Monday, May 2, 2016

On Your Wishlist or In Your Cart ?

Teacher Appreciation Week... one of my favorite times of the year! I love the handwritten notes, the hugs, the kind words from parents and more. In Massachusetts, we are in the middle of standardized testing with the PARCC test. A little extra love during testing and assembling teacher portfolios for evaluations goes a long way in my book!

 For two days, I am sending a little extra appreciation your way.  My store will be 28% off on Tuesday, May 3rd and Wednesday, May 4th for the TPT Teacher Appreciation sale!

 When it is the spring sale, I shop for items that I needed all year for my current students but didn't quite have the $$$ to get. I think about clip art, digital papers, fonts, and other items for my store because as a seller those items can be tax deductible. For my K-5 reading classroom, I purchase items that I need to fill in the areas of support for my students. In addition, these items can be tax deductible.

 My first priorities are:

 1. What items do I need to help with beginning of the year assessments?

 2. What items will meet multiple ages in the areas of phonics, fluency, comprehension and more?

 3. was there a group of students that I felt like needed more practice in a certain area? Is there a product on my wish list that can help me fill that gap?

 4. What are seasonal items that I love for games, scoots, word sorts & more but take a while to prep?

 Then, I put them at the top of my wish list!

I am linking up today with Jen who blogs at the Teaching in the Tongass for getting your cart ready to roll! 

Below are a few of the top Wish List items buyers have chosen from my store! 

The first one is the Gingerbread Rime Time puzzles which are popular around December holidays for Kindergarten Teachers. As students complete the puzzles, they can begin blending their first short vowel words together with the short “a” sound. It has 3 worksheets for teachers to differentiate the students’ responses.Perfect for a Literacy Center or RtI group !

 Gingerbread Rime Time

The second one is my ELA Test Prep game which is popular all year-round. It supports upper grade students (2-5) in understanding the vocabulary and definitions in common terms found on standardized tests. Students simply play a matching game or Go Fish with the terms and definitions.

The third one is the Barnyard Banter games which are popular all year-round. It supports students in decoding the “floss rule” words. These patterns are typically called “Floss Rule ” or “Double Letters ” because when (f, l, s, z) is at the end of a one-syllable word the vowel sound is short. Examples of these words include: cuff, muff, hall, tell, floss, bass, fuzz, buzz.

Thanks for stopping by !  I'm off to go get my wishlist ready ! 

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 !

Monday, April 21, 2014

Giveaway-- Bugs and Butterflies Phonics Word Hop and More !

Hi ! Bex has made a major milestone in followers ! She's having a party you won't want to miss !There is a Clipart bundle, multiple ELA and Math bundles, too ! If you could use a few wonderful resources to round out this year, or start up the next.... hop on over !

The Giveaway Link :

Check out my new game, perfect for beginning readers ! It is part of the giveaway !


Perfect for end of the year review or to start off next year !

Enjoy !

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wednesday WOW : ELL in Kindergarten

Wednesday Wow

Currently, I am on February break in the snowy tundra known as Massachusetts. Last week at school was a whirl of activity... snow--early release, 100 day, snow delay, and Valentine's Day ! If I wasn't observing closely, I would have missed one of the best gifts of the week.

One of my Kinder Kids, Carlos** entered my room in November with very little expressive Spanish or English Language. His parents do not speak any English. He qualified score wise to be in reading intervention. He knew only 1 alphabet letter. I wasn't sure what he would get out of his 4 days a week, 30 minutes a day with me. However, I was a kindergarten teacher in the past so I knew at least he would get additional vocabulary with me, skills at his level, and frequent repetition.

Glide forward to the week before Feb break, Carlos is looking at me when we are playing Alphabet Go Fish and he is grinning from ear to ear. He is beginning to ask all of us for the card by the actual letter name. In addition, I notice he is paying attention to which ones I share and don't have matches for. Midway through the game, he has 8-10 sets of uppercase with lowercase letters and he is giggling now. I think back to where we were in November and I am so proud of him !

**Anonymous name change

 Enjoy your week !

Friday, January 31, 2014

Loving Literacy Blog Hop --Stop # 22

Welcome to...

When I was young, I learned to love books as they could always take me to a different time and place and introduce me to new friends.  I has asthma in early childhood which often left me in bed or in an isolation tent undertaking breathing treatments. As an only child, my company was mostly adults and although they played with me and entertained me -- I missed the company of other children. Even when children were around, I was often on the sidelines when they were playing active games as I could not run as fast or keep up with them. Books were a comfort to me as they took me to places and I was able to meet characters who soon became friends such as Bread and Jam for Francis by Russell Hoban.

I was lucky enough to have many strong mentors in the literacy field. Three mentors that stand out for me were  Dr.Irene Fountas, Marie McKenzie, and Meryl Kaye. At Lesley University, I enjoyed working with the Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative Office as a grad assistant. One of my favorite tasks was organizing Irene's library of books. I always told her that was a dangerous task for me as I would often get swept away reading one of the books I was looking at. In addition, I got to talk with her and they were always engaging conversations. I enjoyed her joyful wit and ability to give me interesting tasks. After graduating, I began teaching reading in a district in suburban Boston. I was very luck to be part of a team of seasoned reading teachers and learned a lot from them. My steps were tentative in those first few years learning the expectations of teachers I work with, making gradual changes, learning additional theories, and becoming confident in my abilities. I was blessed to have a director, Marie McKenzie, who was a seasoned teacher and reading director. She gently challenged my opinions, gave me advice on the most struggling readers, and gave me articles to shape my understanding of reading at different grade levels.  When I began literacy coaching, one of my greatest allies and friends was Meryl Kaye, a seasoned colleague. As I began coaching at her school, she was willing to share her knowledge and perspective with me. She was my go-to person for the trickiest of students, a warm smile on a rough day, and a colleague I admired and learned from. Although both of these mentors have retired, I am still grateful for the time and resources that they wove into my life.

Cynthia Rylant

 I really enjoy teaching her books to my students because she writes with a diverse range of topics.  When modeling Writer's Workshop, I like to use her book, When the Relatives Came for primary students to jump start their ideas. For the older students, I like to read a part of her book, Every Living Thing, to work on narrowing down a topic or elaborating on a single topic. Click on the book cover below to see my free unit for you today ! 

The Case of the Climbing Cat (High-Rise Private Eyes Series #2)
The book unit I am sharing with you today is The Case of the Climbing Cat. It is one of the books in the series, High Rise Private Eye by Cynthia Rylant. It is a Level K and is an appropriate for even third grade struggling readers. I chose this book to share with you because it is a good choice to teach the genre of a mystery to struggling readers including English Language Learners. If the students like this book, there are additional ones written in this series as well.  This unit is available for free this weekend only and exclusively in my TpT store.  It will convert to a paid product after February 2nd.  I appreciate you dropping by today, and if you are new to my blog and love literacy, I hope you'll take a moment to follow my posts on Bloglovin !

Loving Literacy,

Wendy D.

Ms. D's Literacy Lab 

Next stop is Selma Dawani's Learning is Fundamental Blog :

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lively Leads : Hello, Bumblebee Bat

Good Evening !  Today, I am going to share a text written by Darrin Lunde and illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne that would be appropriate for Grades 1-3 and for students in grades 4-5 that need extra motivation to write !

This lively, repetitive text is full on interesting and engaging true facts about Bumblebee Bats. It makes a great read-aloud for Writer's Workshop and a wonderful nonfiction writing model for primary students. It is written in a question-answer format with attention-catching, full page illustrations and easy-to-read font. An example of the text is given below:

"Bumblebee Bat,
  when do you fly ?

 I fly before sunrise and just after dark.
 I don't like bright sun."

--Hello Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde

The author has created similar texts with this pattern as well known as Hello, Baby Beluga and Hello, Humpback Whales. After working with this text, your primary writers will be ready to try one of their own.

Wonderful writing,