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Small Group Materials Organization Made Easy

organizing your small group reading materials

Do you find yourself drowning in a mess of materials?  Looking for the books you used yesterday or the pointers your young readers need?  I have a lot of students coming in and out my door each day.  I kept part of their work in baskets on a shelf and books in another place.  It just wasn't working for me.  I needed a new system!  

organizing your small group reading materials

I had wanted one of the carts for some time.  This year I found it at Sam's Club for so much cheaper than anywhere else.  It has been a time AND sanity saver!

organizing your small group reading materials

Each drawer is for a specific reading small group, K-2.  I also have a drawer for my Tier II and one for Tier III RTI groups.  My materials slip right in and I know where everything is.  It all stays together, in one place, all organized and neat.  In this kindergarten drawer, I have our Sight Word Pockets (you can read about these here), plus the other materials needed by the students.

organizing your small group reading materials

I can just take the drawer out of the cart and take it with me to the table.  The drawers hold quite a bit.  This one holds the sight word pockets, a set of readers, Reading Notebooks, pencils, pointers, etc...  


At 5:00 eastern time, we will be having a fun time on Instagram!  Come join us!  You can find me at conversationsinliteracy.  See you then!

RTI Visual Plans & Opinion Writing


We are moving fast through this school year and through this cycle of RTI!  We only have about 4 weeks left of this last cycle.  I am pleased with the progress my groups are making and how hard they are working on their skills to improve themselves and their reading!  I will have to say they are motivated.  I don't do stickers or rewards at all.  We work hard and I cover them in praise as they work hard to improve their weekly graphs.  They want to improve!

Click the visual plans above to down load the plans and resource links.


Yesterday was our Bright Ideas blog hop.  If you missed it, you can click here to catch up on it.  I posted about where I get my reading comprehension passages for RTI and how I organize all those passages for my teachers.



Just finished these opinion task cards!  These What's Your Preference task cards are like the game Would You Rather?, but after making their choice, students then write about their opinion and give reasons to back up their choices.  You will get a lot of fun and interesting reasons with this activity!


If your students need a lot of practice backing up their opinions and this is a really fun way to do it!  Click the pictures to see it!

Checkout the other visual plans over at Mrs. Wills blog!



Organizing Comprehension Passages for RTI

ReadWorks Comprehension passages for RTI

Do you assess comprehension for RTI?  We do at our school and we don't use a computer program.  Therefore, I had to find a place to get comprehension passages for my teachers to easily use that had quality questions and a mix of question types.  ReadWorks was just the place!

Organizing Comprehension Passages for RTI in Binders

Once I found a place that had the passages that I liked, then I needed to have the passages ready and easily accessible for my teachers to use.  They do not have time to be hunting down passages.  Also, for RTI, I want consistency.  Each week, the teachers for each grade level need to be assessing on the same passages so graphing is more accurate across the grades.  I printed off the passages that we needed to get us through our cycles of 10 and 12 weeks.  Then all the passages were place into one large notebook to house them all.  The notebook is in a place that is accessible to all the teachers who may need it so it is easy for them to get their copies made.

Organizing Comprehension Passages into a binder for RTI

To keep it organized, I used plastic tabbed dividers.  Each grade level is separated, plus I included literacy and informational text passages.  I try to make it to where teachers can go right in and find what they need quickly and easy for them to put the originals in the correct place too.

Organizing Comprehension Passages into a binder for RTI

ReadWorks has really great passages and a LOT of them!  But even better is that they use a variety of questions.  Each passage that is in the book has multiple choice questions and short answer questions where students must prove their answers with evidence from the text.  One more thing about ReadWorks- it is free to use!  Just sign up and you are good to go!

Organizing Comprehension Passages into a binder for RTI

Having everyone using the same passages makes graphing student progress each week mean more because everyone is being assessed on the same text.  More fidelity in the results.  

Bright Ideas Posts

This has been another Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  I hope you will follow me on these places so you can keep up with all the latest happenings!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting! 



We Found the Gold!! FREEBIE Hop!


You are about to be blessed!  The leprechaun has left a lot of fun and wonderful FREEBIES for you to find!  Yay!!

Thank you, Jen, from Teaching from the Tongass, for sending friends this way along the hop!

We are sharing all this wonderfulness with you.  All you have to do is click the picture at the bottom of each post to follow along the loop to collect your goodies.  Easy, peasy!  

Let's get started!   Here's a fun spring freebie for you!



 Get ready to go visit the sweet Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans!



Organizing A Successful Family Literacy Night

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

This past week we held our Family Literacy Night.  This event is such a fun night for our families!  It takes a lot of pre-planning and work to pull it off, but it is totally worth it!  Last year, we had a Literacy Scavenger Hunt and you can read about that here.

If you are planning a Family Literacy Night for your school there are a few things to think about and plan beforehand.  

First, decide on your budget and your theme.  We went with Under the Sea this year.

Next, try to combine your event with another group's event on the same evening.  That will bring in a larger amount of families.  Our Scholastic Book Fair was happening that week and the night we chose was the same night that the book fair stayed open late for their family night. 

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

Try to get donations or funds for prizes.  We had goody bags ready for each family that walked through the door.  Inside the bags were coupons and information from local businesses.  We also bought books from the book fair (which helps our school library by buying them from the book fair) for a book drawing.  $10 gift cards were donated for our drawings as well as two bikes!!

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

Serving food is huge!  We have done this so many different ways from having the food catered in to just serving milk and cupcakes.  Families show up for a free meal and appreciate it!  Our cooks stayed to cook and serve a spaghetti supper.  Mandy, from Teaching with Simplicity, made these super cute octopus center pieces!  Adorable!

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

Plan different activities for the students and families to participate in together.  I had the Bingo for Books area.  I ordered a bunch of books from Scholastic's $1.00 book sale and had them on display so families could see what they could win.

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

We had a small table for me to draw and call out numbers.  I could have used a megaphone!  There were so many people, I felt like I was having to shout  for players to hear the numbers being called!  

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

Be sure to have everything ready and organized for smoothness.  I had the Bingo cards and chips placed out on the tables before anyone even got there to play.  Families just dropped in on games as they wished.  We wanted the traffic in the areas to flow in and out nicely.

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

We pulled in technology by having parents fill out our parent questionnaire at this area.  It was all set up on Google forms so they could sit down and easily fill them out without any problems.  Another area was using a Google form to fill out for the prize drawings.  

One more tip is to be sure you get the word out in many different ways to reach your families.  We sent out invitations about the night on colored paper a week early.  Then we sent out another reminder the night before.  One key way to promote your event is to get your classroom teachers to talk about it every day the week of your event and get kids excited about coming.  You can also do a School Reach to remind parents or send out a text with Remind 101.

Tips and Ideas for organizing a successful Family Literacy Night

Not only did we have literacy activities, we also had some fun math activities for our families.  Remember Mandy, who put the cute octopus together for the tables?  She did the math activities for our family night.  To check out how these math activities were done and what treats the kids went home with click the button below to be taken to her blog, Teaching with Simplicity.

Tips and Ideas to Organize a Successful Family Literacy Night


Word Pockets

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

I wanted to accelerate my students' sight word learning and differentiate it at the same time.  A lot of my students need more practice becoming automatic with their sight words.  Once they do this, their reading begins to take off!  Now this is not the only step in increasing their reading, but becoming quick with recognizing sight words is an important step.

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

A lot of times we will go over sight words on our iPads using SlideShark to format the slides correctly.  You can find these PowerPoints for the Dolch sight words pre-primer through second grade here.  Sometimes we practice these slides on the Smartboard.  But students need more than that to become automatic with them.  So I am using word pockets!

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

They are so easy to make!  You need a package of file folders, colored copy paper if you wish.  You can use just white paper too.  And snack size baggies.

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

I set up the printer for 6 slides per sheet.  That makes just the right size for little hands.  Not so small that they are hard to handle, but not so big that you are using lots of paper.  I also set it to gray scale to save on color.  Each of the sight word lists look different so if you wish to use white paper that works great too.  Then just use scissors or a paper cutter and cut them up.  

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

For each pocket, you will open the file folder all the way and fold about 1/3 of the bottom up to the inside of the folder.

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

Turn the folder over and staple the sides to create the pockets.

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

You can leave the fronts blank, have the students label them, or print off labels.  Whatever works for you!

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

On the inside, you can label the pockets or have the students do it.  I assess the students on their sight words often to be sure I am moving them forward.  Plus we add words that go with stories.  My Guided Reading Anecdotal Notebook is where I keep track of the words students know.  Several times a week students get their pockets and pull out the baggie on the left and quickly go over their words.  When I listen to students read their words, I can differentiate by adding more words from the baggy on the right side, thus moving students forward as they are ready to learn more.  In these pockets, the sight words are pre-primer.

Using Anecdotal Records to keep track of sight words learned

This is one of the pages from my Guided Reading Anecdotal Records Notebook that I keep on my students.  I can just keep this notebook with me to assess students and keep track of my anecdotal records on them.

Teaching and Differentiating Sight Words

If a student has mastered one list and is ready to move on, I can keep the lists mastered in the left hand side and add more baggies.  This keeps the word lists from becoming overwhelming if there were too many to always being reviewing.  But I also don't want students to never see those words again.  They sometimes need to cycle back and review words previously learned.  To accomplish that, I can just tell them what color I want them to practice that day.  Easy Peasy!!

Hope this is an easy way for you to make learning sight words more manageable and a quick way to differentiate them too!

Short Vowel Activities & RTI Visual Plans

Short Vowel Puzzles

Short vowels, short vowels, short vowels!  We are all about being proficient with these vowel sounds!  These vowel puzzles make it a fun way to practice.  After they build their words, they must read the words from the clipboard to me- not from the puzzles.  I need to see that they can use those sounds within the words without the picture clues.

Short Vowel Roll It Cubes

We've also been using these cubes.  The kids LOVE rolling cubes!  Then they decide if it is a real or nonsense word.

Blends and Digraphs Roll It Cubes

I have a few RTI students that are ready for the digraphs and blends, but are still using the short vowels in the middle.  

Closed Syllable Multisyllabic Activities

One of my groups needs to apply what they know about vowel sounds in multisyllabic words.  Activities for this skill that I found helpful were really hard to find.  This one really works for me.

Closed Syllable Multisyllabic Activities

Some of my students need the differentiation of printing the beginning syllables on a different color than the second syllable.

Closed Syllable Multisyllabic Activities

The task cards took the activity of closed syllable multisyllabic words up to the next step.  Then there are stories for them to read using these words to make sure students could apply their skills in connected text.

RTI Lesson Plans

My RTI Reading Visual Lesson Plans are posted and hyperlinked for you.  Click here or the picture above to download the lessons and the links.  

Link up with Deedee with your weekly plans too!