I found out about this awesome free program from our district's technology coach.  The teachers are so excited.  It can be personalized, and allows for self-pace practice in reading and math.  You can customized it to your class, based on the standards you are teaching.  It also keeps track of student's progress. You'll want to set up your class, and each child will get a login and password.  Here are some of the "help" sheets I made for the teachers at my school.  It is FREE!  There is even a free app! 

The website is:  www.scootpad.com

When students login, they go to the practice page.  Students can practice either reading or math.

Students can see the results immediately.  I didn't do very well on purpose!
 As a teacher, I can click on reports, and see the progress reports for students.  By clicking on the magnifying glass, you can see the progress report for that student.

 Tomorrow I am out of town, so I wanted to blog about my Friday Freebie today...  My spring Sight Word Word Family Sorts will be free on February 1st (Friday) from 12pm-9pm CST.  There are 21 word families included, and each word family has 9 words.  If you enjoy it, please leave feedback.  Click here to download.
I finally saw this video today and it just made me smile and reminded me that all students want to be awesome (and they are, but sometimes we forget to let them know that they are awesome). 

On a school note....I just started a book study with the other instructional coaches in my district.  We are reading Learning Targets by Moss and Brookhart.  Once I get into it, I'll let you know what I think.

I love the book Strategies that Work by Harvey & Goudvis.  I have so many tabs on the side of the book so I can access my favorite strategies quickly.  Chapter 1 is titled Reading is Thinking and that is a great way to start out a book on reading strategies.  There are strategies to monitor comprehension, as well as strategies to teach students how to make connections, ask questions, visualize, determine important information and make inferences!  There is also a section on determining important information and summarizing.  This is one of my go-to books when working with teachers and we are lesson planning.

Most of my experience with this book has been with students in 3rd-5th grade. Just last week, I was working with a group of 4th grade boys and I was using David Shannon's The Rain Came Down to teach a mini-lesson on cause and effect. 

The students were using sticky notes to write down cause and effects that they read about. They loved the book and it was a great way to practice finding cause and effects when reading!

On an exciting note, I got my new blog design put in yesterday!  I LOVE IT!!! Thank you so much Honey Bunch Blog Design!!!!

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1. I survived the first night of my last semester of class!  It takes about 1 hour and ten minutes to get to the university, and thankfully class ended on time, so I was able to pick up my daughter from dance!  I hate driving home in the dark by myself :(  I have lots of work this semester, and hope I survive and don't drive my family crazy in the process (I should be working on my Mixed Method's Research presentation, but this is more fun)!

2. I wanted to share what one of the first grade classes made at my school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  All the students started out with the same color paints in a cup.  Then they had to mix more paints to match the color of their hand.  The point of the activity is that everyone started out with the same colors in their cups.  She said she has been doing this for years....long before Pinterest was ever invented :)

3. My Friday Freebie are labels to help organize your leveled library.  I'm am responsible for our book room.  When I started my job five years ago, we didn't have a book room for teachers.  Right now it is not picture worthy!  It started out the year in AWESOME shape, and then we received about 2000-3000 books from a school that had closed.  It had been a Reading First school, so they had awesome resources.  Over parent teacher conferences, one of my projects is to work on it and get it back to perfection :)  The picture below shows a cart of books. I laminated the labels and put them on cardstock.

Click here to download until 8pm tonight.  If you like today's freebie, please leave feedback :)

4.  My blog is under construction!  Pretty soon, you will see a nice new Literacy Without Worksheets.  I'm so excited that I found Honey Bunch Blog Design!!! I actually picked out a premade template!  I cannot wait until it is ready!

5.  I am still cleaning like crazy.  One day this week we had 53 students out.  I will be so happy when this influenza bug is gone!!!!

 Click to Link Up With Doodle Bugs Teaching!


I hope everyone is having a great week!  Tomorrow is already Wednesday.  I love short weeks, although sometimes I feel like I need extra time just to recover from the weekend!I found this great giveaway, and I wanted to share!!!

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite professional teacher books!  Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.  Two years ago, my building did a book study with this book.  It is a great book that focuses on guided reading with the teacher.  If you are not currently doing guided reading, this book will help you organize your lessons based on the level of the readers in your room.  It will not help you with the literacy center/workstation component.   

My favorite part of the book are the one-on-one lessons for pre-emergent readers in kindergarten.  We use these lessons as a foundation in our kindergarten intervention groups.  She does a great job explaining the schools that she has successfully implemented this program (with students that came to school with limited literacy skills), and gives examples of how much growth students had between the beginning and the ends of kindergarten.  My school hasn't had quite the same results, but they are still really good.  I attribute much of the difference in results to attendance issues.  If you aren't at school, it is hard to learn :(

She also includes different activities for different levels. There are specific activities for sight words, individual reading, guided writing, and word word study, depending on the guided reading level. Students that are reading at a level Q have a different lesson plan that students that are reading at a level G.   


 On a different note, school starts this week.  I drive over an hour to go to class on Thursday nights.  I just saw the syllabus, and I will be busy.  My dissertation proposal is due by May 1st and I take my final comprehensive exams in April.  My goal this semester with my blog is to have Friday Freebies, where an item in the store will be free on Fridays, and then I'll blog about reading strategies we are using at my building.  I would love to blog more, but my coursework kind of takes priority :)

*** Our winners in this weeks drawing were....Alana, Rachel, & Hillary!  Thanks to everyone that participated!


To celebrate Sunday (and having tomorrow off), my sight word spring game will be free until 9 pm tonight!  Yesterday was almost 60 degrees and today it is 25 degrees!  I want spring to stay!

If you download, I'd love to hear your feedback :)


You can edit the game to modify the words.  It includes 24 matching sight word cards and a direction page.  It is aligned to Common Core (Kindergarten) Standards.

Also, don't forget to enter the drawing that ends tonight!

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3c Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).The Common Core Standards were developed and written by the NGA.© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved. 

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I'm always looking for new ways to practice sight words.  

Sight Word Flip Books
The first grade teachers at my school are making these flip booklets with their students!  All of the words were found in newspapers and educational catalogs!  I get about 4 catalogs a day, so I'm happy to give them to any teacher that will use them!

You can download the cover for the flip book here (for free)!

ABC Magnetic Letter Lite App
This is magnetic letter app is great for practicing making words.  I just use the free version, because all I really want are the magnet letters.  It works great for making sight words!

Students used sight word cards and built the words using the app!

Word Boxes
When I was observing a reading interventionist, she was having students find their sight words in books, and then they were using magnetic letters and putting the letters in the correct boxes. 

I made a slightly different version that you can download here.

I really like when students can have magnets that have vowels in a different color.  This kit we are using has vowels in red and consonants in blue.  My friend that teaches Reading Recovery likes students to use all colors of magnetic letters.  I also made a plain black version available.

Next Step in Guided Reading Ideas

I love using Jan Richard's ideas to help students build their visual memory. Her book The Next Step in Guided Reading is my go to teacher resource!   She has a 4 step plan for students to practice sight words.  You just need magnetic letters!  
Jan Richardson emphasizes practicing with one word at a time.
The first step is figuring out what is missing.  Then students mix up their letters and build the word (Mix & Fix).  Students practice table writing the word, and finally they write the words on whiteboards.
Jayne from Smart Kids has made amazing visuals to help support the steps for building visual memory and help students learn their sight words.    Check out her blog post!

I have had great luck with using a binder for each group.  One year I tried one binder with everyone, and it was too much and too big.
The binder includes the following:
Positive Praise and Teaching Prompts for Running Records
Weekly Lesson Plan for the Guided Reading Group
Student Data (includes running records)

I like keeping the lesson plan in a page protector, and I also like it when I can get all one week on one page! 

I love using page protectors, because I know papers won't get damaged.  However, they are too big if you have dividers.  The page protectors block the divider (which kind of drives me crazy).  To solve the problem, I use the following tabs (purchased at Wal-Mart) with the page protectors.  http://www.amazon.com/Durable-Binders-Folders-Assorted-686F-1BB/dp/B001PV36V8/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1358117460&sr=8-10&keywords=post+it+tabs

Here is a copy of my Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template.

My TPT store has a Guided Reading Organizational Set to help keep you organized.  There are templates to fill out to plan your guided reading schedule (including pull-outs). There are planning templates, and it also includes Positive Praise and Teaching Prompts to use after doing running records.  You can enter to win this. 
Congratulations to Jessica, Hillary and Kelly...they won the drawing last week.  They each won
Valentine's Day Labels for the Room
 Word Family Bundle
 Valentine's Sight Word Game

This is the newest raffle!  This week I'll be blogging this week about Guided Reading and Organizational Tips!  There will be three winners- raffle ends on 1/20/13 at 11:59 pm!  This set will help you with planning and organizing guided reading, including running records and group rotations.
Guided Reading Organizational Tips

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One of my favorite places to go for ideas is the Florida Center for Reading Research.  It is my favorite free resource!  They have activities for both work stations and small group instruction for K-5.  From phonics and phonemic awareness to vocabulary,comprehension and fluency, the FCRR has you covered!

I have found that not all of their activities are meant to be in a literacy work station  For example, this silent "e" activity (bottom right) works well in a work station after the students have been practicing the skill. However, if students are not ready to "practice" the skill independently, these activities work really well as "warm-up" activities during guided reading.

Before putting the "Clip A Letter" activities in a work station, I would use them as a "warm-up" activity for the first 2 minutes of guided reading.  It helps assess where students are at, and it keeps them from practicing skills incorrectly.

The other two games in the top collage are examples of activities of that older students can use. The green triangle game to the right helps students practicing inferencing, while the board game was created for a literacy work station in fourth and fifth grade to practice fact and opinion. 

In order to keep all my resources from the FCRR organized, I like using laminated envelopes.  Based on the activity, I store them in a file cabinet.  This Clip a Letter activity would go into my file cabinet in the "Letters and Sounds" file.

I have used activities from the Florida Center for Reading Research to make "peer tutoring baskets."  I find decodable books that coordinate with the skills students need, and put the activities from the FCRR in large zip lock bags. They have some really good practice activities for older students that struggle with phonics.   This way peer tutors have all the materials they need in one place, and students are able to practice the skills they needs. In addition, these activities would be perfect for volunteers.

I wanted to promote some of my items in my Teachers Pay Teacher's Store and gain some followers on the blog!

Word Work Bundle- 300 pages of word work and sorts!

Valentine's Day Labels

Common Core Valentine's Day Sight Word Matching Game

Enter to win by following my blog...ends on Jan 13th at 11:59 pm!
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Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade is having a linky party. All you do is tell something good at school and at home. I thought this sounded fun and SUPER positive!  This is my 2nd linky party this week!

Something Good From School:
I left school on Friday, with everything crossed off my list!  Of course, I still have things to do when I get back to work, but everything I needed to get done was completed.

Something Good From Home:
My mother-in-law got out of the hospital after 10 days!  She had heart surgery and her recovery took a bit longer than expected. I'm so glad she is home.  We have a spring break trip planned, and we want her to be able to come with us.
Since this is my first week at a blog, I thought I would try this (it sounded like fun)!  Here are five random things I thought about this week!


1.  The influenza virus going around makes me very nervous.  I'm a germaphobic, and I've been cleaning and washing my hands like crazy! 

2.   I'm taking my last class of my doctorate program.  In April, I take my comprehensive exams and then all I have left is my dissertation!  I got my tuition bill this week, which reminds me pretty soon I'm going to have lots less time (and money).

3.  I'm doing a pretty good job with my 2013 Resolutions..especially running.  My goal is to run 3 days a week and improve my 5K time!  I'm using Jeff Galloway's 5K app.  My long run day is Monday right now...I might have to change that to Saturday!

4. The Geography Bee was this week at my daughter's school!  She did awesome. Just going to the Geography Bee makes me want to travel more!  Below is a picture of one of the places on my list of "Places I Must Visit!"

5.  I made my first math game this week!  It is a math game to help 1st and 2nd grade students practice addition and  other Common Core math skills.

I just found these canvas-type baskets this week at Wal-Mart.  They were in the closet organizing area of the store. They measure  9" x 7.5" and are about 6.5" tall.

The best part is they were only $1.97!  I thought this was a great price!

I have tons of zip-lock bags with "flashcards" that' I've made.  One basket will be for fluency cards, one for picture cards for writing, and the last basket will be for flashcards to help students in grades 3-5 with state assessment indicators (prefix/suffix, fact and opinion, and author's purpose).

Something I've done to help keep my flashcard sets organized is that I always copy them on different colors of paper.  That way, if one card doesn't make it back to where it belongs, it is very easy to figure out where it goes!
I can't tell you how many scholastic book orders I receive on a weekly basis!  Instead of recycling them, I try and find ways that students can use them. 

Right now, third grade students have been reviewing how author's can write stories to entertain or to inform readers.  Students use the Scholastic Book Orders and cut pictures out of book titles that either were written to entertain or to inform.  Then they have to explain why the books are either entertaining or informing.

As a literacy coach, this is what I try NOT to do.  I think this is the hardest part of my job for me personally.  These are my rules that I try very hard to follow:
1.  The teacher is the boss of their classroom.
2.  Let the teacher's come up with ideas that will work for them, instead of telling them what to do.  If they ask for help, offer a menu of ideas.
3.  Support teachers so they feel confident and empowered about teaching!
4.  Always see the glass as half-full, no matter how difficult this might be.
5.  Ask teachers reflective questions that will help them grow professionally and build their teaching capacity.

I love every teacher that I work with!  They are all incredibly gifted and very talented at what they do!

As a teacher, what do you want from your literacy coach?

In honor of Tuesday, from 4:00-7:00 pm tonight (Central Time) I'm giving away my latest product for free. Cupcake Labels
I hope everyone has a great Tuesday!
Today was BUSY!!!

It was great to see students today, and my own children had a fantastic first day back!  My big project was getting ready for data meetings this week!  It was nice having two professional development days.  I heard a wonderful speaker, Mark McLeod.  He was very motivating and inspiring! 


 I loved how he talked about how teachers can change student's lives forever and how important it is to build relationships with students and parents! On the first day of his senior year of high school, he had a teacher that told him that she loved him and that she knew one day he would change the world.  It is amazing what a few words will do to help (or hurt) someone.  After listening to him speak and inspire a roomful of teachers, I believe he has changed the world!

Right after my first year of teaching, I had a student die.  To this day, that is the one event that has made me the teacher I am today.  I believe you can never love anyone too much and it is important to do things right the first time, in case you don't get a second chance.  Every night, before I go to bed, I want to know that I have done everything I can to help make the students at my school be successful and feel special!

As for my list of things to do...State Assessments are coming up and am looking for fun center activities to help keep students engaged while they practice important skills!  I made quite a few games today from The Florida Center for Reading Research (which will lead to another entire blog posting)! http://www.fcrr.org/curriculum/studentCenterActivities45.shtm

I'm also working with a kindergarten teacher to help manage her writing center so she doesn't feel overwhelmed with planning, but at the same time the activities are engaging!

I would love to be an inventor and receive credit for bringing the world something cool, new and incredibly useful!  I wish I could have invented Pinterest.

I don't spend tons of time on Pinterest, because of work and school, however, I am still able to get great ideas, just by keeping up with the people that I follow.

Everything school related that I've tried from Pinterest has been a great success!  The students love the activities and they are usually easy and inexpensive!

This is my Pinterest Board for Literacy Without Worksheets.  There are lots of fun ideas that will not involve making copies, and students will be engaged.

I've had teachers ask me how to keep students accountable, if they are not turning in worksheets during literacy centers/work stations.  My best suggestion is that in the last 90 seconds of your guided reading group, you get up and walk around to each station to see the "product" that was created.  If you have a clipboard, then every student gets a check if they met the expectation, and if not, a conversation needs to take place with the student that did not meet your expectation.

Many teachers feel stressed for time, but taking five to ten minutes everyday to read aloud books has so many benefits for elementary students!  I'm always surprised to find out how much older students still enjoy having books read aloud!

When picture books are read aloud, students are able to increase their vocabulary and learn more about language!  They can make predictions and begin to compare and contrast stories.  When teachers read aloud chapter books, I think of all the visualization that can occur, the many opportunities for students to make predictions and inferences, and the rich discussions that can take place. 

Many of these books have other outstanding books by the same author!  These books are some of my  favorite!

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