Friday, June 17, 2016

Five for Friday June 17, 2016

Thank you Doodle Bugs Teaching for another great Five for Friday!
 There are sooooooo many wonderful bloggers out there who have great ideas!
If you have a Teachers Pay Teachers store, you might want to consider following Misty Miller on her blog Just a Thought or Two
She has great advice from using Pinterest, to writing better product descriptions now that TpT has a new search algorithm. She explains how to use HTML coding and how to write a Terms of Use page. I used her TOU as a model for mine! What a time-saver! (See it HERE.)
I visit her blog regularly and have learned so much from her wisdom! 
Thanks, Misty!
One thing our 1st graders use daily are their Privacy Folders. They just grab them out of their chair pockets and set them up whenever they need a little quiet work time. 
One side has literacy resources (handwriting, sounds, sight words for the year).
 And the other side has math resources (100's grid, coins, clock, 10 frames to write on and wipe off) and a United States map.

Get your privacy folders for next year HERE!
This is totally random, but I had to share my new discovery with you.
I had a wedding to get ready for last weekend and was looking at my pasty, spotty, white legs. Yuck.  Getting more sun on my legs just makes them spottier.
So I tried this leg make-up and
Oh my gosh!
I'll just say that was proud of my legs! It evened out the spottiness and gave me a healthy, tanned look.
And it didn't come off even in 93 degree weather until I washed it off later.
It's not something I will wear daily, but for special occasions, definitely!

This Star of the Week Pack has everything you need to start the year off celebrating your students. 
Read more about how I use the Star of the Week in my classroom in this blog post: Star of the Week

 Have your Star of the Week color the cover for his/her book and each student uses the pages below to write about why their friend is a star!
What a treasure for each Star Student to keep at the end of their special week!

Check out my post on 7 Ways to Squeeze MORE Into Your Literacy Block.
I shared ideas for using your literacy block time wisely so you can squeeze in as much literacy instruction as possible!

Have a MARVELOUS weekend! 

Let me know what your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for visiting and don't forget to follow my blog or follow me on Bloglovin' (See icon above on the right.) and "SAVE" this post on Bloglovin'!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

7 Ways to Squeeze MORE Into Your Literacy Block

A few years ago, educators in our school district had the opportunity to learn from Jo Robinson, a phenomenal reading specialist. 
In her presentation, she talked about getting more out of our core reading program and using reading instruction time more efficiently and effectively.
HERE is a pdf from her presentation.

This literacy training was a game changer for me.

I knew I was an effective reading teacher, but I realized I could be better.

So I made some major changes in how I teach literacy 
so every minute of instruction is used wisely and effectively.  

7 of the most important changes I made in my literacy instruction
 {so that every minute is used wisely} 
are as follows. 
(Some of these changes were inspired by Jo Robinson's presentation.)

1.  Know Your Students' Specific Needs

Not all of your students need sight word practice. Some of them can already blend CVC words. Some are ready for fluency skills, whereas others still need intensive instruction with sound-by-sound blending. 
We identify these specific needs by conducting periodic testing. 
Progress monitoring students once or twice per month on sight words, phonics, blending, fluency, and comprehension is essential to identify individual needs, to track progress, set individual goals, and to accurately place students into reading groups. 
Doctors are expected to test and diagnose our illnesses so that a proper prescription can be given. 
It is hoped that a doctor would never just prescribe medicine to fit what most of their patients need.
We too must test and diagnose our students' specific reading needs so that we can target instruction to meet individual needs--not just what the majority of the class needs.
Knowing each student's skill set in reading will help you more efficiently use your instruction time.

2. Set Goals With Your Students

After progress monitoring students individually, it is important for students to know their next set of reading goals.
Students must take responsibility for their learning in order for them to achieve at a higher rate.
Using a graph to identify current progress and to set goals for the next testing date is one way to set goals with students.
If using DIBELS testing, you can get K-3 Progress Monitoring Graphs HERE. I'm sure they could be adapted to use with any assessment program.
Example of Progress Monitoring Graph from

Have students color in the graph and decide what their next goal(s) should be. 
Have them repeat it to you and tell you how they can best reach their goal.
When you test next time, show them their graph, reminding them of the goal(s) they set.

At any time, students should be able to tell you what their individual reading goal is.
When students know their reading goal(s), they are more focused on those skills during instruction, and so are you. 
 Consequently, everyone will be using instruction time more wisely.

3. Target and Plan Your Instruction

Now that you know your students' needs, you are ready to place them in like groups and plan small group instruction.
I have created a Targeted Guided Reading Plan that helps the instructor stay focused on the goal(s) for each group. With this plan, instruction will be targeted on what your students need most. 
See my latest post about Targeted Guided Reading HERE.
This could be the biggest game changer for you!

4. Organize Your Resources

Once you have your Targeted Guided Reading plans in place, you can get your materials prepared and ready to pull out in seconds. 
I like to use labeled bins. 
Inside the bins I place my Targeted Guided Reading Plan sheet, sight word flash cards, word family drills, leveled readers, etc. Whatever the plan has called for. Each bin will be different according to student needs recorded on the plan.
I call up my next group, and by the time I have grabbed that group's bin, students are ready to learn at the table. 

5. Don't Use Rotating Centers

Say What??
No. Seriously.
I have found that I waste soooooo much instruction time turning wheels, moving students, cleaning up centers, redirecting students, etc. when I could be teaching.
With a Must Do May Do system, students do not rotate from center to center according to a set time. Instead, each table has a basket with a list of Must Do's (things they MUST do) and May Do's (things they can choose from). 
Each group has a different list according to their needs, and a different set of books, a seatwork folder, games, other resources in their baskets according to their needs.
Students work down the list doing what they MUST do first and then choosing what they MAY do next. 
They only stop working when the teacher calls them to the table.
This is the key. They finish their work. They don't waste time as a whole cleaning up unfinished work because the teacher said that time was up. 
And it doesn't take forever for students to get to the reading table.
Check out my blog on using Must Do May Do instead of Rotating Reading Centers HERE.
You can get a FREE copy of an editable version of my MUST Do MAY Do sheet there as well!

6. Establish Routines

More is not always better. Keep it simple and keep the same routines.
Trust me. 
Whenever you throw some complicated wheel turning or moving of names on the board or some new, tricky game at students, there will be questions, interruptions, confusion and chaos. 
Keep the same partners for partner reading for a while. (It won't kill them to have the same partner for a couple weeks or so.) Make sure they know the routine for partner reading.
Routine doesn't have to mean boring. 
Routine to students means confidence in knowing what to do and what is expected.
It doesn't mean that the same books, games and materials are provided. It means that there are no surprises. Materials and rules are simple to use and familiar. A familiar game from last month may be used again later, but with different level of words. But it's routine, familiar and simple to follow. 
Also, keep the same schedule. Call up groups at the same time every day so students know approximately when to expect to be called up. No surprises. No problems.
Routines mean a nice flow with few interruptions and more instruction squeezed in!

7. Teach and Review Expectations

If there are questions about where to sit on the floor for partner reading, the expectations have not been explicitly taught.
Make sure students know where to go, what to do, when to do it, where to get materials, who they can go to for help, etc. 
Explicitly teach these expectations, model them often, and practice them often. Review them periodically. Try to keep your expectations consistent.

Who should they talk to if there is a problem or they don't understand directions on their seatwork? Do you have an expert students can go to?
 How do you want them to sit at your reading table?
 Who reads first? What does the partner do when the reader is reading?
What should the baskets look like when it is time to clean up?

Now I love teaching small reading groups more than ever. Students love it too! 
They know their goals, my expectations, and our routines.
Is it perfect every day?
But it's MUCH better!

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Five for Friday June 3, 2016

 Thanks, Doodle Bugs Teaching for another great Five for Friday Linky Party!
 They came! 
One of my favorite things is to order and get my new books from our new book club list (we all meet for book club every May to determine the new list for the following school year). 
I love reading over the summer. Especially anything that is NOT school related!
Here are a few of them.
 So the rest are on my Nook.
Here's the list in case you are curious...
We wanted to add a couple classics to the list this time. I haven't read Lord of the Flies since I was in high school. I remember being very disturbed by it...
Have you read any of these?

 I've never been very good at time management. Especially in the summer. Working from home is waaaaaay too distracting for me. And I'm trying to work on my Teachers Pay Teachers business full time.  
So it kinda looks like this:
I'm creating a product for Teachers Pay Teachers, then I'm putting a load of laundry in, then I get a phone call, then I realize I need to plan dinner, then I get back on the computer and see a notification from Facebook...
You see my problem?
It's kind of like "If You Give a Teacher a Job, at Home, During Summer Break."
So I came up with a 
And by golly, I'm going to stick to it!
I know. It's very detailed, but I know me. If I'm not specific, I may get off task.

So far it's working. And yes, I do allow myself to extend or change some blocks of time because of course, things come up.
So if you are interested in making your own, feel free to use my template HERE. When you open it, it will open in a Google doc. Download it and it will be in Excel.
 One best selling product I am regularly updating and adding to is my 
Included are products that I have created and used in my own classroom over the years. 
I know they work.

Like the Happy Go Home Note.
 We print it on pink paper because we give them out when students get on "Pink" on the clip chart.
We also print them on pads of paper for convenience. The students and parents LOVE getting these!
I'm not sure students always need a trip to the treasure box. Sometimes a special note home is even better!

This Voice Levels poster is a great way to illustrate your volume expectations.
Also included is a newly designed clip chart.
There are 60 pages included in all in the pack.


See all that is included in the Behavior Management Pack HERE so next year is the best year ever!

 I love to make yummy dinner dishes like lasagne in the summer because I have more time to do it.
But I hate using the oven and getting the kitchen any hotter than it already is.
So I use my crock pot as much as possible.
My friend, Candi gave me this lasagne recipe years ago from Weight Watchers and it is delicious! My family loves it too.
As you can see, I had to take a taste, just to be sure it was ready.
Oh, and I add Italian sausage along with the ground beef and use more cheese than they say, so it's not exactly a WW recipe when I make it LOL.

You can get the recipe HERE.

Have a MARVELOUS weekend! 

Let me know what your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for visiting and don't forget to follow my blog or follow me on Bloglovin' (See icon above on the right.) and "SAVE" this post on Bloglovin'!

Click on Doodle Bugs to see what other great bloggers are up to.

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