Saturday, November 21, 2015

Number Reversals

Oh my goodness, if I had a nickel for every time a parent has said to me, "He/she still writes some letters and numbers backwards. Does he/she have dyslexia?", I could apply for early retirement! Written letter and number reversals have absolutely nothing to do with dyslexia! So, why do some kids persist in making these reversals?

1. It could be a fine motor skill issue.
2. It could be immaturity or even a later birthday. These skills are often developmental.
3. My personal theory is that practice does not make perfect. Practice can make permanent. Children are learning to write at a very early stage of development now. Handwriting instruction has been terribly neglected since other skills have taken priority over it. Some children have written their letters/numbers backwards for so long that it has become a habit to do so. 

So, what can we do? As an RTI teacher, I see a lot of students with issues like this. My assistant and I have had a great deal of success with a few simple strategies. 

Try placing salt in the bottom of an empty pencil box or travel soap container. Let them form the letter/number with their fingertip in the salt.
Let them rub a fingertip across fine sandpaper.
Write it in the air. Use your finger as an "air pencil".
Shine it on the wall with laser finger pointers.
Line the kids up. Let them form the letter/number on the back of the kiddo in front of them.
Tickle write it! (My kids LOVE this one!) They use their own finger to form the letter/number on the wrist/forearm area of their other arm.

I implemented a new resource this year, and absolutely LOVE it! We used this resource on my SMARTboard during our reading warm up time before small groups begin. I purchased this animated PowerPoint from The Primary Techie. Here is a video of her explaining several cool ways to use this program. You can purchase your own copy of this product {HERE}

We noticed that many students who were struggling with b/d and number reversals were writing in a way that had multiple pencil lifts. For example, rather than making a b with one continuous motion, they were writing a "stick" and then adding a "ball". They often forgot the order of those elements. We showed them how to flow write a b and a d. The motion feels completely different. MOST of their errors DISAPPEARED! 
Now, that we have addressed their letter reversal issues, we are about to tackle number reversals. I searched high and low on the Teachers Pay Teachers site for number formation products. I found so many that were cute or had great poems. However, if the poem for teaching how to write a 3 says, "Go around the tree and go around again to make a 3!", they can follow those steps and still do it backwards! I needed something that specifically taught directionality. 

Then, I remembered that when I taught first grade nearly 20 years ago, we sang a song about each number. The song didn't teach directionality though, so I tweaked it meet my needs. Each number has specific directions sung to the tune of "HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH". We are going to project the pdf onto my SMARTboard and use our tactile strategies from there. We will also use laser pointers, our fingertips, or the SMARTboard pens to trace and write our numbers as tickets to our small group tables. Here is a sample page from this free resource. 

If you would like to check out this free strategy, grab your copy {HERE}. What strategies work for you? I would love to hear from you!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Officer Buckle and Gloria: Freebie and More

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann is one of my favorite stories. I identify with boring, rule loving Officer Buckle. I also have a soft spot in my heart for German Shepherds. When my husband was just a toddler, his life was saved by a German Shepherd named Champ. His family was visiting family at a lake house. He wandered out of the house while they were busy preparing lunch. They began searching for him everywhere. Then, they heard his little voice saying, "Move, Champ, move!" Champ was blocking him from getting into the lake and pushing him back towards the house. That precious dog refused to get out of his way!

I have a new book study for this classic story in my TPT store. You can check it out {HERE}.
If you have never heard the story of boring Officer Buckle and his charismatic dog, Gloria, you may enjoy this video narrated by the John Lithgow. 

Last, but not least, here is freebie from my book study. I hope this character analysis map will be useful to you. Grab yours {HERE}.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sounds of C & G Freebies

My RTI sweeties are working our way through learning phonics rules and sounds. Research shows that memorizing sound patterns is one of the best ways to help struggling readers or students with dyslexia. We are about to tackle the hard and soft sounds of the letters c and g.

If these sounds are tricky for your young readers, you might want these 3 freebies. The first one is a song that I have always used for teaching the hard/soft sounds of c and g. I can't for the life of me remember where I first heard it. I have used it since my first year in the classroom. It has always been helpful! I am planning to have my students use a highlighter to look for c/g followed by e, i, or y on the word sort pages before cutting and sorting. I hope these will be useful to you, too. You can download them by clicking {HERE}.

If you need more activities for the sounds of c and g, you might like my latest TPT product. It includes a decodable reader called "Carnival Games", an assessment, a reading/spelling center, and 2 of my students' favorite style card games. One is called "Cinderella's Castle" and practices the hard and soft sounds of c. The other is called "Goldilocks in the Cottage" and practices the hard and soft sounds of g. My kiddos beg to play these games! You can check them out {HERE}.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November's Pinterest Pick 3 Linky

November gives us so many opportunities for thankfulness. On Election Day, we are reminded of our freedoms. On Veterans Day, we are thankful for those who serve or are serving in the military. On Thanksgiving, our hearts nearly burst with counted blessings. 

I am thankful for my sweet friend, Ashley from Just Reed who invited me to link up in November's Pinterest Pick 3 Linky. Here are 3 of my favorite finds for Thanksgiving! 

How stinkin' cute are these scrapbook paper turkeys?!? You could work on patterning, creativity, fine motor skills and NOT have to get out any paint. No paint (or glitter) required makes anything a winner in my book. :)
Click on image to view the original Pinterest link. 

These little turkey snacks were just too cute not to share! They would be cheap and easy for some parent volunteers to pull off, too! These would be fun to enjoy while you watch my #3 pick. 
Click on image to view the original Pinterest link. 

Lastly, November would not be complete without reading 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving. I absolutely adore this story. This read aloud version has background music that reminds me of a Charlie Brown cartoon. I am looking forward to seeing the new Peanuts movie this month, too.