Guided Reading: Think you’ve seen it all? Check out these FREEBIES!!

LOVE Genia Connell’s post Guided Reading Organization Made Easy!  Check out the pics and video below.  Want to see more?  Find a Universal Lesson Plan template, free binder cover, and book organization materials on her post- click here!

Great idea for collecting student work!  

Maybe take pics once the work is complete to upload and save!

For observing and noting student behaviors…


Click the pic below to get the indicators A -Z for FREE!!!


Do you have materials and ideas you’d like to share?  Leave a note below!



“How do I know they’re getting it??” Quick & Easy Checks for Understandings!

Great teachers use a wide variety of assessment systems to know whether or not their instructional methods and procedures are working (Fisher   & Frey, 2007). Long gone are the days where we could say “I taught that”.

If they haven’t LEARNED it, you haven’t TAUGHT it! 

One type of informal  assessment is to check for understanding. Various ways to check for understanding provides teachers with important information to ensure that students are “getting it”.  The more you do this, the more your students will become aware of how to monitor their own understanding, which is vital in them becoming life-long learners.

It has been said that teachers need to informally check for students’ understanding every 10 minutes.  What does that look like??  Below I have complied some awesome ideas that can be used during whole group, small group, or independent time to help you do it…



Happy Checking!!!


Use the Stages of Learning to define and meet students’ needs

The Learning Hierarchy as defined by Haring, Lovitt, Eaton, & Hansen (1978) has 4 stages: acquisition, fluency, generalization, and MM900283665adaptation.  Understanding these stages can help you determine how to instruct your students in the most effective and efficient way.


The student is… The teacher should…
  •  just starting to learn the skill
  •  not able to perform it independently
  •  not performing the skill with accuracy 
  •  model performing the skill
  •  think-aloud while demonstrating
  •  give student constant feedback for redirecting errors, correct performance, and effort


The student is… The teacher should…
  • accurately performing the task, but slowly with too much wait time


  • create activities for the student to respond actively while you observe
  • offer opportunities for repetitive practice
  • if possible, document speed and/or number of correct responses and set goals for increasing both
  • give feedback on fluency and accuracy and encourage effort


The student is… The teacher should…
  • accurately and fluently responding
  • unable to apply skill in various contexts
  • confusing the skill with similar skills


  • create tasks that require the student to  use the skill regularly in various assignments/activities
  • work with parent to share ways to apply the skill outside school
  • if confusing the skill, create practice activities that require the student to discriminate between the similar skills and when each should be used
  • give feedback to reinforce accuracy and redirect errors


The student is… The teacher should…
  • accurate and fluent
  • able to apply task, but unable to modify the skill when necessary to fit new situations


  • assist the student in understanding the core element(s) of the task and possible situations for modification
  • create assignments/activities that require slight modifications initially, leading to greater modifications when appropriate
  • continue praise, corrective feedback, and encouragement

Once you have determined the stages your students have mastered, you can successfully cycle them through to the highest level of learning. The more frequently the students move through the stages, the more accelerated their learning will be!


3 Ways to Ensure Successful Small Group and Center Time!

imagesCA26M27UEstablish Rules!

Establish Routines!

Establish Procedures!

If you want a classroom that runs so well it can run without you…rules, routines, and procedures is the way.  And if you want your small group/center time to be effective this is MANDATORY!

Usually this happens the first 4-6 weeks of school, but if it didn’t- no worries…start at any time but the key to succes is being CONSISTENT!   Once students know that you are consistent, you will have less issues. 

Learning centers/stations will not be effective if you have not established, modeled, and practiced routines!  Here are some quick tips:

  1. Show them how it should be done.
  2. Show them how it should NOT be done.
  3. Have a student show how it should be done.
  4. Have a student show how it should NOT be done.
  5. Have a group show how it should be done.
  6. Have a group how it should NOT be done.
  7. Have the class show how it should be done.
  8. Have the class show how it should NOT be done.
  9. Try it for real.
  10. If all goes well, continue…if not, go back to #1.

Really, do it over and over until they get it! 

As for rules, EVERY center area needs to have rules, procedures, and what to do if your finish early.

Believe me, it will NOT be easy..but it WILL be worth it.  Students will be so used to the way things are done, that even if you are not there, they will know what to do AND DO IT!!  I’VE SEEN IT HAPPEN EVEN IN KINDERGARTEN!

Try it!


Making the Greatest Impact on Literacy Instructon

Classrooms today are full of students of the same age, in the same grade, but miles apart in their ability levels.  How do you reach them all??

The RTI answer is to move from teaching ALL of them to teaching EACH of them.  Your next question, so how am I supposed to do that??

Let’s examine one way to meet the needs of each student …through the gradual release of responsibility.


As you can see, there are 4 stages in this process…

  1. Teacher models a skill/strategy…students listen only “I do”
  2. Teacher modeling WITH students assisting “We do”
  3. Students practice the skill/strategy with partners or groups “You do together”
  4. Students practice during independent application  “You do alone”

This scaffolded transfer of responsibility allows us to…

give students supports that they can hold on to as they take the lead – not just push them into the  path and hope they find their way.

This quote and the model presented above were taken from the book…Better Learning Through Structured Teaching by Fisher & Frey (2008) which I must say should be an addition to your library and for that reason I am adding it to our Book Club!


View the Table of Contents and read portions of each chapter by clicking the link below.