearance. Lay the dowel rod across the top, and simply fold the top half of the duct tape over it to attach it to the zip lock bags. That's all!
Here's a view from the back side, where you can simply unzip the bags to insert student work, and change the display any time you want! 
I attached command hooks to the wall, and the dowel rod is just resting on those hooks to hold the window. I made a "curtain" out of butcher paper, and that conceals the rod as well as the hooks. I can pull the "window" down and swap out the contents of our display any time I want. 
What do you think? 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Magic Writing with Sight Words

One of my teacher friends recently shared this idea with me, and I thought it was such a marvelously-simple, fun idea. I couldn't wait to use it with my students, and luckily, since it is so easy to incorporate into classroom instruction as a quick review activity, I was able to use it right away. As it turns out, my students love it just as much as I do. (Isn't it great when things work out like that?!?)

This is a great activity to use for those hard-to-learn sight words. If you use the Orton-Gillingham red words technique, then this exercise is a great extension activity to help reinforce those words! 

As I said, this is a really, really simple activity. Start by having your students write their work in large print with a white crayon. You will need to model this for them. After all, you are writing with a white crayon, so it helps if they can watch first to gain a better understanding of the size and spacing for their letters. 
Next, the students use a marker to color over their writing. They can watch as the word "magically" appears!
How neat is that? Of course, you won't have a perfect image of each word, but the point is to provide students with an additional, unique experience with these words. This activity will definitely be exciting for them. My students immediately begged to "magically write" all of our red words!
I hope your students are as excited about magic writing as mine were! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monthly Freebie: Editable November Newsletter

How is it possible that it is already November?!? Does anyone else feel like the months are flying past? Either way, it's time for my monthly freebie. As always, if you ever experience trouble downloading or using one of my products, please feel free to contact me! I am grateful for any feedback, especially if I need to make an adjustment or two! :)

You can now access a free, editable template for a November newsletter here.

See the template design for this month's newsletter below...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

*Freebie* Kid-Friendly Reference Poster for Fluency

In my previous post, I shared the concept of using a "Never, ever" poster as a visual representation of phonics rules, which students may use as a reference for spelling. Today, I am sharing a version that may be used as a reference poster for fluent reading. 

I often discuss "robot reading" with my students. We call the expressionless, halting style of reading "Robot Reading" because, obviously, it sounds more like the voice of a robot than that of a fluent reader. In order to become fluent readers, students must learn to read with smooth, expressive voices -very much as though they are having a conversation with the text. 

We really have a lot of fun with this, and during one of my classes recently, a student eagerly said, "Mrs. Tally, that should be on our Never, Ever poster! Robot Reading!" So, with respect to her suggestion, I have designed a separate Never, ever poster that I will display in my fluency center. It is a very kid-friendly graphic, and I can't wait to share it with my classes this week. 
If you are interested in using this poster in your own classroom, you can access it for free here in the Tally Tales TPT store. I have added several freebies to the store recently, so feel free to look around and grab those. I try to share any TPT freebies here as well, but if you want to make sure you stay up-to-date on freebies and sales in the future, simply become a follower of the Tally Tales TPT store.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Using Rules Posters to Foster Student Learning

I try to provide a lot of visual reference materials throughout my classroom for my students. We use rules posters, thinking maps, and graphic organizers to display literacy rules and reminders throughout the room. Most of my students are so familiar with them that they know exactly where to look when they need to remember a particular spelling pattern or simply check the direction of their b or d. One of their favorite posters is my "Never, Ever" rules poster. I thought I would share it here with you today.

The concept for this poster is simple: it contains several frequent spelling errors or phonics patterns that students find to be particularly troublesome. I refer to it during instructional lessons, and students use it when they are writing independently as well. Obviously, my "Never, Ever" poster contains literacy-based content, but I'm sure this concept could easily be adapted to fit multiple other content areas.
What are some "Never, Ever" guidelines you could display as a reference for your students?