The toughest part about Guided Reading is always asking myself "Okay, so what am I going to do at my teacher table during Guided Reading?" I'm not a huge fan of worksheets during this time, so I've come up with a few worksheet free ideas to help your little readers master inflectional endings. 

Fold and Read Flashcards

I should start by saying I am by no means a Guided Reading expert. Any tips that I have are things I have picked up over the last few years from workshops, books etc. With that said, one of the things that I heard over and over is that in order for students to really master any phonics skill, they need to be identifying those words in a text that is on their level. 

To do this, I have students read the entire text at least one time on their own in a whisper read while I go around and listen/help students decode tough words. (Students who finish early keep re-reading until we are ready for our phonics activity.) 

When we are all ready, I have students identify words in their text that have inflectional endings. Once they find a word, they write the word on a flashcard. Then students fold their flashcard where the base word and the ending meet. 

I model for the students how to say the base word on its own, then open the card and read the base word with the ending. My goal is that students are able to visualize this same concept when they are independently reading.

When we are done writing and reading our flashcards, each student gets their own ziploc bag to store them in. I keep the flashcards for one to two weeks for extra practice after the students finish reading their books. When we are done with them at school, I send them home for extra practice at home. Plus, the kids are always so proud to take them home and show their parents what they made at school.

Four Box Sort

Once the students are really comfortable identifying and reading words with inflectional endings, you can assess what they have learned with a simple piece of scratch paper. I show the students how to split the paper into four boxes and show them which headings to write. Then, students have to read through their text to find and write all of the inflectional ending words. This is such an easy and simple way to assess if your students have mastered this skill or not. To increase the rigor, you can simply give them scratch paper and have them create their own way to organize their words. 

Post-it Note "Surgery" 

This is another super easy activity where we start with one post it note where we write our base word. We talk about what the word looks like, means and how to use it. Then, we add a second post it note with the inflectional ending. We talk about what the word looks like now, what it means and how to use it with the new ending. 

What I like best about this activity is that it provides the perfect opportunity to talk about how to "chunk" words with inflectional endings while students are reading these words in a text. By using the two different colors, students are able to visually see how/where to chunk the word. 

Need more fluency strategies?

Check this post out: 

Need more Guided Reading ideas?

Check these out: 

If you are anything like me, you have a hard time fitting ALL of the daily curriculum we are expected to teach into one school day. When I'm running short on time, read alouds are usually the first thing to go. At least they used to be. Here are some reasons why I've made read alouds a priority in my classroom and you should to!

Benefits of Read Alouds

#1: Comprehension Skills

Okay, so this isn't really news. When you read a book to your class and show them how to stop and think, you are building comprehension skills. When you stop and ask your class to predict, analyze a character or describe the plot, you are building comprehension skills. Not news, but it doesn't make it any less important. No two books are alike so every book you read to your class offers you an opportunity to building comprehension skills in a different way. Take advantage of those worksheet free opportunities!!

#2: Time for a Break

A class read aloud is a GREAT way to break up a big reading block! Our current schedule allow us for two solid hours of ELAR based activities. This is GREAT!! BUT, when you have 6 years olds with a 6 minutes attention span (if you're lucky), then you need a way to break up those big chunks of time! Give yourself and your students a break by pulling out a book for story time!

#3: Lead into Guided Reading

Modeling how to read when reading a book is a great opportunity to set your class up for guided reading rotations. It shows students how to behave when reading to themselves or reading with someone. Talk about how much you LOVE to read new books and how COOL it is to go back and look at books you've already read before.

Teacher tip: Set up a "Class Read Alouds" basket in your classroom library! Why??  It's a great resource for students to use to find books that they are already familiar with and already know that they like. It is especially great for those students who might struggle a little bit, but can retell a story they have already heard using the picture cues.

#4 Introduce Students to New Authors

As adults, we trust books by authors that we already know and trust. As teachers we do the same. We know the favorites: Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Jan Brett, David Shannon, Syd Hoff, and so on. Students are never to young to start making connections to their favorite authors too! Let students know what other books to look for if they liked today's read aloud. You can even take it a step further and dedicate an entire week worth of read alouds to one author. Spiral back around to those comprehension skills and compare and contrast the characters and plots. So many possibilities!! 

Teacher tip: Show students pictures of the author! Sometimes students don't realize that authors are real people just like them!!

#5 Fluency and Vocabulary

I saved the best, and most important for last!! Hearing fluent reading is one of the best ways for students to build fluency and vocabulary!! Research shows that students who come from homes where their parents read to them frequently have much higher vocabularies than students who do not. As teachers, we need to step in an fill the gap. Read alouds are the best wayto bridge this gap because books often use vocabulary we would not use in our everyday language. By reading to your kids, you are setting them up for greater success!!

Read Aloud Responses

Looking for activities and responses to go with your class read alouds? Check these out: 

Find New Read Alouds

What are some of your Reasons for Read Alouds??

If you are a teacher, then you know there is no kind of tired like back to school tired. Well I'm here to share a few tips for making your teacher life a little easier! 

Tip #1 Pre-Make supply Boxes

It happens every year. There is always at least one student who shows up the first day of school without any school supplies. Save some precious first day of school minutes by pre-making several supply boxes that will be easy to grab and give to students who need them. 

Tip # 2 Nametag Cheat Sheets

I've been using this one for years. I use small velcro dots to attach my student name tags to their desk. I attach these cheat sheets to the back before I laminate them so that students can easily access how to correctly spell number words throughout the year. 

>>>Get it FREE here<<<

Tip #3 Boo-Boo Basket

This is a new addition to my classroom this year. I wanted something that would be easy for myself and other teachers (substitutes) to find. I saw this amazingly cute idea on Instagram one day and decided this was exactly what I needed! One dollar store basket and cute label later, I was done!

Tip #4 Calendar numbers... They're not just for your calendar

A few years ago, I started using number labels for several things in my classroom rather than re-making student name labels over and over. I realized that calendar numbers were PERFECT for labeling things because I only needed numbers 1-22, and calendar numbers come in sets up to 31! My favorite place to use them is in my students' backpack cubbies!

Tip #5 Student Names on Word Wall from Day 1

We've all been there... "Mrs. Sullins, how do you spell ______'s name?". Now, I put my students' names on my word wall from day one. Not only does it help other students spell, but it also gives students a little more ownership of the room from the very first time they walk in the door. An added bonus is being able to use the word wall as a graph and compare which letters have the most names, how many more b's than e's, etc. 

>>>Get my Word Wall Letters here<<<

Tip #6 Put Student Numbers on Markers

Like I mentioned earlier, I started using student numbers for several things in my classroom. One thing in particular is writing students' numbers on their markers. It is a little time consuming at first, but it saves so much time later on. When we find a blue marker rolling around on the floor, all we have to do is look at the number and know who it belongs to. I also write their number on the ziploc bag we use to store our markers in. 

Tip #7 Teacher Magnets

I make teacher magnets for my families every year and send them home on Meet the Teacher night. It's nothing fancy. I print my design, laminate it and attach a small piece of magnetic tape on the back. My favorite feature of these magnets is our lunch time so that parents can easily find what time they can come eat with their student!

>>>Get the template FREE  here<<<

I hope you've enjoyed my 7 tips for Back to School!! What's your favorite back to school tip?

Welcome back!! A lot has happened since my last post! My husband and I welcomed our sweet baby boy into the world on June 29, 2016. He was 7 lbs 13 oz and 19 inches long, and I may be biased but he is the world's cutest and best baby ever. To put it simply, he has changed our world forever. 

Classroom Reveal 2016

So I am still on maternity leave for one more precious week. I went back to work part time the week before started to get my classroom ready for my substitute. I thought I'd share a sneak peek with everyone! Here it goes...

Welcome to Camp Sullins

One of my best friends and coworkers suggested that we do a camping theme this year outside our classrooms. I have to say it turned out AMAZING! Here's a peek at our little camping corner: 

Inside Our Classroom

I learned a little trick for my Birthdays board last year. Instead of having students hold signs with their number on it (which can get a little chaotic), I simply print Avery 5160 mailing labels with their numbers on it. I can the labels and stick them to the picture. MUCH EASIER and still looks really cute. 

The "Boo-Boo Basket" is a new addition this year that I saw on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea!! I really liked it would be easy for substitute teachers to find during your typical "I need a bandaid crisis".

My "Write On!" wall is also new this year! I got the idea from Easy Teaching Tools. She provides a great tutorial on how she made her wall. It was super easy and the best part is that you can simply take the folder off of the wall at the end of the year and the students' writing portfolios are already made!! TEACHER WIN! 

I made these word wall cards last year and absolutely LOVE them. I made them to match my wooden/rustic theme (I'm a fixer upper fanatic, if they had shiplap themed teacher materials I would be all over that). I recently posted them in my TPT store at the request of a fellow teacher. 

You can get them {here}. 

That's all for now. I hope everyone has an amazing school year full of fun, laughter and lots of LOVE!

P.S. Looking for some great back to school resources?? Check out my best seller: 
Get it {here}.

There is no tired like end of year teacher tired!! Unless you are eight months pregnant like I was, then it adds a whole new edge!! Nevertheless, the last week of school is one of my favorite weeks because our sweet little kiddos get to be just what they should be... KIDS!! Keep reading to see how I set up a week of camp inspired activities to help my little ones gear up for summer.

Camp Inspired Stations

This was by far the easiest station to create! I had originally planned to set out sleeping bags for the kids to lay on, but my husband forgot to pick them up from the farm house, SO... I improvised with these stadium seats! They ended up working WAY better! The kids loved them and they were easy to set out/clean up. 

Next up, we have the sign making station. All I had to do was simply draw the letters and campfire with a black marker and sign my name as an example. The students took over the rest. It was such a great "team" building activity to wrap up the year. Parents also loved seeing it at our end of year party and it ended up serving as a backdrop for many of their pictures!

Another simple, yet super fun station activity was building 3D shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks. I bought two bags of the small marshmallows and two small boxes of toothpicks which cost me less than $4. I used one bag of marshmallows per day. A little advice, don't try to save the marshmallows for the next day, they will be way too icky!!

This was an easy prep station and strangely something that most first graders have never done.. map making. I made an example and set it up on an easel for the kids to use as a guide. Many of them made something similar to mine, but many took it in a whole new direction which was really neat to see! It really inspired their creative juices!

I really thought this station might only be liked by the girls, but the boys absolutely loved it also! I bought a tub of 1,500 beads for around $5 and we had PLENTY left over after every student had visited this station twice. The best advice I can give you is to use the elastic string. I tried using embroidery string first and it was an absolutely NIGHTMARE! Do not use anything where the strands might come apart. It was really hard for the students to get beads on the string. The elastic string worked MUCH better!

Cup building is always a favorite with my students. You can buy 100 styrofoam cups for less than $2.  You can challenge them to see who can make the tallest, widest and most creative structures! This station seems simple enough, but it actually takes a lot of skill and balance to try and get all 100 cups stacked on top of one another without them falling! I would even see students at other stations watching them and cheering on the cup builders!

How To Eat a Worm Writing

This is something that I do EVERY YEAR! I always start out by showing them the paper with the title "How to Eat a Worm", then ask them "Who wants to eat a worm with me?". Every year, without fail, the students gag and say "eww", and one year I even had a student cry (poor thing).

 The first thing we do is brainstorm ideas together on what steps it would take for you to eat a worm. This year we used notecards and a pocket chart. We also added some adjectives to describe a worm that we could use in our writing. Then, I have the students write out the steps on their own papers. As they finish, I read their writing and hand them a gummy worm to take their picture with.

I print the pictures out on our black and white printer at school (I know, not as much fun as color, but WAY faster than having real photos developed). The students glue on their picture and enjoy their gummy worm treat!

Get my "How to Eat a Worm" writing page FREE, simply sign up below!

How to Eat a Worm

* indicates required

Camping Freebies

My camping week would not have been possible if it weren't for the generosity of other TPT sellers and their freebies! Here are a few our favorites that were also included in our stations: 

More End of Year Ideas

For more end of year and camp inspired ideas, follow my May Teaching Ideas board here:

Back to Top