Reading Strategies & First Week Highlights

HELLO my sweet friends!  I’ve been without internet access since last week.  Sad.  But now it’s restored and I’m ready to share a few things with you!!   Hard to believe I’ve been back in Kindergarten for 7 days.  It’s like I never left!  My babies are settled into a bit of a routine and I feel like things are running pretty well…so far :)  I forgot how much I LOVE this age!!!  EVERYTHING is new to them…books, centers, friends…it’s ALL new and I love seeing them *get it* for the first time! 

Last week was our first full week and it was jam packed full of SO much!  I’ve been researching Whole Brain Teaching and watching countless videos, so I decided to implement what I know into my class this year and I AM IN LOVE!!!!  My kids seem so much more engaged!!  Last week was all about practicing routines and procedures and taking LOTS of brain breaks!  And don’t forget the singing…BOY did we sing!!  Our favorite?!?!  The Banana Song! 

When we weren’t practicing procedures and routines, we were diving into Abby’s Crazy for Kinders Unit head first.  Jitter Juice was, hands down, a class favorite!!!!


In small group, we read Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom and then had the kids make their own little Chicka trees.  This was a great little assessment to see how many of my kids knew how to identify, spell, and write their names.  I was also able to see how many of them had good one-to-one correspondence skills and who could/couldn’t write/identify the numeral to match the number of letters in their names.  I got this precious idea from April Larremore at Chalk Talk.  If I was still in first grade, I definitely would’ve done this activity, but instead of counting the number of letters in their names, I would’ve had them write the number of vowels and consonants and then I would’ve extended that into a whole group graph/sort activity.



In addition to practicing routines and procedures, I introduced Math Tubs, too.  Oh how I LOVE math tubs.  I can tell it’s going to take lots of practice to understand the procedures and expectations for math tubs, but I know the payoff will be SO worth it!  We started the year out with a few activities from Deedee Wills’ Math Stations packet.

jitterjuice7  jitterjuice8

I also created a little back to school one-to-one correspondence game board that the kids LOVE to play.  It’s been an awesome way to quickly assess which of my babies has a good handle on one-to-one, subitizing, and rote counting.


Click on the pic below to download.  If you want to read more about these little gameboards, click HERE.  We played these in first grade {with a little more rigor!} all the time, too!!!


We have this great little thing at my campus called “half groups”.  For two hours everyday, I only have half my class.  Group 1 leaves for an hour {for Science/Social Studies, Computer Lab, or Art} and I get to keep the other half.  When Group 1 comes back, Group 2 leaves :).  It’s pretty much the most amazing thing ever.  SO…when it’s time for literacy stations & guided reading, I only have about 8-9 kids in my room.  I’ve been able to do a quick letter/sound assessment on each of my kids and even have a little trial run guided reading with each of them.  I introduced a couple of my reading strategies that we’ve been using for the last few days. 


Click on the picture below to download your copy.


I keep my posters displayed on the wall behind my teacher table, and I use my little strategy sticks for quick reference during guided & shared reading.  I went ahead and added several strategies I’ve been using throughout the years…this verbage {for me} just kinda flows and my kids seem to pick up on the strategies quickly.  If you have any questions, just holler!


Whew!  I’m exhausted just reliving it all!  HA!!!  I’ve got lots more to share, but I’m tired.  Stay tuned for my Name Unit coming up this weekend!!!  Eeeeek!!!  SO excited to share it with y’all!!!! 

Have a GREAT rest of the week!!!!!


  1. I really love your blog! I just found out I will be student teaching in Kindergarten this year and I am so excited to try some of your activities!! Thank you for sharing, everything you do is so creative!

    I've been reviewing Children's Books for a Graduate class I took on children's literature and would love for you to check it out!

  2. girl, you have been busy! :)


  3. Yum, Jitter Juice! Can you please teach Becks in K? And then maybe loop to first? Pretty please?!

    Everything looks wonderful! Your kiddos are so blessed :)

  4. I started parts of whole brain teaching this year and ADORE it! can't wait to learn and implement more of it! and also can't wait for your name unit!

  5. Your reading strategies are precious. Thank you for all your wonderful idea.

  6. Awesome, blossom! I absolutely *LOVE* those reading strategy posters. I am using Whole Brain Teaching this year too. My kids are LOVING it!

    Looks like you are having a FAB year! So jealous of your half group schedule. What an amazing opportunity to get some one-on-one time with your babies.

    Thanks for sharing, sweet friend!

  7. Wow - so glad you are enjoying Whole Brain Teaching!!! I found WBT 3 years ago and it has changed my teaching life!!! If you have any questions let me know! I'd be happy to answer them!!!

    Thanks also for your amazing posts and blog! You are truly an inspiration!

    My Whole Brain Teaching Blog

    A Grade One Nut and Her Squirrely Crew

    WBT Executive

  8. Sounds like you really have found your niche...and I thought you were only perfect for first grade! Glad you are enjoying it, Cara...and keep the ideas coming!!
    SynonymRolls & AntonymMoments

  9. At my first school that I taught at.. we did 1/2 groups too! Genious idea!!!

    glad you are enjoying kindergarten! I don't know if I have the patience to go younger than first :o)

  10. Thanks for sharing those resources!

    I use bits and pieces of whole brain teaching, I use the 5 "rules" for our classroom and my kids love it! Every so often I'll put in the "teach to your neighbor" part too... it's great for engagement!

    1/2 groups sound so nice! Glad you are loving being back in kinder!

    The Kinder Garden

  11. I am super jealous of half group!!! Who is teaching the group that leaves the room?

  12. Your posters are adorable! We use the Beanie Baby decoding strategies too! If you use the actual Beanie Babies in your room for a visual reminder, let me know. I would love to share some of our Lips the Fish and Stretchy Snake activities. My kiddos ADORE them. Lips the Fish is going to visit us next week and leave us a "surprise package". =)

    Heather's Heart

  13. LOVE your cute little Chicka trees and adorable Reading strategy posters/sticks!!

    How is it that I've never heard of the Banana song?? Please someone enlighten me!

    -Michaela :)

  14. I love love love your reading strategy posters and sticks! I will be using these with my guided reading groups. Thanks so much!

    Keep Calm and Apple On

  15. I love your blog! So happy that you are having so much fun with your students! Thank you for yor freebies.

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  17. Love these ideas!! Esp. your reading strategies on popsicle sticks. I'm working as a learning specialist this year with K-5 and I'm thinking that these would be great for the little ones.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    -Kate @ The Wise Owl

  18. I started whole brain teaching this year too. My kids seem to catch on and they say the rules a lot more to other students which is helpful. I would love to hear more about your half groups. Who takes you other half? It sounds wonderful to only have 9 at once oh the possibilities of getting assessments and intensive guided reading done! I love your reading strategies. I use very similar ones but a few of the animals are different. I find that my students remember then and love them. I even had a child come into my class from last year asking if she could take home stretchy snake because she uses him all the time. (I have stuffed animals to go with them.) I love that you are already teaching this in Kindergarten! It is so important! Looks like you're off to a great start! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Class, Yes! It's awesome! I wish I would've learned about wbt sooner, but better late than never right? I'm hosting a giveaway for the Really Good Stuff Modular Pocket Chart, Stop by and enter when you have a free moment. :)

  20. AWESOME!!! I just love your blog and many thanks for the wonderful posters! :)

  21. I love these! My 2nd graders still love them too :) They really do help them remember! Thanks for sharing your cute chevron version!

    The Learning Tree

  22. Thank you so much! I am into Chevron too! Your Alphabet is on my wall!

  23. I just started doing Whole Brain Teaching, too! It has blown my mind!! My kiddos are doing so great with the call and response. It's amazing. Keep posting about WBT. I love to hear more about how it's wokring for other people. Someone overheard me in the hallway the other day doing "Class" "Yes" and they came by my room after school to ask where are learned that cool thing. Pretty exciting stuff!
    ps. I love your reading strategy posters. Thanks!

  24. Awesome as always! Thanks for sharing!!

  25. I love, love, love the Reading Strategy Sticks! Thanks for the freebie!

    Sunshine, Sand and Scissors

  26. Thank you so much for the freebie! They are way cuter than the ones that I have now!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  27. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I saw your posters and husbands going to kill me if I buy one more thing from TPT! But I don't have to worry about it, because IT'S FREE!! Thanks so much! I love your blog. Oh and I have also started the Whole Brain teaching and I love it!!

  28. I have to tell you, I just LOVE your blog. I'm a first year teacher teaching 1st grade. As overwhelming as it can be at times, visiting your blog always makes me excited to get back to my students ready to try new things. We did a few things with Jitter Juice and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as well! (:

  29. Excellent, thank you for your new post!! I to am a first time whole brain teacher and LOVING IT. The kids are just eating it up. Please post more!!

  30. I've seen these before, but yours are so cute!

    I'm totally pinning these!

    Rockin' Teacher Materials

  31. Thank you Cara for the shout out! Your Chick-a trees turned out beautiful!!!

  32. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas and activities!! :)

  33. LOVE the reading strategies posters! Thanks so much!



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  35. Oh no!! Looks like you have spam sneaking into your blog comments :(

    I LOVE your posters! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    All Students Can SHINE

  36. Some fantastic ideas and resources here! Im your newest follower
    Teachable Moments

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  39. I've been looking at Whole Brain teaching too! Looking forward to trying it sometime (in FRENCH!)

  40. Wow, so many amazing ideas. I am jealous that you moved to K! I moved from First to being an Academic Interventionist. I work with K a LOT so I am going to use your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    First in Maine

  41. Thank you so much for sharing. I used the beanie baby strategies last year, but with the move from Title to 2nd, I misplaced my cards. I like the addition of elephant ears and skippy scott. The wording you use seems to flow as well.

  42. I love these posters, but have a hard time coming up with sample books to first teach each strategy with. Do you have any particular books in mind that you use for each strategy?

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  45. I remember reading this post last year, and didn't think the strategy posters would be necessary for my 2nd graders...but was just reminded of it in the teacher wife's post today and think they'll be great for the first graders I have this year! Thank you for sharing!

  46. Thanks so much for sharing your reading strategy posters/tools! I have been really focused on beefing up my reading time and I've been looking for something like this!

  47. I love these, thanks for sharing! I just wondered where the clipart is from? I want to make strategy bookmarks for my kids to take home in their reading folders and I'd love for the clipart to match. Thanks!

  48. Cara, I love your animal reading strategy posters and have them posted in my classroom. Is there any way you could create a "Tryin' Lion" card to match the set? I would really like that one to complete the set and have it to encourage my students with to keep trying with challenging words! Thanks so much!