Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five for Friday: Back to School Edition!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs' Five for Friday to share a bit about what's been happening since I've been back to school this week. 

Our district has been using the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Kit for the past two years to assess the students' guided reading levels three times per year (while conducting running records in the classroom on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, depending on the needs of each student, throughout the year).  Since we began using the benchmark kit, all assessment results have been documented on paper copies of the running records for each book, Levels A-Z.  We copied TONS and TONS of paper and dulled many pencils along the way. The paper trail for each student became overwhelming to many.  However, this year, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel!

This is my Reading Team's "Test" class.  I'm test student #1.  :)
(Thanks to Graphics from the Pond for the background!)

We recently purchased the F&P Assessment App for one iPad, in addition to the F&P Online Data Management System to see first-hand, if it's something our school wants to implement school-wide.  The App enables reading records to be coded and then placed into the Online Data Management System.  It then analyzes and scores the results to display the students' progress.  The App records oral reading rates, self-corrections, fluency and comprehension scores.  The Online Data Management System allows staff to view and manage the data off all students in the school.  The system keeps an electronic trail of the students' progress from year to year.  Even though we're still in the learning stage, it seems pretty amazing thus far.  It would definitely help solve our paper crisis and keep our pencils sharp! ;)

I was been busily working at home over the summer months making products for my recently opened Teachers Pay Teachers shop.  My latest products are targeted for my struggling readers to practice instantly recognizing the Dolch sight words.  Because sight words make up on average 50-75% of children's texts, it's advantageous for students to know these words, especially since the majority of them do not follow the basic phonics principles.  It also improves fluency, which in turn, positively effects comprehension! :)

Anyway, I've created audio QR Codes for every word on the PrePrimer, Primer, First Grade, Second Grade and Third Grade Dolch Word Lists.  The audio QR Codes provide an opportunity for students to listen to the word and match it to the visual word card.  However, students can also listen and then practice spelling the words (without the visual word card) because knowing how to spell the words helps with their writing.  

 Click HERE to view the product in my TpT Shop.

At our recent Institute Day, I was recognized for being a new blogger in my school district, as well as accomplishing the task of completing the 31-day Blogging Challenge.  I was given a Starbuck's gift card.  I'm all about having a Camel Frappuccino after a long day or to start off a relaxing weekend, especially when it's *on the house", so I'm thrilled.  I'm also very grateful to have met Michelle over at BigTim Literacy and for her supporting me in my Blogging Challenge endeavors! :)

Michelle from BigTIme Literacy recognizing bloggers at our Institute Day!
Me with my Starbucks gift card, along with my former blogging partner, Nancy!  :)

I've been a mentor in the 1:1 Mentoring for New Teachers program in my district over the past few years.  I've had many first-year teachers, as well as those with experience.  Every year, it has been a delightful opportunity to meet exceptional teachers.  This year I am fortunate enough to have three outstanding, experienced mentees.  Every one of them is fabulous.  They are a wonderful addition to our school's family. ;)

Phil- P.E., Amanda- Science, Grace- 3rd Grade

Literacy Loving Gals are participating in our very first literacy blog hop!  If you're interested, please stop by for literacy lessons, freebies and a path that will lead you to numerous blogs hosting even more literacy ideas and freebies.  It starts TODAY and will continue through this weekend.  Click HERE to begin the hoppin'! 

Thanks for hosting Doodle Bugs!

Happy Friday!


  1. Wow! What an exciting week! So glad that you joined in our blog hop this weekend! They are so much fun and full of fun literacy ideas.

    Reading Toward the Stars

    1. Thanks, Andrea! You and Carla really are the stars of the hop because of your organization. Pretty amazing! ;)

  2. Colleen,
    Thanks for the tips on Pinterest. Sounds like you work in a great district with gift cards for blogging and a teacher mentor program. Good luck with your new school year!
    Brynn Allison

    1. My pleasure, Brynn. I hope the tips were helpful. Enjoy your school year! ;)

  3. Good luck with the F&P app! I have not used it but I'm all for anything that helps streamline the day to day paperwork shuffle! Keep us posted on how you like it!

    1. Thanks. :) I'll keep you posted. We'll be using it during the month of September. More information to come. :)


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