Independent Task Boards...Let's Get it Done

Giving students ownership and independence in completing tasks is a true gift of a great teacher. Here are 1-step and 3-step independent task boards.
You know that student. The one that won't get anything done without you. A new teacher at our school has this on lock. This teacher came in against tremendous odds: she was taking over a class mid-year, oh, and did I mention this class was our self-contained class for students with autism?

Lisa C is amazing! She knows these students and tries to give them what they need. She is also eager to ask for help, if she needs it. She created task boards for her students. Using these task boards, she helps her students make great choices and be successful.

1-step Independent Task Boards

Giving students ownership and independence in completing tasks is a true gift of a great teacher. Here are 1-step and 3-step independent task boards.
Lisa's students need to find success quickly and sometimes, that's completing 1 step at a time. These 1-step tasks can go a long way to build success, trust, and independence. Students who need these tasks get to choose their reward. The rewards are laminated with velcro dots on the back. There are even blank cards to create their own reward.

3-Step Independent Task Boards

Giving students ownership and independence in completing tasks is a true gift of a great teacher. Here are 1-step and 3-step independent task boards.
The picture above what waited for one of her students on an ordinary morning. The student needed to complete the worksheet from the day before, before he could start his day. She used a student created task board and 3 small post-it notes. The tasks are simple, name, paste, basket. He know exactly what he needed to do without lots of discussion or direction. He also had everything he needed available to him: the glue and extra pieces in a small container.

To get started...

I have a starter set for you for free. The link has several 1-step task cards, 3-step task cards, and rewards. Click the picture above or this link to get the FREE SET OF TASK CARDS. Lisa is such an amazing teacher and I look forward to working with her in the new year. 

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The Big 3: Primary Writing Can Be Independent & Successful

Students who are taught from the beginning to self-check, will be able to easily analyze their own writing quickly. Using the BIG 3 is an easy way to hold them accountable for capitals, spaces, and end marks.
I have debated and drafted and debated and drafted and tried to determine the best way to teach our earliest learners about writing "must-haves."  I landed on my BIG 3.  Students are asked to look at their writing critically and make sure they have all the necessary mechanics of good writing. But, when you introduce and practice the BIG 3 in  a a whole group, before you expect it in their individual writing, you can guarantee good results.
Students who are taught from the beginning to self-check, will be able to easily analyze their own writing quickly. Using the BIG 3 is an easy way to hold them accountable for capitals, spaces, and end marks.

Anchor Charts

I have definite thoughts about anchor charts and I am more than clear about the explicit nature of anchor charts.  They must be created WITH, BY, and FOR the students.  Then, the students must practice using the anchor charts. After these steps, the anchor charts have meaning and depth and students use them easily.  The BIG 3 anchor chart can be constructed in one of two ways.  The teacher and the student can interactively create the chart over a few days (as pictured on the cover image) or the class can construct the chart with pretyped words and interactive writing combined.  Students should also be given a writing folder sized anchor chart for personal reference, as they are writing. When anchor charts are used consistently and taught HOW to use the charts, students own the chart and the task at hand.
Students who are taught from the beginning to self-check, will be able to easily analyze their own writing quickly. Using the BIG 3 is an easy way to hold them accountable for capitals, spaces, and end marks.

Sing it!

Anyone who has spent time in a classroom knows that if early learners can sign about it, they can learn it.  As a matter of fact, they can sing it before they understand it.  It is incredibly important to make sure they have connected the meaning of the song with the action.  There are hand motions to the song:

Writing a sentence is as easy as can be (One hand "holds a pencil," while the other is opened flat to mimic the paper.  As the student sings the song, the pencil writes on the paper.)
All you need is the BIG 3 (student holds up 3 fingers)
Capitals to start (both hands stretch up as high as they can, bouncing as the student sings)
Spaces in between (two hand come to shoulder height and push out from the sides, making spaces)
A period to stop, if you know what I mean. (Bring 1 fist across the body and stop it on the other open hand.)
Writing a sentence is easy as can be (repeat earlier motion)
All you need is the BIG 3! (repeat earlier motion)
Students who are taught from the beginning to self-check, will be able to easily analyze their own writing quickly. Using the BIG 3 is an easy way to hold them accountable for capitals, spaces, and end marks.

Predictable Sentences

Students will practice the Big 3 independently with predictable sentences.  As they practice the sight word sentences, students can check each sentence for capitals, spaces, and end marks.  This is a wonderful guided writing practice because it's controlled.  
Students who are taught from the beginning to self-check, will be able to easily analyze their own writing quickly. Using the BIG 3 is an easy way to hold them accountable for capitals, spaces, and end marks.

Journal Writing

I've used these rubric writing journal covers with students for both journal writing and/or morning work. Students writing each morning will look at the rubric from the day before and remind themselves of the Big 3.  Having the daily rubric on the cover, let's students know where they can make sure their attention is going when they write that day.  On Friday, I would send this weekly writing booklet home to be celebrated with their families.

Using the BIG 3 with early writers is a great way to get students involved in their own writing.

CLICK HERE for a free sample of the BIG 3 Journal Template.

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Students who are taught from the beginning to self-check, will be able to easily analyze their own writing quickly. Using the BIG 3 is an easy way to hold them accountable for capitals, spaces, and end marks.
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Organizing Our LLI Kits

LLI is an amazing Tier 2 intervention at my school, but it comes with LOTS of "stuff." This post gives some organization ideas for this great program.
I teased you earlier this week about this post. I love using LLI for our Tier 2 interventions, but when you first get those 8 boxes that come in the mail...it can be overwhelming. Did I mention I am blessed with both Green and Blue LLI kits? Yep, 16 boxes came in the mail. I am very aware of the cost involved with this program, so I wanted to make sure we were using all the components.  In order to use them all,  you have to know where everything is, right? Then, I need to organize all the student materials...and my lesson plans. It's a lot to organize, even for me and I like things being organized. This post will show you MY organization ideas.
LLI is an amazing Tier 2 intervention at my school, but it comes with LOTS of "stuff." This post gives some organization ideas for this great program.

Book Storage

After taking the time to put the labels on the file folders and the books in the folders I needed something to organize the books.  They certainly weren't going to fit back in the 3 boxes they came in. I hunted around my school and took bins from somewhere else that weren't really needed (yes, I "acquired" them). The books were put on shelves that were easy to reach, easily accessible, and easily refiled. The Green System fit in 9 bins and the Blue System fit in 12 bins.
LLI is an amazing Tier 2 intervention at my school, but it comes with LOTS of "stuff." This post gives some organization ideas for this great program.

Lesson Storage

This is the perfect time to talk about the lesson that go along with each book. I'm a note-taker or doodler. I wanted to be able to write on the lesson plans and add notes with vocabulary or strategy that may not be listed, so the next time I used it, I'd remember. I couldn't exactly write it in the spiral book AND I wasn't the only one using the kit, so I couldn't keep the lesson book with me at all times. I tried to copy the lessons I needed and quickly discovered this was a terrible waste of time. I carefully "unspiraled" the spiral editions with the lessons and decided to run it through the feeder part of our copy machine. I'd have a copy of all the lessons, ready to go. It sounds easy, but the "shiny" paper in the lesson book made it a chore, but it was worth it. When the lessons were all copied I re-spiraled the book (yes, I did). I took each lesson, put it in a sheet protector and filed it in the file folder. **TIP: I also labeled the sheet protector with permanent marker with the lesson and the level because the sheet protector covered the file folder label. In the picture above, you can see the binder with a master copy of the lessons, that way if someone needs a new copy, it's easy to access. I write all over the lessons, highlight the language I want to use, and it's all in one place.
LLI is an amazing Tier 2 intervention at my school, but it comes with LOTS of "stuff." This post gives some organization ideas for this great program.

Student Storage:

I also needed to figure out where to put all the student's materials...because there seems to be a lot of student materials. I bought a couple of 3 drawer bins because each group would have 3, right? I like this, but then I had to take a group bigger than 3. The drawers have their writing books, the student readers, a pencil, a highlighter, and boxes for word cards (that's coming in a minute). Everything is in the drawer they need, then I don't have pass out anything. The only problem with this storage idea is the room the drawer takes up on the table when we're working, so you have to decided exactly where the drawer will be. We put the drawer on the empty seat between them. I also added a group without much warning and I didn't have another 3 drawer organizer, so I decided to use plastic magazine boxes. Their writing book, student readers, and word card boxes are kept in the boxes. I have separate pencil holders that contain a pencil, highlighter, scissors and a pen (for editing). I pass those boxes out at the beginning of our group. When the students come into the class, they take their drawer or box to the table, pull out their word bank box and I set the timer for one minute for a speed read.
LLI is an amazing Tier 2 intervention at my school, but it comes with LOTS of "stuff." This post gives some organization ideas for this great program.

Group Storage

I also needed a way to organize lots of groups. I found the 31 file boxes fit the LLI kits the best. The file box can store 5 lessons at a time, perfect for a week of lessons. I have also used individual file sorters. A fantastic special education teacher in our building is using a file cart for her group storage. She hangs the files she needs on the top and then using the drawers at the bottom for the writing books, word boxes, or other materials.
LLI is an amazing Tier 2 intervention at my school, but it comes with LOTS of "stuff." This post gives some organization ideas for this great program.

Word Box Storage

Finally, this is my favorite storage tip. A little background: I hate word banks in ziploc bags. They get lost in the books or in the drawers, they get mangled and crunched, or they are too easy to get lost all together. My first plan was travel soap boxes, but I needed 50 of them. I needed a more cost effective solution, so I went to the best place for brainstorming: Dollar Tree. I found these "snack boxes" that were the same size as soap containers, and they were typically 2 for $1. However, they had a "special" set that were 3 for $1. BINGO! The only problem was they only had 2 sets: 6 total. Did I mention I needed 50. When you have been a teacher for 28 years and married to the same man for the last 25 years, he isn't really surprised when you say you need to go on a road trip to as many Dollar Tree stores as possible...he just drives. I found 50 boxes at 3 for $1. Score on the boxes and the husband. ANYWAY, I love these boxes. They are easy to find, keep the words organized and are user friendly.
LLI is an amazing Tier 2 intervention at my school, but it comes with LOTS of "stuff." This post gives some organization ideas for this great program.

Lesson Plan Storage

Finally, I use a 3 inch binder for most of my groups lesson plans. Each group has a divider with all the lesson plans and a separate tab for each student. Behind the group tab, I have the lesson plans with the current week on the top. I made up a lesson plan skeleton sheet that includes 5 days per sheet with Even and Odd alternating days. I plan 5 days in advance, but I don't date them until I pull that group. (I'm sad to say I get pulled for meetings or testing and I my lesson plans had too many arrows and forwards. Behind the student tab, I file their plot sheet and all their running records. 

I hope these ideas will help keep you organized. The program is awesome and I don't want the frustration of "too many materials" to make you shy away from it.

If you would like a PDF of my lesson skeleton, CLICK HERE or click the image below. It's not perfect, so if there is anything you think I should change or add, I'm up for suggestions.
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Inferences for Primary Students...Believe it or not!

Learning standards across the country are "upping the game" for all students, including our earliest learners. This post gives ideas for teaching inferences to those early students. Starting with pictures and ending with words can just be the key to reading comprehension.
Inferences?  Seriously?  In Kindergarten? Absolutely!
It's just a matter of making it meaningful to five-year-olds...and you can.

Use Mentor Texts

I'll be the first to admit I use Magic Tree House books a lot.  I mean, like A LOT.  I know.  I think they are the best books.  That being said, the first time I thought about teaching my kindergatners about inferencing, it was completely by accident. That's right...by accident.  We were reading The Knight at Dawn and Jack was hanging from the castle precipice and the students were hanging on every word.

"Jack felt his fingers slipping.  Then down he fell.
Down through the darkness.
SPLASH!"

And that was the end of the chapter.  "Oh, no!  What happened to Jack?" I asked.  "He fell in the moat!" a chorus of kindergartners yelled. "How do you know that?" I asked again.  "The book said, splash," answered a student.  I continued, " What if it said THUNK?"  Another student chimed in, "Then he would have fallen on the ground." Yep, that's what it's all about.

Look at a little

Learning standards across the country are "upping the game" for all students, including our earliest learners. This post gives ideas for teaching inferences to those early students. Starting with pictures and ending with words can just be the key to reading comprehension.
Let's look at pictures first...no text.  When the students were listening to the story, they weren't focusing on the text, they were focusing on the story.  Likewise, using pictures is an easy way to start a lesson about inferencing.  Using a portion of a picture, ask the students what they know FROM THE PICTURE. Who is in the picture? When did someone take the picture? Where is the picture taken? How does the person in the picture feel? All of these questions make students look at a picture critically, not just on the surface. Once they have thought about the picture...expand the view.

Look at a lot

Learning standards across the country are "upping the game" for all students, including our earliest learners. This post gives ideas for teaching inferences to those early students. Starting with pictures and ending with words can just be the key to reading comprehension.
Show them the whole picture. Ask them the same questions again. Ask if they could tell a better story.  Using several sets of pictures and LOTS of oral practice, the students will be making inferences all over the place. Inferences are all about what the text makes us think, not about what is in the text.

What are the clues in the text?


Finally, introduce students to making inferences using text.  Using 3 sets of clues and 3 pictures, students can use the text to help decide which picture the text describing. Each of the hats could be used in the winter.  Each of the hats could be used to keep your head warm.  BUT, if the hat is the same color as a snowman's nose...there is only one choice. The words don't say it, but the inference does.

If you'd like a FREEBIE sample set of Inferences for Primary Students, CLICK HERE.

If you'd like a full set of Inferences for Primary Students,click the picture below or CLICK HERE to visit my TPT store.


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Learning standards across the country are "upping the game" for all students, including our earliest learners. This post gives ideas for teaching inferences to those early students. Starting with pictures and ending with words can just be the key to reading comprehension.


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Sight Word Dice...Rollin' in the Reading

Want a fun sight word activity? Grab a die and a list of easily confused words and watch the learning (and the laughing.)

Saw? Was? Very? Every?


Have you ever had students who confuse "was" and "saw?" Or "of" and "from?" Me, too. We played a fun game Wednesday before Thanksgiving break. I passed out the mats to the students, then remembered I needed a dice.  Hmmm? That shouldn't be a big deal, right? Well, evidently I don't have any dice in my "reading specialist" room...at least not typical dice. I had big dice from EAI. (These dice can be bought on-line.) All of the sudden, this little game was a party.  The students could throw the dice across the floor, not just in a control place on the carpet.
Want a fun sight word activity? Grab a die and a list of easily confused words and watch the learning (and the laughing.)

How fast can you read it?

Sight words are an interesting thing. We want the words to be automatic.  We can't rely on strategies to decode or context clues. They have to know them, but we have to make it meaningful and fun.  Why shouldn't we make it fun.  It's easy:
  1. Roll the Dice.
  2. Read the column under that die, as quickly as you can.
  3. Try to do it faster and faster.  
  4. Be careful, if you mess up you have to start back at the top.
You can even challenge the students to a reading duel. (I wouldn't want to challenge students to race against each other, but race against themselves.)

Freebie

If you'd like a few Sight Word Dice mats, there is a FREE set in my TPT store.  
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Labeling...Getting Early Writers to Write!

Labeling is an easy way to get early writers to write! Students can label pictures, then write about their labels.
Labeling is an easy way to get early writers to write. The writing is supported and can be differentiated for all students. Start with an anchor chart and move it to an independent writing center.
Labeling is an easy way to get early writers to write! Students can label pictures, then write about their labels.

The Anchor Chart

Students are exposed to labeling in a whole group setting.  The teacher can enlarge the labeling sheet. Students can label the specific parts of the bus that will be in the independent sheet. First label the poster with a title. As students are directed to label parts of the bus, their attention can be drawn to the initial sounds. At the end of the week, students can use the words in a sentence supported by word wall words.
Labeling is an easy way to get early writers to write! Students can label pictures, then write about their labels.

The Center

Once the students produce a labeling product whole group, they can be asked to do it in an independent center.  They can use the poster as support, if necessary.  The lines are provided for a variety of activities. Students can be directed to practice writing the labels, use word wall words to write sentences or write about an experience on the bus.  As an enrichment activity, students can be directed to write a sentence using commas in a series.  The examples above show a variety of written responses.

FREEBIE

Of course, I have a FREEBIE sample of a labeling set I created for some teachers.  If you would like to get the sample set, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.

Labeling is an easy way to get early writers to write! Students can label pictures, then write about their labels.

If you would like the full set of labeling sheets (48 labeling activities in all), CLICK HERE for my TPT store. AND Pin for Later:

Labeling is an easy way to get early writers to write! Students can label pictures, then write about their labels.


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Preparing for December?

December will be here quickly...and we'd like to help. Special holiday dollar deals for TPT.
Thanksgiving is screaming around the corner...and December is fast on it's heels.  Before you know it December will be here in full force and we'll be trying to fit in as much as we can before the winter break.  I am sorry if I'm starting to panic myself, but it just seems like it will be here before we know it.  In an attempt to help, several of us are having a TPT Holiday Dollar Deal Sale.

#holidaydollardeal

If you go to TPT and put our holiday dollar deal hashtag in the search bar (in the heading above), you'll see all the fun items that are reduced to $1 for the 3 days. Here's what I am offering for $1.

Word Card List Bundle
December will be here quickly...and we'd like to help. Special holiday dollar deals for TPT.
This word list winter pack is great for inspiring young writers.  Using the cards for topics or finding words to add to their story, these cards can provide students with "the words" so the story can flow.  There are 6 sets of word cards in the set.  Get it for $1.

Number Sense: Snowmen
December will be here quickly...and we'd like to help. Special holiday dollar deals for TPT.

This set includes 107 pages of 1-10 number sense activities and posters with a snowmen theme.  The activities include ten frames, interactive notebook activities, and independent center activities.  This can be an easy way to have ready-made centers for students.

Winter Small Group CVC Bundle
December will be here quickly...and we'd like to help. Special holiday dollar deals for TPT.

This set is a bundle.  This set includes 148 pages and activities for short vowel words.  These CVC boards can be used as an intervention, a whole group activity under the document camera or center activities.  


Don't Forget...

It's only for 3 days.  Have a great time shopping during our holiday dollar deals.
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6 Mini Lessons for Structure Errors

I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.
If you've ever read a post from me about reading, you know I completely believe in miscue analysis. You have to know why they made errors before you can help fix the confusions.  I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.
I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.
Structure errors are also known as snytactic errors or errors with syntax. Structure errors are errors with natural language, grammar, language patterns, or knowledge of the English language. Once you have determined the errors are structural in nature, the following activities are great for helping students with these errors.
I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.

Listen Up!

The first activity asks the students to listen to the a statement, and determining if the sentence is correct English.  Students choose a card with two sentences on it.  They read the card aloud and choose the one that is written correctly.  This activity teaches the students to hear what is correct.  
I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.

Order Up!

The second activity is a sequencing activity.  During the visual errors post, we also used sequencing activities.  Having the students recognize the sequence of the story, helps the students in a variety of different ways.  For structural errors, students are using key words to detect the sequence.
I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.

Cube it Up!

Making sure students are using parts of speech, making a cube with parts of speech and giving the students a choice board, could allow for some pretty funny sentences that are, in fact, grammatically correct.  Students will roll the cube and choose a word that is that part of speech.  When they have a noun and verb, they can make a sentence.  If they have a noun, verb, and adjective, they can make a bonus sentence for extra points.
I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.

Match it Up!

Understanding synonyms can also be useful to making sure students understand when they are reading.  Using the cards on the FREEBIE at the bottom, students will match the synonyms.  You can play concentration, Go Fish!, or I have, Who has.  Students need to be able to recognize synonyms and understand the value in the match.
I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.

Clip it Up!

Another structure understanding is choosing correct end marks.  Students will use clip-it cards to determine the end mark and therefore, understand the structure of the sentence.  When students can determine is the sentence is a statement, a question, or an exclamation the meaning of the sentence is clear.
I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.

Measure it Up!

Is the sentence whole or not?  Measure it.  Students will read a sentence and measure it...is it whole or not.  As the students decide that the sentences are whole or not, they can sort the cards.  Students can also use the provided papers to make the phrase cards or incomplete sentence cards and make them whole.

If you'd like a FREEBIE packet of the activities in this post, CLICK HERE!

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I have previously blogged about meaning errors and visual errors.  This is the last in the a series: structure errors.  Structure errors are all about the structure of the sentence and understanding the English language.

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Who Doesn't Love a Book Fair?

My last book fair post was in May of 201, so I want to share all the fun again.
Who doesn't love a BOOK FAIR? It's a great place to get new books and get books into the home libraries of our students. Here are a few new books.
We had the book fair at out school last week...and I found some great treasures.  I have recently heard some teachers at my school and on-line complaining about book fairs at schools because everything is sold at full price.  I know we could get a break ordering on Amazon, but at least we get books for our school instead of money for Amazon.  I also think it's such a great opportunity to let children see lots of books in one place.  I do wish they wouldn't sell the "junk" at the cash register (erasers, sharpeners, and silliness) that seems to take away from buying books. But, I won't lie...I love the Book Fair.

Mousetropolis
Who doesn't love a BOOK FAIR? It's a great place to get new books and get books into the home libraries of our students. Here are a few new books.

This is a new take on an old book.  Mousetropolis is a new take on the Country Mouse, City Mouse fable.  Once again, text story is the same, but the text is simple.  An added benefit for this book is the onomatopoeia element added to the story.  Whoooooo!  Swoosh-swoosh chugga-chugga Meow! Squeak! 

The Lion Inside
Who doesn't love a BOOK FAIR? It's a great place to get new books and get books into the home libraries of our students. Here are a few new books.

This is sure to be a new favorite. Little Mouse is so little no one ever pays attention to him.  He's stepped on, sat on, overlooked an ignored. On the other hand, lion commands attention and is revered by all the animals.  Mouse decides if he can roar and let "the lion inside" out, the animals would pay attention to him.  When that doesn't turn out like he hopes, he goes to see lion.  You'll have to read the book to figure out what happens next.

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion
Little Red Gliding Hood
Who doesn't love a BOOK FAIR? It's a great place to get new books and get books into the home libraries of our students. Here are a few new books.

As you can tell, these books are borrowed from the traditional story "Little Red Riding Hood."  Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion has a jungle setting with fun "hairdresser" surprise.  Little Red Gliding Hood takes place in the enchanted forest in the winter.  Several old friends (the 3 little pigs, the gingerbread man, the hey diddle, diddle characters and many more) make an appearance.  These two books can lead to great discussions of compare and contrast.

Red
Who doesn't love a BOOK FAIR? It's a great place to get new books and get books into the home libraries of our students. Here are a few new books.

Yes, I know the lettering says blue and is colored red...just like the title and the crayon in this book.  I was quite taken with this book. I found myself unexpectedly emotional.  Red is a "red" crayon who isn't good at being red.  Everyone thinks they know how to fix Red, but he just can't be red no matter how hard he tries. The book has a great message for all students and parents. I can see this used with students to talk about how we are all good at something, but maybe not the same thing.  I can see this used with parents who are coming to terms with their child getting a diagnosis or a special education "label."  I can also see this book being used in a middle or high school setting when discussing students who are faced with feeling different than their "label" of sexual or gender identity.  This is a powerful book that helps us all see beyond whatever label we have and just see the student and the talents within.  It's powerful.

I Wish You More
Who doesn't love a BOOK FAIR? It's a great place to get new books and get books into the home libraries of our students. Here are a few new books.

Finally, something extra. I wish you more.  It's simple and it's lovely.  "I wish you more ups than downs. I wish you more give than take. I wish you more tippy-toes than deep." Isn't that what we all need.
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Reading and Writing Strategies at Work: A Mentor Text Lesson for "Little Owl's Night"

Little Owl's night is a cute story that can be used for a fiction companion to a non-fiction story about nocturnal animals and verbs.  This story needs to be in your classroom library.
I know, I know...it's an owl book.  Couldn't help pick it up because of the cute little owl with the great big eyes.  I was delighted to find out it was not only a great little book, but it was something I could use in my lessons.
Little Owl's night is a cute story that can be used for a fiction companion to a non-fiction story about nocturnal animals and verbs.  This story needs to be in your classroom library.

Little Owl's night is a cute story that can be used for a fiction companion to a non-fiction story about nocturnal animals and verbs. This story needs to be in your classroom library.This is a cute book about owl and his friends. Although this book is obviously fiction, it is a wonderful paired passage for a non-fiction book about owls.  Students can use the provided cards to how what an animal is doing or how an animal is moving.
sort animals and make "good" predictions about which animals could be in the book.  Ask students to listen for all the things animals are doing and the ways the animals are moving in the story.  Remind them people can run, walk, swim, dance, and move in so many other ways.  Animals can, too.  Ask students to give a thumbs up when they hear
Little Owl's night is a cute story that can be used for a fiction companion to a non-fiction story about nocturnal animals and verbs.  This story needs to be in your classroom library.
During the reading, make sure you emphasize what animals are doing (sniffed, gnawed, hid, visited, sat, sang, snoring, wondered, loved, croaked, chirped) and the way animals are moving (eating, fluttered, flew, sang, rustling, gliding).  Students should be encouraged to make a thumbs up quietly so they don't interrupt the story.
Little Owl's night is a cute story that can be used for a fiction companion to a non-fiction story about nocturnal animals and verbs.  This story needs to be in your classroom library.






Little Owl's night is a cute story that can be used for a fiction companion to a non-fiction story about nocturnal animals and verbs. This story needs to be in your classroom library.
After reading, students can check their predictions for animals in the story.  They can also remind
teachers what the animals did and how they moved. You can explain things we do and how we move are called verbs.  These words tell the reader what is happening to the character. Once you have reviewed the story, students can play charades.  They can pick a card and act out what the animal did and how it moved.

If you would like the animal prediction cards and the verb charade cards, CLICK HERE or the picture below.

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6 Mini Lessons for Visual Errors

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
This is the second in the series. As I stated before, I believe in analyzing your running records.  I recently re-posted a blog about just that (Be a Reading Detective).  Once you have analyzed the running record, then what?  You have to use that analysis to make lessons for your students.
After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
Students who have visual errors are using what they see (obviously).  This can include letters (horse for house), word length (hat for hit), analogies (car looks a bit like cat).  Here are 6 ideas for lessons when students are making meaning errors.

Frame it

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
I love this one.  I use this one a lot...I mean, A LOT.  One of the most powerful things I was ever told happened to me a few years ago at the Virginia State Reading Association. Jan Richardson was the speaker and, of course, she was amazing.  She said this simple sentence, "Keep your hand out of their book."  Think about that.  "Keep your hands out of their book."  This is one of those lessons.  If you teach the students to frame a word they don't know or aren't sure of, they will isolate the letters in the words and can make good decisions about decoding.  I actually teach this strategy during new vocabulary introduction in small group instruction.  Students frame the new word to isolate it.  It helps them focus on the word.

What would you expect?

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
The is an activity uses pictures to make the students think about what they should see BEFORE they see it.  Show them a picture and ask what they should EXPECT to see in the words. The lessons can be changed to include the beginning, middle, and end of the word.  

Same Beginning Sound

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.

Teaching students to listen for the beginning sound can help them look for the beginning sound, as well.  Practicing with a target word and a variety of pictures, students can find the picture with the same beginning sound.  This will help them make good choices when using letters and sounds.

Flip the Vowel

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
This is another exercise I use when teaching decoding strategies, as well.  This is a "double your pleasure, double your fun" activity.  Students who aren't attending to the ending vowel, should practice flipping the vowel.  Using both the long and short sound for the vowel can help the student determine the correct word needed for a sentence.  

Chunking (or using Word Families)

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
Using the chunking strategies is another decoding strategy.  We call it "look for pieces you know" in decoding.  We look for the part of the word they know and build the word from there.  The activity above is "If you know...then you know."  I first heard about this from Irene Fountas at a workshop years ago.  If helps them hang an unknown on a known.  

Confused Words

After analyzing a running record, giving your students what they need to imperative.  Here are 6 mini-lessons for students who have visual errors.
This is actually one of my favorite games to play with readers.  You know the students who say "was" or "saw" or "had" for "has."  This game is a fun practice.  Using the sheet and a die, students roll the die and read down the column as quickly as they can. It helps them quickly decode the words that are tricky.

Don't be fooled

There is a bit of a trick, though...using the picture in book is NOT a visual error.  The picture provides meaning...so we have to remember that.  Don't be fooled by the picture.

If you would like a sample set of these activities, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.

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