Monday, August 25, 2014

Reading App and a Giveaway

When I was little I LOVED listening to books on my little record player that played 45s. I could sit for hours listening to stories and looking at the pictures. I think this is when my love for reading began. I've tried to instill this love for reading in my own children and classroom students, as well. It's always fun to listen to stories and I enjoy watching the kids get wrapped up in a new adventure. 

Recently, I was given the chance to experience

The reading app FarFaria provides a wonderful story time experience. The app is offered for the iPad, iPhone, and Android devices which should make everyone happy. FarFaria offers more than 750 children's stories, with 5 new stories added each week. There is a variety of genres and reading levels to choose from, which would appeal to all kinds of readers.

I asked my 9 year old son to help me check out the FarFaria app. We started with the "explore" button which led us here.

Each island has a different theme with a catchy name. Though my son was instantly drawn to Adventure Island and Animal Kingdom, he made sure we checked them ALL out since he was "helping" me. 

There is great selection of books on each island to choose from, and all have a reading level badge on the cover. The reading levels are shown below:

The reading levels make it easy for teachers or parents to choose appropriate books for their students and children.

Once a book is chosen, you can decide from the 3 options of how it will be read.

When you find a book you really like, you can mark it as a "favorite" and have easy offline access to it, to read again and again.

My son and I had a great time "researching" this app. I can't wait to use it with my new class this school year. The more options they have to read and be read to, will help them grow as developing readers. 

My only complaint about this awesome app is that my son wouldn't put my iPad down. 

You can try FarFaria for FREE by downloading the app, which will let you read one story every day or you can have UNLIMITED access starting at $4.99 per month.

Now here's the BEST part...the good people at FarFaria are giving me a FREE 6-month membership to give to one of you lucky people! 

For your chance to win, enter below. Good luck!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Word Wall

Just a quick note about my word wall...I use Fry's 100 sight words for my word wall. I got my list from Fish for Words which introduces 5 words per week, going in order of frequency. 

I introduce the words on Mondays, and as a class we say them, spell them, chant them, you name it. Throughout the week we review the words with a variety of activities--games, writing them on our whiteboards, word wall detective (I choose a word, then give a few clues to the class to see if they can figure out my word), and writing sentences with them. I'm always having the kids refer to the word wall if needed when writing. I love overhearing someone ask, "How do I spell...?" and another student says, "Did you check on the word wall?" or "It's on the word wall. Let me show you."

One of the problems I've had with my word wall is being organized with my words, and getting them up each week. Some weeks I would already have the next 5 words written down and ready to go up. Other weeks I'd be scrambling at the bell to find my list, write the words, and put them up on the wall before the kids came in. This often led to me putting it off until the next day or the next week. 

But not this year! I've already written down all the sights words, on different colored paper, and cut them out by their shape.

I found this cute tin index card holder at Walmart.

I made dividers and numbered them by week.

I then used my list to sort the words, 5 per week, behind the correct divider.

And to finish it off, I FINALLY figured out how to use my Silhouette Cameo. ( I won't tell you how long it took or how many cuss words were shouted.)