Monday, February 24

Reading Workshop with a STAR Reader Lens

What have we been up to in Reading Workshop??

A WHOLE lotta thinking!

Our current Reading Workshop unit is on Characters, so some of our recent targets have been...

I truly love incorporating STAR Readers habits into every raises the bar of our reading and I do oodles of modeling so that they can see me apply the habits of STAR Readers in all kinds of texts...fiction, non-fiction/informational, poetry, wordless picture books, magazines, fluency passages...

Right now my "Read" board looks like this:

What I love most about it, is how invested the kids are in it. Every piece on there has been something we've worked really hard on...during all of our Reading Workshop units!

The kids actively use the contents every day.

I consistently refer to it every day and feel very strongly about...
Random sidenote: I do love my Silhouette experiment, too...I used MTF Jumpin' Jack font to cut "Read like a..." I just love that font so it makes me happy to see it each day.

I'm also passionate about...

Kids have mini-versions of the STAR poster in their Book Boxes and Reading Notebooks for close up stay-in-your-seat reference.

As the year progressed, I decided to give Building STAR Readers a mini-update...

The update is reflected in the image of the bulletin board above. It includes these...

Having mini-versions is nice for those that benefit from having it RIGHTINFRONTOFTHEM.

My class is invested in being STAR Readers and it is sooo much fun for me to hear them cuing and conversing with their partners using the terminology...since I came up with the idea in the shower one day...having been tired of STAR as Stop Think And Read.

I added all the above to the end of the pack so it will be easy for you to know what's new when you re-download...

Super STAR Reader Friends with original poems...created where else but my shower? :)
I print this one two to a page so that the kids have a half-page size to glue in their Reading Notebooks.

Teacher Help!
Anchor Charts and goal setting pages.

Building STAR Readers is available on its own.

Or you can snag it in a Bundle along with its companion pack Finding Proof...

Or you can snag it in a Bundle with all three Reading Workshop packs to save big time!

Click any cover to get to it on TpT...

Here's a blog post on Finding Proof in case you'd like to learn more about it...

Here's a blog post on Teaching Readers to Self Monitor if you'd like to see more about it...


Here's a Table of Contents-ish of Building STAR Readers...
A compilation page that I send home to parents via the Take Home Book Envelope...I laminate them after printing them two to a page and they stay in the Envelope.

 Here's a closer view of the bookmark and all the posters on one page...

There are also a bunch of generic type recording pages that have the STAR logo at the top...some of them are blank for students (or you) to add categories in...others have been pre-filled.


Saturday, February 22

Part Part Whole and March Printables

March is a month for re-assessment, parent-teacher conferences and report cards, which means it's time for students to be doing work they can handle independently and quietly. These March Printables are perfect for my first graders!

Daily Warm Up


Word Work


Sub Tub

Small Group Skills Practice

Independent Work

Across the monthly printable packs for math and ELA, there are similar formats, so once students know the format, they can be independent on all the other pages that are the same format. This is HUGELY helpful and a game changer in my book!

As always - try before you buy - by downloading the Preview file! Each pack includes three freebies when you download the Preview!

Love a discount? Snag a monthly, semester or yearlong bundle! The more you buy, the bigger the savings.

growing firsties common core crunch




March Madness...St. Patrick's Day...Spring...

Here's a sampling!

Many students need a little extra practice with Part-Part-Whole Relationships - so you might be interested in one of these companion packs (also available in a discounted bundle)...

Growing Firsties

In the Part Part Whole printable pack, there's a variety of practice points for your students with part part whole relationships.
first grade test prep common core math RTI

first grade test prep RTI common core math

You might also like {this post} about Fraction Leprechauns...

In the ELA Printable Pack, here's what you'll find...

Join me for freebies and tips for your growth mindset, student-centered, workshop classroom!


Confirm your subscription and you'll receive an exclusive no-prep freebie from my Math Skill Builder series for Number Sense, Part Part Whole & Place Value!

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Do you struggle with students that don't self monitor their reading? They plow on with their reading even when what they've said doesn't make sense, sound right and/or look right? Be sure to check out "Teaching Readers to Self-Monitor" in my TpT store!
Here's a sampling...


Sunday, February 2

Book Box Organization

Are you like me, in that messy student book boxes drive you nuts? Messy book boxes mean transitions take even longer than they could...cuz kids are looking for whatever tool, book, notebook, etc is needed.

My transitions and visual clutter has improved so much since I started teaching kids to organize their book box a specific way. I change my method just a bit each year and we spend a LOT of time practicing how to organize them. It's even a strategy group for kids that need the extra opportunities to build their "muscle memory"...but it is truly worth every second!

I hope I don't appear too controlling when you read it...

well...I guess I am kind of controlling...but I like to think that I'm choosy when it comes to deciding what I'm going to control...and I  truly do appreciate other folks' ways of doing things.

So maybe that makes me controlling but flexible? Not rigid.

I have my students organize their Book Boxes a VERY.CERTAIN.WAY.

Because it helps me AND because it helps them.

So this is how I have them organize it...from left to right the inside of their Book Box is supposed to be set up like this...

I'll explain why after the pictures...

My Tip

If you find this tip useful, please consider pinning it so more folks can see it. It's easy to pin...hover over any pic with your mouse and click the P in the upper left corner.

In case you can't read my little poster above, here's more of a close up... 
Book Room (Numbered) Books
These are instructional level books that I have given to them from our Book Room or my classroom cart during Guided Reading. I have them put these on the far left side of their book box so that if we need the title again during a group they can find it efficiently. It also helps me a BOATLOAD when I go to return the books to the Book Room or my cart.

Reading Folder
This serves as a wonderful divider. It contains their Weekly Reading Log and their Comprehension/Shared Reading work.

This is either their Reading Notebook or their Poetry Notebook, contained in a composition notebook. See...I'm flexible! Basically, the notebooks act as the bookends on either side of their largest collection of books.

Reading Notebooks hold mini-versions of our important anchor charts in the front section and students take notes and do their responses in the second section. They refer to their notes during Partner Reading (which occurs after Private Reading each day).

Shopping Books
Each child has a reading partner who reads at a similar(ish) level. Partners are assigned a shopping day (Monday - Thursday) to select 6-10 titles at their independent reading levels. Independent level are determined by me through conferring and running record assessment. The higher their reading level, the fewer the books they select for the week because the books get longer as they go up in level.

It's really easy for them to locate their Shopping Books because they are tucked between the notebooks. Easy to locate, easy to put away.

During Private Reading they read from their shopping books for the bulk of the time, then they can read from their Look Books.

All the leveled books have a small label in the upper right corner of the front cover.

Here's a peek...

The other notebook, described above.

Note: the book boxes tend to fall over when they're too top heavy, so I have students store their composition notebooks sideways, spine facing up.

Look Books
These books are not leveled (typically) and are selected from the author/character/topic tubs in my library. Often, the books are too difficult for students to read independently but they are so engaging and excited about them that they are allowed to have 3 in their book box.

Look Book shopping day is every Friday.

Students can read these during the last part of Private Reading each day...My firsties are doing Private Reading for 33 mn right now...the last 8 mn they can start reading from their Look Books. The visual timer helps them know when that time begins.

Having them off to the other side of their box makes it easier for them to only take them out when they're supposed to...

Here's a peek...

Strategy Bookmark
Students put these at the front of their book boxes and use them while reading. On the back side I use Sharpie to note which levels they should be shopping for on their shopping day. For example, 5G 2H or 3I 1J. When they move levels, I cross off the previous levels and record the new ones underneath. Not too fancy, but it's worked well so far.

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