Sunday, March 31, 2013

Autism Linky Party

National Autism Awareness Month is recognized during the month of April. We would like to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Autism diagnoses are on the rise.  Let’s do what we can to help!

We, along with some of our favorite “bloggie friends”, want to do our part! Join us in our Blog Hop for a chance to win a grand prize and many quality freebie products! Before you leave to enter the giveaway, be sure to get your freebie from us (The Fun Factory) at the end of this post.

            You know I love quotes! Here is a special one just for this event.

 “... Autism is a challenge, but certainly not a devastating one.
Autism is about having a pure heart and being very sensitive… It is about finding a way to survive in an overwhelming, confusing world… It is about developing differently, in a different pace and with different leaps.
Autistic beings develop and bloom if their spirits, talents and self-esteem are not destroyed by bullies, prejudice, ‘doggie-training’, and being forced to be ‘normal’.”
~Trisha Van Berkel~

Click here to enter the Giveaway!!

For a freebie from The Fun Factory, follow us and then click on the link below. Enjoy!

We hope you will also become a follower of our store to receive updates of new freebies and products!

We would especially like to Thank Danielle over at Crayonbox Learning for organizing this great linky party for us.
You are welcome to join the Autism Linky party, but you MUST have an Autism-friendly freebie on your blog post, AND the Autism Linky party graphic linked back to Crayonbox Learning, URL

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Cleaning Sale

We have linked up with over 50 other Great TpT shop owners over at Dilly Dabbles Blog to throw our own private sale at The Fun Factory.  Almost everything is 20% off on Sat. March 30th and Sunday March 31st.
Click on the picture above to go to The Fun Factory Sale.

We have several new items at The Fun Factory that will be included. Click on the pictures to see the products.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 into the Classroom Library

After a week off for Spring Break (YEA) we came back ready to keep our room redesign going.  This week we focused on the Classroom Library.  To make it a little cozier we put a rug, pillows and a small lamp in our library.  Of course the kids love it, but we wanted it to be a place where they could work with words and stories as well as "read" their favorite books.  So here are a few of our ideas.
We attached a pocket chart with a flannel top to the board in the library so we could retell nursery rhymes and stories.
 This activity is a rebus version of Hickory Dickory Dock.  The poem is placed in the top 2 rows as a model for the kids, then they put the sentences together and fill in the blanks with the pictures.  Some of the kiddos still need practice with rhyming so this activity comes in real handy.

A GREAT activity that we got from our friend over at Crayonbox Learning is working with compound words.  By placing activities like this in the library/reading center we can have more kids at the center with purposeful activities.  Visit Crayonbox Learning Blog to grab this activity by clicking the picture below.
You might also want to visit Crayonbox Learning on TpT to find other fun activities for your kids by clicking on the picture below.

Other activities that help the children retell favorite fairy tales are  
Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Students place the pictures of Goldilocks and the Three Bears on a numbered grid in the order of the sequence of events in the story, then write something about the story.

and The Three Little Pigs.

With The Three Little Pigs, the kids place the pictures on beginning, middle and ending sorting mats.  We use a lot of fairy tale activities because the children are familiar with the stories and can analyze the parts easier.

To see these two fairy tale activities and many many more that we use visit The Fun Factory on TpT by clicking the picture below.

Next week we are going to redesign the Dramatic Play Center.  This is actually one of our favorite centers and one where the kids really get to use their literacy skills in "real life" situations.  We can't wait to see how they like it.

We hope you visit us next week as we continue our extreme room makeover.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Caring for Cole

Friends, as you hug your children today continue to be grateful for the healthy, sometimes rambunctious child that you are holding.  This little cutie is Cole.  His mom is a teacher friend of a friend of mine.  A couple of weeks ago she took her precious 5 year old to the doctor to find out why he was having such horrible headaches.  He was sent to Vanderbilt immediately and 3 days later had brain surgery to remove part of an enormous tumor.  It is cancer and it's very aggressive.   He spent 3 weeks in the hospital and has now been sent home.  His family will receive some treatments in Knoxville, but will have to continue to drive to Vanderbilt for some of his treatments and to continue to see his neurologist.

If you would like to help Cole's family with mounting medical expenses, a bunch of caring mothers and teachers have come together over at Life In Special Education blog to put together a pack of wonderful resources valued at $160.00, for a $25 donation.  Cole has a long road ahead of him and this is one stress we can help his family with.

Head on over to Life in Special Education to get the details for donating and thank you!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring . . . Into A B C Center Part 2

The makeover of the ABC Center has worked well.  Last time we showed you the furniture arrangement and a few of our dollar store goodies.  This week we want to talk about some of the other activities we have for the kids to "play" with.
Of course we want them to discriminate all the features of the alphabet.  These are two of our sorting mats - letters that are vowels and letters that are consonants.  We have 13 different mats.  They are color coded because we don't  use very many at the same time.  Get your free copy of the sorting mats by clicking on the picture above.

Another activity the kids really liked is Buzzy Buddies Beginning Blends. The kids match beginning blends with various word endings (families) to make new wordsYou can get a copy from our TpT store.  Click the picture below.

You can either make it a pocket chart activity:

Or you can use it in small group instruction and then place it in the center as a table activity.  Very versatile!

Small group instruction....
After making as many words as they can with the blends, students write their words in their journals. When finished, they read their words to a peer or to the teacher.
In summary, students manipulate the cards to make new words (both real and nonsense words),  write the words and then practice reading the words. GREAT reading activities/strategies/practice!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Work, Work, Working With Words!
   Since our mid-year tests are over, we are working on building our strengths in areas that need improvement before the end of the year tests.
    On the TPRI (The Primary Reading Inventory), many children are still developing their graphophonemic skills.
   With this in mind, I wanted to create activities to meet those specific needs. The activities needed to be hands on, needed to scaffold their learning and allow practice in both reading and writing. I took it one step further and based the  activities on high frequency words.
   This is what I came up with and it's working so well that they are wanting to know when they can move to mats F and up. (I've only made A-E!!)   Here's what it looks like.

  The picture to the right is Mat B. The student starts with placing a letter or group of letters in the first column. Next, they read the word they have formed. Then they add another letter or group of letters and read the new word. When they finish, they write the word. In my small groups, they also have to make a complete sentence (orally) using the new word. Next week we will add writing a sentence with the new word.

   Decoding is linking sounds to the printed letters, blending them together, and saying the whole word. Decoding strategies help children think as they learn to read. Encoding is translating speech sounds into the letters that represent those sounds.

 “Using letters to manipulate phonemes helps children make the transfer to reading and writing.” (National Reading Panel, 2000, pp. 2- 33.)

    Physically writing a letter provides kinesthetic reinforcement to help children remember letters and sounds.

    Stay tuned for more updates! To see this product in our TpT store, click on the picture below.

Sight Words,Word Work, Making New Words with Sight Words, K-3

Monday, March 4, 2013

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” 
~Dr. Seuss~

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Find the Leprechaun's Gold Blog Hop

What do you find at the end of the Bloggy Rainbow?  A chance to win $100 in TpT GOLD!

Will you have the luck of the Irish?  We hope so!  The drawing will be March 17, 2013.

We have joined 15 FUN bloggy friends to offer you some great St. Patrick's Day freebies and a chance to win a $100 TpT dollars.

Hop to all 15 blogs to grab your freebies and collect the coins hidden in each freebie.  Write down the words you find on the coins and unscramble the  mystery phrase that you will need to enter at your last stop (Christie's blog - Mrs. Fultz's Corner) to enter the rafflecopter  for the GOLD.

Click on the picture below to get our freebie gift to you and a

Now it's time to hop on over to

Where there is Sugar and Spice  
and  GOLD so nice!

Click here for the rafflecopter