Phonics & Sight Word Practice That Builds Confidence


Hi Peeps!
I love incorporating phonics and sight word practice with chunky monkey. This phonics strategy is awesome for beginning readers.

It is important, however, for beginning readers to address the strategies in realistic situations as well as in isolation.

In 7 Key Components to Effective and Engaging Instruction I stressed the importance of working on both phonics and sight words in independent and guided practice. This incorporates rigor, builds mastery, and improves fluency.

It is essential that students build confidence in working independently with phonic and sight word skills. One of the best ways to do that is by incorporating these important reading skills in as many things as possible.

I often have my students highlight or circle phonic chunks as well as the sight words we are studying for the week in worksheets and readings that we do throughout the week. Students notice the chunks of focus are not found in isolation. They are in every day text.

THIS is common core. Real life application. Understanding new learning in the context of where it is found in the real world.

Read More about how your kiddos can deepen their understanding, fluency and reading confidence.




Whale of a Time


Hi blog hoppers!

I wanted to quickly stop by and let you know that I have been having a 'whale of a time' recently, completely and utterly inspired by some sketches I've been doing and books we have been reading here at home.

My little boy Sam (he's in Kindergarten) has just hit his sweet-spot in reading and literally cannot stop pulling books from our shelves. He has also started drawing All. The. Things. But I will save that for another post!

If you have missed some of the whale resources I have shared recently, be sure to pop over and get them today.


When, why and how to teach children about whales?

Besides being awfully cute and engaging, whales make a perfect stimulus for many learning activities in the classroom:
  • learning the consonant digraph 'wh'
  • learning to write animal information reports (there are loads of interesting and awesome facts about whales to research)
  • responding to literature (there are a plethora of beautiful texts featuring whales)
  • learning about our world and environment in science (children on the east coast of Australia may be currently witnessing whales and their calves in the ocean and at the beach - use this as a springboard for learning about these fascinating creatures)
  • looking at photos and pictures of whales and their habitat to inspire some lovely expressive artworks
Please stop by my blog to find these goodies, I would love to share them with you. I look forward to sharing some more ideas with you next week. 

- Mel (From the Pond)


Ready to Organize Your Writing Folders? Free file!

Are you looking for ways to organize your student writing folders?  I have a PLAN for YOU!

Writing Folder Organization FREE labels for your early primary writers' workshop students. This blog post will give you ideas on how to create writing folders for your classroom. Great for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade!

Many years ago I had made writing folders for my older students.  The other day, when I was "cleaning" out my catch-all drawer, I stumbled across them again.  SO, I cleaned them up and made a free file!  SWEET!  These are GREAT for any grade level!

Swing by my blog to read more!

You can read more by clicking: WRITING FOLDER Organization FREE FILE!

The First Few Days of School in Kindergarten

Are you ready for the first few days of school?  I have shared some of my activity ideas to get your year off to a great start.
First few days of school can make even a seasoned kindergarten teacher nervous. Let me show you how our week looks. Center ideas and a fun name poem too! Free Handwriting download too!

You can read more by clicking:   The First Few Days of School

Back to School Essentials

Hi Peeps!
Are you approaching "back-to-school" mode? I'm in it full-swing over here in my neck of the woods. My school year starts up in just a couple short weeks!

I wanted to share with you some essential ideas and tools that I use each and every year to make heading back to school a little easier.

From management, parent communication, establishing behavior routines and expectations through curriculum and planning musts, to first weeks' essentials - I'm yapping about it all!


Hop on over to my post and grab some ideas for Back to School Essentials!