Text to Text Connection Anchor Chart


Over the last few weeks we have been doing a Jan Brett unit. The first week we read The Mitten, last week we read The Hat and this week we read Annie and the Wild Animals. While looking for small group reading books I ran across this book titles The Hat. It was more like Jan Brett’s The Mitten except the animals were in a hat instead of a mitten. We talked about text to text connections and how The Hat that they read in small group made them think about The Mitten that they had read in large group. (I got the idea for these anchor charts on Pinterest).

Below is our comparison chart of The Mitten by Jan Brett and The Hat by Michael Shannon. I was pretty amazed at how well this student was able to make text to text connections. Recalling story information is usually pretty difficult and she normally just makes up random unrelated stuff.



Monogram letter for Outside the house

20141227-164433.jpgLast summer in the final 2 weeks before I had to go back to work for the new school year I had an itch to get something done around the house. To begin with our shutters on the front of our house were blue and looking pretty bad. I wanted an updated “fresher” look so I decided to spray paint them gray. The siding on our house is white so I thought gray would look nice. To add to the exterior “make-over” I wanted to make a monogrammed letter for our house. I decided to go with the first letter of our last name. I really like the chevron look so I knew that is what I was going to use. To begin I spray painted the R a base of white. It took 3 or 4 coats to finish the look.

20141227-164505.jpg I taped off the chevron print and painted the rest gray. This was the result after I took all the tape off in the above picture.

20141227-164532.jpgOriginally I wanted my house number to be in yellow but as you can tell from the first picture I ended up layering black numbers on top of the yellow because you couldn’t see it very well from a distance. I really like it the only negative I have is that since our siding is white the white on the letter blends in too much with the house. Now to hopefully get new siding in the future!

Reading and Cooking Family Literacy Night


So I will apologize with the writing on this picture above. I forgot to take a picture right away and by the time I got around to it my 3 year old at the time had already taken it upon herself to write all over it.

I happen to be on the Parent Advisory Board for my daughter’s pre-school so at one of our monthly meetings a parent night was brought up. In the past they just had the parents come in and the director/teacher presented information to the parents. I chimed in that at the school I teach at we have the students come with the parents and actually have them do the activities with them. Last year at my school we combined literacy and math night and did a cooking theme for our kindergarten grade level. We first read a book (Literacy) and then did a recipe (math) that related to the book.  I mentioned the idea to her teacher/director/board and they loved it. I worked with her teacher for the next month through emails and she gave me the recipes that she wanted to use for the family night.

Since I am such a ‘nerd’ when it comes to this type of stuff I told her I would create a hand-out for the parents. I thought what a better idea for a parent handout than their own personal Reading and Cooking recipe and learning activity book. So on the left side of the book I put the recipe that they used/made/ate with their child at the family night so that they could re-create it at home with them again. On the right side of the book I put the title/author of the story the book related to that we used at the family night. As an added bonus I also thought of an activity that they could do at home based on literacy/math in relation to the story that was read.

Here are the pages of the book we did at the family night:


Book: Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig. Students made personal pizzas to go along with the story. The activity to go along with this book was to have students roll out dough (play-doh) and make their name with their own pizza dough.




Book: The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola. We did not actually end up using this one but I didn’t know that before hand so it was included anyway! The activity to go along with this book was to print out popcorn kernals on paper (hello clip art!). Have your child (or parent) write one letter of their name on each kernal. Then they need to string the popcorn together to create a name necklace.



20140711-220304.jpgBook: If you Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff. The kids made donuts with their parent’s help. The activity to go along with this book that we used was to cut a circle out of brown or white paper to be a donut and then to cut out a long rectangle to be the line for the lowercase d. They would then have their kid put the pieces together to make a d and then decorate it to look like a donut.



20140711-220349.jpgBook: The Puddle by David McPhail. Cooking activity= Puddle Cake. Activity to go with story: Puddle memory game. Cut out pieces of blue paper to look like puddles. Put letters on them in pairs so that they can play a matching game.




20140711-220434.jpg This was what I put on the back cover.

This is how it looked at her school during family night: The teacher had pre-arranged groups with a board member to be the reader of the story. I had The Puddle Book with the Puddle Cake (let’s just say I didn’t think it was going to turn out because I am not a baker!). But I was up for the challenge. Each group read a book and created the recipe. While everything was cooking parents and kids read stories together. When everything was done cooking we had a big group meal (which is possible when you have a small private preschool with a full working kitchen right there).

This is how this all worked at my public elementary school when we did this type of family night: Each teacher was responsible for one “stations.” The kids rotated around to the different stations and were able to do each one. We had less time and parents were juggling between going from one grade level to another. I did counting and graphing fruit loops. Another teacher did following a recipe to make trail mix.  One teacher read a book about cookies and made cookies in her toaster oven. Honestly there were two more stations but it was at the beginning of last school year so I can’t remember what the other ones were.

Overall anything that has to do with food is successful!

Graffiti Table- Focus letters and name


I have been wanting to try something new with my groups on Fridays when I have to do progress monitoring. I saw the idea for graffiti tables on Pinterest awhile ago and loved the idea. I just never got around to implementing them in the classroom. Over winter break I decided that I wanted to give them a try just to see how they went. I made one for each of my 3 CIM groups that related and reviewed concepts from the week. My first student struggles with letter ID and with her name. So I created this graffiti table for her. We have been focusing on the letters h and a this week in a modified interactive writing way (The interactive writing lesson format just wasn’t helping her to make progress so I had to switch it up a little bit).

20150110-101550.jpg  20150110-101424.jpg


Above: Letter writing practice. I left it blank because I am planning on laminating it so that way I can use it multiple times.

20150110-101534.jpg20150110-101440.jpg These are just like our letter anchor charts that we do for each letter. The student will think of things that start with each letter and draw a picture or write a word that begins with the letter.


We have really been working on writing her name so I will put a model on the top line and she will write it on the bottom line. In the other box I will write a sentence and have her circle given letters within the text. I will let her use dry erase markers or wikki sticks.


On the left side I am going to write a capital letter and have her match it to the lowercase letter (right side). I left it blank so I can change it up the next time we use it.



Since rhyming is a struggle I also included it on here. She will have to draw and tell me one word that rhymes with each picture.

Ring Bearer sign- Here Comes your Girl!


My brother-in-law got married this past October. My two year old son was the ring bearer and I wanted to make something special for him to carry down the aisle. I looked all over the internet and this is what I came up with.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a wood sign and spray painted it white. Then I took black paint and went around the edges. For the lettering I traced them onto a blank piece of paper and place the paper on the wood where I wanted my letters to go. Next, I used a pencil to trace the outline of the letters. It leaves an indent in the wood and then I took a paint pen and filled in the letters. Since he is only 2 I wanted the sign to hang around his neck just in case he dropped his hands. I could have drilled holes to put ribbon through but instead we just used wood nails and put it on that way. I figured for as little time he was going to be wearing the sign it wouldn’t rip through. I think it turned out really cute and he and my new sister-in-law loved the sign!

Here is a picture from the wedding day!

Graffiti Table- Spring(ish) theme


I have 3 different CIM Interactive Writing/Guided Reading Plus groups during the school day. Each group is working on something a little different than the other groups. I decided that I would try my hand at making each group a graffiti table geared to what we were learning this past week. Due to the weather conditions and having 2 hour delays I did not meet with this group at all last week because their group time was during our specials since the schedule was all messed up from the delay. We will implement this graffiti table at the end of next week. My goal is to have the students work on the graffiti table while I am doing my progress monitoring with another student on Friday. I will try to remember to update with pictures of the students actually working on them next weekend.

Since it is extremely cold outside this week I thought I would create a spring(ish) themed graffiti table to remind us of what is to come in a few months. For this graffiti table I kept some spaces blank within the outlines/activities because I plan to laminate these so that way I can change what I want the students to do by just drawing in with a Vis-A-Vis and erasing it to change it for something else later.


We have really been working on breaking apart onset and rime with the -at family for awhile. For the top of the tree I added the onset and then the sound and they have to draw a picture and write the word of what the word is when blended back together. This is review for them since we have really been working on the -at family. For the bottom of the tree I put in two rhyming puzzles. I did draw these in, I would just try and have the students draw new pictures the next time of another rhyming word.


For the raindrops I did leave them blank so I could switch them up next time I use this graffiti table outline. I will write a letter on the left side and draw a picture of something that starts with those letters on the right and have the students draw a line to connect the beginning sound to the picture.


This week I introduced the -in family to this group. For the sun they have to write a letter at the beginning of __in to make new words in that word family.


For the flowers I will write a letter in the middle of the flower and have students draw pictures or write words that begin with that letter on the petals.


For fluent writing next week we will be working on the words and, like, & my.







Graffiti Table- Winter theme


This first week back from break has been a crazy week with weather. We had a teacher work day on Monday and late starts Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday school was cancelled due to the cold. So to say this past week threw us all off schedule a little is an understatement!

I saw the idea for graffiti tables on Pinterest and wanted to give them a try. I wanted to based them off of our lesson that we did that week (what we did for fluent writing, word and letter work, and tie in our new texts). Since I wasn’t able to fit in a weeks worth of lessons with this group we will do this graffiti table next Friday. I will try to remember to update with some pictures of the students working on it.

Next week we are going to read a book titled Making a Snowman and discuss sequencing. I thought it would be nice to include that on the graffiti table. In my rough draft of how I wanted the table to look I just drew 3 boxes for First, Next and Last. When I was actually making it I wanted the table to have a common theme. So I chose winter since we were talking about making a snowman.


For the sequencing part I made a snowman. On the top snowball the students will write/draw what you do first when making a snowman. The middle snowball is for the next thing that you make and the bottom snowball is for the last thing you do to make a snowman. I gave the snowman a rhyming scarf. On the scarf I put two pairs of puzzle pieces. I drew one picture and in the other side of the puzzle piece the kids will draw a word/picture that rhymes.


I decided for the fluent writing and -at word family to make snowflakes. For the -at word family I made a slightly larger snowflake and put -at in the middle. The students will write words in the -at family on the points of the snowflake. We have really been working on the and is for fluent writing so they will practice writing those 2 words on another snowflake.


The thing this group struggles with the most is letter sounds. I knew I had to include it on the table. I was racking my brain trying to think of something I could use in the winter theme for beginning sounds. I came up with mittens. The students have to draw a line from the letter to the picture that has that beginning sound.

Like I said I will try to remember to update with pictures after the students have worked on it and give you my opinion on how well they liked doing this. If it is a flop I will know not to do this again it took a lot of time to put it together. My next step before I let the kids so this is to laminate it so I can use it again in the future.

Perfect Pair (Food Edition) Wedding Shower Gift Idea

One of my really good friends was married in September and this is what I did for her bridal shower gift. Now, I know I am a procrastinator, but with this idea I was literally working on it until the last minute! In the beginning I had just planned on going to the store printing off her registry and then buying something straight from that. However, for some reason the Thursday before the shower I got a crazy idea to check Pinterest for “bridal shower gift ideas.”

20140727-221215.jpgAbove is the container I put everything in. This was on their registry from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It worked out perfectly for everything. I titled it Perfect Pairs Inspired by Dana and Jake: Food Edition

20140727-221228.jpgThis is what the inside of the basket looked like when everything was in it.


Perfect Pairs: The Bride and The Groom because obviously they are the center of the perfect pair theme here! I googled poems and this is the one I liked best. I printed out an engagement photo that they had posted on Facebook and mounted it on black cardstock. I then printed out the poem and also mounted it on black cardstock. I then put it into a document frame mounted on peacock blue (wedding color) because I didn’t want to cut the paper down to make it fit into an 8×10.


Perfect Pair #2: Chips and Dip. My friend absolutely loves a BLT dip mix from a local kitchen shop here in town. So I thought what goes well with dip? Chips of course! So I picked up this cute chip and dip tray and added a cutesy little tag.


Perfect Pairs #3: Movie and Popcorn-  Since I went with a food theme movie and popcorn seemed like the appropriate thing to do. I bought a gift card to the movie store to rent movies since the couple rents movies more often than going to the theater. I also picked up a bucket of popcorn to put the gift card in.


Perfect Pairs #4: Bacon and Eggs. The couple’s favorite place to go eat after a night of indulging in adult beverages is a family owned diner in town. So for bacon and eggs I gave them a gift card so they could go eat breakfast after a night on the town.


Perfect Pairs #5: Cake and Ice Cream. We have a fabulous cupcakery here so I got gift cards to the cupcake store and also a gift card for ice cream.

They seemed to really enjoy the gift. I originally wanted to just get something off the registry but everything that I wanted to get was something you had to special order for delivery or someone else had already purchased the item. I thought this was the next best thing!