Guided Reading Made Simple {PT 2}

September 26, 2016

Sliding Into Second Grade: Guided Reading Made Simple {PT 2} - Looking for just the handouts from my comprehensive Guided Reading Made Simple download? Here it is!

I am so happy to see that you all are just loving my newest guided reading resource! Guided Reading Made Simple is chocked-full of useful organizational tools, data collecting resources, and engaging reading skill activities that can be completed both in whole small groups or individually. Also, there are posters and a few flip-books included too to take your instruction to that next engaging level!

However, due to feedback I received from one buyer I have created this PT 2 resource that takes the blackline handouts and puts them all into one download at half the price. That way those who already have the posters and other handouts don’t need to spend the full price for resources they already own.  (That’s why I love receiving feedback and recommendations! It helps me better stock my shop!).

Sliding Into Second Grade: Guided Reading Made Simple {PT 2} - Looking for just the handouts from my comprehensive Guided Reading Made Simple download? Here it is!

And before you leave...
Did you know that I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY for my original Guided Reading Made Simple download?! Be sure to check out my blog post here to enter! You have until the end of the month!


Guided Reading. Made Simple.

September 19, 2016

I am going to go ahead and apologize for this post for it’s going to be a long one! However, it’s all to share with you what I’ve spent the better part of a month creating and putting together and now I get to share it with all of you!

Friends, I have for you my Guided Reading Made Simple comprehensive download!

When I first started teaching guided reading was a daunting task. It required teachers to not only make reading sub-plans for each group and to keep track of data and assessments. I had to search all over teacher blogs and Pinterest to find these different instruction components and tried year after year new approaches to find what worked with me and my students. Needless to say I was finding a lot of resources but didn’t know how to work them into my guided reading block.

This year I have combined all of my favorite activities as well as data tracking sheets such as anecdotal notes, running records, and reading level tracking sheets that students can complete!

Let’s take a peek at everything that’s included in this download...

I am a huge fan of providing as much information to parents as possible at the beginning of the year. Since reading instruction, for any grade, is largely stressed (and even used to evaluate teachers) it’s important that reading at home is made a priority. However, most parents don’t have the proper information in order to do that.

For The Parents
I have put together a couple F.A.Q pages for teachers to send home that outlines and explains what guided reading is an it’s importance during the school day. I have also created a take-home resource for parents that outlines the reading skills that are being taught in 2nd grade and what to look for in student reading at home. In addition, I have a Standards Made Simple page as well that break down the literacy standards and makes them easy to understand for parents.

Cheat Sheet For Teachers
Throughout the year I have always needed my literacy standards accessible while planning for my groups. It helps me keep track of the standards I need to teach or re-teach and this flip-book is easy to make and keeps the CCS right at my fingertips without taking up space.

Keeping track of student progress is vital within the classroom. It allows teachers to see where each child is at and where they can take them next. These forms are great for admins to view as well as to share with parents during conferences. Taking notes and keeping them organized has never been easier!

Simply make notes yourself or use the boxes for checking off observed skills. These note-taking sheets are designed for pre-a & emergent, early, transitional, and fluent readers; because let’s be real, you’ll find yourself with kids all across the reading spectrum - even if it is 2nd grade.

Visualizing & Inferring 
Although there isn’t a specific CCS objective that relates to visualizing and inferring, it’s nonetheless important to teach or at least spend a little time practicing. Having students picture what they’re reading helps them with beginning comprehension of characters and their actions as well as inferring character feelings and actions through these same pictures. Practice as a whole group using given examples or have students practice using a text to find three details and use them to make an inference. Also, three worksheets have provided photos for students to use to make their own inferences, which can be scaffolded to practicing within their book.

Summarizing & Retelling
I would have to say that this skill is one of the biggest, and can be challenging, that is taught in second grade (but of course it can vary by state). The biggest EOY skill is comprehension and learning to summarize what they read by using their own words to explain what happened to the characters, especially as they begin to read chapter books, can be daunting. However, these worksheets break down each skill using simple charts to break up student thinking with SWBSF, trace summary writing, a blank template, and flow charts for retelling using B-M-E.

I love incorporating flip-books because it gives students something fun to do rather than completing worksheets or writing in their journals. I always have students complete the reflection first with my assistance then they may cut out their pages to make the flip-book. It’s also great for those kinetic learners too who need some variation other than just writing!

These flip-books can make for great center activities too!

You can’t have too many posters in your guided reading area ;)

Making Connections

This section includes two worksheet templates, a foldable, and reading notebook flaps for student reflection and note-taking. I like having a few different ways to practice this skill of which are super easy to prepare!

Discussing how we connect to what we read is just as important as being able to write our thoughts down. Here are reference posters for students to use when thinking about how they reflect through text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. These sentence starters are helpful in giving students a foundation to use when making and writing out their connections and how it relates to the story.

Student Reference Posters!

I took a different take on the popular reading strategy posters. The animals are popular for the younger kiddos, however I think it’s important to stress the skill and what it looks like. So, instead of using the animal references (i.e. Lips The Fish, Tryin’ Lion, etc.) I have taken the same skills and created colorful posters for students to use as a reference during groups.

I love including these fluency posters since fluency is an important skill that us teachers look for once students reach the early/transitional + reading level. Have kids understand what fluency is just like we do with the reading strategies stressing: punctuation, phrasing, rate, intonation, expression, and accuracy.

Happy reading to you! AND in celebration of this new resource be sure to enter this GIVEAWAY to win a free copy for your classroom!

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The First Week: A Behavior Management Unit

September 6, 2016

A lot of teacher friends are celebrating their first days back into the classroom and yet another school year has begun! Even though I’m sitting this year out due to staying home to raise our son, I do remember the work that went into those first few precious weeks when establishing those classroom routines and rules that are so influential to a great year. It takes class discussion, thoughtful conversations, and practice, practice, practice to get students in the new groove of cohabitation with one another.

To make this transition into the school year much easier I’ve decided to bundle together all the plans I’ve taught into one comprehensive download! Take the work out of planning that first week with these fun read-alouds and engaging activities! Let’s take a peek or see more about this download here...

Full Lesson Plans
Each day of the week is dedicated to learning about a new ‘rule’ or expectation, which is set by the teacher but agreed upon by the class. I have included complete lesson plans and accompanying activities that help drive the discussion about the four big rules you’ll find in any classroom. 

Make Good Choices
Be Respectful To Others
Always Try Your Best
Stay Organized

I believe that when we can narrow down the ideas about how to behave and treat others it will stick easier with the kids throughout the year. These activities get students learning about each other all the while reflecting on specific ways they can achieve all four of these expectations. For instance, The Book Of Bad Ideas is a wonderful way to kickstart the year as it represents cause and effect. Students can begin to think about what it means to make the good choices as well as the bad ones too and that they both have consequences. 

This Behavior Management bundle includes the first week lesson plans, engaging activities, and printables!

Classroom Posters
These posters reflect the four main rules outlined in this unit. They can either be printed in full color or be used as coloring pages for the students. Simply print them poster size (if your school has a poster printer) and display them in your room throughout the year. Another great way to use these are to include the blacklines in the student booklet as a coloring page after each day’s discussion and activity.

Get these unit posters both in full color or blacklines!

A Commitment
This unit includes student booklets for which they’ll complete each day after each lesson. Students are to think of one (or more) ways they can best represent each of the four expectations with a picture an description of them doing that action. I love this section because each student may have a different idea on how to make good choices, be respectful, try their best, and stay organized. I’m always so amazed at the ideas they all come up with!

At the end of the unit each student will complete a classroom contract where they sign their name, promising to uphold these expectations and set the best example for themselves, their school, and community. Those can be printed on fun colored paper or have students color their own certificate!
This classroom student booklet allows your students to engage with the materials by thinking of individual ways to best represent each expectation!

Pick up your copy here...

Engaging Those Reluctant & Excelling Writers

August 22, 2016

How exactly do I manage to grab the attention and excitement for writing from both groups of kids? Well, ever since I began Discovery Journals with my class it has been proven to show an increase in student involvement both in school and at home.

We all have those students who are reluctant writers. They are the quiet ones and are those students who don’t actively ask for help. They hope they can be unseen and overshadowed by the more advanced writers in the class - and will even find ways to become distracted so they don’t have to put pencil to paper. I’ve had my fair share and I can’t blame them for not enjoying writing. It can be a difficult subject for some and depending on their experiences before stepping into my classroom they may already be frustrated or unconfident in their abilities before they even start.

We also know those students who lie on the opposite spectrum - these are the advanced writers. They love to write and often grasp writing skills quickly and are amongst the first to finish. These students enjoy writing and are eager for a challenge just to keep their minds busy. Teachers often times miss these students too because their focus are on those middle-of-the-road students and assign mundane review tasks just so the excelling students stay busy.

How exactly do I manage to grab the attention and excitement for writing from both groups of kids? Well, ever since I began Discovery Journals with my class it has been proven to show an increase in student involvement both in school and at home. 

Discovery Journals is an at-home research/informative writing project that spans the entire school year. It is optional and is not graded, however I do look over each journal and make little notes to the student as guidance for their following entry. I typically begin this activity a few months after school has started - just so kids aren’t overwhelmed and gives them time to get settled in academically.

I always share with students this new opportunity and how it will give them extra practice with their writing skills. What’s the hook? They get to choose the topic of their writing each and every week (student choice is everything!). Beginning with the letter A and moving through the alphabet, they are to pick a topic, research it at home either using books or supervised online resources, then use the provided brainstorming sheets to record their facts and write a short paragraph or two as an informative writing piece. Students are then to present their writing in a oral presentation to the class on a day designated by the teacher (I typically pick Friday). 

How exactly do I manage to grab the attention and excitement for writing from both groups of kids? Well, ever since I began Discovery Journals with my class it has been proven to show an increase in student involvement both in school and at home.

The main structure of this project is for students to properly plan their writing so they have material to which to write with. The planning sheets include A-Z and once students complete Z they can pick their own topics. These blacklines allow students to:

- draw a picture of their topic (example: alligators (sketch a picture))
- come up with a topic sentence that hooks the reader
- three facts to use within their writing
- find one new vocabulary word to use in their writing and define it for their readers
- a concluding sentence

Afterwards, students are equipped with enough material to begin their writing, which they will complete within their Discovery Journals (aka composition notebook). 

How exactly do I manage to grab the attention and excitement for writing from both groups of kids? Well, ever since I began Discovery Journals with my class it has been proven to show an increase in student involvement both in school and at home.

I always try to give my parents as much information up front as possible. I never try to assume that they know how each little assignment or project is supposed to be completed - even if I feel like I do a great job at explaining it. Since composition notebooks are the only material that parents need to provide, it is important that students find the ‘just right’ notebook for their abilities. So, I provided this (above) optional handout for teachers to send home with the parent letter so they know what kind of writing tablet they should be looking for for their child.

How exactly do I manage to grab the attention and excitement for writing from both groups of kids? Well, ever since I began Discovery Journals with my class it has been proven to show an increase in student involvement both in school and at home.

This is a sign-up sheet that is again optional for your class. I often have a lot of students showing interest every year and it makes it easy for me to keep a log as to who is participating. This sheet can be laminated for use every year or simply printed out and kept in your teacher binder for reference.

I am always so excited to share this with my kiddos and hope you can engage your students too with this fun at-home project!

Catch this product and all the others in my shop on SALE!

Ends AUG 22nd!

Kicking Off Informative Writing In The Classroom

August 20, 2016

Download at TpT
 Getting my students to love writing in second grade is pretty much the most difficult thing to do besides getting them to love pretty much any other subject. My first year teaching second grade a few years back, I remember sitting there trying to figure out why my writing block seemed harder than it needed to be. Why were some of my students flourishing and others leaving me pulling teeth just to get them to write something on the page?

It took me some thought and rethinking my approach to writing at the beginning of the year. I wanted to start my class out with first understanding themselves as writers and once I could do that, then I could build upon their skills and make the writing objectives apply to them and be fun in the process.

One fun form of writing that always gets my students, even my most reluctant writers, in the spirit are informative writing pieces. By having them become experts in something and having them write to inform others instills confidence and allows them to break down those barriers of frustration. It’s with informative writing I can see them light up with inspiration and experience that writing is a skill in which even the greatest of writers can always improve.

With October, autumn, and Halloween just right around the corner once school begins why not start off the year with the introduction of informative writing about something most students have experience with?! Jack-o-lanterns!

This download is the second creation from my How-To writing series (you can find my post about Leprechaun traps here). I am so excited to share this because it’s a whole theme mini-lesson in one complete download. The purpose of this activity is for students to create a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern that they’ll actually create and bring in to share with the class. As they are creating their designs and carving their pumpkins they are recording the steps and process to which they will write to explain to their readers. It’s always fun to see what the kids come up with and all of the jack-o-lanterns make for a fun room display!

Enlisting help from home...
To start, I’ve included parent letters which outline the writing project and breaks down for them the exact help I’m looking for for my students at home. Since I don’t want to take up too much time in the classroom for planning (I have other mini-lessons that explain the writing process) and creating the pumpkins, I’ve opted to include that step for an at-home activity with their parents. That way they are thinking and planning out their designs and filling out the provided homework planning sheets that come back to school. Besides, the kids always love the help and participation from family!

*I have also included copies of these planning sheets for in-classroom planning (sans the HOMEWORK tab in the top right corner).

Brainstorming & transition words.
One of the keys to writing informative writing is using key transitional words like: first, then, next, after that, and finally. Once students become familiar with these they can find new transitional words or phrases to enhance their writing!

The planning sheets provided in this download are clear and easy-to-follow for writing out their directions on how to create their jack-o-lantern AS they actually do it. With parent supervision they are to create their jack-o-lanterns and be creative in their designs. I leave it up to them as to how decorative they would like to get. Then, after they’ve recorded their step-by-step directions they move on to their first draft.

Drafting makes perfect.
Once students are ready to begin writing their pieces they are to complete their first draft where they sketch a picture of their steps and write a couple sentences to explain what the step is. After following through the writing process, editing/revising their work both themselves and with their peers, and a writing conference to check in with me, they can move on to finalizing their writing with their final draft and publication. This download is also complete with an editing checklist for their own use and use with buddies.

A writing celebration.
I love the concept of celebrating the culmination of their hard work. By celebrating each of the students and the effort they’ve put into their work helps them see the value in themselves as writers and their peers. Once students are finished with their final drafts and have published their work, they are to display their writing and share the actual jack-o-lanterns they’ve created. Students get the chance to see each others writing and celebrate the budding authors they’ve only just started to become!

I’m excited to continue adding themes to this series so be on the lookout! Oh, never miss a post by signing up for my email list (on the sidebar!).