Apps for Reading



Do you have favorite apps for reading?  I found some new ones that you might want to try.  Please note:  The apps that are marked as free may change in the future.  


Fun way to practice letter sounds!


Your students will enjoy practicing sight words with the 5 games included with this app.


Students practice early pre-reading skills.


The site, Learning Games for Kids, has fun spelling games.

What are your favorite apps?  I will add some to this post so you can bookmark this post as a resource.



Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

Teacher Tip: Paperwork, Grading, Organization

http://www.teach123school.com/2016/02/teacher-tip-paperwork-grading.html

Do you feel like your stacks of papers keep growing?  Paperwork can add stress to an already stressful job.  Just like you have a system for your discipline, you need a system for managing your paperwork.  Once you find a system that works for you, you will still have too much paperwork, but it feel more manageable and little less stressful.

Keeping up with who turned in their assignments and who didn't was one of my biggest headaches when I began teaching.  Then I figured out a system that worked for me.

Valentine's Day Morale Booster


Valentine's Day is a fun time to do staff morale booster.  It has been a while since winter break and spring break is too far away.  This can be organized by the principal or sunshine - social committee.  One of my principals did this at my school and it was a hit!

Cut valentine's (the type that students exchange) into two parts.  Put one part into every staff member's mailbox on Valentine's Day or the last work day before Valentine's Day.
The object of this activity is for staff members to find their "match".  When we did this, staff members carried their valentine everywhere and if any other staff member walked by, they stopped to see if they were a "match".  Of course, our students knew about the activity so they watched the whole thing of teachers trying to line up their valentine to see if they were a match.  

Sub Plans & Tips


When you are sick, the last thing you feel like doing is writing and organizing sub plans.  Unfortunately, if you don't make emergency plans, that is what you will be doing.

When I make sub plans whether it is emergency or a planned absence such as that for professional development, I try to plan a theme or topic that is high interest.  The more interesting it is, the less time off task, and few discipline problems my sub will have. 

WELLNESS COMMITTEE and Sunshine Committee


Does your school have a Wellness Committee?  This is a perfect time of the year with the New Year's resolutions for the committee to plan some activities for the faculty and staff.

Idea #1

Plan a healthy potluck.  You can collect recipes on Pinterest and or ask people to bring copies of their favorite recipes to the luncheons.  

R.A.K. - Random Acts of Kindness: Staff Morale Boosters






Practicing R.A.K., Random Acts of Kindness, can make a huge difference in your work environment.  

If you could listen to conversations of teachers or read private discussions teachers have in forums and Facebook groups, you would see a common topic - stress and the work environment.

While we cannot always control the expectations placed upon us or the other stressors in our work life, there are things we can do to make the climate more positive.

Word of the Day: Vocabulary, Spelling, Word Meaning, Word Study, Morning Meeting


Word of the Day can be incorporated with your schedule many different ways.  In the picture above, it is set up as a vocabulary center.  I use a wipe off pocket so it is quick and easy to slide in each "Day in History" slide.  There is a small pocket chart under it that you can change out the two words of the day quickly.  Copy the words on different colors to differentiate.    Each "Day in History" has 2 words so you can provide enrichment.  There are also foldables, half-page assignments, extensions and weekly wrap-up assignments.

Behavior Management


Class dynamics can change at the most inopportune time.  For some reason, it seems like all the rules and procedures fly out the window when the teacher is not feeling well, tired, or giving a big test. A change in weather, a new student added to your class, or several students who are feeling the symptoms of the latest virus will change your perfectly run class into a big mess.  This is why you need, not only your procedures and rules that you use to manage your class, but a big toolbox full of tools to use when one of these inopportune times happen.

When your students are off track, it is time to try something new.  The novelty of the new idea(s) help to engage your students when this happens.  Here are a few tools from my toolbox:

100th Day of School for 2nd Grade and Older

http://www.teach123school.com/

Do you celebrate the 100th day of school?  If you teach 2nd grade+, you may get a few "I've already done X, Y, or Z in kindergarten or first grade".  Why not take a social studies approach to this day instead of a making it a math day?  It is a fun way to honor this milestone and study history at the same time.

Students will look back in history 100 years.  Add a tech connection and investigate the following topics: exploration, transportation, commerce, political events, world/national events, and interesting facts.  Here is a form students can use to take notes from their investigation.  You can decide what they do with this information.  They could write a report, make a poster, or design an advertising campaign.

Centers Management, Organization, Work Habits and More!


Do you have any New Years resolutions for your job?  When the holiday craziness is over, I like to do a little reflecting.  What needs a little tweaking?  How can I make things a little smoother for next semester.  

In the picture above is a big time savers.  Label each unit in your Teacher's Edition with a different color.  Label each chapter of the unit with the same color.  You would be surprised at how much time you waste flipping through your T.E. looking for a specific chapter.   


Students take pride when their work is displayed.  Making seasonal bulletin boards is time consuming.  If you don't have a lot of extra time, I would recommend getting some of the greeting card display cords like in the picture above.  

1st Day After Winter Break - FREEBIE - Sunshine Committee


The first day back from a school break can be a little hectic.  There have been years when I felt like it was the first week of school . . . . all over again!  It seemed like my students had forgotten all of our procedures in a very short time.  On top of it, my students came in overly excited.  They hadn't seen their friends in a while so they were chatty. They wanted to share what had happened during their break.

Accountable for Reading, Work Work, Fluency, and More!


How do you hold your students accountable for their reading?  Reading logs?  Reading Goals?  Incentives?

In the picture above in one of the ideas I tried that integrated reading with social studies.  Students read books from different regions.   I organized some of the books in my class library into regional tubs.  Students were put into different regional groups.  You can read more about this HERE.  You can get a free sample of my Reading Highway log HERE.

Reading is like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you get.  But, what do you do if you teach in a school (that for whatever reason) where the students do not practice at home?  I have found a few things that help. First, integrate reading fluency activities with your other subjects.

Your students can learn about Veterans Day while reading and performing this Reader's Theater play.  It is free.


I made fluency centers called Sentence Shuffle Centers, that can also be made into file folder activities if you have a small classroom.  I have Sentence Shuffle Centers for reading levels K-5 because I have yet to teach a class where the entire class was all on the same reading level.  I was always looking for enrichment and remedial activities.  You can set this up as an early finishers activity or standard center that your students go to each week.  They will know the format which saves you time explaining the directions each week.  Would you like to try this with your class?  I have a couple of free ones.

FREE Fluency Fun Sentence Shuffle Center - Fluency Center - reading level 1st 

FREE Mother's Day Sentence Shuffle Center - Fluency Center - reading level 2nd

I have more Fluency Centers HERE.

Reader's Theater plays are a great way to strengthen your students' fluency skills. If you happen to have a talkative class this year, I HIGHLY recommend you trying it - if you haven't yet.  Reader's theater gives students an outlet for all of this "verbal energy" or words that they just seem to need to express.  I call it guided conversation.  Hey! If they are going to be chatty, I want to give them the topic of their conversation.  Which is why you will notice that I have quite a few Reader's Theater and more scripts that have themes that are perfect for October - January.  It seems like there are so many holidays during that time period so even if you don't normally have a talkative class, the holidays will work its magic on your class.


There are a variety of props included with each file.  I attach the stage prop to a file folder.  Cut a slit in it for the stick puppets.  You can set this up as a center or small group activity.


There are also name signs that students can wear when performing before an audience.


This is a picture of some of the word cards included with my latest Santa themed file.  There are 14 word cards for each story.  Story themes are:  When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! and How Santa got his Job.  

ABC Order, Syllable Sort, Synonyms, & definitions
Print the 14 words card for the each book.  Words cards can be used:
•Whole group lesson
•Small group lesson
•Add to your word wall
•Word work center

  • Print 2 copies and make a memory game.
  • Sort words by number of syllables.
  • Put words in ABC order.
Your students will use the word cards for the 3 extension assignments per book.  There are multiple assignments so you can differentiate. Assignments include: 
•ABC Order
•Syllables
•Synonym, Definition, Sentence





Important events - Beginning, Middle, End

Write and illustrate about the important events that occurred in the beginning, middle, and end of the book.

Tell Me About it - Book: sequence, Beginning-Middle-END
  • Write and illustrate about the important events that occurred in the beginning, middle, and end of the book.
  • Read a different book about Santa. Use the “Tell Me About It” book to tell about the story.


Interactive NOTEBOOK - Vocabulary
Two assignments are included.





Reader's theater is also a good way to help your students grow as writers.  Put your class in small groups or with a partner and let them write a script about a favorite book. Each packet includes "You be the Playwriter" template. 
  • Magic School Bus:  Going Batty:  This is not Halloween themed which is great when your school does not allow Halloween lessons. Or it can be used with your mammal unit or any time of the year.
  • There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat:  This script is based on this book.  I added to the story to give the characters dialogue for the script. Have your students compare the book to the script to see if they can find all of the differences.

Click HERE if you'd like to check out Readers Theater & More - Magic School Bus Going Batty and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat

  • Native American Tribes: Southwest, Plains, Northwest  Students study facts about Native American with these play scripts.  This is not Thanksgiving themed.  It is can be used at anytime of the year.
Click HERE if you'd like to check out Native American Readers Theater & More.


  • Katie, the Candy Cane Fairy and Georgie, the Gingerbread Fairy This script is based on these books by Tim Bugbird.  Your students will love the glitter word extension assignment.  I wrote a blog post that about this which includes a freebie.
Click HERE if you'd like to check out my Christmas themed Readers Theater & More.


  • Jan Brett: Annie and the Wild Animals & the 3 Snow Bears This would be a great addition to an author study.  Jan Brett is always a favorite author of my students.

Click HERE if you'd like to check out my Jan Brett themed Readers Theater & More.


Save money with the BUNDLE!
Click HERE to check it out.


  • How Santa Got His Job & When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! This script is based on these books. These are high interest lessons that are perfect for the week(s) before the winter break.
Click HERE if you'd like to check out my Christmas themed Readers Theater & More.
















Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

Sequence of Story, Fluency, Reading Comprehension, and Teacher Tip


One of my favorite strategies to use with a talkative class is what I call "guided conversation" or you may know it by the title of Readers Theater.  Even the best behaved class can become chatty during certain times of the year like Halloween or Christmas.  The holidays are very exciting for little people.  When those times happen, it is time to funnel that extra energy in the right direction.  The nice thing about Readers Theater is you can make it as simple or as elaborate as you would like.  Do you enjoy performances?  Let your class perform for a buddy class.  Maybe you and a teammate can arrange a little break the week before the holiday break.  You take his or her class for 30 minutes while your class performs their plays and then she can return the favor.


I think there are many teachers who share my same philosophy because my Christmas themed Readers Theater and More packet is very popular.  Are you not allowed to do Christmas themed lessons? My Jan Brett packet would also be fun for your class.  The theme is Annie and the Wild Animals and the 3 Snow Bears.


Each packet includes extension assignments.  In the picture is a "Tell Me About It" book.  Students write and illustrate the beginning, middle and end of the story.  At the top of the book are tabs like a file folder.  These shapes remind students to put the pages in the correct order.  If they can not see the words, the pages are in the wrong order.

Do you have one of the staplers like the one in the picture?  The paper pros are a great stapler because most students can staple the book together independently using it.


The "Tell Me about It" book provides extra practice for students learning the sequence of the story.  Show them some file folders as examples when you explain the directions.

Through the years, I have tried different methods for collecting assignments.  I have always assigned each of my students a number which is based on alphabetical order.  I found it saved time if each student had their own "turn in" folder like the ones in the picture.  When I graded papers, I pulled out their turn in folder, graded their assignments and then put it in their take home folder. One of the glitches with this system was having too many students grouped around the turn in spot.  I found a few things that helped.
  • Divide the class in 4 groups (#1-6, #7-12, #13-18, #19-24).  Put each group of folders in a different container or tub like the ones in the picture.  Put each group's container in a different corner of the room so you will only have the maximum of 25% of your class in each corner turning in their assignment.
  • On Thursday, there was a checklist of assignments that was expected to be finished in the folders.  Students took their turn in folders to their desk, checked all of the papers, put them in the order that I wrote on the board, and made sure they were complete.  If they weren't finished, they took them home for homework.
Would you like to try Readers Theater and More?


Each of my Readers Theater and More files include:
  • Stage prop
  • Stick puppets
  • Play scripts
  • Name necklaces
  • Extension assignments


These plays can be performed live or as a puppet show.  In the picture above, I attached the stage prop that comes with this packet to a file folder and then made a slit in it so the stick puppets could fit in slit.  You can set this up as a center, too.


There are a variety of props that come with this packet.


There are name necklaces that students can wear for live performances.  There are frames that students can draw their character for puppet performance.  Colorful stick puppets are included for the There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat script.


There are extension activities included for each script.  In the picture above is the one for the Magic School Bus:  Going Batty play.  Students will make a beginning, middle, end mini book.


There are two printables for interactive journals that are extensions for the There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat play.  One is about characters and the other is a vocabulary - dictionary skills lesson.


Reader's theater is also a good way to help your students grow as writers.  Put your class in small groups or with a partner and let them write a script about a favorite book. Each packet includes "You be the Playwriter" template. 
  • Magic School Bus:  Going Batty:  This is not Halloween themed which is great when your school does not allow Halloween lessons. Or it can be used with your mammal unit or any time of the year.
  • There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat:  This script is based on this book.  I added to the story to give the characters dialogue for the script. Have your students compare the book to the script to see if they can find all of the differences.


Click HERE if you'd like to check out Readers Theater & More - Magic School Bus Going Batty and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat

  • Native American Tribes: Southwest, Plains, Northwest  Students study facts about Native American with these play scripts.  This is not Thanksgiving themed.  It is can be used at anytime of the year.
Click HERE if you'd like to check out Native American Readers Theater & More.


  • Katie, the Candy Cane Fairy and Georgie, the Gingerbread Fairy This script is based on these books by Tim Bugbird.  Your students will love the glitter word extension assignment.  I wrote a blog post that about this which includes a freebie.
Click HERE if you'd like to check out my Christmas themed Readers Theater & More.


  • Jan Brett: Annie and the Wild Animals & the 3 Snow Bears This would be a great addition to an author study.  Jan Brett is always a favorite author of my students.

Click HERE if you'd like to check out my Jan Brett themed Readers Theater & More.


Save money with the BUNDLE!
Click HERE to check it out.
















Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

Teacher Tools & a FREEBIE


Do you have a collection of Rubbermaid or Gladware containers?  If you are like me, you have more lids than containers.  My containers never last as long as the lids.  I hate to throw away the lids in case I need one some day.

These lids make handy dandy teacher tools.  When I make large Venn diagrams for a class lesson or my small group, I was always hunting for a large round object to use as a tracer.  Then one day the clouds parted when my eyes landed on one of my lids because it seems like there is always one of these containers sitting around, right?  They are just so useful!  I love how the lids come in different colors and  sizes.  If you want  your students to make a Venn diagram with a partner or small group, you can give them a smaller lid and large sheet of construction paper.  It doesn't matter if the marker gets on the lid because it wipes right off.


Would you like to try it?  I have a freebie that would be perfect for this time of the year.  Students compare Christmas and winter.


There are other assignments included with this file.  Plus, there is a Smartboard file if you'd like to add a techy touch to your lesson.


Click for FREE Christmas vs. Winter download. 
Don't forget to leave feedback. 

Looking for more ideas?











Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

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