What is Phonics? Phonemic Awareness?

Thursday, January 31, 2013 No comments
"Progress report says he needs phonics help. What the <%!@ does that mean?" My friend was flustered with all the ed jargon and that is completely understandable!

Here it is down and dirty along with a few ways to work on phonics and phomic awareness at home.

What is phonics? associating letters with sounds, b says /b/
LOOKING AT LETTERS AND KNOWING THEY MAKE SOUNDS
Fast Phonics  Super fun website! It is like Phonics 101! Free!
Reverse BINGO! Make cards with letters, but instead of calling out the letters, call out their sound! Oooh! Fun!
At Home Fun!  This includes magnet letters and we LOVE those!
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What is phonemic awareness? the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds-phonemes-in spoken words
YOU HEAR THE SOUNDS
Rhyming Fun! This is almost a tutorial! Hearing rhyme is super cruicial to reading success!
Blending and Segmenting Explains each, gives words to use, and FUN activities!
Plethora of Sound Fun! There is something for everyone! Scroll down and bookmark this one!  

My biggest recommendation is this....AVOID WORKSHEETS! Keep it fun!

400 Fabulous FB Followers Giveaway!!

Monday, January 28, 2013 15 comments
Aaahhhhhh! I have hit 400 Facebook followers and almost 40,000 pageviews! This, my friends calls for a CELEBRATION! 

Thank you for reading, supporting, and sharing--now let's get down to business!

Enter now for a chance to win a $20 Amazon giftcard AND a book surprise! Check FB for the winner and be sure to tell your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Valentine Blog Lovin'

Friday, January 25, 2013 2 comments
Valentine's Day is right around the corner! I've decided that this year, I want to share the Valentine Lovin' by hosting a blog comment pallooza! I am going to start today and visit as many teacher/family blogs as I can and leave lots of happy comments. Why? Because I really do love reading your blogs and I want you to know it! I'm thinking a few a day should do the trick! Please add your blog to the links (or your favorite blog to read) and pass this along to friends! 

Consider joining me and comment, comment, comment! 

Look Alikes...So Cool!

Sunday, January 20, 2013 No comments
We were recently introduced to the world of Look Alikes. Have you seen these oldies, but goodies?
Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details
They are large books with AmAzInG pictures created by everyday objects. So the picture might look like the Taj Majal, but it is really made out of onion tops, ballet slippers and lace. The readers job is to find the look alike objin each picture. Amazing illustrations, limited, but informative text, and hours, oh hours of happy, vocabulary building conversations that build conceptual understanding! See if you can find the look alikes in these pics!


T loves them! He sits and looks at the pictures and identifies all of the cool objects. Best part? He has started creating his own! Love, love, love! 

Check the thrift stores or used book stores for these treasures! They will be great for the 4-9 crowd!

Car Talk

Thursday, January 10, 2013 1 comment
The time we have with our children is so valuable and in reality, so limited. The time we spend in the car can running back and forth to school, the store, etc can easily be turned into a loving experience...with a little help from these free Conversation Starters. 
Come see my guest post and download the Car Talk freebies! These little jewels have great questions that are sure to strike up a conversation with kids of any age (and maybe even other family members!) Turn down the radio, put away the phone and talk with your child next time you take a ride!


What Happened to Winter Break?

Monday, January 7, 2013 No comments
Back to school for me today! Back to school for my little guy, too.  While I am happy to be back in routine (seriously!) I am going to miss our extra snuggles!

A Weighty Issue...

Sunday, January 6, 2013 3 comments
My big sister passed away two and a half years ago. That timeline had not occurred to me until I was sitting at dinner with my niece and she asked my little sister how long it had been. My heart has ached for that long. I have cried for that long. I have wanted to talk to her, wanted her to come visit, wanted her to be at every event in my son's life, wanted to tell her about my silly first graders (she loved those stories,) wanted to call her on the phone and talk about absolutely nothing and have been unable to do so for two and a half years. 

That's not all though. I've been sad, angry, hurt, confused, lonely, guilty, heartbroken for that long, too.

Pain-there is just no other word for the loss of a sibling-it hurts. Especially when you are so close. Especially when she was like your role model for fun, your go to person for any craft/costume/food, your crisis management center, your biggest cheerleader, and had the best laugh in the world. In this two and half years of pain, I have also gained A LOT of weight. 

I was in denial for a while. "You'll get back on track in a few months." Then I was feeling sorry myself "Why is our family cursed?" Then I was ashamed of myself. Then I was all, "Food will make it better." Then I was excuse queen, "I'm too busy for cutting veggies and running laps." Then I was angry, "Well, there's nothing I can do about it now." I put myself on a few diets here and there, only to crash and burn. 

Thing is, and it has taken me two and a half years to really figure this out and accept it-my sister, whom I love so much and who loved me so much, does not want me to be unhealthy.  She would not want me to feel bad, set a bad example, or not feel pretty. So I decided right before Christmas, right before pigging out at Granny's (my sister would be so proud) that I would make a change. I didn't tell anyone. It was just sitting in the back of mind. I'm going to do better. I don't want to be skinny, that would freak everyone out! I just want to be at the weight I was before my sister passed away. (See pictures below.)

This is going to be no small feat friends. It is a lot of weight. But I'm going to make it happen. I'm not joining a program, I'm just going to make some changes. I'm going to exercise and eat better. 

I'm going to remember how it felt to put on those pants I haven't worn in two and a half years. I'm going to think about running around with T and not being exhausted. I'm going to like having my picture made. I'm going to look like this again....I can do this, right?
with my sister and T
three years ago
with one of my best friends, Mel
two and half years ago...Is that really me?




Attention Parents/Teachers of the 9+ Crowd!

Thursday, January 3, 2013 2 comments
As you know, I am all about primary ed. Some of my friends in the Twitterverse kept talking about a few thicker books in 2012 though. I could not resist the temptation to read their recommended "big kid books." 
I AM SO GLAD I DID! 
If you are a parent in the 9+ age group or are lucky enough to teach this fun group, check out these books. They are powerful. 
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Product Details
"You can't exactly blend in when you were born to stand out." Auggie

I LOVE this book and want to scream it from the rooftops. I couldn't put it down. August is a boy who was born with a face deformity and has never been to school. He heads to 5th grade with mixed emotions and all kinds of things happen. It's not all daisies and sunshine, and I'm glad. That would have made this book unbelievable. Palacio shows the story from big sister's point of view, Auggie's view, and his friends. It's about empathy, choosing kindness. It's about family and friendship. AH! I just want to type the whole story so you will love it, too. I won't though-go buy it, download it, or borrow it! In fact, if you are at my school, it will be there on Monday-my copy, donated to the library and ready to be read! Thanks Nerdy Book Club and Mr. Schu for sharing your love of books with your lit friends! 

Click the pic to watch the book trailer and you will never look back...
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The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate (author) and Patricia Castelao (illustrator)
The One and Only Ivan
"Being a gorilla is not as easy as it looks." Ivan

Ivan is the mighty silverback gorilla living at the Exit 8 Mall and Arcade. He has been there a long time. In his story, he talks to us. It is his perspective on life and with that, you really get to know Ivan. He loves his friends, old and new (yes, there's a story there!) He fears change but finds the courage to embrace it. He is an artist (I so want to tell you all about this!) and his works play a HuGe role in the story. I found myself at times relating to Ivan the gorilla and the whole time, hoping right along with him. I read it cover to cover in one sitting and that is not easy to do as a mom and teacher! You will love Ivan and his friends. You will cry and laugh and Ivan will be in your heart forever. 
I should also note that this is an extension, Katherine Applegate's beautiful extension of a real story. Click the pic above to watch the trailer. 
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One for the Murphys
I think this might be next on my "big kid" list. I'll let you know how it is! 

Stick A Fork In 2012.....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 No comments
It's done!

In moving forward, we are called to reflect on the past, not linger on it too long, but at least reflect. I could take this opp to list 3 not so great things and I how learned from them, or I can choose 3 great things and celebrate them. I think I'll pick door #2! 

Three GREAT things from 2012!
(in no particular order)

1. I became a Shot@Life Champion, supporting the United Nation Foundation's mission to vaccinate children in developing children. I met amazing people, who are now friends around the nation! I held my first fundraiser (success!) and made a commitment to save children from the four deadliest AND vaccine preventable diseases. 

2. I celebrated my birthday at Disney World with my family and friends. I mean, how cool is that?

3. I took the first step as a writer with goals of being published. I joined SCBWI and attended my first conference. That was a big step for me and I'm proud of it. Maybe 2013 will hold even more writing news! Cheers to that! 
So many things to be thankful for in 2012! What are some of your highlights? Please share so we can celebrate with you!

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong...because sometime in your life you will have been all of these. 
-George Washington Carver 

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