From the Desk of Kelly Harmon

August 2014 Newsletter

Back to School!

Borders, folders, notebooks, pencils, the list goes on and on. Our minds are racing with all the "must do's" before those precious students arrive in just a few short weeks. Let's all take a deep breath and know that every thing will get done and you will be the smiling face that your future students look forward to seeing on that first day.

Here at Texas Literacy Resources, we have been busy writing curriculum, posting blogs, and providing trainings for passion-filled teachers. We look forward to continuing to provide you with professional development, rich resources, and much more!

Here's to a very productive August!

-Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson

5 First Day Activities!

The first day can be a tricky day of deciding what to do first and how to welcome your new students. Try one of these 5 activities to kick off this school year in a fun way!

1. Create a Class Motto!

T.E.A.M, GO TEAM, GO! Creating a class motto or chant is a great way to build class pride! Use chart paper to collaboratively write a motto or chant. Then practice chanting as a class. Maybe even add a dance move or two!

2. Beach Ball Toss

All you need is a beach ball and a permanent marker. Write silly questions on each color block of the beach ball. Toss the ball all around the room to get to know your students in a new way! Ask questions like, if you were a dog, which breed would you be and why? Be prepared to laugh!

3. Have a Pep Rally!

Yes, start the first day of school with a pep rally! It can be school-wide or just in your classroom. There is no better way to get your students excited about the year than playing loud music and dancing around. Do cheers and chants to create school spirit.

4. Letter for the Last Day

Start with the end in mind! Have students write a letter to themselves to open on the last day of school. Provide students with some ideas of what to include; goals, thoughts, encouraging words, a self portrait, ect. Have students seal up their letters in envelopes and put their name on the front. Take them up and save them for the last day! Students will be amazed at how their writing and thinking has changed in one year of school.

5. Student Facebook Pages

Use a fun FREE printable Facebook template (Click Here!) for students to create their own Facebook page! Students can show their unique personalities, interests, and family information on their pages. Display them on the bulletin board outside your classroom. Title the board "Scroll Through Our Facebooks!"

Happy Teaching,

Randi Anderson

Start the Year with Social Media!

Social media has become a necessity more than a luxury these days. We find out breaking news, friend’s life events, and tons of new information daily. From Facebook to Instagram, social media floods the world. So why not use this to the educator’s advantage?

Last year I decided to create a class Facebook page for parents to follow our classroom events and news. I created the page before “Meet the Teacher Night” so that parents could “like” my page while bringing their students up to meet me and see their new classroom. This was a huge success!

The amount of parent and student communication and support flowing into our classroom from Facebook was astounding! Parents could be at work or home scrolling through their newsfeed and see what their child was learning that day. What better way to say, “We learned today!” I posted anchor charts for homework help, pictures of student work, videos of the students singing during fluency practice, reminders about field trips and picture day, our learning standards of the week, the list goes on and on. To see my class Facebook page click HERE!

Here are the steps to create a private group page that only those you invite can see and post. Click HERE to read more!

Get a our Social Media Permission Slip HERE!

Upcoming Trainings

Bring Trainings to Your Campus!

Texas Literacy Resources is an educational consulting firm that specializes in providing trainings, coaching, and curriculum planning for campuses and districts. We provide trainings on a variety of topics and can customize training based on your needs. Here are a few trainings we provide!


  • Data Meetings that Work! Analyzing and Using Student Data to Differentiate
  • Assessing Reading Levels using the DRA2
  • Practical Strategies to Use Formative Assessment to Establish Learning Goals

At Risk Learners:

  • Intervention Strategies for Struggling Readers
  • Accelerating the Reading and Writing Achievement of Your Title 1 Students

Classroom Management:

  • The First 25 Days of School: Setting up Literacy Routines
  • Setting up Reading and Writing Workshop in Grades 1-8
  • Literacy Centers and Readers Theater-A Great Recipe for Purposeful Practice in the Reader/Writer Workshop Classroom (1st-6th Grades)


  • Implementing Literature Circles to Develop Deepen Comprehension
  • Reading Strategies for Secondary Learners
  • From Modeling to Independence: Strategies for Scaffolding your Students' Reading Comprehension

Differentiated Instruction

  • 21st Century Literacy Instruction-TEKS, Texts, Technology, and Time- Differentiated Reading and Writing Instruction to Meet the Needs of ALL of Your Students. (Grades 2nd-8th)
  • Beyond Worksheets: Reading Responses That Deepen Understanding of Literature and Informational Texts
  • Using Work Stations in the Intermediate Classroom to Support Literacy Development

Early Childhood:

  • It’s Wiggle Time: Cooperative Activities to Encourage Movement
  • Think, Write, Read and Develop Vocabulary in PK-2nd Grade
  • Written Expression: Writing For, With, and By Young Children

We offer many more trainings. Please contact us to obtain a complete listing of the workshops we offer.