Phonics Prep Series: Word Family Worksheets

This workbook, Part 6 in a series, provides phonics practice that focuses 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.

Kindergarten and the Common Core

The expectations for kindergarten have gotten higher and our five year olds are expected to do more and more. Of course they are! They should do more and they should learn more. The amount of knowledge that is available to them in this modern world is tremendous, and they should be prepared and able to access all of it.

However, at the same time that we are trying to expose our children to more knowledge, we are also losing important aspects of childhood development. We are giving up the practices that have always defined early childhood learning. But correlation is not causation. Just because these two events are happening in our education system at the same time, it does not mean that the one is not causing the other. In fact, if we truly want to increase the amount of knowledge that our children acquire in their early years, our teaching should become more developmentally appropriate, more hands on, more sensory motivated, and more directed by play. We know through countless research studies that this is the best way to disseminate information to a young mind, and if we want young minds to grow, these are the practices we should be using.

If we are not using these techniques in the classroom of the young child, then we are wasting precious time and opportunity. If we do not allow our children to paint, then we are missing a chance to teach about shapes and geometry. If we throw out our building blocks, then we aren’t teaching the spatial skills and divergent thinking needed for jobs like computer programming and engineering. When there is no playhouse in the classroom, children lose a chance to engage in activities beyond their current level of understanding (as proven by the research of Piaget) and develop persistence in problem solving and coping with changing situations. If we teach children only through direct instruction (or worse: worksheets) instead of games, then we have lost a chance to expand their memory and logical thinking. If we don’t sing, how can we expand a child’s vocabulary? If we get rid of the puppets and toys, we have lost the chance to expand a child’s comprehension of a story through retelling in a medium they easily understand. If we take out the sensory play, then we’ve lost a chance to help a child understand the science of the natural world, to problem solve, and to take chances. Why is it that in the current school setting, where expectations are so high, we are voiding ourselves of the very tools that would make our jobs easier?

Yes, it is true that kindergarten is becoming less and less appropriate, and the repercussions are frightening. However, blaming high expectations and the Common CORE are not going to solve the problem because expecting our children to do and think remarkable things is not, and has never been the problem. 

If teachers teach what they are required to teach using proven early childhood methods, the results will be astounding. Yes, it is more demanding of talents, time, and energy to teach in this way. Yes, it takes more support from other teachers, parents, and administrators to teach in this way. Yes, it takes better educated teachers to teach in this way. And, yes, it takes more guts to teach in this way. But, it is worth it. And our kids deserve it.

Justifying Kindergarten Play

These signs are available for each center to justify learning through play.

Because my, "I am in Kindergarten Sign" that I posted on Facebook a few days ago has now reached over 120,000 reaches, I have renewed hope for the developmental appropriateness of kindergarten! Yes kindergarten teachers, we can do it! Let's take back kindergarten!

 We can keep the "Learning Through Play" in kindergarten. And, we can keep this play, discovery, movement, and excitement while even teaching the Common Core Standards!  It is the presentation of the material that makes the difference.

Instead of desk sitting, carpet sitting, and worksheet doing, these concepts can be taught by using proven early childhood methods: games, experiments, choice, dramatization, retelling, and many more. One comment on my post stands out...

"I learn through play! Sitting makes me restless and I end up in time out. PLEASE LET ME BE A CHILD!!!"

Utah Kindergarten Core Standards Freebie

I have been giving this to parents at the beginning of the year for a couple of years now as a way for them to understand the standards that are being taught in Utah's Kindergarten Classrooms. Do you want a free copy? Simply click on the thumbnail above. The document needs to be printed as double-sided and then folded into a booklet. Enjoy!

Metal Board For the Writing Center

So, this idea comes to you because of Teacher Deb and my Uncle Miles!
My uncle was a furnace man and in the sheet metal business. So when I wanted to add a large metal board to my writing center, I thought of my uncle and my times of watching him cut those great sheets of metal in his shop as he made custom furnaces.

Thanks to Deb who has a metal magnet board in her classroom, I was directed to our local furnace/sheet metal company. I will take pictures of the finished product when it is finished! Meanwhile, I am excited to get magnets on the back of my word wall words. 

Mrs. Wishy Washy Freebie

I know that I am not alone when it comes to my love of Mrs. Wishy Washy. Here is a freebie for your new school year.

Homework Can Be Fun!

Do you want your students to look forward to homework and begging for more? We suggest our time-tested monthly homework packets! Check out our newly updated August packets. As a bonus, all Kindergarten Editions contain an additional choice of homework with Spanish directions!

The Perfect Kindergarten and Preschool Assessment Package.

Save $40.00

Are you Looking for the Perfect Preschool or Kindergarten Assessments?

I use the assessments below in my classroom, I have tried to perfect these assements for years, and I truly believe them to be the perfect kindergarten and Pre-K. assessment packets. And, yes, they are strategically linked to the common core. Last year I found ESGI and it completely transformed the administration and data collection of these assessments.

Before ESGI, I ran a copy of the assessments for each student, had an organized assessment binder for both math and reading, and then spent hours transferring the data to a spreadsheet that automatically color-coded the students to red, yellow and green. This took me HOURS of time!

But ESGI has changed all of that, it is literally Click Click Done! Now, I test my students on the iPad using my tried and true authentic assessments, have immediate data results and all of the tools necessary to utilize this data to improve student learning.

I have partnered with ESGI and now, all of my assessment are right there ready for everyone to use to enhance their own paper copies. And yes, you can even customize your own tests if you wish! Simply click here  on this ESGI link  and sign up for a free 60 day trial. Remember to enter the promo code B7227. 

Phonics Prep: Vowel Digraphs and Diphtongs

This workbook, Part 5 in the Phonics Prep Series, provides phonics practice that focuses 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.

Phonics Prep: Consonant Digraphs

This 24 page workbook, Part 4 in a the Phonics Prep Series, provides phonics practice that focuses 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.

Other parts of this 10-part series include:

Phonics Prep: Parts 3 &4

The 10-part Phonics Prep Series is designed to meet the needs of early readers.

This 34 page workbook, Part 2 in Phonics Prep Series, provides phonics practice that focuses 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

This 36 page workbook, Part 3 in a series, provides phonics practice that focuses 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

The 10-part Phonics Prep Series is designed to meet the needs of early readers.

Phonics Prep 10-part Series

This 108 page “Phonics Prep” workbook, the first in a series, provides phonics practice that focuses on letters and sounds. 

It has 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

The workbook pages are suited to being assigned on four consecutive days. Because the pages reinforce different aspects of alphabet recognition and the sound-symbol relationships within the alphabet, students can also complete more than one page during a work period if preferred. The workbook pages can be copied front and back or individually.

Look for the entire phonics prep series to be completely added to our teacher store by the end of this week, just in time to meet your back to school needs.

To All Kindergarten Teachers

My grandson is going to start Kindergarten in just  two weeks. I have taught Kindergarten for 23 years, so why am I so trepidatious about it? It is because of what I know as well as every kindergarten teacher knows. Kindergarten is a BIG step not only in the life of the child, but in the life of his parents.

Every new kindergartner's parents are feeling mixed emotions. "I am excited, but...". Parents need to know that their child will be loved and cared for. They need to know their child will be spending a huge chunk of time in a developmental setting -- experiencing the joy of learning, creating, and discovering.

I asked my daughter to write down her thoughts to remind each and every Kindergarten Teacher what it is all about. If you know a Kindergarten Teacher, please pass this on:

To my child’s Kindergarten teacher,

Please remember that I am trusting you with the most precious, beautiful, important part of my life. Please keep him safe. Please see what I see in him. Please don’t try to label him. He is who he is. Celebrate that. Please don’t focus on his test scores too much. They really don’t tell you much about him. For example, they don’t tell you that he’s a perfectionist. That he has an imagination the size of a nation. That he thrives on smiles and hugs. That he loves to paint--but never inside the lines. That he’s afraid of being ignored and alone. That he loves to work with his hands, but gets impatient that they’re not as strong as he’d like. There is so much more to him than how many letters he knows and how far he can count. Please see him. Please look at him.

When the school year starts and he’s in your care, will you please smile at him? Will you pat him on the back and tell him he’s doing okay? It’s okay to tell him he needs to behave, it’s okay to tell him he needs to do better, but please tell him that everyone makes mistakes sometimes--mistakes are how we learn--and you know he will do better the next day. Please help him pick himself up and try again.

Will you make sure he has fun? I’m not worried about the academics. I know they will come. I’m more concerned about what this year teaches him about school. Please make sure to teach him that school is a place where we take care of each other’s feelings, where it’s okay to try and fail, where it’s okay to make messes and mistakes, where it’s okay to play. Please let him play. It’s how he learns.

This is a big step for him and me. We are walking out into the world and you are his first brush with life outside of the safe place I’ve made for him. I will cry when I put his little hand in yours and walk away. I will be thinking about him the whole time he’s gone, but I hope you have him so engaged he doesn’t have a chance to think of me.

Take care of him.

He’s only been around for 5 years.