Why You Should Create Memory Books With Your Students

As the school year winds down, are you looking for ways to help your students reflect on the year? I love to find ways to help students remember all of their amazing accomplishments. Showing them how far they have come during the year is a great way to make them feel proud of their hard work!

Memory books are a fun way for students to both review the year and connect the classroom with families.

Creating memory books with students is also a great way for you as a teacher to learn what parts of the school year were most successful, what students enjoyed, and what you might want to change in the future! 

The classic memory books used in many classrooms are pre-printed with questions and forms for students to fill out with their own ideas. Students can add drawings and color to pages. They can take the books home to share with their families in review of the school year. Topics included might be friends, favorite things, or vacation plans. By having this keepsake at home, your students can revisit their thoughts from previous years and see how much they’ve grown. 

As you plan for end-of-year activities, creating a memory book for your students might seem daunting. Not to worry- I have one available for you here that is digital, easily editable and lots of fun for your students!

memory book

The Google slides have text boxes for kids to fill in, and images can be added to make the memory book completely personalized.

Topics covered in the memory book include:

  • favorites
  • family
  • friends
  • summer goals
  • things I want to learn
  • and more!

An autograph page is also included so students can share signatures and notes with their classroom friends.

memory book

The Digital Memory Book can also be printed in color or black-and-white if you prefer a paper version. Grab it today and help your students create lasting memories of their year! 

End of the Year Memory Book

Looking for more classroom resources? Check out my post here on classroom management strategies!

What are your favorite end-of-the-year activities? Let me know in the comments!

memory books


 

Fluency Practice Ideas That Are Actually Fun

In early education classrooms, fluency is a major part of the reading curriculum.

In order to comprehend text, students must be able to read with speed and accuracy. If they are unable to read fluently, they can become so focused on decoding or recalling words that they will lose the meaning of the text. When reading out loud, fluency also becomes an important part of conveying meaning to the listeners.

So- how can teachers provide effective instruction in fluency in their already cramped schedules? Read on for some of my favorite strategies! 

One of the easiest ways to increase fluency is by re-reading passages.

As students become more familiar with a text, they can add speed and expression to their reading. This strategy is important to introduce in the early grades so students will become comfortable with re-reading as texts become longer and more difficult.

A similar tool for teaching fluency is to use small phrases that children can read, re-read, and add onto. Once they are able to recognize the short phrase as one unit, they can add more words to make complex sentences. Again, repeated reading of the same phrases will increase speed, accuracy, and confidence. 

Another tool in my fluency arsenal is the use of homonyms.

Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. For example, a bat is an animal or a piece of sports equipment. Helping students recognize homonyms will not only improve their fluency but increase their comprehension. I like to use a “word web” with the target homonym in the middle. Then, as a class or independently, students can add words to the web that connect to the different meanings. Keeping the word webs for review later is a great way for students to increase their recognition of homonyms in later texts. 

Perhaps the most fun way to increase fluency skills is with reader’s theater.

Children are able to read and re-read their parts before “performing” the script. They can improve their speed, accuracy, and especially expression in doing so. As they read along with a group, they can hear their peers reading with fluency as well. It’s a lot of fun to perform short scripts in front of the class, and provides an opportunity for students to become comfortable speaking in front of a group. 

Are you ready to use all of the strategies in your kindergarten or first-grade class? Grab my Reading Fluency Activities today and your entire school year of fluency lessons will be ready!

This bundle includes sentence building worksheets, word webs, mini-books, and reader’s theater scripts for each week of the year. It also includes fluency assessments so you can track what your students are learning. Using these activities weekly will lead to fluent readers who are confident in their skills!

fluency

Looking for more reading strategies? Check out my post here! 

What are your favorite activities for fluency practice? Let me know in the comments!

fluency


 

Awesome Classroom Organization Ideas That Will Make Your Life Easier

Organization can truly make or break a successful classroom. When dealing with a group of people, especially children, organization can create more effective use of time and easier transitions. In unorganized classrooms, students and teachers spend time finding materials or explaining what to do rather than focusing on content. 

When students know routines and classrooms are organized, teachers can spend more time on the “meat” of teaching. With the demands placed on today’s teachers to provide rigorous instruction in a limited amount of time, classroom organization is key!

Organizing the physical space in a classroom helps students use materials effectively with ease. Here are some of my favorite classroom organization ideas. 

  •  Labeled bins are a necessity for small items such as math manipulatives. Students can then retrieve items and put them away with little intervention from the teacher. Label things like art supplies, construction paper, pencils, and other classroom tools. 
  • Book bins are also helpful, as teachers can organize reading materials by genre, reading level, or even seasonal themes. You can create a section of your classroom for books only with different types in different colored boxes. 
  • For individual desks or tables, frequently used materials should have specific homes. This way students can transition between activities easily and find the tools they need quickly. 
  • Use a colored filing system for your own supplies so you can easily find resources for your lessons when teaching. 
  • Create a substitute teacher bin. Store your sub plans and everything they will need in that. So if you ever need to take the day off, you know that everything is ready. 

If you are working in a blended classroom or distance learning there are some other classroom organization ideas that may be helpful to keep your class running smoothly. 

As many classrooms now operate at least partly in the virtual world, organization and routines are somewhat different than in previous years. Routines and classroom procedures are still of vital importance in order to keep the virtual or blended classroom operating smoothly. 

  • Online safety rules should be practiced by the class and reviewed frequently in order to avoid issues on the internet. Teachers can use a google slide to go over the rules frequently until students know them well.
  •  Daily calendar procedures can also be presented digitally, providing students with a routine that is organized and comfortable. 
  • For blended classrooms, social distancing rules are important for the physical organization of students and transitioning between areas. Hang easy to understand signs around the classroom as a visual reminder for students to keep their distance. Putting tape on the floor to mark spots students should stand on to keep their distance may also help. 

If you would like to prepare your blended classroom for an amazing year with routines, check out my  Distance Learning Back to School Bundle

classroom organization

Using Google classroom, this bundle has everything you need to start the new year right. Social distancing rules are included, as well as virtual Meet the Teacher slides and online safety rules. Once your students are familiar with these routines, you’ll be set for a smooth year! 

classroom organization

Organizing your classroom does require some prep work, but the benefits will last the entire year! What are your favorite classroom organization tips? Let me know in the comments!

If you want more tips for setting up your classroom, check out my post here on decoration ideas! 

classroom organization


 

Sight Word Center Ideas That Students Will Actually Love

All teachers of early elementary students can tell you that sight words are a huge part of their reading curriculum. What exactly are they? Sight words are words that children should be able to recognize instantly without sounding them out. They are common words found in many texts, and students become very familiar with them. However, they can often be tricky to read and spell since many do not follow common patterns.

Sights words are essential for learning to read with fluency and confidence. Flashcards are a common way to practice sight words, but fortunately, there are other (more fun!) ways as well. 

Centers are a perfect way for students to practice skills in the elementary classroom. Children benefit from working in small groups, as they learn how to collaborate and solve problems as a team. Teachers also benefit from the opportunity to work with small groups or individual students while the rest of the class is engaged in centers. Younger students can move between different activities during centers, keeping them engaged as they learn. Sight words centers are an ideal tool to increase your student’s knowledge of sight words!

There are hundreds of centers you can create to practice sight words, and many are very simple. For example, rainbow words are a fun way to practice writing their words. You can use many different mediums, such as watercolors, markers, or colored pencils. Students write each of the words in different colors. For the youngest students, they can use different colors to trace the words.

 Another option for a center is using magnets to build sight words. A simple cookie sheet provides a tray for students to work on, and they can manipulate the letters to make their words. For a little more sensory play, you can have students create their words with play-doh, then read them to each other. This activity also builds finger strength, which is great for handwriting skills. 

Looking for some no-prep sight word center activities to add to your rotation? I’ve got you! 

These Sight Word Worksheets are perfect for kindergarten students to complete independently during sight word centers.

sight word center

The bundle includes 40 pages of sight word practice that can be used in clear pouches for dry-erase activities, or printed for pencil and paperwork. 

sight word center

Another sight word center option is the Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions resource.

sight word center

This digital learning bundle includes over 90 pages of sight word practice as students find the words, answer questions, and more. The activities are completed in Google Drive, making it a perfect fit for a computer center or as a distance learning activity.

sight word center

 

Love these center ideas? Check out these math center ideas! 

I hope your students love these center ideas! What is your favorite way to work on sight words? Let me know in the comments!