Monday, July 28, 2014

Close Read Book Study Wrap Up! {freebie}

Thank you so much for joining Lyndsey and I this summer for the close reading book study :)  Today I will wrap up the final chapter: close writes!  If you missed chapter seven, Lyndsey did a fabulous can view it HERE and grab some adorable freebies!

Alright, onward with chapter eight!  I know I say this a lot, but I really connected to this chapter.  The author started out by discussing the importance of writing in our schools, but the fact that not everyone has acknowledged to the degree it should be.  A National Commission on Writing article stressed, "an urgency of writing is a key to transforming learning in the United States."  More and more we are seeing a need for higher quality writing instruction...or more, just allowing the students ample time to explore and create! The author states that we have had this "rush to raise the reading achievement."  In doing so writing has not always been as of much an importance in classrooms.

The author also stresses strongly that there should be a defined reading-writing connection.  How does this reading-writing connection work?  "Students read  in order to learn about the world around them, while they write to express that learning in ways that are personal and unique to them" (Sisson and Sisson).  The authors also emphasizes that the literature we are using for the reading-writing connection must be of high-quality, mostly being that of nonfiction texts.  The authors state, "good writing comes from quality texts."  See below for a graphic of the reading-writing connection.

The text then goes into the close write frame works for each genre...the nuts and bolts of this chapter?  Writing is equally as important as reading, if not MORE important.  Attempt to establish a reading-writing connection throughout the weeks.  Lastly, be open to changes in writing instruction which are more than likely going happen...change your instruction techniques if it's what is best for your class.

As I've mentioned before this book tends to lend itself to the higher grades when it comes to examples.  My mind has one gear, Kindergarten!  So, I wanted to share with you the reading-writing connection in a Kindergarten classroom.  Awhile back I shared a Back to School Writing freebie packet that was aligned to my close reads!  I want to share with you a reading-writing connection week!  This close read-writing connection is using the following text and is designed for beginning of Kindergarten...more like the first month or two!


Monday: Cold read of the text, turn to your partner discussion, all about apples bubble chart
Tuesday: Vocabulary discussion, construct vocabulary chart, turn to your partner discussion
Wednesday- Using turn to your partner answer text-dependent questions
Thursday:  Collaborative learning in small groups-- answering a book related discussion question
Friday--Close read wrap up and book writing


The connection does not have to be something of extravagance!  Just a way for the kids to connect to the close read and then to their writing!  What I noticed last year as we experimented with the reading-writing connection is that kids LOVED writing when it aligned to the close read.  When we did "themed" writing they were some expert writers...naturally adding details and backing up their ideas.  Now when I say themed wasn't as explicit as the above lesson plan above is mentioning ...more like write one fact about the moon, compare a toad to a frog, write how you grew and changed like the tiger...etc.  It was "loose" in that they could expand their story completely on their own.  You can download the freebie close read writing plans below.  

If you are new to close reads I offer a freebie nonfiction and fiction version below!

You can also view more information on this MEGA close read post! Click the image below!

Also, all of my close read packets are on sale for 20% off through Tuesday, July 29th!

Thanks so much for joining in on the close read book study!  If you get started this year and are feeling a little frazzled always feel free to email me!  I will be sharing lots from my close reads as the year gets started!  Enjoy those last few days off..and if you are already back it...well here's to you! :)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back to School Blues SALE {freebies too}

So... I LOVE summers!  Although, every summer I pick up the worst habit of staying up late and sleeping late the next's a cycle!  So, I am back to the days were my mom would make me go to bed early to "prepare" for back to school.  Well, I think I'll start that new routine tomorrow! ;) HA!  You could say I have a slight case of the back to school blues, but I know it will come and go and before I know it will be summer once again.. {Yeah, I'm trying mind tricks}.

I am teaming up with a group of wonderful gals from Freebielicious to throw a little back to school blues sale!  If you have wishlisted a few goodies this summer now is the time to grab them for a discount!  You will also have a little time to prepare those goodies before your little ones come!

Below I will share a few packets that are life-savers for your classroom!  The first up, is my ENDLESS guided reading mega bundle!  I hope had a chance to view my virtual guided reading presentation this summer!  If not you click view is HERE!

The mega bundle is bursting out the seams!  The  bundle has well over 2000+ pages. Included in the mega bundle you will find 28 weeks of EXPLICIT guided reading step by step plans.  This means you'll get the lesson plans, books, poems, writing templates, and more!  Even better is that the easy readers are differentiated with an on, above, and below version.  If you are unsure if these plans will work for you I can always send you a sample!  Shoot me an email to!  Below is a look at the plans, poems, and easy readers!  If the plans do not work for your classroom perfectly you can easily edit them with the editable version of the plans which are included.

Another great activity included in the bundle are my writing strips!  These are easy to implement and carry so many benefits!

 However, one of the best features is that it's endless!  This means ANYTHING and EVERYTHING new I make for guided reading goes into that bundle.  If you own that bundle you snag it for free!  For example, I just posted the packet below...all bundle owners grabbed it free of charge...score!

I get a lot of questions from those that own a few of the packets, but would like in on the mega big deal- just email me at! Interested in snagging the mega bundle 20% off?  Click below!

Another great must-have for the new year would be my new phonics program, KinderPhonics!  This is the first unit with units two and three to come soon! KinderPhonics is teacher created for teachers!  This phonics curriculum is made up of three units; Letters A-Z, Sounds to Words, and Words to Sentences.  The program is well thought out and does no ask for unrealistic measures from the teachers or the students.  The program is flexible and can work in place of or with your current phonics curriculum.  A brief description of each unit is included below.

Unit One: A brief introduction to the alphabet.  This unit dedicates on day per letter.  Phonemic awareness skills covered in Unit One:  rhyming, syllables, and single sounds..all covered under the RF.K.2 Common Core State Standard.

Unit Two: A review of the alphabet with a focus on handwriting and letter sounds.  Two are dedicated per letter with a review day at the end of the week.

Unit Three:  An introduction of more rigorous phonics skills.  Dedicated one "week" per skill.  

Below you will find a few snapshots of the resources found in unit one!


If you would like to grab KinderPhonics on sale you can click below!

And now for a couple of additional packets you might like!

Below is my newly revised Problem of the Day packets...also known as Common Core questioning jars!  The packets have been completely updated with an option to make them interactive using math journals!

Also, all close reads are on sale!  If you are ready to see an awesome shift in your classroom...try close reads!

I have also posted a couple freebies you might just need for your back to school season!  Click below to grab them!



Click below to shop my entire store!


Have a great week friends!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Getting the Classroom Back to School Reading {Word Wall}

Hey there again!  I am back with a new quick idea for your back to school classroom!  Today I wanted to share with you my whiteboard word wall!  You know how blessed you when you inherit a classroom that is teacher-ready?!  Well, my classroom already had the taped out word wall so my hard was already over ;) 

If you are interested in doing a whiteboard word wall you can measure and tape it out with black electrical tape- yes this is the hard part!

This year I decided to update my border and word wall letters!  A quick tip I have for attaching your border to your whiteboard would be to use a hot glue gun!  They are fabulous!  The border will stick with no "bowing."  Also, when you are ready to take it down it will pull right off...not leaving a sticky residue like tape does!

  This year I went with a chalkboard theme for my word wall letters!  I also hot glued them to the board because I didn't want to spend hours next time peeling off tape :( For the words on my word wall I simply write the word with my dry-erase marker.  I know most do cards, but I have found that I can get the words in a largest format by just writing them!

The word wall labels are a free download!  You can click below to grab those!

If you have additional questions on my whiteboard wall wall please email me or comment below!  Also, view my previous back to school post below! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Problem of the Day {giveaway}

 Well hello!  I shouted this update on my Facebook, but I wanted to make sure everyone got to see!  I recently updated on of my first creations, The Common Core Questioning Jar.  I gave the whole packet a new look along with adding in the option to make it a problem of the day!   I also added labels and math journal templates!  This packet is also fully aligned to the Common Core Standards with each questioning card labeled with the standard!  If you are just getting your feet wet you can use this packet to ensure you are covering and reviewing all standards for mathematics and language arts!

To find out if you already own this packet or the bundle scroll down and click the links!  If you own the packets they will say, "download now!" :)

You can use this packet in so many ways!  You will be able to make it work for you!  Above you'll see my problem of the day jar!  You can choose pull out a question card during "down" times of your day...or make it the opener of your math lesson.  I know that we all run a tight you can make this as easy as just pulling a card, having kids turn and talk for the answer, then discuss!

Place the questioning cards you would like to review in your jar!  You can choose the question or have one of the kiddos pull the card!

If you'd like to take it up another notch you can have students use this packet in more of an interactive ice journal type!  Students will work out and explain the answer in their math journals. 

 Students will glue in the questioning card {if you choose}.  You can also display the question where the whole class can view and they just work it out in their journal- totally up to you!

If you're not a math journal type I have also included printable  math journal recording sheets!  There are a few different versions included for you to choose from!

You can view each packet below along with an example of the questioning cards!

Below is the two problem of the day packets bundled!  Also keep scrolling for your chance to win the bundle for your classroom!  I will choose a winner this Friday, July 25th !

Enter below to win the bundle!  Good luck and have a great weekend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway