Monclova Primary

Weekly Bulletin

Events for Week of September 2 - September 8

Monday, September 2

Labor Day - No School

Tuesday, September 3

Girl Scouts visit during lunch

Wednesday, September 4

Wellness Day - see shared schedule for activity times

Thursday, September 5

District Admin Meeting - 9:00 am - 11:00 am - Betsey out

Friday, September 6

Scenario Drill - 9:30 am

Back to School Celebration - 4:30 - Mrs. Pfefferle's House

Football - Home - St.Johns - 7:00 pm


Thank you:

Lisa, Karen, Cindy, Rachel, Alyssa L., Jill, Brianne and Michelle W. for taking time to write an AWEF grant. These rewards are so helpful to boost your classroom and grade level activities and supplies!


Wellness Wednesdays begin next Wednesday, September 4 and will be the first Wednesday of each month. There will be a class activity each time, we are hoping to get outside for these first couple of months if the weather cooperates. Fay will be sharing a new sign up, not the same slots from last year. Please wear your Wellness shirts and comfortable exercise clothes so you can get active with your students!

Please make sure you include me on emails with newsletters or regular communication and invite me to join your class Dojo so I can follow class stories. I use this as evidence for the evaluation process. Feel free to share other items that would provide evidence for areas on the OTES rubric.

Upcoming celebrations: Patriots Day - 9/11, this can be a grade appropriate discussion and also a good time to teach your class that Monclova is a Purple Heart School and what that means. Constitution Day - 9/17, there are numerous resources on the ODE website that you can use to celebrate this day.

Professional Growth Plans (PGP) need to be entered into eTPES by September 20. I need to approve your goals before submitting them through eTPES. Feel free to email them, give me a hard copy or set up a time to discuss the goals.

The Frontline system has been updated so you can now assign subs for your absences before they receive approval. However, if something would not be approved it would be your responsibility to cancel the sub.

Please make sure you set your observation dates as soon as possible during your assigned week. Also, review the resources shared with at the beginning of the year, especially the pre/post conference questions for those receiving a formal evaluation this year:

Beginning of the year assessments continue through next week. STAR Early Literacy or STAR Reading need to be completed with IEP accommodations due to this being the first measure toward the student's’ SGP scores. This will also serve as practice with STAR tests prior to the fall RtI window so we get more accurate screening data.

Words of Wisdom and Action..............................

As we begin our benchmarking and other beginning of the year assessments, appropriate interventions is always a topic of discussion. Below are some ideas, many we use regularly with success, like repeated readings and Phonics First instruction K - 3. It also has several links to resources.

Reading Fluency Is About Accuracy, Expression, and Phrasing—Not Just Speed

Reading faster is only one part of fluency.

Lindsay Barrett on June 11, 2019

What is fluency?

While the word has several meanings, when it comes to education, teachers are most often referring to reading fluency.

Reading expert Tim Rasinski defines a fluent reader as one who reads accurately, at an appropriate rate, and with attention to phrasing and expression.

You’ve likely experienced listening to a halting, stumbling reader read aloud. It’s hard to sit through, especially because you know that the student is experiencing as much, if not more, discomfort than you are. Researchers have recognized reading fluency as a key aspect of proficient reading for a while now, but some experts express lingering concerns that fluency instruction continues to be misunderstood or neglected.

Below, we’ve pulled together resources to help you further understand what is fluency and to support your students in each of its critical components.

Improving Reading Accuracy

When students more accurately decode or recognize words, their fluency improves. Try these strategies:

1. Incorporate multi-sensory phonics and sight word learning strategies into your teaching

Emily at The Literacy Nest shares great ideas for teaching sight words in a multi-sensory and systematic way. We also love how she repurposes old-school games for phonics review.

2. Integrate phonics into content area and academic vocabulary instruction for older students

When you unpack the phonetic elements of words like revolution or ecosystem, students get an extra dose of decoding support. shares details.

3. Teach roots, prefixes and affixes

When students are familiar with these common word parts, they can tackle multisyllabic words more efficiently. ReadWriteThink has an exhaustive list of roots, prefixes, and affixes and offers many related resources for classroom activities. The Brown Bag Teacher has an awesome round up of online resources and activities for teaching Greek and Latin roots.

Improving Reading Rate

The optimal reading rate is not too slow or too fast. Strong readers vary their rate to support comprehension. These strategies can help your students find the right balance between tortoise and hare:

1. Try repeated readings of poetry

Lori Oczkus and Tim Rasinski suggest repeated readings of poetry to help with rate and automaticity in this ILA blog post. To find poems for younger students, look to the newly revised editions of Fountas and Pinnell’s Sing a Song of Poetry: A Teaching Resource for Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Fluency. Upper grade teachers love Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids site.

2. Read song lyrics

For another fun approach to repeated reading, try having students read song lyrics along with the music, as described by Shari Edwards of the Scholastic Top Teaching Blog. Are you humming yet?

3. Use simple apps and basic features of an iPad

We love the ideas for using simple apps and basic features of an iPad to help students practice reading at an appropriate rate shared on Erin*tegration. After all, Siri can help with almost anything—if you read questions to her fluently.

4. Do a speed reading challenge

Of course, some students just desperately need to channel their inner hare. Help slow readers gain automaticity with speed reading challenges. The Florida Center for Reading Research offers a full line-up of syllable-reading resources . Or, simply print the Dolch sight words on flashcards. Have students keep track of how many they can read correctly in one minute and try to beat previous scores.

Improving Phrasing and Expression

Anyone who’s had the pleasure of listening to a truly expressive reader knows how it can transform a text. Check out these teacher-tested ideas for improving students’ prosody:

1. Teach fluency-related mini lessons

Danielle Mahoney of the Scholastic Top Teaching Blog offers a fantastic list of lessons including, “Put Words Together Like Talking,” “Change Your Voice to Match the Mood,” and “Notice Punctuation and Match Your Voice to It.” Download her handy bookmark, too!

2. Stage regular readers’ theater productions

No need to reinvent the wheel; there’s a solid research base for the benefits of readers theater. Bookmark this round-up of ideas for finding scripts.

3. Have students record their own reading

This can be as simple as using the Voice Memos iOS app. When students listen to themselves read, they can reflect on aspects of fluency that need improvement and re-record to try again. Teachers also love the podcast app AudioBoom. EdSurgeprovides a helpful tutorial.

Assessing Fluency

Of course, assessment is a key piece of both determining students’ fluency needs and tracking progress. Bookmark these resources:

1. Try timed readings

A traditional approach for assessing fluency is a timed reading to obtain a words correct per minute rate (WCPM). Reading Rockets sums up this practice nicely using a repeated reading model.

2. Make use of fluency apps

If you’re frustrated with the logistics of juggling a student text, recording sheet, pencil and timer, check out ThinkFluency, a new app that saves teachers tons of time. Using the provided passages or ones you upload yourself, you can input student errors on your tablet or phone as a student reads and let the app automatically time and score the assessment. Win! The app also provides suggestions for phonics instruction based on error patterns and allows you to track student data over time.

3. Use rubrics

Rubrics are ideal for evaluating students’ phrasing and expression. There are many available online, but we like this one from Duke University.

Plus, don’t miss our free fluency posters and anchor chart ideas.