Fluency and Story Elements for Young Learners

Fluency is important.  Reading too slow or too fast will hinder comprehension.  In reality, fluency doesn't guarantee that comprehension will happen.  However, comprehension is difficult without being a fluent reader.  As students move through each grade level, we want them to become stronger in analyzing and interpreting texts, be able to draw conclusions and infer meaning from the text.  In order to do all of this, we must focus on fluency.

I created this set of fluency component posters.  These posters define the different components of fluency- phrasing, rate, accuracy, and expression.

Fluency posters are FREE.
Download Fluency Posters for FREE Here


Teaching students the different story elements is important as well.  Knowing all the different parts of a story increases student's ability to retell, summarize and comprehend the story.


Teaching these simple story elements begins early in school.   As soon as we build a foundation in these, we can move on to more complex topics.  Of course, we should always review and spiral through these as well.

For example, point of view, summarization, compare and contrast, and characterization are just a few we will introduce next.   We cannot build on these until we have a strong foundation in the simple story elements.
Teaching story elements is not a one-time thing.  We should discuss the elements of a story when we read books to our students or when we are discussing any type of text.  

Graphic organizers are one of my favorite ways to introduce and reinforce these elements.  Researchers support the use of graphic organizers in the classroom.  One of most favorite pieces of the research says that students process the information easily when in a graphic organizer because it is separated into chunks or pieced into organized parts.  Our brains like information when it is in organized parts.



Here is a view of the clipart.  I just love the artist who created the graphics for me.





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Serenity Now! The Blissful Teacher

This week has been one busy week.  Everything I tried to get accomplished on Monday just went wrong.  I was one HOT MESS!  "Serenity Now," I said.  I guess it is just that time of year.

My friend, Beth, from The Blissful Teacher, has the perfect serenity in a bottle.  The Blissful Teacher has a full line of educator inspired essential oil sprays which use therapeutic grade essential oils.  I found Beth's wonderful products on Instagram.  She quickly sent me a bottle and I shared it with some of my educator friends.  I think it is a great product for gifts or even to put in the teacher workroom or staff common areas at school.

These essential oils are perfect for just about everything.   One of my favorite parts of The Blissful Teacher is that the scents are creatively named.  Check out these names.

Common Core Corrector, Data Driven Delight, Field Trip Fantasia, Perfect Attendance

The Story Behind The Blissful Teacher LLC

The Blissful Teacher is located in Colchester, Connecticut.  Beth runs her business from her home workshop.  She started the business to help everyone in education with various problems we all face- colds, energy decline, moods and insomnia.  She sells in several stores in Connecticut, as well as, on her Etsy store. https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBlissfulTeacher





The Election Elixir includes lavender.  Lavender helps to stay calm during the heated debates. 


Weight Loss!  Do I need to say anything more?  My clothes have been getting a bit snug on me and this may be just what I need.

I love her story so much that I thought it was worth sharing with all of you.  Check The Blissful Teacher out on Facebook or on Instagram to see more scents and creams.
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Staff Morale Part 3 and Post Conference Form for Teachers

Leadership Unleashed was first launched in early October!  I'm so happy to share this course with you. Since it was launched, I have added a few more items to it.  

 Let me tell you all about it!

If you have been following me the last few years, you know I am passionate about school leadership. I love nothing more than sharing resources with you.  In Leadership Unleashed, I'm sharing everything I can to help, guide and support you in your position as a school leader.

Here's what I have learned over the past 10 years as a school leader:

  1. The position is hard!  No one will believe you until they step into that position.
  2. We need to stay connected and always collaborate with other leaders.
  3. I must always be a lead-learner.  It's important that I always stay current and on my A-GAME in the ever-changing field of education.


Why an online course?

  • The online course platform allows me to put all my presentations and handouts in one location.  
  • You will have a lifetime access to the materials.
  • The can start or stop the course as your schedule allows.
Therefore, I thought this was the best option for all the information.

Scroll down and check out the details:
Leadership Unleashed


I created Leadership Unleashed for all the amazing school leaders serving our schools.  




The new administrative binder is date free...this allows you to never purchase another binder again!  It is also light on ink so you don't spend a fortune printing it.

 Handouts galore- surveys, charts, stories, forms and more!




I have also included 8 presentations covering each topic.  I openly share with you some tips, tricks and advice to help you in your position.  









Several posters are also included.  The image above is a look at the Data Posters.

Staff Morale Packet part 3 is only available through this course.
 Post Conference Glow and Grow Form- recently added

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Leadership can be like Drinking from a Fire Hose

There I sat at my computer.  Every tab and program open.  Tons of reports waiting to be reviewed.  Evaluations to write.  Meetings to be prepared.  Calls to be returned.  Emails to formulate.  The list just goes on and on.  I was failing at every attempt to get it all done.  I was drinking from a fire hose.  I left work every day feeling mentally and physically exhausted.

Drinking from a fire hose means feeling overwhelmed by the situation.  No matter how trained one is for the situation or no matter one's thirst to gulp gallons of water, one will likely reach an overload point.


Leadership can be like drinking from a fire hose.  

How?

Let me explain.  I do not suffer from time management.  I am actually a pro at organizing my time and my to-do lists.

My problem is I like to complete one task before the next.  This position does not allow this to happen.  Multi-tasking is a must.  I know for certain that we must be able to take all the information we are being given and be able to decide how to handle it or discern whether it should even be handled at all.

The information coming at us from all directions represents the water from the hose.  We cannot possibly sip on water from a fire hose.  It is not possible.  The force is just too strong.

As leaders, the problem isn't the amount of work or items that need to get done.  It is more about too much at one time.  It is almost impossible to swallow all the water (information) coming out of the hose.  It is all about swallowing as much as you possibly can.  Absorb it.  Act on it or don't act on it.

Don't let the water hit you in the face.  I think some people tend to become overwhelmed by the leadership responsibilities and just shut down.  Don't shut down.   Don't become paralyzed by fear or become inundated with all of the priorities.

What we can do to help the situation
  • Get past the need to finish one project before starting another.  
  • When information is coming at you, absorb as much of it as possible.  Take notes to review at a later time.  
  • Determine what really matters or the determine your high priorities.  Act on these first.
  • Be kind to yourself.  It is okay to not get everything done or make a decision at that very second.  
  • Don't get caught up in all the distractions.  Stay focused on the tasks at hand.
  • Hustle.  Don't slide your feet and expect it to magically get done.  If we want that feeling of being overwhelmed to disappear (even if it is for a short period of time), we need to hustle.

There are inevitable moments in everyone's life when you question how or why you do what you do.  Almost everyone has encountered this from time-to-time.  But then look at all you do and realize that your experiences ultimately make you stronger.  You realize that you are the best person for the position.
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College and Career Day for Elementary Students- FREE Printables

Do you have a College and Career Day each month?  Talking to students about their future is very important.  We know every student will not make college a choice.  However, we can still make sure they are informed of all the different career paths they can take.  It is never too early to begin having these discussions with our students.  

Here are a few College and Career Printables- FREEBIES for you

This book is a great book to read to your students.  I wanted to share this book with you in case you plan on having visitors come to your school.  In the book, Mrs. Madoff's class has special visitors share something special about their occupations.   Students can explore the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" 


Here are two parent letters.  One parent letter asks for parents to sign up to be a guest speaker.  The other letter simply informs parents to help their child dress for career day.

Here are two more letters for parents for pajama day.  One parent letter says I'm Dreaming about College and the other letter says I'm Dreaming about my Future.  This gives you the option to use the letter that fits your theme or school.

Hope you enjoy the FREEBIE!

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How to Be a Happy First Year School Leader

Being a school leader is hard.  Being a first-year school leader is even harder.  It is October.  You have now been in the position for several months.  I'm hoping it is all going well for you.  I'm sure you have already handled situations that were easy and some that were a bit nerve-racking.  Don't drown in all the to-do lists, stress, pressures and all of the uncertainties.  With simple steps along the way, you will have a happy first year as a school leader.

One thing I know for sure - the work is all worth it.  

The early mornings and late nights- worth it.

The reports and meetings- worth it too.

The presentations, board meetings, and public relations-worth it as well.

The students and teachers you are helping via your leadership- absolutely worth it.

If you are needing a little extra guidance or support, I'm always here for you.  Just contact me and let's work together.

My first book, How to Be a Happy First Year Leader, was just listed on Amazon.  In the book, I list 12 strategies that you can easily implement to help you in this journey.  Our road may be tough but one thing is certain we have each other to get through it.

Check out How to Be a Happy First Year Leader today.


Update on this original post: Amazon now has the book listed as #1 International Best Seller in the categories of Administration and Leadership!  Extremely humble and grateful for the opportunity to share my journey with you.


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