Sunday, May 7, 2017

End of Year Goal Celebration!

How I Celebrate Goal Achievement in my Classroom

     I love setting goals with my students. It is such a wonderful way to teach growth mindset in our young learners. At the beginning of the school year, we set goals for reading, math, and writing.  In third grade, those goals are usually centered on comprehension measurements such as weekly reading assessments. In math, fact fluency in multiplication and division are the focus. Finally, in writing we look for specific areas for growth such as topic sentences, complete paragraphs, capitalization and punctuation. Each week, I have my students update their goal graphs and discuss our progress and/or plan strategies to improve our performance in these key areas. If you are interested in a complete goal setting resource for your classroom, I have just the one for you available in my TpT store. Just click here to see more about it.

      Although we do celebrate our successes during the school year, I love to give my students the opportunity to reflect and create a keepsake of their school year that celebrates whatever growth they have experienced. That's why this End of Year Goal Celebration Interactive Lapbook is so great. It gives students choices about what they want to celebrate AND a creative and fun activity to work on in the last weeks/days of the school year.

     I created this classroom resource so that each teacher could make choices about whether they copy the pages in black and white OR in color for their students. All you need to add is a manila folder, scissors, and markers/crayons/pencils to fill in the key goals reached. Of course, your students will want to decorate the folder just a little bit to truly personalize it!

Your students can choose to show off their highest
 reading score from any assessment they like!
Fact fluency for addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division
 AND sharing HOW they achieved this important goal.
The writing element gives you and students choices about
what to celebrate - perfect for multiple grade levels!

Four more elements that can be added to the Lapbook.

     Parents will be so thrilled to see this memorable keepsake from their child's school year and your students will be excited to show off their accomplishments!

This completed lapbook is done with color paper and the
 black and white copies in this resource. 

This is one possible layout of the inside of the lapbook.
You and your students can choose to do it any way you want!

Cover of a lapbook using the color pages. There is a space for
 students to put their names too.

Isn't this a cute and fun way to celebrate goals? If you would like to share this activity with your students and their parents, click here to see more!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

For the Love of Teachers Tieks Giveaway!

It's almost Valentine's Day and I want to show my teacher friends some BIG TIME love! How many of you get home at the end of the day and your feet hurt? Me too. I bet you have heard about Tieks and how amazingly comfortable they are BUT the price!  It's a bit steep on a teacher's salary. Here's where the BIG LOVE comes in.... I have teamed up with some amazing teacher-authors to show one lucky teacher LOTS of love with...wait for it....a pair of Tieks ! 

You can enter the giveaway up to 27 times!!! Yep. It's super easy. Just click on the Rafflecopter link below and get busy. I want one of Teaching in the Heart of Florida followers to win this Tieks $200.00 gift card. 

Enter now in the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway runs February 11th - February 16th. The winner will be announced and contacted on February 17th. Best of luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Valentine Fluency Fun!

Valentine Fluency

   You know how you have those students who are struggling readers? I know you have noticed that that they are painfully aware that they struggle.  They have to sound out words one letter at time. If they can chunk words, they still do it very slowly.  By the time they finish a sentence or a paragraph, they have no idea what they read. It’s no wonder they don’t like to read. As the saying goes – the struggle is real.

     A few years ago, I had a group of third graders who were struggling mightily with the new Common Core standards that included much more complex text.  These students had already struggled with decoding and fluency in the second grade.  Now they were faced with a much more difficult standard as a reader.

     During my small group instruction, I tried to use the interventions that I was given – to no avail.  I soon realized that these students had never mastered decoding skills that stuck with them.  They didn’t know that -tion said “shun”, not ti-on.  They couldn’t blend three letter blends like str and shr. They just had not put that in their long term memory.
I thought long and hard about how to help these sweet kids who were giving me all they had. So, I started over by drilling them on common blends and syllables.  I made a game of it and they responded.  After a few weeks, I started giving them common phrases to memorize – just like we do with sight words. Finally, I started using fluency pyramid sentences. They loved them!  When I would pull them out – they cheered!  These little struggling readers were looking forward to reading!

     I knew I was onto something, because they were improving.  What did I use?  I looked through the available resources at that time and couldn’t find what I needed, so I made one. My post about how I use it is here if you are curious.  If you need a resource to help your struggling readers, these are available in my TPT store – either separately or together.

     To keep this success going and have some Valentine fun, I created a Valentine Fluency resource that is available now. It includes a cold read page that you can use to do a before and after fluency check.  Have your students read for one minute and count how many words they read. Then use the pyramid sentences throughout the week for practice. Make sure you mix them up, so students get to practice different sentences.  You can even do partner reading or put them in a center. At the end of the week, do another timed read of the passage. You and your students will see a huge improvement!

     This Valentine Fluency resource is available now – just head over to my TPT store and grab it. There is very little prep needed:

Valentine Fluency Pyramids TPT

Valentine Fluency Pyramids TPT

     I hope you will try fluency practice with pyramid sentences. It’s an effective intervention for struggling readers in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. Not only that – they will LOVE the Valentine theme!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, November 6, 2016


It's that hectic time of the school year. You've gotten to know your students, you've gotten into a routine, and now it's holiday time and you have NO spare time.  That's one of the reasons I LOVE Teachers Pay Teachers!  When I need a resource really quick, I can get it immediately. What I really need is the $$$ to make this happen. That's why I am so excited to be part of this month's TPT Gift Card Giveaway!


Prize: $75 and $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Giveaway organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), 
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. Giveaway ends 11/13/16 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How You Can Squeeze Social Studies Into Your Reading Block

Do you have a hard time fitting Social Studies into your day? Many of us are expected to integrate it during our reading block which is really hard and honestly doesn't happen very consistently.  I love all the cute flip books and interactive notebooks too, but I cannot dedicate the time needed for them. After failing at this too many times, I began looking for close reading texts that contained Social Studies content that I could use during my Reading Block. Unfortunately, finding really good text was very hard to do. There seemed to be great text for Science, but not Social Studies.

How I squeezed Social Studies into my Reading Block

Finally, I decided to make my own. My goal was to create a close reading text that students could use in whole or small group as well as in literacy centers. I wanted a resource that was flexible, so that I could squeeze it into different areas as needed. After all, teaching Social Studies is important and my students deserve to learn this important content, so I need to find a way. 

The first set is for the 3rd Grade Civics and Government strand and includes three passages with ELA Common Core question stems and a Social Studies Connection question. The three passages are:

Three close reading texts with ELA and Social Studies question stems.

For each passage, I have included both ELA and Social Studies questions, so that students are using close reading to increase comprehension of the text as well as gain Social Studies content knowledge.

This also gives students valuable practice responding to questions in complete sentences and citing text evidence.

Social Studies close reading text with ELA question stems.
I love the flexibility of these close reading passages! You can use them as the primary text when teaching Social Studies concepts or as a supplement to a Social Studies activity that you do have time for! As an added bonus, you can take both an ELA and a Social Studies grade.

Social Studies close reading passage with ELA and Social Studies quesitions.
So if you need to squeeze Social Studies content into your Reading Block, this resource is perfect! Just a quick click on this link and you can preview it for yourself!

Civics and Government Close Reading for 3rd Grade