Lightsaber pointer for reading

Saturday, October 31, 2020
My students are going NUTSO for these and we aren't even in person!  I'm just getting my early readers to focus on the text and work on one to one correspondence so they are seeing them under the doc camera.

Per your DM's and requests:

It's hard to even call this a tutorial ....seriously it's so easy however I've had more DM's on instagram about this so I thought I would just cover it here to make my life easy.

So, here you go....

lightsaber pointer tutorial for reading

As you can  see you just need the supplies listed above ( which you probably already have in your classroom or at home )

If not you can grab them here:
( affliliate links )

electrical tape:

pipe cleaner in bulk - cuz why not?!?! :

lightsaber pointers

lightsaber tutorial are all set!  You can easily and quickly and more importantly CHEAPLY make a class set of lightsabers for your students.  So much fun!  It would even make a fun gift for them for the holidays.

Have fun with it and visit  me over on Instagram and tell me all about your students reaction to them!
As always...

happy teaching!



Fine Motor Skill Practice

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

My kids are in college now....but oh, those baby, toddler, preschool years. πŸ₯°πŸ˜ #givemeallthefeels

Some of my best memories in life have been raising these kids, building forts, helping them run for student council, cheer at their sports/academic events, taking walks, library hour you name it.  

My mom having been an educator for 30 + years was soo great with my kids when they were toddlers when she watched them.  Rarely did they ever leave her house without participating in a craft, fun read aloud or amazing toddler activity!  They threaded buttons, ate green eggs and ham, made me mother's day gifts, wrote in shaving cream, etc.

I guess that's where I get my love for these types of activities for kids!  Making learning fun without them knowing they are 'learning' is always a winning combination!

Now that I'm old πŸ‘΅ I have GREAT nieces and nephews!  YEP ~ I'm a great aunt many times over.  I have 3 big brothers and my oldest brother is 13 years older than me so you can imagine the large family I come from...such fun!

I was thinking about these cuties and wanted to send them a little something that I know would build their hand eye coordination as well as their fine motor skills.  

Toddlers need lots of repetition practicing these all important skills.  These skills will eventually help with left to right tracking for reading, tying their shoes, using their pincher grip for different activities, etc.

You can either just purchase felt pieces at your local craft store and cut pieces can use your cricut or you can purchase precut felt pieces if you don't trust your freehand skills.

So, I built these 'build a boxes'.  I've included items through December and will probably make more and add it to their Christmas gift so they have build it activities for the entire year!  I have the visual cards there for each object they are building so they can follow picture directions too.

fine motor skill boxes for kids

Try it out, I'd love to hear how your kids liked it.


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