Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fluency: Don't Be A Jet or A Turtle!


Fluency is not about being super fast or too slow

I don't know about your students, but we always have some kiddos that just haven't clicked with fluent reading.  We intervene with this skill a lot in RtI.  I find that some have a misconception about what fluent reading really is though.  Fluency is about being able to read in a manner that improves your comprehension.  So I teach students not to try to read super fast like a jet plane, but not to be super slow like a turtle either!

Fluency is not about being super fast or too slow

If you have not read Timothy Rasinski's book, The Fluent Reader, you need to get a copy!  He lays out a lot of different ways for building your students' fluency to help build their comprehension.  One idea that he gives about modeled reading is a staple of mine.  I use it all the time!  I model how a paragraph should sound to my reading group and then send them off to different corners of the room to practice that same paragraph out loud 3 times to try to sound like me.  When they are finished practicing, they come back to me and read that paragraph trying to sound like I did when I modeled it for them.  It has been the best way that I have found to improve their fluency.  It works wonderfully!  I do also teach students on phonics skills and how to attack multi-syllabic words that they are missing along with the modeled reading practice.  Both must be done to make good gains.

Fluency is not about being super fast or too slow

A really fun way to get in this modeled reading practice is with task cards that you can use in your small groups or at a literacy center.  
Fluency is not about being super fast or too slow

Students roll the voice cube and then practice reading the fluency task card in the voice they rolled!  They might use a booming Santa voice, sweet Mrs. Claus voice or even a squeaky elf voice!  After they practice reading their card in 3 different voices, they then do a quick sketch of what the card was about to demonstrate comprehension of what they read.

Fluency is not about being super fast or too slow

Helping students to be aware of what they need to improve helps them to know what they should be working on to improve.  Rubrics help them with this skill.

Fluency is not about being super fast or too slow

If you are interested in these task cards, you can click on any of the pictures above or click here to see it.  It is such a fun way for students to practice on their fluency! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things


I am so excited to be sharing some of my very favorite things with you, along with some bloggy friends of mine who are joining in too!  We have some GREAT things to share, so be sure to read to the end!


One of my most favorite things to do at this special time of year is to attend my church's Christmas program with my family!  We have some wonderfully gifted singers and musicians and this program is special every single year!  I love how it reminds us of the true reason we are celebrating and just gets the season off to a great start!


I also really enjoy going to Silver Dollar City at Christmas time to see all the Christmas lights at night!  Beautiful!


This is one of the treats being served at Silver Dollar City this year- apple dumpling and cinnamon ice cream!  Oh my...that really looks good!


I was supposed to choose my favorite restaurant to share with you all.  But that is so hard for me!  I like lots of different restaurants and it just depends on what I am in the mood to eat for what is my favorite.


So I choose Olive Garden because I just ate there with my school's faculty for our Christmas party.  


I love Olive Garden's salad!  I think I could make a meal on just that.  But I did order a main course- Smoked Mozzarella Chicken.  That was soooo good!!  I hadn't tried that one before and it is now my new favorite here!


My favorite beauty item right now is The Body Shop's Body Butter!  It is amazing!


My skin tends to get dry in the winter and I was having trouble finding something that worked and smelled good too.  My sister-in-law bought some of this for me and I have been a fan every since!


I have tried lots of different scents.  Some of my most favorite is cocoa butter and satsuma.  You get a nice amount of the body butter and works wonderfully to make you soft and smelling good!  If you read down far enough, you will find this treat below!

Now for our treat for you......


In celebration of A Few of My Favorite Things, my holiday products are 50% for this week only.  Click the picture or click here to be taken to my store.

Another treat for you....

Because we value our followers and wanted to treat you to our favorite things Oprah style, we have put together the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:






7 winners for 7 prize packs!















Come and enter the giveaway and check out my bloggy friends' favorite things:



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reading Plans & Vocabulary Freebie

Lesson Plans and Resources for teaching reading

 I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend!  As usual the weekend flew by and we have lots to accomplish for the month of December.
RtI, the first cycle, is complete other than make ups for students who were absent.  I still have a few days of make ups to do and then I will begin DRA assessments on Thursday.  I always look forward to giving the DRA so I can see if the interventions were successful for the students and to see how far they have come with their reading skills!  

This week instead of RtI plans, I have included my regular reading plans for the week.  You can download my visual reading plans by clicking on the picture above.  The resources are hyperlinked for you.  

saying thank you with 12 days of Christmas

I have teamed up with my friend, DeAnne from First Grade and Fabulous for her 12 Days of Christmas Linky Party!!  We would like to say thank you to our readers and make things easier on you during the month of December! Click the picture above to see other goodies to help you out this month!
Vocabulary Freebie for Interactive Reader's Notebooks

My school is working to improve student vocabulary and to improve test scores in this area.  The above vocabulary sheet is one of three different vocabulary pages in My Interactive Reader's Notebook.  You can grab this one page as a freebie if you are needing to help your students improve their vocabulary too!  Just click on the picture above to get it.  I hope that it helps you!
Cyber Monday TpT Sale

Did you realize that TpT is having their cyber Monday & Tuesday sale?  All my notebooks, binders and RtI materials are on sale, along with all my other items too!  Click the picture to be taken to my store or click here!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Give the Gift of Literacy


This lovely box of goodies arrived at my doorstep and I was so excited!  Being a teacher of literacy, I saw wonderful potential in this idea.


Peekapak sends you a box with a book and activities to go with the book.  You get all the materials you need to complete the activities.  No going off having to look for items to complete anything.  That was great!  


Another activity included with this book on shapes was this tangram puzzle page with all the pieces needed included to make several different pictures.  Great way to go over shapes!


This activity was about making a hot air balloon.  The instructions are included in the pack.  


This is one activity that the photo doesn't do it justice.  The kids get to make a spy glass.  I took a picture of the outside and what it looks like on the inside with all the colors and shapes.  Kids love this!!


This Peekapak would make a wonderful gift from grandparents or parents.  How much fun would children have getting a box with a new book and activities to go with it.  It is a great way to invest in your child or grandchildren's literacy!!  I really did enjoy it!

Use the special promo code SPECIAL10 to receive a special discount on a Peekapak subscription!  This is a great time of year for this type of gift.  Click here or on the picture above to read more about it!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

RTI Is Done: Now What?


Two big happenings going on in our school this week!  Thanksgiving Break begins on Wednesday and first cycle of RTI ends.  Whoo hoo for both!

At my school, we believe in RTI and the benefits it can bring to our students, but it is also nice when that cycle is completed and we move into the universal screening phase to see how much impact our interventions have had for our students' reading.

I have a few make up days to get in with some students due to absences.  At my school, we have a set amount of days that students must have interventions for and if any of those days are missed they must be made up at another time.  I schedule our DRA assessments (our universal screening) to come directly after RTI.  I will give this assessment and other short screenings next month.  My RTI committee will look at all the data (data from RTI progress monitoring, outcome on the universal screening, performance in the classroom, etc....) and then make decisions on each individual student.  We will decide whether students should continue in Tier II, move to more intensive interventions in Tier III, be dropped from Tier II or even recommended to the special education team for testing.  

If you want to download my visual plans so that you can access the links to the resources, you can click the picture above or click here.  I hope your RTI is going smoothly and that your students are seeing success!  How many cycles does your school go through for RTI in a school year?


I don't have any Christmas decorations up yet, I wait until after Thanksgiving to do that!  But I do have this new Holiday ELA Task Card set for your students.  It is a fun way to review a lot of ELA skills!  You could put it in a center, use it as exit slips, post a card a day to answer, etc....  So many ways to use them!  Click here or on the picture to see them! 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Body Sound Boxes & RtI

Moving in Sound Boxes to segment words

This week we have been using sound boxes on the floor to help us hear sounds in words and to link those sounds to the correct letters.  HUGE help!  Some of my little guys needed this added step of moving their bodies as they segment the words.

Moving in Sound Boxes to segment words

I have a bunch of scrapbook paper that wasn't being used so I taped the edges together on the backs to hold the boxes together.  Then the large sound box unit was laminated.  Students just grab a unit and stand in front of it ready to move and segment!  I show the students a word and they step it off to help them str-e-tch it out to read it and to hear the sounds.

Moving in Sound Boxes to segment words

This student was working on hearing ending sounds- something that has been difficult for him due to his speech issues.  These boxes helped him a great deal!

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Wow!  Our first cycle of RtI will be completed in 2 weeks!  That has gone by so fast.  But at the same time, I always feel like I need more time to do a bit more teaching with them.  I always look forward to giving our DRA assessments after our RTI cycle is completed to see what kind of progress our students will show.  We will be using my Happy Fall Y'All Literacy Centers a LOT this week because it covers a lot of skills.  If you want to download the visual plans so you can have the hyperlinks, just click the picture above.  


Just finished these fun Holiday Task Cards!  Our school is really using exit slips for checking student learning and these work great for that and in literacy centers.  Click here or the picture to see them!

Link up with Deedee with this week's plans!