Out of This World Literacy : July 2015
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A Video of The Reading Intervention Program

Hi Friends!

With the help of my brilliant 14 year-old, Malaya...

...I was able to create a video showing the Reading Intervention Program in Action!

Check it out!

Check out this video I made that shows the Reading Intervention Program in Action! See more here ---> http://bit.ly/1LoBMnU
Posted by Out of This World Literacy on Thursday, July 30, 2015

To see the program in my store....click here --->   The Reading Intervention Program 

The Teacher With Many Hats: A Back to School Video Tip

Hi Friends!

I am so excited to announce a new video series I will be doing with

The Teacher With Many Hats!  

My goals for this video series:

1.  To have fun

2.  To give teachers practical tips for the classroom

3.  To make a fool of myself

4.  To have fun

5.  To make teaching fun

With all that said, check out my very first video of The Teacher With Many Hats!  It's quick, fun, and even includes some useful back to school tips!

Hi Friends! Ok... INTRODUCING... A new video series entitled, "The Teacher With Many Hats!" Check out the first one, where I give some helpful back to school tips!I have 5 goals with these videos:1. to have fun2. to give teachers practical tips for the classroom3. to make a fool of myself4. to have fun5. to make teaching funEnjoy!
Posted by Out of This World Literacy on Monday, July 27, 2015

4 Ideas to Spread Kindness at Your School with Freebies Plus a Personal Story

Hi Friends!

I apologize in advance for the lengthy post.  I am very passionate about this topic and wrote my way into a personal story about how powerful being KIND can really be.

So, I've been thinking...  

** What if we started off our new school years with an intentional effort to spread kindness in our classrooms?

** What if we found a way to create a classroom where simply being kind to everyone comes first?

** What if that spills out over into the hallways?

** What if it even makes its way into the bathrooms? (I know, sounds gross...but hold tight!)

I think that simply being kind to everyone, even when we are tired, hungry, or just plain fussy, is a great way to keep positive energy in our classrooms!

We are the leaders in our classrooms.  And we all know that a group is only as good as its leader.  So why not go out of our way to model kindness every day, especially to the kids who we feel don't deserve it?  Or even the ones who aren't so kind to us in return?

I came up with 4 practical ways we can all help spread kindness throughout our classrooms and our schools.

These are not crazy elaborate ideas.  They are actually quite simple, making even less of an excuse for us to not be intentional about being KIND every day!

NUMBER 1: Introduce Kindness Cards

The idea here is to give students quick access to kindness cards so that they can send a little love to a classmate or other adult in the school.  

They may see a friend doing something really awesome.  Or they just borrowed a pencil.  Whatever it is, kids can share kindness with their friends.  

They could even give kindness cards to the teachers, parents, custodians, secretary, special guests, principal, and on and on!  The ideas for kindness cards are limitless.  They are so simple, yet so powerful.  

Be intentional about spreading kindness with them!

Click the image to get your FREE set of kindness cards!!

NUMBER 2: Make Smile! mini posters for the bathroom mirrors!

I got this idea when I woke up one day and went to the bathroom in our guest hallway.  I noticed a heart-shaped piece of construction paper taped to the mirror.  

I immediately grumbled to myself, "oh great, what did the kids do to destroy the house now?" (this was pre-coffee).

But, then I saw the message...

I COMPLETELY changed my attitude from one of annoyance, to a smile.  My entire body relaxed.  The message had me thinking, can I be nicer?  Especially to my own kids?  The answer was yes!!  

I think there's always room for more  kindness...at home...

at school...

and YES friends...

even in the bathroom!

So, I made these Smile! templates for everyone to use.  Your kids can make their own out of construction paper, or they can use the following templates. 

Click on the image to grab the FREE Smile pages!

NUMBER 3: Plaster the halls with Smiles!

One simple smile can turn someone's entire day around!

Why not make smiling in the halls a part of your school's culture!?

Have your kids decorate posters reminding their friends (and adults in the building) to smile.  They can even add fun quotes or silly drawings.  Throw jokes on posters too.  Keep learning fun by spreading some positivity and smiles all over school!!

Have your kids create their own posters, or click on the link below for these FREE templates!

NUMBER 4: Build Each Other Up With Kindness (the long, personal story part)

I will NEVER forget my fifth grade teacher doing this activity with us 26 years ago (yes, I gave away my age).  

Honestly, I can't remember her name (bad I know) or anything else that happened as far as learning that year.  

This activity is the ONLY thing that truly stuck with me through the years.  

My fifth grade teacher (can't say her name because I literally can't remember) had us all complete a compliments page for every member of our class.  We sat at our desks in rows (it was the 80's people) and passed the pages up and down the aisles.  The only direction we had was we MUST say something kind about whoever's page was in front of us.

The most glorious part of the whole activity was when we got our own pages back.  Everyone was glowing from the kind words that were written on the page.  

This single activity COMPLETELY changed the energy of our class.  We were all suddenly nicer to each other.  We walked around proud and confident in who we were.  

I'll NEVER forget the feeling.  

You can grab these free pages to use or create your own

Before I end this post, let me tell a personal story that speaks to the power of KINDNESS 

You see, teaching content is important and so necessary.  BUT I believe it's the feelings that impact our students the most.  

Kids know when teachers don't like them.  Kids FEEL when they are undervalued.  And worse...they REMEMBER those feelings.  They let them be a part of WHO THEY ARE.

Think back to elementary school.  Or even worse,  MIDDLE SCHOOL!  I remember SO many things from those days.  And almost all of the events I remember are tied to STRONG FEELINGS I was having at the time.  

So, spreading the feelings of KINDNESS, ACCEPTANCE, LOVE, JOY, PEACE in our classrooms will almost guarantee happy memories for our kids!

Just the opposite is also true.  Spreading feelings of FRUSTRATION,  ANNOYANCE, DOUBT, IMPATIENCE, ANGER, STUPIDITY can all have lasting lifetime negative impacts on our students.

I'm going to be totally honest here. 

And, if you've read this far just pat yourself on the back for listening to me ramble....I'm impressed!!!

Most people got into teaching because of that ONE teacher who made such a difference in that person's life.

The same is true for me....

The teacher who motivated me to be a teacher was actually very cruel.

      He broke me down.

               He teased me about my name and my looks.  Everyone saw.

                      He mocked me for my questions.  Everyone heard.
                              He made me feel so small.
                                     He made me feel so dumb.

                                             He stole my confidence.

                                                    He made me cry.

                                                          I believed everything he made me feel.

And I was impacted by him heavily for four years after that.  I didn't even try to apply for college.  Who would accept me?  I was so dumb.  His jokes at my expense stayed with me until one day I realized I wasn't all those things he made me feel.

I was more.

And that's when I decided to become a teacher.  I wanted to be sure there was one less cruel teacher in the world impacting kids like I was impacted.

So I enrolled in community college.  I took high school math classes just to make it to the college level.  

And five years later I graduated with a 3.78 cumulative GPA and a bachelor's degree in education.

I went on to receive a master's in reading education, graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Then I trained in Boston for two years with Irene Fountas and her colleagues as a Literacy Collaborative Coordinator, training teachers in the best practices in literacy instruction.

I don't say these things to brag.  I say them to remind us all of the POWERFUL impact our actions and words have on EVERY student we teach EVERY day!  I wasted four years believing the way this teacher made me feel was WHO I was.

Please be the teacher that's remembered for making a POSITIVE difference EVERY day by ALWAYS being KIND to EVERY student!  


Don't be that teacher that breaks them down!

Thanks everyone for reading my post.  I've never shared anything this personal before.  It kinda feels great! :)  

I hope you can use some of the resources in this post.

AND PLEASE SHARE your ideas too!!!  I know there are so many more ways to spread kindness in schools!!

LEAVE COMMENTS so we can all learn from you too!!!

Love you all!!!!  

My Grade 4-8 Friends...This Post is For You!

Hello Friends!

I am writing today to tell you about a new and exciting collaborative group I have just joined.

I am teaming up with 8 other fabulous upper elementary and middle school teachers to bring you our very best tips and tricks specific to upper grades.

We are NOT doing another collaborative blog.  It's much more fun than that!

There will be no reading involved on your part!

We will be collaborating through Periscope!

You may be asking yourself, Peri-whaaa??  

Periscope is the really awesome and super easy-to-use new app.  It allows you to share videos in LIVE time!!

That's right, we are going to be sharing LIVE videos of all our best teaching ideas specific to grades 4-8.  You can even send us comments and questions we can read and answer LIVE.  How cool is that!?!?!?!

The videos will only be 5 minutes long.

All you need to do in order to join in on the fun is download the Periscope app to your phone.  It is SUPER easy.

Then, you can follow all our pages on Periscope.  Right as we go live your phone will let you know!  Of course, we will give you an advanced notice of when to hop on Periscope.  But, if you miss the live version, you can watch it any time for 24 hours.  After 24 hours, the video goes away.

Here is who you can watch!

I hope you will join us!!

Back to School FREE Resources!!

Hello Friends!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

I have been working hard on a Reading Intervention Program.  It is a ton of work, so I have often found myself needing a fun break!

In between creating the intervention program, I have been making some fun back to school freebies!

I love to create these fun and useful freebies!  

You can click on the images below to see each one:

I hope you can use these fun little freebies with your new class.  Check back often as I will likely be adding more throughout the summer!!!

Happy Teaching!