Saturday, January 17, 2015

You Oughta Know About One Minute Reader {January}

You oughta know about Read Naturally, One Minute Reader!

When I was student teaching (about 6 years ago), my master teacher was working on improving her students’ fluency. The school I was completing my student teaching at had a great program called Read Naturally. It was a huge binder full of fluency passages, from Emergent Readers to Level 5 (fifth grade) readers. The passages were accompanied with vocabulary sheets, recording sheets, and audio tapes. Well, in these 6 short years... TIMES HAVE CHANGED! Read Naturally now has an app: One Minute Reader.

This is app is awesome for small groups, independent workstations, or your RTI groups. 

This is how it works:

You start with the Placement feature. Pick a level that you think would fit your student (E through 5). Click on that level and have your student read the passage aloud. Don’t forget to press START. Once they’re done reading the passage, they immediately press DONE. The app will let you know if the passage was too challenging, not challenging enough, or just right. 

Once you have found the right fit for each individual student, you can get them started on the passages for that level. There is a free version of the app that carries a small selection of passages. If you want a larger volume of passages, you’ll have to purchase the individual levels for $20 each. I know that seems a little pricey, but there’s always a chance your school or district will give you the funds to purchase these apps. If your school takes donations, maybe you can ask for iTunes gift cards.

So, now you’re ready to get your students started improving their fluency with the correct level. 

It’s pretty simple! Have your students pick a story. In my example, I am in Level 1, starting with the passage Nile River.

You start with the “cold read.” The cold read is your student’s first look and read of the passage. They have not seen the passage before and read it to the best of their ability. Their goal is to read as fluently as possible in one minute. You or your student presses START and your student begins reading aloud.

The timer on the page turns as the student reads. You can keep your own timer too, so students can see the time. If your student is still reading and it passes one minute, the timer will stop automatically on the app. If they cannot read the passage in less than a minute, the passage selection may be too challenging. If your student is done reading before the minute is up, have them press DONE.

The next page (if your student reads in less than a minute) shows your student’s “cold score.” Have them record their cold score on their recording sheet (you can find my FREE recording sheets by clicking the picture at the end of the post :D). Have your student click the next arrow.

This will take your student to the “read along” section. Make sure you have some headphones ready if this is a center or small group activity! Plug in the headphones to the iPad or tablet. Your students will read along with the voice that plays when they press START. They will read along three times. If they want to, they can click on the blue words that are in the passage. This will take them to the definition of the word. You can use my FREE vocabulary recording sheets to have your students write down the vocabulary too. Those are also found by clicking the picture at the end of the post.

Once they have read along THREE times, three stars will light up on the bottom of the screen, and then the app will take them to their “hot read.” But, before the "hot read," the app gives your student the opportunity of reading the passage five times for practice. It will take the last score, not the best score. Your student will read the passage aloud and press done when they finish. If one minute is up before they are done reading, they’ll click on the word they were on at the end of the minute.

If your student is happy with the reading, they can choose to move on to the “quick quiz” instead of reading the passage. It’s up to them, but remember it takes the last score, not the best score. 
If they do move onto the "hot read," have them record their scores too!

Here are my examples:

The last score, not the best score!

The student will have the chance to read the passage one more time, with no timer or scoring. This is just for the quiz. Once they’ve read the passage and feel confident to take the quiz, they click the arrow.

Students will answer the questions. If they get a correct answer, a letter will fill in below for the riddle. The more passages they read in their level, the more chance they have in figuring out the riddle.

At the end of completing each step, students will see a snapshot of their progress. Make sure they record everything on their sheets!

Click here or the picture below to grab the free fluency and vocabulary recording sheets for this app! 

Happy reading!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! {2015}

Happy New Year!

It's 2015! Can you believe it?!

2014 brought my family and me many, many joys. The most joyous being the birth of my little baby boy! 

2015 has so much in store for us too! My dad will be retiring, my mom will be graduating with her doctorate, my sister will be graduating with her bachelor's degree, our baby will be turning 1, and my husband and I will have our second child! Phew! It's going to be a very busy year!

With so much happening this year, I decided I needed to make some realistic resolutions for myself. 
1. Organize my blogging/TpT time better so I can get more posted and uploaded!
2. Eat healthier...easier said than done, in my opinion! 
3. Stop being such a worrywart! Especially with a new baby and a toddler. LOL!

I also got to thinking about what I did last year with my students when we all returned for the new year. I went to the party stores, and other stores like Walmart and Target, and I tried to get all the "Happy New Year" hats, party poppers, and blow horns I could find. I went to school the weekend before my kiddos came back, and I put these fun accessories on each of their desks. On the day the returned, they were so excited to see the party supplies. It was a great way to get my students motivated for the new school year. I even got them some Martinelli's Sparkling Cider to celebrate at recess (with my principal and their parents' permission of course!).

The year before that, I wasn't so swift in getting all of the hats for my students. So I made them hats instead! I have updated them for 2015 and you can grab them right here! It's a freebie if you like my Facebook page! If you don't have a Facebook, but want this freebie, just leave a comment with your email address, or email me at, and I'll send it to you!
Since I am staying home this year with my little man, I used him to model the hats! 

All you have to do, is print them and copy them on colored or white construction paper. If you choose to copy them on white construction paper, you can have your students color them. If you want them ready to go, just print them on colored construction paper. Then, you'll need to cut some strips of construction paper for the band. Adhere the band together to form a circle, and voila, you have yourself a homemade New Year's hat!

To continue getting my kiddos excited for the new year and being back at school, I had them complete a thought provoking writing craftivity to articulate their goals for the new year. I displayed them for the whole month of January! They lit up our room!

To try this craftivity with your kiddos, just visit my TpT store. I'll be giving a few away through Sunday too. To find out how to enter, visit my Facebook or find me on Instagram!

Thanks for checking out my first post of the new year!
I hope you all have a wonderful and joyous 2015! Enjoy the rest of your break and Happy New Year!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Giveaway!

Happy Monday!

I'm getting in the Christmas spirit and having a giveaway of a few of my Christmas goodies.

Just enter the Rafflecopter below. THREE winners will be chosen on Friday (12/12)!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Welcome to my Thankful Thursday link up!

Today I’d like to give thanks this cute little Christmas idea!

I always have my students write letters to Santa. One of my favorite things to do when my students write letters is to have Santa respond!

After my kiddos write their letters, I take them home and read through them all. I enlist the help of my sister and together we write the responses to each student. We have to make sure our handwriting is pretty similar. I like to personalize the letters by making sure I respond to what my students have written about in their letters. My sister and I place each letter in its own individual envelope and we write the student’s name on the envelope.
Now here’s the fun part…I get a large manila envelope and write my school’s address on it and, of course, the North Pole’s address. Then, I take all of the letters and place them into a large manila envelope. I sprinkle the inside of the filled envelope with water. I seal the envelope then sprinkle the outside of the envelope with water. I place the large envelope in the freezer overnight.

By the way…I usually do all this the night before our class Christmas party. The next morning, when I get to school, I take the envelope and place it into the freezer that’s in our teacher lounge. I ask our office manager to help me with the execution of the letter delivery. We devise a plan for her to call my classroom on the loud speaker and say that we have a special delivery that’s VERY COLD.

I usually have her call in the middle of our party. I send two students (usually my non-Santa believers) to get the package. It’s cold and wet and they return to the classroom so excited! We open the package and I call out each student’s name as I pull out the envelope. The looks on their faces are priceless!
They open the letters and read with excitement!!!!

I have had parents tell me that it’s the best Christmas memory their children have had. It’s really heart warming.
Just make sure you get every student’s letter written! You wouldn’t want to leave anyone out!

I hope you can use this idea in your classroom!

Link up and share what you’re thankful for!
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

TpT Cyber Sale {Monday and Tuesday}

I am taking part in the SUPER Cyber Sale at TpT! My entire store is 20% off! Enter the promo code TPTCYBER and receive an additional discount and you will receive a 28% discount on your purchases!

And, just to let you know, I have updated a few of my resources for December just in time for the sale! 

 I am super excited about my Polar Express Bundle!

Here's what's included:
Choo! Choo! We’re fluent readers! Fluency Passage
This activity contains a fluency passage and a chart for students to record their progress. There are also teacher directions for how to implement this activity in your classroom. 
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
Read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

Contraction Train
This fun activity contains two centers for students to complete. There is a memory matching game and another matching game where students have to find the contraction and the two words that make up the contraction. There are also some independent practice sheets for students to complete once they're done with the games.
Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.

Hot Chocolate Adverb and Adjective Sort
This fun activity will help students strengthen their adverb and adjective identification skills. Included in this game are some independent practice sheets for students to complete once they're done with the game.
There are also two posters about adverbs and adjectives in this PDF.
Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

We’ve got this book in the bag! Comprehension Questions
This is a cute little booklet for students to complete and answer questions about the beloved story.
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

On the railway to describing characters! 
Students will be able to describe the main character's traits, motivations, and feelings using a bubble map. They will also use sentence starters to explain how these attributes contribute the sequence of events. Included in this PDF is a flip chart activity for students to write about the sequence of the story.
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

This next craftivity is super fun!

I always have my kiddos write a letter to Santa. What better way to display than with this cute this Santa craft?!

I also enjoy writing with some Rudolph prompts and using this little guy for my students' writing display.

Click here for some cute Rudolph writing prompts.

Enjoy your Cyber Monday and shop, shop, shop!

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Polar Express {Ideas for your classroom!}

It's that time of year! The most wonderful time of year!

Gearing up for the holidays with your class is so much fun. There are so many fun activities to complete: Elf on the Shelf, stocking stuffers, parent gifts, holiday shows, and the list goes on and on. 

One of my favorite activities to complete with my students was a unit on the beloved book The Polar Express. Not only did my students get to enjoy this classic story, but they also learned a lot of valuable ELA content. And, as an extra bonus, they got to watch the movie too!

I know a lot of classrooms enjoy using this book as a unit and they include some fun nonacademic activities to parallel the fun learning activities going on in the classroom. 

In our classroom, I had the most fun! After completing a week of ELA activities aligned with the story, we would celebrate by having a special guest reader visit our classroom. In our classroom it was our very popular school secretary who would come read The Polar Express to my kiddos. 

Together, we created this cool PowerPoint presentation that included the pictures from the book and the movie. The PowerPoint would be in sync with her reading and the students were in AWE! At the end of the story, she would ask my class, "do you believe?" My students would all shout out "YES!" Then she responded by saying, "go check your desks!" To their surprise, they found their very own sleigh bells, with very loud rings! The looks on their faces were priceless. Some students even got emotional with excitement. It was such a beautiful thing to see the spirit of Christmas magic. 

After the excitement of the bells, we all gathered around for some hot chocolate and marshmallows. Another great part is that this day always seems to fall on our Student Council's pajama day! 

I definitely suggest trying this with your students. The only trick is to get the bells in your students' desks while they're out of the classroom! I did it during their recess time and we read the story to them as soon as they came into the classroom. I didn't even let them sit at their desks. I had them immediately sit on our reading rug instead of going to their desks so they didn't see the bells!

Ah! I love this story and the happiness it brings to children. Such a great part of the holidays!

How do you use The Polar Express in your classroom? Leave your ideas in the comments! :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

You can enter to win this bundle! 
Check out my Instagram page for the rules!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday!

Good morning everyone!

It's Thankful Thursday! What a perfect day since it's Thanksgiving!

I have so many things to be thankful for in my life. I'll keep it simple by posting this Instagram picture from the other day!

Link up and share what you're thankful for!

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