Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Donors Choose

Want to help a school in need? Thinking about giving a gift that will make a huge impact this holiday season? How about helping our school?

North Salem Elementary is now on Donorschoose.org. It is a great website where people in the community can reach out and help schools in need. We are currently working on building a book room with sets of books (6 of the same book) for small group instruction. We are only asking for a little, but the impact will be huge! In addition, Build-A-Bear Workshop has given us a match offer. That means, for every $1 you give to our project, Build-A-Bear will match it!

Please Donate Today!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Leibster Award!

So guess what? I've been nominated for the "Leibster Award" by Judy over at "It's Raining Resources." What is a Leibster Award you ask? It's a really neat award they give out to blogger newbies. I am so honored to receive the award and excited that people out there read my blog because I had originally made it to share resources with my co-workers. It definitely made my day when I read the e-mail. :)

So let's get down to the rules!

1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see whom you nominate.

11 Random Things About Me

1. My two front teeth are false when knocking them out in 4th grade.
2. I can touch my tongue to my nose.
3. I love peanut butter and could just eat it by itself with only a spoon!
4. This is my third year teaching.
5. My sister and I are both teachers so we always share ideas.
6. I can't function unless my classroom is organized.
7. 7 is my lucky number.
8.I still believe in chivalry.
9. I love seeing that "ahah!" moment on my student's faces.
10. I think our school has such a nice population of students!
11. I believe there is good in everyone.

Questions from It's Raining Resources

1. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Listening to Mike play Christmas music on the piano.
2. How do you get to school each day? I drive in my little VW jetta.
3. What is a management tip/strategy that never fails for you? Whole Brain Teaching strategies. They work well for attention grabbers, modeling skills, and cooperative learning!
4. How many countries have you been to? 5 (US, Canada, England, Scotland, and France)
5. What is the best book you've ever read? Any Chris Van Allsburg book. Love that author!
6. Why do you teach? To help children succeed!
7. Red licorice or black? Red!
8. What do you do to pass time on long car trips? Over Thanksgiving on my road trip home, my boyfriend and I had dance parties in the car while we were stuck in traffic. It definitely made it fun!
9. What are your thoughts on homework? Homework should only be sent home if it is a skill they already know and should be started in school.
10. Staying home or visiting others for the holidays? Visiting Mike's family for Christmas.
11. What is your favorite dessert? Anything with chocolate and PB!

Blogs I've nominated for the Leibster Award

Tales from a Third Grade Splashroom
The Hip Teacher
Sweet Life of Second Grade
I Live to Learn, I Love to Grow
Kindergarten and Mooneyisms
Free on TPT 2nd Grade
T is for Teaching
4th Grade Haps and Hacks
Permanently Primary
Mrs. Kelly's Klass
Orange Polka Dots

Questions for you!

1. In what part of the country do you teach?
2. Why do you blog?
3. Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?
4. What strategies do you employ for difficult students?
5. Favorite blogger to follow?
6. Best blogging tip?
7. Best Read Aloud?
8. Does your school have a book room? If so, how often do you use it?
9. Where do you go online to find additional resources?
10. Do you give presents to you class for Christmas? If so, what?
11. How is your classroom library organized? Genres or levels?

Again, I am so grateful for this award and happy to have more followers!

Happy Reading!

Guess the Reader

One awesome thing about our school is all of the bulletin board space in the hallways to display student work. This month, our Intervention Specialist and myself worked on an interactive bulletin board for the entire school. We took pictures of most of our teachers with their favorite book, but we took the picture with the book over their face. That way students would have to guess what book belongs to which teacher!

There was a huge buzz outside my room the morning that we put the BB up. The students were so engaged in the BB and couldn't wait to submit their guesses. Even better is that it got them talking about their teachers and books in a positive way. I would even see students get their friends to come down and make guesses. All the teachers were so great about getting involved, too! Every time they walked by with their classes I would hear, "I wonder which one is me?"

Check out the pictures below:

What can you do to get your students talking about books in a positive and fun way?

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sight Word Games

Sight words are very important to teach beginning readers. Often times sight words do not follow phonics rules so they can be daunting to readers at first. We need to teach our students that there are exceptions to the phonics rules so that they don't become frustrated if they can't decode the word.

Sight words are also important to learn because when students can recognize them instantly and effortlessly, they are able to read with a better fluency rate. Therefore, they will have more cognitive capacity to comprehend the text.

Below are sight word card cames for Preprimer, Primer, First Grade, and Second Grade. Normally, Dolch words are broken up into Preprimer, Primer, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third grade, however; our school condensed them into four lists so we would align more with the curriculum.

Click below to download the games:

Preprimer Angry Birds

Primer Uno

First Grade Popcorn

Second Grade Buzzz

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

7 Keys to Comprehension Livebinder

"Sounding out or decoding words is part of the reading puzzle but falls short of real reading. If children don't understand what they read, they're not really reading. If they don't unlock meaning as they read, the words are boring babble and they will never read well or enjoy reading." ~ Susan Zimmerman & Chryse Hutchins

Research has shown us how to teach our students how to read and get it through the "7 Keys to Comprehension."

What are the 7 Keys you ask?

1) Visualizing
2) Making Connections
3) Asking Questions
4) Inferring
5) Determining What's Important
6) Synthesizing
7) Fix Up Strategies

Need More Information?

Powerpoint of the 7 Keys to Comprehension
7 Keys to Comprehension Posters
Parent Handout

Want to help your students learn the 7 keys but need resources? This is where the wonderful world of livebinders comes into play. Below you will find a livebinder that I made dedicated to the 7 Keys to Comprehension. Browse through the resources and print or save whatever you'd like!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My New Favorite Tool: Livebinders!

Does this look familiar?

Don't you just love those big, heavy binders full of resources? No? Didn't think so...The resources are great, but storing them can be a chore as well as sharing them with others. In this age where everything has gone digital there has to be another way! And there is!

Let me introduce you to my new favorite tool: Livebinders! This site lets you organize all those great resources you have in an online binder.

What can you upload?
  • PDFS
  • Videos
  • Images
  • URLs

How can this help me?
  • Save time and access your Livebinder from anywhere
  • Share your Livebinder with others
  • Make as many Livebinders as you want!
  • Update information easily and avoid layout issues

How can I sign up for a Livebinder?
  • Go to www.livebinders.com
  • Go ahead and sign up; accounts are free!
  • Now sit back and enjoy your eco-friendly binder

Still have questions?

Still Skeptical?

Happy Organizing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What is Inferring Anyway?

"Read between the lines."

Like the authors of the book "The 7 Keys to Comprehension", I have often heard this phrase throughout my education but never fully understand what it meant. Imagine your students vigorously searching between the lines of the text. Imagine how frustrated they become when they realize there's nothing actually written between the actual lines of the text! A better way to explain it is to say "inferring involves forming a best guess about what the "evidence" (words, sentences, and paragraphs) means; speculating about what's to come; then drawing conlusions." (Hutchins & Zimmerman, 2003)

Learn more about what Susan Zimmerman and Chryse Hutchins say about Inferencing
from their book "The 7 Keys to Comprehension":

Chapter 5 Weaving Sense into Words
Key 4: Drawing Inferences Fast Facts

Let's get down to the RESOURCES:

Comic Strips are a great way to introduce the concept of Inferring because you must use the clues from the pictures in addition to your background knowledge to understand the punch line.
Far Side comics are a great tool!

Click for Google Search of Far Side Comics

A great way to practice Inferring is through the use of videos. Pixar is famous for making short films. Lucky for us, they are all available on Youtube. Check out this short flick about the Stork:

Have the students watch the entire film first. Then watch it again, but stopping to ask inferencing questions the second time around. There are lots of these videos on youtube that you can search for. Just type in "Pixar Short Films" in the search bar. Below is a link to the flicks I found on Pinterest:

Pinterest Board of Inferencing Videos

Finally here is a great web resource to help with
direct instruction and independent practice with Inferencing:

Into the Book is a great website for all comprehension strategies and it has a page dedicated just to Inferencing. They have lessons, videos, graphic organizers, research, suggested books for teaching, additional links, and the suggested language for explaining Inferencing to students.

Happy Inferencing!

C. Hutchins & S. Zimmerman (2003). 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read it and Get it! Portsmouth, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Levels are Changing! The Levels are Changing!

Now that I've gained your attention, the news is that Fountas & Pinnell are changing their Guided Reading levels to align with new trends in literacy achievement based on the following:
  • Technology use among preschoolers and school-aged children have increased. Kids are using devices such as smart phones, tables, and computers.
  • There is been a substantial increase in preschool enrollment since the 80’s; a 52% increase in 2009.
  • An increase of full day kindergarten programs have increased our student’s literacy achievement, thereby increasing their exposure to literacy rich opportunities.

Their current Text Level Gradient is as follows:

Their NEW Text Level Gradient shows new grade level
expectations in regards to entry and exit levels:

So what exactly did they change and why? Well, you have two options:

Read the entire article: click here.

Read my fast facts: click here.

We as educators want to create proficient readers. ~Readers may take different paths to proficiency, but we ultimately want the same outcome. (Marie Clay 1991) The revision of the new F&P Text Level Gradients can help serve as a guide as we lead our students along the path to proficiency.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ready & Looking ;) ... for Books!

One of our goals as educators is to create independent and lifelong readers.

We work hard to introduce our students to a variety of genres.

Our libraries are well organized with a plethora of books to engage all readers.

We spark their interests with new topics and exciting plots.

We do book previews to try and hook students into reading instead of
watching yet another TV show or movie.

But with everything going on in our classrooms these days, its hard to
drill down on each student's favorite type of book or find the time
to make a good suggestion for another alluring read.

However, there are options and tools to help us with this:

The first option is a website called bookseer.com. Basically, the student goes to the website, types in what they've just finished reading, and then the site generates a list of books similar to the one the student just read. For a student who finally found a book they love to read, this site is great because it helps them find similar books so they can continue to grow in that love of reading.

Book Seer

Another site that also generates book recommendations is whatshouldireadnext.com. Yet another great tool to help students find that next great read!

What Should I Read Next?

Have you ever heard of Pandora? That great music site where you can type in a artist or song and it plays songs similar for you to listen to? Welcome to the book version of that site. Booklamp.org is an online database where you can type in an author or book and it generates similar ones. The goal is to connect readers to a larger world of books.

Book Lamp

When children read, their minds are able to travel to places they never thought possible. Let's keep their imaginations soaring and put the tools at their fingertips.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Making the Most out of your Listening Resources

Listening resources are a great tool that are heavily used in the primary classrooms, however, there are lots of benefits to using "Listening to Reading" in the upper elementary classrooms as well. They provide a fluent model for students and can help to increase student's vocabulary. This is especially important in classrooms where there is a larger population of Learning Support or ELL students. One problem that many teachers encounter though is that there are not enough age appropriate resources for those upper elementary students or they do not have time to fit "Listening to Reading" into their busy schedules...until now...

This year our Language Arts block is transitioning from a 120 minute block to a 90 minute block. Therefore, that doesn't leave a lot of time for students to be able to listen to reading. The reasoning is because our teachers now have to teach Science and Social Studies everyday. Therefore, we need to be clever with how to implement this. One way is to use cross curricular resources for listening.

: Many programs come with their textbooks on CD. During this block of time students can use the CD for "Listen to Reading." Our new science program "Interactive Science" by Pearson has a leveled reader database available. You can register your account (via the green cardboard case with the registration code inside) and access content leveled readers that are available by many different leveling systems, including the DRA. You can then electronically assign readers to students where they can listen to the selection read aloud online by a fluent reader.

What more could you ask for?

Scholastic Readers: There is a student view for your student's scholastic reader online. You can put the link on your website and have students access it from their net books. You can have it read to them using the on level feature or below level feature. View the online user guide below to see all of the Scholastic Reader's features:

Scholastic Online User Guide

Cross curricular resources are a great way to fit in those standards
that that we need to teach to help our students become better readers.

Happy Listening!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lesson Plans Made Easy

I feel like every year I look for an easier way to create my lesson plans and I believe I may have found it. Planbook.com is an online program for creating lesson plans.

It boasts that you can do the following:
  • Develop custom schedules for each class.
  • View and print lesson plans by day, week, or class.
  • Create class templates for any day of the week.
  • Adjust your lesson schedule with a single click.
  • Share your plans with other teachers.
  • Easily re-use lessons from one year to the next.
Why do I like it?
  • I can easily access it from anywhere; work or home.
  • I can color code my classes or subjects.
  • If I don't get to an activity, I can use the bump feature to push it to the next day.
  • I can print my plans to a PDF format to e-mail them to my principal.
  • It has a section to easily add standards, even common core.
  • I can create templates, even use a district one if necessary.
  • It helps me keep my schedule!
Why is it so easy to use?
  • Its similar to any other program our district uses whether that be Microsoft or E-Chalk.
  • It allows you to transition from old versions of your lesson plans by allowing you to upload your lesson plans to the program.
  • It also has an entire section devoted to videos showing you how to work different features of the program, like this one:

Click here for a list of the tutorials available.

My only disclaimer about the program is that is costs $12.00 to sign up to use planbook. But that will give you a subscription for an entire year! I'm not sure about you, but I am willing to pay that that amount if it will help me create lesson plans faster and focus on my students more.

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Podcasting in Education

What are Podcasts and how can I use them for Education? Podcasts are multimedia digital files made available on the internet for downloading to a portable media player, computer, etc. But even more importantly, you can make your own!

But how can you use them in Education you ask? The possibilities are endless...

Intrigued? Want to make one? Watch the Youtube video below and follow the step by step directions that follow. You'll be podcasting before you know it!

Click here for the 5 steps to Podcasting.

Happy Podcasting!

Pin Your Interests...PINTEREST!

If you haven't discovered the world of Pinterest, then this post is for you!

A common saying I have encountered as a teacher is the phrase "work smarter, not harder." Why make an activity when a fellow teacher has made it already and is willing to share. This philosophy is not just relevant in your school, but it can transition to a global philosophy as well. This is where Pinterest comes into play. Pinterest is a wonderful site where people can find or share things that are interesting to them online. It also allows you to organize those interests as well into categories. You can search for things via categories (Education, Home, etc) or you can type in keywords in the search bar.

What is Pinterest you may ask? Why tell you, when I can show you!

Below is a wonderful slideshare that explains the concept of Pinterest:

In addition, here is a Youtube video that gives a brief overview of Pinterest:

Learn how Educators use Pinterest:

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest
From: Online Universities Blog

If you need an idea of how to set up your boards, take a look at mine by clicking on the link below:

Ashley Stevens' Pinterest Pinboards

Happy Pinning!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Listen to Reading

Listening activities are very important in a Balanced Literacy Program. They provide a fluent model for students to hear and learn from. When listening activities are made available, students can listen to examples of fluent readers and then understand what goes into being a fluent or prosodic reader. (i.e.; phrasing, intonation, expression, & rate)

All levels of learners can benefit from the practice of Listening to Reading. By developing good fluency, they will be able to recognize a vast majority of words instantly and effortlessly, thus leaving more cognitive capacity for comprehension. (Rasinski & Kuhn, 2007, P. 205) In addition, they may be exposed to a text they otherwise would not be able to read independently, thereby increasing exposure to higher level vocabulary.

Here are FREE resources that you can use for "Listen to Reading":

Barnes & Noble has an online storytime that is free. Click here.

The Screen Actors Guild has a free online video streaming program where famous actors read popular children's books. Click here.

Read to Me is a online youth reading program. Watch online streaming of videos of children's books read aloud by celebrities. Click here.

Robert Munsch is a great author who has recorded himself reading his wonderful children's books. Click here.

Mem Fox is an award winning author who has many read alouds available on her website. Click here.

Kizclub has a variety of books read aloud for beginning readers. Click here.

Starfall is a great site that isn't just for phonics practice. It also has read alongs for a variety of primary readers. Click here.

Don't forget the power of Youtube. Here is a blogger who has posted great read alouds she found on youtube. Click here.

You can also search for your own on the following sites:




Here are resources for "Listen to Reading" that require a fee:

Scholastic's new online literacy resource. Click here.

Educational and fun animated children's books. Click here.

Raz-kids is a compilation of hundreds of interactive ebooks for students grades K-6. Click here.

Tumblebooks is an online collection of animated talking picture books. Click here.

Happy Reading!

Gambrell, L.(2007).Best Practices in Literacy Instruction: Third Edition. New York: Guilford Press.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Organize an Outstanding Classroom Library"

Did you know that when a classroom library is well organized, easily accessible, and full of a wide variety of books, there is an increase in student independent reading? That's what Regie Routman says in her book "Reading Essentials" and she also goes on to say that "the better the classroom libraries, the better the reading achievement as measured by standardized tests." (Routman, 2003)

So with that said, are you ready to give your classroom library a face lift? This post contains resources for your own classroom libraries.

First, here is a set of fast facts from Regie Routman's book "Reading Essentials: The Specifics You Need to Teach Reading Well." This set focuses on Chapter 5 "Organizing an Outstanding Classroom Library."

Ch. 5 Organizing an Outstanding Classroom Library

Second, here is a list of web resources for organizing and labeling your classroom library effectively.

Classroom Organizer

Classroom Library ~ The Heart of the Classroom

Library Organization & Labels by Beth Newingham

Primary Classroom Labels - TPT

My Classroom Library Pinboard

Third, here are some ideas to increase the book count in your classroom library on a budget.
  • Talk to your PTO about raising money for classroom books.
  • Have students bring in their favorite books from home on loan.
  • Watch for sales during Teacher Appreciation Week at B&N and Borders.
  • Borrow from local libraries. Some libraries allow you 50 books at a time on loan.
  • Organize a classroom or school-wide book swap.
Give Your Classroom Library a Boost - Article

And fourth, here is a survey that you can take regarding your classroom library. The survey is two-fold. One, you can fill out the survey if you need help with your classroom library or two, you can use the survey as guiding questions for yourself as you reflect upon your classroom library.

Classroom Library Evaluation Questions

Happy Reading!

Routman, R. (2003). Reading Essentials: the specifics you need to teach reading well. Portsmouth: Heinemann Publishers.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


To be consistent with my last two posts, I also wanted to post a Youtube video I found that follows "The Daily Five's" I PICK for choosing a just right book. I think this song is BRILLIANT because there is no way a student will forget each part of I PICK after learning this song.

See the embedded video below. I will also provide the link at the bottom for you to use at your discretion.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfecFjBHfc8

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Daily 5: Fast Facts Edition

You've waited for them, now they've finally arrived!!! DAILY FIVE FAST FACTS! Yay! Below are chapters 1 through 7 of my fast facts (otherwise known as cliff notes for teachers). The Fast Facts below help to highlight the key points to help you implement the Daily Five in your classroom.

Daily Five Fast Facts

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: From "Management" to "Principled Habits": Foundations of the Daily Five

Chapter 3: What's the Difference?: Key Materials, Concepts, and Routines for Launching the Daily Five

Chapter 4: Read to Self

Chapter 5: Read to Someone and Listen to Reading

Chapter 6: Work on Writing and Word Work

Chapter 7: Putting it All Together and Troubleshooting

I would HIGHLY recommend reading the book if you want to implement the program with fidelity. If you don't have the book, there are a couple of things that you can do:

1) Borrow the book from me!:)

2) Check out the book from the NSE library. (Our wonderful librarian ordered it for me last year)

3) Buy it from Amazon.com. Its quite reasonably priced.

Remember, the Daily Five is not a literacy curriculum, but merely a framework you can use to foster independent readers & writers during your literacy block.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Daily 5: Resources Edition

Have you decided to implement The Daily Five in your classroom, but need resources? Well you are in for a treat! This post is a compilation of resources that I have found on the web that would prove to be very helpful during your literacy block.

First, I wanted to start with this amazing slide share I found overviewing the Daily 5. See below:

Second, I will be sharing a Google doc that I made compiling some of the most useful resources that I have found and my Daily 5 Pinboard. See below:

Daily 5 Resources

Daily 5 Pinboard

Third and final, a word of caution. There is a large amount of Daily 5 resources out on the web. Be careful with what you choose to use and make sure it is reflective of the Daily 5 management system for your literacy block.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Be a SMARTie

A Harvard study was conducted to explain why 3% of their graduates from the MBA program made 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates combined. What did they conclude? Those 3% of graduates had clear written goals, and plans to accomplish them. Hence one of the reasons for the popularization of S.M.A.R.T. goals.

But what are S.M.A.R.T. goals? S.M.A.R.T. is actually an acronym for the following:

Specific: Good goals are clear, precise, and definite. If your goals are too broad, too general, or too fuzzy, they will be hard to achieve. Ask yourself what do I want to accomplish? Why? (specific reasons, purposes or benefits of accomplishing the goal) Who is involved?

Measurable: The goal must be written so that you can measure your progress toward it, so you'll know when you've achieved it. It should answer questions such as how much? How many? and How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable: Make sure that your goal is not too difficult or too easy. Think about the steps you will have to take to achieve the goal. Think about HOW this goal will be accomplished.

Realistic/Relevant: Set a goal that really matters or that is aligned with and supports other goals. Ask does it seem worthwhile? Is it the right time? Does this match our efforts/needs? What will it look like when it's reached?

Timely: The goal should have a definite timeline.

This year at our school, each grade level is working on their own S.M.A.R.T. goals. As the Reading Specialist & Literacy Coach it is my job to help each level with their goals. But, it is also imperative that I have goals for myself as well. Remember, "setting goals helps improve our experience and performance. It also shows that we are happier when we are progressing towards our goals." (www.101-smart-goals.com)

Here is how I am tracking my goals this year...101-smart-goals.com is a free online platform to track your goals. It allows you to set, track, and achieve your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Take this tutorial to see more: S.M.A.R.T. Goals Tour.

See my goals below:

S.M.A.R.T. goals are meant to be long term anywhere from 1 to 3 years in length. What's nice about this program is that it allows me to input time frames and constantly check and update my progress towards my goals through the use of tasks.

When setting your S.M.A.R.T. goals, here are some things to keep in mind:

Suggested words when setting S.M.A.R.T. goals:
  • Choose a verb: increase, decrease, reduce, improve, deliver, grow
  • Define the object: what you wish or will work toward to get better at and for whom
  • Identify how much: target goals and a reference to the meeting of success
  • Identify by when: time frame for completion of goal

Happy Goal Setting!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Let's Prepare Our Students For Success

And how do we do that? By switching to Common Core Standards! Common Core Standards are designed to be relevant to the real world. They provide a clear understanding of what needs to be taught for both teachers and parents. By switching to these standards, we will be preparing our students to be both successful in college and their careers.

Want more information? Watch the video below:

Want more resources? Check out Hojo's Teaching Adventures. This blogger has outlined Common Core resources by grade level. They are nicely put together in a Google Docs format for easy accessibility.

Want easy access? Check out MasteryConnect. They have an assortment of information regarding Common Core and they can even provide you with an app like the one I have on the right side of my page.

We live in the 21st Century. Let's prepare our students
to live in it successfully with Common Core.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fast Facts

My current role at my school is a Reading Specialist. My lesser known role is a Literacy Coach. What is a Literacy Coach exactly? Well According the the Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse, a Literacy Coach helps to engage teachers in professional learning. Seems broad right? I look at that role as more of a helper to teachers. One way I can help is by providing current research.

The book I am finishing up right now is "The Daily Five" by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser, otherwise known as "The Sisters." I absolutely love the book and think everyone should read it.

Now I am going to be the quintessential teacher for a moment; raise of hands of who has time to read educational literature during the school year? No one? Exactly! Therefore, I am taking something I learned from one of my Literacy Coaching Classes to solve this problem. They are called Fast Facts. Fast facts are like cliff notes for teachers. They highlight the key points of each chapter of a book. Teachers are able to then quickly peruse the Fast Facts and be up on current research more easily. These may also entice them to read some of the books that I have completed the Fast Facts for.

Here is my first set of Fast Facts as a Literacy Coach that I will be making available to my staff. Its an introduction to the book "The Daily Five." However, this are more of a draft.


I want to know the following:

-Would you consider this a fast read?
-Are you gaining new information on the topic?
-Would you be enticed to read more fast facts on this book or better yet, would you want to read the book after reading these fast facts?
-If you've read "The Daily Five", do these fast facts accurately depict the book?

Comment please! The more feedback the better!

Click here for my Fast Facts on "The Daily Five - Chapter 1."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Summer Reading List

What to read? What to read? What to read?...A problem I never have! It's more like when will I fit all of this reading in? I stopped into school yesterday and ran into a teacher who mentioned that she reread her Daily 5 again. All I could think was, "I haven't even finished yet!" That was all the motivation I needed!

Let me introduce you to my Summer Reading list:

The books are "The Daily 5" by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser, "Reading Essentials" by Reggie Routman, and "Small Group Reading Instruction" by Beverly Tyner. Now I have almost finished the Daily 5, but I am going to start back at the beginning. The reasoning is two fold!

1) I was using the library copy and could not make notes in it. Now that I've ordered my own I can highlight and write to my heart's content!

2) I want to implement a strategy called "Fast Facts." One of my professors in grad school, who was a great influence on me, gave me the idea. After reading a chapter, you put into a document the 10 most important points from the chapter. This is great for Literacy Coaching if you are trying to gather some research for teachers or if you want to introduce something that you would like them to implement. During the school year it's hard for classroom teachers to read a lot of books, so this is a way to help them stay up on current research.

Now let me tell you whyyyyyyy I chose these books. To start off, a teacher who is amazing at our school is implementing the Daily 5. She told me about it so I had our wonderful librarian order the book so I could check it out. One thing teachers are always asking about are ideas for their guiding reading block. This book is great for implementing "centers" and builds students literacy independence.

The second book I chose because it's been sitting on my bookshelf for several years now, Reading Essentials by Reggie Routman. I grabbed it off of my shelf because the Daily 5 references her several times, so I thought knowing some of the research the Daily 5 was based of off would be beneficial.

The third book I chose, Small Group Reading Instruction, was referred to me by a mentor of mine. She was always referencing it, so I thought getting more informed on guiding reading at its most pivotal time would be very important for my role.

Check back to see some of my fast facts! Hopefully I will finish before summer ends!

My Desk is a Mess!

A teacher once told me a messy desk means the teacher is spending a lot of time with their students. Well if that's true, no one could ever accuse me of not spending all of my time with my students! During the school year, my desk organization sometimes goes to the way side..

So while one of my daily perusings on Pinterest, I came across the Blog, Down the Learning Road. She had this brilliant idea of buying a toolkit and making labels for all the little odds and ends you find in your desk. Now I know this wont completely fix my desk organization problem, but it's a start!

So here's what I did:

First I went to Amazon.com and searched for plastic drawers and this is the one I decided to purchase:

Next, I thought it needed a little sprucing up! So I took scrapbook paper and measured the drawers and cut the paper to fit in as labels. But what good are labels if there aren't any words on them? This is where I had to get really clever! I had found this idea of printing letters on sticky notes, so I thought why couldn't I do that with my scrapbook labels?

First, I just printed the labels on regular paper:

Second, I tapped my pre-cut labels on top of the words I wanted printed on them:

Third, I sent it back through my printer:

The last thing I needed to do was adhere the labels to the drawers. And what better way to do that than with a little Mod Podge!

Now, drum roll please! I have the finished product and already my desk is cleaner!