Friday, April 19

Earth Day Fun

Wanted to share some Earth Day Fun that we've been having in April...

Some bloggy buddies and I have some freebies for you, so make sure you read all the way through to grab a link to more freebies! I have two freebies for is a sample of a printable from ELA Common Core Crunch - May! Click the pic to download and then head down for your other freebie.

For another freebie I have a little craftivity...the pic with Earth is not my original idea...I KNOW I saw it somewhere and have spent serious time trying to figure out where I saw it...shoulda pinned it when I saw it so I could cite the source easily. If you know, can ya please tell me? I'll update and give credit. I'm sort of obsessed with giving credit...
Growing Firsties

Teacher directions are included in the Google Doc download which you can access by clicking here.

Here's a modification I did this year using full sized (8.5x11) astrobrights....the kids arranged their pieces and included 3 pledges in the open space.

For Earth Day, we're using Katie Knight's Easy Ecology pack and it is fab-boo!!! I love Katie's interactive booklets and her fluency passages! She is one of my bloggy besties and I just love that girl!

Don't forget to head over to THIS POST of Katie's so you can get easy access to some great freebies!
What have YOU been up to for Earth Day?

Wednesday, April 17

Text Evidence for Beginners

Teaching reading comprehension strategies such as making inferences and finding text evidence to support answers for comprehension questions is a challenge - especially with beginning readers. The more scaffolded the approach, the quicker the reader will have success. In order to support my beginning readers in finding text evidence, I searched high and low. I couldn't find what I was looking for, but I could visualize exactly what my first grade readers needed and I was hopeful that it could support readers in many grades. I ended up creating a scaffolded pack that is basically Text Evidence 101.

So, in the ideal world, our readers will be enthusiastically expanding their critical thinking skills by citing evidence from the text left and right to support their answers to questions...

All in their own instructional and independent texts.

But...I teach in the real world.

And that's why I made this pack.

It's my goal for them to find proof in their own texts, BUT in my experience, they need scaffolding, guidance and repetition with something a bit more laid out.

This text evidence and inferencing resource was purposefully designed to break essential reading strategies into small parts and deliberately lead students to independent success.  Designed with the gradual release of responsibility in mind, there are 5 differentiated levels so that you can meet each student right where they are. You can build your readers' independence with finding text evidence and making inferences by modeling what to do using the multiple scaffolded options. 

You'll find lesson ideas, teaching resources, anchor charts, printable practice activities, a parent letter, answer keys, and more! You also get both a printable and digital version of the activities which provides even more versatility.

I have used successfully used it in whole group, small group and one on one with many readers with wonderful success!

Though it can be used as a stand alone unit, my Finding Proof Text Evidence pack is a Reader's Workshop companion pack to two of my reading units...

And this scaffolded pack to teach readers to self-monitor to make sure what they read matches the text. There are a variety of ways that beginning readers make mistakes while reading and this pack helps them understand how to solve these mistakes. Self-monitoring reading is so important!

You may have seen the following images on pinterest. Since these images were created, the whole pack has been updated for a more clean, streamlined look with additional content added. Make sure to open the preview and check out the reviews, too! 

Each page comes with an answer key.

This week I will be teaching with the mini-text passages...I began with #1 in Whole Group, working together to find evidence. I'll use #2 in Small Group, providing feedback and coaching. Some groups will also have #3 in Small Group. I'll try #4 as homework and then give #5 independently is a mini-assessment...

If you use it, I'd love to hear from you on how it's going! I'm always, always, always open to feedback and suggestions. Feel free to shoot me an email at with your questions & suggestions!

Tuesday, April 9

Morning Jobs & Book Club Routines


Today I have a big long post about how I make my mornings smoother...semi-decent pics and all...

These morning routines help my first graders build independence and organizational skills (hopefully)...

which ultimately leaves time for me
toscramble to take care of the things I've forgotten to get done connect with each kiddo as they arrive.
Gotta love visuals, so I'm packing in some pictures here...

(please pardon the's just easiest to use my
iPhone for the pics since it's the fewest steps to get the photos postable...)

I originally snapped these photos so I didn't have to get too wordy on my sub plans. 

Pictures DO speak a 1000 words!!!

This is what the Morning Job board currently looks like. (Though we're now in unit 8 for math, not unit 4...)

We start at the very beginning of the year with the first 3 items...we build muscle memory for those jobs with step by step practice & choral reading on a daily basis. 

Golden Tickets (thank you 
Teeny Tiny Teacher) are handed out to students for doing all the jobs.

If you want to learn more about Golden Tickets (as opposed to a clip chart), check out
Teeny's first & second posts about how she uses them. 

My grade level all wants to be just like Teeny Tiny, so we use them the way she does!

Once they're pretty solid on those three (and once guided reading and Everyday Math
Homelinks begin), we add jobs 4-6 and repeat the process of building muscle memory in similar ways as at the beginning of the year. More about job 4 in a minute...
After a few weeks of deepening all six routines, we add #7. 

For our Daily Warm Up activities, the main things we use are
printables from my Common Core Crunch (a monthly ELA series) 

If you want to 'try before you buy' go ahead and download the Preview file, since it contains 3 freebie sheets. Just click the picture above to get to it in my store.

and from Kelley Dolling's Good Morning Work - Math (she's the brilliance behind Teacher Idea Factory!).

Commercial over...

Another routine that helps keep me organized with Guided Reading is this handy dandy tub...

I began this routine part way through the year last year and modified it a little bit this year, too.

Each Book Club Group (guided reading) is assigned a, orange, yellow, green, blue...

Each group has a section in the tub, in front of the fancy
dancy divider. 
To make the dividers I trimmed 12x12 cardstock to the width of old, icky white board (cuz they're hard), folded the cardstock in half and adhered it to the whiteboard using clear packing tape.

More functional than classy, but oh well.  
One side of the divider says Put in Book Box, the other says Keep in Envelope...that's because we almost always focus on a guided reading book for two days...(I'll post more on that another time.)

So I flip those signs accordingly...

Each night when I'm doing a variety of little tasks to get ready for the next day, I have a little white helper card in my calendar that I CAN'T move until I've addressed those two jobs!...
This little helper has helped me keep track of whether I've done the two jobs of arranging the divider signs AND if I've rotated Literacy Stations. Not pretty...but works SO well to keep me on track!

There are just too gol-durn jobs to keep track of in a day that I just don't always remember if I've done something or not.

We won't talk about how sometimes I forget to rinse the conditioner out of my hair or shampoo a second time in case I hadn't done it the first time.


Each student has a poly envelope (ordered online for the whole grade level in August from the cheapest vendor) - they each get 1 poly envelope per year.

We charge them $2 if they lose it.

If it becomes damaged but can still hold the materials, we keep using it.

Each student's envelope gets a folded piece of duct tape on their envelope to help them remember to put their envelope in the correct section.

Envelopes #3 & 4 are hiding between #2 & 5!
This also helps me visually see that all have put their envelope in the right spot.

K...the next steps are a little picky-pants, but it really HAS helped me be more efficient during Book Clubs...

Each student is assigned a table spot at the book club table (kidney shaped table) and then I put a number on their duct tape according to their assigned seat (going from left to right at the table).

The duct tape DOES come off relatively easily when we switch groups around! At least it has for me all year long so far.

Groups have different numbers of students so I don't actually label the actual chair or table spot...just the way they sit from left to right.

This helps me keep it flexible so I can skip a chair between some particular students.

 And, yes, students DO put their envelopes in their section in number order...that was the whole point of numbering them in the first that I could easily hand out envelopes when the kids need them.

I hope this long post helps you out! It's nice to learn from one another, so I'd love to hear from you! 

This post was originally a guest post on the lovely Kyp of Mrs. McLaren's Little Super Heroes...Click the pic to head over and check her out...
Mrs. McLaren's Little Super Heroes
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