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December 30, 2016

Top Ten HeidiSongs Blog Posts of 2016!


And... here they are our TEN most popular blog posts of 2016 for your "consideration and review!" :) It's always fun to look back on the year, remember what I was writing about, and think about which posts were the most popular and why.  It seems to me that I REALLY need to get back to Kindergarten, because it seems that's where most of my readers are!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get to go back to K next year, because that's where my heart is happiest, too! In any case, here are my ten most popular blog posts of the year.  If you have any topics that you would like me to tackle, just let me know!  I'm now comfortable in Kindergarten, first, and second grade.  Yeah! :)


1.  What to Do First Thing in the Morning in Kindergarten and First Grade



In this blog post, I outline one Kindergarten teacher's routine for her children as they enter the classroom and do their morning work.  This work includes a variety of things, including working on sight words, spelling, reading, and phonics.  It's pretty easy and straightforward!  I have even used some of these techniques with my first and second graders, too, so they are adaptable to many levels.


2. Phonics Coloring Worksheets for Word Families (Freebies!)




In this post, I introduced our Phonics Coloring Worksheets for Word Families!  (Here's a link to Volume 1, and here's a link to Volume 2.) These worksheets give kids practice finding & reading words with common phonics spelling rules, & give them a chance to color creatively, too!  They also give children practice reading and contrasting words from two different word families, so this is really great practice in sounding out words for children that struggle with that.  This is the perfect set for high flying Kindergartners or any first grader.  Download the freebies at the bottom of the post and see for yourself.


3. CVC Spinners:  Word Building Fun (Freebies!)




Well if this isn't the most OUT OF THE BOX idea I've had yet, I don't know what is!  In this post, I explain how to make this little manipulative that uses an optical illusion spinner to create CVC words.  Kids put the picture and the beginning sound letter on one side and the ending rime on the other side.  They can either glue it or clip it on.  Then they wind up the spinner and pull the strings tight.  Away it goes!  This is an especially fun little toy for your hands-on, active little learners (BOYS) that may be a bit hard to motivate. And yes, there's a freebie in there to try out, too!  Check out the video below!





4. What to Do When Students Cry at Drop-Off





In this post, I address that age old problem of separation anxiety, but from the teachers' point of view.  What can you do to help a child (and the child's parents!) if they are having trouble saying goodbye and letting go of each other in the morning?  What if you have five or even several more of them that are all crying at once?  Here are my best solutions to this problem after 25 years of teaching Kindergarten.


5. NEW Animated Sight Word DVDs!




If you haven't heard that we started animating our sight word DVDs, then I have FAILED as a BLOGGER!  Yes, this post got a good amount of attention as people began to realize that we now have a new style of DVDs with newer, younger, (cough!), more attractive (double cough!) actors and actresses in it.  Yes, you read that right:  there are both male AND female, multi-cultural "teachers" in my HeidiSongs DVDs, in hopes of making them more relatable to children everywhere. We love the new look and feel, and we hope you do, too!  All six of our Sing & Spell series DVDs are now animated!


6. How I Taught My Kids to SPELL the First Hundred Sight Words





In this post, I explained how my first graders had to pass a spelling test that included the first one hundred sight words, and how I methodically helped them learn to spell all of the words- and RETAIN THEM!  It was not a particularly easy task, but they all did it!  And now that I am teaching a "regular" second grade class (and not just the higher kids, as I had in my combo class last year,) I can see how terribly important it is that the children learn to spell these basic words correctly from the beginning.  I have quite a few that have developed some very poor spelling habits in their writing, and it is very hard to correct it once it has become a habit.  I can tell you for certain that many of my past Kindergartners had better spelling habits, simply because we started with my Sing and Spell videos and then I taught them to APPLY IT IN THEIR WRITING.  And THAT makes all of the difference!


7. How I Taught My First Graders 300 Sight Words- and My Second Graders 600!



In this post, I outlined exactly what you can do when you have WAY too many words to work on with your kids. I also included my own sight word lists that we use at my school for both first and second grade, just in case you need them!


8. DIY Optical Illusion Spinning Top Free Download




This post is all about how to make a spinning top out of just an old CD or DVD disk and a marble glued into the middle of it.  Once you have the marble glued in, the kids take one of the free downloadable templates and color in one of the designs and give it a spin.  Bam!  The colors all start to blend together in an optical illusion.  It's super fun because the disks spin quite easily and usually keep on spinning for a good 60 seconds.  This was SO FUN!  Don't miss it!


9. Teaching First Graders to Write an Insect Report




In this post, I show you how to make a book report "Lapbook" out of a file folder, and scaffold it so that your little ones can REALLY do it themselves!  We did ours on insects, so this lapbook has an insect theme.  And before anyone decides to point this out, yes, I KNOW THAT SPIDERS ARE NOT INSECTS.  I just ran out of insect books that were at the correct reading level, so I had to allow some of the children to choose spiders just to keep things moving along, if you know what I mean.  In any case, the children's book reports came out beautifully, and the whole thing is a free download, too!  One hint, though:  if you are feeling stressed, have them all do the SAME insect/animal, and your life will be MUCH easier!  LOL!


10. An EASY Critical Thinking Game for K/1 Kids!





In this post, I show you a super easy critical thinking game that K/1 kids can easily handle.  It's fun, and the kids get to color while they play, which make it easier for them to wait their turn to speak.  And I'm good with anything that makes it easier for kids to wait their turn to speak.  LOL!


Well, that's it for now!  Hopefully that will catch you up on anything you might have missed this year in and amongst all of your work and home responsibilities. Take care, and have a wonderful 2017!


- Heidi :)



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