Organizing for the Common Core K-4th Toolkits

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Teaching with confidence includes effective organization of all the wonderful resources we've collected. As teachers we are notorious for collecting ideas. It doesn't take long for our files to be filled with potential learning activities. The problem is after all these years, it is hard to separate the good from the clutter.  I knew it was time to revamp my files and what better way than to design attractive labels that also correspond to the Common Core Standards! Aren't they cute? … [Read more...]

Children’s Books Kids Love and Remember

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Today I wanted to spotlight some of my class favorite read alouds. I like my students to hear stories that engage their minds and emotions, make them laugh, or touch their heart. They will often refer to these stories and characters throughout the year as we make connections to other stories they read in class. One of our beloved characters is Strega Nona created by Tomie dePaola. Each year, I launch our first author study about Tomie. While many of his books are autobiographical in … [Read more...]

Spelling Practice for Any Word List

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Oh what a treasure I have for you today!  This week's freebie is an assortment of  NO PREP printables that you can use with any spelling list. They are perfect for homework or in class practice.  Do you have differentiated lists? No problem! The children use their own spelling list. Also, there is flexibility in the number of words; 10, 15, or 20. So let's take a look at what is inside your Tuesday Treasure: First let's set sail with one of my favorite ways to practice correct letter … [Read more...]

Fun with Beginning Readers

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Today I am thrilled to be part of  The Reading Crew's Weekly Literacy Blog Party. Each week, we will share tips and ideas in the area of literacy. So what is the difference between phonics and phonemic awareness? Phonemic awareness is the foundation of our written language. Beginning readers learn that each letter has a sound associated with it. By combining individual letter sounds (phonemes) children are able to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in words. For example, the … [Read more...]

Tuesday Treasure: Notebook Labels

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      It's time for your TUESDAY TREASURE! This week I am excited to share these kid friendly labels that you can use on your student notebooks. The labels are sized for 2" x 4" labels. Each sheet contains 10 of the same labels. Simply click on the image you want, and it will take you to the document. PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS: You must download the document first before printing. This is extremely important for proper alignment! Also, you must make … [Read more...]

Empowering Your Students for Success

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What's the difference between enabling our students versus empowering them? It was a thought provoking question asked at a conference I attended. For some, the words are synonymous. For those with a background in psychology, there were clear differences. To be an enabler means you are providing support to another person who is unable to function successfully on their own. It is a co-dependent relationship. It is the enabler who knows what to do. Someone who is empowered has the skills and … [Read more...]

Character Traits with Anchor Texts

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While discussing with my young students different character traits, it became clear that there were many terms that they were not familiar with. So this year I decided to pair some traits with characters in our read aloud stories. After reading and discussing the story, I ask the children to give me two or three words that describe the character on the inside. Then I print a copy of the book cover and add the terms to a bulletin board. I've created a list of 135 character traits in … [Read more...]

Summer Review Going Into Grade 2

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  Many parents and teachers have asked me for resources they could use with their child over the summer so they can maintain their skills. They wanted something quick, easy, yet educational. Well, I am excited to share that I have a solution! My latest product is called Summer Review Going Into Grade 2. It is designed for children who have finished First Grade and are preparing for 2nd grade. Each page has math and language arts practice. I added summer themed graphics to make the pages … [Read more...]

5 Great Reasons to Use Task Cards

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Task cards are sets of individual cards organized by a skill or concept. Each card contains a question or a response from the student. They are best used for practice, review, and reinforcing a skill. 1) Students love task cards because there is only one task per card. This format is less overwhelming that a worksheet. Also, there is an element of choice with task cards. Each card is numbered, and the child can often choose the sequence they want to complete them. 2) Task cards make … [Read more...]

Teaching About Nonfiction

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   We often assume young readers know the differences between fiction and nonfiction and if they can comprehend one, they can automatically understand the other. However research has shown that proficient readers use different strategies for informational texts and that these strategies must be explicitly modeled and practiced. Nonfiction comes in a variety of formats including maps, signs, letters,  recipes, advertisements, diagrams, instructions, textbooks, and certain websites. In … [Read more...]