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Teacher Gift Guide By A Teacher

Teacher Gift Guide Ideas

Are you wondering what gift to get for that favorite teacher?  Or maybe even what to add to your own teacher gift list?  I've got you covered with this teacher gift guide!  Six teacher gift ideas that teachers would actually want and like!  Hopefully, with some ideas that you may not have thought to ask for.  Some of the the links below may be referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 


Keurig Coffee maker, Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla K Cups

Please consider not getting the teacher in your life another teacher coffee cup.  Most teachers have quite a collection of them.  If the teacher likes coffee or tea, consider getting together with others and getting a coffee maker for their room (if allowed) like this Keurig.  I have one in my room and I use it every day!  So handy to have it where I can make coffee anytime.  If a coffee maker is not allowed, gift the teacher coffee in their favorite flavor like these Dunkin Donut French Vanilla K-Cups.

Teacher Peach Utility Teacher Tote Bag with Pockets, Mr. Sketch markers

How about a cute teacher bag that has plenty of room for all the papers, books, pens, etc... that get carried back and forth from school to home?  This makes a great class gift when you fill the teacher bag with Mr. Sketch markers and other fun pens and notepads!

Echo Dot, Alexa

Have you seen the Echo dot used in classrooms yet?  This makes a fun gift for any teacher and her/his classroom!  Students can ask Alexa:  how do you spell ___?, what is the weather?, roll the dice, flip a coin, count by 5s, what is the definition of ____?  Lots of different ways to be used and I am sure students are creative enough to think of more!

Felt letter board, letters

Everyone seems to be using letter boards!  They are cute ways to display short messages that capture attention. Post a question, special class of the day, book to be read, etc...  As a teacher, I would love to have one!

Because I Had A Teacher book, pack of Flair Pens

If you are looking for an extra special and meaningful gift for a teacher, you may want to get the book Because I Had A Teacher.  There is a place inside for you or a child to write a message to that special teacher.  A great companion gift would be a pack of Flair Pens because teachers LOVE Flair Pens!

laminator, lamination pouches

This may seem a bit different, but teachers laminate.  A lot.  I have my own laminator and it is great to have!  Add in some lamination pouches and the teacher in your life will love it!  And you for gifting it!  


I Have Who Has Holiday Edition Freebie game

Bonus!  If you can use this I Have...Who Has...Holiday Edition this month, you can get it here!

Do you have any teacher gifts on your wish list this year?


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RTI Assessment Tips Saving Teachers Time!

Time saving tips for teachers

It's almost that time of year again...no, not just Christmas (yay for that!), but RTI assessment time!  I know many teachers can have a love/hate for RTI and all the assessments.  A love (or at least a like) for how successful RTI can be, but maybe a hate for how much of our precious time it can take.  

Progress monitoring, universal screening, skills testing, dyslexia screening, and the list can go on and on! All this assessing used to take a HUGE chunk of my time.  Not to mention all the time spent copying and preparing tests.  Over time with experience, I have figured out how to make giving these assessments take so much less time and less painful!

Tip #1:  Stick to a Schedule


Teacher Schedule on table with flowers

Prepare yourself ahead of time.  Don't wait until the last minute to assess your students.  Things can happen- students will be absent, last minute assemblies will be scheduled and you may run out of time.  Decide what you will assess, schedule it out with time to spare for the unexpected and then stick to your schedule as much as possible.  You will thank me when you have completed it and have time left to spare!

Tip #2:  Set a Testing Zone


teacher table, pens, post its, phone, markers

Set up a testing zone and set out all the materials you will need.  This will help you to efficiently assess students when you have just a few minutes to get a student or two completed.  Keep your computer, list of students to be tested, pens, pencils, testing materials all right there at the table.  You can then move in and out of this area as needed without wasting time hunting down what you need.  

Tip #3: Be Efficient with Your Time


laptop, esgi software

I know some teachers have heard of ESGI.  Maybe you've thought of it as a kindergarten assessment tool or even for first grade.  Let me tell you it is so much more than that!  I believe so much in this program and the amount of time it saves me that I had to show it to you and explain it!  I have been using this assessment tool for several years now.  I use it for students from kindergarten through grade five!  I designed my own tests to fit my students' needs and my school's RTI needs.  But there are preloaded assessments already on it, plus other bloggers have opened up the assessments they have loaded so you could also use those!  

reading assessment reports

Once your tests are loaded into ESGI, you can use them over and over.  No looking for papers, no copying tests, no wasting your time!  

Tip #4:  Create Data Reports

reading assessment reports

Another super useful feature on ESGI, besides the assessments, are the reports.  I can create reports for my teachers to let them know how their students are progressing.  I can choose between different formats even.  I like to give them a report for their whole class overall and then also run reports for each individual students.  

reading assessment reports

If you are using RTI in your school, ESGI will make it so much simpler and save you so much time!  If you cannot tell yet, I have enjoyed this software so much!!  The time it has saved me from giving assessments to running reports and parent notes has had a huge impact!

If you think ESGI could help your school, click here  to save on a year's subscription.  If you are new to ESGI, you can try it for 60 days free!  Tell your RTI coordinator, Title 1 coordinator or administrator about it (or have them read this post).  I am telling you it is absolutely worth it!  Try it out and see!

Tip #5:  Plan For the Next Interventions

phonics word work binders for guided reading

Now that you have given your assessments and created your reports, it is time to start planning the interventions you will be using next to help your students progress even more.  Phonics binders are a great way to help students strengthen phonics and decoding skills and you can find them here.

fluency binders for guided reading and reading interventions

If students need to improve reading fluency, you can try these fluency binders.  Take a look at them here.


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Blessed To Share Blessing With You!




November is a time of Thanksgiving.  A time to remember our blessings and I believe most of us have many, many things to be grateful for!  I am most grateful for my family, our health, and our friends that we share our life with.  

A 16 of my blogger friends have put together a blessings giveaway for you!  It is going to be a fun and easy giveaway for you.

Each one of my friends will be blessing you with a free resource on Sunday, November 18 and Monday, November 19.  PLUS, we are EACH giving away a $25 TpT gift card!!  16 free resources and 16 chances to win a gift card!! 
Sharing is so much fun!



Be sure to download your free resources on Sunday or Monday!  They will only be available for free on those two days.  Click here to get this resource free!

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win my $25 gift card.  Be sure to do this at every stop along the way on the hop for more chances to win!!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click the links below to hop between our blogs!


Easy Prep Fall Literacy Centers

fall literacy centers, leaves and pumpkins

Teachers never have enough time and prepping centers takes a lot of time! I want to share with you some easy and inexpensive fall literacy centers that your students will love while they are learning!

fall literacy centers pick a pumpkin
 Pick A Pumpkin is beyond easy and my students ask to play it almost every day!

fall literacy centers pick a pumpkin

I bought a couple of decorative pumpkins from Walmart for 98 cents each.  If you are working on beginning sounds or prefixes, fold those papers in two and stick them into the slots in the pumpkins.

fall literacy centers pick a pumpkin

Students then Pick A Paper and read it or say the beginning sounds or whatever skill you want them working on.  I have the students pass the pumpkin by holding the stem so the tissue paper doesn't get smashed.  You can do this as a quick once or twice brain warm up going around the guided reading table.  My students really enjoy this game and it is easy to switch out the cards for different groups.  You could also use ABC letter cards, vocabulary, math problems, etc....

fall literacy centers leaves abcs letters dice

Another fun center is using decorative leaves- also from Walmart for 98 cents a package.  The lighter colored leaves work the best for words showing up on them.  Just number 6 leaves from 1-6.  Then write sight words, ABC letters, chunks, blends/digraphs, etc.... on them.  

fall literacy centers, leaves, dice, sight words

Students roll the dice and read the leaf they rolled.  Super easy !

sight word games, sight word picture cards, pocket chart

Can You Find It?  is a game we have played for a long time.  Sight word cards with the words facing out go in a pocket chart.  Hide a picture card behind one of the sight word cards.  

sight word activities, sight word cards, pocket chart

Students choose a card to read.  If they read it correctly, lift the card for them to see if they have guessed correctly where the hidden card is.  Students love the anticipation while lifting the card to see if the picture is there or not!  You can find this game by clicking here.

Thankgsgiving writing flip book

Thanksgiving will soon be here so it is time to get going on all those writing activities!  These Thanksgiving Flip Books are a great way for students to write about what they have learned in social studies.

Thanksgiving writing flip book

This Thanksgiving Flip Book is a fun way for students to write about their Thanksgiving traditions!  You can find these flip books here!



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Read To Self Bags and Reading Tool Kits What's Inside?

Read to Self Bag and Reading Tool Kits

We have introduced Read to Self and set expectations.  Reading Tool Kits are popular and students use them as they read to jot thoughts about books. Our students are working on building reading stamina and are really enjoying their books!  It takes a lot of practice, but students love Read to Self.  

Read to Self Bag

I used to use the big size gallon baggies for our book bags.  It is a pretty good option, but the bags can look pretty rough quickly.  Some students just seem to tear them up without any effort at all.  Lol.  This year we are using drawstring baggies.  My students think these bags are the BEST!  The one in my picture is from Dollar Tree.  I am using bags like these from Amazon- see them by clicking here.  
Read to Self Bag and Tool Kit

But we don't just keep books in our Read to Self bags.  Reading Tool Kits are great to keep in there too.  The polka dot one in the picture above is from Dollar Tree.  I have used pencil pouches too and like those really well.  You can see some here.

Read to Self Bag and Reading Tool Kits

You don't have to just keep books in the Read to Self baggies.  Filling your tool kit with materials that will support the students as they read will keep them engaged and help them know what to do when they are confused or struggling.

Read to Self Bag and Reading Tool Kits

Of course, you want students to have books.  Lots of books.  Different genres too. But have you considered allowing students to have charts to read?  They can warm up their brains at the beginning of Read to Self by reading their charts- ABC charts, CVC, Inflections, etc...  Some students really enjoy and feel comfortable starting with chart reading.  Or they may finish a book and choose to read a chart before diving into the next book.

Reading Tool Kits

Inside the Tool Kits are all kinds of goodies that keep students engaged in reading and help support them in their comprehension and reading.  Bookmarks, Post It notes, pens, highlighters for copies of articles, sight word lists, etc... Retelling bookmarks, Does It Look Right, and Reading Strategies bookmarks are all FREE!  Click HERE to find them!

Read to Self Bags and Reading Tool Kits

All these books and materials fit nicely into these drawstring bags!  

Reading Tool Kits and Read to Self Bags

Read to Self builds lifelong readers and is an important part of every day! 


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Setting Up Routines and Building Reading Stamina

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

Before ever beginning guided reading groups, you need to do the work of establishing routines and building reading stamina.  Doing these things first will help your guided reading small group activities run so much more smoothly!

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

Before diving into guided reading groups, I take time in my classroom to teach students how readers choose books.  Some students really do not know how to appropriately choose a book that fits them.  I also have this post where we compare choosing just right books to choosing just right shoes- you can read that by clicking HERE.  The students and I created this anchor chart to guide them through the process.  A lot of my students just use the Grab & Go method (grab any book and go) before we do lessons on how to choose a just right book.  This lesson comes after talking about making reading goals.  You can find that post HERE.  Some of the the links below may be referral links, which means,  I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 


Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

After we learn and practice- very important to practice- choosing books, we then learn the expectations of reading to self.  This anchor chart is great for students to visualize this.  



I use the ideas in this book about breaking stamina.  Once everyone gets settled into place, I begin my timer.  If students are not doing their job, I stop the timer and call everyone to a meeting on the carpet to discuss what happened and how we can do better.  If there is time, I send them back out to try again and reset the timer.  I also like to do a check in on the carpet on how we are doing according to our anchor chart.  I ask them for a thumbs up or thumbs down for how they did as an individual.  For example, did you have books you could read?  Did you stay in your spot the entire time?  Were you reading the whole time?



I use this book, Conferring with Readers for ideas on conferencing.  Jen Serravallo teaches to stand back the first few days and kid watch during this time.  Make note of  who gets settled in right away and who struggles to start their books.  Maybe you have some students having difficulty choosing just right books (I always have some who struggle with this, don't you?).  Take the time to observe what is going on with your students.  These observations can them become mini lessons to help students or you can use this information when you being individual conferences.

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

After we have learned about how to choose books, where to sit and the expectations of Read to Self, we begin building our reading stamina.  I have found students enjoy this a lot!  They like to beat their times!

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

When building reading stamina, I like to start low so students can be successful.  Starting with success builds confidence.  But they will break stamina and not make it too.  Call them to your rug or meeting place in your room and talk about why it happened.  Then try again another day.  Students love the visualness of graphs so we color those in each time.  I like to have a record of whether we achieved our goal or not so I have a star for that!  You can find this chart for FREE in our Free Resource Library.  Sign up for our newsletter HERE to find it!

Building Reading Stamina for Read to Self Before Starting Guided Reading Small Groups! #guidedreading #readtoself #classroomorganization #backtoschool #anchorcharts kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade

If one of your goals is to get students reading at home (and who doesn't have that goal?), you can also find this reading stamina chart in our Free Resource Library.  Great way to encourage reading at home!  


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Creating Reading Goals with Growth Mindset

reading goals, growth mindset and the book Wolf

We've spent some time learning about what readers do before we begin guided reading groups.  One of my favorite ways to get started is to read Wolf! and set reading goals with growth mindset guiding us.  

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book wolf

If you haven't read Wolf!  you need to!  It is perfect for teaching students not to give up on improving reading.  It is a fun story about a wolf who goes to the farm with the intention of eating the animals but by the end he has worked hard and has become "an educated animal" who is a good reader!  Check it out here for your classroom.

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book Wolf!

After reading the book, I like to talk with students about how Wolf feels when reading got hard and then what action he took to make things better.  Great for building growth mindset with your class!

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book Wolf!

We discuss all the things Wolf did each time he had difficulty and how it changed everything for him by the end of the story.

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book Wolf!


We then write our individual reading goals to work on for this month.  Each student chooses a goal that is specific to them.  You can see reading goals, genre graph, books to be read, etc... by clicking here.

interactive reading notebooks, reading goals, growth mindset, the book Wolf

Goals and other graphs are kept in reading notebooks.  The tabbed sections make it easier to organize the 4 sections of learning: word work, comprehension, vocabulary, and reading progress.  Take a look at this notebook here.

reading goals, growth mindset, anchor charts, the book wolf

To go along with our growth mindset theme, you can get this banner and pennant set for free!  Click here to get it now!


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