Monday, June 6, 2016

Literature-Rich Resources for Phonics Instruction!

I'm excited to share some news about Tally Tales products with you today! I've struggled for some time with a specific direction I wanted my TPT resources to follow, but I've finally developed a "theme," if you will, for my instructional products in my store.

As you know (or may not know), my own classroom instruction is heavily phonics-based. I teach a reading class specifically designed for students with dyslexic tendencies, and my main goal is to help support them with decoding skills. We work daily on phonemic awareness, reading strategies, and spelling through multi-sensory instructional methods. I explicitly teach phonics and spelling rules. Naturally, I design TPT products with my students in mind, and I always use those products with them as well. 

Previously, there were a couple of products for which I wrote my own little stories to coincide with the word sorts. My students always love those! I think they just like the idea of reading authentic writing, and it's fun for them to hear something a teacher has written for a change. With that in mind, I decided to generate products that I am calling "Literature-rich Resources for Phonics Instruction." These resources will not only contain word work activities based on a specific phonics rule, but they will also feature stories I have written related to that phonics skill as well. 

The following products are already designed with this theme in mind. "A Tale of -ng and -nk" contains a fun story that may be used for instructional purposes to actually teach students that you never, ever spell these glued sounds with an e. This is often a challenging little tidbit to remember for students, and sometimes a fun tale really helps establish the rule in their memory. 

The next three resources all feature short stories or poems that may be used either as teacher read-alouds when introducing a new skill or as independent student texts. Tip: You can always create an extension activity with student texts by having students highlight words that feature a specific spelling pattern throughout the text as they read. 

These are all available in the Tally Tales TPT store as individual products, but I have also created a bundle product that combines them all together in one purchase! If interested, you can access it here (or keep reading...!). 

I will continue to design my products to contain relevant, skill-based literature, and I'm really excited about this direction for my store! If you have any specific needs, please feel free to message me via my contact form. I keep an ongoing list of resource ideas, and I would love to know if there's a specific area of need! 

To celebrate this personal development, I am also holding a giveaway for this bundle! There are several ways to enter, and the giveaway will run all week long. A winner will be announced on Friday, so check back then!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 3, 2016

Summer Redesign

I don't know what it is about summer that makes me want to redo everything... from my closets to my cabinets to my blog, it's like it all needs a good facelift. So here is a recap of a few recent updates.

Last summer, I worked on my Terms of Use page for TPT products, and I was so pleased with it. Then. Lately, I have found myself cringing every time I looked at it. So, that was the first thing to get a good facelift.

Then the blog took a hit this week. As you can tell, there is a new header on the Tally Tales. For anyone just visiting, this is what it used to look like...

I'm trying to stay consistent with the various design elements, and so far, I think it's working out pretty well. I have already made the update in my TPT store to reflect the changes on the blog as well.

Next, I'm moving on to work on a few existing TPT products. I have an idea/goal for the resources I offer, and I'm eager to add a new twist to some of my products. I'll share more on that later, as it begins to take shape... ;)

For now, what do you think about the changes? I love feedback, so feel free to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Are you making any changes this summer?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Sale this Week!

Hey friends! Just a reminder that TPT is having a site-wide teacher appreciation sale tomorrow and Wednesday! Make sure you check it out... All items in Tally Tales store will be 20% off! Then you can apply the promo code below for an extra 10% off your entire purchase. Happy shopping! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sharing Your Writing With Your Students

I have the simplest thing to share with you today. Literally. The easiest, simplest idea.

Here's the thing... I love to read, and I love to write. I try to tell my students that; I try to share my literary passions with them. Then one day, I wondered: Do I really share anything significant? I tell them that I love to read and write... but how do I show them? 

I had a brilliant professor in college that stressed that our students should see us actively reading and writing.  We should share those experiences with them. Her words really resonated with me, but the reality of my day is that I shuffle seven intense 45-minute classes each day, and we have so much to do in that very, very little time frame. How/when could I possibly take time to read and write for pleasure at school?

My current classroom is no exception, either. I struggled with this when I taught first grade as well. And third grade. I daresay any teacher would see the dilemma here.

Then one day I realized, Maybe I don't have to necessarily write a lot to make it meaningful for my students...

So I made my own piece of oversized notebook paper with butcher paper, laminated it, and began what I simply called "An Unfinished Poem." On the first day, I wrote only two lines, and I just left it like that, unfinished. My students spotted it immediately. "Mrs. Tally, what's that?" So I told them, "I'm writing a poem for you! We'll read it before you leave today."

And we did just that. We had our class, but before they left, they took turns reading my unfinished poem aloud to me. It became a regular part of our schedule each day, but it took only a few moments just before they walked out the door. Then I started noticing that most of them would check the poem first when they walked into my classroom. They wanted to know what I had written, if I had added anything new. And they reread the entire thing every day.

So I took advantage of those repeated readings! I made sure I incorporated some of the spelling patterns and sight words I was teaching throughout my classes. You can imagine what a proud moment we all had when a student noticed those in the poem! :)
Every few days I added a line or two until I finally ran out of space and time, due to our end-of-year testing. As I wrapped it up, I had to revise the title a bit, which was a great way to reinforce the function of that prefix un.
That's all! We have had so much fun with this, and I have loved sharing even this little morsel of writing with my students. It's amazing how motivated they were to read this every day, just because they knew it was something I had written for them. 

Give it a try! See what happens. You never know; your writing may be just what your students need to help them discover a love of reading.