Sunday, March 28, 2021

Spring Bundles Giveaway!

My friends,  I am on Spring Break! WOOHOO!!!. I am also now fully vaccinated! I am a very happy camper.

To celebrate, I am holding a Spring Giveaway!


I made 2 different bundles, one of my Spring ELA Boom Cards and one of my Spring ELA Google Slides.
Both include:
1. Spring Syllables
2. Spring Ending Punctuation
3. Color By Code Sight Words #1
4. Color By Code Sight Words #2
5. Color By Code Sight Words #3

You can earn an entry for each of the following:

1. Become a follower of my TpT store (green star). Leave me a comment with your TpT name.

2. Share this giveaway on social media. Leave me a comment to tell me where. (Entry for each)

3. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter  and/or my blog. (Entry for each)

I will pick a winner for each bundle on the last day of my Spring Break, April 4th! 

If you are looking for something for this week, my Easter Writing and Craft makes for a fun writing assignment and a cute bulletin board! 

I hope you have an amazing week! 


Saturday, March 27, 2021


Does your school celebrate Earth Day? When I worked at an environmental science magnet we did it up really big with songs, poem recitations, visiting other classrooms to see their projects. I really miss those days. I guess big Earth Day events are also a casualty of this crazy year.

But we can still learn about Earth Day however we can. So I made an Earth Day Syllable worksheet for you. Coloring this printable in was soooo relaxing. Seriously, I forgot what a nice stress reliever it can be! 

I also have corresponding digital task cards for Earth Day Syllables as Boom Cards or Google Slides. So one idea might be to assign the task card version as independent practice in Covid-safe literacy centers or distance learning and then assign this free worksheet as an assessment afterward. 

I also made this into an Easel by TpT activity by adding circles that can be dragged onto the correct number. You could also change it to using the digital highlighter, if you'd rather. Have you tried Easel yet? I'd love to hear from anyone who has.

Here is the link to grab the FREEBIE in my TpT store. Don't forget to follow me (green star) so you don't miss when I post new items when they are 25% off the first 24 hours.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Retiring 2 Vowels Go Walking

Do you use the "two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking" rhyme in your classroom?  It must be a solid strategy because the PBS show Between the Lions and Jack Hartmann both have songs about it, right?

Well, I used this catchy rhyme too until I found out it is wrong about 60% of the time! I was lucky enough to get more in-depth phonics/spelling training that made a huge impact on my teaching. Does your school have a professional development fund? If not, I'm happy to pass on what I know, if you are interested.

I follow Christina (the Reading Interventionist on Instagram) and she posted this week about retiring this saying.  I completely agree and told her I would post about this also in solidarity. Apparently many teachers have questions about what to teach instead. 

My school focuses on learning all the sounds the phonograms make. So when my students struggle to read a word, I say, "Do you see a phonogram? What sounds does it make?" 

We teach the sounds in the order of frequency. So for example, if the student is struggling with the vowel team in the word "steak" s/he would identify  "ea" as the phonogram. The sounds in order of use are ē as in eat, ĕ as in head, ā as in break. This student would try the sounds and determine it is the 3rd one. So the "two vowels" rhyme would have let her/him down but armed with the knowledge of the phonogram sounds,  the student can successfully decode the word.  

This is why it is called the science of reading. There are rules and explanations that I wish I had known earlier. And young children CAN learn them. You know as well as I do that kids thrive on structure and rules. It gives them a sense of control and instead of feeling overwhelmed they have a specific procedure to help them figure those challenging words out.

I realized my best selling resource Decoding Strategies: A Quick-Reference Guide for Parents & Guided Reading, has the two vowels rhyme in it so I updated it to add a version more in line with the example above. 

If your students could use some practice reading words with the 3 sounds -ed can make, I have a new set of Boom cards or Google Slides you might like. Inflectional endings can be hard for some students.

So what do you think? Ready to retire the "two vowels go walking" rhyme? 


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Why Teach Counting Syllables?

 I'll be honest, when I was a younger teacher, I didn't really know why teaching about syllables was important. Whole Language was all the rage when I was in college so it wasn't until much later that I finally got the training in phonics instruction that led to many light bulb moments for me.

So why do we count (or clap or tap) syllables?

Once children can break a word into its syllables, they can be taught some nifty reading and spelling rules! It takes the guess work out and many children feel comforted to have "rules" to help them. I tell them we are word detectives and if we look closely at the clues, we can solve the mystery!

Step 1 Break the word into syllables. 

Teach that every syllable has a vowel. I've found that some children find it helpful to put their hand under their chin. Each time their jaw drops is a syllable.

Step 2 Teach the types of syllables.

  1. A closed syllable ends in a consonant. The vowel has a short vowel sound, as in the word cat.
  2. An open syllable ends in a vowel. The vowel has a long vowel sound, as in the first syllable of open.

It is helpful to use a door analogy.  The consonant is closing the vowel in, keeping it short. If the door is left open the vowel says its long sound. I make up a story about a little sister who will sing at the top of her lungs if her brother doesn't shut the door. I can be quite dramatic and demonstrate my awesome opera voice. We practice with words such as me, baby, music, etc. and I let the class use their opera voices, too. Don't you want to be my neighbor? :-)

There are 4 more syllable types (or 5 depending on which program you follow) but I think I will stop here for today. Can you see, even with just teaching open and closed syllables, how it will help your students have a better idea how to read and spell?

Here is a FREE spring-themed syllable sheet to help you practice step 1. 

I think I may need to make more of these because I found coloring them in for this picture SO relaxing!!

 I also made it a TpT Easel activity in case you want to give that a try. I made draggable circles your students can drop on the correct number or you could have them use the highlighter instead. 

Click HERE to grab your freebie.

If you are looking for more practice with counting syllables, I have interactive Boom Cards and Google Slides available. 

I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Do you teach syllable types? Do you teach 6 or 7? Have you tried Easel by TpT with your class yet?


Friday, March 5, 2021

March ELA & Math Bundles

Are you still distance learning or trying to manage a remote cohort? Need your in-person students to have engaging activities but not share materials? I hear you.

I have put together a Google Bundle and a Boom bundle for March. They both have 7 decks with 4 ELA and 3 math but they are a little different.  

I hope you find something in my store that makes your teaching a little easier this year.

Did you know if you buy an individual product and later decide to buy the bundle, TpT will reimburse your original charge? 


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Flashlight Math!

Have you seen those cool flashlight or I spy games on Boom Learning but wish they targeted academic skills your students need to practice? I was determined to figure out and I am feeling pretty proud of myself that I did! {Insert back pat here.}

So far, I made two math decks with a St. Patrick's Day theme.

Both start with a story about the leprechauns messing up our math activity and stealing the lightbulbs.

You can try these HERE for yourself. 

I plan to make more of these in different themes and addressing different skills. Leave me a comment if there is a particular theme or skill you'd like to see.

If you aren't on the Boom card bandwagon yet, I often make a similar version in Google Slides but I don't think one will work.  Check out my TpT store or Boom store to see some of the many digital products I offer.