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Back to School- Are You Ready?

Are you ready to get back to school?  Or have you already started back?  We don't start back yet for a couple of weeks.  Does anyone else feel like this was the fastest summer EVER??? 

I feel like I have a fresh start this school year as I had to change rooms.  So I am changing up the areas in my room and will be trying some new ideas out.  Pictures of these new ideas will come as soon as my room is done.  Right now, everything has to be unpacked and put away before I can even begin to decorate and organize.  

I do plan on keeping a few things that have worked for me.  Here are a few of them.

I really liked having a focus wall last year.  It helps keep me and the kids "focused" on a few specific elements for each text.  We could do a quick run through these elements before concentrating on the comprehension skills.  Made it easy to manage and to remember to get in each week.

ABC Magnetic app

ABC Magnetic app is also something I will be using again this year.  This is such a great app and I can use it in so many different ways from letter recognition to building sight words to doing the activity Making Words.  It has capitals, lower case, different backgrounds, etc...  Try it out!

Of course I will be using a teacher basket.  I got a new basket this year, so I may make some changes to this basket....will have to see if the new one works for me!

Also to get ready for the new year, Educents is having quite the Blow Out Sale!


  From July 30 - August 2 (Wednesday - Saturday), they are bringing back all of their favorite and most popular bundles for INSTANT download at up to 77% OFF! There is something for everyone and it is their BIGGEST sale of the year! Take a peak into what is on sale! Tell your friends, because there is something for everyone who teaches children in PreK-8th grade!

Preschool Full-Year Curriculum Bundle - 72% OFF


Kindergarten Full-Year Curriculum Bundle - 75% OFF


K-2 The Write Stuff ELA Bundle - 68% OFF


First Grade Literacy Bundle - 74% OFF


School Year Curriculum Bundle (Grades 2-3) - 74% OFF


Poetry Curriculum & Activities Bundle (Grades 2-6) - 75% OFF


Tricky Math Curriculum Bundle (Grades 3-5) - 69% OFF


Management, Decor & Organization Bundle - 76% OFF


Don't Miss It!

One last thought...I hope you get off to a great start to this new school year and that it is one of the best you've ever had!!

RtI- Document & Track Progress

documenting and tracking student progress

Do you have students keep track of their progress in RtI?  It is a great way for them to visually see their progress and a way for them to be even more involved in their learning.

documenting and tracking student progress for RtI

If you have been reading along on my blog, you know that I truly believe in RtI.  There are different factors that help make it successful.  I get emails from readers asking me questions about how I have structured RtI in my school and how they might make it successful in their school too.  

documenting and tracking student progress for RtI

I was asked about my RtI folder that I kept on my students:  graphs, student notes on movement through the tiers, rubrics, etc...  So I created these two RtI Data Binders to help out those of you looking to document your students progress in RtI and a way for students to track their own progress.  Above is a picture of a goal sheet for students to fill out before and after the RtI cycle is complete. 

documenting and tracking student progress with graphs for RtI

 This is an example of a graph the teacher would keep in the RtI binder showing the goal line and the progress line from weekly progress monitoring.  You can keep track weekly how the students are improving or not and adjust your teaching as needed.

documenting and tracking student progress for RtI

I also keep copies of parent notification letters.  This is your documentation that you have had parent contact about their child being in RtI and what the interventions would be.

documenting and tracking student progress for RtI

I have included ways for you to keep track of which interventions all the students in your tier are receiving and a graph for documenting the days and absences your RtI students attend.  

documenting and tracking student progress for RtI

All those graphs and pages, plus binder covers for the teacher and students are included in my RtI Data Binder.  This one covers skills mostly for kindergarten students.  It contains graphs for documenting skills like rhyming, deleting phonemes, letter identification, etc...  This pack is not the assessments or activities.  It is all the forms and graphs you need for documenting and tracking progress.  

If you are needing the activities and assessments and a way to keep track of them, this Kindergarten Assessment Binder & Phonemic Awareness Bundle would be what you need.

documenting and tracking student progress for RtI using graphs

This is an example of a student tracking graph from my first grade RtI Data Binder for students to track their own progress.  This binder has graphs for short vowels, digraphs, vowel teams, inflections, and many more.  

documenting and tracking student progress for Rti using graphs

Even though this is the first grade binder, there could be overlap with your students on the skills.  If your first grade student is really missing skills, you may need the kindergarten binder first or a second grade student may need the first grade binder.  You must know where your students are and what skills they are lacking specifically to move them forward.

documenting and tracking student progress for RtI using graphs

I hope these 2 packs will help you with your documenting of student progress in RtI.  Keeping track of data and specifically adjusting your teaching to according to what trend you are seeing on their graphs makes RtI so much more successful!   Click on any picture to see these packs.

Update- RTI Binder Systems for grades Kindergarten, First, Second, Third,  Fourth, and now Fifth Grades are all available!  Click here to see each of them.

RTI Binder System for Teachers and Students to track progress

Show & Tell Apron

Use letter cards to build words in your apron

One of the best ideas I got from the I Teach K in Vegas was this Show and Tell Apron from Sandy over at Kinder-Gardening!!!

Sandy must have had the most buzzed about shop in the exhibitor's hall in Vegas! Everyone wanted one of her super cute aprons and I got one!  LOVE IT!

Use letter and Number cards in the apron

Sandy had all kinds of different colors and fabrics.  These colors of teal and green matched my classroom colors so I snatched it up fast before she sold out.  The apron has 5 plastic pockets for letter, picture, or number cards and 2 fabric pockets under that.

Use letter cards to build words in your apron

The Show and Tell Apron can be used in a lot of different ways.  One way is stretching and  building  words.  Sandy has a free download of letters and numbers, but she also has a Letter Pack and Word Pack that you can get to build words and practice sight words.  I can see sentence building as another activity that could be done as well as a great way to do the activity Making Words!

Use number cards in the apron

But you can also use the Show and Tell Apron for math.  You could display numbers in random order and have students write them from smallest to biggest.  

use number cards in the apron

Math facts could also be practiced.  Sandy does have a number pack that she offers that has more to offer.  

If you will go to Sandy's blog, she posted about her aprons and has a lot of great pictures of how to use them.  Tell her I sent you over!  She is just a super sweet lady!

Small Group Material Organization

I am so excited that it's time for another Bright Idea post!  I am joining a bunch of my blogger friends to bring you some great classroom ideas that you can use right away!  I want to tell you about how you can easily organize your small group reading materials.  

You can get these items at the Dollar Tree and Walmart!  Easy and inexpensive!  I really like using pencil pouches to organize materials.  These are clear and that makes it easier for kids to see what they are reaching in after.

using finger lights as pointers

Have you seen these finger lights?  So fun!  Great way to motivate those early readers to point one to one when reading.  They can also use them to find sight words or vocabulary words that you are front loading.

using finger pointers as pointers

All my little readers are at home, so I just used this RtI folder to show you how the finger light can be used to spotlight a word.  

making pointers from popsicle sticks and Ducktape

These are some more pointers you can keep in the pouches.  They are so easy to make!  Popsicle sticks and Ducktape wrapped around them.  Colorful and quick to make! 

Magnetic letters kept in plastic boxes

We use magnetic letters so much in my room.  These little boxes from Dollar Tree are a great size to keep those letters in.  You could also keep a small set of sight words in the boxes if you would rather have the sight words rather than letters.

bead sliders for phonemic awareness

Bead sliders can be used in a lot of different ways!  Students can use them to count out the sounds in words, count syllables in words, or slide as they count words in a sentence.  I like the bigger beads rather than the smaller pony beads since the bigger ones are easier to manipulate for the younger kids.

dry erase markers and erasers from Dollar Tree

Of course you need dry erase markers and erasers in your pencil pouch too.  These erasers are the makeup puffs.  I like the small size!

Using buttons as sliders for phonemic awareness and Elkonin boxes

I have used a lot of different things for sliding into Elkonin boxes.  But I really like the cute buttons!  They are just the right size, flat on the bottom and colorful.  Just switching out the materials you use in your activities rebuilds motivation and interest in the kids!  Always trying to make it new and novel for them!

I hope you enjoyed this Bright Idea!  Follow me on Bloglovin, TpT, and Facebook to find other great ideas that I post and so you will be notified when giveaways and freebies are posted!

For more Bright Ideas from my blogger friends, please look through the link-up and find what interests you!

The Road to Vegas!

I was one of the many, many teachers who went to Vegas last week for the I Teach K conference.  There were other teacher conferences going on that week too.  This beautiful shot is of the Venetian, which was my home for the week.  It is like a city itself!  None of us in my group had ever been to Vegas before and we had a bit of a time just trying to find the registration desk!  

But let me back up a bit... before we got to Vegas, we stopped at the Grand Canyon.  Gorgeous views!  We had not seen this before either.  

Beautiful scenery!  We took lots of pictures and walked around seeing things.  We didn't have very long here because we were trying to make it to the Venetian in time to register for our conference that night.  But we made the most of our short time there.

Like I said, the Venetian is like its own city.  Beautiful and busy inside with lots and lots of shops and restaurants.  

With some help, we did find the hotel registration desk and got registered for our conference in another part of the hotel before the conference registration closed.  It was close though!  The sessions were great and I met a lot of presenters.  One of my favorite people to meet was Kathy Griffin from Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies.  She is an absolute sweetheart!!  So kind!  

On the last day of the conference, my group of teachers attended Dr. Jean's all day session.  She had us singing and moving and creating!  This is a student portfolio made from a paper bag.  It isn't very fancy since I made it in the session.

But you can get the idea from my pictures how students can make this portfolio and stash their work.  Writing pieces, homework, absent work, art work, papers to go home if they forgot their backpack, etc....  So many ideas for this little project!  You can find Dr. Jean's site here

I am so glad that I went to the I Teach K conference!  Met a lot of people, got a lot of great ideas and had a fun time!!

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