How to Build a Love of Reading at your School

At the end of each grading period, I celebrate a love of reading with Pizza with the Principal.  The first grading period is usually a little low because it is not easy earning this reward.  To get Pizza with the Principal a student must read an entire series of books.  For example, the series of I Survived, Percy Jackson's novels, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and so many more.  I had 11 students meet the challenge the first nine weeks.  For the younger students, the entire series of Clifford, The Black Lagoon series, etc... are perfect.

The next grading period I will have to move my Pizza Party to the library because it will be filled with at least 50 students.  The students love this reward and get so excited.  If you are considering doing this, the students keep up with how many books and what series they want to read.   No extra work on the teacher required.  The teacher verifies the student did meet the goal and submits the name to the office.

Another way to get Pizza with the Principal is to read a million words.  Our Renaissance Reading program (A.R.) counts the words for us.  Therefore, no extra work on the teacher.  I had several students meet the million words last year and then went on to two million words.  

How do you build a love of reading at your school? 


your photo name

Fall Literacy Centers- Giveaway!

Fall is the best season.  Why not bring some of the outdoors in to your classroom.  Would you like to win the Into the Wild: Fall Literacy Centers?

One of my teachers created a pond in the classroom and students matched up the synonyms.  Here are a few pictures of it being used in the classroom.

Enter to Win here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

your photo name

STAAR Accommodations Made Easy

If you are familiar with STAAR and Texas Testing, you know how overwhelming all the information from Texas Education Agency is.  Just when you think you have it all figured is changed.  Too many accommodations to keep straight.  I'm right there with you.  I have around 550 students on my campus.  I need to know all about STAAR and what my students are eligible to receive at any given moment.  I keep this handy Accommodations Flipbook with me.  It is on the table in my office for ARD meetings, Student Intervention Meetings, etc...  

 How this all came about?  After downloading the TEA Triangle pages (all 500 of them), I said there must be an easier way.  Last year, this bad boy was developed.  It has been so handy and other principals and teachers all over Texas are wanting it.  I put the newest version of it on my store.

 STAAR A information has been added!
If you go to print this, make sure to print the PREVIEW so you know how to assemble it.  I printed each page on cardstock.  It's not necessary but it looks great to me.

To download the STAAR Accomodations Flipbook Part 1 and 2, click here.  The files are zipped so make sure you go back and get both flipbooks.

your photo name

Fluency Quick Checks: Science Themes

It has been a few days since I was on the blog.  I have been a little under the weather.  I'm starting to get on the up and up!  Since doctored order me to stay in bed all weekend, I had some time to finish up a few projects on the computer.  I'm not good at just watching TV and chilling.  Crazy...I know.

Here's what I've been doing while recovering in bed.

I finished the Fluency Quick Checks and all 14 passages are SCIENCE themes.  Why not integrate science with reading.  It's a total win-win.

Stories included:
Creepy Crawly Spiders
All About Pumpkins
A Frozen Wonder
Slithering Snakes
Tornado Facts
What Killed Dinosaurs
Help Save Polar Bears
Growing Gorillas
Saving Nemo
Pythons in Florida
A Smart Phone
An America Hero
Save the Bats

To Download this set of Fluency Quick Checks, click here.


your photo name

Wordless Wednesday: Fluency Quick Checks

click the image above to head over to Wordless Wednesday with Sugar and Spice

I'm in the process of working on a fluency quick check packet.  Just getting a start on it and hope to finish it in a few weeks.  I have put it off because writing the passages take so long.  After several requests for it, I caved and said, "ok!"  Can you give me some ideas of what you would like to see in this new packet while it is in the process of being created?  Keep in mind...I'm working on fluency.

Have a great Wednesday! 
Thanks Christina for the link up.

your photo name

Posters for the Young Learners

Students of all ages struggle with knowing when and where to put commas.  I created some posters for the young learners in mind.  They include easy to use language with simple sentence examples.

I love that these comma posters are ink friendly.  The posters aren't filled with tons of background designs.  We could all save some money on ink!

I hope you find this product helpful in your classroom.  

A reminder of a big ELA Sale going on this weekend.

My TpT store is having a big sale too! 

Have a great weekend. 


your photo name

STAAR Strategies for Writing Instruction

Students can struggle to write compositions.  In Texas, our students must be able to write both narrative and expository type compositions by the end of the year.  Do you find it hard for students to determine what makes a compositions narrative and one expository?

Expository writing is writing that shares information.  Organization is the key and extremely important when constructing expository text.  We use the rainbow composition strategy to help maintain structure and organization.
The teacher wrote an expository composition with this prompt:
Describe what makes someone a hero.  Explain how and why heroes are important.  

Prior to class starting, this 4th grade teacher wrote the composition as a lesson on expository writing. The students acted as the teacher and graded her composition using the rubric.  The students had assigned the teacher this composition to write as her homework.  Yes, that's right.  This gives the lesson more meaning.  Did the teacher stay on topic?  Did the teacher create a flow that engages and informs the reader?

The students each had a copy of the teacher's composition and colored pencils.  They circled each capital letter and punctuation mark.  They highlighted in yellow every sentence on topic.  If it did not stay on topic, it was not marked in yellow.  Therefore, it DID NOT GLOW.    We want our sentences to glow.  The topic sentence and last sentence was underlined in red.  Did it begin strong and end strong?
Now the students graded the teacher in organization, development of ideas and use of language or grammar.  Each section could receive a 4 and obtain 12 points total.  This makes a perfect score of 100.  This particular student gave the teacher an 88.

This student gave the teacher a 94 for the composition.  As you can see grading compositions can vary some from one person to the next.
Would you like a copy of the Narrative and Expository Posters with Rubric?  They are aligned with Texas standards and STAAR Ready! 

Writing STAAR Ready Posters and Scoring Guide is one of my best sellers!  Here's what others have said after using it:

Lesson created and modeled by Mary Ruth Townsend, 4th grade Writing teacher.  


your photo name


I'm so excited to be a part of the Educents BIG ELA sale!  It runs from October 8 to October 12.

Click the Educents button!

I have teamed up with Educents by helping to bring some great ELA downloads to you!  These are all excellent deals because they are all at an discounted price.  For this limited time you can get up to 100% off all English Language Arts products.  There are tons of great products and Into the Wild is guaranteed to be a blast...and educational.
You like to save money right?  Educents is the website to get great educational materials at a discounted price.  

 Into the Wild: Fall Literacy Centers is a great way to bring fun into the classroom.  This set of six literacy centers includes camping, hunting and fishing themes.  

Are you ready to save money?  If yes, click here to head over to Educents!  

your photo name

Someone to Inspire Us

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."  What if that "someone" was you?  
Every student may not be bound for college or university, but it is an option if they choose it.  This year we are setting a college bound culture.  We Are College Bound is a school wide theme we will work on throughout the year.  Teachers will talk to their students about the importance of college and options available to them after high school.  Teachers also share stories of their college days and where they went to college. 

Our college day activity for October was sponsored by our local community college.  They donated 6 t-shirts to be given away.  The entire campus staff wore college t-shirts.  A discussion of going to college should not begin in high school or after they graduate.  We Are College Bound is not just a motto of is a commitment as the staff does whatever it takes to be a successful school.  We are not officially a No Excuses University campus (see book by Damen Lopez).  However, I read the book and was inspired. 

Now...Back to what Emerson said, "someone to inspire us."  Can you be that person to someone you meet this week?  Be an inspiration despite obstacles that stand in your way.  The biggest obstacle to achieving success is not lack of opportunity, but knowing what opportunities exist. 

your photo name
Back to Top