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Teaching Writing Skills and Vocabulary Through Conversation - "Fans"

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YouTube Video Teaching Writing Skills and Vocabulary Through Conversation

In this relatively short video, I model how you can use conversations to build your child's vocabulary.  Through questioning and rephrasing, you are modeling appropriate language skills.  This in turn improves your child's ability to write because usually if a child can say it, he/she can write it (even if words are sounded out).
In the video, I begin by asking what my daughter wants to talk about and she replies "fans."  Then she goes on to say "So today we will be talking about fans."  She automatically went into an introduction without even realizing she was stating the topic (probably because her mom's a teacher).  By giving her a choice on the topic, she is more interested in the conversation.  This builds engagement.
A little while later in the video, I state "Apparently my daughter is a fan of fans."  I am intentionally modeling another way to use the word fan exposi…

Science - Animal Movement

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Last night there were some adorable frogs on our porch.  I filmed one and had fun editing the 30 second movie in iMovie.  


Little Frog YouTube Video


It made me think about teaching first grade writing and science.  Children could watch this short clip and discuss/describe the frog's movement.  Also, the children can compare and contrast this frog's movement with that of another animal. 

In science one of the topics we study is how animals move.  We read is titled Move! written by: Robin Page and illustrated by: Steve Jenkins.  The short little clip is a great introduction to the concept of movement before reading the story.


Here are a few more resources that may be useful if you are  teaching this topic.  Even though some are geared more towards Kindergarten and Preschool, they're helpful differentiated lessons for struggling students.  

Pickles-A Groovy Cat

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Click here to see Pickles on YouTube!

Pickles is one of my rescue animals.  I absolutely love my pets.  They are a perfect topic during modeled writing lessons, especially narratives.  I use them to demonstrate how to think about writing.  The kids are engaged when I write about Pickles, Sparky, Cali, Alice, Sadie, Rosie, or Zeus.  They ask a lot of questions and that lead to more detailed writing infused with adjectives and descriptive language. The writing is much more rich in vocabulary and not just "safe writing."    

I made a little thirty second video featuring Pickles the cat.  He was a stray that we saved from under a friend's car while visiting an out of town relative.  My husband didn't want to keep him at first because we had too many animals already (3 cats and 2 dogs).  Somehow Pickles found a way into his heart and now they are bonded.  Pickles is definitely his cat but sometimes Pickles makes his rounds.  When I was filming my very first YouTube video, P…

My First YouTube Video!!! Groovy Educator Intro

Please click the link below and check out my first YouTube video.  It’s less than two minutes long.  It features Groovy Educator and Groovy Learner with a surprise appearance by Pickles the cat. 😁  

If you like the video, please subscribe, like or comment.  We sure had fun making this video!

YouTube link:  Groovy Educator Intro

I Wrote a Children's Book... Now the Hard Part.... Waiting

I almost didn't write this post because I don't know what is going to happen yet...

That's probably why I am up at 3:28 in the morning.  My mind won't shut off.

Last summer, I finally sat down and wrote a children's book.  (Right now I am keeping it secret because I am hoping it will be published.)   Publishing a children's book has been a dream since fifth grade after my teacher had us write a book in class. 

Why did it take so long to actually write the story?  I think it really comes down to it just wasn't my time.

Right now I have a darling daughter who is so dear to me in so many ways.  The idea of being able to pass on a little piece of me after I am gone is so important to me.

Last March I was in the hospital for a week and it just made me realize how fragile life truly is... I'm fine now.  Thank God!

Also, five years ago, my dearest dad passed away unexpectedly.  Losing him was devastating.  Recently my dad's aunt and uncle (who are in thei…

My Spelling Dictionary

It has been an eternity since I've blogged or made a product for Teachers Pay Teachers.  This morning I got up extremely early and just could not rest.  My mind was racing about school in the middle of summer vacation.  I am a first grade teacher and I starting thinking about teaching writing.  The spelling dictionary I've been using needed to be updated and I decided to make my own using the Dolch High Frequency Words.  I did add it one word "question" so there would be a word for the letter "q" and because it is an important word. 

Every year I use a spelling dictionary to reinforce alphabetical order.  I also teach the children to use it while editing.  I don't like for them to have it out during drafting as I have found some become too reliant on it and use safe writing. 

Every week we add our new sight words to the spelling dictionary.  If they are already in the dictionary, I teach the children to highlight them.  If not, they simply write them in.…

100th Day is Almost Here!

This is what I plan to do in my First Grade classroom on the 100th day of school. Read a book about the 100th day then have the children go on a hunt for 100 words around the room. I asked the children to bring in 100 objects that can be glued down (e.g. Cheerios, goldfish, paper scraps...)  We will make an addition problem with these objects.  60+40=100.  The students will glue them down in groups of ten on a paper to make a model of the problem.  I hope to do the fruit loop necklaces where we put 100 on the necklace (in groups of 10 of course).  Draw and write about when the children are 100 years old.Make 100th day hats to wear.When they are at special area, I will hide 100 Hershey Kisses in the classroom for a Hershey Kiss hunt.  It is kind of like an Easter Egg hunt except each kiss is numbered and when they find one they have to put it on the 100 chart.We might do 100 stamps books.We will write our numbers 1-100.  I am considering having them crumple  up 100 pieces of white scra…