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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!

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!!  

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!


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!

Round-Up of Bright Ideas

Welcome to the November edition of the Bright Ideas Link- Up! This one is a special one! Over the past 10 months, we have shared thousands of great ideas through our monthly Bright Ideas event. This month, we’re re-capping all of those great ideas, just in case you missed any! Below you will find some of my bright ideas from the past several months: 

Some of my students' favorite activities are Table Top Twitter & Graffiti Tables!  They can really interact with each other but it is in writing instead of speaking.  Great way to strengthen their writing skills too!  Click on the picture below to check it out and see our special tables that we can write on!

My March Bright Ideas post has ALL kinds of ways to use book order forms, besides the obvious way of ordering books!  Sometimes you have lots left over and some months you just don't use the forms.  Don't throw them away!  Turn them into real world lessons!  Just click below!

While you are thinking about real and authentic activities for your students, in April I showcased some great apps for your classroom that are not games. Just click the picture too see them!

Are you needing some easy peasy to prepare activities that your students will have fun doing but still be learning?  My May Bright Ideas has you covered- like with a game of Splat!   Click below to be taken there!

I worked on this Bright Ideas last night!!  Brag Notes!  Kids love them and parents appreciate them.  A little positive goes a long way!  This post has ideas on keeping the note writing organized and looking great without spending a lot!  Click on the picture!

Check out my Small Group Material Organization!  Click below!

All kinds of ways to use Paint Strips!  Out of courtesy, be sure to ask if you can use them for school rather than just taking a huge amount!  Click below to see how to use them.

Organize your Interactive Reader's Notebook materials in an easy to manage way! Click below!

And last, but not least...I Can Use Posters!  Great quick checks to monitor student learning and help them be responsible for their learning!  Of course, just click below!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed these bright ideas and that you have found an idea 
that you can use in your own classroom. Be sure to check out the link up below for tons more bright ideas from my friends! 

Using Anecdotal Records to Drive Instruction

I kind of enjoy data.  Yes, I know that may sound weird, but if you have stuck with me for very long you know that I am a supporter of RTI and that is definitely data driven.  I like to apply that same thinking to my guided reading groups.  

I keep an anecdotal notebook to help me keep all my data organized and easy to use.  Actually, I have 8 anecdotal notebooks- one for each of my groups.  I tried keeping it all in one notebook, but it was much easier for me to keep them in separate notebooks and just grab the notebook for that class when their group begins.

I do a lot of running records and I like to keep notes on what I see students doing or areas they still need more teaching.  With pages like the one above, I can also keep track of reading behaviors the students should be showing and mark those off as I observe them.  Those behaviors that I am not seeing but should become teaching points.

A great way to differentiate your instruction is to know what skills each of your students have mastered and then move them forward on the ones they have not.  Making tally marks on a quick check sheet helps me do that.  I can quickly glance at a page and know where most of my group is at and what skills I need to go back and work on with other students.

I do the same thing with phonics too.  Since most of my students are behind, I must find a way to close up the gap as quickly as I can and move them forward.  

If you are one who likes to keep short notes on what important teaching targets you want to focus on, small group target notes are a good way to do that.

I try to quickly check my younger students on their letters and sounds while they are busy reading or working in a center.  I can drop in and quickly check what letters and sounds they know.  Then later when I am conferencing that student or even in small group, we can go over those letters and sounds they haven't mastered yet.  Love doing these quick check-ins!

A lot of my students are working on mastering their sight words to achieve automaticity with them.  I can just quickly check in on words we have been working on and mark the ones they know.

We use the Dolch sight word lists, but the same thing can also be achieved with the Fry List.  

So that is how I keep all the information on each of my students organized and use that information to drive my instruction to move my students forward as quickly as I can.  I can keep a lot of information in my head, but not all of this, so an anecdotal notebook is a must for me.  It is also a wonderful resource when a parent wants to chat about how their child is progressing.  You have all the data you need right there at your fingers!

Shelfies, QR Codes & RtI

Favorite books from the Shelf and QR Codes

We just finished up with Parent/Teacher Conferences at our school.  Our halls were all decked out and looking great with student work.  When this time of year comes around, I am look for something that will work for all my students across the grades.  I found a couple of ideas and meshed them together:  Shelfies and QR Codes!

Favorite books from the Shelf and QR Codes

Each student chose one of their favorite books off the "shelf" and I took their pictures.  Only their eyes and up showed above the book.  Then, I used a free QR Code maker on my iPad to make the codes.  I displayed the directions for parents about downloading the app and scanning the code to find their child's picture.  

Favorite books from the Shelf and QR Codes

The kids were so excited to see their pictures and for their parents to try to find which one was them!  In the directions that I posted with the display, I suggested to the parents to talk with their child about their favorite book.


Part of this idea came from Colleen over at Literacy Loving Gals.  You can check out her post by clicking on her button above.  She has some great ideas!

RTI Reading Interventions plans and resources

We only have a few weeks left of this first cycle of tier II in RtI.  I cannot believe how fast it has gone.  Students are showing lots of progress and moving on to new skills.  This cycle has been a bit difficult to manage since most of my students this time have been on different interventions.  That can definitely test your management skills!  It is so rewarding to see your struggling students make progress and feel good about themselves when they realize they mastered a skill and are moving on to something new!

Reading Intervention Visual Plans and Resources

You can click either picture to download the plans and the links to the resources or click here.

Be sure to link up your plans too!

I have a question for you about the RtI visual plans.  Teachers email and message me about the templates that I use and if they are available in my TpT store.  I would love to hear from you what you would like or what you would need in a template for RtI plans that would make things easier for you to plan RTI.  Please take a moment and let me know what you would like to see.  Thank you so much for that!!

Free Resources