Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - BOOST Sale!

Did you hear about TpT's BOOST sale????
Click any image to get directly to the item in my shop.

In keeping with Wordless Wednesday more words will be typed...just a sampling of items in my store that will be 28% off! My whole store is on sale, but, as purchasing bundles during a sitewide sale really saves you a boatload!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TpT Gift Card & Bundle Giveaway

UPDATE: Two winners have been selected and sent emails. :) Thank you so much for your interest and support!!!

You guys are the BEST! Thank you for all your support!!! As a sign of appreciation, I'd love to giveaway...

Just in time for TpT's BOOST sale!!!!
I am super excited about TpT's ONE DAY ONLY sitewide sale...this is the first time they have EVER had a second sale in the same month....usually they spread the sales out far apart throughout the year...

Hot off the presses and newly uploaded to TpT are these bundled items. Click the pics to read their descriptions on TpT.

September is now available on the Math bundle...

Bet ya wanna know what to do to win!

Leave a comment below telling me which bundle you would like me to send your way...don't forget your email address! One commenter will win $20 to TpT AND the bundle of their choice!

Ya might wanna share this giveaway by pinning an image or putting it on facebook! You could even share by clicking over to this facebook post and selecting "share,"


I'll select the winner when I wake up in the morning!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's O-Fish-Al...You are going to SHINE in ___ Grade! Freeeeeeebie!

I'm guessing that you're like me, in that you always feel like there's more you could be doing in each and every area of your life.

I'm working really REALLY hard to give myself grace and mercy and to focus on what I HAVE done versus what I have NOT done.

Blogging falls into that category for mind is constantly whirring with ideas and intentions.

However, my real life always needs to come first. And by real life, I mean the people I have relationships with. Not the cleaning or laundry or meal planning. I'm definitely willing to cut corners in those departments.

Cereal for dinner? Sure.

Laundry piled for miles and putting the kids to work on it. Absolutely.

Floors and windows not so clean. Fo Sho. an effort to focus and savor this last week before I officially go back to school, I'm gonna make this a serious potpourri of randomness...

So I can get rid of the, "You haven't blogged much," thought to just go away! 

Thanks for bearing with me!

To begin with...I have put together some bundles and uploaded them to TpT...thank you for your patience. You guys are soooo seriously the BEST!!!

I've even PRE-BUNDLED my Math Common Core Crunch for the the earlier you purchase it, the more you save - cuz I'm not done with a few of the months.

Based on requests and feedback...this is what I've bundled.

The bigger the bundle, the bigger the discount. :)

You'll save even more during Wednesday's sitewide sale!

All three Reading Workshop Packs...

All months from the ELA Common Core Crunch Series...

And a unique opportunity to pre-purchase and get October through December free! Sept should be uploaded by Tuesday. I so love a great deal and wanted to offer this as a show of appreciation for your loyalty.

Have I mentioned that you guys are the BEST????

Last year you might have snagged up my "You're o-fish-ally" tags...from this post.

But this year I really would like to give my students a bag of goldfish crackers AND a glow stick...but I didn't want to prep two gift tag items...

Then this saying hit me like a ton of bricks...

While I was trying to ignore my daughter's tantrum (she's got a tentative diagnosis of anxiety, so at six years old we are still enduring suffering experiencing tantrums) today.

I quickly left the area and wrote it down on a post-it so I wouldn't lose it later on.

Then, later, instead of making dinner, I whipped them up.

I only need first grade, but I have grades pre-k through 5th grade.

When I printed them on my NEW and amazing color laser printer (purchased at a GREAT price), I set the pdf to print to pages on one so that eight smaller tags printed on each page. The pdf is set up for four per page...cuz that's the best I could do while crazily multi-tasking.

Of course I want to share them with you! So just click the picture to download them! :) did end up being chicken for dinner...not cereal. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

B2S You Tube Party & HUUUUUUUGE Giveaway

Friends! I am SERIOUSLY excited (and MORE than a little bit nervous) about this post. 

My blogging friends and I at the Primary Chalkboard wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you.


We decided to throw a party. 

A YouTube Partaaaaay! 

We are here sharing lots of tips -- organizational, DIY, helpful ideas-- lots of things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your back to school a little easier!


We are having a huge giveaway!

$100 Amazon Gift Card

$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card

A fabulous Michael Kors bag 
(you know, the one you want but can't justify spending the money for?)

So what do you need to do? 

Did you see that?You can EVEN gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching our videos and entering our SECRET WORDS into the Rafflecopter (but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

We will be linking up 5ish new videos every day this week... so you can come back, watch, and enter every day!

My video includes books I LOVE to read aloud to build classroom community and culture.

I seriously can't get over how dorky I look on video AND how messy my room is. Granted, I JUST moved in, but oh my word, there's lots of work to be done!

And here's my video!

In the video I shared a poster from this blog post - you can download it for free RIGHT HERE.

Now - go head over to the Primary Chalkboard to watch more tip clips and enter the giveaway!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Perseverance - What's Under Your Cape? Superheroes of the Character Kind

I'm soooo honored to be participating in the book study for my friend Barbara Gruener's absolutely INCREDIBLE book!

If you have not seen her blog, you MUST GO! She blogs at The Corner on Character. Her posts resonate. 'Cuz she's just so special.

I even got to meet her last summer and then saw her again a few times this summer! Lucky, lucky, LUCKY me!!! Here we are in San Diego, with Shauna from The Picture Book Teacher's Edition...where Barbara (who lives in TX) and I (who lives in WI) both happened to be at the same time!

I absolutely adore this entire book...Barbara's anecdotes and examples make each trait come alive and help me know exactly what I want to try in my classroom. It's more of a handbook than a one time read and I know that my copy will be dog-eared and tabbed sooooon!!!

The entire book is amazing and I have lots of pages tabbed already! You can find ideas and examples for each of the character traits highlighted.

She's set the book up so that each chapter highlights a character trait...using the acronym:


    • Service
    • Unconditional Love
    • Perseverance
    • Empathy
    • Respect
    • Honesty
    • Enthusiasm
    • Responsibility
    • Obedience
    • Encouragement
    • Self Discipline
Brilliant, right?

You will want to RUNNNN and snag it up!!! Click here to get it personalized from Barbara!

I am super late to the party (sometimes life just explodes, right? Thank you for your grace and friendship, Barbara. Love you!) with my post on Chapter 3...but better late than never, eh? This is a party that I absolutely did NOT want to miss!

'Cuz I LOVE the book and I LOVE Barbara!
Book Study - Perseverance Chapter

In this chapter Barbara emphasizes the importance of Perseverance...aka...stick-to-it-iveness.

What's Under Your Cape? Superheroes of the Character Kind

When something new is hard, ya gotta have it.

When challenges come your way, ya gotta have it.

When learning to read or write or solve is hard, ya gotta have it.

It's especially powerful when perseverance is demonstrated with a positive attitude.

Along with fantastic examples and ideas, Barbara recommends several picture books...

I can't describe how lucky I feel to have my review quote selected and placed on the back of the book...

Barbara's entire book has me thinking about how I will tweak my classroom setup and though I always infuse character development into my classroom community, I'm wanting to go decorate with the Superhero theme...of the character kind! I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

In the meantime, here are some freebies for you to use when you work with your students on this mission-critical lifeskill! Click the pic to download!

Make sure you check out the other posts in this Book Study Linky Party! The participants did an incredible job!

But first - don't forget to pick up your copy of What's Under Your Cape? Superheroes of the Character Kind!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How I Work With Students to Self-Monitor While Reading

Don't we all have those students who sound beautiful when they read, yet have difficulty comprehending?

Or students who miscue while they read...a miscue that changes the meaning of the text and they just keep reading on?

And students who omit, insert or substitute words that makes their reading way off grammatically, yet they continue on and on?

Me, too.

These are students that have not quite developed strong, integrated Self-Monitoring behaviors.
Self-Monitoring for Meaning Syntax and Visual
We all teach students that do this and sometimes we go a little gray in the hair department or have an extra dose of coffee while we try to figure out how to reach them the best.

In the past I’ve tried a variety of techniques and strategies…with varying degrees of success…depending on the reader (of course).

1) Trying to “catch” them self-monitoring and praising their work like crazy saying things like,

“You just caught yourself!!! You worked it out and now you’ll understand!!”

“That sounded goofy/wonky/like gobbledy-gook and you stopped to figure it out! Whoop Whoop!”

“Did you just notice your amaaaaaaaaazing reading work? You didn’t just keep reading to get to the end, you were determined to make it look right, sound right AND make sense!”

2) Sent congratulatory notes home…so that kids are proud of their hard work and race to their parents to share their love note and then the parents know what to congratulate and notice while their sweethearts read to them.

3) Tally marks next to goals on goal-setting pages like this one from Building STAR Readers. That pack is all about building STAR habits while reading. (S=Study T=Think A=Ask R=Respond) 
Building STAR Readers by Growing Firsties

4) Have them use sticky notes to mark spots in their books to encourage them to slow down and be more aware of their thinking. (This image is found at Julie Ballew's site.) I pinned it to my School Stuff Board so I always have it handy.

Anchor Chart for sticky notes

5) While reading aloud, make intentional mistakes and stop to demonstrate self-monitoring and then identify the cueing system(s) where the mistake was made. 

For example, read, "The elephant's claw is very large." Students can help you identify that it does NOT make sense. You can show them the text and have them help you figure out what it really says or you can have them offer suggestions that DO make sense.

When you miscue for visual/looking right, your miscue impacts syntax and/or meaning to the listeners. 

6) Whole group, small group and partner work to find proof and cite evidence in reading passages such as these from Finding Proof.

Growing Firsties

This is all well and good….BUT…I’m not in small group or one-on-one settings every minute with every kid. #notpossible

We have to teach them to TAKE CHARGE of their own reading so that they self-monitor without us. #everytime #allthetime

I struggled to find resources for exactly what I was looking for, so I made one…

There are a variety of options for students to practice....

Here's where one word does not make sense (and therefore does not sound right) so they have to figure out which word would make more sense....

Here's one where they sort for what does and does not sound right....

To introduce the concept I will use these projectables...
Look Right Sound Right Make Sense

There are projectables and printables to practice self-monitoring for each of the cuing systems.

Look Right Sound Right Make SenseLook Right Sound Right Make Sense

Look Right Sound Right Make SenseLook Right Sound Right Make Sense 

I also included tracking forms so students can visually see how they are doing in regards to self-monitoring!
Look Right Sound Right Make Sense
This pack is available as part of my Reading Workshop Bundle (at a nice discount) over on TpT...

which you can get for even less during TpT's sitewide sale Wednesday 8/20/14...

I'd love to give 2 away! If you'd like one, please comment below, sharing something you do to help your readers self-monitor! I'll have a random number generator select the winners Saturday morning when I wake up. :)

Thanks for sticking with me! I have a freebie for you to use with your class on which question word would make the most sense....Click the pic to download.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas: Setting Up for Success on a Cold Read - Warming Up Before Reading

I'm so in love with this Bright Ideas Linky I can hardly stand it! It motivates me to come up with extra, EXTRA meaningful content so that I can be "chin up" around my sooooooo amazing blogging peers.

My topic today is all about having readers set themselves up for word-solving and comprehension success when picking up an unfamiliar book.
Warm up for non-fiction text successfully
During Private Reading (aka Independent Reading) in my Reading Workshop, readers have a selection of 8-12 books that they have shopped for from my leveled classroom library. (My district uses Fountas/Pinnell lettering for our leveling system.)

While students are doing Private Reading I'm conferring and pulling guided reading or strategy groups, so students are truly on their own to read the books cold...and in order to build their reading stamina, I want to equip them to be successful.

So here's a little demo via's my first one so I feel kind of shy about it...if you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment! :-)

Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I took and re-took the video maybe 647.38 times and this was the one that I flaked out the least.

When I'm initially teaching this idea, I demonstrate just like I did in the video under the document camera.

I'll also sometimes have students help me come up with words they'll expect in a book I'm holding up. Here's what they came up with for a book about some silly characters in race car driver outfits (I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the book!)...
Vocabulary-driven book warm up

I am planning to do more videos like this...if there's a topic you'd like me to demo in a future post, I'd LOVE to hear it!

Thanks for stopping by today!!! I hope you found this helpful!!!

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There are LOTS of other Bright Ideas for you to read about from bloggers...make sure to check them out below!