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cominback cominback is offline
 
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New Fundations user seeking advice
Old 05-12-2017, 06:07 PM
 
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I'm going to be a new Fundations user. Any of you who use it, I would love your advice! Do you use all of the consumables? Did you get the complete classroom kit? What core reading / language arts program do you use with it? Or what program do you wish you had that would work better? Do you do the phonics and spelling that's in your core program or do you just replace it with fundations? Are there any materials from TPT that you love using with it? Thanks!


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Love Fundations!
Old 05-14-2017, 06:29 PM
 
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We have been using Fundations with great success for years. I have been fortunate to attend trainings and they always stress the importance of following the curriculum with fidelity. There are many resources and monthly tips on their website. You just need an access code to register. We use all of the materials, however I find it difficult to manage the letter tiles. We do not use any other phonics or spelling program. I use the resources on TPT from Teaching Right Along.

I would recommend watching videos on their website. I also would take it slowly in the beginning to establish routines. Good luck!
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Marcimcg Marcimcg is online now
 
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Fundations
Old 05-19-2017, 01:52 PM
 
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The first year we got it, we found that the sequence of words introduced did not align with our reading program, especially stories with long vowel words.

Our administration checked with Wilson to get their research supporting word sound introduction sequence. They were not able to provide any. We decided to go with reading program word sequence, using many Fundations activities. We tap the sounds, use the sound cards daily, mark some of the words, do dictation.

I use the letter tiles for a few weeks to transition from kindergarten, but as soon as possible we write the words (or use a strip of paper letters that kids quickly snip apart and can use for home practice too).
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:53 PM
 
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Love Fundations! If you search PT, you will find SO many threads about it, as it is seemingly getting more and more popular. I've been teaching it for 10 years. Here's my 2 cents:

- We don't order any of the consumables. We make our own student workbooks by copying Fundations paper, double sided, into packets. We make 1 book for 1st semester and one for 2nd semester. We send these home at conferences to show growth in spelling/handwriting.
- For independent practice, the kids alternate between building words on magnetic cookie sheets with the Fundations tiles, writing words on white boards, and writing in their workbooks (when our focus is handwriting).
- We have the complete kit, but are still using the 1st edition. Things I use every day from the kit- Echo the owl, large sound cards, student magnetic sound tiles, alphabet, vowel teams poster. I use a Smart Notebook file on the Smartboard for the letter board.
- We all roughly follow the Teacher's Guide. I pick one teaching point per day to focus on, and reserve time for trick word practice at the end of each lesson. Once you've taught it a couple years, you know the drill.
- We use Fundations with the Teacher's College Reading Workshop units, and it is the only phonics/spelling program we need/use!
- Re: TPT. I have bought some "trick word" packets on TPT that we send home with the Home Support Packets to help students practice spelling the trick words for the test. I also bought word wall words on TPT that I LOVE!

Regarding the sequence: Yes, Foundations does wait a while- mid 2nd grade- to introduce vowel digraphs and diphthongs aka "vowel teams." We considered moving up these units, but decided to teach the units as-is first. All the teachers on my team agreed that we liked waiting to teach vowel teams! By the time we start them, the kids have so many foundational skills that many other programs leave until later- like LOTS suffixes, open syllables, and multisyllabic words. Not to mention, the short vowels are TOTALLY mastered before you start long vowel patterns, which is so important for your struggling readers/spellers.
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thanks and more questions
Old 05-20-2017, 07:22 AM
 
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AMK88:
Do you choose not to use the consumables and letter boards to save money or because your own workbooks and cookie sheets work better?
How do you store the cookie sheets? What size do you use?
I've heard other teachers say that Lucy Calkins materials are a lot of work because you have to come up with so much of your own stuff. What do you think? Do you find that students have trouble reading the materials when they haven't learned long vowels yet?


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Is it worth it?
Old 05-20-2017, 07:24 AM
 
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Marcimcg:
Is it worth it to get Fundations when you have to change so much?
Does it work well to change the order?
Thanks!
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managing tiles
Old 05-20-2017, 07:27 AM
 
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Daisy789:
Is it difficult to manage tiles because students play with them, or something else?
Anyone have solutions for this?
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magnetic tiles
Old 05-22-2017, 03:58 PM
 
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Unfortunately, I inherited incomplete sets. The sets were finally purchased midway through the year. If we had them earlier, I could have introduced the routines for using them. I am truly amazed each year at the progress my students have made in spelling by using Fundations. We used to use Words their Way and students made minimal progress. It also was difficult to manage the groups. Fundations explicitly teaches spelling rules, which help students master the skills rather than a list of words.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:27 PM
 
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Happy to answer any questions! Here are some answers to the ones above:

*Do you choose not to use the consumables and letter boards to save money or because your own workbooks and cookie sheets work better?*

Definitely to save money- we have none! If we could, I would probably buy the student notebooks, because we do not have separate handwriting notebooks. If you DO have a separate handwriting workbook, I would skip the notebook and just have kids work off of letter boards and slates. Does that make sense? Regarding the letter boards, we have a few of the Fundations letter boards and they are nice because they unfold and the top holds the tiles and the bottom half is for word building. They do not, however, work well as dry erase boards and don't erase well so I would still use our mini white boards for writing. I don't really mind the cookie sheets.

*How do you store the cookie sheets? What size do you use? Is it difficult to manage tiles because students play with them, or something else?*

I would guess the sheets are 9 x 13 and my coworker found them at a dollar store a few years ago. We start with the basic tiles and add to them throughout the year. We store them on a low bookcase shelf stacked by table. The "table captains" carry their piles to their table when it's time to use them. It's pretty seamless. To help the tiles stay in place, we use a sharpie to write the letter directly onto the cookie tray, so kids just need to place the tile on top of the sharpie. We have a "Missing Tile Cup" where kids will place tiles they find on the floor. It just takes no time for a kid to notice when they have one missing and they retrieve it quickly. You also get a bunch of blank tiles included that I write on with sharpie if a tile isn't found. In 2nd grade, once the cookie sheets are pretty full with the letters, digraphs, glued sounds, suffixes, vowel teams, etc, there isn't much blank space for the kids to build words. Then, they just grab the tiles from the cookie sheet and build the words on their desks. The first year of cookie sheets, I prepared them all one day in the summer. It was a pain but it was done forever. You could also just make one sample and have a couple parents help out! Regarding kids playing- we have a one strike rule. If you play, you lose your letter board and need to write in your notebook- so kids stay in line!

*Do you find that students have trouble reading the materials when they haven't learned long vowels yet?*

Not at all! We start "drilling" the vowel teams early in the year to expose kids to the sounds they make to help with reading. This means that you go through each vowel team and what sound it makes and the kids repeat after you. In fact, I think even the 1st grade teachers start drilling these sounds in the spring. You can give a "double dose" of the drill sounds for your struggling kids at guided reading, too, if you want to. We just don't teach how to WRITE with vowel teams until mid year. And regarding the Lucy curriculum, I find that you have to prepare very little on your own! Except your own writing pieces- which in 1st-2nd grade, isn't too difficult!

Hope this helped! I LOVE Fundations!
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Old 05-23-2017, 03:03 AM
 
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Our kids do very well with the changes we made to Fundations.

We have a daily devoted time for phonics and include practice with letter sounds, tapping sounds, blending, making words with tiles first and then printed letters, dictation of letter sounds, words, HFW words. We do spelling word sorts, work with prefixes, suffixes, multisyllabic words. It works for us.

BTW. Our classes are very small and that makes a difference.


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Old 06-07-2017, 05:28 PM
 
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I never got into using Fundations. I found it to be really slow. However, I agree with the previous poster that the trainings always stressed using it with fidelity.
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