Friday, January 23, 2015

Five for Freebie Friday!


I hope you had a fantastic week!

This week I'm linking up with Kacey for Five for Friday :

Here's what we were up to this week:

(don't mind the breakfast wrappers - we don't waste a moment!)

We practiced Long E this week! 

Please click here to download a FREEBIE set of picture/text cards to use for the Long E spellings ee and ea. We also played "NEAT FEET" and practice more Long E activities with my 

I posted my STEP Progress Monitoring Toolkit earlier this week:

Now I'm working on the sequel: Phonics!
Here's a sneak peek:

Although phonics is technically a K-2 skill area, this progress monitoring is more concise (vs. instructional). I'm using it with a 3rd grade intervention group as a diagnostic. It will also help support my 1st graders as a "quick check," as well as provide a work sample, after instruction. I hope to wrap it up this weekend! 

This week I also had the honor of having my latest contribution posted at Ellison Education Blog. Here's a picture of all the cube fun we've been having (my students LOVE these & they were SO EASY!):

I'm also linking up with the fabulous Style Me Bloggers for some wishlist fun! This week's question:

What am I coveting?

Hmmm...this is quite a loaded question. Most things on my wishlist cannot be purchased. Unless you can put a price tag on sleep, an empty gym to workout in, and students who are as excited to learn as I am!

Earlier this week, One Fab Teacher (♥) posted a similar question on Instagram.I had the same trouble...I couldn't come up with three wishes, but I did have one important wish:

What is your wish? I'd love to hear!

I've really stepped back from my shopping lately because it's FREEZING out which means style goes out the window in exchange for my many pairs of love-worn UGG boots.

Sadly, I think the only thing I'm dreaming of is INK.
I know there are teachers nodding their heads with that one!

I just posted a new Donor's Choose  project: Colorful Links to Literacy begging asking for SIX ink cartridges. That's a huge wish!

I really hope the other Style Me Bloggers did MUCH better than me with this question. Please click on their links below to find out!

Have a wonderful Friday!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Wednesday!
I'm usually feeling pretty "wordless" by Wednesday, but with an extra day of rest this week I'm in pretty good shape :)
Still, I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo's weekly linky:

I'm also linking up with the fabulous Mrs. Stanford:

As I ask my students almost daily...

Do you want the good news (picture)
 or the bad news (picture) first?

Here they are...I trust you can see which is which ;)

Common Core Math!

It's hard to see, but those cute polka dot paper strips are aligned (or will be) carefully on the end points :)


(repeat to self: it's just the cutest carpet ever a materialistic item)

We also kicked off our owl theme (I know it's January, but we couldn't fit it in autumn) with this week's sensory bin:

sensory bin

One student gasped and wanted to know "What happened to the owl?!?" I assured him that Ms. D went to the STORE and bought the feathers. Yikes!

Today is about exploration and relating back to our books (Owlbert and National Geographic for Kids: Owls). Thursday I will be adding task cards to the box!

How is your week going?

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Progress Monitoring Made EASY!

Happy Monday!

Did you get a day off today?

This weekend, I took advantage of knowing I had extra time to create the ULTIMATE #teacherhack! 

My entire life seems to include hacks right now...what can I be doing and/or improving to help me work smarter?

I feel like I'm already maximizing my time at home...from packing lunches on Sunday, utilizing my freezer for food prep...I even lay out my gym clothes for the whole week!

I'm always trying to learn more about creating teacher hacks for the classroom. Before, I was trying to borrow materials from previously taught units and using them in my present teaching. I'm not giving up on that idea quite yet, but I did realize that I was spending way too much time digging around for the "perfect" task card and/or reading passage. It would be so much faster and easier if I had everything I needed in ONE place.

I noticed this more and more this past month as I was pulling individual students and/or small groups for progress monitoring during Power Hour. I was performing quick checks for syllables and segmentation using my Assign Yourself: Decoding Strategies booklets (I always keep these on hand for early finishers):

It definitely worked (especially the Eagle Eye pages for syllables!), but what are my students doing why I'm flipping pages? 
Yes, just sitting there :(

This weekend, I decided to pull all my resources together to create the ultimate All-in-One kit for instructional practice, progress monitoring, and assessments for phonemic awareness/phonics:

STEP refers to the assessment system my school uses (we replaced Fountas & Pinnell this past school year), but the kit works for any K-2 classroom focused on phonemic awareness/phonics. 

The kit includes colorful cards for practice 
and teacher guide pages:

The pictures can be used individually, but I purposely designed them so they could be cut into strips of 4.

Because they are in sets of 4, I can easily take a percentage: 
0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%. 

Included are Progress Monitoring recording pages that also serve as a cover page for each student:

& assessment pages (6 different pages per Levels 1-3):

I use the assessment pages the most - every student has a "quick check" (literally - about 2 minutes!) once per week. I use the colorful cards more often with students that need extra support. 

I also use the cards with my small groups during warm-ups (at the beginning of Power Hour) and cool-downs (our exit ticket out the door!).

There's Answer Keys and organizational tools included to help you create and maintain your ultimate teacher hack 
progress monitoring toolkit. 

Included: colorful covers using this ADORABLE digital paper from Teaching in the Tongass (thanks Jen!).

I also included black & white binder covers/dividers and labels:

For my own kit, I printed the black & white materials onto assorted brightly colored cardstock:

Now I just need to pick a cute set of matching binder clips!

Thank you SO MUCH to Brooke from Joyful Rigor with Ms. Jones for looking over the file and being a wonderful Instagram friend :)

Please download the preview for a closer look at everything included in the kit!

Thanks for reading! Jen

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Friday, January 16, 2015

5 for Freebie Friday!

Happy TGIF! 3-Day Weekend Style!
I'm linking up with Kacey for Five for Friday:

I'm also linking up with  Primary Inspiration (thanks Linda!) 
to share a holiday pack and a timely freebie:

Please hop over to find some seasonal activities for February. 
My contributions include:

Groundhog Day

and one of my fave freebies:

What the Teacher Wants is sharing about a special family and offering an opportunity for everyone to help:

Last week, I was honored to have my post "Hats Off to Literacy" featured on Ellison Education Blog. You can read the entire post here to learn more about these:

I used the sliders with my Power Hour (Guided Reading) group. I was able to use assorted "scraps" of paper and literally made about 30 in under one hour (while watching Netflix).
This week, we also explored Polar Bears:
and testing ended on Wednesday, so I was able to meet with one of my new intervention groups! We're focused on all things literacy (phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, & language arts) using our NWEA data for RIT band grouping. Today we had fun using my NWEA Quick Questions cards in a "game show" style (I guess like The Newlyweds Game, but my students don't have to know that):

What are your plans for the three-day weekend?
We just booked a Florida trip for spring, so we are staying in town for now. Hopefully catching up on a little extra sleep & enjoying a Chipotle lunch treat on Monday. 

Enjoy your weekend & thanks for reading!
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Get Real: Organization

This linky party literally made me LOL!

Thank you Hilary for hosting:


           If you need a little comradery, inspiration, and laughter, 
PLEASE visit Hilary to see all the hilarious entries so far. 
Better yet, add your own!

I actually pride myself on being organized. My on-the-job duties sometimes feel a bit out of my control, so organizing the paper chaos IS something I can control.

Most of the time.

I'm posting the above picture because I truly don't even know where to begin with those stacks. I have been purchasing incredible close reading units (way more than I need) and I'm using them for FOUR differentiated groups. I don't want to spend my life at the copier, so I keep printing as I go. 

Any ideas? My first thought was a binder, but I don't want to keep opening and closing the rings to make copies. My next thought was printing the table of contents so I can remember what I have and which students needs what?

Please leave a comment if you've found a solution to all this PAPER! 
                                               Thanks, Jen :)                                                

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday Linky & Freebie!

Happy Wednesday!

I'm linking up with two of my favorite bloggers 
to highlight our week so far!


We are working tirelessly here to avoid getting sick!

Every morning we are waking up and assessing...sore throat? Yes. Better or worse than yesterday? So far we've avoided the worst, but not feeling 100%. Nothing a three-day weekend won't cure :)

This week we are taking our end-of-unit math assessment and then we're starting measurement! Woohoo! Our measurement unit is pretty brief (maybe 3 weeks?), but such a welcome break with many opportunities for hands-on fun!

Here's a throwback to a nonstandard measurement freebie...
I'm sure I'll be creating more for this round!

In phonics, we are completing our initial blends this week 
and had our exit ticket:

I have one of my students complete his dictation portion of the exit ticket using iDraw. I wish I could share his proud expression - he rocked the three-letter blend for "splat!"

Do your students self-assess their understanding of key standards and concepts?

She offers some awesome posters (thank you!) that have students responding using a ladder model featuring both numbers 1-4 and descriptions from apprentice to expert. I love this idea and will often ask for my students' response using similar gestures. I also like to have more students take on the "heavy lifting" and accountability for the choices they make regarding their effort. 

A couple years ago, I introduced the concept of  students tracking their own data, whether it was through their understanding during instruction or their performance during an application. This idea grew out of (desperate!) need, but the best part? My students LOVED it! They really (REALLY) owned their results. 

The idea continued to evolve the past couple of school years as we dove deeper into Common Core, and "Grit Trackers" was the final result:

How do your students self-assess?

I also have more to share about my new 3rd grade group & another professional endeavor I'm taking on. I'll be back to write more soon! Have a fantastic week :)


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