Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Free Complete the Equation Task Cards

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thinking of all the things I have to be grateful for this year and am truly overwhelmed.  

Among the many blessings, my 20 year old son has developed an interest in creating iPad apps for some of the educational materials I create.  It's really special for me to be able to work side by side with him - and then to see materials I create come to life on an iPad. 

As a show of my appreciation for those of you who stop by this little blog, I am making my Complete the Equation Task card set (regularly $4) free from Nov. 26  - Nov. 30, 2014.  

This packet is designed to help students build fluency with addition and subtraction facts while also mastering Common Core Standard 1.OA.D.8: Determine the unknown number in addition or subtraction sentences relating three whole numbers. 

I find that students need scaffolded experiences to develop this skill.  This pack includes 144 equation cards than can be used for partner work and/or Scoot games.  The cards are presented in order of increasing complexity.  The following levels are included in this game: 

Addition within 10
Subtraction within 10
Mixed Addition/Subtraction within 10
Addition within 20
Subtraction within 20
Mixed Addition/Subtraction within 20 

A few screen shots of this item follow.  I like all the support I can get keeping materials organized, so each level and the corresponding answer sheet have a matching black and white (ink saving) background.  Click here or on any of the following set of images to download this item for free at my Teachers pay Teachers shop. 


My son, Keith, has the first level of his Complete the Equation app as a forever free item on the iTunes store. We found this to be an interesting app to design. After considering several options for having kids input numbers, we decided to provide input (answer) boxes along each side of the screen.  

The stars below the equation display the number of correct and incorrect responses on each level.  If you decide to download this app, we'd love to hear your thoughts on these design features. 
Click here or on one of the screen shots below to access the free version on iTunes. (The first level is free. The full version, including 6 levels, is available for $1.99.) 

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I wish you the happiest of holidays!

:) Anne Gardner

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Parent Letters ~ Using You Tube Videos to Help Kids Learn Fry Words

This year, our school has adopted the Fry Words.  Parent conferences start this week, and I have been brainstorming tips to share with parents as they support their child's learning at home. 

I considered sending flashcards and games with my students, but that would be A LOT of flashcards. I have a hard time keeping track of them all, so I figured parents might also struggle to keep the sets organized.   

I recently found a few simple videos of the Fry Words on YouTube, and decided to send a letter pointing parents to these videos and sharing a couple simple ways to use them to support their child's learning. 

I'll be interested to see how this works for families.  If you'd like to take a look at these letters, you can download them by clicking on the pictures below.  The first parent letter focuses on helping kids learn the 1st 100 Fry Words. 

The second parent letter is very similar, but focuses on helping students learn Fry Words 1 - 300. 

If you decide to download these and take a look, I'd appreciate any thoughts/suggestions you have regarding them. 

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!

:) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Have you seen Oxford Owl ~ They are offering over 250 free eBooks!

I have been searching for sites that offer high quality eBooks that students can read both in the classroom and at home. 

I recently came across Oxford Owl.  Have you seen this site? It currently offers 250 eBooks on a wide variety of topics. These books range from early emergent texts to books at the second grade level. There's a great mix of literary and informational texts.  

Here are a couple samples pages from an emergent text:

Here are some sample pages from a higher level informational book:

This collection of 250 tablet-friendly books is completely free!  All you have to do is go to the site and register.  To get started, click here

Some of these books would be great to project on a SmartBoard and share as read alouds. I'm also thinking this is an amazing collection of texts for independent reading, both at home and at school. 

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do.  Thanks for stopping by!

:) Anne

Planning for RtI Groups in the Primary Grades

I hope your school year is off to a super start! I've been thinking over how to format my plans for First Grade RtI groups. I am lucky to have a Leveled Literacy Intervention Kit (from Fountas and Pinnell), so I have plenty of great books to work with. 

The Leveled Literacy program provides a really solid lesson structure. Even when I'm not using these materials, I like to keep the lesson structure in mind. 

Here's a quick summary.  Lessons are divided into Odd and Even days. 

During each Odd Lesson:
*Students reread text from previous lessons while the teacher supports fluency, comprehension and accuracy. (5 minutes)
*The teacher states a phonics principle and leads the group in an activity that supports students' understanding of the principle. (5 minutes)
*A new book is introduced. This book is "at the cutting edge" of the child's instructional level. Teacher problem solves any parts that would likely be tricky for students - and then supports students as they independently whisper read the text. The group discusses the text. (10 - 15 minutes)
*If time allows, the teacher reinforces a needed phonics or word work skill. (5 minutes)

During each Even Lesson:
*Students reread text from previous lessons. As they read, the teacher takes a running record of one of the students' reading.  (5 minutes)
*The teacher states a phonics principle and leads the group in an activity that supports students' understanding of the principle. (5 minutes)
*The group writes about the text from the prior lesson. Depending on the goal for the day, this can include dictated writing, interactive writing and/or independent writing. (10 minutes)
*A new book is introduced. This text will generally be one level below the text from the Odd  Lesson.  Students should experience success fluently reading this new text. (5 - 10 minutes)
*If time allows, a phonics skill is reinforced. (5 minutes)

I just created a lesson plan format for the two day sequence of lessons.  I included a space for 3 students' names and left room to jot notes about each students' strengths and needs.  If you would like to download this form as a PDF, click here


I'm thinking this form will make it easier for me to mentally connect the two lessons, which are based on the text from the odd lesson.  Even if I didn't have the LLI kit, I thought this format might provide "food for thought" so I decided to post it here.  (If you have any trouble downloading this, feel free to email me at and I'll be happy to send you a copy.)

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.  :) Anne 

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    Fry Word Lists

    This year, our school is systematically working with the Fry Words. We decided to break the words into lists of 25 words each and number the lists sequentially. This gave us 40 lists of 25 words each. They are presented 100 words per page.

    I just finished typing these up and thought other teachers might find them handy too. So - here they are. You can download these free lists clicking here


    As many of you know, the Fry words are ranked according to how often they appear in print. The words are not necessarily more difficult as the lists progress. 

    According to Fry's research, completed in 1996:
    • The first 25 words make up about 1/3 of all items published.
    • The first 100 words make up about 1/2 of all the words found in publications.
    • The first 300 words make up about 2/3 of all written materials.

    I hope you find these lists useful and that your year is off to a super start!

    :) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)

    (P.S. - If you have any trouble downloading the file, please let me know.  My email address is

    Friday, June 27, 2014

    Parent Letter ~ How to help a child learn to write his/her name

    A child's name is one of the first and most important words he/she will learn to read and write.  Here's a simple parent letter sharing some ideas for helping a child learn to write his/her name.  

    It was created in Word and is fully editable, so you can switch it up as you'd like.  You can download this for free on Google docs by clicking here.  You can also find it at my Teachers pay Teachers shop by clicking on the picture.   

    If you have any trouble downloading the file, email me at and I'll be happy to send it directly to you. 

    Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you find this handy!  
    :) Anne Gardner (NBCT, Literacy)

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Free Sight Word Riddles

    Hi,  It's Spring break here in Upstate New York.  The weather was beautiful the first couple days ~ I got to enjoy the sunshine and go hiking with my family!  But, now we have snow again.  (What?)

    On the bright side, it was a great day to create some Sight Word Riddles . . . 

    Quite a few of my 1st grade RTI students need more practice reading the following sight words: 

    In the classrooms, I notice that many students who are able to read these words still need practice writing them. 

    So ~ I just created a set of Sight Word Riddles for these words.  They can be used for Scoot games, for partner work and for individual work.  Here are some images from the file:

    If you'd like to try them out, you can download the file for free at my Teachers pay Teachers shop.  Click here or on any of the pictures.  

    If you have any trouble accessing this file, send me an email at and I will be happy to send it directly to you. 

    Hope your Spring break brings plenty of sunshine!  It looks like the weather will be improving here soon, so we'll be back out on the trails. 

    Thanks so much for stopping by!
    Anne Gardner  (NBCT, Literacy)