Tag Archives: teaching

Early Reader for Older Students

When I started teaching, I had big dreams of having deep conversations about chapter books like Shiloh, Tuck Everlasting, and The Island of the Blue Dolphin.  I’m lucky enough to have some book clubs and those dreamed of conversations.  My favorite book being Number the Stars, btw.

What I didn’t dream about and wasn’t prepared for was the number of students who could not read at grade level.  They didn’t talk about that in undergrad classes!

This year, I had 4 students who couldn’t pass BAS Level A in August. That’s the most ever in one class. I struggled to find books that were low level but not insulting to the age of my students.

Finally, I decided on rainy days this summer, I would create my own series of nonfiction early readers with real photographs that would be interesting and more importantly, not insulting, to the nine and ten year old who struggle to read even the most basic sight words.

I finished the first 5 early readers ($1.25 each) and they are available on my TpT page.  For a limited time, you can get all 5 books here for just $4.50 — I would love some feedback, too.

🙂 Denise

Positive Office Referrals

I starting using Positive Office Referrals about 2 years ago.  Our school is PBiS and kids can enter weekly drawings to win prizes from the Wildcat Warehouse.  Some students, however, need immediate feedback and praise or honestly, some positive adult attention.

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If I see a student go out of their way to be kind to someone they might not usually talk to or working really hard on a challenging assignment, I write up a positive office referral.  Students can then walk on down to the office to share in the good news.  The office staff is really good about making a big deal about the student’s efforts and send them back with praise and a treat or pencil. 

My advice is to make the “why” you gave the referral to them clear so that we can expect that behavior to show up again.  If you aren’t yet on summer vacation, give it a try today!

Favorite ELA Websites : Part 1

I promised myself when I started blogging, each blog would be short and sweet.  I hate reading someone’s life story to simply find the ingredients in salsa!  Just sayin’.  So, this topic may span over a few days to avoid breaking my #1 rule.


I am in a few Facebook groups and there’s always a question about what 

online resources members would recommend for reading/ELA time.  

By far, I recommend the free website www.readworks.org and here’s why.

1.  I link ReadWorks through Google Classroom (in the About section) so students can simply click on the link and log in with their Google account.  You can import your class list, too!

2.  There are a TON of engaging articles and stories at a variety of lexile levels.  You can add ELL and SPED supports, have articles read to the student(s), and other forms of differentiation that give every kid an access point.

3.   Using the Articles of the Day gives students 4-5 different nonfiction articles about a topic.  Kids have the choice of which articles they read.  It them prompts them to type up information that they learned in the Book of Knowledge.  *The ELL support features gives kids a sentence starter!

Finally, ReadWorks grades the multiple choice and you grade written responses and give feedback (optional).  Then you have the option to reassign part of or have the student redo the entire assignment from scratch.

So easy to use and a great resource to bookmark for the fall!  🙂 Denise

About Me!

Bitmoji Me

I started teaching back in the mid–nineties.  I remember being led to my room on the first “workday” to find stacked a mile high in a corner:  desks, way too many empty shelves and some old, old, text books.  I don’t remember there being anything else except a short-lived “old school” crank style pencil sharpener that I unbolted by the third day of school.

I tell you this because I started before state testing, pacing guides, PLC’s and data teams.  I learned to teach through trial and error, a great deal of patience and making everything from scratch.  It forced me to become a lifelong learning, long before I was ready to (since I’d just graduated from college).

Now, learning is my life!

I’m grateful for the journey I have been on and I can’t wait to continue my teaching adventures with you! Denise