Monday, September 28, 2020

Assessing Elementary Readers Digitally: Thoughts & Questions

It's been awhile, friends.  I hope that this blog post finds you well!  Or at least persevering through the challenges.  Because there are plenty of them.

I could make lots of excuses of why I haven't been writing on this blog.  Eventually I'll write a blog post about some of my personal challenges, taking a deep dive into the importance of healing.  (I would love it if you followed me on *favorite* social media platform.)  Nonetheless, I'm here now, and I've got some deep thoughts about assessing children's reading via purely digital methods.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Back to School: Teaching is a Work of Heart

So, it's back to school season.  And I remember writing a post a few years ago about setting up my classroom, and I was secretly so proud of myself for having matching caddies and baskets for each table color.  I was impressed that I copied another colleague and used clothespins to hang up student work to save myself time when I need to change their work.  I even printed out my own signs.  On white cardstock.  I felt so cool with my classroom set up skills I was practically high-fiving myself creating the blog post.

Fast forward to 2017, and things have changed in the classroom set up department.  With the explosion of Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, teachers are taking this classroom set up thing to a whole new level.  I mean, I think Chip and Joanna Gaines should be inviting some of these talented educators onto their show to help them out with fixing up some houses.  I'm simply amazed and inspired by all you teachers out there who are decorating and color-coordinating champs.  I'm pinning your ideas, drooling over your pictures on Instagram, and following you on Facebook and Teachers Pay Teachers.  I know I am a better teacher because of you.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Teacher Appreciation, Inspiration, and Motivation

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day 2017, I've collected some great quotes to keep us teachers inspired and motivated to persevere through this profession's challenges and society's misconceptions of us. 

Alexander the Great basically says his greatness comes from his teacher, Aristotle!

Truly, I can't even count the number of facets of my life that have been impacted by teachers!  And it is my humble prayer that I do the same for today's youth.

These educators who teach with their hearts not only make us smarter but they make us better people.

Teachers, let's ignite that fire that makes our students lifelong learners and overall happy, successful people.  Finally...

This is super important to me: as educators, if we don't motivate and support each other, then NOBODY else will.  As challenging and draining this profession is our lives, I hope that we can find a flicker of positivity with our inspiring colleagues. 

Thanks, teachers, for all that you do, have done, and will do.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Re-telling and Summarizing: Strategies and Interventions

So, how are your interventions going?  Are your students making progress in the area of re-telling and summarizing?

As teachers of reading, we all know that if a student cannot re-tell the story, he/she will have difficulty making deeper inferences, answering questions about the text, connecting with the characters, and, most importantly, enjoying the story. And re-telling, along with summarizing, is a skill that can be honed beginning in kindergarten all the way to college (think of all those undergraduate and graduate students who write abstracts summarizing research).  As an interventionist teacher supporting second and third grade students in the area of reading, I am constantly grappling with how to best support my little friends with their re-tell and/or summary {fiction texts...nonfiction texts need their own blog post!}.  After reading a book during guided reading, I would pull out a graphic organizer, and think to myself, "this doesn't really match the story structure," or "this doesn't allow the student to include the most important details."  So I began to look at the results of my assessments more carefully, searched some of the professional literature, and began differentiating my approaches in order to better break down this important component of comprehension.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Quick book review: Extra Yarn

Before this winter comes to an end, I would encourage you to try to squeeze in Extra Yarn as a read aloud.  I really LOVE this book.  Last year, I used it as a way to talk about doing great things for the New Year, but this book can be used for so many different lessons.  It is a great piece of children's literature as well as work of art.  Simple yet amazing.  Let's just go through the has it all:
  • A great plot structure {characters, setting, problem, solution}? Check.
  • A couple author's lessons, ranging from simple to more sophisticated? Check.
  • Characters with defined character traits? Check.
  • Can be read over and over again for new ideas and meanings? Check.
  • Mentor sentences?  Check.
  • Mentor text for writers workshop?  Check.
  • Suspense? Check.
  • Humor? Check.
  • Sweet and sassy? Check.
  • A hint of magic? Check.
  • The beauty of kindness? Check.
  • Multiple opportunities to change your voice during the read aloud? Check {a very important reason to pick a read aloud 😍}.
I can't say enough about this book, but Lane Smith, the illustrator of many cool books, called this book "perfect." And I agree with him.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

TPT Gift Card Giveaway...another one!

I am so excited that I get give away another Teachers Pay Teachers gift card!! It truly is such a treat to be able to brighten a teacher's day.

Please comment with the product that you can't wait to buy from TpT. It could be any product, not necessarily from my store.I'll be talking submissions until Monday, February 6th at 9 PM. I will randomly select a winner and post it on the blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

Feel free to post on my Facebook and Instagram pages for additional entries!


Congratulations to CrazyCharizma for winning the gift card giveaway!!  Now she can do some shopping at the Teachers Pay Teachers #tptbemine sale!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Holiday Greetings & New Year's Wishes...with a freebie!

I hope everybody is enjoying his/her winter break!  What a blessing it is to be able to take some time off to relax, eat, spend time with family, sleep, and then eat some more.  Eating is my favorite. ♥

But I also know that so many teachers are already thinking about lesson planning for the New Year.  I know I'm already thinking about how to create resolutions with my little friends with the support of a good read aloud.  Last year I had used Extra Yarn, which is an incredible book with an awesome  female lead character.  And the book exemplifies how a person can have such a huge impact with a simple act of kindness.  But I didn't feel like the students developed strong personal goals after hearing that story.

This year I would like to incorporate more of a growth mindset with creating the resolution.  I've already read The Dot, so I'm thinking of reading What Do You Do With An Idea? or The Most Magnificent Thing.  I'm not sure which book to use...but it will eventually come to me...and I'll post it here on the blog and on my Facebook page.