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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Currently for August

I know that I am a little late for Currently this month, but late is better than never!  Thanks Farley!

Not much to explain with this one.

I am terrible at reciprocating play dates because I feel like my house is always too messy.  I decided to let that be the motivation to have my oldest help me clean, if she wants her friends over.  After all, most of it is her mess!

I know I'm not the only who feels like August hit them like a freight train.  Hoping to make it to the pool a couple of more times before school start for me on the 17th.

My B2S RAK is to put notes in mailboxes.  During those tough times of year, testing which is always  conferences, Curriculum Night, etc, that little reminder of why we do what we do can get us through.  Spread the inspiration!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sight Word Assessments - Now Editable!

I have been working very hard lately, trying to get back into the swing of blogging and creating/updating products for this lil' ole' store of mine.  The weather has finally started to turn around here in the burbs and the snow is almost gone.

I recently made all of my Dolch sight word assessment packs Editable!  You can read about this product in my original post HERE.  That post describes how I use the different parts of the pack.  I have added a few things to the product since that post, but basically it boils down to this.

Each of the packs come with flashcards.  There is one blank set of flashcards where you can add your own words.

The word wall pieces are great to use on your white board for some center work or on a bulletin board.  There is also a blank page of popcorn for you to add your own words.

The bookmarks are used by students to read through in their book boxes.  Some teachers (me included) have laminated them and used them to assess.  Some even put them on rings to put in their guided reading basket to spot check students on their sight word knowledge.  There is a blank form of the bookmarks also editable for you to add extra words.

I added this page for those of us who might have a writer's notebook or something like that.  This is a great reference with all of the words on one page.  Students can use them to refer to when they are writing in journals or during writer's workshop.

For my other assessment packs I have writer's notebook pages that are cumulative all of the Dolch sight word lists.

There are 3 different assessments.  One is a quarterly assessment to show progress for each quarter, a trimesterly assessment if you happen to be on trimesters like our district is, and a progress monitoring assessment.  Each of these also comes in a blank (not editable) form for you to add your own words.

The certificates are great for the celebration once your students know all of the sight words!

The above pictures are for the pre-primer pack only, but all of the packs are now editable!  Click on the pictures below to be taken to my store to purchase.  They will all be 20% off for the next 2 days!




Now, off to Indiana this weekend for a 6th grade girls basketball tournament.  Go Blue Devils!!!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently - March

First post of 2015!  I am amazed myself that it has been so long since I have last posted!  I am really pumped that I am not going to be in the last 300's of Farley's Currently this month.  Seriously jazzed about that!

Christina Perri is fast becoming one of my new favorites!  I could listen to her voice all day.  It is very soothing.

I gave a presentation on Friday for our district about reading anecdotal notes.  I haven't given a presentation outside of my school in a while.  It went well!  It is a big relief to have it behind me!!

I am some plans and drafts of future posts, and it feels so good to get back to this little ole' blog.  I have good reasons for being gone so long, but I truly miss it when I am absent from it!

I love in the burbs of Chicago - need I say more?

Umm ....., no it is not Fifty Shades of Grey (been there done that with the whole trilogy - more than once), it is a different series that is similar.  It's such a train wreck, and I ask myself why can't I stop reading this!?!  There are so many other wonderful books worth your time, Amy!  You are better than this!

Spring Break Plans
Nothing in the works now.  I think a "staycation" is just what the doctor ordered.

Thanks Farley, for hosting this every month!  Now go link up!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Currently

I know that it has been a while since I have blogged.  No excuses, just really busy.  I could give you a screen shot of my October and November calendar, but I think it would leave you hyperventilating into a paper bag (which is how I spent much of October and November)!

A nice way to ease back into blogging is to link up with Farley for December Currently.

I love this station the most on my Pandora!  It gives me Adele, the Pitch Perfect soundtrack, and my other eclectic music loves.

I don't care how busy I am, I am taking more time to read for pleasure!  I recently finished Mockingjay for the second time so I was all set for the movie.

A week off gave me lots of time to organize the next three weeks.  I really thought about how to plan out everything that I needed to do.  Okay, so I didn't do the one load of laundry, but I swear everything else got done!

I bought lights but they were the really bright LED lights.  I don't know about you, but they are blinding!  I like soft warm lights.  I exchanged them, but haven't put the new set on yet.

My youngest turns 8 on December 7th (a date which will live in infamy).  I get so caught up in planning for the holiday, that her birthday always sneaks up on me!

My oldest daughter has decided to give up birthday presents the last two years in favor of having her friends bring new pajamas which will be donated.  The girl has collected about 40-50 pairs of pj's.  She plans to donate them to The Pajama Program.  You can read about the organization here.  So proud of her!

Don't forget about the TpT Cyber Sale!  I finally broke down and bought the license for all of the KG fonts.  I plan on using the credits from that to pick up some other goodies!

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Look!

Okay, so raise your hand if you've ever had blog envy.
C'mon be honest.
Yeah, you there in the back - is your hand raised?

Well, I have!  I see these beautiful, simple yet well-designed blogs and I want one for myself!  However, I am not a big time blogger and I don't want to pay a designer to do it for me.  Some may call it cheap, I call it being thrifty!  So my big project this summer (and yes, it took most of the summer), was to design my own blog.  I took it step by step.

Here is the new and improved Reading Is Elementary!

My first step was to choose a color scheme.  I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but my favorite color is brown.  I knew that I wanted to have brown be the focus of color for the blog.  If you just type in color schemes into Pinterest, you will see so many choices, it will knock your socks off.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board on all of the color schemes I looked at.  Here was my winner:
This was the start.  I loved the combination of bright colors with the brown and stone colors.

Then I went and read my Bloglovin feed and perused through so many different blogs to get an idea of what I liked and what I didn't like.  I love the simplicity of some of the latest designs, so I knew that was the style that I was going for.

Next, Google became my best friend!  I would literally type into my search engine, "How do I bring my header down from the top of my blog?"  I would research every little thing I wanted step by step.  Then I would try it out on the test blog that I have that is not view-able to the public.  I wrote down every step that I did with links to websites and videos that I used.  I remember how the hubs teased me because I got so excited when I figured out how to round the corners of the top of my blog!  I believe his exact words were, "Whew, now I can sleep.  That was keeping me up nights!"  Mr. Comedian!

Then right before school started, I finished!  I have been so busy that I didn't have time to put the whole thing together in one sitting.  Then, I didn't care anymore and big, fat did it anyway!  I started on Saturday and then stopped to go to a softball game and then a football game.  Came home and finished up.

I still have some finishing touches.  For some reason, the same code that worked on my test blog for my signature post and post divider is not working on my real blog.  That has me stumped!  I will, however, persevere and not give up!  

All that hard work.  I think it is something to celebrate, don't you?  My store will be 20% off until Wednesday to celebrate!  I am excited and exhausted!  I am proud and a little ashamed that I know so much about HTML and CSS codes now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Letters

I have been reading this gal's blog pretty much since the beginning, and I think she is wonderful.  I am linking up with Michelle at Big Time Literacy this week for the first time with this incredible creative linky.  It's called:

So let's get started!

Dear September,
In the past, you have always kind of hit me like a Mack Truck.  With all of the testing that is needed before I get my program up and running, to the hectic schedules that both of my daughters have, you always keep my struggling to catch up!  I feel like this year I am ready for you.  This has me a little concerned that you may have something else up your sleeve.  Please take it easy on me if you can.
Anxiously Awaiting,

Dear Fellow Cheer Coaches,
I have had so much fun with you all and our squad of 16 second graders so far this year.  I am by far convinced that we have the cutest batch of little "Bears" around!  Thanks for making this experience so much fun!
Let's go Bears!

Dear Theo James (the actor),
I loved the way you played the character Four in Divergent, and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the trilogy.  I now want to see pretty much everything you have ever acted in.  It also doesn't hurt that you are easy on the eyes.  You sing, dance, and have a great sense of humor.  My kind of guy!
Your stalker (but not in a bad way),

Dear Hubby,
Thank you for being understanding with this crazy fall schedule that we always seem to have.  Thank you for understanding when the dishes aren't done or I am behind on laundry (let's face it, that is all the time).  If we have a dirty house and happy family, I am okay with that!

Dear Lilah,
You have been with our family since December and I have since come to understand that I am your favorite person in the house.  I understand that you will follow me everywhere around the house, lay right outside the door when I am in the bathroom, and constantly try to sit in my lap.  I love you too, but you could sometimes love on someone else don't change a thing!
Your Mama

This is so fun!  Thanks Michelle for these great reflections on the week!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blasting Off To a Great Year!

You made it!  This is the last stop for . . . . . . . . .
I know that you have all heard the saying, "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words."  This can literally be true when you work with children.  One of my duties is to push into our kindergarten classrooms at the beginning of the year.  I help the teachers start to establish some of the elements of Daily 5.  

Right away, we talk about how reading is so important.  I speak for about 10 seconds before a little one blurts out kindly informs me that they don't know how to read.  Are you nodding your heads?  Has this happened to you?

If you are familiar with "The Sisters," they make a point of teaching these beginning readers that reading the words is only one way to read a book.  There are actually 3 ways to read a book:  Read the words, Read the pictures, Retell the story.  I am going to tell you about one book that I use to model READ THE PICTURES.

I first tell the students that I am going to show them how to read this book, but I am not going to read any words except for the title and author.  There is usually a little one who asks, "How will we know what's going on in the story?"  I usually say something profound like, "Wow, you're right!" or "Good thinking, I wonder that too!"  I end by saying, "Let's just look at the pictures in the story and see what is going on."

As I "read" the book, I basically give a commentary of what the pictures tell me.  I use the words, "I can read here that . . . . . . . ."  I deliberately use the word READ often so they get used to knowing that you can read pictures. 

Below, you can see some of the wonderful illustrations by Molly Bang that lend itself so well to talking about them.  It is very clear what is going on and how Sophie is feeling.

This is a page from the beginning.  You can see here what might have made Sophie angry.  I make sure that I stick with describing the picture.  Often the students are one step ahead of me (not shocking). Our conversations go something like this:
Student - She's mad!
Me - Why do you say that?
Student - Look at the way the word coming out of her mouth is written.  It's all pointy!
Me - Very good thinking!  It does look like it is written in an angry way.

And so on goes our conversation through the book.  The illustrations when she is mad are all outlined in red.  As she calms, the outlines turn to orange, then purple.  The pictures are so natural to read that the words are really not necessary to read this book.  Here are some other pictures from the book.

This is a great book to model READ THE PICTURES.  It is also a great book to use for older kids to work on inference skills.

There you have it!  Happy back to School!  I hope your year flies high!  And Remember:

Here is your link back to the beginning of our hop to Andrea at Reading Toward the Stars!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Still Here!

Yes, it truly is me......blogging.  I kind of can't believe it myself!  When I looked at my last post, I was horrified to see that it was from late February.  I am thoroughly disgusted and ashamed of myself!  Well, kind of.  I was quite the busy beaver!

Anyhoo, I am here and back and ready to get back in the blogging realm.  As busy as I have been, I have truly missed my little life here in blogger land!

I am on summer vacation now.  We ended on June 10th.  This gives me more time.  Time to do what, I have no idea, but t-i-m-e people!  So excited!

I have been working on some new projects for TpT and my home and classroom.  I know that all of you probably have your summer bucket lists too.

Keeping it short today.  I just wanted to make sure that you knew I was still alive and kicking.  All's good (just really wet the last couple of days)!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Goodreads Goal

You may remember that I am a member and a lover of the website Goodreads.  You can read about that post here.  You may also remember that I told you that Goodreads has a yearly challenge where you can pledge to read a certain number of books.  You may also also remember that I failed to meet my goal of 52 books in the year 2013 (seriously think I had half, either way, I've blocked it out of my memory already).

I doesn't seem that I am a very fast learner, because here I am again this year with the same goal.  I am even going to put the Goodreads widget back on my sidebar (shame made me take it down before).  It may help keep me on track!

If you are a Goodreads member, look me up and be my Goodreads friend!  I don't belong to many groups, and have never written a review yet, but I love to look at the feeds and see what everyone is reading.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sahara Special

I love this new linky I just found from another blog I stalk read.  The linky is called Must-Read Monday from Amanda's blog Teaching Madness.

I know that I have shared with you that I really love books on tape.  I borrow them from my local library and then download through my phone through a wonderful app called Overdrive.  Many of your local libraries use some sort of media console for their audio and e-books.  

So, the book that I finished recently was called Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell.  It was a Rebeca Caudill Nominee here in Illinois in 2006.

It is a wonderful book about a teacher who has made a huge difference in an inner city girl's life as she is going through the separation/divorce of her parents.  It is a very touching book that has you rooting for the main character Sahara every step of the way.  There are a few choice words in the book, so you would want to read it with mature upper elementary or middle school students.  I think that this would be a great book for character study.  The characters, major and minor, behave in some unexpected ways that would be great for analyzing the motivations behind their actions.

Thanks Amanda for providing us book lovers with ways to talk about what we are reading!