Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget

Binders Instead of File Folders: My Reflections a Year Later

Last year this was the mess I was working with!!!!  Our building was closed for the summer (cleaning and NO air conditioning).  I happened to drive by the building, and the front door was open.  I begged and begged, and I was able to run into the building and clean out my file cabinet.



My binder categories were:
Guided Reading
Phonemic Awareness
School Improvement
Progress Monitoring
Letters and Sounds
Literacy Work Stations

I just laid out all the binders.  If I didn't have a binder, I made a piece of paper with the title.  Then I started sorting. The picture below was early, early in the process.  My living room floor was completely covered in papers.  Through this process, I  was able to go through my files and I discovered that I had quite a few duplicates and quite a few things that just needed to go to recycling ASAP!

Once I sorted, then I began putting documents in page protectors.

I would say this process took a good two days.  It was rainy, so I got to catch up on some DVR shows.  However, by taking EVERYTHING out, and making a huge mess, I was REALLY motivated to get it cleaned up!

One Year Later

Since I did all this work on my binders, I felt like I should keep the same system electronically.  My files are all in folders that match the same title as my binders!  I love it :)

Did I like the binder system?

These are a few things that I learned:

  1. If I didn't immediately put something back in it's place, it went in my TO FILE folder.  On Friday, I filed everything in my TO FILE folder.
  2. I had extra page protectors in the back of every binder for new things.
  3. I was really careful to make sure what I was putting in the binders was quality materials that I would use again.  When I had file folders, I saved EVERYTHING!  
  4. I think it worked well for me because I don't have TONS of stuff.  Since I'm a reading teacher/literacy coach, my binders were focused around areas of reading.  I feel like I have good stuff that meets my students needs.  I'm not looking for lots of "new" ideas to fill in binders.  
This is my crate that has my TO FILE folder

Questions to Ask Before you Take the Plunge

1)  Are you willing to part with some of your belongings?
2)  How many file folders do you have?  I had two drawers full.  If you have double that, this might not be the system for you.
3)  Are you willing to put the pages back into page protectors when you are done with it?
I have some FREE monthly binder organizers, if you want to get started.   
I also have two sets of binders you can customize.  The Classy Collection includes chevron binders and spines as well as labels for the classroom.  The labels come in two sizes.

The Happy Collection includes binders and spines as well as labels for the classroom.  This collection includes fun Melonheadz clipart.


Reading Crew Summer Blog Hop: Best Books for Kindergarten

I'm so happy to be linking up with the Reading Crew to share our favorite books!  I love reading books out loud to children!  In fact, I make up voices for the characters and probably get a little to into it!! I channel my inner actress into read alouds, and kindergartners are a very forgiving audience.

I had so many favorites, I organized them into three categories.

Books that are great for the first week of school!

Classic Kindergarten Favorites!

Books with Awesome Characters (that are in multiple books)!

This article from Reading Rockets is a great reference to help teachers implement intentional interactive read alouds in the classroom!!  Another resource I enjoyed was Unwrapping the Read Aloud.  It was focused on choosing books to inspire children to become readers and writers in the classroom.  It was published before Common Core, but the ideas are very aligned with Common Core.

The main theme throughout the book is choosing intentional read alouds based on the outcomes teachers want students to learn and the potential each book holds.  What is most striking about the book is the fact that Laminak doesn’t just explain why read alouds are important, he teaches how to read aloud stories by calling attention to specific language which impacts the craft and structure of both informational and literature texts.   

Summer Blog Party: Fun with Phonics and Phonemic Awareness

I'm linking up with the Reading Crew to promote literacy this summer!  We were hoping that people would head back to school in the fall with lots a plethora of ideas to implement in the classroom!

I went through my archive of posts and am sharing my favorite ideas!

During school-wide intervention time, in grades K-1, when teachers are teaching phonemic awareness, they are focusing on the following skills:
  • concept of spoken words (clapping for each word in a sentence)
  • rhyming
  • beginning sounds
  • segmenting onset and rhyme 
  • segmenting words
  • changing words based on initial sounds
  • changing words based on ending sounds
  • blending words 
In 10 minutes, you can pack quite a bit into a phonics/phonemic awareness RTI lesson.    When students come to me we work on both phonemic awareness and some phonics.   I base my lessons on the "letter and sound work" in Next Step in Guided Reading.

Learning Targets:
1)  I can identify the beginning sound of a word.
2)  I can identify the ending sound of a word.
3)  I can write the letter that corresponds to a beginning sound.
4)  I can make word families.

Students use the alphabet line that hangs in the room for support.  They also have their own Kindergarten Helper by Michelle Oaks.  This is probably my favorite TPT purchase.  Each student has their own personal anchor chart!

To practice beginning sounds I show picture cards and we do a round robin.  Students collect the cards they answer correctly.  Then they get a dry erase board, and write the beginning sound.

To practice the ending sound repeat the same process.

Then we get out the white boards and we play "show down."  As I show a picture card, students write the letter.  Students hide their answers until everyone is done, and then I point to a student to say "Show Down." Then all students share their board with the group.

When we are practicing CVC words.  Students get picture cards and start making a list of the words.
Then they pick their favorite word (and they get another dry erase board) and make a list of words with that word family.

Last year, when I went through 6 years of data at our building, and it was the best data (and this was a challenging group of students).

Additional Resources
I made these dice from the Dollar Tree into consonants and vowels.  Students roll words...in this version, they only wrote down read words on the dry erase board.

One of my "go to" resources is always  the FCCR.  I have found so many different ways to use their ideas!  In the picture below, each student has a bag of words, and they get to "point" to the word that rhymes with the word I say.  The students love getting to use the "pointer"!  That has been a GREAT Dollar Store find :)

Another resource I like is Phonemic Awareness: Playing with Sounds to Strengthen Beginning Reading Skills.  Not only are there TONS of ideas that can easily be used without making copies.  This sound bag idea is from the book.  I also like sending bags home, and letting students bring in objects from home.

Check back each week for more great reading ideas!

TPT Sellers Challenge Dream Big

I'd like to thank four awesome bloggers for creating the TpT Seller Challenge:

This weeks topic was Dare to Dream!!! 

College Fund
This is TOTALLY practical, but I always save a set amount of my TPT income and it goes into my children's college fund each month.  Many of my teacher friends that are just out of college have so much debt to payback, and it is hard for them to get their bills paid and pay student loans on a beginning teacher's salary.

Home Remodeling Projects
 In the past year, our house needed exterior work (new windows and new roof).  Those aren't very exciting projects.  This is just a wish list of things that I want to do to help fix up my home!
New carpet
New banister on our stairway
Master bathroom remodel
Build a sunroom off of our kitchen
This is my Pinterest Board for my home projects

  My family loves to travel!  My children have been traveling with us since they were four weeks old, and they are INCREDIBLE travelers. We'd love to go to Alaska, Europe, and Asia.  
My ultimate travel dream would be to sell our house and pretty much everything we own, and live on a sailboat in the Caribbean.  This probably isn't realistic until my youngest goes to college (in 8 years).  

Bring Joy to Children
There are lots of great organizations in my town that help those less fortunate.   
I would love to be able to buy books for a classroom library at an at-risk preschool.  
Provide a field trip for an entire grade level to someplace educationally awesome!
Fund a teacher's Donor Choose project.
Purchase new bikes for children that attend the Boys and Girls Club.
Provide funds at the YMCA that would pay the registration fee for basketball to children that couldn't afford this fee.

Monday Made it! Chalkboard Art

When Michael's had 60% off some of their chalkboard line of crafts, my daughter and I stocked up (the items I bought were between 97 cents and 1.50).  We had fun decorating them.

My mother-in-law made me this sack that holds plastic grocery bags.  I just had it in my vacuum closet, because I didn't know where to hang it.  This hook was perfect.  It is now in the laundry room.

These four coasters were 97 cents!!  They've come in handy this summer.  

In our basement, we have a pool table.  My daughter helped me with this sign.

These cubes were a Dollar Tree bargain!  I used them for a phonics game that students will play in the fall.  My son had fun practicing his words!  I'm working on a phonics blog post, so these were perfect.

Summer Kick Off Hop

I'm super excited to be linking up with the Reading Crew for a summer blog hop with lots of freebies and great ideas.  Make sure to keep hopping...we have a great giveaway for you at the last stop!

My focus is on emerging literacy.  I like having read the room cards where students can use a clipboard and keep track of the words/sentences they find.

In this freebie, students can find different sentences related to summer.  These sentences can also be used as a quick warm-up during guided reading (if you are teaching summer school).

In addition, if students need extra practice reading sight words, these cards are full of sight words!

The next stop is Stacy at Teacher's Take Out!
The fun doesn't end today!!! The rest of the summer on Wednesday's we will be sharing ideas on the weekly topics.  All are welcome to join in with blog posts and/or comments!  This is the weekly schedule.  

Made it Monday! Getting Ready for Vegas

I made this binder for the TPT conference in Las Vegas.  I downloaded the presentation slides for each session and copied them on card stock.   Then I printed the pages I needed from Easy Teaching Tools' conference planner! Office Depot added a clear cover, binding, and a hardish back cover.  I'm ready to go!!!
The tabs are:
Getting Ready

I also have business cards from GoPrint.  Zazzle helped me out in making address labels, stickers, a notebook, and a button!