Saturday, November 26, 2011

Short Vowel Personal Reader Stories

I use personal reader folders with many of the students in my room each year. Each student in my room (who is not already reading above grade level at the beginning of the year) has their own personal reader folder. I select short stories with simple patterned text (that I write myself) to include in each students folder, depending on their individual needs. During small group time, students work with their personal reader folders as part of their guided reading time. The personal reader folders are just a simple folder on the outside.

This is a picture of one of my personal reader folders.
Repetition, repetition, repetition.... and focused text selection are the reasons that I use personal readers with my students. You can find an old post about my first set of personal readers stories by clicking here.

I have two different sets of personal reader stories available to purchase at my Tpt and Teachers Notebook shops.  Both sets (and all of my other products) are on sale for 15% off from now through Monday, 11/28. 
This is the first set.  It focuses on basic sight words.
This is the new set and it is a bit more difficult than the first set.  It focuses on short vowel word families and basic sight words.

Back to cheering for my favorite football team.  Go Bucks!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Reading Ticket Freebie has been super relaxing (unlike the past few weeks). I apologize. I've pretty much been a loser of a blogger in the past few weeks. I'm trying not to complain publicly about something that we've been waiting for for two years...but just a few words can explain the extra stress. We're moving over the holidays. Let's just say that the normal to-do list that races in my head at night (while the rest of the world sleeps) is rather out of control this month. I'm trying not to panic about the fact that our house finally has a contract and we can't seem to find a house to purchase at the moment...because NO ONE moves over the holidays (except us, right?). It will all work out... it was our choice to sell our current house and this was all part of the plan.  Deep breaths...

Soooo....although I'm enjoying this long weekend with my family...I am also looking forward to getting back to the classroom to cram in as much learning as I can before the next holiday break.

My students will begin using reading tickets during quiet reading time next week.   Quiet reading time has so many names, doesn't it?   I don't know why I call it "quiet reading time", because I don't really want my kids to be quiet.  I do expect them to be actively reading the entire time.  To keep everyone on task (starting about now for my 1st graders), I use quiet reading tickets.  At the beginning of quiet reading time each day, I give each student a quiet reading ticket.  The students are expected to read to 4 different students and get signatures for their own reading ticket.  It's not super quiet.  It doesn't look like traditional DEAR time.  But, kids are actively engaged in reading to each other and it holds them accountable.  It works for me and my students.

I made these "winter themed" reading tickets to use with my students in the next couple months.  You can click on the picture below if you'd like to download them.

I just finished another set of Personal Reader stories that I'm hoping to post on Teachers Notebook and Tpt tomorrow.  Don't forget...I'm having a 15% sale from now until Monday.

Boxes, packing tape and labels...oh my!  :)

Thanksgiving Weekend Sale!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Traveling Books and 5 Senses Poetry

My students make several traveling books each year. The students in my class take each traveling book (which are basically class books) home one at a time. I send a note with the traveling book that basically says the student should read the book to their family and return the book to school the very next day.

Since we've been working on writing poetry, we made a traveling book 
out of the poems the children wrote about Halloween. 

The poems they wrote are in the 5 senses format. We used one of the poetry forms from my Seasonal 5 Senses Poetry Forms pack to do the original writing and their poems became published pieces when we put them in our book. Next week, we will be using the Thanksgiving 5 senses form from the same pack. Throughout the year, we work on adding details and really making our poems sparkle with interesting adjectives.  My students become really familiar with the 5 senses format over time, which allows us to focus more on word choice.  I also keep a copy of each of the 5 senses poems each student wrote throughout the year.  At the end of the year, each student is given a book of the seasonal poems they wrote to take home.

You can click on the image below to see this item in my Tpt store.  It is also available at my Teachers Notebook shop.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Story Mapping

One of the things I will be working on a lot during reader's workshop time in the next couple months is story mapping. My students do a great job identifying the characters in a story (thank you, kindergarten). I just started to focus on the setting, the problem and any solutions.

Here is a picture of the anchor chart that I laminated, so I can just add/remove post-it notes each time we use it for a different story.  I confess... I'm addicted to scrapbook paper.  I use it for almost everything (other than it's intended purpose - I can't seem to fit that into my schedule).  I also confess
a lot (I'm Catholic), but not to the priest several times a year (like I'm "supposed to).  Oy vey...

We're using our story map anchor chart with Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey this week.  

Here is the story map recording sheet that my students use.  You can click on the image if you'd like to download it.  I hope it's useful to someone (other than me).

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Amazing Surprise

For once, I'm nearly speechless. I just received news that my blog was chosen as one of the Top 10 Teaching Blogs on I am shocked and honored. You can read about my blog (and 9 other blogs that I admire) by clicking on the link below.

Find the best blogs at

Less than a year ago, I decided to "mess around" with blogger one day and attempt to create my own blog. Before ya know it, I had a blog with a name that my mom and my daughter helped me choose.   Then came the new design, from Kristen at Ladybug Teaching Resources. The stars must have been aligned just right a few days later when I was accepted as an author for TBA.  Within another month, I had Tpt store. A couple months later I started a Teachers Notebook shop as well. My favorite part of this blogging journey...I now have a network of supportive teachers and friends from all around the country (and even different parts of the world). I have learned so much from other teachers who generously share their ideas and resources.

Thank you for reading my blog!  Today is for sure my lucky day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I need help (please)!

Help! I only have 2 more days to try to reach 1st place!!!! Remember, I have the competitive curse. My blog is currently in 2nd place. I would be super grateful if you'd help me by voting! You can vote 1 time each day until Tuesday, Nov. 8.

And the sweetest thing just happened to me...Mrs. Kennedy from The Kennedy Korral just left a message for me. Her blog is currently in 3rd place and she is asking her voters to vote for my blog help push me into 1st place! What!?!? Yep, that's right! I'm declaring that a random act of kindness and an example of good sportsmanship.  Thank you, Mrs. Kennedy!

 Please vote by clicking on the image below or on my sidebar!

I would like to thank the staff in my district (and in my hometown), friends, bloggin' buddies and family for voting, posting and cheering me all the way to my current spot.  It's not over yet... please continue to vote!!! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Literacy Anchor Charts

Halloween week just about wiped me out! It started with a parade/party/storyteller combo that could knock any teacher right out. Then I read a post by Kristen from A Teeny Tiny Teacher that totally freaked me out. I've been feeling shocked and sorry for her all week. She really should get an award for sticking with the profession after that spooky Halloween disaster. Love ya, Kristen. I'm the wife of a wood shop teacher, so we count fingers on a regular basis. If you read it, then you'll understand why I was all  freaked out.  To top it all off (as a result of my competitive curse), I've had to spend a lot of time campaigning for votes for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Teacher Mom blog list.  I'm not sure if it was the energy I spent campaigning or the kid who sneezed right in my face at the reading group table this week...but my week ended with a fever.

I'm feeling better today, so on to the teaching stuff... I've been making anchor charts with my students to help them brainstorm for writing activities. Here are two of my favorites from our recent writing projects.

After reading several scarecrow books, we did a scarecrow writing project. The book we read on this particular day was The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown.

It's a little hard to see the words the students wrote in the boxes, because I made them use a pencil.  But, as the class thought of words to describe a scarecrow the words were added into the boxes.  When we finished brainstorming, they completed their own writing project about scarecrows.

We also made an anchor chart when we read Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley to work on developing mental images.  I read the book without showing the students the pictures.  The students drew their own big green monster based on their mental images.  The students shared their own monsters as a group.  Then, I reread the story and we made the anchor chart together.  The students drew the picture and added the words on the chart.  Finally, they returned to their desks to label their own monsters.

I glue lines in the boxes sometimes.  I know...big freak.  Doesn't it look nice though?
I'm linking this post to the anchor chart linky party at Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes.  Please stop by to visit to see the other anchor charts.

If you have a minute...please consider voting for my blog to be on the Top 25 Teacher Mom blogs at Circle of Moms.  All of your votes are really helping!!  You can vote 1 time each day until Nov. 8 by clicking on the icon on my sidebar.