Tuesday, February 17, 2015

House of Sounds

Check this out!
It's called House of Sounds and it is so much fun.
It's made by Lakeshore, one of my favorite companies to get educational materials for my classroom.

Lakeshore asked me to try House of Sounds in my classroom and write a review for it on my blog. Needless to say, House of Sounds quickly became an integral part of my daily routine in my kindergarten classroom.

House of Sounds is exactly that! 
A house! 
With doors that open and shut!
I am a huge fan of anything children can manipulate because it keeps them engaged and happy.

Here is a view of all 4 sides of this adorable house.

Here is how I use it...

I use House of Sounds during my whole group reading instruction. I have the house sitting on the table and my students are sitting on the carpet. I call one child at a time to open a door, reach inside, and choose an item (without peeking!) 

They hold up the item.
Say the the name of it.
Segment the sounds.
And then blend them back together.

For the rhyming door, my students choose an item, say the word and then give a word that rhymes with it. Then, they call on a few other students to supply a rhyming word, as well.

It'a a whole lot of phonemic awareness practice, packed into a very short period of time. I actually have a checklist that I use each day to check off who has had a turn to make sure everyone gets an equal amount of turns. I had to, because they ALL want a turn. Every single day!

Look! The roof even opens for easy access into the house!
There are 30 fun toys inside. You can even add your own items!

House of Sounds has made my daily phonemic practice so much more exciting and engaging for both me and my students.

Click here for a coupon to Lakeshore, good through March 31, 2015.
It's 20% off any single non-sale item.

I highly recommend House of Sounds for your classroom too!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kindergarten Stations (Pictures and Links Included)

I get asked a lot of questions about station time in my classroom. 
What does station time look like? 
What stations do you have? 
What do the children do at each station? 
How do your students know which station to go to?

This blog post should answer these questions and more. It's long, it's got lots of pictures, and lots of links to the activities I use. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the LONG read!

Station time is my favorite time of the day! I change how I run stations pretty much every year because I am always evolving. I get bored of the old way, figure out a new way, and so on, and so on. When you've been teaching for 20 years, you gotta change it up and keep it fresh. At least I do!

I think I love my station procedures the best this year. 
But, then again, I'm pretty sure I say that every year! LOL!

I teach kindergarten and first grade reading/writing, but this post will just be about kindergarten. I have 18 students and I have 5 stations, so each group has 3 or 4 students. I have 2 top groups and the other 3 groups are a mix of on-level and below level students. I did this so that my below level students will benefit from the wisdom of my on-level students.

These are my 5 stations...

My teacher station is where I meet with small groups. We practice our sight words, phonological/phonemic awareness skills, read leveled readers, and work on writing. I meet with 2 groups Monday/Wednesday and 3 groups Tuesday/Thursday. On Friday, I pull students who need me the most. I use these reading comprehension stories a lot!

At the phonics station, the children use open-ended, hands-on activities, activity sheets, and interactive notebook activities.

Here, you see my students enjoying CVC Clip It Cards. There are 100 of them and it comes with an answer key, so this activity is very independent. 

In addition to these cards, my students also work on activities from my 
Ultimate CVC Pack.

These activity cards are also a big part of my phonics station!

My students really enjoy these sight word mats. They build the words, write the words, and write sentences, as well. Sometimes, they write a sentence and forget to use one of the words on the mat, but that's okay with me!

There are so many different ways to use these mats. My students choose the materials they want to use. Dry erase markers, letter tiles, letter beads, or alphabet magnets. They also practice writing their words on white boards or paper. I have lots of sight words books that I put out at the station also. You can find some of them here, here, and here. Using play-doh to help practice sight words is always a big hit. I also use these fluency sentences, sentence puzzles, sight word searchesdice activities, bingo games, reproducibles and sight word games. Having all of these activities on hand, means I never have to scramble to set up stations.
My budding writers have lots of opportunities to practice writing letters, words, and sentences. In this photo, my students are writing color words.

This fun activity comes from my top seller, Writing Station Activities for Young Learners. This pack is loaded with writing activities that kindergarten and first grade students can work on independently. Writing the Room is always tons of fun too. I didn't snap any pictures, but my students did this color words write the room FREEBIE when they finished I Can Write Color Words. At my writing station, I also use these sentence writing bookletswrite the room activities, labeling sheets, and writing station activities.

My students thoroughly enjoy visiting the library. Relaxing with a good book is always tons of fun!

My students use these cards during station time. After a few days of using them, they were able to switch to their next station without help from me. I have cards for Monday/Wednesday and cards for Tuesday/Thursday.

Station time is my favorite time of the day because the children are always eager to head off to their station and work collaboratively with the children in their group. 

And I get to be the GUIDE ON THE SIDE!

Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard