New Sets and a Freebie!

I’ve been on a little bit of a creating streak lately after being in a little slump.  I’ve wrapped up four new sets.  I’ll probably hold off on making any new sets for awhile and instead work on updating some older items.

Two new mini sets, Ava and Sandy:
  

I added in this cute burlap set to match my cardboard set.

And another new jumbo set, Livy.

And because I had so much fun playing with the colors in my Livy set, I kept on creating with this freebie set for you:
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Blog Baby Blog Week 2: Back Up All the Things

Well, hello there! I'm back with Week 2 of Blog Baby Blog.  If you missed Week 1 on using a free watermarking app, you can catch up here.  Or not.  No pressure.
Last week's post was fun and happy.  There was watermarking and even a circus dog.  This week we're talking Doomsday.  I'm hoping you'll complete all three steps of this tutorial because that will pretty much ensure that you'll never need them.  Because that's how life works.

If you are thinking, I've backed up my template, I'm good.  Well good for you, but that's actually the easiest one to fix.

You can always get a new blog design.  You cannot get your posts or photos back.  Do I have your attention now?  Thank you.

Backing up your blog: ALL THREE PARTS {Template, Photos, Content}

**Before starting the backing up process, create a folder somewhere to keep all this doomsday material.  (And when you're done, copy that folder and save it somewhere else not on your computer.)**

Step 1: Back up your template. (This is your HTML coding.)

•Go to Template

•Click on Backup/Restore

•Click on Download Full Template

•Drag this file to your very special folder
That wasn't so bad, was it?

Step 2 and 3: You can save your photos and posts at the same time.

•From Google, go to my account.

•Click on “Control Your Content”

•Click on “Create Archive”

•Every Google program is selected, so click on “Select None” first.
•Click on the boxes for Blogger and Google Photos
**If you have multiple blogs, you can click on “All Blogs” to select the one you want to back up.  Same goes for Photos.  I created separate folders for different blogs, but it’s up to you.

•Scroll down and click on “Next”

•Click on “Create Archive”

•Download your file and save it in that special place.  **Depending on how large your files are, the download may be available right away, or they’ll email you when it’s finished.

I hope you never need this, but better safe than sorry!
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It’s Back! Blog Baby Blog

I had so much fun last year with the series, and I'm super excited to start it up again this year!


If you missed out on all the fun last year (and by fun, I mean techy stuff on blogging), you can catch up on all the posts here.

We’ll start Week 1 off with watermarking.  Not sure what a watermark is?  Here you go:

I became more aware of the need for watermarking when one of my blog images showed up on Pinterest.  Except it linked to a hairstyle blog.

So, this is a real Internet thing.  Take an image that a large group of people would want to repin to check out later, except the link has been changed to your own site.  This is a sneaky way to get blog traffic.

I did have a watermark, but . . . .  It’s on my computer, so I have to get the pictures from my phone, to the computer, open them, add the watermark, resave them, and all that rarely happens.  BUT my friend Molly from Lucky to Be in First told me about a great app call EZY Watermark.  It’s super easy to use and free.



1.  Open the app.  I selected “Library" because that’s where my picture was stored.

2.  Find your picture.

3.  Find your watermark in your library.  **I just airdropped the watermark from my computer to my phone.  You could email it to yourself, text it, whatever you need to do to save it to your phone.  The nice thing is that once you use it in the app, you can just select it from recent.**

4.  Move your watermark to where you want it to be.

5.  Tap the checkmark in the bottom corner.

6.  Tap the checkmark in the top corner to save it to your library or one of the social media links shown.  If you tap "Open with" first and then the checkmark in the top corner, you can open it in Instagram or airdrop it to your computer.

That’s it! Are there any tutorials you’d like to see this summer?

Happy watermarking,
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Hey Moms {and Dads}-Want an Hour of Peace Everyday?

Ahhh.  Summer.  Time to sleep later, relax, have a little free time.

If you have kids, it takes about 2 days to wonder what in the heck you’re supposed to do with these people ALL. DAY. LONG.


A few years ago, I read this post on a home blog I follow.  She wrote about how she has two kid free hours a day.  Since she has 4 boys, I was sure if she could manage this, I could do it with my two girls.

An hour is good enough at this house, and this Daily 5 loving teacher knew exactly how I wanted to structure this time-4 fifteen minute open ended activities that they could complete independently.

This is our third summer doing this, and it has looked a little different each summer.  The girls and I each come up with ideas, and both lists are the same.  Here are some of the ideas we’ve had over the past few years:

•Math websites (better than math workbooks because I don’t want to check anything.  Just keeping it real.)

•Typing websites

•READ READ READ!

•Spanish websites

•Animal research (sometimes they take notes, make posters, Glogsters, whatever)

•Handwriting

•YouTube videos (how to draw, tutorials, etc.)

•Researching recipes on Pinterest (yahoo to kids old enough to cook a simple dinner!)

•Journal writing

This also gives my girls a break from each other.  They have to complete everything independently.  While they do get along really well, some days they’re just tired of each other.

So what would you do with a free hour everyday?
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The 3 Minute Reading Assessment

I had coffee with a sweet teacher friend this weekend who switched to language arts after years in math.  We were discussing how to keep your finger on kiddos in the upper grades when are doing more whole class lessons, literature circles, and silent reading than guided reading groups.

There seems to be growing pressure in education for only assessing kids when you can assign a number value to them.

Data.

Ick.

There is nothing wrong with data.  We need to know where kids are, see how they are growing and changing.  DRA, fluency passages, phonetic checklists.  Love them all.  But not every moment needs to be number crunching, data-able.  This trend of turning kids into scores has gotten scary.
You can learn so much about a kid and what they need by just sitting back and listening to them read for one minute a book they’ve chosen independently.

When I felt most confident with knowing where kids were as readers is when I used their independent reading time to check in.  I tried to check in with 5 kids a day and during the week I was able to get to everyone.  I jotted down quick notes about that interaction.  This was great to have during conference time.  I could whip out my binder and talk about what I was seeing with the reader.  With 44 kids, things start to blur.  But by keeping notes, I was able to see what was going on over time.

Let’s take a trip back to 2010 when lime green and brown was my jam.  I found these golden oldies in a PowerPoint from an inservice I gave.

Keep a binder handy to record notes.  This was right behind my small group table.  Put a class list on the front, so you can keep track of who you met with.

Keep your note taking quick and easy.

This is fast and casual, people.  Bring me what you’re reading.  Just read to me from where you are.

Then stop and LISTEN.  Teachers are often so busy being in charge, it’s hard to sit back and lister to where a reader is at the moment.

While you’re listening, a whole new world of teachable moments opens up to you.  You also get great information about what a kid needs during guided reading groups.  Seeing trends across the class?  This can guide whole class lessons.

Here are a few things I listen for:
1.  Did the student pick a good fit book?
So many of our struggling readers choose books that are not appropriate.  You guide them in the classroom, but then they bring in a 400 page book from home or the school library that is five levels harder than they could possibly read.  Or they’re still reading The Cat in the Hat for the 800th time this month.

This is huge.  Your kiddos are not going to make any gains as readers if they are reading books that they can’t read and comprehend.  Work with them and work with them and work with them until they can get this.
2.  Correcting misread words
Take a close look at this.  What are kids doing when they misread words?  Going back and correcting them or just sailing on even though what they just read made absolutely NO sense.
Take a look at those errors.  Do the errors make sense but don’t match?  Or do the errors seem close phonetically but don’t make sense in the story?
3.  Fluency
Choppy? Smooth? Beautiful expression? Robot reading?

Tell them what they did well.  "I like how you backed up and reread when you noticed it didn’t sound right.”

DO NOT TALK ABOUT ALL OF THESE THINGS.  Just pick the one you think is most pressing.  It’s not worth talking about fluency when your student can’t choose good fit books.  Plus you only have about one minute for this part.  Make it good, make it fast.

If you have time, talk about predictions, connections, series, why your student chose that book.  Basically, whatever works that day with that text.

Major bonus?  Kids loooovvvveeee this one on one time with you.  Absent kiddo?  He will hunt you down and remind you that they yesterday was your day to read with him.

So how are you keeping track of your kids reading?
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