It's Friday...

Friday, December 30, 2011
It's Friday and this is usually the day I LIVE for but not so much today...why? Well silly willy it's the last Friday of vacation! ;) We don't head back until Tuesday (which will knock me off and we will likely miss specials etc) but I'm sad to think that my days of sleeping in and staying up late are almost over!! Oh and grad school starts back next week too...hello stress level- can't say that I've missed ya much ;)

So in my time off... I've finished up my shape unit and uploaded it to both TPT and Teacher's Notebook. Oh I guess that I should say that I've FINALLY opened a Teacher's Notebook store. I've finished our first unit that we will teach next week. I'm thinking that I might post it too... not sure though. It's HEAVILY tied to Benchmark Phonics Start up program. Does your school use Benchmark Phonics?

It comes in this big kit, but we don't have all the pieces or we don't use all the pieces. For example, I don't use this ABC chart. We use the UALR literacy support Alphabet chart that is part of the Arkansas ELLA project. There are as many charts out there as there are teachers ;) and really any chart will do. But what I like about our chart is that a photo copy of it can be found in Shaping Literate Minds by Dr. Dorn (literacy guru around these here parts ;) and professor at UALR) Our district gets them through ARCH FORD co op ( You have to have your schools LEA number and the phone number used to get in but they have word wall cards, large color posters and student posters too. I use the word wall cards as flash cards. And every student book box has a copy in it. I also photocopied the one in the Shaping Literate Minds book and put it on construction paper with a 100 chart on the back. Oh and I've reduced the size and have one in EVERY literacy and MATH center! Why? because most of my centers have you writing something and the kids learn very early that Mrs. Day is going to send you to the ABC chart rather than answer your question straight out. I wish I had a picture here to show you what the color ones look like... you might see it in the back ground of some of my classroom shots, but here is the one out of the book.

So back to Benchmark Phonics... our letter next week is short Uu, and I will be teaching New Years traditions all week, as well as Chinese New Years (I know it's not until Jan. 23). So everything in the unit is party themed. ;) I've also been thinking (stressing) about our upcoming DIBLES and DRA testing. I HATE IT! The DIBLES isn't so bad, well yeh it schedule just isn't big enough for all this assessment and teaching. I know, I know... you have to assess to know where the kids are. And I do that every day... but this is assessment for assessment sake. And I just don't have time for that! Anyway... I'm working on some "race" games for my kids to play in centers and I wanted to know what kind of games/ activities do you use to practice fluency?

If you got this far...YEA! I hope that you comment with an answer to:
1. Do you use Benchmark Phonics in your room/ school?
2. What activities/games do you use in centers to practice fluency (letter naming, nonsense words etc)


  1. Hey Karen! Your site is really taking shape! We do not use Benchmark Phonics as of yet. I do several things like letter sorts, magnet centers for making words, playdoh letter shapes and words, for phonemic awareness I use "Chipper Chat", and my favorite P.A. books are the Jack Heggerty Phonemic Awareness resources. The books are based on listening and response activities for each week during the year. My kids really know rhyming words as a result of the activities we do each day.
    Come on over and see what I do via my blog: I am now following you. I hope you'll add me to your list of blogs too! :)


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