Monday, 21 March 2016

World Down Syndrome Day 2016

Today is the day. The day to ROCK YOUR SOCKS!

Why World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)?

WDSD exists to celebrate individuals with Down syndrome by choosing activities that show support and awareness to those individuals. Rocking Socks has become and easy, attainable and VERY visual way to demonstrate this support around the globe. We are seeking to share what it IS to have Down syndrome - something to be celebrated. We are advocating for the inclusion, respect and understanding that individuals with Down syndrome have a great deal to offer their communities. This day occurs on the 21st day of the 3rd month because we celebrate the 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome which is what makes Down syndrome.
My dear friends Stephanie and Matt and their daughters Hazel and Nola are part of a large community who have committed themselves to educating and promoting the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome. They have vowed to not only Rock Their Socks, but have made it their mission to educate others as to WHY they are doing so. You can follow their journey at

My school and many others have accepted the challenge to spread the love and support by Rocking Our Socks in order to promote awareness. For me, this symbol represents inclusion, acceptance and love. I am super proud of our school community for their support! THANK YOU!

If this is something that you would like to participate in with your school, class or club, please let me know. I have announcements prepared/ facts and videos I can share with you. Feel free to comment below if you'd like me to send along additional info. 
Thank you for reading and thank you for celebrating with us!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Back in the Groove- Letters, Sounds and Sight Word Activities

Well.... I have survived a few months back at work after returning from mat leave! HA! Oh goodness. It has felt great to be back, but it was a very emotional start.

Although I have only decided to return to work 1/2 time this year, I still had to say goodbye to my little peanut. Very difficult when we have been together every-single-day for a year.

I took a position of 'LSST' (Learning Support Services Teacher), whereby I teach a phonics/reading program to 2 classes (JK/SK & Gr.3), and support students who are struggling to meet grade level standards in grade 4 and 6/7. It's a VERY busy morning, and I could probably stay at school all day, but it's a blessing to leave work at lunch. Pre-baby, I was staying at work too long.... Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job, but having a child has put priorities into perspective.

With that being said, this blog has suffered. Not because I haven't been wanting to write and share, but because I have logged on about 100x, only to get side-tracked by something else.

So here I am! Coming to you today to share a few activities I have been doing in the JK/SK classrooms that I support. Unfortunately and fortunately, I am confined to a program called "PALS" (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) to teach phonics. But I always add my own twist throughout the week to spice up these activities and lessons. Our board provides the program to us.... I follow it.... and then add additional activities to enhance learning and quite honestly, to make it more fun!

Here are a few that I use with JK/SK's:
During a TPT sale I purchased this cute little pack. It has multiple activities inside. My favourite thing it to put letters in a bag and pull them out.... I choose what I want to the students to find (ie. beginning sounds). If they have a picture beginning with that letter/sound, they cover it or colour it (depending on the day).

This idea is for my more advanced learners. I turn the middle cards over and have students choose one (digraph) and add it to an ending. As a class we decide if its correct and if the card can be placed any where else. 

I have no idea where I found these sheets... Pinterest? Google? I saved them a while back thinking I may use them... and well, voila. I have put these sheets up on the screen at the end of class for students to navigate. I will give a word or a beginning sound etc. and the students must search for the picture. 

Another item I picked up on TPT. I used these when introducing letter sounds. Instead of having the kids decorate them, I had them write words or draw pictures of things beginning with that letter/sound. Great to use in partners. Kids can present them and they can be used to recap letter sounds in the future. It is also great to use to see where students are at with letter sounds etc.

 An oldie, but a goodie. The kids love anything that is "different". I have two students compete (or just one) swat sight words. Sometimes they receive points for the correct swat. JK's vs. SK's or Girls vs. Boys etc. 

Saying letter sounds or reading words--- When doing this in a different way, ALL kids pay attention and are on task. It's a lot better than plain old reading in our every day voice. 

This is great in partners. Each student gets a dice board and a die. You can change the words to letters for students still struggling with sounds. Dice can be purchased at the Dollar Store. 

Whole group stomp. I call 2 students forward. I say a word and whoever stomps on it first moves on to compete with another student. I usually will play something quick like this at the end of class. 

Bowling for sight words or letter sounds. You can also use Red Solo Cups and put sight words or letters underneath the cups. Students must read the words or say the letter sound that they knocked down to earn points. Other students are encouraged to cheer their classmates on. 

I also use videos to recap things we have learned. 
There are a ton out there, but a few of my favourites are:

I'll blog soon about a few additional reading activities I use with my grade 3 students. Stay tuned :)

Thanks for continuing to follow our teaching journey.

Wishing you a great week ahead!