Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It's been a long while since I've done any blogging! But one of my goals this year is to make time for blogging. It was something I was very passionate about at one time but then...things just got in the way. Life happened. But again, I want to do better this year! So I'm starting off this year by uploading some freebies I've made for Teachers Pay Teachers! After spending lots of my own money, I decided to start creating my own products to sell...while still spending lots of my own money!

Friday, June 24, 2016

this reading mama

I wanted to share a great resource I've recently come across. This Reading Mama has TONS of freebies on her website! She even has a handy "start here" tab because it's very easy to get lost as you click on different links as you navigate around but it's all great stuff! She has some great letter posters and word family readers! Head over and take a look around!

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Friday, June 17, 2016


Happy summer! I'm a few weeks into my break...and it's nice! Teachers truly need summers just to rest up and regroup before a new school year. I've let blogging fall by the wayside but I'm going to do better! My plan is to use June for DIY projects, things I've been "meaning" to get to and reading...for fun! And then in July I'll start working on school things, probably popping into my room to do a little work. I made a running to do list in the Spring, so I have that to guide me as I begin preparing for a new year. I've been looking at Pinterest and have found some great ideas for next year! I came across a GREAT post about positive classroom management ideas from Ashley at the One Sharp Bunch! One thing I'm definitely doing is making a VIP bucket - you can learn all about that from Aimee at Primarily Speaking. I had several positive things in place with my class last year but want to up my game even more. With teaching kindergarten, I feel like that age really needs positive reinforcement since they're so little and learning how to do school and I think it's a great way to get them excited about school too!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

back in the game

I don't know about you but my Christmas break is officially over Monday. But it's been a good break! It's been restful and up until yesterday, I had pushed any thoughts of work off to the side. It seems I always have school things running through my head - things to do the next day, a new idea to try, something I may have forgotten to do that day - it never seems to stop. So being able to push "stop" for a week and a half has been nice. But I'm also excited about seeing my kiddos again and getting back into the swing of things. I popped in for a few minutes on Monday to put my room back together after it had been painted the last day before the break. I still don't have anything put back on my walls but furniture is back in its place as well as rearranging a few things...just to give my room a bit of a fresh look. I read a great post by Tara West that got my brain back into school-mode. I can't find the post at the moment but she gave a few ideas of how to make the transition back to school a bit easier. One thing she suggested was rearranging furniture...just to change things up. I don't have copies made and I have a long list of to-do but thankfully Monday is inservice so I will be a busy bee getting everything ready for my kiddos coming back on Tuesday! It's going to be a great second semester!

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Monday, August 24, 2015

the next step in guided reading: chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the last chapter in The Next Step in Guided Reading. This chapter is about helping your struggling readers. What I love about this book is that it's applicable for grades kindergarten through eighth grade, as it says on the cover. What a struggling reader will look like will differ in kindergarten versus eighth grade but you can use the same strategies to help those kiddos. 

We all know that so many factors affect student learning. Things like home life or attendance are out of our control as teachers. But there are things we can control (behaviors, strategies and skills) and that's the focus of this final chapter.

 1. To give your struggling readers what they need, there are several things to consider. You have to analyze your teaching to make sure you're addressing meaning, decoding, fluency and comprehension. You need to analyze student assessments to see what the student is needing help with. Third, ask someone else to observe the student during guided reading and independent reading. I realize this last step may be not possible for all teachers but the reasoning is that fresh eyes and ears may see or hear something you've missed. And finally, after gathering your evidence, come up with a plan to help your struggling student(s).

2. The chapter then talks about targeting problem areas for emergent, early and transitional readers. This is where you figure out where the break down is occurring and implement activities to help with those areas. With each type of reader, there is a chart listing problem areas and actions to use for each. I like how thorough each chart is and the suggested activities. 

3. The third thing I learned is the importance of guided reading. Yes, intentionally planning for each of your guided reading groups takes time. And we all know how little time it seems we have. But it's worth it. I like how Jan Richardson puts it: "Changing the way you teach reading is not easy. There will be days when you will think you will never get it right. The good news is you don't have to get it right in order for guided reading to work. You just have to do it - and then reflect on your teaching and on your students."

Reading this book at the beginning of the school year is really perfect timing. As a kindergarten teacher, our first two weeks of school are staggered, with a few kids coming each day for half the day. This is our first full week of kindergarten starting this week, so it's just the right time for me to have guided reading on my mind and how I want to make it even more meaningful this year!

1. One thing I want to do differently is introduce guided writing into my guided reading groups. "By spending a portion of the guided reading lesson supporting students' writing, you can help students internalize a skill or strategy that has already been taught during writing workshop." This will take some planning on my part but I think it will be beneficial for my students. At the beginning of the year, this might look like learning the correct pencil grip and how to use the whole line to write on but I can picture it becoming so much more as the year progresses.

2. I also want to be more consistent in assessing my students. I have three guided reading groups and I differentiate among those three groups but I don't differentiate all that much within each group. And I need to. Just because one student needs to work on decoding doesn't mean the whole group does. So I want to be more aware of what each student needs this year. 

I don't have a Teachers Pay Teachers store (but hope to someday!) but I have found a few goodies to pass along!

This is a "Guided Reading Snapshot" that includes lots of ways to keep track of what each student needs to work on and also what his/her strengths are.
There are also lots of good resources on the Scholastic website. You can download a Home Reading Interest Survey to send home to parents and also a sample lesson plan.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

the next step in guided reading: chapter 5

 Chapter 5 in The Next Step In Guided Reading talks about transitional readers. You can learn more from Tobi on her blog, Teacher Talk with Mrs. Sadler!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

the next step in guided reading: chapter 4

Chapter 4 in The Next Step In Guided Reading is about students in the early reading stage; reading levels D through I. You can learn all about this chapter from Beverly on her blog!

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