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 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!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Welcome to my New Blog!

Hello! Welcome to my new blog! I actually made this over Christmas break, but now that its summer I have time to work on it! Let me introduce myself. I am Ashley Stevens, a Reading Specialist at North Salem Elementary School. This year will be my third year teaching and I absolutely love it!

I was inspired to get my blog going because of another teacher I will be working with next year, Rebecca. Check out her blog over @ My 6th Grade Cluster. I had originally thought about starting a blog to share resources with my fellow teachers. As a Reading Specialist at my school, I also have to spend a portion of my time as a Literacy Coach. That means helping teachers implement best practices, researching new ideas, and overall just helping a little bit extra. Eventually I would like to be at the caliber of one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Jones @ Hello Literacy. She has so many cool ideas (many of which I use) and she would be my equivalent of "Keeping up with the Jones'."

So check in every now and again. I will be posting things that I am doing for my class, ideas I've found, and sharing resources!