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The Importance of Phonological and Phonemic Awareness



Research has shown that phonological and phonemic awareness are the #1 predictor of future reading success.  Being phonologically aware prepares children for later reading instruction in phonics, word analysis, and spelling (Adams, Foorman, Lundberg, & Beeler, 1998; Chard, Simmons, & Kameenui, 1998). But what is phonological and phonemic awareness?

phonological awareness


Making the Most of Small Group Instruction - Part 3: What are the Other Kids Doing?


These are always burning questions: How do I work with small groups of students? What is the rest of the class doing?  How do I create independence with my learners so my guided reading time will be uninterrupted?

guided reading, reading instruction in first grade, readers workshop



Making the Most of Small group Instruction, Part 2





I have said it before, but I truly believe small group time is the most important time of our day. Small groups are the backbone of my instruction because I can meet the needs of all of the learners in my classroom. Combined with whole class instruction and activities, small groups help me ensure my students master the standards and skills in deeper levels. 

My class size ranges from 18-26 students each year.  I usually have 6-8 groups that range from learning to read all the way to already reading so I am switching gears a lot. In my December blog post, I explained the structure of my guided reading groups.   This post is going to explain to you how students arrive to small group while I am maximizing the time we have together.


managing guided reading, managing small groups in first grade


Relatonships Matter! Part 2 Discipline



When trying to build relationships with students, discipline can get in the way.  Behavior programs or clip charts negate any positives you are doing in your classroom.  When you pass through the halls at school and hear "Pull a red ticket" or "You're on yellow now" or “You lost a point on Dojo” you can bet that student forgot every good thing that happened that day.  Hear it enough and it truly affects a child’s self-esteem.  So many times the kids that have trouble are truly not able to control their behavior.  After 23 years of teaching I am convinced that negative consequences, timeouts, and punishment just make bad behavior worse.
no more behavior charts



Relationships Matter!



It’s a new year and that means time to reflect and change.  The MOST important thing when it comes to my classroom is relationships. Relationships are what drives students {and teachers} to want to come to school and take risks.  When we feel safe and like we belong, we are more willing to make mistakes.

building relationships


Making the Most of Small Group Time Part 1


I believe that small group time is THE most important time of our day. Small groups are the backbone of my instruction. Small group instruction allows me to really meet the needs of all of the learners in my classroom. Together with whole class instruction and activities, small groups help me ensure my students master the standards and skills at deeper levels. One of the most common questions from teachers is how to maximize the time spent with our students at the small group table. 
Guided reading first grade
 Small group time is precious.

Tips for Writer's Workshop



There should be a time for writing every day. Your students need to know that you value writing, and the best way to do that is to make sure that students write each and every day.


writing



Ten Must Have Primary Books That Teach Tolerance, Acceptance and Empathy


As a teacher, I feel it is my duty to teach students tolerance, acceptance and empathy.  We want every single student to feel accepted and know that they belong.
I love picture books.  I especially love picture books that inspire, provoke, and promote amazing classroom discussions. Let's look at ten picture books that I use to teach students about important character traits.  

Top Tips for Parent Teacher Conferences


Love them of hate them, they are here!  It is time for parent teacher conferences. Conferences can be stressful but I actually enjoy them. Teaching is all about building relationships - with students and their families. I approach conferences as another way to deepen our relationship.
We have two conferences a year; one the first week of November and the other at the end of February.  This first conference is especially important in building trust and mutual respect.  We need parents to know that we love their children but also balance telling them about their child in the classroom.  Going over strengths is always easy, it’s when we have to tell them areas that need growth.  We need to balance being sensitive while being honest.