Friday, December 30, 2016

Elementary Social Studies for February (K-3) Check Out the Freebie!

 We, LaNesha Tabb and Naomi O'Brien, are SUPER excited that we decided to team up and work on these units together! Our January Unit is complete and ready to purchase now. There's a FREEBIE to check out, that really shows a sample of what you can expect from these monthly units. We recently completed our February Unit and wanted show you guys what you have to look forward to with this resource.
 It is our overall goal with these units to teach young students about different cultures, people, parts of the world, and about our country. We hope to inspire them to be compassionate, empathetic, and knowledgeable about the world around them.

If you take a look at the "At-A-Glance" images below, you will see that February is packed full of awesome for your and your students!

There are 5 subjects with Social Studies that we will focus on each month, but only 4 at a time. They will change each month.
 This month we decided to focus on:

Sociology: What is World Hijab Day?
Geography: The Geography of the Super Bowl
History: Celebrating Black History
Civics: Who Chooses our Holidays?

(A teacher guide is included to give you plenty of ideas of how to teach these topics to your children. Quizzes are included in the guide as well.)

You guys, we really wanted to make sure we covered all bases with all of the grade levels we hoped to reach. There is truly something for everyone. We included workbooks with longer reading passages, more vocabulary words, and writing prompts for the older grader. There are also eBooks and Mini Books for the lower grade levels to have access to the same content. Print them out or project them of the entire class to see!
Even if your students are using the 2-3 workbooks (pictured above), the eBooks can still be used as a hook or discussion starter for each new topic!

Each subject has a craft or interactive activity included. We really want your students to be familiar with the topics they are learning about. We want them to go home excited to tell their families and friends what they learned about in school that day! When we think about the impact those discussion can have, our hearts are so full!

We hope your students and you have fun learning and teaching each other! Be on the look out for the March Unit which is coming soon!

To find our units, use the links above or search #SocialStudiesK3 in the search bar on

LaNesha and Naomi

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Year Long Thematic Social Studies Unit That Matters!

Despite the negative reports posted on the hour, despite the comments sections on most websites, despite the ever-growing notion that we are more divided now than we've ever been before...

We still have hope. 

We, LaNesha Tabb and Naomi O'Brien, have joined together to write what we like to call our "love letter" to students all over America- and even beyond. We seek to heal, enlighten, and promote curiosity about our world, it's past, and the present people in it.  This resource is for you. 

Our hope is that this resource widens perspectives, encourages conversation, and promotes the idea that different isn't "bad" or "weird." We believe this can be done at even the youngest ages. We realized that we were both guilty of only teaching Black History in our classrooms and that that wouldn't cut it when we live in a nation full of diverse people. In this resource, you'll find just about every heritage month that is recognized nationally. Our goal was to create a unit that has something for everyone inside. Why?

Because knowing stuff about our world matters. 

We have created a resource that covers Social Studies subjects for primary grades. In these monthly thematic units, we cover fresh and interesting topics in the areas of civics, history, sociology, geography, and economics. There's a little bit of everything in here- differentiated reading passages, activities, crafts, mini-books, e-books, assessments...the works! It can be adapted anywhere from grades K-3. LaNesha is currently teaching the modified version in kindergarten and Naomi teaches her gifted and talented students- all from the same resource!  

Here is a snapshot of the January Resource! 

Lastly, we wanted to make sure that you could see the big picture for where we are headed, so we'd love to present the overview for the year! Are you ready? Annnnnd scroll! 

See? We weren't kiddin'! Our goal was to recognize as many cultural groups and interesting topics as we could! We are so excited to expose our youngest students to our rich history, sociology, civics, geography, and economics! Little kids can do big things and think big thoughts and we hope this resource encourages just that! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Phonological Awareness Warm-Ups: Building Strong Reading Foundations

These warm-ups have been a small group life saver! Focusing on Phonological Awareness and Sight Words for the first few minutes of small group has helped to accelerate and strengthen my students phonological awareness. I use one sheet a week. I print out 5 for each student in my small group and keep each sheet in a sheet protector. We review each skill quickly. If they struggle in a particular area, I make a note to spend more time on the area the next day, by reviewing the sheet AND giving more examples, modeling, and extra time to practice. I lead on Monday and Tuesday. Students partner up on Wednesday and Thursday. They review the skills individual Friday.
Isolating Sounds: Say the word. Use your fingers or counters to keep track of the sounds you hear. In no particular order, ask students about the beginning, middle, and last sounds they hear. Some days you might ask for the middle sound first. Don’t always ask for the sounds in the right order. 
Substituting Sounds: Say the word. Model how to identify the beginning sound. Model saying the new word after you’ve substituted the sound given on the sheet. Give students a chance to practice.
Adding Sounds: Say the initial consonant, pause and then give the vowel and constants that follow (onset and rime). Students should say the word they heard. 
Sight Words: I use Fry’s Sight Words in order, in groups of 10. Review all 10 words each day, all week long. Add the words to your Word Wall for students to use. For the star, allow students to choose a special word they want to learn that week. Write it on an index card, dry erase board, or the sheet protector. My groups usually all decide on the same word and learn it together!

 Blending Sounds: Tap each dot, and say each sound with the students. Start out slowly. Start to say each sound quickly and ask students if they can blend the sounds together to make a word.
Deleting Sounds: Practice taking off the beginning or ending sound of words. Teacher Prompt: “Say cup. Now say cup without the /c/.”
Ending Sounds: Say each word represented by the picture. Ask students to listen for the two words that have the same ending sound. Once they pick the words correctly, ask them to identify the sound. See if students can produce more words with the same sound at the end.
Middle Sounds: Say each word represented by the picture. Ask students to listen for the two words that have the same middle sound. Once they pick the words correctly, ask them to identify the sound. See if students can produce more words with the same sound in the middle.

Syllables: Teach students how to listen for the natural split in sounds that occur in words. For a spelling tip, tell students that there must be a vowel in each syllable. Practice clapping or tapping out syllables. Students can circle or place a counter on the correct number.
Deleting Sounds: Practice taking off the beginning or ending sound of words. Teacher Prompt: “Say cup. Now say cup without the /p/.” For blends students should break the blend apart. For example: Teacher Prompt: “Say globe. Now say globe without the /g/.” Students should respond: “lobe”.
Segmenting Sounds: Say each word. Then segment, or divide the word into the separate sounds it is made up of.Teacher Prompt: “Segment the word flag into the sounds that make up the word.” Students should respond: “/f/ /l/ /a/ /g/.” They should not respond with: “/fl/ /a/ /g/.” If they do, praise them for hearing the other sounds, and focus their attention on the beginning blend that should have been separated.

 Rhymes: Say each word. Remind students that rhymes don’t need to have the same spelling, but they do need to have the same word ending sounds. If students can not produce a rhyme yet, give them a word ask which word on their sheet rhymes with the word you said. If that is too difficult, give students two words that rhyme and discuss why they are rhymes. Give students two words that do not rhyme, and discuss why they are not rhymes.
Beginning Sounds: Say each word represented by the picture. Ask students to listen for the two words that have the same beginning sound. Once they pick the words correctly, ask them to identify the sound. See if students can produce more words with the same sound at the beginning.
Word Count: Tell students to close their eyes and listen to the  sentence you read. See if they can hear how many words are in the sentence. If students struggle with this, have them touch each word as you read it. Some students may skip to the next word when they hear different syllables in one word. Remind them to listen and concentrate on what is being said, not just the sounds.
Find Warm Ups here.

 Making the time to include these quick warm ups at each small group meeting improved my students reading skills so much. We were able to tie in these important skills when we moved on to guided reading. Students would actively look for sight words, find rhymes they could manipulate by adding or deleting sends, and segment and blend words while they were reading! I highly recommend using these skills whole group and at small group for quick reading warm ups!
A lot of these phonological warm ups matched up nicely with our daily reading goal.
Find reading goals here.

Hope these ideas are helpful for your little readers!
Have fun teaching!
Mrs. O'Brien

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Hello fellow Teachers and Friends....I can NOT express how excited I am to be kicking off the 2016-2017 school year. This first week has been amazing and I want to celebrate with ALL of you! Join me in my first Instagram Hashtag Challenge to win big! I want to see pictures of your favorite classroom corner-- You know, the one that gives you the most inspiration. Is it your reading center, like mine? Do you have a Math Lab or Science Lab area? Show me what you've got and be sure to tag it with #readlikearockstarchallenge so I can find it. I encourage all teachers to have fun with this, including HomeSchool parents. On September 1st I'll pick a random winner to receive $25 in FREE resources from my TpT store! Be sure to pass on the information to your fellow teachers and mentors.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 Days!

Here in Denver there are only...5 days left until the first day of school. I. Am. Excited! I can not wait for that back to school buzz and working closely with my students. Truthfully, maybe I'm slightly nervous too. This is my first year back since having my son and I have taken on new responsibilities at school this year. A lot of change, a lot of opportunity and a lot of fun is expected this year.

The "Back to School Buzz" is always something to be excited about,  but when it begins to dwindle down some teachers and students alike, become a little nervous. I like to begin my year with easy peasy assessments and activities to assist me in gaging what level my students work best at.

These are two examples of sheets from a packet that I use for my kids during the first weeks of school. By separating concepts such as rhyming, beginning sounds, end sounds and middle sounds, I can tell where they are the strongest and weakest in Phonics and Reading. This is a great tool to use throughout the year as well so you can see their progression. If you would like to see more of this resource you can do so by clicking here.

Please stayed tuned and in the next several days I will be letting you know how to pick up a few of my Teachers pay Teachers resources-- For FREE!

XoXo- Naomi

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Who are your students?

The countdown begins..... We are entering the last several days before the classrooms and hallways are filled with the "Back to School" buzz.

Have you received your roll call roster yet? I love receiving the names of my students so I can begin writing on the sweet placement cards I find or make and just getting everything together in general.

One important detail I want to speak about is the importance of knowing more then just their names. Who are these kids? Do they have siblings? Do they live with Mom and Dad or a blended family? Do they love Macaroni and Cheese and the color purple? All of these little details will play a pivotal role in your interaction throughout the year. When you know little details about your students it will connect you on a larger level and build a trust between you. This will lead to better communication with you and your students.

I have an adorable writing exercise built to practice writing skills and open the lines of communication.

This resource will be fun to use to get to know your students and help them share a little bit about themselves! Pick the child that looks the most like the student completing it and allow them to fill in the blanks and color the child to look just like them. There are multiple children and writing sheets to  choose from. The kid's will love this writing exercise. These are perfect for displaying during the first weeks of school, at open house, or whenever you’d like! Have fun! 

You can find this resource at my Teachers pay Teachers store by clicking here.