29 June 2015

Why Fluency Is So Important

I haven't met one K-3 teacher doesn't practice fluency on some level everyday in their classroom.  In fact, I can honestly say, I haven't met one K-5 elementary teacher that doesn't practice fluency on some level everyday.   Of course how we practice with our students and what those expectations are change according to what grade level the student is reading on.

Fluency is so important because not only does it build strong readers, it bridges the gap between word recognition and comprehension.  When a reader is fluent they can then spend their time focusing on what the text actually means.  Research shows that reading fluently is the key to comprehension.  I would say this is where I was this past school year with my class, bridging the gap with comprehension.  We are leveled at my school.   However, this past year my class seemed like a mix level of readers.  Some where reading slightly below level, some on level, and some above level.   Most of my kiddos had phonics and word recognition down, but where we lacked skills was in comprehension.  Let me tell you, these kids could read like there was no tomorrow.  Their word count was super high with little errors, but when it came time to retell the story, they would just stare at me with a blank look.  Do you know the look I am talking about?   Occasionally I would get a few details out of them and then the, "That is all I remember!" line.  I knew within the first few weeks of school I had really good readers on my hands, but they just need guidance in comprehension.   A lot of the times it wasn't that they didn't know the story or understand it {I knew this because when prompted, I could drag out a few details}, it was that they didn't know how to express their thoughts.  Does this make sense?  I hope I am not losing you!

{Click on image to zoom in on the picture from We Are Teachers.  There are great tips for practicing fluency!}

We spent the first nine weeks really working on comprehension.  We worked as whole group, small group, individually {RTI}.   I assigned one fluency passage a week. This passage is separate from our weekly story in our reader.  We work on our fluency passage Monday - Thursday.  They also took it home and their parents would time them for a minute each night.  Then the words are recorded and they retold what they have read to their parents.  We worked on going back in the text and highlighting important details in one color, then the main idea in another color.  We worked on starting off retelling the story by focusing on stating the main idea.  For example, when it was time to retell a story orally I had the students say, "The story is mostly about ____".  Just by having them make this statement at the very beginning of their retell increased their comprehension tremendously.{This was a tip that was given to me by my curriculum coach}.   We dug deep on main idea and supporting details.  As a matter of fact, when DIBELS came around in the middle of the year,  the class as a whole had improved on their comprehension dramatically.   We also worked on transferring those oral statements down into written statements for pencil and paper test.   I wanted my students to be able to write the main idea, then be able to support their answer with details from the story.   We used many other tips and tricks to help with fluency throughout the year too!

The tricky part was engaging my advance readers.  Do you notice that sometimes the high kiddos are the ones that get bored the easiest and need the extra push?  Just because my advanced readers were, well ADVANCED, they still were second graders, and they still needed to practice fluency with comprehension.  So, I started working on trying to find nonfiction fluency that would interest them, but would also challenge them {they informed me they were tired of reading "baby stories"}.  I could not find any in my series, so I decided to create my own.  With a little help from my coworker we created our on fluency set for Advanced Readers.  It ranges from 2nd grade all the way to 5th grade.  We set it up so we could practice it during our RTI time or send it for weekly homework.   There are also comprehension questions for each story.  The questions range from discussion, listing, drawing conclusion, fact and opinion, illustrating, multiple choice, and much more.   I wish I would have had this created at the beginning of the year.  It was a work in progress that we started on in February and worked on as we went.  I finally finished it about a week ago.  I could not have done it without my sweet friend.  There was a lot of research and editing involved to make sure we were reaching the fluency/comprehension needed for advanced readers.  However, even though it is geared for advanced readers, I did notice that many of my on or below level second graders were able to read and comprehend the passages at the end of the year.  I don't think they would have been able to do this at the beginning  of the year without help and practice {remember it is geared toward advanced readers}.  I can't wait to use it next year, because my upcoming group is suppose to be high average to high.  Fluency is so important to me.  I want all of my students to be successful readers.

Next year I am going to start off with nonfiction stories {Did you know Common Core focuses more on reading and understanding nonfiction?} and really dig deep with comprehension.   How do you practice fluency in your classroom?   I can't wait to hear from you.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!


22 June 2015

How to Make a Mongram Vinyl Tee & One Item that Means the World to Me Linky

I used my Silhouette to cut out monogrammed heat transfer vinyl.  Then I made cute baseball tees for my girls.

Here is how you can make a monogrammed tee too!

The first step is to pick your monogram lettering you want to use.  I found my on Etsy.  Insert each letter of the initial that you wish to use.  Move the letters around until you have the desired look.  Next click on: "OBJECT" and "WELD" {this will bring your lettering together without any gaps}.

Second you will load your vinyl into your Silhouette.  Load shiny/print side up! Some people will tell you to mirror or flip your wording or object, but I did not have to do this.  

The third step is to check your settings before you cut!  Make sure "standard" is checked.  Also, selected Heat Transfer Material.  I also set my blade to the #2 setting.

After you have checked your settings, the send the image to the cutter!

After the vinyl is finished cutting, place your heat transfer tape on top of the vinyl and pull off the cut item.   Use your hook insturment to pull out any negative parts of the lettering you do need.

The last step is to iron the lettering on!  I was able to just place the iron directly on the heat transfer tape and iron.  Make sure your iron is set to the highest heat setting.  I ironed for about 5 minutest to make sure the vinyl was sticking to the fabric.  If you lift the tape and some of the vinyl is still coming up, just place back down and hold the iron on a little longer!  Once you are sure the vinyl is stuck on the fabric remove the heat transfer tape.  Viola - you have a cute monogrammed baseball tee!

Set your

I am linking up with I Heart Grade 3 for this weeks Summer Link-Up!   The topic this week, "One Item that Means the World to Me"".  This was a very easy choice for me.  One of the things I hold dear to my heart is my grandmother's wedding ring.   

You see my grandmother passed away when I was younger from breast cancer.  I still remember everything about her.  I remember the way she looked, the way she smelled {always so good}, and all the fun things we did together.   She was very crafty and loved to sew and paint.  I remember this one time, when I was in first grade, we handmade dishtowels and painted them.  But not just your average kid painting, we painted the prettiest scenes on these dishtowels.  I wish I had one to show you.  I don't know why, but that is one of the crafts that we did together that has always stuck with me.

I remember getting to go shopping with my grandmother to look for craft supplies.  We would buy paints, fabrics, floral products, etc...  I just remember it being so much fun.

When I graduated from high school, one of the gifts my mom gave me was my grandmother's wedding ring.   Now, here I sit almost close to turning 40 and I still hold it dear to my heart.   I always say it is my "lucky' ring.  Whenever I need a little extra good luck or cheering up, I can put this ring on and it brings a smile to my face.

What is something that is important to you?  Be sure to link up!  Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!


20 June 2015

#TpTSellerChallenge, Teachers Love Summer, and Summer Bucket List Linky

I am catching up on some of my linkys!  I promise this is not a long post.  I kept most of my stuff short, sweet and to the point!

Here are my stats {they could use some improving}!  I hope they look better in a few weeks.   Be sure to link up with Teach Create Motivate, Sparkling in Second, Third in Hollywood, and Peppy Zesty Teacherista for their #TpTSellerChallenge!

This week for Makeover Madness, I gave my products a face lift, not by updating the cover, but by updating the descriptions.  I provided a "Let's Get Connected Link" and "Resource Links" to almost half of my products.  I also added clean bullets, instead of using asterisks and spaces!  Do you know where you can find the round bullets or other shapes?  Visit, Text-Symbols.com!  You can just copy and past the symbols into the description box. I think it cleaned up the products listing, plus I now have links to other resources and to all my social medias! I plan to go in and make the changes to all my resources, but just getting half of them done was very time consuming!

I am offering two products I made the makeover to 1/2 off!  Click on the image to visit!

What is your favorite thing to do in the summer? Link up with Primarily Speaking to join in on the fun.

I get to spend more FOCUSED time and energy with my little ones, husband, and family.   One of my favorite things about summer is Sundays.  Almost every Sunday after church, we all {by all I mean my brother's family and mine} head over to my mom's for lunch.  Then we usually spend the day swimming in the pool or boating on the lake.

If you couldn't tell by #1 how much my family and I like the water, well let me restate it for #2!  My second favorite thing to do in the summer is swim!  It doesn't matter if it is in a pool, lake, or river!  Hey, I am from the south and  it is hot down here so we will swim in just about anything {just kidding}!  But will do love to swim and most days you will find my girls and I at the pool or on a boat at the lake!

The third reason I love summer is to read!  I usually can squeeze in a few novels.  I know most teachers are reading educational books, but not me!  Sorry, I know I should but I just can't bring myself to do it!  I do love to read mystery or thriller novels.  This is what I am reading right now!

Just wondering, do you like to read on a tablet or from an actual book??  I read from both.  But I would have to say,  holding an actual book is still my favorite.  I like the way they feel and smell {weird I know}!  

My #4 is MOVIES!!  I love watching movies.  It does not matter if it is at a theater or curled up on the couch with my family.  We just saw Jurassic World and it was AWESOME!  Plus I usually can squeeze in a few more date nights with my husband in the summer, so that means we actually get to see something besides kid movies!

Reason #5 I get more time for me!  This can be to do things I enjoy, such as this {blogging}, creating TpT products, scrapbooking, taking longer walks, sleeping later, staying in pj's longer, or just enjoying a cold beer or a glass of wine on the back porch with my husband, while he grills {this seems to happen more in the summer}!

Last but definitely not least, here is my Summer Bucket List!  Some of the items can go with my favorite thing about summer.  Is there something you hope to scratch off your list before summer is over?  Be sure to link up with, What the Teacher Wants!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!  I can't wait to read what you put for your answer in the link ups!  


19 June 2015

Five for Friday

If you did not see my post about my planner that I ordered from Plum Paper, be sure to check it out {click here}!  Plum Paper is giving all my readers 10% off their entire purchase!  If you are looking for an awesome planner, I would highly recommend Plum Paper.  Be sure to check them out!

Here are a few pics from our mini vacation to San Antonio, Texas.  There is so much to do, but not enough time.  We stayed on the downtown River Walk, so every night we were able to go out and shop, eat yummy food, and take in all the sites.  We also went to Sea World, Sea World's water park Aquatica, visited the Alamo, caves, and Historic Mexican Market.  We floated the Comal River {that was really fun for the hubs and I - so relaxing}!  We were going to float the Guadalupe River, but it was still flooded!  Then we spent a day at Schlitterbahn Water Park {the kids favorite}!  

We came back just in time for Vacation Bible School!  This year's them was "Submerged in God's Love and Word"!

Just bought and set up a few of these on a couple of the T.V.s in the house.  I don't know who was more impressed with my technology skills, me or the girls!  They are excited to get to watch Netflix without going through their Wii {that is just about the only thing the Wii gets used for, that and the occasional karaoke war}.  I am excited to get to view home videos, music, pictures on my T.V screen.  This product was super easy to install and was fairly inexpensive.  I did have to buy an extra HDMI cable to hook up!

Happy Friday!!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!  I {heart} comments and followers!


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