My Latest Creations!

I realized the other day I haven't shared my latest TPT creations on this blog! You've probably seen them on Facebook or Instagram, but haven't really heard much about what's in them. I've been a busy, busy girl, especially this last week during Spring Break. I had these few small-ish projects to finish up because, due to so many requests, I am going to start working on Mighty Math for third grade and first grade. Can I get a WOO HOO?! Read on to see what's new in my store, and make sure you read all the way to the end for a little surprise :)

First up is a Summer Reading Craftivity and Program:
We work so hard with our babies all year long and watch them grow like weeds... and then they go home for the summer. We keep our fingers crossed that they read, read, READ (among other academic activities) over the summer, but are they actually reading? I started doing this summer reading program with my kiddos two years ago, and in conjunction with our local public library programs, I have had lots of success with students reading over the summer.  
 The product has 4 main parts: a beachy writing craft, summer reading calendars, various versions of parent letters explaining the product, and summer reading activities.

How I Use This: I ask my students to read 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week, equaling 75 minutes per week (I've also included a version of the calendar where students can set their own monthly reading goals). My students to bring the reading calendar packet back to me at Open House, which happens a few days before the new school year starts. I always love it when kids from the previous year come to visit me :) As a reward, I give them $5 to spend in the Scholastic book orders and a coupon to a local ice cream shop. Then I use my bonus points to pay for the books. Click here to check it out!

Wait, did she say "theme?" I think I may have heard a collective groan from all of you! Please tell me I'm not the only one who Googles "theme" every single time I have to teach it... I created this product because I needed to teach theme and traditional literature together, but many of the texts I was finding were inappropriate for my second grade readers, too long, too high, too hard, too boring, or a combination of any of these. So I made my own!  
This product contains five traditional literature stories: The Tortoise and the Hare, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Little Red Hen, The Three Little Pigs, and The Snow Queen. The Snow Queen? What's that, you say? I was surprised to learn that the movie Frozen is actually loosely (very loosely!) based off of this Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale! And let me tell you, my kiddos were SO pumped to read this one!!! 

I wanted my students to be able to "prove" the theme, so in each text, students have to identify the theme, highlight the evidence that points to the theme, and write a sentence or two telling using words from the text to defend their answers. 
Click here to learn more about this themes product!

Lastly, we've been learning about prefixes and suffixes this last month. I had nothing to teach these important skills, and I couldn't think of a good theme... until I found these Lego guys! Words are like Legos, aren't they, the way the word parts snap together? And what kid doesn't love Legos?!

Here's the Prefix Edition...

And the Suffix Edition...

These products have three main components: anchor posters of the prefixes and suffixes, teaching tools (whole page booklet, half page booklet, and interactive notebook activities) and practice/skill printable pages. I really love how this all came together, and my kiddos were excited about it too!

Of course I had to Bundle the two together! 

If you buy the bundle, you'll get both the prefix and suffix editions, as well as two additional practice activities. Here's one of them: 30 affix task cards that can be used in any way!

So, what do you think? Want to win one of these?? Just leave a comment below with your email address telling me which one of these products you would like. Entries must be received by Wednesday April 30th at 11:59PM. I will randomly choose a winner on May 1st! GOOD LUCK!!


Guided Reading Lesson Planning and Note Taking

I got a ton of LOVE from my Bright Idea post from a few weeks ago.

If you missed it, the post was all about how I organize my guided reading scoring/notes sheets. Click here to check it out!

I had a lot of requests to share my recording sheets, so I will... but on one condition: you don't judge :) I made all of these on my computer at work, so that means I probably whipped them up in 5-10 minutes. I also used standard fonts and no clip art (no fun stuff on my school laptop), and I didn't cute them up either for this blog post so that you can edit them to fit your needs. So no judgy giraffes, OK? Feel free to download them and cute them up for yourself :)

This is my 10th year teaching, and I swear I change my guided reading note taking sheets every. single. year. But I think I found the perfect format (for me) this year, and in conjunction with my folder system, I am rockin' and rollin'!

Let's take a peek at what's inside my guided reading folder...

In the first pocket I keep my running record info, group info, group schedule, and log sheet. It looks like this:
The top page you're seeing is my log. Here's a close up:
Their names are on the left and then their instructional reading level. At the top I write the dates, skipping a column between weeks. It helps my visual brain stay organized. I can fit about one month on each page. I write the level of the book we read in the group under the day. This helps me keep track of how many days/weeks we've spent on a certain level. Click here for the blank one. You'll notice that I took students' names out, but left their levels on the page, so you can see where those go. Also, I use the bolded lines to visually separate each group. You can easily move the bolded lines if you have more/less students in a group. Just change the border style to the thickest solid line, or you can use the draw tool to draw in the borders. To get rid of the bold lines, highlight the cells with the bold line and then click on the standard border. Hope that makes sense!

The rest of the pockets are for each group:
Each group has a lesson plan sheet. I started out with this page:
But after a few months I switched to this one:
The reason I switched is because in second grade, the guided reading books are longer, so it sometimes takes me 2-3 sessions to get through a book. The second version only requires me to write the title of the book once, whereas the first one, I had to write the title each session. It might sound a bit lazy that I didn't want to write the title each session, but I'm all about maximizing my time :) If you are a kinder or first grade teacher, you can usually get through your books in one session, so you might like the first version. For lesson planning, all I have to do is write the goal/strategy we're working on for the day. The application and summary/goal review at the end are already filled in to make my life easier. Here's the first version and the second version :) For some reason, they saved as a landscape document to Google drive so it's going to look a little goofy. If you click on the arrow in the upper left corner to download to your computer, the Excel file will open up and it will print in portrait A-OK!

Then each student gets one of these:
I am IN LOVE with this page. Notice at the top of the page it says D/C/F. These letters stand for decoding, comprehension, and fluency: the top box I give a decoding score, the middle box gets a comprehension score, and the bottom box gets a fluency score. I give my students a score of 3, 2, or 1, with 3 being the best. This is the scoring system I use on my report cards, but I know some people use letters or a 4, 3, 2, 1 scale. Do what you gotta do! Then in the large box I take notes. I write my notes about decoding towards the top, comprehension in the middle, and fluency at the bottom--trying to keep them in line with the D/C/F boxes. I used to have a larger space for notes, but I noticed that my notes were all usually focused on one aspect of reading (usually fluency). This set-up forces me to take notes on the whole reading picture. I also don't stress about filling in every score every day. Sometimes I don't get a chance to listen to individuals read or do an in-depth comprehension activity. Sometimes I write notes; other times I don't. Click here if you want this form :) Again, it will look a little strange in Google Drive, but just click on the arrow to download and print directly from Excel.

You've seen this pic before, but this is what my space looks like when I'm conducting a group:
I can easily move from one student to the next, and when I'm done with a group, all of their papers go back in their folder pocket.

My favorite part about the way I take notes is that I feel incredibly well-informed when I am talking about specific students to parents, administration, interventionists, etc. And my life is SO EASY when I need to complete progress reports or report cards. I hope I've answered all your questions about how I keep track of my growing readers. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below :)


Bright Idea: Organizing Guided Reading Notes

Hi friends! I'm super excited to link up with so many amazing bloggers for the Bright Ideas Link Up!
Today I want to share how I organize my guided reading notes and paperwork. I used a pretty binder for eight years, but I like to have a scoring/anecdotal note sheet for each student, and flipping back and forth between +/-20 papers was not working for me. AT ALL. So last year, my school's reading teacher gave me this:
Can you tell my folder is loved? <3
This folder system is AMAZING! Basically, it's four 2-pocket student folders that have been folded backwards. The front cover/back cover is one folder that has been cut in half. Then she used the binding machine in the copy room to assemble it.
Let's take a peek inside, shall we?
In the first pocket is where I keep my log of dates when I meet with my groups and running record progress form. On the outside of the pocket, I made a schedule of which group I'm taking each day and when. I put the schedule on a sticky note, so it can be changed easily when needed. I like to map out when I'm taking my groups so that I don't waste precious minutes trying to figure out who I haven't met with in a while. It also works great for my students because I tell them what days I'm taking their groups (and they get mad if I miss their group! Haha!) In my district, I'm required to meet with below-level students every day, on level students 3 times a week, and above level 1-2 times a week. All of my kids are currently reading at or above grade level (L/21 or higher), so that helps with my scheduling. I am still taking my on-level group every day, because some of them were below grade level when the year started. I meet with my M's 3 times a week, and everyone else 2 times. I was even able to make time in my schedule to do my weekly fluency progress monitoring. It works out well that I only have 5 groups this trimester :)
A close up of my first pocket. The sticky note on the left tells me which group I'm taking and when. The one on the right tells me who is in each group (although I pretty much have in memorized!)
The next 5 pockets are for the groups, one pocket per group. I put them in order based on their level. There is a sticky note on each pocket with the names of the kids in the group. Then inside the pocket, I have each student's scoring/notes sheet, as well as my group lesson plan sheet. Sometimes if we don't finish the book during one session, I'll also put my copy in the pocket to remind me that we need to finish it.
Close Up
Each student has their own scoring/notes sheet because it makes my life easier at progress report and report card time. I can also easily move students from one group to another... just move their sheet to the new pocket! When I'm meeting with a group, I will pull their sheets out of the pocket and lay them out in front of me. It makes it easier to move from one student to another.
This is what my space looks like when I'm working with a group. Super easy to switch from student to student!
In the last pocket,  I have guided reading teaching "cheat sheets,"district guided reading and running record expectations, and extra copies of my note taking sheets and lesson plan sheets.

I love this folder system so much, I begged asked my reading teacher politely for another one to store all my progress monitoring and reading intervention materials.
I am going to change out the binding coil to a bigger one :)
I actually just found out you can purchase these kinds of folders, although I don't know what they're technically called, where to get them, or how much. But if you buy a bunch of folders during the Back to School sales, you could easily put something like this together for less than $1. And if you need more folders, just use a bigger coil.

Thanks for stopping by! I would love for you to stop by my Instagram and Facebook to keep up with more of my bright ideas! And don't forget to check out more awesome ideas... links below!

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