Super Improver Door


A couple years ago I read up on whole brain teaching and using a super improvers wall display in the classroom. I attempted to do it in the general education classroom that I co-taught in but it didn’t go as well as planned. So instead of starting this whole group I chose to start it in with my small group of IEP students in my resource office that I use to teach small groups.

This year I went for a chalkboard type theme for the wall. I bought some scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby and lined the back of my door before I put the Super Improvers’ Wall up.  I put each kids’ name up in the same color as the content area.  Underneath their names I write I can…. and leave enough space so that after they are laminated we can write and change out goals as needed. Next to each child’s name I put a circle that represents the color they are on on the Super Improver’s Wall. On that circle I write what that child can do at this time.

Let me just say this has been the ONE thing that my kids look at after each time we progress monitor (every 2 weeks). Their goal is to reach pink (Master). At the beginning of the year we set mostly year-long goals. For most of my kids learning the letters in the alphabet is a huge struggle. We are in April and I have kids that still don’t know all the letters.

I have a Literacy side and a Math side to my wall. As a team the student and myself choose one goal from each area. I have some students who are on writing IEPs and not Reading IEPs (that’s why I put Literacy, it covers it all!). To the left of my door I have student graphs that they color in to correspond to the color they are on the wall. This provides a visual for them to see where they are at and how far they have come!

When they reach pink I told them they can have whatever kind of treat they wanted since they worked so hard. I don’t let them choose goals that will be easily met within a month or two. I try to aim for long-term goals.  So far McDonald’s has been a favorite choice. (Come spring time and it seems I am venturing out more often because kids are meeting their goals, I love it!).


Rainbow Words- Learning our Sight Words

It is the time of the year where we really start to learn our sight words. For my students, this is a very hard thing to do. Most of my IEP students have not mastered letter identification and letter sounds yet. Even though they do not know all the letters and sounds that does not mean that I am not going to teach sight words. For instance, all my students know the word the but they may not know that the letters are t-h-e.

I base my sight words off of a few things. One place we get our sight words is through FAST. On top of FAST we also have a list of 50 Kindergarten sight words and when they are in first grade they work on Bedrock Sightwords. So, I took from all of them and came up with our 60 sightwords that I want them to know/be exposed to by the end of the year. We call these our Rainbow Words. You can choose any set of words to use and determine how many will be in each color depending on your group.

I post these on my whiteboard. I debated whether or not to show this two ways. The first way, which I decided on using, was to have all the words up on the whiteboard from the beginning. This way they can see them when they are reading and writing and use it as a resource. The second way I thought about using the rainbow words was to have the outline with dry erase marker on the board already and then put up the words that all the kids were proficient in to grow our rainbow and watch our learning progress. Since I have a small number of students the second way would work for me. I ultimately decided on using them the first way I described because I teach 5 different small groups a day and each group is at their own place with learning sight words. I would have to constantly change the board between groups and that is just not possible some days (ok most days).

I introduce 5 new words a week and test sight words every other school week (according to IEPs). I found something online years ago that I try to follow when teaching sight words. It was called sight word soup. First, introduce the word in isolation and then by the end of the week they are reading and writing the words in context. This is how my overall week looks like with sight words. I aim to make these activities take about 5 minutes.

Monday- Introduce 5 new words (try not to make them to similar so they are not confused). First we look at each word individually and look for any known parts/sounds. We spell the word and use some sort of manipulative to create each word (play dough, salt, rainbow writing, wikki stix, etc…). I then write them in a little book (mini composition books) for my students to practice throughout the week.

Tuesday- We play a sight word game like Go Fish, Memory, Guess the Word (like hangman). I use all of the weekly words and then some past words that students may not be solid in yet.

Wednesday- I use sentence strips to write a sentence using each of our weekly words. I try to incorporate words that they have already learned so they are not spending the entire time trying to decode other words.

Thursday- As a group we create our own sentences using each word. We then use interactive writing to write our sentences together, highlighting our weekly words.

Friday- I have the kids write their own sentences using the weekly words.


In addition to this we practice reading all the rainbow words that we have learned at the beginning of group.

Below is how I keep track of student data. Each student has a rainbow that they get to color when they know the sight word. I put a library pocket in the center and created a little brag tag for each group of colored rainbow words that they receive when they know all the sight words in that color block. This helps me see which word they are still struggling with and which ines they know. 

Handwriting without tears foam letters



Fiction Story Retelling Anchor Charts



We have really been working on fiction vs. non-fiction in kindergarten since we got back from Winter break. These are the anchor charts I created for fiction. I got the clipart a couple years ago on TPT if I am not mistaken. It is for the story retelling rope but I decided to use them in this way this year. I think it is really helping the kids understand the story retelling process.


Letter Identification/Letter Sounds Bingo Dauber Activity

Letter Identification and Letter Sounds Bingo Dauber Activities

Since some of my students struggle with letter identification still I decided to create this bingo dauber activity packet. You can get it here. I introduced them during small group and then put them at the independent workstation for them to do in reading rotations. I have let them use bingo markers but usually I just let them use dry erase markers to fill in the circle. This is nice because then at the end of their independent time I can quickly glance at the cards to see if they were understanding the task or if we need to still work more on certain letters/sounds during our phonemic/phonological time in our lesson plan.


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.


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.

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.

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