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Are you looking for a way to invigorate your reading groups?  My day is made up of K-5 reading groups and I'm sharing 10 things that have revolutionized my reading groups.  These essentials keep our small group reading group on track, organized, and hassle-free.

Here are the 3 steps that will transform you from a non-crafter to a certified Martha Stewart! Do you swoon every time you see something that has been hand lettered?  Do you wish that you had the creativity to do the same?  Well that was me until I figured out this crafty secret.


Do you swoon every time you see something that has been hand lettered?  Do you wish that you had the creativity to do the same?  Well that was me until I figured out this crafty secret.
Here are the 3 steps that will transform you from a non-crafter to a certified Martha Stewart!

Step 1: 

Grab your computer and open up whatever program you are most familiar with (I prefer PowerPoint)!  Find a fun font and type whatever message you want to add to your chalkboard or latest Target Dollar Spot find.


Here are the 3 steps that will transform you from a non-crafter to a certified Martha Stewart! Do you swoon every time you see something that has been hand lettered?  Do you wish that you had the creativity to do the same?  Well that was me until I figured out this crafty secret.

Step 2: 

Project that image!  Once I’ve decided on my text, I hook my computer up to my classroom promethean board and project it (not during my contractual school hours).  For this project I taped the apple to the board.

To get your text to the appropriate size you will might need to increase or decrease the size. Once you have that situated grab a pencil and start tracing each letter.

Here are the 3 steps that will transform you from a non-crafter to a certified Martha Stewart! Do you swoon every time you see something that has been hand lettered?  Do you wish that you had the creativity to do the same?  Well that was me until I figured out this crafty secret.



Step 3: 

Now it’s time to put the finishing touches on your project!  Use a liquid chalk marker to trace your pencil outline!  I like to go over it twice to make the chalk line darker.  These pens can be found at Target, Walmart, Michaels and Amazon - so basically everywhere!

Here are the 3 steps that will transform you from a non-crafter to a certified Martha Stewart! Do you swoon every time you see something that has been hand lettered?  Do you wish that you had the creativity to do the same?  Well that was me until I figured out this crafty secret.


Sometimes when I feel like living life on the edge, I skip the pencil tracing and trace using the chalk marker.

That’s it!  Pretty easy don’t you think?  It is a great way to add a personalized touch to any project.  Here is an example of another project that I did; an end of the year gift for my son’s teachers.  I made it by tracing a free printable that I downloaded!



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Here are the 3 steps that will transform you from a non-crafter to a certified Martha Stewart! Do you swoon every time you see something that has been hand lettered?  Do you wish that you had the creativity to do the same?  Well that was me until I figured out this crafty secret.



Are you looking for some fun ways to get to know your students better?  Here are three great getting to know you activities for back to school!  I use them at the beginning of the year, when we get a new student and/or change groups.  Click here to get your freebie!

Are you looking for some fun ways to get to know your students better?  Here are three great getting to know you activities for back to school!  I use them at the beginning of the year, when we get a new student and/or change groups.  Sometimes when the group earns a game day they still ask to do some of these activities even though we already know each other!

Activity #1: Guess Who

This is a fun freebie that can be used in a few different ways!  Students write three different clues about themselves and then the QR code will reveal their true identity!

Are you looking for some fun ways to get to know your students better?  Here are three great getting to know you activities for back to school!  I use them at the beginning of the year, when we get a new student and/or change groups.  Click here to get your freebie!

Getting Started

I always love to start by brainstorming with the whole group!  This way everyone won’t give the same/obvious clues like hair and eye color. Once everyone has chosen three clues, they can write them and move onto the next step.

Making a QR Code

Learning how to make a QR code is easy and once you know how to make one there are so many other wonderful ways to use it in the classroom!

If you have never made one before, here is a great QR tutorial from the always amazing Tabitha Carro.  Pay close attention at the 2:30 mark for connecting a QR code to plain text (like someone’s name).

Then print the QR Codes and put each student’s on the bottom corner of their page.  The square at the bottom of the page fits a QR code that is 1.5” x 1.5 “

QR  Code Reader

There are so many great free ones in the iTunes store!  You will need at least one device that has a QR code reader.

Are you looking for some fun ways to get to know your students better?  Here are three great getting to know you activities for back to school!  I use them at the beginning of the year, when we get a new student and/or change groups.  Click here to get your freebie!


You can display "Guess Who" and let kids go around guessing and scanning!  If you have some time for a whole group activity, you can display one at a time, read the clues and have the students make predictions before scanning or having the real student reveal themselves!

Activity #2: Getting to Know You Jenga

How to Play:

There are so many ways to play this game!  I play it in small groups and depending on the age of the students I read the question or students read the questions.  When a student picks a block, everyone answers the question!

Some other ways to play are as a center, in partners or you can even play as a whole group!

Are you looking for some fun ways to get to know your students better?  Here are three great getting to know you activities for back to school!  I use them at the beginning of the year, when we get a new student and/or change groups.  Click here to get your freebie!

Materials Needed:

You will need jenga or jumble blocks (target dollar spot version), modge podge, some sort of brush to apply the modge podge, and of course the questions! Adhere the questions with modge podge and once it dries you are ready for action!

Activity #3: Getting to Know You QR Codes

How to Play:

Much like Getting to Know You Jenga there are so many ways to play! You can play in a small group, whole group or with partners!  You can tape the QR codes around the classroom or school and go on a scavenger hunt for them.  Or sometimes I put them in a bin and we take turns picking them out and scanning them.

Materials Needed:

At least 1 device with a QR code reader (free from iTunes) and the QR Codes.


Those are three of my favorite getting to know you activities for back to school!  I hope you give one a try and your students love them as much as mine do!  Don’t forget to grab your freebie below!




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Are you looking for some fun ways to get to know your students better?  Here are three great getting to know you activities for back to school!  I use them at the beginning of the year, when we get a new student and/or change groups.  Click here to get your freebie!















Photo Credit: Dot Dudes on the cover image are from Sarah Peccerino Illustrations



Click to learn more about Digital flashcards and six ways that you can incorporate them into your classroom.  They are a game changer when it comes to reading and are such an engaging and motivating activity.


Do you want to know more about phonological awareness? Did you ever think you knew a lot about a topic only to find out you barely knew anything at all? That’s how I felt about phonological awareness until I read the book Equipped for Reading Success by Dr. David Kilpatrick. Here are some of my top takeaways!

Do you have an Erin Condren Teacher  Planner?  Check out this post and get some freebies so that you can personalize it even more!  Even if you don't have an Erin Condren Teacher Planner YET - there may be something you can use in your current planner!

I made my own planner each year since I started teaching.  But this year, I finally took the plunge and got an Erin Condren Teacher Planner and there is no turning back!  I have come across some fun hacks and want to share some great freebies to help you personalize your EC Teacher Planner!

Last month I attended the always amazing #tptflock16.  I was lucky enough to win my very own Erin Condren teacher planner that came with some great accessories thanks to Mikey D.  Here is the amazingness that was included:

Do you have an Erin Condren Teacher  Planner?  Check out this post and get some freebies so that you can personalize it even more!  Even if you don't have an Erin Condren Teacher Planner YET - there may be something you can use in your current planner!

 I can’t wait to use it next year!  But now let’s talk about my current planner and some freebies for you! I am a reading teacher so not all sections seemed applicable to me - hence the need for personalization!

Monthly Plan

First off we have the plan your months.  I don’t necessarily have curriculum to map out so I used it to help map out yearbook tasks for the year. (unnecessary side note: I ended up procrastinating to the yearbook until the bitter end and not breaking it up by months)

Do you have an Erin Condren Teacher  Planner?  Check out this post and get some freebies so that you can personalize it even more!  Even if you don't have an Erin Condren Teacher Planner YET - there may be something you can use in your current planner!

 Attendance Log

I also do not have a need for an attendance log and I can't remember a password to save my life so I turned this page into a list of all of my passwords and usernames!  I have included 4 different versions for you!

Do you have an Erin Condren Teacher  Planner?  Check out this post and get some freebies so that you can personalize it even more!  Even if you don't have an Erin Condren Teacher Planner YET - there may be something you can use in your current planner!


Time Slots

This is perhaps the most life changing freebie I have ever come across - editable schedule headers for the top of each weekly spread!  I simply type my times and print it out on a full sheet label!  I have more groups than time slots, but I can fit two group times can easily fit into one slot.  Thank you to Stephanie from Third Grade Thoughts for this brilliant idea!

Do you have an Erin Condren Teacher  Planner?  Check out this post and get some freebies so that you can personalize it even more!  Even if you don't have an Erin Condren Teacher Planner YET - there may be something you can use in your current planner!

Washi Tape Dividers

This is another great idea from Third Grade Thoughts!  She uses washi tape on the side of the page to section off trimesters.  I change my washi colors by major schedule/group changes.  Washi tape is so much fun so use it in whatever way that  works for you!

Do you have an Erin Condren Teacher  Planner?  Check out this post and get some freebies so that you can personalize it even more!  Even if you don't have an Erin Condren Teacher Planner YET - there may be something you can use in your current planner!

So You Need to Remove a Sticker

This happens to me every….time! I thought that I was carefully applying my monthly stickers, and of course I was not!  So rather that rip up the sticker ruining both it and the page I used Undo!  I first learned about it in my previous life as a scrapbooker.  It works like a charm and never rips the paper!

Looking for a coupon?

Click here to get you $10 off your first purchase!

 

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Do you have an Erin Condren Teacher  Planner?  Check out this post and get some freebies so that you can personalize it even more!  Even if you don't have an Erin Condren Teacher Planner YET - there may be something you can use in your current planner!



Are you looking for an easy way to teach main idea?  Check out this mentor text with a free printable!  This example uses the story of Ivan but the printable can be used with any book!  There is also a digital resource featured as well as links to other comprehension topics.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I always love joining my Reading Crew friends to share some great resources and mentor texts!  Be on the lookout for my mystery word which will be in blue!

Book Summary

The title of the book is a very accurate summary!  The award winning book Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla is based on the real life events of  Ivan the Gorilla who was taken from the wild and brought to a mall in Washington State where he spent most of his life.


Lesson Intro

There were a few topics that were important to go over before we could dive into the text.


Are you looking for an easy way to teach main idea?  Check out this mentor text with a free printable!  This example uses the story of Ivan but the printable can be used with any book!  There is also a digital resource featured as well as links to other comprehension topics.
First we talked about main idea.  It can be a tricky topic to teach but this anchor chart provides a great visual to help students understand.  (I have included a template that can be used for your anchor chart.You can just project it and trace it)

Next, we went to the website PebbleGo and read about Gorillas.  There was a lot of great information and it helped set the stage for students to read the book about Ivan.

When we looked at the cover, we also had to take a moment to discuss that even though the book had illustrations, it was a true story about a Gorilla. It was also an odd concept for students (and myself) to understand that at one time there was a shopping mall that had a wild animal living in it.

How to Use this Resource

There are a variety of ways this resource can be used, depending on the grade that you use it with.  I used this particular chart with primary students.  After I read the book, we brainstormed some big ideas/main ideas about Ivan.  One student said that Ivan was not like other gorillas, and we went with that!

Are you looking for an easy way to teach main idea?  Check out this mentor text with a free printable!  This example uses the story of Ivan but the printable can be used with any book!  There is also a digital resource featured as well as links to other comprehension topics.

We pulled up the digital version and got to work.  We brainstormed some supporting details on the chart.  Then students independently filled in their own supporting details using a paper/pencil chart.

Are you looking for an easy way to teach main idea?  Check out this mentor text with a free printable!  This example uses the story of Ivan but the printable can be used with any book!  There is also a digital resource featured as well as links to other comprehension topics.

Extension Activities 

In this video, the author, Katherine Applegate, talks to Ivan’s zookeeper, Jody Carrigan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwbbu4uDaKs

This is the publisher's website that includes an incredible book trailer and a video from the author.
http://hmhbooks.com/ivan/

If you do not have a PebbleGo subscription, this National Geographic Kids link is a good source of information about Gorillas. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mountain-gorilla/#mountain-gorilla-closeup-eating.jpg

The author also wrote The One and Only Ivan, a chapter book that is a fictional story inspired by the real life of Ivan the Gorilla. This book was the inspiration for the non-fiction picture book Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla geared toward a younger audience.

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Are you looking for an easy way to teach main idea?  Check out this mentor text with a free printable!  This example uses the story of Ivan but the printable can be used with any book!  There is also a digital resource featured as well as links to other comprehension topics.




















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