Sharing my LOVE of Literacy!

If you can read this, thank a teacher !!

August 28, 2010

Primary Writing Assessment

Here is a quick way to assess what your first and second students know about writing and spelling.


Give your students a blank piece of paper with two blank lines at the bottom. Tell them you are going to set a timer and give them about 4-5 minutes to write all the words they know how to spell. Tell them to make the words as neat as possible with spaces between them. Remind the students good writers do not squish words together.

*** Tell the student to leave the lines on the bottom of the page blank for the second part of this writing activity. ***

Walk around as the students do this to make quick assessments about your kidos. You can see who leaves their paper blank and who has a long list of words. I suggest if you see a kido who has a blank paper, to lean over and give them hints to look around to room for words he/she may know and to copy them.

After the timer goes off, tell the students to stop!

Next, ask the students to use some of their favorite words from their list to write a sentence on the blank lines. This will show you who remembers to capitalize the first letter in the sentence and who uses punctuation!

Now.. you have an idea what your first mini-lesson for writing should be and which kidos may need some extra support during writing!



Happy Writing!

August 22, 2010

Compare Contrast

Here is great way to kick off the school year with two fun books!

I have always loved Amelia Bedelia and how she misunderstands directions. A new book published last year has a young Amelia on her first day of school. I guess at a young age, she had trouble with misunderstanding the English language.


Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School
by Herman Parish

Make a list of all the ways Amelia confused directions on the first day of school. Save this list for tomorrow's part two of this lesson.



Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School
by: Herman Parish

Compare the cover before the read aloud to yesterday's book. Predict what kinds of things Amelia (the adult) may misunderstand. After the read aloud make a new list.


Have students take a blank piece of paper and fold it in half. Ask them to draw a child Amelia and an adult Amelia. Have them use their favorite example of the book and write a compare contrast about their pictures. They could also describe a new misunderstanding related to school if they are in an upper grade!

These books are also a great way to teach mulitple meanings!

Happy Reading !

August 16, 2010

A Blog Giveaway...

No, it is not from me... LOL.

Below is the link for some back to school giveaways. Good luck! I will be entering a few a the giveaways myself!

Click on the link below:

Teaching Heart Mom

Happy Reading !

August 15, 2010

Preparing for a Substitute Teacher


I worked as a substitute teacher for a few years. It is a challenging job! Here a a few ways to prepare your classroom for a substitute.


I read this on my favorite website and thought it was a great way to help your students prepare. Thank you Mailbox.com for the great advice.

Planning for a Substitute Teacher

• To begin, have students share feelings about substitutes.
• Have them imagine their day with the substitute.
• Help students imagine being a substitute.
• Guide students to brainstorm hands-on ways to help the substitute.
• Finally, lead students to plan how they'll implement their ideas.

I would make a few charts to keep posted in the classroom. When you know you are going to be out, pull those chart papers out and post them back on the chalkboard as a reminder to students when they enter the room!

More Helpful Tips:

Have a "Sub Tub" for those emergency sick days! I have two or three read alouds in mine with comprehension questions and a graphic organizer for the students to complete.

Have a silent reading passage for students to complete.

Provide a photo with the students name. I use those extra classroom stickers we are given from picture day. It is great for a seating chart as well as for little notes about students that may have allergies or pull outs.

A list of the students' favorite games with directions.

An extra schedule

A list of phone numbers for the office, the nurse, your team mates!

Here is a great website that offers more tips: Substitute Teacher Ideas

Thank you TeachingHeart!

Here's to all those substitute teachers! Hope you have a wonderful year!

As always........... Happy Reading !

August 6, 2010

Back to School Read Alouds !

It is that time again! Some teachers are already back in the classroom! I hope their first day was FABULOUS! Other teachers are planning away!

Here are some first week read alouds, I have used in the past. Give them a try!


The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by: Mike Thaler
In 4th grade I read this to my students and we discussed how anxious the main character was to meet his new teacher. We made a chart of character traits that described the teacher. I used this chart as a jumping point for the students to write their own version of story.

In first grade, after reading this story make a T-chart. On one side put Mrs. Green and on the other side put your name ( or the name of the kindergarten teachers from last year ). Have the students tell you the similarities and differences of each teacher.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
A great book for kindergarten and first grade. After reading the book, talk about how she worries about school. Have each student draw a picture of what they were worried about before school started. Have them write a sentence to go with the picture. If you are in a class of kidos who need help just write the sentence on the bottom of the page. Then have the pages displays on a bulletin board or make it into a class book!

Here are two more fun books. I have never read these, but they seem like great read alouds with a lot of great themes!

This is a great book for 2nd and 3rd graders!
Tiffani did not do anything exciting during summer vacation. She had a boring summer and is not looking forward to going back to school. When her teacher calls on her to talk about summer, she begins to tell a tall tale.


This is a great read aloud for 5th and 6th graders!
Thirteen-year-old Jackie wants to write a novel the summer before he starts high school. There's just one problem - he can't get past the first sentence. His friends are no help! Before the summer is over, everything Jackie has counted on to stay the same has changed!

Also take a look at these favorites I posted last year by clicking on the link:

More Back to School Read Alouds

Happy Back to School Reading !!

August 1, 2010

Happy August !

Some teachers are heading back to school in a few weeks. I have one more month of summer vacation and I plan to enjoy all those free moments! For those teachers who are planning for their return to classrooms, I found a nice writing activity for back to school from my favorite website The Mailbox Magazine ! I hope it is helpful!

From The Mailbox Weekly Newsletter:

What Did You Read This Summer?

Ask each student to choose one book that he or she read this summer. Print or photocopy the cover to fill the left half of a sheet of paper. Have the student summarize the story on the right half of the paper without giving away any surprises or the ending. Then direct the reader to rate the book by applying one to five colorful star stickers. Post the reports on a bulletin board titled “Books Rated by Us!” Then encourage students to try out some of the books recommended by their classmates. If a child does indeed read a classmate’s book, have him add his name and his own rating to the book’s report.


I think this idea can be adapted to all grades, too! If the teacher wants to model her favorite summer picture book with a response the kidos can write their own during the first few weeks of school. This could also be used with the primary students if a teacher creates her own fill in the blank book review. The possibilities are endless for a fun September writing lesson.


Happy Reading & Writing!