The fabulous Teaching Tribune continues with week 5 of their summer linky! 
It's Monday Meet Up time!

In today's meet I'm sharing 3 things I'm thankful for. (It's feeling a little Thanksgiving in June, almost July).  There are so many blessings in my life: family, friends, and health. I decided to focus on blessings in my job. So here goes...
I really am very lucky to be working in my current school. I have worked at several different schools over the years. I've worked for the good, the bad, and the ugly. My current school and administration is by far one of THE BEST. I'm so grateful each day that I go to work knowing I have the freedom to teach the kids in my class in the way I know is best. We are not made to use a cookie cutter curriculum. There is no "one size fits all" at my school.  I enjoy having my administrators come to my room and it's nice to be able to talk them openly about concerns. I thank them for that! It's because of their trust in me that I am able to be the best I can be in my classroom.

I love my team. I work with a group of women who respect one another and work well together. We have very different styles, but we come together for the good of the students. I'm excited to lead this wonderful group of women this year!

If it wasn't for my education mentors,  I'm not sure where my teaching would be today. Over the years, I have looked towards the experts to help me grow as an educator. I take pride in always staying current in educational research. Lucy Calkins has been part of my teaching since day one. The Art of Teaching Reading was the first professional book I read and it's still in my library. I refer to it even now when I need a refresher. Ralph Fletcher came along later in my career, and has been my writing mentor for a LONG time. What a Writer Needs, Second Edition is another go-to read for me. Giving kids choice in writing and guiding them within their own writing are just small pieces of what I've learned from Ralph.  Craft Lessons Second Edition is a good one to pick up if you are looking for mini lessons and mentor texts to add to your writer's workshop.

Speaking of choice, Daily 5, The (Second Edition): Fostering Literacy in the Elementary Grades is the book that has changed the way I run my classroom most recently. The idea of choice in reading, the Daily 5 rounds, and the CAFE board have allowed me to create a literacy rich classroom beyond what I already did. I've used it for about 4 years now and I don't think I'll go back to any other way.  I highly recommend any and all of these inspiring educators!

Thanks for stopping by today! Be sure to meet other bloggers during the Monday Meet Up linky!

**If you host a regular weekly or monthly linky, I would love for you to check out my Linkys I Love page!**
Today you will find Tried and True activities at The Teaching Tribune.

I am sharing a post that I wrote at the start of the school year. It was featured on Rachel Lynette's blog, Minds in Bloom. I used this homework all year long and found it very successful!! Enjoy!

Homework has always been one of those things I struggle with. I don't want to give students homework for the sake of giving homework.  It should be very relevant to what is happening in the classroom. I think kids and families are extra busy these days. Parents are working hard. Kids are involved in, sometimes, several after school activities.  I want their time at home to be well spent. Homework doesn't have to be long and tedious for it to be valuable. With that said, I'm super excited to share a reading homework idea that I have started to use this year in my 3rd grade classroom. I think you will find it gives students the opportunity to work with text in a meaningful way.

Assigning the traditional reading passage with multiple choice questions at the end--your basic test prep type packet--was something I have been wanting to get away from. Along with a teammate, we developed what we call the Reader's Think Book. (A simple spiral notebook works just fine.) In this notebook, students work with one passage all week (3-4 nights). Passages will vary, depending on skills and strategies we are working on in class. Genres will also vary. We will assign literature, informational text, poetry, or excerpts from longer pieces of text. Later in the year, we will assign two passages on the same topic or by the same author and students will work on comparing these.

To set up the notebook, I had the students glue a general directions page on the inside cover. On the first page, they glued in the "cell phone" text codes. These are simple symbols the students will use when responding and coding the text. We tried to create some "fun" codes that kids could relate to like, LOL or OMG.  The codes on the left are for informational text and the others are for literature.

Since we knew our students might have very little experience coding text, we decided to start with a model and think aloud. We found some passages and created posters. We also created a poster of the text code phones. I gathered my students on the carpet and read the piece to them as I coded. I was sure to tell them my thinking and reason for the code I chose.
The second night's assignment was to highlight new or interesting vocabulary and my lesson in class was to model this activity. The third night I asked the students to come up with a title and to illustrate a picture to go with the text. Together, we worked on a title that made sense for the modeled piece.

(Above is another passage I used for modeling.)

Here are some of my third graders completed homework assignments in their Reader's Think Books. I love the variation on titles and illustrations. They did some very thoughtful work.

Each day I was able to check their homework easily to see that is was completed. As I checked their notebooks more closely, I called each student over and asked a question or 2 about the work they did. For example, I asked: Why did you highlight this word? Do you know what it means? Why is this part your favorite? Tell me about your illustration. How does your title fit the story?

Asking these kinds of questions, gives me a very quick formative assessment opportunity. These will be a valuable tool in reading conferences and a big help in setting reading goals with my students.  

As the year progresses,  tasks that I assign them will get more complex. There may be times we work with the vocabulary they highlight, maybe choosing words to put on their personal word walls in their reader's notebooks. I may choose two pieces of text on the same topic or by the same author that they will need to compare. The levels of the passages assigned can even vary from student to student, giving you a way to differentiate assignments. 

Where do we get the passages? They can come from any source you may have on hand, but so far we have selected passages from At this site, you are able to select passages based on Lexile level, grade level, and/or skill and strategy.

If you would like a copy of the directions and text codes I used, you can find it free HERE at my TpT store.

I hope you find this a valuable homework task for your students!
Here we are for Worksheet Wednesday with The Teaching Tribune's Summer Linky!

I have two summer themed activities for you today. The first is my Words by Number game. I created these games to meet the needs of the various levels of my students. This game is perfect for a word work center and for spelling/vocabulary practice. Your students can work with their own "just right" list of words. If you like this game, check out my Words by Number pack with games for the entire year. I will have it on sale for the next 24 hours. 

The second worksheet I have for you is a calendar of activities your students can work on over the summer. Assign a specific number of days to complete and have students return it to you in the fall for a special treat. If you are already on break, be sure to download it for next year!

I hope you find these activities fun and educational for your students!!

It's shopping time! Check out  week 4 of the The Teaching Tribune's summer linky. There are tons of  great products at 50% off.

The products I'm offering today are two of my favorites and ones that I use all year in my classroom.

Reader's Notebook Forms is packed with a variety of forms perfect for the reader's notebook. My students use binders during their reading time to keep track of their books, responses, and skill practice. I like having everything in one place and you can see growth over the year. Notebooks are great for conferencing and recording goals. I use their notebooks during parent/teacher conferences, too.

This pack is one of my best sellers and one of the first products I made. Text Features Pack includes posters and several activities for practice.

 One of my favorite parts of this set are these arrows. I created them so as my students are practicing finding text features, they can point to ones they have found. It makes for a quick assessment. We used these over and over. Be sure to take a look at the preview for a closer look.

 My products will be marked down for the next 24 hours. I hope you find some great finds today! Happy shopping!!

It's Monday Meet Up time with The Teaching Tribune! I am so lovin' these weekly linkys!!

Today I am sharing 3 things you may not know about me. Please don't judge!

If you host a regular linky party PLEASE link up on my page, Linkys I Love.  Just trying to organize all the wonderful parties out there! Have a great Monday!
I'm linking up with Michelle at Fabulous in First for her linky...

I love that this is about being random...fits me to a tee! I try so hard to stay on task, but I'm the queen of multitasking. (My husband is the complete opposite...drives me nuts! LOL!) I have a list a mile long of things I want to accomplish this summer. When I sit down to do something on the list I get so distracted. It just feels like my creative juices aren't flowing enough. Hopefully, they'll start soon! Does that happen to you?

If you have visited me before then you will have noticed my blog updo! If this is your first time here, WELCOME!! I am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with this update. (Check out the mermaid tail post icon!! I think that is my favorite part!) Erika at Honey Bunch Blog Design was super patient with me. We must have emailed each other a thousand times. She was able to do just what I was like she read my mind! I was looking to keep the feel of the blog the same, yet add some new elements. She did just that. Thanks, Erika!! 

In the midst of the update, I added some new pages. One new page is the Linkys I {heart} tab. (I decided it should be L-i-n-k-y-s instead of -ies...does that seem right to you?) If you host a regular weekly/monthly linky party, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE link up. There are so many parties out there that seeing them on one page might help other bloggers, as well as myself, keep track and get organized with posts and maybe find some new ones to join. 

I can't wait to get started on my classroom makeover this fall. I purchased this set from Schoolgirl Style. She creates the prettiest color combinations! I've been on the lookout for new classroom decor that matches this color scheme. I've read that you can spray paint plastic so I might venture into painting some of my crates and book baskets rather than purchasing new ones. Have you ever tried that?? If so, did it work well? I will be spray painting my white rocking chair very soon. I'll post pictures along the way. (this is on my TO DO list)

Have you seen this AWESOME giveaway over at Melonheadz?? The June Mystery box has THE BEST prizes!! You must head over and check it out! I am all entered and waiting to win!

That is my randomness for today. Enjoy your Sunday and the rest of the week!

I know no one wants to think about going back to school. I mean, we just got out! But summer is the perfect time to freshen up your classroom library. You can take your time thinking about what books you wished you had last year and what books would work with various book studies or reading skill lessons for the upcoming year. I found quite a few that I'm in love with.

Water Sings Blue can accompany a poetry unit or ocean study. I just like it because it's about the beach and makes me think of summer, so it's a nice read before summer vacation.

The Fourth of July Story is a book published in 1956, but the story is timeless. I love the retro feel of this book. It's a read for older readers, but I can see myself using it as a read aloud with my third graders.

At the start of third grade, most of my students are not yet reading biographies or they just aren't interested in this genre yet because they haven't been exposed to it much. I like to stock my library with easier picture book biographies to get them interested. The following books will do just that.
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau is one of my favorites. I was fascinated with Cousteau and I LOVED watching his underwater adventures on TV when I was little.

Kids have heard of Einstein and I think they will enjoy these next two books that give you an insight into this genius's life.
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps is a simple story of how Goodall followed her passion.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos is wonderful for your math lovers.

I hope you found some new books to add to inspire your students! Thanks for stopping by!
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