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About Me

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I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K Back to School
Pre-K Back to School

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy
Pre-K/Kindergarten Literacy

Phonics Games

Phonics Games
Phonics Games
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Calendar Math for Primary Grades

Calendar Math for Primary Grades
Primary Calendar for the Year

Get your Fry Words!

My kiddos are super excited they are learning their Fry Words!  I have been using my Fry word packs during Daily 5 and as a homework extension to differentiate learning instruction.

I have broken down the first 500 Fry words into units.  Each 100 word unit comes with a master check off sheet for assessment, take home sheets for practice with parents, flash cards for classroom practice and an award for each 100 words learned!  Each 100 word unit comes in its own theme for easy storage and organization:)

I have shared these units with my team and everyone seems to take and use it in a different way.  I love when a product (that I create or purchase) can be adapted and changed to fit my needs.  My sweet friend and teaching buddy Robin went to McDonalds and had French fry containers donated. 

I finally made my way there (for another reason than a Diet Coke!) and begged asked very nicely for 20 French fry containers. The cashiers thought I lost my mind (and maybe I have:)... and after clarification that I wanted EMPTY containers and a manager's approval, I FINALLY got them.

Each child's name is written on the inside of the container and each  week they can earn a French Fry for their container.  I have never seen such excitement over French Fries that CAN'T be eaten!!

I do have to say that I modified the process for my class.  In addition to the 6 high frequency words from our Wonders series that every child is accountable for, I have assigned 4 Fry words to each child's weekly words that are TESTED and GRADED on Fridays. 


OK, truth be told, I have NO IDEA  why my pictures are loading sideways, but I will retake the pictures tomorrow:)  On the left is my master check off and on the right is a picture of the bottom of my newsletter.  I have the 6 Wonders words listed and then I write in each child's 4 additional words.  It takes a bit of time, but I have a system finally going and I love the differentiation. 

The Fry words that the child is able to successfully read are written on the yellow "Fry" and added to the McDonalds French Fry container.  Children are able to pull them and practice with a partner occasionally.  If a child misses a word, they get the same word the following week with a * in front of it to remind the parent, the student and myself that this word is challenging to the student and needs extra practice. 

I have also bundles the Fry Words 1-500 into the Mega Bundle.  If you would like to see more, click HERE

I would LOVE to hear what you do to differentiate your sight word practice!  Leave me a note or pin this unit and leave the URL and I will give one away on Thursday! 
Mrs. Wathen
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For the Love of Reading

The "love of reading" is a concept,  hope, reality in my classroom this year. Now don't get me wrong, given the choice of recess or reading they would definitely choose recess... But when all is said and done, there has been a reading "buzz", if you will, in my room this year.

I want to shout it from the roof tops!  We all work really hard teaching reading, but I believe I have done 3 things differently this year that together have made a difference.


I have leveled my classroom library with AR levels.  I have pulled and sorted books with K-2 grade AR levels and put them in baskets on a separate book shelf.  I do use the Daily 5 framework and know that the "Sisters" discourage this, but I believe it has truly helped my kids this year.  In addition to the ease, they waste less time looking for a book on their reading level as they are grouped together.  (Note: This picture is from preplanning and all baskets weren't out and labeled...)

I have consistently been assigning fluency passages EVERY week.  I have used Jody Southard's Monthly Fluency Passages along with her Monthly Songs and Poems.  My kids take home the fluency passage and practice it for homework for 3 nights.  There is even a sign off on the bottom of the page for parents.  We work on the same poem in class and add it to our poetry notebooks.  The kids then practice their poems during the "Read to Partner" portion of Daily 5.  The units can be purchased monthly, seasonally or a Year of Fluency all at once!

Another new resource that is HOT of the presses is Tamara Russell's Differentiated Fluency for First Grade. It was 18th today in TpT's newsletter today from K-2 products! It is AMAZING!!  Each month includes differentiated passages that are LEVELED!  Did I mention that the AR level is even included?  This is the FIRST time I have seen a unit like this on Teacher's Pay Teacher's.
I have focused on sight words this year in a BIG way.  I have used our reading curriculum's words (Wonders) and then introduced additional FRY Sight Words.  The key here is differentiation again.  Each child receives EXTRA words ON HIS/HER LEVEL to practice at home and during Daily 5.  I have made assessment sheets, themed flash cards and take home lists.  The first 1-500 FRY Words have been bundled into FRY WORD MEGA BUNDLE {Fry Words 1-500}. This is the perfect resource to remediate, teach  and challenge all students!  I will be working on Fry Words 501-1000 in the upcoming months! 
By leveling our classroom library, practicing fluency daily and differentiating our sight words, my class has become better readers.  When children are confident in their reading, they are more apt to enjoy reading.
Mrs. Wathen
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Currently {January}

Happy New Year!  Hope you all had a safe and happy New Year's Eve and a restful day!  We had a very early dinner with cousins, dropped off the boys at their grandparents and poor hubby was sleeping by 10:00 as he is battling a horrible head cold.

As it is the first second day of the month, I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for Currently.

This month Farley has some great links at the bottom of her post if you need some help linking up.  I remember it took me three months to figure it out!  (OK, I know that I am technology challenged!!) Then be sure to comment on the two blogs before you and one after you to share the love and maybe meet a new friend:)

I am loving lazy vacation days, sleeping in, surfing my favorite blogs, watching tv and staying up late:) I even boxed up all my Christmas ornaments this week into these super cute boxes and didn't wrap one.  Fingers crossed they all make it to next year! I picked up 3 and went back for one more and they were already SOLD OUT!  I {love}organization.

I am truly blessed and so thankful for my little family.  God is good. I am committed to spending less and saving more this year.  One of our family hopes is for a cruise the summer of 2015.  Justin will be graduating from middle school and Zach from elementary.  Sounds like a perfect time for a celebration:)

I have completed my Score! {Fry Words 401-500} pack and would love to give one  away. It includes an assessment page (100 words), flash cards, take home lists (25 words each) and a certificate of mastery.

I will be giving one away Friday night.   Just leave a comment with your One Little Word or New Year Resolution along with your EMAIL please!

Mrs. Wathen
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