I always try and have students practice phonics skills in context.  These are some of my favorite ways for extra practice.  

Decodable Books (A to Z)
I love how Reading A to Z has decodable books.  I like having decodable books available that are in a workstation based on the skills I have been teaching.  They are really easy to differentiate and can reinforce phonics skills.  I am very fortunate that my PTO purchased my license!  It is well worth it :)

Read the Room
I love using Read the Room at a workstation.  Students can use clipboards and practice finding words  hidden around the room based on the skills they are learning.  Here is a freebie to see what my read the rooms are like!


Build it!  Write it!  Draw it!
These can also be easily differentiated.  My intervention groups like using them on "Wacky Wordy Wednesday" where we learn new word patterns.   I've also used them at a word work work station.


Phonics Task Cards
I've also used phonics task cards at a word work work station.  In addition, they make a great warm-up during guided reading.  Here is a freebie to try!  





It was so hard to get my son hooked on reading. I remember my daughter reading her first chapter book in first grade.  She always has a book with her (just like her mom)!  My son was not so eager to read.  He has always been on grade-level in terms of reading, but he only read when he "had to" which broke my heart.  I was determined to help him develop a love of reading!  It wasn't easy, but since I got him hooked, he reads all the time :) :) :)  I wanted to share some of his favorite books in case there is a reader out their that you are trying to reach!  

Big Nate books are probably his favorite.  If he can't get them from the library he BEGS me to order them from Amazon!  I cave in pretty easily!!! 

Bad Kitty books were introduced to him by his older sister.  When he is reading these books, he giggles and laughs and is always running up to show me the silly parts of the book! 

World Record Books from Scholastic are his favorite non-fiction books.  He received the 2016 book for Christmas, and for 10 days straight I heard random facts at the most random times.  I had to send an email to his teacher warning her that he would probably share facts at the most in appropriate times.  She told me that she bought her son the same book and she was prepared :) He especially likes the epic fails!

My Weird School books are his favorite chapter books that are not a graphic novel.   He likes all the characters and is always checking another one out of the library!


Finally, the I Survived series has been very popular.  They are engaging, based on history, and have hooked him!  I've even had to tell him to put down his latest book so we can get ready for school!!  He will read at the table while I'm trying to get him to eat breakfast!   I never thought I'd be telling him that!
Teaching is hard!  Teaching is VERY hard!  Every day!  Even the easy days are not always easy  :)

I had an amazing professional development with Mark McLeod, who is an inspirational speaker that really focuses on motivating teachers and engaging students.

Mark focuses on building up your colleagues and teammates and making deposits into teachers and students emotional bank accounts!  I began to reflect how often I do this.  I would say I'm a ROCKSTAR when it comes to building up students' emotional bank accounts.

However, I'm sad to say I don't really do this with my teammates or colleagues! Everyone is so busy.  I am very focused at school on my job and my students, and even though I would say I am a good teammate, I don't really make an effort to build other teachers up.  Once my duty day is over, I go home to my family.  I feel like I manage my time REALLY well when I'm at school, and I don't mind doing somethings at home after my children are in bed.  I'd rather be at home than at school, and I know that this could be perceived in a negative way.  The reality is that I work hard all day,  because I want to go home and see my children and just be a mom! Since I am very efficient while I'm at school, this leaves little time for me "focus on other teachers' emotional needs."

Thankfully, this isn't my school!!!


I have an amazing building principal that gets what it is like being a teacher.  I feel fortunate to not work in a school with low morale.  I know this isn't the case for everyone.  So I started thinking what I can do to build up teachers and make them feel good when they get to work!  I realize that other teacher's happiness is beyond my control, but there are things I can do to build up my teammates and provide them with some positive energy :)  I even have a Pinterest Board with some ideas and lots of freebies!

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I'm going to try and spread some kindness at my building!  Here are a few easy ways!

*Positive emails
*Positive notes
*Fun Bulletin Boards with teammates about why your grade and students are awesome
*coffee in the morning
*Ice cream sundaes (everyone brings different toppings) after school
*Smile
*Say thank you

Please feel free to add ideas in the comments!!


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