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August Desktop

Happy August to you!  The first of August definitely gets me feeling a little panicky.  Summer is winding down, and we're about to be full speed ahead.

Even though it will be hot and sticky here, this desktop has me feeling fun and cool.  The cactus is on point (heehee), and I love the fun colors.
Grab this cactus themed background for your computer! • August 2017 •

Grab this sweet background by clicking here or on the image below.  How cute is that cactus background from Red Chocolate???

Grab this cactus themed background for your computer! • August 2017 •

Plus, you can grab these iPhone backgrounds, too!  Grab the patterned background here and the plain one here.
Grab this cactus themed background for your computer! • August 2017 •
I hope your August is amazing!!


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July Favorites

This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

Hey hey! I hope you've had a great July.  Summer is winding down for us, and I'm starting to get a little panicky about BTS time.  Mostly about getting out of bed at a reasonable hour.

July Favorites-road tripping, an AMAZING book, a printable freebie, and more.

Here are a few things I've been loving this month.


Day tripped with my momma! We hit the road and headed to Waco to visit The Silos.  It was incredible.


Everything there done in a way that is beautiful, on brand, and makes my Type A heart sing.  It's basically the Disneyworld of shopping expeditions.  Just like everything else there, their cupcakes were amazing.


I read my first Colleen Hoover book.  And wow.


This one will keep you thinking for days.  I can't believe how good it was.  It Ends with Us is one that needs to go on your TBR list.


I took my first trip to Disneyland this month and got to share that day with these ladies!! We had an amazing time.


I think I even like Disneyland better than Disneyworld.  It's so much more "doable".  The fact that it wasn't 1,000º in July helped, too.


We got another to do project off the list!  There was nothing technically wrong with our fireplace tile except it was super blah.


They're actually coming back next week to add the trim pieces, but I'm already in love with it.


I've been wanting to visit Bless Your Heart in San Antonio forever.  I follow their shop on Instagram, and they have THE CUTEST clothes.

Maybe don't go for the first time with your daughters.  We spent a little more than I planned.  But we're darling now.


We're wrapping up our month of fun and heading into a hard month.  My older daughter is having surgery.  On the first day of school.  Not only will she miss the first day of school, but we'll miss my younger daughter's first day of junior high.  My momma heart is aching that I can't be in two places at once.  But, I'm holding this verse close to my heart.
Free printable: Don't worry about anything. Instead pray about everything.
I definitely haven't moved from all worrying to all praying, but I'm reminding myself to turn to that when the worry gets heavy.  If you've got a worry on your heart, you can click here to download the print, and post it in a place that will remind you.


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Let's Talk About Levels . . . .


This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

I've shared on the blog and my Instagram feed before about my love for this book:

How to use a deeper understanding of guided reading levels to support student growth without defining kids by a level label.

One of the reasons I love The Literacy Continuum so much is the demystifying of guided reading levels.  This takes the understanding of levels from more words/harder words to building an understanding of the actual reading process that happens for readers.  As a reading teacher, it helps me understanding why things start to fall apart so quickly for students as they get older when we have only had a more words/harder words focus.

How to use a deeper understanding of guided reading levels to support student growth without defining kids by a level label.

I love this section.  I wish it was available separately because it would be so valuable to have next to you while planning lessons.  I *MIGHT* have even emailed Heinemann to see if it could be published as a stand alone resource.  Here's a sneak peek:


I love levels!  But there's a big asterisk on that love.


Using levels as a tool for helping us understand how to support readers is not the same as using them as a student's identity.

I saw this on Facebook one day from Kylene Beers and was immediately horrified.


I was so horrified because I did this.  I talked about kids this way.  I was not using levels as a way to understand reading development but to define readers.

If you see this in yourself, here are a few (super short) resources to help you think more deeply about it.

This is the original post from Kylene Beers connected to that image.

And here is a post from the Fountas and Pinnell Community Blog that sums it up beautifully.  It is titled, "A Level is Teacher's Tool, NOT a Child's Label"


Circling around to where we began with The Literacy Continuum, deeply understanding levels of progression for readers becomes even more important because it allows us to speak with parents, students, colleagues, and even ourselves about reading behaviors vs a label that has no meaning to those outside of the education profession.

This school year I challenge you to make a mental shift from thinking and talking about levels and transition to discussing reading behaviors of your students instead.


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July Desktop

Happy July to you!  The first of July is a little bittersweet.  Because we start school in mid August, I know once July is over we'll be back in the craziness that is the school year.  BUT for now, July is all ice cream and summertime and fun.


Grab this sweet background by clicking here or on the image below.  How cute is that ice cream background from Hello Talli???


Hope you have a wonderful July!


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June Desktop

Happy happy June to you! Schools out and I'm ready for sleeping late, relaxing, reading too late at night, and spending extra time with my family.


Grab this summery background by clicking here or on the image below.  How gorgeous is that pineapple graphic by Kenna Sato Designs???


Hope you have a wonderful June!


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May Desktop

Happy May to you! So many fun things to look forward to this month-my birthday and wrapping up the school year are just two of them.


Grab this fun background with graphics from Daria Miazhevich to brighten up your computer.  You can click here or on the image below to download the background.


Hope you have a wonderful May!


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Not This But That: Vocabulary Instruction


This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

Have you checked out any of the titles from Heinemann's Not This But That book series?  They're bite size literacy versions of awesome.  They're small and each book is under 100 pages from start to finish.  The books in this series are divided into three sections:

Not This: This section is an overview of a common instruction practice.

Why Not? What Works?: The second section of the book focuses on what we know about best practice for the topic.

But That: And the final section focuses on implementation of these ideas in our classrooms.

Here are a some of the titles available:
You can see a full list from Heinemann here and here's an Amazon list if you like getting books in 2 days.  #primespoiledmeforlife

This month I read No More "Look Up the List" Vocabulary Instruction.  It was a huge eye opener.
Know your vocabulary instruction is lacking but not sure how to make the change?  This book is a perfect (and fast) overview of what works in vocabulary instruction as well as what doesn't.

Vocabulary is the red headed step child of literacy instruction and one I don't feel I have a strong understanding of.  I loved this book and think it's amazing resource for getting a quick but deep understanding of the challenges of vocabulary instruction as well as strategies that work.

Why?

Because authentically teaching vocabuary is hard.  Why is it so hard to move beyond look up the list instruction?  "Yet we continue to teach this way.  Why? Like most of us, we default to teaching the way we were taught." Unlike guided reading, conferring, and book clubs, there just isn't a ton out there for teachers on how to teach vocabulary.

Aha Moment

I love this quote.  "You'll learn ways to help students realize that words are something they can acquire and that by learning the right strategies they can be successful, independent word learners."
Teaching kids to be independent words learners > trying to teaching students individual words.  Duh.  How did I never think of that????

I Wish

There was a greater awareness of thinking of teaching vocabulary as multi-faceted.  This book breaks it down into four components:

•Foster word consciousness
•Provide rich and varied language experiences
•Teach individual words (even this is broken into three levels)
•Teach word learning strategies

Reading about the multiple components of teaching vocabulary instruction only confirms even more so that looking up words in the dictionary or using vocabulary workbooks helps us check off the vocabulary box in our lesson plans but misses the mark with our students.

Surprise

The power of self-selection.  In a study on fourth grade students, researchers found that self-selection did not water down vocabulary.  Instead students chose words of greater difficulty, and they learned the words they selected.
Let's be honest, we can sometimes sell our students short.  However, "Choice has been identified as a powerful force that allows students to take ownership and responsibility for their learning.  Studies indicate that motivation increases when students have opportunities to make choices about what they learn and when they believe they have autonomy or control over their learning." (Gambrell, 2011)  It only makes sense that this would be true within vocabulary instruction.

Good For . . .

An language arts or content area teacher.  This book does a good job of addressing the varying vocabulary needs across the curriculum.  Whether you have a language arts focus or are a content area teacher, this book speaks to the vocabulary needs in your classroom.

Wise Words

Know your vocabulary instruction is lacking but not sure how to make the change?  This book is a perfect (and fast) overview of what works in vocabulary instruction as well as what doesn't.

Know your vocabulary instruction is lacking but not sure how to make the change?  This book is a perfect (and fast) overview of what works in vocabulary instruction as well as what doesn't.

Know your vocabulary instruction is lacking but not sure how to make the change?  This book is a perfect (and fast) overview of what works in vocabulary instruction as well as what doesn't.

Know your vocabulary instruction is lacking but not sure how to make the change?  This book is a perfect (and fast) overview of what works in vocabulary instruction as well as what doesn't.
I hope you'll dive deep into vocabulary instruction with No More "Look Up the List" Vocabulary Instruction.  I love the format of this series with and plan to read more.  Any other vocabulary must reads I need to add to my list?


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