Welcome back!  :)  Here's the latest installation of the Work on Words Wednesday series.  Today we are focusing on an easy strategy you can use for 5 minutes per day to teach Greek and Latin stems.
Looking for more Work on Words Wednesday posts?  Click here to see them all!
     Understanding common Greek and Latin stems increases both vocabulary and comprehension, and is specifically cited in Common Core standards L.4.4b, L.5.4b, and L.6.4b.  This is a strategy I have used effectively both in the classroom and as a Literacy Specialist to ensure my students have a solid understanding of common Greek and Latin stems.  This strategy requires 5 minutes of whole group time daily, and can be tweaked to meet the needs of your classroom.  Consider using this strategy as a part of your daily meeting, an activity after you return from lunch, or even at the end of the day as students pack their backpacks.
Please remember: you know your students best, and will add to or change this strategy as needed for your individual students.  Happy Teaching!!

Monday: Uncover the meaning of the stem.  Take 2 words the students know.  Define these words in a kid friendly way so they explicitly see the meaning of the stem.  
Example:  portable – able to be carried; transport – carry around; so port = carry.
Tuesday: Brainstorm other words derived from the stem for a class list.  Turn it into a game: each team gets 1 point per word that contains the stem, and 3 points for words that no other team finds.  They must justify how it relates to the meaning from yesterday.  Using the Monday example, important would not go on the list. 
Wednesday: Search for more words built from the stem.  Encourage the use of dictionaries, textbook glossaries, and other resources from the classroom.
Thursday/Friday: Review vocabulary built from the stem (and previously studied stems).  In the past, I always created a simple to prepare Jeopardy game using index cards and a pocket chart.  

For a free printer-friendly guide and Jeopardy number cards, please click on the picture below to download from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Please remember to leave me feedback on TpT if you choose to download this resource!  I appreciate it!
What do you think? How is this approach similar to other approaches you have tried? How is it different? Be sure to share in the comments below!
I'm a parent of two amazing children.  I'm also a teacher.  I have been working with kiddos since I was in fifth grade (no kidding; I was an assistant in the Summer Program at our church that summer!) and I have experienced the communication breakdown that can happen between parents and teachers from both sides.  Here are 6 tips to use when you talk with your child's teacher:
Font and Frame: Kimberly Geswein Fonts

Y'all already know that I'm not terribly talented in the housekeeping department, right?  I've wished for the "Laundry Fairy" to visit my house repeatedly, but to no avail.  I'm getting better, though.  The main thing I've learned is that I need to train the other people who live in my house to put things away after they use them.  You know: dishes; clothes; games; toys; etc.  The difficult part is convincing my new fur-baby to keep the shedding to a minimum, but I don't mind too much...
Our new fur-baby, Mavis.
Mavis has been trying to help, particularly with cleaning off our faces!  :)  She had to get out of my way when I went to work on the goodies for the NC Blogger Meet Up on Saturday...
Click here to view the invite on Facebook!
I'm happy with the way they turned out... (even with Mavis' help!)

Want to get your own?  Click on the picture below for a freebie!  (Frame from Glitter Meets Glue Designs, Font from KG Fonts)

(Free on TpT)
Happy Friday, y'all!!
I teach with the door open... really.  {Just ask my teaching buddy, Casey!}  One question I get all the time - "How come you always get the class with the great vocabulary?"  Here's the secret not so secret answer:  Use interesting words.
Looking for more Work on Words Wednesday posts?  Click here to see them all!
Simple, right?  In theory, it is quite simple.  In practice, it takes a bit of planning and forethought to use interesting words as you teach.  I had an amazing "Light-bulb Moment" 6 or 7 years ago when I had the pleasure of attending a seminar by Dr. Rick DuVall.  (If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend his seminars!)  One point he made was that you can't just walk in and start using a huge vocabulary with second graders - you ease them into it by adding in a few words or phrases at a time.

For example, at the beginning of the year, you would say, "Please line up for the water fountain."  Later you might say, "Create a linear formation for a water break."  Instead of answering a request to eat lunch outside with the statement, "Ok," you might answer, "I acquiesce." {accept without protest}

An easy way to create interest in Interesting Words in their writing is to ban the plain color words.  "The sky is blue," is not very interesting... "The sky is as blue as an inky sea," is much easier to visualize.  I always did this using paint chips.  You know, those paint sample squares you see at the local home improvement store.
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Paint companies pay a great deal of money on the research for those color names - grab a few, punch a hole in the corner, and put it on a ring.  Viola!  Instant reference for interesting color words.  Want to do this in a paperless way?  Vista Paint has their color chip palette as an interactive page.  Click a square to see a large square of color and the name.

Disclaimer: I'm not advocating you stealing a ton of paint sample chips from your local Home Depot... just sayin'.  I always asked first if they minded me picking out some samples to use in my classroom, and they would acquiesce every time.  :)
Y'all, I'm so excited to share a bit more about Working on Words with the group!  Last week, we took a closer look at Word Games, and how to use them in your small group instruction.  Today, we'll look at Cheap Manipulatives.
Font: KG Fonts, Digital Paper: Sassy Designs
First, let's address the fact that most teachers (myself included) are basically broke.  The schools don't have enough money to purchase all of the manipulatives our kiddos need to have true opportunities to manipulate letters/sounds and practice building words in a kinesthetic way.

Next, let's just talk about our students.  Yeah, we know the state/county/insert-your-official's-name-here expects students to spend two or three days on a topic, master it, then move on... only to be tested on it in a standardized format months later.  These people are not educators - you are.  As an educator, you have the understanding of child development to know the importance of time, repetition, and kinesthetic activities in the storage of knowledge in long term memory.  We all know how important it is for students to use manipulatives and concrete examples in math throughout elementary school, so why do many schools assume these manipulatives are not necessary to master phonetic concepts?  I don't have a good answer for you, but I do have good news...  Lean in...  I'll whisper it to you... Go ahead and provide these things because you know they need them - even if it's not on a test.
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Even fifth graders can benefit from the opportunity to explore words in a kinesthetic way.  Here's a collection of tried and true (and cheap) manipulatives to use while students are working with words:
Clothespin Letter Clips - Love these!  Buy the big bag of clothespins from WalMart, Big Lots, etc (under $5.00) and have 2 different colored permanent markers.  Label the consonants one color (I choose black) and the vowels another color (I choose red.)  I added capitals on one side and lowercase on the other, 'cause I'm fancy like that.  Toss in a few wooden paint stirrers (free from the home improvement store), and you have a cheap set of manipulatives!
Scrabble Tile Tracings - Y'all already know of my love for Scrabble from my first Work on Words Wednesday post, but why leave those letters in the box?  Set them out and teach kiddos to place the letters under their paper one at a time and use the flat part of the pencil lead to shade over it.  Viola - instant record of their Word Work for their notebook.
Magnetic Letters - I have the fancy-shmancy kind from Lakeshore, but they also sell magnetic letters at dollar stores and discount stores.  Keep your eyes open, and you can score a real deal!  Add metal cookie sheets from the dollar store, and you're set.

How do you use cheap manipulatives in word work?
Today's confession: I am decorating - deficient.  I think the gene must have skipped a generation.  Y'all may have figured that out since I only have a very limited amount of "cute - gotta get my craft on" kind of posts...  Well, this applies to my home as well.  I aim for clean enough to keep any smells to a minimum and to keep the piles of laundry small enough that we can tell which ones are clean and which are dirty.  (Mostly kidding - mostly!)  Anywhoo, I love, love, love subway art, and have used it for years in my classroom.  

I recently was contacted by Katie from Wise Decor about trying their Wall Words, and it felt like it was meant to be!  I thought, "This is the kind of decorating even I can do!"   
Frame: Mr. Magician



{Wall Words from Wise Decor}
{Wall Words from Wise Decor}
This is the one I picked:
{Wall Words from Wise Decor}
It arrived!
What it looks like in the box...
Wow!  I can't wait to use this!!
Another view (Ignore the dirty carpet, please!)
They sent this decal for free since I it was the special of the day...  I'm thinking front door...  :)
Installation tool
I love, love, love the Classroom Wall Decals, and would adore seeing these in my classroom one day, once I have a classroom that doesn't move several times a year!
{School Wall Word and Quotes from Wise Decor}
{School Wall Word and Quotes from Wise Decor}
They also offer personalized decals.
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One of my other favorite decals is the monogrammed chalk board calendar
{Chalkboard Decal}

Now you can win a $75 gift card to Wise Decal! All you have to do is be a follower of Hello Mrs Sykes and follow a few simple entries!  Winner will be announced next Monday, so spread the word!  Also, if you can't wait until Monday to order, use this link to receive 10% off your order.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
* I received a decal to review for Wise Decor. I was not paid for a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Can't remember if I've told y'all about the very cool Math training I went through last year.  Very intense.  I learned a lot.  I spent at least 3 hours a month all year learning about 2nd grade math.  Best part: the class was split into 2 equal shares - mathematical thinking and fostering math talk.

For real, it has changed me, as both a teacher and a mathematician.  Example: I now always calculate tip in my head.  (Really and truly, I was one of those folks who used the tip calculator on my phone... Not proud of it, just sayin.')  Another example, I never ever tell kiddos they "can't" take a larger number away from a smaller number.  Everyone know why?  Because a few years later, they'll be expected to learn about negative numbers!!  We'll be discouraging their mathematical thinking before it even begins.  Now I say, "If you subtract a larger number from a smaller number, you'll have to work with a negative number, and you won't be learning about those for a few more years, so let's see if we need to ungroup instead."

Truly, It's the little things that make a huge difference.  Like with Math Talk.  Here's a link to a little freebie I used with my awesome teammate Casey last year when we were both fostering math talk with cue cards for the kiddos to refer to.
Also, I created a huge bundle of Higher Level Thinking Questions for Math Talk.  Click the pic below to take a closer look and then try the preview to download 6 free cards to try in your classroom.
Click to Preview on TpT
To me, the concept of encouraging discourse in math is very similar to methods I have always used to promote higher-level discourse in ELA.  How do you foster Math Talk in your classroom?
Time to link up with Farley for Currently!

Ok - about the foot.  Apparently, I broke a toe.  Again.  I really need to come up with a good story, but truly, I was vacuuming and I stubbed my foot on a chair.  This was over a week ago, and it still hurts, so I ice it daily.

My B2s must haves:
1) nuff said...
2) Love my Mystery Word of the Week sets, and I'm creating new sets using Science terms this year.
3) Comfy shoes - I think I'll try some Toms.  What do you think?
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