Great Simple Anchor Charts for the Real Classroom

I know I'm no Amy Groesbeck but I do love a good anchor chart! Anchor charts are more than a chance to show off your artistic abilities they should truly anchor student's learning. They should be made at least partially with students and be up for students to reference while learning about a topic. They can also be used for data tracking and classroom management. Here are just a few of mine.
Upper Grades Literacy Rotation expectations. In lower grades I had a chart for each.
When is it ok to interrupt the teacher?
Displaying on focus wall - abandoning book upper grades
upper grades just right book
Ask and Answer Questions
Synthesizing overview
Synthesizing Smoky Night - interactive anchor chart with student sticky notes over course of reading the book
Interactive Olive the Other Reindeer Character, Setting Problem Solution
Character Traits inside and outside with Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Making deep connections.
Phonics - two vowels go walking
Bossy R Phonics
One of my favorites! Phonics OU OW vowel with bandaids!
Writing - revising and editing colors.
Beginning of the year upper grades Student input what do you need to be successful?
How do you feel - emojis!
Behavior management - does it cause a problem?
Guest or substitute teacher Miss Nelson is Missing
Data Tracking
Interactive Share Your thinking, exit ticket, quick check, formative assessment!
Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details
KWL focus topic Moon tied to ELA fiction and nonfiction Kitten's First Full Moon and the Moon book by Gail Gibbons.
Claim Evidence Reasoning Scientific Explanation and Argumentative Writing upper grades
100th Day Ms. Miller shouldn't have to say!
Fruit - persuasive writing 1st grade, the best fruit is!

4 Meaningful Small Group Instruction Ideas for Beginning Readers

            I will never forget first guided reading groups for kindergarten as a reading specialist. I had taught Kindergarten for six years, several years prior and loved working with kindergarteners. I knew that I had the lowest of the two classes that I was working with but still I was confident I would do what I knew to do and they would just pick up on it and we would be reading in no time. That was the end of August.  By Labor Day I knew what I was doing wasn’t going to work. These five years olds had me stumped. I started with their names, which is where I always start teaching students their letters because the letters in their names are important to them, making them more meaningful. However, these kiddos were not connecting the letters to their names, they didn’t even know the difference between letters and numbers, or shapes or colors. These students weren’t ready to read, they weren’t ready to write they weren’t even ready to say letter names and sounds. My students needed pre-letter sound skills. They needed the prerequisite skills for identifying letters, and sounds and to write and eventually read.          

 Concepts of Print           Concepts of print or how books and text are set up have long been taught and assessed for beginning readers. To truly know how to read a student must have these concepts. One to one correspondence, return sweep, parts of a book, identifying a letter, word, punctuation, and page turning. So I created posters and task cards (more for the teacher or an aide) to do with pre-readers.

Environmental Print             Environmental print or the everyday logos, words and symbols found in children’s everyday lives are a excellent concept to link reading to meaning and make it important for students.
Image result for environmental print
 Visual Discrimination             Being able to look at letters, shapes, numbers and words and tell how they are different and alike are the first step in recognizing letters. Click picture below to purchase this resource from my TPT store!

 Fine Motor             While maybe more commonly thought of as being related to writing, fine motor skills are important for all areas of literacy. “An understanding of fine motor skills is necessary to determine their impact on reading and writing, they are the coordination of small groups of muscles to complete a task or participate in an activity.” (St. John 2013). 
Oral Language and Phonemic Awareness             The development of oral language has long been regarded as essential to reading development. Oral language is the system through which we use spoken words to express knowledge, ideas, and feelings. Results from a study by Mol, S.E., Bus, A. G., & de Jong, M.,T. (2009)  showed that children’s oral language as well as print knowledge benefited from interactions before during and after shared reading skills. 

  References Mol, S. E., Bus, A. G., & de Jong, M.,T. (2009). Interactive book reading in early education: A tool to stimulate print knowledge as well as oral language. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 979-1007. St. John, S. (2013). Factoring in Fine Motor: How Improving Fine Motor Abilities Impacts Reading and Writing. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 41(4), 16-24


7 of my Favorite Spring Read Alouds

Hiya! Today I'm sharing my favorite read alouds for Spring.  These are 7 of my favorite books to read aloud in Spring (generally March, April and May). There are so many good Spring books but these are my top 7 in no particular order.
 (this post includes Amazon affiliate links, which means I get a tiny amount if you click on one of the books and choose to buy it.) Just click on the picture of any book to add it to your Amazon cart.

1. How I became a Pirate - you may be thinking how is this a Spring read aloud? Well I use this book when I introduce R Controlled Vowels which is usually the first week of March. This signals the start of Spring for me. After this it's shamrocks, eggs, bunnies, flowers bees and bugs so I do a room transformation with AR or what we call the Pirate vowel! This is a great kick off to Spring and reengages the students in learning after the cold drab winter.
How I Became A Pirate
2. Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato - this is one of my favorite books to read in March. Yes it has leprechauns and wishes but it can also lead to a really good discussion on Ireland and the Irish.  We focus on the fact that Jamie O'Rourke is clever not lazy! Make sure you get the full version and not the board book! If you are interested I have a Reader Response Unit that goes with this book in My TPT Store. Click the cover image to grab it!

3. Tops and Bottoms - this is the most adorable book.  Great science plant tie ins!!! 
4. Chickens Aren't the Only Ones - I love this book! This book is excellent to tie in science with your ELA. Students are amazed at everything that comes from eggs.
5. Rechenka's Eggs - Oh Patricia Polacco how I love your work. Seriously she might be my favorite mid to upper children's literature author! And if you know me and know how much I love Children's literature it's very hard for me to pick a favorite! Rechenka's Eggs is a beautiful spring read aloud with wonderful illustrations and art connections.
6. Someday a Tree - Eve Bunting is another amazing author! This story is my favorite Earth Day read aloud that you might not have heard about. An excellent story about the damage that can be caused by someone's carelessness but a story of hope as well. Excellent discussion and environmental connections with this book.
I have an entire reading comprehension unit for this book which is available on TPT by clicking the cover image below!
7. Miss Rumphius - This award winning book is beautiful (all the purple! ;) my favorite color!) and a heartwarming story as well! Great for spring!
I hope you found a book or two to add to your Spring read aloud list. Are there books I missed? What is your must read for Spring? Leave me a comment and let know.

Teach like F*R*I*E*N*D*S

Hiya! Anyone who knows me or has been following any of my social media for any amount of time knows that I absolutely love the show FRIENDS. It is my all time favorite and I don't think anything will ever replace it. I can carry on a lengthy conversation using only FRIENDS quotes, if you can do the same I already like you.  I have seen shirts and such that say "live like FRIENDS" and I thought what about Teach Like Friends? So this is what I have come up with.

Plan Like Monica - Monica is a planner. She plans for every possible outcome. She has different sorts of plans. We too as teachers should have long range plans. Monthly plans and weekly plans. Do we need to be as detailed as Monica? Maybe your first couple of years until you figure it out or on sub plans. Do we need to be as rigid as Monica? Definitely not. One of the qualities that makes a good teacher is flexibility. Being able to deal with the daily changes in schedules and lessons that are bound to happen. Nothing scheduled? You're still not safe. Johnny will throw up all over the carpet during your mini lesson, or you will introduce pronoun antecedents only to find your students don't remember what pronouns are, and you've got to be able to roll with it.
Image result for monica planning phoebe's wedding
Greet like Joey - Quite possibly the most iconic line of the show is Joey's greeting. One of the most incredible changes in my classroom came when I started greeting my students every morning. I also tell them good bye at the end of the day. I get a chance to connect with each one if only those two times. I can gauge students who have had a rough morning and head it off. I can tell those who are feeling defeated after a rough day and give them hope that tomorrow is a new day.
Have fun like Phoebe - Phoebe has had a tougher life than most but she still finds the happiness in every day. She's real and kooky and sincere. That is what we should be as teachers. She sings silly songs, makes up words and gets flustered.  She's always thinking of others and helping those less fortunate but honest sometimes brutally so.
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Dress like Rachel - Ok so I say this mostly because who doesn't want Rachel's wardrobe, but she always dresses to impress. Even when she was just a waitress she looked good doing it. There's something to be said to faking it till you make it and Rachel knew that. She also knew things don't always work out the way you thought they would, but looking good makes it easier to deal with.
Image result for rachel friends meme
Laugh like Chandler - Chandler couldn't go a day without joking about something. In our line of work it's important to not take things too seriously.  We work with kids it's hard, it's messy and we don't get paid enough to do it. If we start getting too wrapped up in all the negative it will begin to affect us personally and professionally. We've got to be able to laugh at ourselves and our profession on occasion even if it is to keep from crying!
Image result for chandler joke meme
Care like Ross - lastly and perhaps most importantly care about your students. Care about them deeply and continuously. They are children, they are the future of our society. Care about the teaching profession, never stop looking for ways to improve your practice the way Ross never stops looking for love.
Image result for ross friends meme love
What do you think? Should we teach like FRIENDS? Do you agree with what I came up with? What would you add?