Friday, August 7, 2015

Top 5 Considerations for a Stellar Classroom Library

When you look at your classroom library, can you honestly say that you have interesting and engaging books for all reading levels?      

If not, try a few of these go to places in your area to look for new titles: a local bookstore, a used bookstore with a great children’s/teen section, a local library with a knowledgeable children’s/teens librarian, the Horn Book, Book Lists such as the Caldecott Awards and Newbury Medals. 
If you work in a district with parents and students who speak multiple languages, do you have a few multiple language books in your classroom library?   
 When I send them home, I ask the parent to read it in their home language and then ask the child to read it in English to the parents. Reading A-Z has books in French and Spanish that are easy to print out, fold together and send home.

Not only multiple languages but multiple cultures, do your books reflect the cultures of your school?

For my school, I look for books in the literacy closet and for my classroom library that may share experiences found in African American families, families with students of differing abilities,  folktales from students' home countries, traditions and cultures from other areas of the world, faith traditions and more.

Do your books reflect an inviting appearance?

At the end of each year, I look through my classroom library and weed out the books that have hit the bathtub, been chewed by the family dog, simply are not catching the interest of my students, have been written in, and more.  In order for them to want to read at home, the books should be refreshed and circulated often. At times, I will take a set out of circulation for a short time so new titles will be found.

If you are asking them to do a reading challenge, such as the 40 Book Challenge, are there multiple ways for them to achieve it?

 Ideally, we would like for all of our students to be able to achieve any challenge we set in front of them successfully. However at times, students need multiple ways to reach the goal! If a child is not reading at night, check into what they are thinking. Is the goal overwhelming for them? Would it be helpful if they were able to listen to an audio book, partner read, or read the books on an IPad to meet the goal? Do they need the goal broken into smaller chunks? Do they need to start with books of fewer pages until their confidence and motivation gains momentum?
As the summertime gently fades away, these are a few questions I will be reflecting on as I set up my library for the year ahead. I would love to see your thoughts about the classroom library!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Shark Week Blog Hop : Shark Partner Games

All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a fin-tastic team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love! One of my favorite ways to reinforce phonics with my primary students is through the use of partner games !


In The Tank


My school began piloting “Fundations” this year for our primary classrooms. The words featured in these games come from the actual lessons done by the classroom teachers. These partner games are used after guided reading instruction or as an extension activity that I send back to the classroom or a home-to-school connection. At times, I have used them before reading for students to increase their fluency with certain word families.


  A game with a font for students with language based learning needs:


A game with an easy-to-read primary font for students:


 In the entire set, there are sixteen games. Each game is made with a primary font as well as a font that will support students with language based learning needs.

Click below and grab my fabulous freebie !



Swim on over and visit :


Click Here !


Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a jawesome freebie for you and your students! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, July 12, 2015 !





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Wonders Blog Hop

Welcome! One year ago today, literacy loving teachers launched the website, Adventures in Literacy Land, to share tips and tools for effective literacy instruction. In honor of reaching our first year, we are hosting a Winter Wonders Blog Hop and Birthday Celebration.

Today, I will share with you a few tried and tested tips for easy literacy games to make when time is short.

My first idea includes a deck of cards :


My favorite places to find inexpensive $1 decks of cards in cute themes or shapers are Target, Walgreens (Toy Department) or other unexpected places such as specialty stores.
If I need a quick review game in the morning for a group of students, I simply use a Black Sharpie to write the phonics words, alphabet letters, word families, synonyms, or other area of need at the top of the card. If we are playing Go Fish, one card will match the other so there are two cards with the same word on it. War, Memory or Concentration can also be played with these cute cards.

My second idea includes a set of plain white or colored index cards:


My favorite places to find inexpensive index cards are back to school sales, the school supply closet, and sometimes parent donations.
If I want to make a word sort quickly, I choose a set of stickers to apply to each card. Stickers can be found almost anywhere. I find the larger sets at Michael's Arts and Crafts store. I simply write the words with bright colored markers or after laminating with a Sharpie. (If you use a Sharpie afterwards, you can use a bit or rubbing alcohol to erase one skill  and use the set again).
Afterwards, add a generic sorting sheet for word sorts and you are ready to go.

My third idea includes a set of tic-tac-toe boards:


My favorite place to find items would include Target or dollar stores. This set I found at a little variety shop in my neighborhood.
Perfect for using for alphabet letters, sight words, word families, synonyms, antonyms, and more.
I would give each pair of students a tic-tac-toe board with the playing pieces. In order to put a playing piece down, the student must answer a question, say a word or alphabet letter correctly, and more.
First one to get three in the row---wins the game !

My Winter Wonders freebie is a fun activity reviewing vowel teams.

It is a SCOOT game for the vowel team (ai,ay).

It can be found in my TpT store at the following link:

It will be FREE for this BLOG HOP only.
Now, it is time for a little more Winter Wonders Fun !  Follow the Penguin to Curious Firsties !