Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rhyme to Read (App Review)

As the computer specialist at my school, I am always looking for great apps that will get students excited about learning. I was recently introduced to a fun reading app for beginning readers called Rhyme to Read

Rhyme to Read is a fun reading app that helps teach students word families and sight words.  It was developed by two teachers who both have advanced teaching degrees. 

The app contains 20 books that each focus on a word family. The books build upon each other for a cumulative review of each word family. 

One of the great things about this app is that all the word families are color-coded. This will help students learn to discriminate different word patterns.

Rhyme to Read is ideal for beginning readers and for any student who needs RTI in reading. I would recommend it for children ages 4-6 or anyone else who is struggling with reading.

Rhyme to Read is available in the app store by clicking HERE!

Want to try it first? Download the 1st book to try for FREE.

*Disclosure: This post was paid for by the creators of Rhyme to Read. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Equal or Not Equal?

Can I just start by saying that I'm not quite sure I'm ready for winter weather?  This week at school it has been FRIGID and we've already had an inside day because of it! WOW!  How's the weather where you are? I feel like teachers are the only profession who check the weather right when they get up in the morning. HA!

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and show you how I introduce equal and not equal to my students!  I would not do it without these scales....for real... the BEST:

I actually love the Monkey Math scales so much that I bought 4 of them so my students could play this game in large groups:

On the left side of the monkey there are 7 bananas and on the right side there are 3+4 bananas.  The monkey's arms are even and straight because the equation is equal.  If it wasn't equal, the monkey's eyes go crazy and the arms aren't straight. 

The students draw a card and place the bananas on the according sides.  They find out if the equations are equal or not equal.  Then, I have them check the equations by adding the numbers (if applicable).

Clipart and/or fonts copyright Dianne J. Hook (

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Veterans Day Celebration

Veterans Day is coming up and I love finding great ways to integrate my curriculum with anything social studies related.

Last year I made this fun Internet-based activity called 
'A Veterans Day Celebration' where students are led through the six steps of a webquest: introduction, task, process, resources, evaluation, and conclusion. In this activity, students will learn about the history of Veterans Day, conduct a research project, and they will get do a fun activity where they plan their own Veterans Day celebration.  

Here is what's included in this download:
-Teacher instruction page
-Student instruction page (includes web quest information)
-QR Codes to the websites (for iPad use)
-Student research page
-Activity graphic organizer
-Two activity templates

Here are some more great Veterans Day ideas:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ideas for CVC Blending

I've been working with one of my students who is still struggling to blend simple CVC words.  I honestly found that he LOVES my little word slider game that I made years ago (but just updated it with cuuute clipart for y'all).  He begged to play it and it's really helped him slide those words together to blend a CVC Word.
The teacher pulls out one letter at a time from the slider.  The student says the name of the sound and the teacher moves on to the next letter.  To make it a little easier, I have them blend the first two sounds together and then add the last sound on. The student says the word at the end. They can check to see if they got the word right by looking at the picture at the end! They LOVE it and it's so simple (the slider is made from a letter-sized envelope).

You can check out this pack {here}!

I also use lots of CUPS in my RtI and Guided Reading time.  I got this fabulous idea from Kathy Griffin's Blog.  She is so smart!

You simply write letters on plastic cups (I, of course, used Red Solo Cups). I can easily switch any of the sounds out and my student can blend the new word. It works on real words and nonsense words (um... hello DIBELS practice!). 

Here's another one I've been doing for my student to give them the letter-sound fluency. I just use Styrofoam cups and a Sharpie marker.  You can also add a "silent e" and have them say the long vowel word.  It's fun...especially when you let them hold the cups and twist. :)  

Enjoy! :) 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Haunted House Freebie

Thanks so much for all the support and love I've received over the past month after the birth of my beautiful new baby boy. (See pictures here.) It's been a really great month and I've loved having a new baby in my house and have enjoyed being home on maternity leave!

Today I have a fun little freebie for you! It was inspired by my husband who is a very talented artist. The other day he drew an awesome picture of a haunted house and I immediately knew that I wanted to turn it into some kind of school project. 

I created two Halloween activities: the first one is a simple coloring page and the second one is a Haunted House writing prompt. I made multiple versions of each activity so it can be easily used in any K-6 classroom!

Download this freebie by clicking here:

Here's a peek at what's inside:

 The coloring pages can be used by itself or as a coloring contest page. 

You can use the writing prompt pages to let students color and add details to the picture or use the blank one so students can draw their own haunted house and then write about it. 

I know how crazy Halloween can be as a teacher, but I hope you all have a great day at school tomorrow! Because I'm still on maternity leave, this will be my first Halloween in 9 years that I won't be at my school for the annual costume parade and Halloween party. However, I have volunteered to help at my older son's preschool party so it looks like I'll still get to participate in some of the fun.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Find the Missing Addend

Hello!  I wanted to introduce myself...I'm Rachelle and I blog at What the Teacher Wants.  When I say blog, I mean that I've taken a little break and now I feel like in order to write this blog post I must re-introduce myself to you! :)

It has been a crazy few months. I've started at my new school, which I LOVE.  I'm also training to be a Jazzercise Instructor.  I'm working out A LOT to build up my stamina and to be ready for the main stage.  Once I become certified in November, things will slow down and I'll be able to get back into a normal routine. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for being patient.  And not giving up on me. And for not throwing tomatoes at me. 

We will be working on Missing Addend and so I made a fun little center game.  I wanted to share it with you as a peace offering.  Think of the candy corn as Part-Whole-Whole (or a number bond or a math mountain).  The top number is the total, the bottom two numbers are the addends.  For this activity, I have my student add (start at the lowest number and count up to the total...their fingers will tell them the answer) to find the missing total, but my students will learn that you can subtract to find it as well.

For more Halloween ideas and printables, check it out {here}!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Teachers Love Pilot Pens!

Let's be honest - all teachers love pretty, colorful pens! 
Am I right?

When Pilot approached us about reviewing some of their new pens, we of course said, "YES!!"

We received a beautiful package in the mail filled with...  

Here's a peek at some of their pens:

We absolutely love Pilot's erasable line of pens and highlighters! 
They are perfect for lesson planning. No more crossing out those mistakes. These pens aren't your jr. high erasable pens (remember those?).  They are legit!  I use them in my Erin Condren planner and they write so smoothly. When my plans change, I can easily erase and re-schedule. And they also have erasable HIGHLIGHTERS? I was in awe of this (me, Rachelle). I pretty much highlighted and erased all the things in the world today.  

You've gotta getcha some Pilot pens and highlighters!  They are easily our most favorite pen, ever.  

The best part? You can get them pretty much at any of your favorite stores (Target, Walmart, etc.)

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