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Beginning Consonant Blends

After your students have learned to read short vowel words, it is time to work on beginning blends.  Most beginning blends fall into one of three categories: l blends, r blends, and s blends. Work on one type of blends at a time.  I have always thought s blends are the easiest for students to master first, then l blends, with r blends being last.  Spend at least a week teaching each type of blend.
These are the most common beginning blends.  I created these by using my hot glue gun to glue magnetic letters together.

Here are some activity and center ideas for working on blends:
1. Reading and sorting words by beginning blend.
Here is another activity center idea for sorting.  By changing how the sort looks, it feels like a different activity to the children.  You can find the sorting cards here.

2.  Building blend words with onsets (the blend) and rimes.  

 You can download the cards here for free.  Print the blends in one color, and the rimes in a different color.  Students can use the cards to build and read real (and nonsense) words.  This works great as a table top activity during guided reading or intervention time.  
I created these mats with some word family sticky notes I found several years ago. 

This set makes a great center.  Students add blends with magnetic letters, letter cards, or dry-erase markers.  Click here to see this set in my TPT store.
3. Bingo type games are always fun!  In this version students draw a picture card, and find the matching word on their mats.  You can find it here.

4.Write and Wipe mats
 These mats make a great center or independent activity.  Place them in a write and wipe pocket, sheet protector, or laminate them. Students write the beginning blends.  You can find it here.
5. Roll and Read is another fun center idea.  Students roll the dice and find a word with the beginning blend.  If they can read the word they add it to their pile.  You can find it here.  

6.  Worksheets
Students read, write, sort and glue the words into the correct column. You can find them here.

Want all of the activities?  They are available in a bundle in my TPT store. 
 You can find the bundle here.
I hope this has helped you to think of some fun ideas and centers for beginning blends!

Math Mats for First Grade

I love the versatility of dry erase pockets! They are great for so many reasons; they are easy to prepare, easy to clean, durable, and students LOVE them!  They are great to use for checking for understanding and guided practice.  Students can hold them up like dry erase boards to quickly show you their work.

Today I wanted to share a few of the First Grade Math Mats I created to use in dry erase pockets. They are great for whole group and small group instruction.  Once the mats are introduced, they also make a great independent center!

Add some simple math manipulatives and you are ready to go!  In this activity, students use dominoes to work on the Commutative Property of addition (aka Turn-Around Facts).  Students place the domino in the first spot, write the fact, flip the domino, and write the turn-around fact.  You can walk around the room while students are working to quickly check their understanding of the activity.  When students complete the mat, they erase it, grab another domino, and keep going!  That is one of the great things about this mat, there is no "I'm finished!"  The exact same activity is perfect for centers!!!

With this mat, students record all the ways to Make Ten.  All you need are two-sided counters.  Students flip counters and record the different combinations.  
Use cubes to work on doubles.  You can orally give the students a double to build with the cubes.  Then they record the doubles fact.  At a center, students can build and record different doubles, you could provide doubles flash cards, or they can make their own doubles.

Students can put the "Fact-Family" in their house.  Give students three numbers in a family to record at the top (triangle flash cards work perfect for this!).  Then students write all four facts in the family.  When they complete one fact family, they can grab another flash card and do another!  

Or you can use dominoes for the family!  
Students can practice their place value skills with this mat.  Give students a number to build with place value blocks.  They also record the number in tens and ones. When you are ready to move from the concrete to the representational stage of understanding, students can color the number with their dry erase markers on the mats.  

Students can also compare two numbers using place value!  All you need are number cards to make a quick center.

Give students a time to record in digital form, then have them draw the hands on the clock.  Add a set of digital time cards and you have a center ready to go!

Use dice to work on adding three numbers.  Have students who are working at different levels?  Add dice with larger numbers for easy differentiation!  Another activity students can play for extended periods of time!

These are just a few of my favorites!  You can check out all of my First Grade Math Mats in my TPT store!

February Writing Freebie

I wanted to share a fun February writing freebie I have in my TPT store.  It is a February set of my "Let's Write!" series.
You can head here to download this set.
These writing pages can be used in SO many ways in your classroom.  

They work great for morning work because the consistent format lets students get started right away without needing instructions.  
They also work great at a writing center.  I focus on students starting their sentences with capital letters and ending their sentences with punctuation.
The Abe Lincoln and George Washington sheets could be used as part of a Social Studies lesson.
Seven sheets are included: three Valentine's sheets, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Groundhog's Day, and We Love Mail.
I hope you enjoy this freebie!  
You can head here to download this set.  
Happy February!

United States Symbols Lapbook

An interactive lapbook is a fun way to teach about United States Symbols. I recommend teaching one symbol each day.  Start with a book, video, or internet resource to teach about the individual symbol.  I love using the website PebbleGo, if your school has a subscription.
Click here to see the lapbook in my TPT store.

Here are the individual projects:
Students fold and glue to create the front cover of the lapbook.

The Bald Eagle


The Statue of Liberty

The United States Flag

 The Lincoln Memorial

 The Washington Monument

The Liberty Bell

and Mount Rushmore

My favorite project is the map.  Students draw lines to connect the projects to where they are located in the United States.  It helps students to see how many of our United States Symbols are located in Washington, D.C.
Click here to grab the lapbook in my TPT store.

Close Reading for Winter- Paired Texts

Today I wanted to share with you one of my Paired Text Units.  This unit is perfect for coming back to school in January.  It is for the books Animals In Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
I really enjoy pairing a fiction and non-fiction books on similar topics.  It is a great way to be sure and get a 50/50 balance of narrative and expository texts.  It is fun for students, and a great way to introduce close-reading to beginning readers.

In Animals In Winter the authors explore the different ways animals survive in the winter such as hibernating, migrating, storing food, and no special adaptations.  It explores two or more animals that fit each category.  The text has amazing illustrations.   
A "pre-write" of what students already know on the topic is a great way to begin.  I have included themed paper in the unit, but you could also have students write this in their journal, or on plain paper. Next, read aloud the story and give students some time to discuss what they learned with partners or small groups.
The next day introduce the vocabulary: migrate, hibernate, gather food, and nothing. (The set has these great little cards ready to print with the vocabulary and a definition.)  As you read, have students listen for the different animals, and which category they fit into.  Then you are ready to sort the animal picture cards.  You can create an anchor chart or use a pocket chart to sort.  
There is also a student sheet, for students to cut and sort the animals into the categories. 
 Read the story several times throughout the week.  Students should now be ready to work on Main Idea/Details.  The sheet has the main idea already listed for students to scaffold their learning.  I have also included pictures of some of the animals by each bubble.  This supports students in remembering details from the text.
The last activity for this story is a close study of a diagram.  I have included a questioning guide to help you lead this activity. 
After the discussion, students complete three facts they learned about woodchucks from the diagram.

In the classic story The Snowy Day we follow along with a little boy named Peter and his adventures in the snow.  This book won the Caldecott Medal for the illustrations, which are very unique, and an important part of telling the story.
A questioning guide is included to guide your discussion for both a first, and second reading of the text. Click here to download the first days questioning guide.
The second reading focuses on noticing the illustrations and how they help to tell the story.
A story map is included.
Students think more deeply about the character Peter by exploring what he thought, saw, and did with his hands and feet.

Students also compare themselves to Peter by thinking about what they like to do on a snowy day.

Want to learn more about this set?  Click here.
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