July Favorites – Teaching Tips, Tricks, and Resources

As summer comes to a close, I can’t help but be grateful for the time to reflect, relax, and spend time with the people I love.  Having said that, we all know that teachers do not take the summer off completely.  We are always on the lookout for resources to make me a better teacher and keep the school environment happy, positive, and purposeful.  Today I’d like to share my July teaching favorites, including a great book, some classroom decor updates and a super exciting sale.

A close look at levels

This month, I read Understanding Texts and Readers by Jennifer Serravallo.  If you follow me anywhere, you know that Jennifer Serravallo is my teaching idol.  This book does not disappoint!  Serravallo takes a deep dive into the expectations for each reading level (J-W).  I especially like how she broke things down into fiction and nonfiction and shared what was expected for each skill at each grade level.  She also provided writing samples for the different skills.  I will definitely refer to these as I score my students’ Benchmarks this year.

I have never been the type of teacher to lock a student into a level.  There are so many variables to take into consideration, including background knowledge, interest in the topic, and the amount of support available.  I appreciate the reinforcement and validation of this belief that I found in reading this book.

After reading this book, I am also convinced that I need to do more whole book assessments in addition to the running records, reading conferences, and strategy groups that I am currently doing.  I love Serravallo’s idea of placing Post-it notes with questions in various places of a book.  When the student arrives at a Post-it, they stop, think, and respond in writing to the prompt.  This strategy will help provide a clear picture of how well the student is understanding the entire book.  I really like the idea of getting a broader view of the student’s comprehension.

Needless to say, I strongly recommend this book.  It is a great read whether you are just starting your teaching journey or are a veteran teacher searching for a deeper understanding of the exceptions for the different reading levels.

My New Color Scheme

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on my new decor for my classroom this year.  I am excited to add the following items to my classroom this year!  (More to come soon!)

*My new word wall letters – I recently updated this file to better match the other items in the bundle.  I have a few more updates and additions to make, and then I will have two separate bundles – one geared toward intermediate grades, and one geared toward primary.  If you are interested in the word wall letters, you can get them here.  They come in 3 1/2-inch squares and 4 1/2-inch squares.  Two heading options are included as well.  Everything comes in dots, chevron, and stripes.

*I completed my calendar numbers and August heading.  I have a few more items to complete before adding this item to my TPT store.  Due to my heavy workload, this product will not be available until spring, 2020.

*I love having schedule cards so my students have a visual for how the day will flow.  Here are the ones I am using in my room this year (barring any schedule changes).  I recently added these to my TPT store.  You can check them out here.  I opted not to include times with the cards in my classroom to allow for some flexibility.  However, the set includes two different editable options for adding times.   

Last, but certainly not least, I found out about the TPT Back to School Sale!  I am super excited to announce that my entire store will be 20% off on Tuesday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 7.  You can get an additional 5% off by typing in the code BTS19.

I hope everyone is enjoying the final days/weeks of summer.  

Thank you!

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