Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tip for Teaching Fluency while Reading

There are so many ways to teach fluency!

You might enjoy this post about building a fluency continuum with your students!

Today, I wanted to drop in for a quick tip for teaching reading fluency...



Just Press Record!

I use my phone or one of the ipads we have in our classroom.

For this 25 second video, I recorded my daughter reading from Uncle Elephant.


Have your reader listen to themselves while following along with their eyes in their copy of the book. Ask him/her what s/he did well and what s/he thinks needs a little more practice. Then, compliment their success and help them practice what they think needs more work! Pretty powerful stuff!

There are several teaching points that this brief video could lend itself to modeling and practice...here are just a few:

1) I can re-read after I've done some word-solving work.

2) I can pause at ending punctuation.

3) I can reread a pattern smoothly without going line by line.

4) I can change my voice to show when someone is talking.

{You don't have to record video - you can do just audio. I find the video helpful, though, because I can see the words as she's reading them without having to find the book that I need.}

What do you like to do to build fluency?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Turkey Trot - 1st Grade Freebies & Fun

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Welcome to “The Chalkies” Turkey Trot! We hope you enjoy a jog through our blogs gobbling up freebies, ideas, and recipes for some holiday joy!



We have a new blog name!  We switched out the word "Primary" for "Elementary". We want to meet the needs of any teacher K-6. Our blog has been thoughtfully designed to help you find what YOU need for YOUR classroom level!



I love those grade level tabs {seen above} that help me grab what I need. This trot will also take you through the grade level blogs of your choice.

We hope you enjoy this little meal from appetizer to dessert!

Slide1 - Copy

If you love to integrate literacy and math practice, you might enjoy this freebie that uses
Look Alike Sight Words.

Click here to check out the full product bundle. Click the pic below to snag up the freebie!
growing firsties

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Having students be able to set and articulate their goals is so important to me. One of the ways I've helped them set goals is by using our learning targets. Here's an example...
Growing Firsties
You can see that the page I had students highlight mimics our Learning Target board, which is based on our Reading Workshop mini-lessons.

This student is selecting the goal, "I can warm up before reading....bcas I nevr do ti." Which, for him, was true! He'd go straight into reading new texts without that warm up, then get tripped up on tricky words. It was a GREAT goal for him!

You can read more about this kind of goal setting by clicking {right here}.


Slide2 - Copy


Seriously the BEST and EASIEST gravy recipe!!! 

Why scramble at the end when you can make this ahead of time - which is delicious....but then make it even more amazing by adding the turkey drippings to your already re-heated gravy??? 

It is seriously my FAVORITE part of the Thanksgiving meal! Just click the photo above to upload the recipe.



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Have you seen my latest products? They're getting fab reviews!
Click the pictures to check them out...

Growing Firsties

Growing Firsties

This next one is a best seller and SO helpful this time of year while building
important reading habits!
Growing Firsties

In case you're looking ahead to December....here are some fun and fab math printables!
Growing Firsties



Now, trot on over to this AMAZING Chalkie's post to gobble up some more fun!





Friday, July 24, 2015

Growth Mindset - Post #2

I'm blogging over at The Primary Chalkboard today about Growth Mindset.

Hoping you'll hop on over to check it out & download this interactive mini-book freebie...


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SDE I Teach First - Shared Reading Session Handout


I'm thrilled to be here in Vegas, presenting at SDE for I Teach 1st! My session is called: Digging Deeper into Shared Reading and I'm nervous as all get out, but excited, too!

Growing Firsties

Here's a link to my YouTube channel, where you can view the videos I shared during the presentation, along with a few more. If you find them helpful, please consider subscribing to my channel so you can easily access videos that I add.

Here are the handouts! You can click below to access them from google drive.

If you'd like the Reading At Home & Word Solving Strategies pages super crisp and clean, you can download just those pages by clicking the picture below:
Growing Firsties Beanie Baby Strategies Word-Solving in Reading


Also, if you were at my session, please leave a comment below telling me where you're from! Thank you for coming!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Growth Mindset - Post #1

Several years back, my then-school's then-reading specialist (who was amazing beyond comprehension) taught our staff about Mindset, rooted in the amazing work of Carol Dweck. I bought into it (heck, I bought into anything this amazing woman taught us!) and purchased the book. It influenced a lot of my teaching.

Fast forward to this school year...two talented colleagues are co-leading a professional book study on the same book. I am new to the school and it's been wonderful to connect with staff on this topic.

Update: I have another Growth Mindset post that you can get to by clicking {right here}!

I've also purchased this one and am looking forward to digging into it this summer.



And, in getting ready for this post, I found this one, too!


I've set up a Mindset board on Pinterest. Click the screen snip below to head over and check it out!
gGrowing Firsties

I'll be blogging more about this topic this summer and will be sharing some freebies & even a giveaway, as well! Make sure to stop back!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Working With Writers Who Struggle to Complete Their Writing

I'm a systems girl.

When I don't have a system for something, I muddle around and around and around.

And feel ineffective.

Drives me nuts.

So, I try to develop systems for the "big" parts of my teaching.

Writing Workshop is one of them.

A little background first...our district follows both the reading and writing curricular calendars from Lucy Calkin's Teachers College Reading & Writing Project. We are a "Workshop" district for both Reading and Writing, which I love!

Today I want to share with you a system for keeping track of which writers are writing and which ones need support. It keeps me on track for who I need to be nudging for productivity by checking in on his/her ideas and writing plan.

It also helps me plan mid-workshop interruptions, loud compliments, student goals and mini-lessons.

I'm a bit of an "out of sight, out of mind" kind of girl. Some might call it "visually organized."

That hasn't worked in my favor when I've implemented routines and procedures that have students put their finished work in their writing folders. Some years I tried collecting the folders. #couldntstandthemess

So, I started using this system the last two years, and this year have used it consistently with my class and it's worked well!


Here goes...

After determining the amount of student writing time for the week-ish, I set a target for how many completed pieces writers should be able to finish in that amount of time.


Students hand completed pieces in at the end of the writing workshop time each day as they complete it; I have them hand it in at the end so that they have their work right with them for partner or group sharing time (which we have nearly every single day).

I keep a skinny little class list and a big ol' binder clip handy. When the child hands it in, they set it on top of the "done pile." At the end of the day or of writing workshop (or the next morning...or...or...or) I read their piece and jot instructional notes. If it fits what done is supposed to look like, then I mark a tally mark next to their name and clip it in to the pile.

Currently, done is supposed to include completed editing circles on each page...I love having writers build the habit of revision and editing early on!! The editing circles are RIGHT.THERE. and really seem to help.

Once a writer gets to three tally marks, they are able to choose the genre they'd like to write.

For the sake of ease for grading and conferring, I clip the students work in their classroom number order. As the pile grows larger, it takes a titch longer, but there are generally only 4-8 done pieces each day so it's manageable.

My instructional notes could be about individual nudging for students, whole class mini-lesson opportunities, writer "shout outs," mid-workshop interruptions and also strategy group work I could be conducting soon.

For the particular pile in the picture above, we've been working with informational writing and based on the amount of writing time we had for a certain period, I determined that they should have three pieces completed. Once completed, they could choose to write personal narratives, work in their writer's notebook or do more informational writing. Soon, we'll begin opinion writing and that will be a hoot!

One glance at the tallies helps me know quickly who is struggling to complete their work during the work time (or who might be spending so much time on their illustrations). This helps me know which students to confer with about their ideas and plans for writing. I can also see who, after a nice string of work time over a few days who I might have a strategy group with to discuss how I can help support them to finish their work by using their work time well.


Things happen, though, and I am flexible. A systems girl with choice and flexibility within the system. #otherwiseigocrazytown

What are you wondering about? What have you tried in your writing classroom?