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Animal Zoo Anchor Cards Word Wall Worksheets and Clip Art

It is finally finished! All (but one) of my Alphabet Zoo Animal products are available at our TPT Store!

You will love these adorable Alphabet Characters:

Allie Alligator
Benny Bear
Cami Cat
Danny Deer
Ed Elephant
Freddy Frog
Gabby Gorilla
Henry Horse
Izzy Insect
Jack Jellyfish
Katie Kangaroo
Leo Lion
Molly Mouse
Nelly Newt
Oscar Octopus
Peter Penguin
Quincy Quail
Rosie Rabbit
Sammy Snake 
Titus Tiger
Umber Umbrella Bird
Vincent Bampire Bat
Winnie Weasel
Max Fox
Yetta Yak
Zeke Zebra
Lowdon Owl
Thrissa Thrush
Shawny Shark
Charley Chick
Oona Goose
Wheeler Whale
Joy Oyster
Dawn MaCaw
Inga Duckling
April Angel Fish
Easton Eel
Ida Ibis
Owen Okapi
Ulla Unicorn
Mark Aardvark
Orin Orangutan
Erma Ermine

The "Animal Zoo" products include the following:

And, available later this week...

And YES! You can purchase your own clip art set to continue the limitless creations! 

Phonics Practice Worksheets: Phonics Prep

Ten Years ago, Kathleen Law and I wrote Phonics Book 1, Phonics Book 2 and Phonics Book 3 for Teacher Created Material. These books today are still widely used. When we look at them, they still make us tired! We were asked to write these books in a six-week period, right in the middle of a school-year. Lots of nights with no sleep is what I remember.

To celebrate these books' 10th Anniversary, we have written a 10-Part Phonics Prep Series that we know you will find useful both in either the classroom and homeschool settings.

Set 1: Alphabet Worksheets offers 108 pages of alphabet letter and sound practice that have been designed for students moving into reading. Four pages are devoted to each letter. They include the following: A handwriting trace page, A beginning sound identification page, A missing letter page, A letter hunt page.

Set 2: Ending Sound Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on final sounds. The consonants that are featured include: b, c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, x, and z. Because of sound spellings, J and Z just have one page apiece. The remaining consonants have two pages devoted to final sounds.They include:
1) A final sound identification page 2)A missing letter page

Set 3: Vowel Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on vowel sounds. Both short and long vowel sounds are featured. Six pages are devoted to each vowel. They include: 1) A short vowel identification page 2)A short vowel choose the word page 3)A long vowel identification page 4)A long vowel missing letter page 5)A match-up page featuring the short and long vowel sounds 6)A short vowel/long vowel identification page

Set 4: Consonant Digraphs Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on consonant digraphs. Both beginning and ending digraph sounds are featured. Two pages are devoted to each of the following consonant digraphs: sh, ch, th, wh, ph, ck, and ng. One page allows students to listen for the digraph sound; the other page reinforces the written form of the digraph through handwriting. Eight review pages complete this digraph packet.

Set 5: Vowel Digraphs and Diphthongs Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on vowel diphthongs and digraphs. Two pages are devoted to each of the following vowel diphthongs or digraphs: oy, ow, oo as in hood, oo as in moon, aw, ue, and ee. One page allows students to listen for the diphthong or digraph sound; the other page reinforces the written form of the sound through handwriting. Eight review pages complete this packet.

Set 6:  Word Family Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on word families. One page is devoted to each of the following word families: -ad, -ag, -am, -an, -ap, -at, -ed,    -en, -et, -ig, -in, -ip, -it, -og, -op, -un, -ug, and -ut. Each word family page provides the opportunity for students to stamp, trace, and write word family words. Seventeen word family review pages complete this packet.

Set 7: Consonant Blends Worksheets provides phonics practice that focuses on consonant blends. Pages highlight l-blends (bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl), r-blends (br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr), and  s-blends (sk, sm, sn, sp, st, sw).  Following the pages that feature the individual blends, students have the opportunity to work on each of the three groups of blends by sorting pictures, matching blending sounds with their letters, writing blends to complete word spellings, and circling  words with the correct blend.

Set 8: Word Endings Worksheets provides phonics practice that focuses on word endings. Pages highlight the word endings -ed, -ing, and -s. Students have the opportunity to work on each of the three word endings by circling the word endings, writing the word endings, and identifying the correct word ending.

Set 9: Bossy R Worksheets provides phonics practice that focus on R-controlled vowels. Pages highlight the “bossy-r” combinations ar and or as well as the combinations that make the /er/ sound (spelled er, ir, and ur). Students have the opportunity to identify pictures with the r-controlled vowel sounds and write the letter combinations that make these sounds. Eight review pages complete this unit.

Set 10 Contraction Worksheets: provides phonics practice that focus on contractions. Students have the opportunity to identify, match and write contractions. The pages can be used as an introduction to contractions or as review pages for students familiar with contractions.

Teaching Early Learners to Write and Spell Their Name & Names of Others

Are you looking for some great activities for children in the early stages of literacy development? 

The word cards and pictures are part of the packet: Names

If so, you will enjoy the 16 games and activities found in this early learning essential packet: Names.

Table of Contents:

Water Cap Names: Ordering letters in names and transferring knowledge. 
Name Puzzles: Building familiarity with alphabet letters and their function when spelling one's own name.
Name Cheer: (A variation of Name Puzzles): Identifying and sequencing the letters in names. 
Shave a Name: Using correct handwriting technique to write names.
Rainbow Names: Spelling and writing names.
The "Nameapillar": Ordering letters in names.
Trace A Name: Tracing names using correct letter formation. 
Name Fishing: Reading the names of classmates, then sorting according to beginning capital letter.
Name Dictionary: Alphabetizing classmates' names.
Names: A Guided Reading Book
Name Fun: Ten Additional Name Conquering Ideas
Name Game: Studying names of classmates
Name Chart: Studying names in a Morning Meeting routine
Mosaic Names: Spelling and writing names
Name Necklace: Spelling name
Spell-a-Name: Spelling own name and names of others.

Teaching Academic Concepts Through Music

My little granddaughter just turned 2 a few days ago, yet she can sing back to you any Nursery Rhyme that you request. It is remarkable how the human brain learns so easily through music.

Last year my kiddos were having a very difficult time learning the name Hexagon. In fact, I was about to throw my hands up in defeat when I ran across this gem on Youtube. Within two days 100% of my students not only knew the name of the shape, but adored the shape. They began to use the word hexagon in their play interactions. 

If you are looking for some great teaching materials, you will want to check out The Back To School Sale going on at Heidi's songs, July 31st - August 5th. They are giving a discount of 15% at checkout if you enter the code SCHOOL2015.  Beside the shape DVD and/or CD, I recommend the Alphabet and Sight Word Songs. I have been using them in my classroom for many, many years and I simply would not want to teach without them!

To see her great assortment of musical teaching tools, check on the link below. And, yep, you will be singing that hexagon song for days!

Learning Center Signs: "I Can Statements"

I love these Learning Center Signs that continually remind and inform not only myself, but anyone that comes into my classroom, what young children are learning in defined areas throughout my classroom each day.

Each sign has an "I Can" or "I Am" statement of learning written with a glimpse into the future of young learners who are encouraged to think, discover, explore, and create.

These signs are $5.00. Copy on cardstock, laminate, and they are ready to go.

Here is what people are saying:

"These are the cutest center signs I think that i have ever seen. And i didn't have to make them :) Besides that, there are sooo many choices and the descriptions that go along with them really help to reinforce the FACT that the kids are LEARNING when they play, to help the parentsunderstand this. All of my co-workers are jealous! Thank you!!"

ABC Center
Art Center
Block Center
Construction Center
Computer Center
Dramatic Play Center
Discovery Center
Eno Board Center
Fine Motor Center
iPad Center Center
Library Center
Light Table Center
Listening Center
Literacy Center
Math Center
Manipulatives Center
Mimio Center
Music Center
Music and Movement Center
Overhead Center
Pocket Chart Center
Poetry Center
Phonics Center
Puppet Center
Puzzle Center
Puzzle and Game Center
Reading Center
Read the Room Center
Science Center
Sensory Center
Smartboard Center
Social Studies Center
Table Toys Center
Teacher Center
Toy Center
Technology Center
Word Work Center
Write the Room Center
Writing Center
Write the Room Center

Don't see yours? Just ask!

Creating a Kindergarten Portfolio

A portfolio is the most authentic way to assess the growth and development of students.

Additionally, adding photos and memories to the portfolio make it a priceless keepsake!

If you haven't used portfolios before, or you feel like you could use some help with organization and/or production, here are a few tips.

I have tried portfolios in many different formats from dime-folders to digital masterpieces. I have found the binder style to be the most productive, easy to manage, and easy to store. I use these binders that I buy on Amazon. I have had students bring their own binders, but I like the binders to be uniform.
I like the Clear-View binders so that I can add a Cover and Endplate with the student's picture to make finding each binder an easy task. And they look professional and purposeful.
 The most important thing to keep yourself organized and on top of portfolios is finding the storage area before you begin. Plan to keep the portfolios in reach of students. (Even though I am the only one that adds pages, I have students bring the books to me and return on their own).

Also. don't get behind!!! I add the pages for the month at the end of the month.
If you are printing your own photos on copy machines in either color or black and white, invest in quality paper for those pages. I have found that paper makes all the difference. If I use the heavier weight paper, I use less ink.
If you are printing and then mounting photos, Shutterfly and other on-line photo processing areas offer many great discounts. Then for mounting, you MUST have the Scotch ATG gun. Using this tape  gun will keep everything secure! No more wasted time remounting photos!

If you have access to a color printer, the photos can be easily printed as a full sheet. I print a few of my pages at school, but I print the majority at home on my HP printer. The most important time-saver tip in printing, is to print the pictures ready to put in portfolios. I even organize my photos alphabetically by first name so they will come out of the printer collated, ready to slip in the portfolios.

 Start the year right! Take a picture at orientation, or on your first day. (I use the same photo to crop for the helper chart, dictionary, desks, etc).
Then, take your photo and print as photograph, or design a page on iWork's, adobe, powerpoint, or etc. (Remember to organize the pages alphabetically before printing).
 Design (or, okay you can purchase mine) a monthly divider that has purpose. This divider will allow an authentic measure of handwriting growth monthly. I print the divider on a color that matches the mood of the month or season.

Continue the beginnings of your portfolio by adding one or two pages that represent beginning of the year memories. I love these two, a takeoff on Brown Bear and another on Pete the Cat.
 Next add some beginning of the year measures that will be also produced at the end of the year for full year growth comparison.
Add a beginning of the year work sample.

Continue your portfolios by adding about 4-5 pages each month (A variety of photo memories, creative writing, work samples, etc). Think in terms of month when doing portfolios. Ask yourself, "What four (or more) pages will best reflect the month's learning in our classroom."

Here are a few of the pages I have used in the past.

Besides using journals, I try to place a minimum of two writing samples in the portfolio. I have found that parents love that everything is in one place, easy to store and preserve.

I also add a minimum of two art or other work samples each month.

 I add about four video samples yearly. I either add the video directly burned on a DVD, or on the page documenting the activity I add the link to a secure video on Vimeo, Youtube, etc.
 Be sure to have an end of the year section just as you had a beginning of the year section. It will keep the portfolios organized and bring the book to a feeling of completion.

You will love documenting your student's kindergarten year and providing a treasure to families. I actually had a couple of students bring their kindergarten portfolios for me to sign to celebrate their College Graduation! Yes, portfolios are worth it!