Monday, January 28, 2013

Monthly Must Haves

There it goes...January floating off around the corner, just when I was getting used to it. I had almost warmed to the snowy, wet weather especially when an occasional snow day blew by. Oh well, time to get prepared to greet the next month right? Oh, and what a saucy, little month it is as it pops out of holes looking for shadows and runs around spreading love germs everywhere:D
So, what do you do to get ready for each month? Do you have some go to resources? I do. I thought I might share with you a few of the great finds from TPT that help me to prep for each month.

I love this packet for many reasons. She differentiates each morning work assignment which saves me work. I have a few students that need to have their work tweeked here and there to make it doable. I appreciate that she has already taken care of that for me. I also like that it is specific to first grade, so I know that I'm hitting my standards in both reading and math. Yes, reading and math skills on one sheet. Great! It reviews and previews skills so I'm able to check what they have retained, reteach when necessary, and do a bit of formative assessment on skills we are about to cover. Any assignment that allows me to hit so much at once is a time saver making it a definite monthly pick for me.

This year our RTI coaches had to split time between S-Teams and RTI instruction. Yes, we had certified teachers who did our Tier 1 instruction for us. We were so lucky, but not anymore. So, I started the year wondering what I was going to do. A little research led me to these packets and I never looked back. The activities stay the same and are aligned with the AIMS Web assessments, which is what we use. The words and graphics change to add variety, but the repetitiveness of the activities means my Tier 1 students can focus on the skills not on the rules of the games. I have seen real improvement using this tool. Some of my Tier 1 students came in barely reading on a kindergarten level and are now reading at a beginning first grade level. Huzzah! I like when things work.

What does she love about it you ask? Well, she gushes about all her center work being done and planned for a whole month for one. She likes that the activities stay the same each month but the graphics and skills change to match that month's theme. It makes explanation of centers so easy and ensures that the students are practicing skills not game rules. Finally, she likes that the games review the skills in a challenging way that pushes but doesn't discourage. She's made a believer out of me and I have added that to my monthly cart. I can't wait to try it out!

So what about you? I would love to hear how you prepare for each month. If you have any great finds, don't be stingy. Pass the tips along! I'm always looking for ways to maximize instruction while saving time. Besides, I'm just a sucker for fun, cute activities. So, please share...really!



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