Candy Corn Fun in small groups and MORE

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

I love Fall, all the things EXCEPT pumpkin spice!  #notafan ☕

However pumpkin decorations, sweaters, boots, changing leaves and all the other things I'm down for and LOVE! πŸ‚πŸπŸŽƒπŸ‘»πŸ‘’

Welcome to another edition of...

I also love incorporating seasonal things into my teaching - whether it be in a sensory bin or as math manipulates...just more things to make learning fun for kids! πŸ’•

Here is a round up of fun ideas you can use this month:

This activity is PERFECT for your early readers...having them use elkonin boxes is a great activity to be sure they are hearing every phoneme.  If you are new to elkonin boxes they are used to build phonological awareness.  Your student will listen for each sound ( phoneme ) and move a token/manipulative etc. into each box for each sound.  These can become increasingly more difficult and differentiated as your student grows as a reader.  Eventually they will use one sound box for 2 letters like the /ck/ sound etc.

elkonin sound boxes

We work on CVC words A LOT in small groups!  I have thrown cards into sensory bins, finger spelled them, played games with them and more.  Here I just printed out a candy corn piece to use for the missing vowel either for CVC work or magic e.  You can also use a wreath at Christmas ( put the letter in the middle ), a snowman, easter egg, etc.  Lots of options.  This orginial idea ( with a ghost )  was from my amazing friend Sarah @ sarahssnippets.

cvc word work and magic e

This next pic is an old favorite that I've done in October for probably over 15 years.  It's an oldie but a goodie!  Kids love coming up with adjectives to fill in this candy corn and then we display it like an anchor chart.  

You can read more about it here

For more fun October ideas~~ just go up to my search bar here on my blog and type in October and some of my favorite pumpkin/october activities will pop right up.

Enjoy this fun month which has TONS of opportunities to make learning fun for your kiddos!

Happy teaching!

The importance of one to one correspondence

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Welcome to another edition of...

Tracking words for young, emergent readers is crucial to their inital growth in reading.  Research shows that having a clear understanding of concepts of print is a critical step for these readers. 

Things like understanding words and spaces between words, tracking left to right, understanding how to open a book and where to start are all foundational skills young readers need. 

If these skills are absent early readers often have a very difficult time transitioning from 'pretend reading' to advanced 'finger pointing' reading.  They start to understand that spoken language correlates to written language and the symbols relate to sounds, etc.  They need to make the connection that print guides the speech of the reader. 

There are many ways to help your early readers tackle this important skill and many of them are engaging and 'fun' for kids to experiment with and improve upon.

One simple way is to go on a concepts of print HUNT.  Have your kids in small group use magnifying glasses and search for the TITLE, SPINE, COVER, BACK of the BOOK, AUTHOR, TITLE PAGE, etc.

I've also found that kids LOVE to use pointers when they read...not all reading theorists support pointers while reading but after 25 years in education teaching reading I've found success with them.

There are ALL different kinds of tools you can use as finger pointers to build their one to one correspondence skills:

Some are:

There are sooo many options, you can turn a tongue depressor into virtually anything!  I've decorated them with buttons and a ribbon scarf and made them snowmen, you can add glitter to the end and make it a wand.  

You can buy cocktail stirrers on  Amazon...shh!  Don't tell the kids. LOL  I tell them they are coffee stirrers.  I have a cute reindeer one the kids fight over like that I use in December from a fancy adult cocktail out at dinner one night.

 πŸŽ…πŸ€ΆπŸŽ„ Aff Link:

reading wands

 πŸŒŸ⭐You can find them here with my affiliate link:

 πŸ©πŸ© Here is this link:  #affiliate

These are great, glitter wands that come in different color choices:  aff link:

One of my favorite things to do with the magnifying glass pipe cleaner is to have them after reading a page find sight words in the text.  Older kids like it too - I may ask them to show me from who's point of view the story is or to find a vocabulary word in non fiction  many options.

These fun light sabers ( seen in the list above ☝ ) were born after a child requested easy - pipe cleaner and black tape.

When you have your students point to the words that they are reading they start to recognize miscues more...if they are adding and/or omitting words the pointers make that mistake stick out more and they are more apt to 'fix it'.

I hope this short list of ideas was helpful to you and something you consider adding  into your reading group repetoire of tools you pull out.

I didn't even get the chance to talk about how important this is for math as well, I love how somethings can easily transfer into different subjects for our littles.
As always...
happy teaching!


Small Group Tips for Distant Learning

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Welcome to another edition of ...

Today I want to share small group tips to help with reading instruction.  Some of these ideas can be used for small group or whole group instruction of  any kind.  Others...just for reading groups. Think of it like a smorgsboard of DL ideas. πŸ˜†


FIRST off I want to share some props that I use that have been very helpful to me during my ZOOM distant learning time.  These signal cards will save your voice and time during your important syncronous instruction.  They include lots of options that I have found through DL to be helpful to me. 

Distant learning signal cards/props

These were a freebie to my email followers and are now available in my store.  If you are interested in exclusive freebies like this be sure to join my email list by looking at the top of my blog or to the right of this post.  You will then be signed up for monthly freebies that I offer exclusively to my email subscribers.  There is no SPAM and you can unsubscribe at any time.

visual props for distant learning

distant learning signal cards/props

Other things that are useful if you want your students to remember a skill and to help make it stick is to WEAR it!  Yep, wear the skill you are trying to get them to remember.  My first grade group has seen my vowel crown now I think 7 times and they know the 5 stars of the alphabet and talk about them.  In fact they often in a lesson refer to my 'crown' by saying, " that's one of the stars of the alphabet Mrs. Moore it's on your crown. "  Dorky πŸ€“...maybe but if it helps it stick well then I have no shame.  

In fact, each time I logged in with my first grade group I always wore both the crown AND the star.  This skill has been reinforced several times and I will continue to do so.  Neuroscientist Cooke says that you need to see something 30 times for your brain to remember it.  So - Imma keep wearing it folks.

Other tips - engage your audience with things you would USE in person.  TRUST me, it will still be engaging.  Maybe not quite like in person but it is still engaging.  Listen, kids don't want just to see your pretty face. ( although they do enjoy you ) πŸ₯° They like to see different things/mediums on the screen to keep their attention.  

Sometimes I use my doc cam, sometimes I share my screen with an online powerpoint or game, I use a sensory bin, magnetic letters and white boards.   Even if your students can't DIG through the sensory bin  they still enjoy seeing me do it under the doc camera.  

October Sensory Bin

So even though I was diggin' through it with those boney, fun skeleton hands they got to say or do the activity that I pulled up as I called on them and they loved the anticipation.  They were actively engaged talking about the eyeballs, skulls, pumpkins, spiders etc they saw as I was digging.  In fact, we all laughed a few times when the boney fingers would accidentally end up with a spider ring on them.


 I even use a pocket chart for sorts...I would have them come up and place their card in the correct column if we were in person, but on line I pull a card and call on a child to tell me which column to put it in using the doc camera so they can visually see the sort.  For more engagement I've had the kids re create the sort on a white board and write or draw the picture and do the sort at the same time.

All I did for this lesson was use pictures and put them next to each other in the pocket chart.  If they rhymed I used my thumbs up/thumbs down πŸ‘πŸ‘Ž props and they engaged by showing me with their hands if the words rhymed or not.  Very engaging while reviewing a very important skill.

The possibilities really are endless when it comes to this, just think what you would do in person and try to recreate the activity even if you are on line.  

It's frustrating not being 'in person' I find myself thinking - if we were in person this would be so much easier.  Well, when I noticed some kids were struggling with one to one correspondence I realized sharing the screen on ZOOM was NOT going to help either of us.  If I wasn't sitting next to them helping them point to the screen it did me no good.  BUT what was HELPFUL was putting a hard copy of the book I would share on line under the doc camera , pull out a witchy finger and BOOM now they are watching me point to each word.  If they add/omit a word they can clearly see they are making a mistake because they are watching my finger - just like in person. πŸ‘πŸ‘

one to one correspondence

 Hope these ideas are helpful and I'd love to hear from you, visit my on fb or instagram to share some of your ideas for distant learning.

Happy teaching my friends


Bulletin Boards Ideas

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BULLETIN BOARDS ~ in my experience you either LOVE them or HATE them. 


Welcome to another edition of...

Bulletin Boards ~ in my 25+ years teaching I've learned there are 2 camps of teachers out there in the #givemeallthebulletinboards - these folks are on pinterest looking at new ideas πŸ’‘ for layering borders and funny puns. 

 Then there's team #ihatebulletinboards these folks change their boards in August and then maybe in the Spring right before Open House.....πŸ˜‚  hahaha am I wrong?!?!

If you were to ask my friends what camp I'm in they would quickly chime in:  team #givemeallthebulletinboards !  Always have been, maybe I could blame it on helping in my mom's classroom growing up.  But whatever the cause, I do love me some cute bulletin boards!

I wanted to share some boards that I have available in my store that you may just love.

If you are interested in these boards below you can click this link to check them out:

cute bulletin board ideas

cute back to school bulletin boards

cute bulletin board ideas

cute bulletin board ideas

cute bulletin board ideas

Gah!  I see that mistake πŸ‘‡ 

cute bulletin board ideas

There's endless possibilities with bulletin boards...layering borders...adding pretty details - like flowers.  Here is an example where we put flowers up to hide ugly wiring that needed to be up on our wall.  Sometimes you have to get clever to keep things cute...

Here's an example of how I replaced the oo's in BLOOM with flowers...

cute bulletin board idea for Spring

Using material, table cloths, ivy, tule, twisting ribbon, the options are endless.  Here I printed letters on paper and cut them into squares so the board has a different look to it, I also layered border to give it a cohesive look.

growth mindset

For a closer look at the boards and if you just want to print, cut out and hang - here you go:  

However you approach bulletin boards - have fun with them, try using different materials for depth and pops of color.  As always - God bless and 

happy teaching! 


The Stars of the Alphabet

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Teaching the littles is so much fun!  I love introducing the vowels to my literacy kiddos.  

Welcome to another edition of...

I don't know how you teach the vowels but we refer to them as the STARS 🌟⭐ of the alphabet!  When I introduce the vowels I get all 'extra' and over the top and make a really big deal about how 'famous' they are... I talk about rolling out the RED CARPET for these special letters/sounds.

They are typically very curious at this point and want to know what in the world I could possibly be talking about.

Enter in....

I make a large star and write one vowel on each of the POINTS of the star then in the center write 5 stars of the alphabet.  I have 5 small stars like the ones on the pencils up by my wall alphabet too so they see them there all year.  Then I also make 5 stars like the ones you see and place them on popsicle sticks or pencils as props.  We talk about how they are so special because every word has a vowel 

( the 'y' as a vowel lesson comes later ) and how they are so lucky because they make 2 sounds and are super important to our alphabet and words.

This time around since we are virtual teaching and on zoom I actually wore this star as a badge.  It was pretty big and obnoxious but I got my point across with it.

One of the early lessons is to write the kids names ( from your small groups ) on large chart/anchor paper.  Then I ask them where these 'famous' vowels are in their name...can they find them???

I give them the STAR WAND of course to use to find the vowels in their name. THEY LOVE THIS!

Keep the momentum  going throughout the year but especially these first few months reminding them that the vowels are the STARS of the alphabet.  They will soon learn to recognize them and refer to them as a 'star'.  Also the fact that a star has 5 points and a vowel is written on each point is very visual and helpful to them as well.  Have fun with it and let me know how you expand on these ideas!

This picture shows you that you can use this idea IN PERSON or ON LINE it doesn't matter, the point still comes across and it's a fun lesson on introducing vowels to the littles.

If you want to grab the song for yourself and other activities to reinforce this idea you can grab my short vowel pack here:

Happy teaching my friends!!!!


Shout Outs to build community at your school

Sunday, September 20, 2020

SHOUT OUTS are a great way to build community!  πŸ“£ πŸŽ‰πŸ₯³

I'm no stranger to talking about and promoting community building and relationship building when it comes to school.  So why stop when we are in distant learning?!?!

I've seen time and time that teachers are afraid to try things in distant learning...  Yes, you can still have sharing, Friday Line up, Student of the Week etc.  Distant learning should be no different in this regard.  So if you are used to writing letters/notes, or having shouts you should still be doing that whether you are in person or online.

My site does a wonderful job of handling this...they treat it just like we were in person!  Go figure!  It can and (should) be done imho.

Last Spring when we were ( thrown into ) and...knee deep in EMERGENCY remote teaching my school gave out OWLL SIGHTINGS.  It was an award which stood for...

OUTSTANDING WEB BASED LEARNING LEADER ~~ how cute are my admin!?!?! πŸ¦‰πŸ¦‰πŸ¦‰

I received this award last Spring by my admin and was the first one to receive it.  I was shocked, humbled and incredibly grateful and encouraged.  If you haven't noticed --- I'm not so young. LOL  I grew up on dirtbikes and staying out til' the street lights came on in the 70's and 80's so technology doesn't come naturally to me.  I definitely have to work at it.

It was so encouraging to see that my hard work was paying off and even more so to be recognized for it.  We don't do this for the kudos but in an emergency state of learning and teaching I will say it sure picked my spirits up.

Guess what that little bit of recognition made me do!?!?!  It made me want to step up  my game even more...learn more apps, research how to be even more successful in distant teaching.  That's what encouragment does folks.  We all innately want to do our best for our students but great leadership doesn't hurt.  It has always made me want to be better and do better.

This time around ( we are still in the distant learning model ) our PTO has stepped in as well.  They are accepting SHOUT OUTS to students, families,  and staff.  What a fantastic idea!  They will share them on social media and at our Friday Line Ups each week.  I think rewarding people for their hard work, kindness and dedication is crucial especially in times like we are in currently.

If you are interested in a little shout out form that you can use in your own classroom or want to share with your site - I have some editable ones you can grab just by joining my email list.

See my side bar or the top of my blog to join!

ALSO these are editable so you can even add your school mascot or teacher bitmoji to them to personalize them!

Why not spread the love, spread kindness and find the good in all the hard work you see happening around you!?!

However you are currently teaching I wish you well...bless you my teacher friends and....happy teaching!



PAJAMA PARTY read aloud Distant Learning

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Welcome to another edition of ....

This week I want to talk to you about a way that you can connect on a deeper level with your student via Distant learning.

I have seen this a few times over the last few months and knew that I wanted to plan a time to have a Pajama Party Read Aloud with my students.  When I saw that my friend Christina made an invitation I thought, why not now.

Having a PJ party read aloud is easy, fun and endearing to your students and families.  It sends a very CLEAR message to both your students and families that you want to connect with them.

Distant learning naturally creates a little bit of distance no  matter what you do to build relationships.  You aren't in person, you can't give hugs and high 5's , there's not that face to face  interaction that is so anything you can do to build relationships with your students and families is sure to be a winning combination!

Last Spring, I invited my literacy students to a read aloud on a Friday night and the invite made sure to let them know they were to wear jammies and bring their favorite stuffie.

I brought my fave stuffie and wore jammies in fact I wore a giraffe onesie!!!  There was no mistaking that I was going ALL OUT for this pj party! πŸ˜‚πŸ¦’

The kids started to show up and we laughed and shared our stuffies and blankies.  I could hear the parents laughing in the background and it felt like a family affair.  Why not get everyone involved...building a community is so important!

Here is the link to my friend Christina's invite :

Here are some pics from our very fun, memorable pj night!  My students weren't surprised one bit that I showed up as a giraffe and read a book about giraffes.  We had a night that surely won't be forgotten.  

I encourage you to try this out...your students will love it and it will be very worth your time.  Building relationships with your students is never wasted time.

Find me on Instagram or Facebook and let me know if you tried it out, I'd love to hear all about it.

 Go out there are do what you do, inspire kids!

Happy teaching xoxo,