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Back To School Teacher Survival Kit


Back to School Teacher Survival Kit

Already, it is almost Back to School time!  As I start thinking about getting my room put back together, I am thinking about my Teacher Survival Kit!  A Teacher Survival Kit should include things you might need during the day or night at school that you may or may not carry with you in your purse.   It can just make your day easier when you have a little problem to fix up!


Back to School Teacher Survival Kit

I like to think of it as things I can always have on hand in case I run out of it in my purse, forget to bring it or something comes up like an unexpected parent conference!

Back to School Teacher Survival Kit

I bring my lunch every day to school, but sometimes I just need a little more or once in a while I forget my lunch.  Having a couple snacks put back is always nice to have for those days you just get a little hungry!  I like to have gum/mints to take care of that coffee breath!  
As a title 1 teacher, there are several nights during the year that I have to stay late.  Already having a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash helps me not to have to remember to bring mine from home.  Same for the hairspray and deodorant.  I like knowing it's there and I don't have to remember to cart everything back and forth.
Some little things that are important for me are hair ties.  There are just some days that the hair MUST go up!  😃 For some reason, I can't keep one in my purse.  Spare earrings are good to keep too in case you have forgotten that morning.  Chap Stick, Excedrin and clippers are always things I am needing.  Other teachers told me about keeping a Tide pen for those times you get something on your shirt.  A dollar for snacks or a drink is a good idea too!

Anything you add to your Teacher Survival Kit??  Pack one for yourself or for a teacher friend!



Just in time as Back to School gets going, we have this Welcome Banner and student response pennants for you!


You can print them both or just use the welcome banner by itself.  Print it, attach some ribbon if you wish, and hang it up for a colorful welcome to your room!


The student response pennants are a quick way to get to know your students!  
You can grab this freebie here!

Meeting Your RTI and Literacy Needs:

Word Work Phonics Intervention Binders

Fluency Intervention Binders






Let's Talk Fluency: Building and Strengthening

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

Reading with fluency can be a difficult thing to achieve for some readers.  Fluency needs to be modeled, practiced, and approached in a strategic manner for those that it does not come naturally.  Fluency activities also need to be multi-dimensional.


Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

One of the sayings in my room is that fluent reading sounds like talking!  Then we talk about what that means.  And what that doesn't mean too.  We don't normally talk super fast or super slow.  That our rate actually changes, our voices go up and down and we use expression.  All of this helps the listener to understand or comprehend the meaning behind what we are saying.  Good fluency leads to better comprehension and that is what reading is all about!

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

One thing we work on to improve our fluency is to practice scooping words into phrases.  Readers who do not have good fluency will not automatically read this way.  They may either read word by word or they may read so fast the words blend into each other.  Either way, comprehension is affected.  

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

Modeling and practicing how to scoop words together is important.   Students can help scoop the words into phrases using chart paper and poems.

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

You can take a page or passage from a book and write it on chart paper for students to help scoop into phrases.  Or use a document camera and your Smartboard!  But modeling and practice are going to be essential to gaining improvement.

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

Sometimes a lack of fluency is partially because of the student's accuracy.  They may not have a large enough bank of learned sight words.  Sight words must be automatic to allow the reader to keep the right pace when they read.  So one of activities that my students do is to practice sight words in different fun ways until they do become automatic.

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

Students also can do a quick phrasing practice with words that are already scooped together for them.  I like for students to hear me model what it sounds like too!  They don't need to spend lots of time on this.  Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.  You can get this practice in small groups during reading, literacy centers, and during RTI intervention groups.

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

Keep the practice fun and engaging by including games!  Students can play by themselves or with a partner and practice scooping!


Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

Some students need the next step of scooping phrases with the support of having the phrasing already done for them.  Once they get the feel for this, phrasing will feel more natural to them.  

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

We also need to be sure that students attend to punctuation as they read and practice scooping words into phrases.  They need to understand that the punctuation is very important to comprehension.

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

A fun way to practice is to read with different expressions!  
Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

The point of fluency is for it to lead to better comprehension.  You can use quick checks like these to check in on both the student's fluency and their comprehension.

Building Fluency by scooping words into Phrases

You can find these 5 Fluency Intervention sets here.  They are available individually or as a bundle.  Each intervention binder has a level so as your readers increase levels they be moved to the next level if needed.  













Teacher Book Stack

Books for Teachers Professional Development Resources

What's in your Teacher Book Stack for this summer?  I have some brand new ones and a few go-to teacher professional development resources that I like to revisit during the summer.  I just don't have the time during the school year to read and study as much as I can over the summer.  

Books for Teachers Professional Development Resources

I have always enjoyed finding teacher resources that help me sharpen my craft. We expect our students to be reading...teachers should be learners too!  And when I get to do the choosing I am much more motivated.  I also love to try out ideas that I think will help my students learn and grow! 

Disclosure: Some of the the links below are referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Books for Teachers Professional Development Resources

I have more than these 4 books in my stack.  But I want to highlight these books:  three are brand new to me and one I actually got last year, but I wanted to do some rereading.

Books for Teachers Professional Development Resources

I am very excited to introduce you to this new book!  My friend, Tammy, is the author of Gatekeepers.  Tammy is also the author of the blog Forever in First.  If you have visited over at her blog, you will recognize Tammy's familiar reflective and thoughtful voice in her book, Gatekeepers.  Tammy does a wonderful job of encouraging teachers to be watchful over the teaching practices they allow into their classrooms.  Her book follows her format of Saturday Sayings, in which Tammy gives you an educational quote and then her reflections on what this could mean for her and your classroom.  She gets you thinking about what is best for your students.  

Books for Teachers Professional Development Resources

I read Who's Doing the Work last year.  It challenged me to talk less and encourage my readers to discuss and think more!  One helpful part of this book in each section is a description of what this would like like in real classrooms at different grade levels.  It was very helpful to "see" what it would look like in action.

Books for Teachers Professional Development Resources

As a teacher of mostly struggling readers, it is very important to me to develop the love of reading in my students.  Several years ago, our school was an AR school, giving extrinsic rewards to try to get students to read.  On the surface, it may seem that those kinds of rewards work- kids read, they get excited to get prizes, etc...But it doesn't seem to develop a LOVE of reading and keep them reading after the contests are completed.  You can read my post about this HERE.  No More Reading For Junk takes you through the research about extrinsic rewards and gives you ideas to replace these so your school can develop a culture of loving reading for reading!

Books for Teachers Professional Development Resources

Do you conference with your students?  I know a lot of teachers find conferencing difficult...what to talk about, how to fit it in.  But so much can be fit in to a few moments.  These one on one teachings will help you figure out what students have learned and what they still need to move them forward.  And as an added bonus, kids love these moments that are just them and their teacher!  Conferring with Readers has a lot of great tips to help you!

So what's on your Teacher Book Stack this year?

Fluency Intervention Binders






Summer Climb, Not Summer Slide

Using Summer Reading Folders for Summer Climb not Summer Slide

I know every teacher gets concerned about the Summer Slide for students who do not read over the summer.  

For my young students, they still need the guidance of parents to help be sure they read.  Not all my students have that support at home.  And for those that do, they may not have appropriate books for them to read.  

Using Summer Reading Folders for Summer Climb not Summer Slide

Our school helps with this by having summer school.  Just being in an educational environment is a huge boost!  But I am fortunate to also get to provide students with reading classes during summer school.  This hopefully will help students climb higher with their reading skills and not slide backwards and lose the gains they worked so hard for.

Using Summer Reading Folders for Summer Climb not Summer Slide

Then at the end of summer school, I like to send home Summer Reading Folders for students to have materials AT home for July and part of August.   Volume of reading is huge for students and their reading skills so I try to provide materials for them to read.  

In these Summer Reading Folders, I include several items.  I print books from Reading A-Z that are in the student's interests and put those together.  

I also like to let parents know about the app Epic.  Epic usually has a discount during the summer to keep ebooks in the hands of students.  I appreciate that!

Using Epic App for ebooks at home during the summer


Using Summer Reading Folders for Summer Climb not Summer Slide

Besides books, I want students to have a copy of a reading strategy bookmark.  It is a good reminder for them as they read and a great visual help for parents.  Parents usually are grateful for guidance on how to help their child when they have difficulty.  And the help needs to be beyond saying "sound it out".  

I forgot to include in the picture, but sight word baggies are another easy thing to send home in the folder.  If the student is still working on mastering sight words, this is something easy for them to practice on at home.  

Last, I include a calendar to provide a bit of structure for parents and students. Some days say to read for 15 minutes.  Other days say build a blanket fort!  It's all about balance and having fun.  

You can grab the calendar and reading strategies bookmark here if they will help you.  They are included in our Free Resources Library.   Sign up for these exclusives!




Free Resources