Letter Data System

I don't know about you, but the beginning of the school year for me is always chaotic! I am trying to collect paperwork, make sure all my kids eat, send them home at dismissal correctly, communicate with parents, OH and get to know my students both personally and academically! Our plates are definitely full, so I wanted to create an easy and organized data collecting system that would help me know where they were with their letters and letter sounds right off the bat.

This Letter Data System is one of my biggest "Labor of Loves" that I have worked on. It allows me to  immediately start testing students at the beginning of the year, have them practice their letters, and involve parents right away by using this system.

The system consists of 5 components:
1. Progress Monitoring Tools
2. Student Ring of Letters System
3. Parent Note
4. Student Letter Data Sheets
5. Letter Data Walls

Keep reading to find out how to use each component!

The first component of this product is Progress Monitoring. The dates on this form are editable so you can test students as often as you need. My goal is to always test weekly at first- so I can tell who is really growing and who needs more remediation. This tool is especially great for RTI kids when you need to pull data for them. I keep all of my kid's assessments in my data binder for quick reference when we are working in small groups.

As a way for students to keep track of the letters they know and don't know, we use their Ring of Letters. I try to keep 2-3 letters they DON'T know on the ring for practice. They slowly build up the amount of cards they have to go over as they learn their letters. The cover pages for these Rings are editable so you can add your kid's names.

My FAVORITE part about this system is the Parent Note. This is a quick way to let parents know about their child's progress.

Students love tracking their own data with these Data Sheets that they can color in or use stickers on! There are several options to track Letter Recognition or Letter Sounds.

The last part of the system is the set of Data Walls. There are also several options for this one, so you can choose to display Letter Recognition or Letter Sounds with Ice Cream scoops or using clothespins on posters.

If you would like a sample of my work, I have created a set of the Flash Cards from this system as a FREEBIE for my TpT Store! Click the picture to check it out.

I hope this post gave you some ideas for how to teach and track letters in your classroom!

Happy Teaching! :)

Spring 5 Senses Mini Book FREEBIE

Every year it seems that I have a good bit of students who don't have ANY books at home to read. It makes me so sad! I know this is often the case in a lot of classrooms, so I wanted to change that. I make copies of recording sheets or worksheets, so why not create something that uses the same amount of paper- just 1 page per student, and make it a book where they can take it home and READ it to themselves or with their families?

Would you like to try out this Spring 5 Senses Mini Book for free? Keep reading to learn more! :)

Mini-Books are a favorite because they only use 1 sheet of paper per student, and they are SUPER low prep! I have created a packet of Mini Books for each month that feature monthly themes and holidays. Currently, it is a GROWING bundle, so it is super cheap! Check it out HERE or click the picture below.

This 5 senses Mini Book pairs perfectly with my Science Mini Books for Kindergarten. They are one of my new favorites in my store. You can easily cover your Science Standards with this set of 23 Mini Books. Here is one of the Mini Books from the packet. Students learn all about what is in the day and night sky and then illustrate their own findings.

Science Mini Books

This Spring 5 Senses Mini Book is perfect for the (hopefully) warmer weather we have coming up! Engage your students with reading, coloring, and identifying their 5 senses!

PREP your Mini Book

To prep this Mini Book, print the page and make enough copies for your students. After that, the only prep you will need to do is fold! This is a great opportunity for your kiddos to work on those fine motor and folding skills if you want to involve them! There are light gray guide lines that make folding super easy.

Start with the paper flat:

Then fold over once.

Fold over again, and you're done! Your mini book is ready to go!

Reading your Mini Book

This Mini Book is a great way to integrate Science into Reading. You could use it in your Guided Reading groups, Literacy Centers, or send it home for Homework to review 5 senses!

Students can read and color each page while they review their 5 senses.

As an extension, you can have students circle the senses as they read: see, hear, smell, taste, touch. They could also underline the objects that are being sensed: butterfly, birds, flowers, popsicle, rain puddles.

While reading, some discussion questions you could ask are:
- What else do we use our senses for?
- What is the weather like in the Spring?
- What is your favorite part about Spring?
- What are some things you might use your senses for in the Summer, Fall, or Winter?

Click the button below for your FREEBIE.

If you are interested in more Mini-Books, check them out HERE.

For more Spring ideas and freebies, check out these other awesome posts linked below!

Editable Spring Sight Word Game  // Letters of Literacy
Spring Color by Sight Word // Sara J Creations
Spring 5 Senses Mini Book // The Primary Post
Flowers CVC Word Building Freebie // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Flower Roll and Cover Mats // Fun Learning for Kids
Roll and Graph Spring Math Activity // The Kindergarten Connection
Spring Letter Recognition Game // Stay at Home Educator
Spring Tree Fine Motor Math // Fantastic Fun and Learning
Bird Life Cycle Puzzles // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Growing Beans in a Bag // Science Kiddo
Flower Color Matching // Teach Me Mommy

Positional Words

This quick and easy way to teach positional words is super engaging to students! All you need is a solo cup, a bear manipulative, and a permanent marker!

To prep this activity, you will need to draw a "door" on the solo cups. We call the cup "Mr. Bear's House," so it has a playful meaning to the kids. I used a thick permanent Sharpie like this one.

I like to do this activity during math rotations in my small group. That way, I can closely watch each student and how they are manipulating the cup and bear. When I introduce this activity to the kids, I start with just showing the "house." I teach them that the door is Mr. Bear's front door- which is very important for them to understand once they start manipulating the bear. Each child has a cup and we work on pointing to the bottom, top, inside, outside, side, front, and back of the house. Once students have the parts of the house down, I introduce them to Mr. Bear.
I give them a little time to play with the cup and bear and practice putting him in and out, then we start to manipulate the bear and practice our positional words! Keep reading to see each word we practice. Also- I use these posters in my classroom once I introduce each positional word so students can use them as a reference.

We practice the following positions:

Put Mr. Bear behind his house.

Put Mr. Bear below or under his house.

 Put Mr. Bear beside or next to his house.

 Put Mr. Bear above or on top of his house.

 Put Mr. Bear inside his house.

As students are moving Mr. Bear around, I pay attention to who understands each positional word. This standard for math is more of a vocabulary understanding and will just take some practice until they learn the meaning of these new words. 

Another helpful tool I use for this skill, is this Positional Words book.
 Students can write, trace, or read the book depending on which copy of the book you want to use. In this book, students fill in the positional word as they read. This is also a great activity for Math Small Groups.
As a summative activity or center, I have students complete this sheet to show what they know!

You can find these activities in this packet on TpT. Link is below! :)

Introducing Letters and Sounds

This post contains affiliate links.

One of the most successful ways I have ever introduced letters and letter sounds is by using this tactile method. Letting students "feel" the letters while saying the letter and sound aloud is great for multi sensory learning!

To use this method, I print and copy these half page sheets front and back, then cut in half. On the front, the letters are large and show the letter formation using numbers. On the back, students can practice writing the letters with traceable letters, as well as writing them independently.

First, I have the students follow the numbers and trace the letters with their fingers. As students trace the letters, we say aloud the letter and sound: “A says /a/”. We say it over and over again as we trace the letters multiple times so they are associating that motion and letter sound together.

After tracing the letters with their fingers a minimum of 3 times, its time for some tactile bumps! I use these Mesh Plastic Craft Sheets from Amazon. They come in a pack of 12, so you can cut them in half and have a class set of 24!

Place the plastic mesh under the paper.

With the mesh underneath, have the students trace the letters with a crayon. Do NOT use a pencil, it will break the tip. Have them trace it multiple times with the correct motion and pressing down hard to feel the bumps, while saying “A says /a/”.

After they have traced it with the crayon, have them trace the crayon writing with their finger. It will feel raised for a tactile sensation. Continue saying aloud “A says /a/” as they trace.

After they have completed the front of the sheet, flip to the back and use crayon or pencil to practice writing the letters.

I use these sheets to initially introduce each letter, and then I use them as needed for extra handwriting practice! OR if you have RTI students, they are great for reinforcement.

You can find these sheets by clicking the link below the picture!
Click here for Tactile Letter Sheets!

How do you introduce letters? Happy Teaching! :)


Dinosaur Word Family Center Freebie

This post contains affiliate links.

Do you teach word families? Word families are one of my favorite ways to introduce or reinforce CVC words and rhyming words. I love seeing the lightbulbs start to go off when they recognize words with the same ending sounds and how they are spelled the same. It really helps build their phonics skills!

This adorable center helps students recognize different word families for each vowel and sort the pictures based on their ending sounds. 

To prep, I printed the dinosaurs and eggs on cardstock and cut them out. Eggs can be tedious to cut, so it looks perfectly fine if you just cut them out as rectangles and save some time!

I like to use Small Pocket Charts like these for centers where there are a lot of pieces. It helps students stay organized and pieces aren't all over the floor! 

Students start with the 3 dinos on the chart, and then match each egg to the correct word family.

You can get these 3 word families (ad, ap, at) for free at the button below!

The full product is also available in color or black and white with 15 word families and 5 recording sheets, click the image below. :)

Word Family Centers

Check out these other Dinosaur activities! Links are below the picture. :)

Dinosaur Rhyme Time // Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten
EDITABLE Dinosaur Sight Word Game // Playdough to Plato
Editable Sight Word Dinosaur Game // The Kindergarten Connection
Dinosaur CVCe Puzzles // Pages of Grace
10 Little Dinosaurs Song // Stay at Home Educator
Dinosaur Counting Puzzles // Pocket of Preschool
Dinosaur Addition // Recipe for Teaching
Dinosaur Clip Cards: Matching Numbers 1-12 // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Dinosaur Board Game Counting Activity // Fun Learning for Kids
Dinosaur Addition Cards // The STEM Laboratory
Dinosaur Counting Play Dough Mats // Fantastic Fun and Learning
Dinosaur Memory Game // Teach Me Mommy
Bossy R Dinosaur Sort // Sara J Creations

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