Tools for Guided Reading

Over the years I have found that when I teach my guided reading groups, there are quite a few items that I need daily. In the past, I have had all the items spread out on counters, in cabinets and just all over the classroom. This year I got a cart to house all my items and it has been a GAME CHANGER!

Let's take a look at all the goodies I keep inside of those shelves!

Amazon affiliate links are used below. When you click the link I make a small profit if items are purchased using my link.

1. Letter Manipulatives

I love love love having a big variety of letters. We use them for all kinds of letter activities.  Here are some closeup pictures. Click them to see them on amazon.

These are counters that I added letter stickers to from the target dollar spot quite a few years ago. They have held up really well!
These are an OLD set of magnetic letters but hey they work great still.

I am very into getting fine motor practice snuck in when I can so I was really excited to find these lacing and unifix cube letters this year

These letter dice are from Oriental Trading but I did find some on Amazon too. I have a freebie you can use with them if you have them too! Just click here to grab it.

On the middle shelf, I have whisper phones for students to work on fluency and blending cards for word work activities
I am not sure where the boards came from. I think an old reading series. I found them when I moved into my classroom this year.

Now to the top shelf. Here is have my OG. The caddy that started it all.

I have been using this one for about 4 years now. This is what's inside
pointers, google eyes, mini flashlights and guide strips. All of these items were from Target way back in the day but I did find some guide strips on Amazon. 

Reading Strategies Posters- Mini Sized

I use these when focusing on a skill or help students when they are stuck on words. If you would like them just click here.

Then I also have sticky notes, index cards, sight word cards, markers, pencils, and erasers.

One last item I use with every group every day are my alphabet sound cards.
You can read all about how I use these cards here.

Having my cart right by my teacher table this year has made my life much easier! I love having all I need right at my fingertips

I would love to hear about what some of you favorite tools are that you use. Leave me a comment below.

Happy Teaching Friends,

Center Management

One of the questions I get asked a LOT is how I manage my students during center time. I spend the first 2 months of the school year getting students ready for small group work but that can be just half of the battle. Right?

How do students know where they are going?
How do they know when to move on to the next activity?
How long do they stay at each center?

This is my rotation board. Nothing fancy but it totally works for me. I have a pocket chart that I got from a local teacher's store and then I created picture cards to represent the centers my students will be going to that day.  I have students grouped by colors. I group my students based on data taken in the classroom. My students move in and out of groups every few weeks so keeping the activities the same makes the expectations and rotations easier.

These pictures help students see where they will begin and move to next. I change the pictures out (and add a fluency one if that is a skill that is needed) at the end of the day. Students know what their expectation is since my centers follow the same routines each month.

Here are a few examples of  word work centers my students have been working on this month

 All my activities come from my monthly literacy packs.

Each activity is 20 minutes long. I have a digital timer displayed on our screen so students are aware of how much time they have left.  When the bell rings students know it is time to clean up and move to the next center. I see 3 groups each day and I also see a group for extra intervention support.

Keeping students accountable is another part of managing the centers. With most of my centers, I have a response sheet that my students fill out to show what they have learned. This helps them complete the task and also shows me how they are progressing.  If students are writing in journals we go over those in small groups so students know they must get the work done.

I also used this chart during the earlier part of the year to encourage students to try and do their best work during small group time. I always tell them I will be checking it later too. 😊

Now students need to work and practice on these expectations but after a while, they will know their routine and hopefully, your center time will start to feel smoother too!

You can grab a copy of my picture cards by clicking here!

I hope this has answered some questions and helped a bit. If you have any more questions feel free to reply back to me.

The First 5 Minutes of Guided Reading

We all know how hard it is to squeeze everything we need to do with a group of kids into 20 minutes of group time. This past year I have started to use those first 5 minutes of my group time in a different way to help maximize the time by starting with letter identification and sounds.

When my students arrive at the teacher table we take out our letter sound cards for the week and begin. I have grouped the letters by most commonly seen ones and we work through that sequence.  The students chant the letter name. Then we say the name of the picture that is on the card, Next, we say the sound that letter makes.

Once I have talked about the letter names and the sounds they make I introduce some picture cards that also show the same beginning sounds to my group. We talk about the pictures and what sound we hear at the beginning of them and sort them to the matching beginning sound card. The students like this interactive game and to be apart of the process. On the first day, I only do about picture card per sound just so I can introduce it all and then we move on to the next part of our guided reading lesson.

The second time I meet with this same group we review the same 5 sounds but then, I may just focus on 2 of the sounds and pull out 5 beginning sound picture cards for 2 of the letter and the kids have to sort all of the cards. This again helps reinforce and hear the differences between the letter sounds and also help build their vocabulary.

I will work on the same 5 letter sound with this group for about 2 weeks doing matches with the picture cards, letter sorts with all kinds of letter tiles to the big picture cards, and hopefully, by then my students will be ready to move on the next set of 5 letters.

Depending on the level of my students I try and meet with them 2-3 a week. After I do meet with them I do give them so word work type activities to work on independently in small groups that I will talk about in another blog post soon.

The Beginning Sound picture cards are for sale in my TPT store. Just click here to see them.  If you would like to get the bigger alphabet cards you can get them here by joining my email list!

I also have a video of me talking about how I use these cards head over to my Instagram page and click on my IGTV channel. There is a video over there where I explained this whole routine too!

I hope you found some of these tips helpful. Over the years I have found my teacher style keeps changing but, this way of starting out my guided reading group had made a difference for my kids this year and I think this is one routine I am going to stick with. If you have any questions feel free to leave it below.

Make sure to pin this image to Pinterest and save this blog post to your favorite board too!

Thanks for stopping by!

100 Days Smarter!

This past week we celebrated our 100th day of school!  Lots of fun activities were planned to celebrate the day and I ordered some goodies from Oriental Trading as well. I can't wait to show you what we did.

We started off the party with decorating crowns to show we are 100 days smarter! I love these since the kids get to color them in. They loved them too!

Next up we started with a craft. Each student got a gumball machine and filled them with 100 gumballs.

what I LOVED about this all the numbers are mixed up so I gave my students an extra challenge. I had them make each set of 10 a different color. This kept them busy and QUIET for such a long time. They had to hunt for those numbers.

I was really impressed with how hard they worked on filling this machine up!

Next, we worked on a variety of activities that included the number 100. These activities came from my 100 Days print and go resource.

Listening and following directions.

A flip book!

Different ways to have fun during the day!

It made the day so exciting and interactive!

Then to finish off the day each student got a bag of goodies to take home.
                                              Bookmarks to use in our favorite books!

                                           Stickers cause who doesn't love stickers?!!

                Pencils(cause we never have enough of those). I also found erasers for them too!

The day passed by so quickly that we never got to our last activity! So we are going to work on them this week.

So if you are planning your 100th day make sure you check out all the goodies that Oriental Trading has to help with your celebration.

If you want to save any of these ideas pin the picture below to your favorite Pinterest board.

** Oriental Trading has been a classroom favorite resource of mine to order items from. They do send me items to review/write a blog post about. I am happy to share these ideas with all my readers and all opinions are my own.

Have fun celebrating 100 Days of School!