Sunday, August 13, 2017

Writing Goal Posters and Brag Tag Set

 Writing Goal Posters and Brag Tag Set

In my personal experience using the Reading and Phonics Goals in my primary classroom, I have found that not only are they a great visual reminder for my students of what good readers do, it also holds them accountable for their learning and achievement. I can not begin to tell you what a tremendous change had occurred when I started using them.

So, I just had to take the time to create this set of 32 Writing Goal Posters with “I can” statements. I also took it a step further and created matching brag tags to keep my young authors on the “write track”.

Why Writing Goals?

One of the biggest questions I am asked is if you should display all the goal posters at once. Yes! Definitely display them all at once. There is no need to display one poster at a time as you introduce each skill.

Your students develop their writing skills at a different pace. You have students at varying stages in their writing development. One of your students may still be drawing their stories and building phonemic awareness. You will want to encourage them to label their pictures with beginning sounds.

While in another instance, you may have a group of students who are ready to write complete paragraphs and will benefit from using time order words in their writing to help them add more detailed sentences in a logical order.

Displaying all the posters at once will also make all your students aware of the many strategies that good writers use. You will find that many of your students will inform you that even though they are focusing on labeling their stories with words, they are also using capital letters when they label character names! This is when I praise them for going above and beyond!

How do I differentiate writing for each child?

You will find that using Writing Goals in your classroom is an effective way to differentiate your instruction. As you hold writing conferences with your students, you are able to discern exactly what your young author's strengths and weaknesses are. During these conferences, assign them a writing goal to help improve their writing based on a specific personalized need.

Please keep in mind, that in the Writer's Workshop model, I do present a whole group mini lesson to expose my writer's to skills and strategies for all writers. After the class is sent off to write independently after the mini-lesson, I then pull a small group of children who share the same writing goal and provide them with explicit instruction that focuses on their writing goal. A differentiated mini-lesson! 

Once you confer with each student again, evaluate their writing. Are they consistently working on their writing goal?  Have they achieved their goal? If so, you can celebrate by providing them with a brag tag. If you do not use brag tags in your classroom, simple provide them with the brag tag as a certificate of achievement and watch them beam with pride! Now...assign them a new goal!

You can find the Writing Goals Posters and Brag Tag Set HERE.

This is what is included:

32 Writing Goal posters
32 Brag Tags (or individualized writing goal cards)
6 EDITABLE name tags (separate pdf file)
One blank template to create your own Writing Goal
One blank brag tag template

Writing Posters:
I can draw pictures to tell my story.
I can write stories with a setting.
I can write stories with a problem and solution.
I can label my pictures with beginning sounds.
I can label my pictures with words.
I can fancy-up my writing.
I can write a sentence that tells a complete thought.
I can add details to my story.
I can write Word Wall words correctly.
I can print my letters correctly.
I can print my letters without reversals.
I can use the correct pencil grip.
I can write my letters neatly so others can read my story.
I can stay focused on my writing and build my stamina.
I can write a sentence that matches my picture.
I can write capital letters at the beginning of my sentence.
I can use capital letters at the right time.
I can use an ending mark at the end of a sentence.
I can use finger spaces between words.
I can think of ideas to describe the main idea of my story.
I can indent the first word in my story using two finger spaces.
I can write a topic sentence to introduce the main idea of my story.
I can use time order words to help my story move along.
I can write a closing sentence to remind my reader of the main idea.
I can write a proper paragraph.
I can write a story that sticks to one topic or main idea.
I can reread my story and look for missing words and correct mistakes.
I can stretch out each word and write down each sound I hear.
I can write longer words by breaking them up into chunks.
I can write longer words by listening for a base word inside.

You might also like to learn more about:

The theme of this resource is an addition to the On the Road to Proper Paragraph Writing and the Writing Portfolio Set available at The K Files Shop. If your students need a unique visual reminder of the paragraph structure, you can learn more by finding them here:
Writing Portfolio Road Map Set
I do hope that you find this information helpful.  Incorporating Writing Goals in your Writing program is so very beneficial.  Students become accountable for their growth and thrive on celebrating their success!  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Showcase Your Young Author's Writing in a Writing Portfolio

The On the Road to a Proper Paragraph system works so well in my classroom, I decided to give our Writing Portfolios a makeover to match our writing theme: A Road Map for Writing.  And I am thrilled with the results!

My students have had great success in writing proper paragraphs we needed something extra special to showcase our writing throughout the year! This is the result!

You can find it here at my TpT shop:

6 EDITABLE portfolio covers (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple)
1 black and white portfolio cover
6 EDITABLE portfolio spines
1 Table of Contents
10 monthly Table of Contents (September-June)
10 monthly tabs to cut, paste and glue

The theme of this resource is an extension to the “On the Road to Proper Paragraph Writing” resource available at The K Files. If your students need a unique visual reminder of the paragraph structure, you can learn more by finding it here:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Classroom Library Labels: Freebie!

It's that time of year again and as teachers we are torn between soaking up the last days of summer vacay and prepping our classrooms and resources for another school year!  Let it be a great one!

To help you get your year off on the right foot, here is a freebie for you!

 Classroom Library Labels Freebie

These leveled classroom library labels will help you organize your collection of books.

60 labels included:

Leveled labels from A (1) to R (40)
Fiction labels for series and Author Studies
(please see preview to view the complete collection)

Sorting your library by reading level promotes reader's confidence and growth. These labels measure 3x3". I have also included author study bins.

 You can find them at the shop:


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Back to School Listening Center with QR Codes

 Back to School Listening Center with QR Codes

 buy now

This Back to School Listening Library includes 24 stories with QR codes and one Retelling Story Map. You can use these during your Daily 5 centers: Listen to Reading or as whole group Read Alouds!

All QR code links are safe to share with children without being afraid that they can get to potentially inappropriate content. Free of ads and outside links.

If you do not have access to a QR Code Reader, I have also provided a hyperlink to each story. You can simply click on the book cover and it will bring you right to the story. 

Below, I have included a FREE Listening Center task card for you to try out. Simply download a QR Reader app from the app store (most school districts already have them available on your devices). Or simply click on the book cover to follow the SafeShare link:

Back to School QR Code Listening Center

Once you print these out or project onto your smart board (students can scan the code from your smart board), assign a story for your Listening Center, whole group, small group or guided reading centers. There are enough stories included in this library for the whole month!

After reading, provide the children with a simple story map, sequencing map or related activity to complete after listening to enhance and assess comprehension. In addition to the stories, I have also included a simple Retelling Story Map (Characters, Setting, Problem & Solution).

Here is a list of the titles included in this Listening Center:

Too Cool for School
Rockin’ in My School Shoes
First Day Jitters
David Goes to School
How Do Dinosaurs Go To School
Splat the Cat, Back to School, Splat
You’re Finally Here
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
Too Much Glue
Have You Filled A Bucket Today?
Froggy Goes to School
The Recess Queen
Lacy Walker, The Nonstop Talker
Enemy Pie
If You Ever Wanted to Bring An Alligator to School, Don’t!
Each Kindness
The Kissing Hand
If You Take a Mouse to School
The Juice Box Bully
Tacky the Penguin
Don’t Squeal Unless It is a Big Deal
How Full is Your Bucket

To download this listening library with QR codes visit my TpT shop:
The Back to School Listening Center with QR Codes and Links

There are several other Read Aloud Libraries and Listening Centers with QR Codes and Links available at my TpT store that your students will also enjoy. You can find them HERE.

Happy Listening!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

School Store Behavior Incentive System

Click HERE to download an EDITABLE copy of the piggy bank labels
The students earn play coins when appropriate behavior is observed. This is an excellent way to point out desired behaviors in the classroom. Allow the students to serve as role models for their peers.

This is also an excellent method to provide positive reinforcement for individual behavior modification plans. When a target behavior is observed, the student is rewarded with a coin. 

This is also a hands-on way to introduce and reinforce the value of coins.  

Individual piggy banks are made using disposable Tupperware tubs with a small slit cut into the lid large enough for play coins:

You can download the EDITABLE labels HERE and enter your own students' names.
The label looks like this:

To create your school store, purchase the long storage bins that are made to slide under your bed, place four smaller baskets inside and label with coins to help your students shop!

A copy of the label is available in my TPT store:
School Store and Piggy Bank Behavior Incentive System

Friday, June 23, 2017

Disguise Read to Self As Word Study

word study, phonics, daily 5, readers workshop, read to self

Are you looking for more opportunities to encourage your students to apply what they have learned from your phonics instruction while they read? Let me share this success story with you!

We all know that first graders LOVE to read and be read to! The method described below gives them an opportunity to do both.  They read independently hunting for spelling patterns AND are read to by their classmates while they listen for spelling patterns!

Right here, on this page, I will share with you my tried and true method of how to disguise Read to Self as a little more: Word Study! Using what kids love:

sticky notes
color coded "gumballs"
decodable "just right" readers
peer teaching
Share Time (they all LOVE Share Time)
(multi-sensory strategies)

I begin our day (prior to the Daily 5) with a phonics/spelling mini lesson. For example, if we are studying digraphs we might complete a spelling sort or a short fluency passage. To read more about how I manage DiFfErEnTiAtEd Word Study groups using Words Their Way click HERE.

We close our mini lesson by taking a "sneak peak" at their assigned story for Read to Self. The story would include words with digraphs.

I provide my students with Read To Self bookmarks to mark the page in our decodable readers to help them quickly find their assigned story and to remind them of what is expected of them:

word study, phonics, daily 5, readers workshop, read to self
If you would like to download a copy of the Read to Self bookmarks click HERE.
During the Daily 5 centers, students spend time at the Read to Self center where they first complete their assigned reading and move on to their self selected reading. As they read the assigned decodable story, they hunt for words that contain a digraph and jot them down on a post-it to share with the class after the Daily 5. My students benefit from using a color coded system for our spelling patterns that we like to call "gumballs":

word study, phonics, daily 5, readers workshop, read to selfword study, phonics, daily 5, readers workshop, read to self

Once my firsties have completed their assigned reading, they may move on to their own self-selected books. I encourage them to look for these spelling patterns in these books as well. It is important for them to use those stickies as a bookmark on the page where they found the word in the book. They will need to find that page quickly during Share Time.

Once all students have had an opportunity to learn at each Daily 5 station, we meet at the carpet for a Share. This is when my first graders take the lead as "teacher" and TEACH their classmates their current Word Study focus.

word study, phonics, daily 5, readers workshop, read to self

Share Time is a favorite part of our day! By mid-year, my first graders have the routine down pat and run the show themselves. This leaves me the time to review their work from the Daily 5.

Student script for share time:

  • "My Word Study goal is I can read digraphs.  Today I read ________________, and my gumball is /sh/."
  • This is the moment when they read the sentence from their book that contains a word with their gumball. The rest of the students listen for the gumball and raise their hand to contribute their answer.
  • The "teacher" calls on no more than 3 students to contribute their answer. Once a classmate shares the correct answer, the teacher says, "You're a smart cookie" and both the "teacher" and the student who answered correctly takes a cookie from the cookie jar (Cookie Crisp cereal).
  • The "teacher" calls on another student, "_______ would you like to share?" and the new "teacher" responds with "Yes, please."
  • The sticky note gets placed on our Interactive Word Study Bulletin Board:
word study, phonics, daily 5, readers workshop, read to self
If you would like to learn more about how I manage differentiated Word Study groups as pictured above visit HERE.

Including a Word Study Share as part of your Daily 5 routine is an excellent way to help motivate your students to apply their Word Study focus and to celebrate what they have accomplished.

It is also a great opportunity for children to learn from their peers, especially if you are differentiating your Word Study groups. Children in advanced Word Study groups can introduce new spelling patterns to children who are not yet at that stage. And on the flip-side, children who have already learned a spelling pattern will have an opportunity to review those patterns they have previously learned!

Share Time also allows you to informally assess your students' ability to apply what they have learned.

In the last decade, I have been using the Daily 5 Management for Centers and Small Group instruction. In those years, I have morphed the Daily 5 into a system that combines MANY best practices (differentiation, Daily 5, Words Their Way, Lucy Calkins, Orton Gillingham... the list goes on).

Teaching is an art. If we go about our instruction utilizing the best programs and resources we can get our hands on, we find amazing results! This story is a testimonial!

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Your'e a Smart Cookie" Jar: An End of the Year Gift

One of our classroom themes this year was Our "Smart Cookie" Sight Word Incentive. My first graders went home each week with a Smart Cookie Sight word ring that included a set of 5-7 words. I met with each student on a weekly basis for their sight word assessment.  For every word they were able to read on sight, they received one "smart cookie" -- You guessed it: Cookie Crisp cereal!

I promise, this incentive system truly worked to motivate my students to learn their sight words each week.  They did not want to miss out on earning their smart cookies!

So of course, as an end of the year gift, I created a "Smart Cookie" jar just for them!

They were thrilled! Seeing their faces as they laid their eyes on 20 cookies jars was priceless!

It was well worth the small investment of approximately $15! I purchased the containers at the Dollar Tree and bought 3 boxes of Cookie Crisp which was enough to fill their cookie jars right up to the top!

If you would like to learn more about how I use differentiated sight word lists to improve sight word fluency, visit:

What to do with "Worn Out" Library Books?

Teachers have an endless to do list at the end of the school year.
One of those tasks is to reorganize your classroom library.  

By level,

By genre,
In baskets,
On shelves...

...In the Book Hospital...

If you are like me, I am always perplexed by what to do with our precious classroom library books that can not be repaired and must meet their end in the recycle bin.


Even the most worn and torn, yet loved library books can be saved!

There are a multitude of things that can be done with our beloved books. Check out this idea. Our local town librarian came for a classroom visit and provided our students each with a button made from books in her Book Hospital:

My first graders absolutely loved receiving these buttons to wear all day!

I was so inspired by this that I began to brainstorm other uses for our Book Hospital books that were beyond repair:

Anchor charts
Book reviews
Character Studies
photo frames
the possibilities are endless!
Mentor Sentences
Reading Strategy minilessons

Before you go thru your Book Hospital, do not fear having to say goodbye. Take a minute to think how you can reuse your treasures.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Summer Reading Goals & Paper Chains


These last couple weeks of school are just flying by with all the hustle and bustle of our End of Year celebrations. I am so very proud of all that my firsties have accomplished this school year.

The end of the year brings such a flurry of emotions. Excitement for summer, inspiration for a new school year, relief, stress, and the anticipation of less stress. Woot!

However, with that, the last day blues may start to kick in and you begin to worry that your young readers will forget all the wonderful strategies you taught them throughout the year. The dreaded "summer slide"...

To help combat this fear, my students set reading goals for themselves to help hold them accountable. We created Summer Reading Goal Paper Chains!

I began by telling my students the truth of what happens to students over summer break….the “summer slide”. They were appalled by this news. I asked them what could they do to avoid such a phenomenon. I happily received a smart answer: READ during the summer.

At this point, my students began making statements that they were going to read EVERY day. But then others piped in, and said they may not be able to do that because of family vacations and of course some of my firsties have a summer birthday so they would be too busy to read on that day (they are too cute).

This led to discussion of how many days long our summer vacation is. So, we counted: 76! We had a serious discussion of what was an acceptable number of days to read since summer was a busy time with their families.

At the primary level, I found it best to measure reading by days rather than by the number of books since there is a great variation in their reading levels. Some students are reading chapter books while others may still be approaching grade level standards.

They then began to set realistic reading goals for themselves and recorded them on a Summer Reading Goal Sheet (available HERE at my TpT store):

Then the crafting began. We made our paper chains to match the amount of days we planned to read.

I heard them counting by 1s, 2,s and making their chains in groups of 10. I also heard them discussing what books they would read:

“This link is for a nonfiction book about sharks, I want to learn more about killer sharks!” 

“This group of 10 links is for The Magic Tree House chapter book I am going to read because it has 10 chapters…I’ll read a chapter a night!”

This is music to a teacher’s ears!

Not only does the Summer Reading Goal Paper Chain serve its purpose to motivate your young readers to continue their love of reading over the summer, it took them a good hour to create them! It was a great end of the year craftivity! Not that I want to kill time or just throw busy work at them. They truly enjoyed making their paper chains and they were completely engaged in creating them for a great length of time! 

My firsties took these Summer Reading Goal Paper Chains home to their families.

As they read each day over the summer they plan to rip off one link. This colorful paper chain will serve as a visual reminder for them during summer break to read, read, and read some more... and avoid the "summer slide"!

This is a great visual reminder for parents as well; of the value of summer reading.

If you are looking for a Summer Reading List for your students, be sure to visit For the Love of Teacher’s article on Get Your Summer Read On- Reading List & Tips. She offers some great recommendations for favorite reads for kids of all levels, as well as tips and suggestions to provide your students and parents to help avoid the “summer brain drain”. You can read it HERE.

If you would like to read more about our End of Year celebrations, visit the blog post:

Happy Summer Reading!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Father's Day Candy Bar Wrapper

Need a simple gift for your students to create for Father's Day?

This Father's Day Candy Bar Wrapper fits perfectly snug around a Hershey's candy
bar (6 pack).

Have your students brainstorm a list of character traits that describe Dad (or a male role model in their life) and your students can use those words to list the ingredients on the back of the wrapper.

Serving Sizes Available:

1 Dad
1 Grandpa
1 Uncle
1 Papa
1 "You're the Best"

This Father's Day craft is perfect for the busy teacher who is "wrapping up" the school year. Just print, color and glue...that's a wrapper!

If you would like to download a copy of this Father's Day gift visit my TpT store at: