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Reading Flip Book For Parents

Welcome Flip Book for Back to School

We had our Back to School Meet the Teacher Night and it was a huge success!  So much fun greeting students as they bring in their new school supplies and find their new classrooms!  

Welcome Back to School Flip Book and Reading Room Reveal

As students and families come to my room, I have reading folders waiting for them.  Parent involvement in a child's reading is key to their success!

Welcome Back to School Flip Book and Reading Room Reveal

Reading Folders for Back to School

I hand parents a check list to help make sure they get to see everything I want them to see and do:  pick up an information folder, check out the Seesaw app, add a book and their name to the board about what they read over the summer and get a sweet treat card with a sucker!

Welcome Back to School Flip Book and Reading Room Reveal

  Welcome Back to School Sweet treat card with a sucker!

Welcome Back to School Flip Book and Reading Room Reveal

Students and families can browse through our classroom library.

Welcome Back to School Flip Book and Reading Room Reveal

There was lots of interest in our reading tent!  It is actually a teepee that belonged to my boys when they were in school.  My students cannot wait to use this!

Welcome Back to School Flip Book and Reading Room Reveal

This is one reading area for students.  These blue chairs are super popular because they rock!

I've got several goodies for you today!  

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Also, be sure to enter below to win a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card!  You will want that gift card because tomorrow is a One Day Bonus Sale at TpT!!  Whoo Hoo!!  

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Back to School Guided Reading Assessments

What to use for guided reading assessments

Are you back to school yet?  My students start Thursday!  Where did summer go?  Every year as school gets started again, I ready things in my room for getting started with guided reading.  Part of getting started is knowing where all my students are at with their learning.

What to use for guided reading assessments

But getting all that paperwork together, printed and labeled could be overwhelming.  Sometimes all that paperwork makes me feel like the lady in this picture!  But a couple of years ago, I found the answer to this paperwork nightmare!

Using ESGI for Back to School Guided Reading and RTI Assessments

I learned about ESGI  2 years ago and it made a HUGE difference in the way I assess students and the amount of time that it takes me to prep and complete the assessments.  And I am talking hours saved, not minutes.
Using ESGI for Back to School Guided Reading and RTI Assessments

Today at school, I updated my lists of students.  I carry a load of anywhere between 30 and 50 students.  It doesn't take very long at all to input new student names.  Previous students are automatically graduated to the next grade level.  I just added in the new kindergarten names and reassigned the previous students to their new teachers. 

Easy way to manage and organize your reading assessments

That's it.  I am ready to begin my assessments now.  NO gathering up assessments out of file cabinets.  NO standing at the copier making copies.  NO keeping track of test results and writing out reports to parents.   

Using ESGI for Back to School Guided Reading and RTI Assessments

I don't have to make all those copies or write reports because all of my assessments are right there in the ESGI software waiting for me!  Every year, this is just ready to go.  I assess students one on one using the computer.  The students actually enjoy testing this way!  I assess on letter identification and sounds, phonemic awareness, and phonics all the way through third grade.  But you can make your own assessments and you can even create your own math assessments.  Or use the ones preloaded for you!

After I have assessed the students, I can then see how the students did.  You can see reports in several different formats.  Pie charts for each individual student or for how the entire class did- see the above picture.  Or you can view results in a bar graph.   I appreciate that their are different formats that I can use.  I have some teachers that like the pie graph and some that like the bar graphs.  I can send to the printer a different report tailored to each teacher's preferences and needs.

Using ESGI for Back to School Guided Reading and RTI Assessments

Another time saver is that you can print letters to parents with the results of their child.  You can use the prepared letter in the format ESGI provides or you can edit it to fit your needs.  Along with the parent letters, you can also print out flash cards to send home for students to practice.  That is another huge time saver- not having to print out work for practice.

Using ESGI for Back to School Guided Reading and RTI Assessments

Sending home ABC letter cards really helps parents to know what to work on and they are very appreciative of not having to create the cards themselves.

I use the assessments on ESGI at the beginning of the year, half way through and again at the end of the year to document student growth.  These assessments are used for guided reading, word work activities and for our RTI groups.  

ESGI can do so much more than assessments.  You can keep track of field trip money and permission slips, schedule parent conferences and send out reminder notes.  Even print out name tags and pocket chart tags!  This software is way more than just assessments!

This is great tool is something your school can use too and now is the time to try it out!  ESGI is running a special right now with $40 off your first year subscription.  And you will also be entered to win one of 10 TPT $50 gift cards! 

Using ESGI for Back to School Guided Reading and RTI Assessments

Using ESGI for Back to School Guided Reading and RTI Assessments

Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools
Click the button above to enter for the TPT gift cards and to check out ESGI for your school or classroom.  It is seriously one of the best ways I have found to organize and manage my assessments for the last 2 years!

Guided Reading Series: Using Linking Charts

Using Linking Charts in Guided Reading to build automaticity and fluency with sounds

As some of us are heading back to school soon, I am beginning a new series of blog posts for guided reading!  First up is using sound linking charts to help students learn and retain the correct sounds for letters and groups of letters.  

Using Linking Charts in Guided Reading

I use linking charts all the time.  This ABC linking chart is from When Readers Struggle.  I have my kindergarten students read this chart every day at the beginning of school.  I like this one because it teaches both sounds for the vowels.  
We read it forwards  and once we get good at that, we read it backwards or one row per student.  I like to call out a sound and they find the letter and mark it with a pom pom.  Or when we get really good at it, I ask them to find the letter 1 over from the Qq.  That gets in two steps.  I need them to know these sounds automatically.  I like to keep this chart in our Readers Notebooks to refer to when reading or writing to make links between the letters/pictures/sounds.

Using Linking Charts in Guided Reading

My RTI students also need linking charts.  Again, we read them in all kinds of ways- forwards, backwards, one row per student.  Just takes a few minutes to do this quickly.  If your students can handle it, adding fun pointers helps with engagement.  If they cannot, fingers work fine!

Using Linking Charts in Guided Reading

On this long vowel silent e chart, buttons were used to mark chunks.  You can use buttons, pom poms, beans, etc...  I call out a word or even a chunk and students have to find the picture that goes with it.   Find the picture that has the /ine/ chunk.  They can find it and mark that space.  Keep it quick and moving!

Using Linking Charts in Guided Reading

Another step in linking charts is to remove the picture clues.  Call out the picture clue that used to be there or just call out a word that contains the chunk.  Students find the chunk and then with dry erase markers they write the word right on the plastic sleeve in the box.  You are trying to build automaticity and fluency with these targeted sounds.

Using Linking Charts in Guided Reading

I also have charts that have the pictures with the sound chunks removed.  I can call out the picture, a chunk or to make it even higher learning if they are ready, I can call out a word that has the same chunk as one of the pictures.  Then the students would write the word again in dry erase marker right in the boxes.  

When you use linking charts, it is a good idea to have 3 sets of each one.  The first one to start with would include the pictures and words/letters/chunks.  The next one you could move to would be the exact same chart with words/letters/chunks removed leaving only the pictures as their link to what chunks or letters to use.  Last, use the same chart, but with pictures removed.  This way students are using the letter chunks to link to other words.

You can click the pictures to see linking charts.  I did not include a photo of my Blends & Digraphs chart- click here.  All of my charts are included in my intervention binders.

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Next week will be the next post in my guided reading series!  Be sure to check back then!


Recharge, Reflect & Regroup: Summer PD

Teacher Resources for Summer PD

If you are like most teachers, you need the summer to recharge your teacher batteries!  I know I do.  It doesn't take long and I am thinking about the next group of students that will be walking through my door for back to school.  

Teachers recharging for the summer
Thank you Teacher2Teacher for the graphic!

I just got back from a vacation to Colorado that helped me recharge.  Whether you go somewhere or stay home, a teacher needs a bit of time to slow down a bit, think of something other than school, and get re-engergized.  When I have done that, I am more in a state of mind to reflect on the past year and regroup for the changes I want to make in the upcoming year.   Actually, my brain likes to start this about April!  Anyone else like that?  I kind of have to bring that in because it is a bit early to start that!

Teacher Resources for Summer PD Who's Doing the Work

If you have been reading blogs, following teacher Facebook pages or been on Twitter lately, then you know about this book.  I found this book to be a quick read  and full of easy to implement ideas.  The premise is having students do the thinking and problem solving instead of the teacher doing this for them.  As students work through how to solve problems in reading, they tend to show more growth than students who appeal to the teacher getting her to give prompts on what they could try to solve it.  I especially liked the chapter on shared reading and will mainly be using it to tweak this time in my classroom.  

Teacher Resources for Summer PD Kids Deserve It

This book came in while I was away on my trip.  It is about building engagement in your lessons and relationships with your students.  These are two areas that are very big in our school's new evaluation system.  You may also recognize this book from social media right now.

Teacher Resources for Summer PD The Reading Strategies Book

The Reading Strategies Book is full of ideas for teaching different reading skills and strategies.  I like that there are visuals included for the lessons.  I am a visual learner for sure!  Having pictures of actual anchor charts and other teaching aides is a big bonus!  I want to go over this book a little more this summer.  I would like to mark a few more of the ideas to try out this next year.  Jen Serravallo has short podcasts that you can listen to also.  Just search her name for the pod casts.

Teacher Resources for Summer PD Next Steps in Guided Reading

If you teach guided reading groups this is a great book for you!  Actually, one of these is the guided reading book, one is dvds where you can watch Jan Richardson teach lessons, and one goes with the dvds.  Great ideas and again, because I am a visual learner, I enjoy watching the dvds.
So these will be my summer professional development from home this year!  We start back in early August (summer goes by way too fast) so I've got ideas going and lists forming.  So how about you?  What teacher resources are you reading this summer?

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Updates:  If you have purchased these resources, be sure to go and download them again as they have been uploaded.  Just click the pictures below.


RTI: A Successful Journey

I know there are many feelings about RTI...some have good feelings and a lot of teachers feel negatively about it.    An article was recently published about RTI and how it was found that RTI did not accomplish all that was promised that it could do.

Education Week published an article reporting that their research showed that RTI did NOT live up to its promises.  Click here to read that post.  

I don't doubt that in many schools RTI is not working.  Those schools may not have enough appropriate staff to implement it,  the teachers may not have enough time built into their schedules for RTI, the school may not have provided enough training... The list goes on and on.  I have heard from so many teachers how long the process is, the disorganization, and no consistant structure in their model of RTI.

But I would like to show you how RTI CAN be successful.  How students CAN learn with the appropriate interventions.  And that in our school, students DO make significant progress that transfers into the classroom learning.

This has been on my mind for a while now and I just felt the need to speak up and demonstrate how effective RTI can be.

Effective RTI:
~  Works well if you have someone willing to take charge of implementation and improving the system every year.  Along with the RTI coordinator, appoint a committee to help you implement the methods you agree on for your school.  The committee is also there to help you with ideas and for the decision meetings.  Your committee will help build buy-in with your teachers.  You will NEED buy-in to make the process smoother and easier.

~  Needs to be systematic and regulated: We follow our states recommended guidelines of implementation.  They recommended 3 tiers of increasing intensity, 2 targeted interventions at a time, and weekly progress monitoring for Tiers 2 &3

~Has set RTI times built into your daily schedule.  It usually does not work as well to expect teachers to just fit it in somewhere each day.  At my school we have a 30 minute time slot for K-1 students, grades 2-3 students and grades 4-5 students.  This ensures that interventions do not get put off and forgotten.

~Should follow a continuum of skills for each grade level.  After you have decided what skills the student doesn't have that is keeping them from success, those will be the interventions to go back in to fill in their learning gaps. 

~ Involves parents.  We send the parents of each tier 2 & 3 student notification letters.  In these letters, we inform the parents what tier their child is in, what interventions they will be receiving and what assessments will be given.

Expect changes in your RTI program!  Your RTI should not look exactly the same the 5th year you are implementing it as it did the 1st year.  You (or the RTI coordinator) should be tweaking and improving it every year.  Find what works and change what doesn't!  Let's be honest.  You have to start somewhere and then with some trial and error you fix what doesn't work.  When we first started RTI, my administrator didn't know how to implement it and neither did I.  The first meeting we had after the folders were turned in was not a success.  Teachers had not filled out the paperwork completely or correctly.  Some hadn't finished giving the interventions.  It was not good.  So it was back to the drawing board on how to make this easier and better and how to communicate better what we needed the teachers to do.  And we did.  One huge tip- decrease that paperwork down to as small amount as possible.  Classroom teachers do NOT have time to spend hours filling out paperwork!

Celebrate the successes!  RTI was developed to help students that have been struggling.  The number of students in our program needing interventions over the last few years has decreased tremendously!  We attribute that to focusing on catching students early.  If you are a student in kindergarten or first grade and you are below grade level at all in reading, you automatically go into Tier 2.  Another way RTI is showing that it is effective and working in our school is that we have fewer numbers of students in the upper grades qualifying for RTI!  Once we get them going and out of RTI, most of those students are holding that progress and not qualifying to go back in to the program.

The graphs and pages in the pictures can be found in these RTI Data Intervention Binders.  There is one binder each for kindergarten through fifth grade.

I hope this overview helps you to see how RTI CAN be an effective way to help students be successful!  Please take a moment to let me know how RTI is working in your school.  

A Chattering Wolf

Using iPad app Chatter Pix in the classroom

We have been having a lot of fun with folktales and character traits lately!  Students are learning to use dollar words when they describe the characters and to use evidence from the story to prove why they think the character is behaving or feeling that way.  We've made some cool videos to go with these activities too!  You can play the video farther down in the post.  

Using iPad app Chatter Pix in the classroom

One new tool we are using to help us with this is ChatterPix.  The students can choose a picture from the gallery or take a picture of themselves to use.  For this activity, the students chose a picture from the book we have been reading, The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall.  After choosing the picture, they draw a line for where the mouth should be and record themselves talking.  ChatterPix for kids counts them down to when to begin talking, which is very helpful.

The different ways you could use this app are almost endless!  Another easy way to use it is for students to practice building sight words and then use ChatterPix to record themselves reading their words to show how well they are doing.  Also, students can record a cold reading passage, practice the passage and then record themselves again to show progress.

parent communication is easy using the Seesaw app

After recording their answers, I shared the videos out to parents using the Seesaw app.  Click here if you have not read how to use Seesaw in your classroom.  It is super easy and fun to share pictures, videos, and notes with your students' families!!

folktale books and resources for the classroom

I really enjoy using these books in our folktale unit!  So many great lessons like character traits, how characters change, lessons to be learned from the stories, what makes a story a folktale, etc...

character traits anchor chart for folktale Red Riding Hood

We like to use Dollar Words to stretch our vocabulary!

folktale and character traits activities how characters change

 Here, we learn about characters can change from the beginning of the story to the end.
wolf craftivity for The Three Little Pigs folktale

The students enjoy making wolves and pigs to go with our writing.  Makes cute displays too!

folktale activities

Click here or on the pictures to see the resource.  What ways do you use ChatterPix or ideas that you have for using it?