Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday's Tip and a FREEBIE!!

Hi Everyone!  Hope your week is going well!  We are on the countdown to our Spring Break!  3 more days, oh yeah!

Today we have a freebie for you!  Do you have some children who just don't seem to learn their sight words, phonics words, any words....in the time frame that you would like?  Here is a little something that I made up when I was teaching firsties.  We had sight words that students needed to learn each week.  They were tested on Fridays.  Most of my students who struggled with reading, just never seemed to learn their words during practice in the class, and many had parents who only spoke Spanish.  The parents were more than willing to help their children; they just didn't know how.  So, with the help of our school translator, (Yep, we have one!  Yay!), I made and started using word necklaces with both my English and Spanish speaking students.  Each week I would write the words on the necklace that my struggling students needed to learn. I did not use them for all students, but you certainly could. I tell ya, it was like magic!  The parents were so happy to be able to have something specific to help their children with, and almost all of my students started learning their words each week.  Now that I am doing reading interventions all day, I still use these with some of my students.  I even use them with third graders (although I don't make them into necklaces for them.) They're such a simple little thing, but work so well!  So if you have students who are not learning their words, you can grab yourself a set of these necklaces/bookmarks/cards click on the picture or click here!

Have a great rest of your week everyone! 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Five for Friday!!!

It's FRIDAY!!!! Phew...we made it! I'm happy to report that we only have one week left until spring break!! We've been absent from Five for Friday but we are linking up with Kacey from Doodlebugs Teaching for one of our favorite linky's:)


This week we have been working hard on questioning literature. We spent a good amount of time focusing on questioning informational text earlier in the year but now we are focused on literature. I have found that it is easier to separate literature and informational because for some reason second graders just need a LITTLE more time when questioning literature...at least being able to question deeply. Here are some books that I LOVE to use:) Any more suggestions???? I am always looking for new, great texts!!

We have been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for that last couple of weeks. I LOVE reading this to my kiddos! They just eat it up! Well...this week was report card week and I often resort to bribery to get the kiddos to return their report card envelopes. HA! I have found the magic...or maybe I should say GOLDEN...ticket! Wonka candy!! Once they found out they were getting candy from Willy Wonka to return those envelopes...let me tell you...GENIUS!!

Now...we teach in Washington State. We lost our waiver for NCLB because our state did not include test scores into teacher evaluations. WELL...now they are trying to pass the bill to have test scores tied to teacher evaluations. Here's the kicker...

This is a CRAIGSLIST ad to have people score students tests. I mean sure...why not...let's have people with no experience in the educational field...no experience with the test. YEP! Let's have them score the tests...I mean at $11.20 an hour HOW could that go wrong???? I'm so glad I teach second grade...

Here she is! My baby girl is playing T-ball! I tried REALLY hard to find this girl better pants. I mean...those things are like MC Hammer pants...but I had no luck. So here she is with her baggy pants BUT she IS rocking pink cleats, helmet, mitt and cheetah bat:)

Woohoo!!! We finally finished our Spring has Sprung bundle!! We have been working hard to get it done. We hope that it is helpful to everyone:) You can read more about what's included in this bundle HERE...or click HERE to head to our TpT store:)

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and to all you lucky ducks, I hope you have a GREAT spring break:)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring has Sprung!

Hey everyone! Lindsey here. I am popping on the blog tonight to share with you our newest passage bundle. I know I have told you before, but I LOVE these passages. Seriously...they are so easy to use and prep and my kiddos love them. PLUS they have good content vocabulary that can go across any spring themed idea you are teaching.

So let's dive in so you can get a good look at what's included in this Spring had Sprung bundle. This bundle has 7 different topics. As always you can all 7 in a bundle...

Or, you can pick and choose the ones that you would use when you buy them as singles...



Click on any of the pictures to head to the product.

As with all our passages sets, each topic has 6 leveled passages, A-I. This allows all students to access the same information on each topic at their level.

Each passage topic has a text dependent question page, vocabulary cards and a vocabulary and sight word game. These are common in each one of our passage sets.

We also like to make sure that the kiddos have a place to keep track of all the new vocabulary that they are learning. We have included 2 different vocabulary dictionary pages. Here is one of them...

We are vocabulary nuts around here...who isn't these days????? So we also included a new version of our vocabulary whack it game called Splash! You know that as soon as you ask the kiddos to whack something they are automatically engaged...I'm not sure if the whacking is a good thing but it works so I will take it!!

One thing that we always try to do when making these passages is include content that is relevant to what classes are working on. We LOVE Scholastic News in my class! Many of our passages also align to the current Scholastic News which allows students to really dive into their vocabulary words and have their skills reinforced.

We hope that you find these passages useful. They have so many purposes and are a really great way to get your kiddos reading! Happy Tuesday my friends!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Washington Teacher Blogger and TPT Seller Meet Up

Hey everyone!  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We just want to say thank you to all of the sweet people who came to our Washington Teacher Blogger and TPT Seller meet up Saturday evening at the Cheesecake Factory in Seattle!  We had such a great time meeting all of you!  You all are so amazing! It was so fun to hear everyone sharing tips, advice and encouragement with each other, too!  We can't wait to see you all again when we meet up in Vegas, and of course back here in Washington at our next meet up!  Until then, take care and we'll see you soon!

We'd also like to thank the amazing Krista Wallden of Creative Clips for her very generous donation of prizes.  Her new line of printed note cards and her ever popular clip art are amazing!  Another big thank you goes out to Alexis of  Laugh Eat Learn for her very generous donation, too!  Alexis makes the most adorable blogs, and we are so thankful for her donation. You'll definitely want to check out both of these lovely ladies' work!

Thank you everyone!  Can't wait for our next meet up!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday's Tip

Hi everyone!  Hope your week is off to a great start.  Here's a Tip for Tuesday.  Well, actually, it's a reminder of something you probably already know. You see, with the CCSS and the push for text complexity, we see more and more that children are being placed into reading materials that are very difficult for them to access.  It worries me.  A lot. Not that working through complex text is a bad thing; it's not at all.  It's just that we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and spend so much time working through complex text, that we limit the amount of "just right" reading that students are doing each day.  Students need to be able to have lots and lots of practice with text that they can read..."just right" or "high success" reading...every single day, to make the maximum growth possible. Even more time than what they spend on almost every other reading activity. This is especially crucial for students who are below grade level.  Oodles and oodles of research supports this.  (See What Works For Struggling Readers by Richard Allington for a good look into the research.)  In his book, Allington says, "The key point here is that the research has well demonstrated the need for students to have instructional texts that they can read accurately, fluently, and with good comprehension if we hope to foster academic achievement" (pg 47).  When he came and spoke to our district, he explained that everything in your room counts.  Books, charts on the wall, Scholastic News, handouts....everything counts towards daily reading.  He said that most of these things are too difficult and are not high success reading for our struggling students. So, while on-grade-level students get benefit from reading these things, struggling readers do not.  They simply cannot access them without a great deal of help and scaffolding, and so continue to fall behind.

So what's the reminder?  Make absolutely everything you possibly can, a "high success" reading opportunity for ALL of your students, and especially for your struggling readers. Take a hard look at your classroom. Fix all that you can. Fix your charts to make them readable for all.  (I'm always surprised at the number of charts on walls that students can't read.  Yikes.)  Choose books that students can actually read with high success.  Well....you get the idea.  Anywho, if we want children to improve in their reading, we have to give them things that they can read.  Pretty simple really.

One more reminder.....in case no one has told you how amazing your are lately, let me do it. Teachers are THE most amazing people of all....and that means you, my friend! Thank you for all the hard work you do every day to help the kiddles!  Have a great week!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Five for Friday!!!

Helloooo everyone!  Happy Friday!  We're linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for some Five For Friday action!  How was your week?   Our week was fantastic!  We are breaking out the flip flops around here with some sunny 65+ degree weather!  Woohoo!  That's unusual for us here in the Seattle area, as I'm sure you've heard. 

The theme for this week?  It's the little things people!  That was my motto for this week.  Lindsey always says, "It's supposed to be 5 random things mom!"  But teachers think in themes right?   Let's enjoy the little things, shall we? 

Little thing number one!  Today I'm getting reading intervention group plans ready and prepped for next week.  We are HUGE proponents here of providing materials that ALL students can access, and it's great to be able to throw in some fun reading for motivation, too!  So I'm prepping our St. Patrick's Day leveled passages for Monday's groups.  It comes with leveled passages, vocabulary games and practice, a bingo type word game, and a fun leprechaun finder craftivity.  If I were in the classroom, all of my students would make the leprechaun finder.  Since I do reading groups all day though, I'm making them for my kiddles to use to do their close reading with.  It's not too late...if you need some fun, leveled reading for next week, you can grab a copy here. I'm all about these little things that make the teaching life easier. 

Little thing number two! - Last evening, my good friend and I went for a little mid-weekish concert!  We had such a great time and even though we're working on about 3 hours of sleep, I highly recommend it!  It really energizes you to spend an evening with awesome, inspiring music!  A little Mercy Me, Matt Maher, David Crowder, and Jamie Grace goes along way to lift your spirits!  We are both Grammy's and we are NOT too old to dance like crazy at concerts (yes I am talking to you Lindsey)!  Thank you very much! Makes your heart happy!

Little thing number three! - Yesterday was Girl Scout Day!  Yep, I found that on the internet, so you know it is The. Gospel. Truth!  Oh yeah!  In honor of that, I may....or may not.... have eaten this whole box of mint cookies!  I confess to nothing! Wink, wink! Sadly, we will soon have to wait another year to enjoy this deliciousness.

Little thing number four! - Goofy Woofie Newfie Episode # 852.  Boomer decided he would try a little experiment to see what would happen if he ate half a container of Nestle Quik Chocolate Drink Mix that he had helped himself to from the cupboard!  He is our ginormous Newfie scientist, don't ya know!  Always doing these little experiments, you see!  He's not looking so good today! Chocolate is poisonous for dogs, but thankfully he didn't eat enough to do major damage....just a little tummyache.  Silly boy!  Since we know he'll be okay....it's one of the little things you laugh about. 

Little thing number five!  And THE BEST of all!  After church Sunday, my little granddaughter Emerie went skipping ahead, reached down and picked this dandelion, and said, "This is for you Grammy!"  Ahhh....heart pitter patter, heart melt, heart swoon!  I'll take this little dandelion any day over a bunch of roses!  I've been walking around all week with little hearts in my eyes!  LOVE!!!

Thanks for hanging out with us!  Have a great weekend everyone!