My First "Back to School" Purchases for My New First Graders!

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Welcome! I hope to use this blog to share some of the amazing things my class and school does to make learning fun! I have been teaching for 15 years already! I started teaching 3rd grade in a Parochial School, then I was hired to teach 1st grade for three years, was moved to 5th grade for 2 years, and then came back to 1st grade in the district where I attended school. I love that I'm able to give back the the school district that guided me to become the teacher I am today! I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, certified 1-8; a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction; and my Administrator License Pre-K-12.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Well, hello again...finally!

I'm blowing off the dust again on this little blog!  

Geesh!  What a year!  Like a GREAT year!  I had a super group of kiddos and got to teach with 2 amazing teachers and their students.  We departmentalized this past year again and it was a really good thing for our children.  Unfortunately we won't be able to departmentalize next year for a few reasons and I'm okay with that, but I'm already busy planning for next year.  I've been the Reading/Writing teacher for the past two years so I need to brush up on Math, Science and Social Studies for my first graders.

Our school used Fundations this year in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Second grade will start it this coming year.  The program was originally presented to us as a scripted program that you read directly from the manual to teach your class.  I am so not a scripted teacher...and I believe that there's not just one way to teach children as they aren't little robots either but...a year in and a few sessions and words of encouragement from a representative from Fundations, I feel a little more comfortable entering our second year in Fundations and tweaking it a little bit as needed.  

A few things I learned...

1. My children who didn't receive Fundations in Kindergarten were behind the 8-ball from day one.  I really think that there should be an intensive Kindergarten Review for those who didn't have Fundations prior to first grade.  There was a huge discrepancy in ability right from the get-go.

2. Some of the children who were new to our district and didn't have Fundations in Kindergarten at their previous school qualified for Title I/Special Reading.  They received a second dose of Fundations daily in a small group setting which helped, but by the end of the year, they were still the ones who were struggling.  Again, they made progress through the year but it wasn't enough to make them confident readers.

3. I wish there was a handwriting component for the first grade version of Fundations.  I feel like my new first graders (who had Fundations the previous year) came to me with impressive handwriting, but as the year continued, it regressed.

4. I wish there was a little more practice with the words introduced.  All of the words were on our word wall and in their notebooks, but I would still see them struggle reading and spelling them in their daily work.

5. The pace (as scripted in the manual) didn't meet the needs of all of my children.  My top readers had a hard time staying on task during the lessons because they were ready for more.  I also feel that the words learned weren't as intensive as years past.

So...I created a few packets to go along with Fundations this year and thought I'd share them with you.  I plan on using them with everyone at the beginning of the year but as the year continues, I might use them to help differentiate with my struggling students.  I've linked all of the the titles to the units in my TPT shop.

We'll be using these all year to hopefully keep our handwriting neat and tidy.

Each day a new Word of the Day or Trick Word is introduced, we'll use the complementing page from this packet for further practice.

This packet includes word cards for each unit as well as a small assessment piece.  The word cards will be copied and sent home for extra practice throughout the year and the assessment piece will be used to help me document who is mastering the words and who is struggling.

If only I could learn how to code...I could develop a quality tech component to Fundations!  I would love some apps or software that would offer a "Fundations focused" practice for my children.

So, that's what I've been up to since school let out!  Hope your summers are off to a great start!

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