I adore Paper Coterie. I have ordered many personalized memory items from them and they all have been beautiful. I made Addie an ABC book and she especially loves a coil bound photo book I made for her. It has really sturdy pages that she loves to look through. I made a Memory Keeper for our wedding keepsakes (my veil, our invitations, ring boxes, etc.) I've been meaning to make one for Addie's baby keepsakes as well (hospital bracelets, newborn outfit, etc.) I made a photo book of my husband's family reunion for his parents for Christmas. Honestly, I've tried most of their products and they are all stellar.
My favorite items at Paper Coterie right now are the new Documenting series. I made a Documentine Dailies book that I use to make notes for Project Life. It is the perfect size, the quality is wonderful, and it is absolutely darling.
One lucky winner will win a $75 gift certificate to Paper Coterie. Enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter widget below. If it doesn't load, click the link.
P.S. Paper Coterie often offers special deals on their products. To help keep you informed, I created a page where you can find all the Paper Coterie deals in one place. You can book mark it or pin it and come back to check the deals any time you want to order something.
Today's giveaway is a real treat. Playful Learning is one of our favorite sites, and one of the first blogs I started reading. You will find amazing educational ideas and beautiful inspiration there. In addition to their great site content, Playful Learning offers incredible eCourses and Mariah recently wrote an amazing book as well! You will want to add this blog to your reading list right away if you haven't already!
Mariah at Playful Learning is generously offering one of our readers free admission to the Learning Space eCourse ($97 value) as well as a complimentary copy of her book Playful Learning: Develop You Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder.
And as an extra bonus for all of you lovely readers, she's giving 30% off any courses in the Playful Learning Ecademy. Just use code giveaway30 at checkout.
Enter the giveaway for Playful Learning Spaces eCourse + the Playful Learning book using the rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends Friday 8/31.a Rafflecopter giveaway
We will be back tomorrow with more Back to School Event Giveaways (They're so good!!) Today we're joining forces with two of our favorite blogs for a giveaway just for 2nd grade teachers. Read on....
Calling all second grade teachers! Do you want some "Kickin" Common Core resources to help you start this school year? Then this is the giveaway for you! Saddle up and join in the fun with our ...Common Core Kickin' Combo Giveaway! We are thrilled to partner up with two other amazing bloggers and top sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers. Yvonne from Sassy in Second and Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade. These gals have mastered Common Core and have designed resources that go beautifully together and with our own resouces! Here are some pics to show what all we are giving away and how you can best use all of the resources in your second grade classroom. That is right...we will be giving one lucky winner ALL of the packets mentioned below.
Denise designed these Common Core assessments for all second grade ELA and Math Common Core standards. These packets provide everything a second grade teacher needs this year for formative or summative assessment. Very child friendly and right on target for checking mastery of the standards!
We have created these amazing Common Core practice sheets for all second grade Common Core standards!. Your students will have plenty of skill practice with the awesome morning work, homework sheets, and Common Core fluency passages! You have to see these packets to believe them!
Yvonne at Sassy in Second has created Common Core Notebooks to help with Common Core portfolios and student-led conferencing! Included are Essential Question cards and Word Wall vocabulary to support Common Core instruction. The notebooks place students in charge of collecting their own artifacts as evidence of learning the Common Core Standards. Math Journal Prompts for a Complete School Year are included for daily practice of Common Core math skills.
You get daily practice sheets and homework helpers to support your Common Core instruction! These sheets are supportive of your Essential Question and Vocabulary Word Wall cards provided in the Common Core Notebook. As your students use the morning work and homework practice sheets they master the standards. Use Second Story Window's practice sheets to provide the evidence of learning to place in the portfolios. The reading fluency passages are coded with the standards so students can file them behind the domain cards and standards as evidence in their notebooks.
You will receive assessments for all of the Math and ELA Common Core Standards to check for mastery of skills. These formative or summative assessments are a wonderful way to see who has mastered certain standards and to see who still needs to work on Common Core learning goals. Once students show evidence of learning the standards, they file their assessments behind the domain cards in the Common Core Notebooks attached to an Evidence of Learning Form from the Common Core Notebook.
You may recall that Peekaboo Barn was Addie's very first favorite app. And Peekaboo Forest is a new favorite, the Charley Harper illustrations are stunning. So it is a real treat for me to get to give away copies of Peekaboo Barn and Peekaboo Forest to you, our wonderful readers! Thank you, Night & Day Studios.
We get to give away 10 codes for Peekaboo Barn for iPhone, 10 codes for Peekaboo Barn for iPad, and 10 codes for Peekaboo Forest (a universal app for iPhone and iPad.) That's 30 winners! This giveaway will only run until Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 10PM PST so enter quickly. Enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter widget below. Your odds are great! (If you have trouble getting the widget to load, please click the "a Rafflecopter giveaway" link. Sorry!)
In order for us to send out the codes quickly to you, please specify in your comment your preference for apps if you win, for example: 1st choice: Peekaboo Barn for iPad, 2nd choice: Peekaboo Forest, 3rd choice: Peekaboo Barn for iPhone.
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. All winners have been e-mailed.
Recently, Heidi and I were given the chance to take a class at Nicole's Clases. Nicole's Classes offers online courses in photography, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and more. For ages we've had it on our list to take an Illustrator class and this was just the perfect opportunity to do it.
Alma, our instructor, is an insanely talented illustrator and designer. She is one of the designers of our favorite app, Make it Pop! Her work is so inspiring that I found myself wanting to learn everything about Illustrator as quickly as I possibly could.
The reason we wanted to learn Illustrator is because it's one of the best programs (maybe THE best program) for creating vector graphics. You can do lots of things in Photoshop, but it is not the best program for making your own graphics. If you've ever wanted to design graphics, Illustrator is the way to go
Illustrator 101 covers all the basics of the program. In 4 weeks we covered so much information, yet I never felt like it was too much information to tackle. Alma gave us assignments to practice the tools we learned each week. That pen tool started out as my enemy but has quickly become my best friend! Heidi had no Illustrator experience when we started and I had only a small amount. We both were amazed at what we were able to create with the tools Alma taught us. Illustrator can be intimidating but I promise you that if you dive in, you will be amazed at what you can learn. I have a long way to go but with Alma's help (and maybe some more of her classes!) I will be an Illustrator pro before long.
One more thing, I highly recommend picking up the textbook as well. I found it a useful reference while working and now refer to it often. It is an incredibly useful and organized book with a ton of information packed in its covers.
Also, be sure to follow the Nicole's Classes Blog. They have amazing tutorials over there and tons of inspiration.
Now that the kids are back in school, it's your turn to take the time to learn something new! Nicole's Classes has generously offered a spot for TWO of you to take one of their amazing classes. You can choose any class from this list. Enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter widget below. (If you have trouble getting the widget to load, please click the "a Rafflecopter giveaway" link. Sorry!)
Disclosure: Heidi and I were given complimentary access to the Illustrator 101 class. All opinions, as always, are our own. We only share what we love!
This giveaway is closed. The winner are Cassity and Ali!
We are participating in the Back to School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers. All items (including the morning work book!) will be discounted 10% Sunday and Monday, August 12-13. Use code BTS12 for an extra 10% off (sitewide!)
The code BTS12 will also work for 15% off regular price in our etsy shop on those days.
Wee A B See- Another animal themed ABC app. But this one? This one is spectacular. The design is AMAZING (something you know I care a lot about, even in kids apps.) For each letter there is a darling illustration and the letter is hidden within it. When it's found it turns orange. Each illustration also has a hidden motion as well like the elephant "whistling" peanuts into the air or the squirrel sneezing. The corresponding rhymes are always clever. At the end there's a place to practice tracing and writing the letters. This app was a hit for both of us!
Numberland- Addie is so into all things ABC and 123 lately so this one sucked her in right away. Each number is reinforced visually as well as audibly and there are objects to count as well. Each scene is really intricate and charming and involves some interactive element. I really appreciate the Montessori method being incorporated through number rods and spindle counting. There's also a place to practice writing the numbers. My one complaint? While I love the fact that this app can teach numbers in a couple of languages, I wish it wasn't so easy to switch the languages. Lately Addie seems to always be playing the app in French, which is great, but I'd like her to master English first! It would be ideal if there was a way I could turn off that feature until she's ready for it. The iphone version of this app is on sale for .99 until the end of August.
PrestoBingo Shapes- We just got this one yesterday because it looked so great. I can't say no to good design! The colors and style are really fresh and fun but still totally kid appropriate. In each scene there are a bunch of hidden shapes (say, trapezoid) and you try to find them all. Some of them are really tricky to find which can be frustrating. Occasionally I can't even spot them all! You can't really do anything else with the app until you find them all and advance to the next screen. It would be nice if they built in a hint system when you get stuck. There is a lite version of this one.
Bug Games- This is a darling app from Busy Bee Studios. I picked it up as one of the App Friday deals recently. The app has 5 little games that are really fun. The Ant Tunnel Construction activity seemed too complex for Addie but she totally figured it out. The Cricket Chorus is one of her favorites. The crickets sing nursery rhymes in 3 part harmony! Addie likes to turn on the singing and then get up and dance (or order me to sing along.) Spider Connect is a little shape dot-to-dot that reveals an object when you finish. In Busy Bee Phonics you can build short words with letters. There's also a sticker activity which is fun. Really great app, especially for the price.
What apps are your little ones playing recently?
See our other app recommendations.
See what apps we're pinning on pinterest.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of Wee A B See but was not required to blog about it. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Doesn’t that sound like it should be something fabulous? Or scandalous! Not so much when you know it stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. Basically a very long name for reading fluency assessments.
Prior to my school adopting the program I hadn’t given much thought to assessing and tracking reading fluency. Once that became part of our literacy routine, my level of concern regarding fluency went way up! I nosed around on-line to see what other teachers were doing to help their kids improve their reading and came across a literacy coach’s blog. I’ve long since lost the link to her site (sorry anonymous literacy coach!!), but she suggested weekly fluency homework. My team started using this in the fall of 2008. At the time I’d just write a random story and put it in the homework template. I had a huge ah-ha moment in the middle of that year when I gave the kids a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s Steadfast Tin Soldier. That story came up in discussion the following week and I was amazed by the thoroughness of their retellings.
>Cue the lightbulb over my head.<
If I’m going to make them read a story 4 times, it should be worthy of rereading and it should meet more standards than just fluency!
Over the past 4 years I’ve tweaked and edited and revamped. In fact, of that orginal batch of stories only The Steadfast Tin Soldier remains. So what do we have? 35 original weekly passages organized with the story on one page. Parent tips and comprehension questions are on the back. (Actually, my team shrunk these down so the story/questions sit side-by-side on one page and we copy the week’s spelling homework on the back. Anything to save paper, right?) Each four week section is organized around a theme and includes fiction and nonfiction passages. Over the course of the year the passages cover a variety of genres: informational text, fable, biography, myth, folktale, tall tale, etc. All of it is common core aligned. For example, the core for 2nd grade says:
Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
So we have 4 passages on koalas. The students read an informational text, fiction story with koalas as the main characters, Australian myth about koalas, and a nonfiction piece about the koala rescued by firefighters in 2009. The students are asked to find similarities and differences among the different passages.
Under the core, students are supposed to read folktales from various cultures and point out their theme. Going along with that, my favorite set of stories focuses on the same theme: eat me when I’m fatter. The kids get a kick out of these, too! There’s the Three Billy Goats Gruff that we’re all familiar with. Also a folktale from Tibet and a story of Brer Rabbit. And (I’m rather proud of) an original story involving a helpless seal and a hungry orca. (Don’t worry the seal tricks the orca and gets away safely!)
Our fluency topics:
This is part of our weekly homework. On Mondays I distribute the story to the class. I read it to them while they follow along with their plastic witch finger (you have to make them follow along or about half of them drift off). Then we choral read it as a class and complete the comprehension questions together. This goes into the homework folder and I don’t see it again till they turn it in Friday morning. While it’s at home, it’s expected that a parent or older sibling time them for 1 minute and record the total words read correctly.
The pages is set up to make this run as smoothly as possible for mom and dad. The main focus is, of course, the story. The number of words for each line is noted to the right side.
Because the ultimate purpose of reading fluency is to improve comprehension, we have to give the students stories that are long enough to require some thought. So even though the goal for 2nd grade is to read 90/minutes by the end of the year, these stories are longer than that.
Also, fluency passages have to be on the students’ independent level. Since 2nd graders are shooting for the 90 words/minute goal, the first 100 words (or so) I tried to keep to a 2nd grade level. (Let me tell you that was a trick with some of the biographies!) I figured kids who could read faster than that needed more of a challenge, so the text gets harder the further you go. Also, as the year progresses the overall texts get more complex.
I tried lots of different formulas to figure the readibility for each story and, you know what? Nobody agrees on what exactly grade-level is! So I went with my best guess. Very scientific! I figured I’ve taught 2nd grade for 11 years. That’s 11 years of guided reading with books on level C,D,E…N,O,P. I can pretty closely determine a guided reading level just based on my own experience. So, in my opinion, the first 4 weeks would level about an F. (Lower than a 2nd grade level, but remember we’re shooting for independence here!) After that it goes up: G, H…I don’t think it gets much harder than about an L/M. (For kids starting 2nd grade lower than an E, we send home one of these stories instead.)
At the bottom of the story is a place for mom or dad to record the words read.
If you notice in the corner there: RF.2.4. That’s the core standard.
Read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression.
See, I’m learning to include these things.
[Part legitimate question/part snarky rhetoric: Teachers who are required to document the core standard on everything, does this actually make you a better teacher or is it yet another meaningless, time-swallowing hoop to jump through?]
On the 2nd page there’s a box for Parent Tips.
I tried to balance straight prodedural tips (like the one above) with quotes from experts about the importance of reading fluency.
Then there are 4 questions: three multliple choice and one open-ended essay question intended to help the kids connect with the story on a personal level. These questions lead to some great classroom discussion, just FYI.
And what’s that in the bottom corner? That’s right--more core documentation! This time it relates to the Reading Literature or Reading Informational Text standards that the questions support.
To go along with fluency, we have a freebie: fluency bookmarks! I hand these out to students to remind them how their reading should sound. Click to download the bookmark and a one week preview of the fluency homework.
This file is also included with the fluency homework packet you can get at our shop.