Our Favorite Learning Tools!

I asked my Grade 1s to share some of their favorite tools for learning! Here are their top picks:

Emotions/Classroom Community:

This year I combined Inside Out lessons with our Bucket Filling, good/poor choices, and Zones of Regulation emotional programming. I have found that the students are more engaged with the lessons and are able to relate better.. (this could be because we watch the movie together with some delicious popcorn!?). The “Let’s Talk About” book series is also a learning tool that we utilize.

Image result for lets talk about series

The Zones of Regulation Presentation  (see Zones of Regulation Curriculum by Leah Kuypers for resources)




The Grade 1s enjoy Flashlight Fridays and using our slinkies to sound out words, our ropes to retell a story, and our mirrors to visualize our pronunciation of words and letter sounds!



Sight Word and Alphabet Learning:

The students love forming letters with magnets, salt, play dough, and shaving cream. Writing on our Buddha boards and chalkboards is always fun, too! Some alphabet and sight word games that they enjoy are: upper/lower match boxes with popsicle sticks, bowling, fishing, balloon pop, ball toss, golfing, toppling bunnies, scavenger hunts, fly swatter, cup stacking, bingo dabber, egg flip, and toppling towers sight word/alphabet games. We enjoy sounding out CVC words on our pool noodles and by jumping in our hula hoops. As a teacher, my favorites are the word walls and my Lakeshore rhyme and alphabet buckets with initial sound or word family toys/examples. The picture cards are also a great find! As always, I recommend the Florida Center for Reading Research for engaging, research-based phonics and phonological awareness games.



Books, Books, Books

Here are some classroom Book Teaching Resources that I am fortunate to be able to share with my learners. I have found that having a categorized system ensures that no book gets left behind!

What are some books that you love to use in the primary grades? What organizational system works for you!? Happy reading!


Reading Intervention Planning

This year I had the opportunity to attend a Joyful Literacy Reading Summit in Saskatoon. We learned all about helping struggling readers thrive through a games-based approach. I spent the next couple months trying to implement my newfound knowledge into my teaching, as it positively applies to my work as a Student Support Teacher. So far the kids are loving the games and our Grade 1 reading scores are improving!

With my brain full of great ideas and seemingly not enough hours in a day, my first step was to read Putting on the Blitz by Janet Mort. The text offers ideas about setting up meaningful interventions and there are great game-based resources and examples to learn from. My task was to try and figure out how this would work for my students and within my environment with the resources allotted to me. The next step was to approach my room and resources with a different lens. I had to figure out what I already had in my room that could be used to create game-based phonics and phonological awareness interventions. Suddenly fly swatters were looking like tools for learning in our Sight Word Splat instead of for their intended use! However, I did also have to purchase resources and took advantage of great finds at the Dollar Store, as well as, the Teacher Tax Credit. It is amazing what resources you can find when you look at things with a different perspective.

With significantly less  money in my pocket, my next step was to pull everything together and create a phonics and phonological awareness intervention year plan. This year plan utilizes the games that I have already created in my classroom, as well as, the Florida Center for Reading Research’s Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading curriculum. If you are a primary teacher and especially if you are a primary Student Support Teacher, I highly recommend taking the time to utilize this resource. It does take a lot of time to create – printing each game on cardstock, cutting, laminating, labeling the resources in Ziploc bags, and filing – but in the end you have hundreds of age-appropriate lessons, games, and assessments that focus on phonological awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. The best part is that it is research-based and the kids are highly engaged by the games! They ask me to play them again and again!

The intervention plan is flexible in regards to the proposed timelines and activities – the students’ understanding will dictate the speed in which you proceed or review concepts and your classroom resources and game creations will vary from my own but can easily be incorporated into this plan. There are Saskatchewan curriculum connections. And since reading intervention is one piece of the literacy pie for my Grade 1’s, I have included guided reading plans with reading strategies and resources.


I find that having this intervention plan posted in my room allows for easy planning in my Weekly Planner, which can also be adjusted to meet your planning needs. This planner helps when you need a substitute teacher due to an unforeseen event, such as illness. At a quick glance, my substitute teacher is informed about our daily activities, where to find the materials, who I am teaching at what time, and the behavior and academic needs of my learners. So far I am finding that the two resources work nicely together.


May your literacy and intervention planning be as joyous as your play-based teaching!

Putting it Together: As Easy as ABCs

Time to put it all together! I decided the best way to overview my learning was to pick out words from my word wall and make an alphabet song! This is not an inclusive list of what I have learned because there are more “s” words than “x” words, for instance. But I do think it highlights the many categories I studied. Please bare with me internet people!

All below information from Signing Savy (Video ASL Dictionary):

A – aunt


B – baby


C – cat and a car driver


D – dad


E – elephant


F – family


G – grandmother/grandfather


H – help


I – in


J – jumping


K – kangaroo


L – love


M – mom


N – night


O – out/octopus


P – places


Q – quit


R – rainbow


S – store and school


T – time


U – uncle


V – very


W – work in the world


X – xylophone


Y – year


Z – zip zoom


And at the end of the day, maybe I can just leave it to this lady:

…or these people:

Or really just anyone else in the world! Haha! Comment below and thanks for watching! 🙂

Lord of the Flies Unit Plan B30

Worthwhile ELA Resources

Worthwhile Resources

Culturally Responsive:

  • Green Grass, Running Water – Thomas King
  • Medicine River – Thomas King
  • Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson
  • Morning Star: A Warrior’s Spirit – Morningstar Mercredi
  • The Book of Negros – Lawrence Hill
  • American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Boy Friendly:

  • Tears of a Tiger – Draper
  • Harris and Me – Gary Paulsen
  • Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
  • Son of the Mob – Gordon Korman
  • Divergent – Veronica Roth



  • A is for Activist”  by Innosanto Nagara
  • Three Day Road – Joseph Boyden
  • The Sweater by Sheldon Cohen
  • Shipbuilder by Stephen Surjik
  • Hamlet – Shakespeare
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  • Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  • Obasan – Joy Kogawa
  • The Kit Runner – Khaled Hossemi
  • Fault of Our Stars – John Green
  • Romeo and Huliet – Draper
  • A Raison in the Sun – Lorraine Hansberry
  • Night – Elie Wiesel


  • Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Teacher Resources:

  • Grammar Language Power Books
  • Jessiehmann.com for ELA 20 curriculum
  • msjproch@wordpress.com
  • Where in the World
  • Grammar Girl – Quick and Dirty Grammar

English Teacher Resources

7 Word Autobiographies Ice Breaker

100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Teachers Blog Post

Adverbs for Elementary by Engames


Assessing Children’s Literature

English Grammar 101

English with A Twist Blog

FreeRice Spelling and Grammar

Grammar Board Games by BBC

How To Describe Events in Sequential Order in English by English Tonight

National Writing Project

Present Perfect Tense Lesson by Engames

Present Perfect Tense vs. Past Simple Tense by Engames

Research on Literature Circles

Teaching Resources and Lesson Plans by BBC

The Mind of a Middle Schooler: How Brains Learn

When Two Vowels Go Walking Brain Break by Multimedia English

Using Baroque Music in the Classroom

                      Using Baroque Music in Your Classroom

Brainwaves are tiny pulses of electrical activity that are produced as neurons communicate with each other.  Brainwaves change depending on how we feel or what we are doing.  Irregular brainwaves may cause depression, ADHD, etc.  We can use music in our classrooms to help students maintain regular brainwaves.  Baroque music creates alpha waves in our brains; these waves are ideal for school settings and studying because they help us focus, think in the present, and stay alert and calm.

  1. Delta – dreamless sleep and regeneration
  2. Theta – dreamy sleep
  3. Alpha – in the now thinking (ideal for school setting and studying)
  4. Beta – fast activity and decision making
  5. Gamma – passing information in brain rapidly

Benefits of Baroque Music:

The Stanford Report states that baroque “music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory” (2007).

  • Relaxation and healing
  • Maintain or create positive moods/feelings
  • Increased creativity, organization and clarity
  • Reduce stress
  • Maintain a normal heart beat
  • Improve test scores
  • Decrease learning time
  • Reduce errors due to memory recall
  • Highly beneficial to individuals with ADHD or behavioural disorders
  • Integrates both sides of the brain for more efficient learning
  • A study at the University of California showed that Baroque music raises IQ scores by 9 points
  • A study at Stanford University showed that Baroque music increases learning potential by 5

Classroom Uses:

  • Help students with ADHD focus
  • Transitions
  • Cue
  • Part of procedures
  • Decrease negative behaviors
  • Studying
  • Multitasking
  • During creative projects
  • In a sensory room
  • During work times