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Early Bird Gets The Worm

Just a quick post to let you know that I am putting my store on sale for Friday, November 29.  Maybe you need a few days to get things bought, printed and laminated before you go back to school on Monday.  I know, I know...Monday is going to be coming way too soon!  

I will also be joining the TpT sale on Monday and Tuesday also for another chance to save.  Those two days you can save 28%.

Here are just a few selections you might want to add to your shopping cart:

Polar Express Math and Literacy Unit

Snowmen Literacy Unit

Kindergarten Assessment Binder and Phonemic Awareness Bundle

My Interactive Reader's Notebook

Reading Comprehension Posters & Reader's Notebook Inserts

Now, a question for you...what food did you enjoy the most on Thanksgiving?  What ever it was, I hope it was a wonderful day!  Mine was pumpkin cheesecake!

Days of Thankfulness

What I am thankful for writing

Thankfulness...gratitude...being appreciative for the people and things in our lives.   During this season of Thanksgiving, I really wanted my students to think about who or what they are thankful for.  To really think about it and the reasons why they were thankful.

I was so pleased with the ideas they came up with!  Most of their thoughts centered around other people, not just objects- although there were a few items picked.  But mostly it was family or friends or activities that centered around friends.  One little girl, who lost her older brother last year in a drowning accident while they were on vacation, chose almost every single day to write about a person that was important to her.  Sometimes we think kids these days don't get it.  But let me tell you, these kids GET it!

I love that last one- she is thankful for her sister because the sister washes her plate off for her since my student can't reach the sink!

using more specific and interesting words in your writing

We did a lot of talking about making our writing dollar writing and not penny writing.  Adding details about why we are thankful and using more specific words than good or nice.  

words that are not specific or very descriptive

Now it's my turn to list some of the things that I am most grateful for.  Truly I am blessed beyond measure!

I wish you all a fabulous Thanksgiving with your family and friends and a table full of delicious food!

Gift of Reading Blog Hop

Welcome to Conversations in Literacy! You have arrived at  

At each blog stop, you will be gathering Reading gifts and freebies.  In each post you will find a picture of a snowman with a letter on it. Collect all of the letters to solve the mystery quote and enter the giveaway. Record all of the letters on your recording sheet and follow each blog along the way so that you can enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

The hop is set up as a loop, so you may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning you may go to A Day In The Life of A Title I Teacher's blog.  This is also where you will go after you finish the hop to enter the giveaway!!

To celebrate the gift of reading, I am offering you my latest Prove It To Me for you!  This one is a holiday freebie that will help your students use evidence from the text to prove their thinking.  Being able to use evidence from the text in their answers can be a difficult thing for some students to master.  I hope you and your students enjoy it!!

Just click on the picture above so you can download this Prove It To Me.  

If you like the freebie Prove It To Me, you may also want to check out my Prove It To Me Character Traits.   Click on the picture or click here to see it.

My secret letter is...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoyed your gift and learned something new. If you would like to be the first to know about new post, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image below. 

Don't stop now! Hop on over to Teacher Mom of  3 to pick up another amazing reading gift! Happy Holidays! 

Freebie Fridays

Informational Text Resource

Are you using more and more informational text in your classrooms?  Are you like me and need more resources for that?  Engaging, up to date resources?

Common core is requiring us to shift to more informational reading.  Students really do enjoy this kind of reading if we take the time to find interesting books and articles.  

And that is the problem sometimes...having enough resources.  I have books, but would also like to have some articles for the kids to read and work with.  Time for Kids is just that resource (and I am not getting paid to say that!).

I love Time For Kids!  It has timely, informational articles that are engaging to kids.  And another plus, is that they are short articles for my small reading groups.  I need great resources that are interesting to the kids, but don't take them too long to get through since we are limited with our time.  

Time For Kids has all kinds of articles on sports, health, science, national news, etc...  You can print the articles or show them on computers or SmartBoards.  If you print the articles, you can have kids mark them up and really use with the activities you have them do.  

You could use the articles to work on:
*  Main Idea
*  Summarizing
*  Vocabulary
*  Informational Text Features
*  Words in Context

What a great way to read interesting informational articles that are short and engaging for the students!

I'm A Little Cowpoke!

cowboy poems

As one of our Reading Celebration days, we picked the theme of cowboys.  Cowboy themes are very popular here and this celebration of reading ended up going all week and not just one day!

Our school had decided to not do AR (Accelerated Reader) any longer (read about that decision here), so we pick a day once a quarter to celebrate reading instead.  Everyone gets to participate instead of just part of the school.  We pick a theme, read books that go with the theme, eat snacks that go with it, make a themed craft, and of course READ, READ, READ!  

I couldn't find the right level of books for my younger students, so I found some cowboy poems and made them into books.  The poems were great for comprehension, rhyming, and working on our fluency.

reading celebrations

I had the students illustrate the poems to show me that they were comprehending the poem.  

reading celebrations

This little poem- I'm A Little Cowpoke is what I used for my kindergartners during cowboy week.  You sing/read it to the tune of I'm A Little Teapot.  I added the picture cards to the pocket chart poem to scaffold those students who needed a bit of help.  

reading celebrations

We also made some letter Cc headband hats.  The kids really enjoyed this and cowboy was a great way to remember the letter Cc!

cowboy poem

Kindergartners created an interactive chart on Cowboys can....then rebuilt their cut up sentence in their journals.  First graders practiced their poem together and found rhymes before reading it independently in book form.

cowboy poem

My second graders did a Rounding Up the Rhymes activity with their poem, An Armadillo.  We looked at spelling patterns after the rhymes were found, keeping the words that rhymed and matched in their spelling pattern.  Then we used those words to spell new words.

cowboy theme

These are 3 literacy center activities carrying on with the cowboy theme!  Line Up, Little Doggies has students practicing putting their letters in ABC order.  The other two center activities work on beginning and ending sounds- just what my students are needing!

My next door teacher neighbor has a brother who likes to draw and he graciously always decorates our door for each theme!!  We are so lucky!  All we have to do is put the background paper up for him and he takes care of the rest.

We used the train he made from our Polar Express theme last year in this years Cowboy theme.  

I hope you enjoyed all of our cowboy activities!  I wish I could show you all the cowboys and cowgirls that showed up that day in their best cowboy gear.  It was a lot of fun!  Click the pictures or here if you wish to check out my Cowboy Literacy Unit.

Enjoy your Sunday!  I will be attending a Marre Reading Conference.  I can't wait!  There are so many talented presenters and I always learn things to bring back to my room that will hopefully help me be a better reading teacher for my students.  

Thankful for Books

During this season of thanksgiving, one of the things I am thankful for are books.  I love books- which is kind of a requirement, I think, for my job as a reading specialist!  And there are some great ones out there about Thanksgiving.  

These books make great read alouds  with so much information about Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving.  They would make great books for reading groups also, depending on what level your students are reading at.  They will enjoy all the new knowledge they will have about Thanksgiving.

What fun these books are!  I am especially liking that 10 Fat Turkeys!  And of course, who doesn't like Pete the Cat?  Can you ever get enough fun, make-you-feel good read alouds?  I don't think I can!

Don't forget to check out Educents ELA Bundle for grades 3 & 4.  The deal ends soon and is 75% OFF.  They have included some really good literacy activities to help your students and their learning.

Interactive Reader's Notebook Organization

minimal cutting and gluing

I have been using Reader's Notebooks of one sort or another for quite some time now.  Years really.  I used to use spiral bound notebooks for them.  But they never really worked just right for me.  For one thing, the wires always tangled with another notebook and had to be pulled apart.  Another problem that I had was anytime I wanted to add a page, it had to be cut smaller to fit and then glued.  Messy and time consuming!

So now I use 3-ring notebooks for the students.  And let me tell you how much easier, nicer looking and organized it is!!  Plus, by using a 3-ring binder I can have different sections in an easier way.  I like color coding my sections and I couldn't do that as well before.  

The notebook I use now requires minimal coloring, cutting and gluing.  I like the way the notebooks look that use all that, but I simply do not have time for that with my groups.  I need something streamlined, easy to use, but still engaging and motivating for students.

My first section is for word work.  Word work is so important for students.  We do a lot of word sorting so I have different word sort pages for this.

I use different word sort pages because sometimes we sort into more than two groups.

Got to have a word wall for students to have a place to add words- sight words, thematic words, domain specific words, etc...  We even use sound boxes.  

My second section is My Thoughts- the comprehension section of our notebook...the heart of reading.  

This is the section that we use the most.  Where we put our thoughts about what we read, our Sticky Note Thinking, Prove It To Me answer frames, etc...

The third section is our vocabulary part.  Learning new words, what they mean, and how to use them is more important now than ever.  

This is just one of the vocabulary pages we use.  Another one helps the students use context clues from the text to determine the meaning of the vocabulary word.  

I wanted to try something new this year.  I want my students to take more responsibility for their learning.  Students can keep track of the genre types of books they are reading, their goals for reading, fluency, student conferencing, etc...  The more involved they are in their own learning, the more aware they are of what they need to do to improve and take their reading to the next level.  

You can click any picture above to see this notebook in my store or just click here to be taken there.

I am teaming up with some other top notch teachers and their language arts materials for an Educents bundle for 3rd and 4th grades!  My Reader's Notebook is included along with 14 ELA materials that you will just love!

Some of the other products in our bundle to get your kids learning are centers, printables, vocabulary, book studies, interactive notebooking and so much more!

After you finish here on my blog, hop on over to the lovely Laura's blog:  Love to Teach.  She has something for you on her blog too!

But that's not all!   I want to give you a chance at winning my Word Collector- Personal Dictionary.  Just pin the Educents picture or any of My Reader's Notebook pictures and enter the pin into Rafflecopter.  Easy, peasy!!   Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The deal won't last long so head over now!

Free Resources