Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Instructional Resources and Ideas for A New Year

I am very excited to be working with all all of you this year! After seeing a digital newsletter last year created by an instructional coach, I decided to create one of my own as a way to share resources with you each week. My goal with this newsletter is to provide you with an archive of a few instructional resources I've collected during the week that may help you in your classroom. I thought creating a newsletter would be an easier way to organize websites, articles and book recommendations for you, rather than adding another piece of paper to your pile! There are so many ideas available through articles, books, videos and online resources that it can be overwhelming. My hope is to share a few with you each week in a format you can return to when you have time. If you are interested in resources related to a specific topic that you would like included in these newsletters or if you have a resource to share, please let me know.

Happy Reading!


What brings you joy?

Thank you to Jody for sharing this post from Choice Literacy about the importance of examining our plans using the question, "Does this bring me joy?" I love this quote from the article:

"This time of year teachers and literacy leaders are going through schedules, ever on the lookout for the “clutter” of wasted time we can get rid of so we have time for more important things. We’ve trained ourselves to ask, "Is this activity useful? Is it efficient? Is it moving me toward a measurable goal?” What would happen if we looked at how we spend each chunk of time and asked, 'Does this bring me joy?'"

Instructional Resources for Writing Workshop

I found this incredible website this week full of flipped lessons and resources for writing workshop! Ruth Ayers is a highly regarded instructional writing coach and Stenhouse author. I highly recommend that you check this site out! The Master List of lessons is organized by grade level, including titles, descriptions, materials, and length of lessons. The lessons are organized for the K-5 span. Wow!

Here is a great blog post about Creating Classroom Environments: Charts to Start the Year.

If you are interested in Creating Classroom Environments: Places for Writers to Grow, this blog post has some great ideas for setting up spaces in an elementary classroom for writing and writing inspiration.

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Great New Resource for Reading Instruction!

If you are looking for ideas for reading mini-lessons, I would love to share this book with you! The lessons in this book are organized into thirteen chapters by reading goals. The goals included are:

*Supporting Pre-Emergent and Emergent Readers

*Teaching Reading Engagement: Focus, Stamina, and Building a Reading Life

*Supporting Print Work: Increasing Accuracing and Integrating Sources of Information

*Teaching Fluency: Reading with Phrasing, Intonation and Automaticity

*Supporting Comprehension in Fiction: Understanding Plot and Setting

*Supporting Comprehension in Fiction: Thinking About Characters

*Supporting Comprehension in Fiction: Understanding Theme and Ideas

*Supporting Comprehension in Nonfiction: Determining Main Topic(s) and Idea(s)

*Supporting Comprehension in Nonfiction: Determining Key Details

*Supporting Comprehension in Nonfiction: Getting the Most from Text Features

*Improving Comprehension in Fiction and Nonfiction: Understanding Vocabulary and Figurative Language

*Supporting Students' Conversations: Speaking, Listening and Deepening Comprehension

*Improving Writing About Reading

I absolutely love that on each page Jennifer Serravallo outlines the strategy with teaching tips and prompts. She also includes a sample anchor chart for most lessons! In the sidebar, she shares what level reader may benefit from the lesson, as well as the type of text to use and skills that are supported by the strategy. I highly recommend using this resource as you plan mini-lessons for your whole group or small group instruction!

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Looking for a fun game? Check out Kaboom!

Kaboom is an engaging game that can be used in any grade level, with a variety of subjects and is easy to make! Here's the link to an excellent blog post outlining how to create the game and ideas for topics. You can use Kaboom for math, literacy and even content vocabulary!

Global Read Aloud

Students in grades 2-5 at our schools will be participating in the Global Read Aloud this fall! The read aloud selection for students in second grade is The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. WES teachers will be reading aloud the book Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt for our annual community read! I highly recommend both of these books! Fish in a Tree is a great book for all teachers, even if you aren't participating in this event. It's a beautiful story about the incredible impact one teacher has on a struggling learner named Ally. I'm willing to lend my copy to anyone!

Here is the link to all the information about the Global Read Aloud. This page includes lots of tips and ideas if this is your first time participating in the Global Read Aloud. In the past, I found great ideas for activities connected to the book posted by other teachers from around the country. I will also gather resources for both books including book trailers and any instructional resources during the month of September. Please let me know if you have any questions. This Read Aloud event begins on October 5th so you have plenty of time to check out the books! I'm looking forward to sharing these outstanding books with our readers!

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Biblionasium: A Great Site for Digital Reading Logs

I shared Biblionasium with teachers at WES last year as a tool for your reading workshop! I know a number of students who used it last year and loved it! Biblionasium is an interactive, engaging website where students can track their reading. It has log-ins for students, parents and educators. After setting up your classroom, you can recommend books, set challenges and share your own reading. Some of my favorite features are that students can recommend books to one another, write book reviews and use the reading log to track their daily reading. This FREE website has been approved as safe for children under 13. I know many upper elementary teachers are using paper reading logs with your students, but I think this web-based tool would be engaging and appealing to your readers while increasing motivation, engagement and reflection during independent reading. Take a minute to check out this link!
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Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach, K-5

RSU 18