Friday, November 18, 2016


Kindergarten Happenings!

The first week of November we shared our pumpkin book reports  The children each picked a favorite character from a book and they decorated a pumpkin to look like their character.  They presented their characters to the class and told about the story.



We got to feed the chickens this week.  The children really enjoyed feeding them and getting to check for eggs.  We got a few eggs, but not as many as usual, because the chickens are molting this week.


The children enjoy using the Alphabet Arcs, purchased with PTA funds, to reinforce letter names and letter sounds.  Thanks PTA!



Sunday, November 13, 2016


Blast off with Phonics

Last January, I had the opportunity to attend a professional development training that introduced me to Really Great Reading’s Blast Phonics program for grades K-2. As I sat in the large, brightly lit gymnasium of an AISD high school, I found myself genuinely excited, engrossed, and engaged with only a board full of letter tiles in front of me. This year has brought the implementation of a brand new phonics program into my classroom and with it a true excitement of phonemic awareness.

Blast Phonic’s is a program designed for struggling reading, but is easily adapted for a classroom full of learners. It focuses on building upon phonics and phonemic awareness through hands-on and multi-sensory lessons. This 25-week program, with online components, student kits for building words, and workbooks, thrusts students deep into understanding phonics. 

In my classroom, I have chosen to adhere to Blast’s weekly schedule to keep consistent and routine with my class. Following this schedule has allowed my students to stay engaged, focused, and interested. They have quickly become familiar with our daily, 30 minute phonics lesson that begins immediately after calendar. Each day they sit, immersed, as we work through each student-centered lesson. Throughout each lesson I am in awe as we finger stretch words, identify the number of phonemes, discuss digraphs/trigraphs, and read high frequency words with fluency as they flash upon the screen.

This program’s lessons focus from mastering CVC words to exploring consonant digraphs, two-sound blends, trigraphs, silent e, etc. Each lesson builds upon the last, with constant repetition and review. Each day my class reviews short vowel sounds, long vowel sounds, the different between a phoneme and grapheme, etc. They have learned to use key vocabulary through Blast and I see them utilizing it without prompting.

One of the key components of Blast is the student kit. Each student receives a kit that contains letter tiles, sound tiles, and a board for building words. This board can be utilized during whole-group or small group practice. Students are taught early on, with key vocabulary, that each letter or letters will match a sound tile on their board. On Wednesday’s each student grabs their kit from their assigned cubby, brings it back to their seat, and pulls it out, ready for a lesson full of building words.

As we work through our lesson, I walk around my room to monitor as my students finger stretch each word, lay down their colored sound tiles (red is always for the vowel) and then their letter tiles. Fully engrossed, they patiently sit, waiting, ready to share their answer. I have seen so much progress, confidence, and positivity emerge from implementing the Blast Phonics program within my classroom.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Time flies when you are having fun!

What a busy few months and a busy few weeks it has been.  I can’t believe we have just over one more week of school before our Thanksgiving break. I wanted to take a minute to highlight some of the wonderful things that have happened over the last few weeks.

We observed Red Ribbon week by learning why it is important to Say No to Drugs. Students expressed this is various ways: 

The fourth grade students treated us to a wonderful performance about the state of Texas. They sang many Texas songs and while we were being entertained, we were also learning. I learned a few things about Texas that I didn't know. I hope some of the students did to. 

Last week we had our annual Our World, Our School event. This event is one of the favorite events of our staff and families for the year. We ate some delicious food, visited booths and learned about various places around the world that our families are from, and were entertained by numerous talented performers. 



On Friday night, Oak Hill supported the Austin High School vertical team at the football game. The students and I were able to run through the Austin High tunnel and then form a larger tunnel for the Austin High School football players to run through onto the field. I know that the students had a great time being on the field and being extra cheerleaders for Austin High. The two Austin High school students pictured below even had affiliations to Oak Hill. One has a brother that attends Oak Hill and the other is the son of one of our art teachers, Ms. Benner. 

Friday is our Fall Fun event.  It looks like the rain is supposed to stop and we hope to have beautiful weather for this day.  I know the students look forward to this fun filled day of activities that get us moving and grooving! It is one of my favorite events of the year. You are welcome to come join us or volunteer for a little bit. We hope to see you there!