EVERYONE'S A WINNER WEEK {Day 5}

This blog launch week has truly been a collaborative effort between 20 people, plus 1 artist and 1 blog designer who came together to create this beautiful blog design.  Welcome to our Castle!

This week, Jan. 6th - 10th EVERY follower is a WINNER!
EVERY follower who leaves their e-mail in the rafflecopter below, 
will be e-mailed our Blog Launch Exclusive Freebie Prize Pack!

Each day this week the blog authors have shown you strategies to use with different aspects of literacy.
Today, four blog authors will share information about

Hello and welcome to our new collaborative literacy blog! I am Amy from Eclectic Educating. I am currently a reading specialist in New Jersey.

As a teacher, I try to make my instruction meaningful and have a clear purpose. During reading, I try to choose high-interest stories and books that are relevant to my students' lives. For this reason, I often choose articles and short stories from popular magazines. When learning is interesting to students, it becomes much more meaningful. Students need to feel that their work serves a purpose.

This is particularly true for writing. Sometimes the purpose may simply be to enjoy the experience of writing through short stories and fiction. With the Common Core coming down the pike, however, it is becoming more and more important for students to be able to read a text and respond critically through writing. This will often be in the form of informational texts.

To practice this skill, I think it is important to choose articles that will mimic the style of the assessments students will be taking for the Common Core. This is where I think articles play an important role. Popular magazines such as Ranger Rick, Highlights, and National Geographic aim to capture students' attention through high-interest articles, which are perfect for your classroom instruction! If you do not have a subscription to any such magazines, have no fear!  EBSCOhost is a fantastic database for finding great articles. Here is a video tutorial that will explain how to use the database.


After reading these articles, have students analyze and critique the author's viewpoint. Let students support their opinions with facts from the text. Remember, choose topics that are interesting!  To get you started, my freebie for the giveaway includes a nonfiction text about chocolate milk. It explains the pros and cons of this delicious treat. When finished, students must choose whether they are for or against chocolate milk in schools. Then, they must support their opinion with facts from the article. In my experience, students get pretty passionate about chocolate milk! I hope you enjoy the resource! Happy writing!


Hi, everyone!  Andrea here from Reading Toward the Stars!  A few months ago, I had a vision of starting a collaborative blog with a group of reading and literacy interventionists who share my passion for helping struggling readers!  I am so excited to be here with all of this talent!  I spend 14 years working in third and fourth grade classrooms but always wanted to do so much more to help my struggling readers.  Three years ago I got that chance in the very school where I started working!  Now I can't turn back!  It is my dream job!

I work with many grade levels and have spent some time in third grade where they worked on subjects and predicates.  To scaffold for my students, we used puzzles to create sentences and decide if they made sense or not.  I created my exclusive freebie as part of our summer school curriculum.  It is a set of subject and predicate puzzles that students can use to create sentences and then decide if they are serious or silly.  The students had fun with it and asked to do it again and again!

Hi! I'm Melissa from Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late. I've had the pleasure of teaching in the same school all eight years that I've taught, spending the majority of time in fourth grade before I was given the opportunity to work as the reading specialist for grades 3-5 Today I am sharing a writing freebie to use for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day later this month.
I Have A Dream - Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Craftivity
Even older kids love the hype surrounding holidays, and they get excited about doing any kind of craft. When I do this activity, we take some time to read about Martin Luther King, Jr. and discuss civil rights so students understand a little more about his speech. Then we spend some time talking about dreams that we have for our country/world. I try to encourage them to really think about what's important so the writing is stronger and more meaningful.

I'm so glad you have decided to join us in our new collaborative blog, and I hope you will continue to follow us as we share our literacy knowledge with you. Enjoy all of your new freebies, and have a Happy New Year!


Reading and writing go hand in hand, and so often struggling readers are struggling writers.  Luckily, there are ways we can help our students build skills in both areas.  We can do this by analyzing mentor texts by reading comprehension skill and writing trait. As we teach students to think as writers, we teach them to think about their reading too.

Recent studies have shown that studying the Six Traits of Writing has helped students improve writing scores and skills.  The Six Traits include Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Writing Conventions plus Publishing.  Each trait can be addressed with a writing piece through the use of mentor texts for modeling, shared writing, mini lessons during writing workshop, and with writing rubrics and anchor papers to model what proficient writing looks like.

The unit I am sharing with our blog launch is using the book, Oops! by Colin McNaughton.  This unit includes reading comprehension skills and writing materials for students to write their own fractured fairy tale. Here's a sneak peak at what you'll receive by becoming our follower.

I hope you and your students enjoy using it, and I welcome you to our blog.  I hope you return often to hear all of the great ideas our team has to offer.
Thank you for taking time to visit our blog throughout the week.
It's the last day to get the Exclusive Launch Week Freebie Prize Pack, 
follow our blog and leave your email in the rafflecopter below!
Good Luck!  We hope you win one of the 4 Grand Prizes!

24 comments

  1. Wow! These units look really good. Everyday has been full of information. Thank you all. :)

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    1. Agreed! This info is priceless for me as a new teacher!

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  2. Yay! I'm so excited about this blog! Thanks ladies! :o)

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  3. One writing strategy that I like to use in my classroom is having a specific graphic organizer for my students to use when writing a paragraph. I call it a four block organizer. The graphic organizer helps the students with making sure that they have their main idea, three supporting details, and a conclusion.

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    1. Sarah-I have had great success with Four Square too, and you might be interested in this post. I shared a few Four Square links as well as a writing set I used in my classroom. (4th/5th Grade)

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    2. PS. Click on the words "this post" to go to the link. Our links look like regular text unless you hover over them.

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  4. Carla! My favorite book is Thank You, Mr. Faulker too! Such a sweet message. I think I cry every time I read the book.
    Courtney
    ramonarecommends.blogspot.com

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    1. Yep...same here. The reason it is so special to me is that it provides encouragement to children who struggle to learn to read. If a child with dyslexia can go through twelve years of school before learning to read and end up publishing the number of books Patricia Polacco has, then with motivation and lots of hard work, my students can achieve too. I think it shows too how a caring and observant teacher can make a huge difference in the lives of children. Thanks so much for replying. It's been a quiet day here in Literacy Land, but a fabulous week!

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  5. I'm excited to find this blog! I just recently moved from VA to TN where I'm trying to work my way back into full time teaching. Once upon a time I was a Reading Specialist in Chesapeake so I was excited to see so many VA teachers involved with this!

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    1. So glad you stopped by! Chesapeake is such a pretty area, and I love getting out there to visit. We are so excited to be a part of this blogging journey as VA teachers too. It is nice to see the differences across the state too. Hope you can get that full time teaching position in TN! Come back often for new ideas!

      Andrea
      Reading Toward the Stars

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  6. This is going to be a great blog, I can't wait to learn from veteran teachers and reading specialist. One strategy I have found helpful is using music during silent writing time every day. This time is protected fiercely by my students.

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  7. I have great success using the Six Traits model. The kids learn what to look for in a piece of writing, what it is that makes the piece work, and once it's identified it's easy to try it themselves.

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  8. I like to use a web to brainstorm out thoughts when we write penpal letters. Next we take each idea from pur web and expand on it in our rough draft. This helps my first graders organize their ideas.

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  9. I have just started using the top down column method. Popplet is a great app I use to show the kids but I know people use kidspiration.

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  10. I write a dog blog that I share with my students so that they can see that I write for fun. Plus, they LOVE to read the dog blog, too!

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    1. How neat! I may need to steal that idea. I've thought about trying to blog with my students and even set up a page before school, but the time just flashes by for me. I think that'd be a fun way to do shared writing. You could make it like a dialogue journal where you write back and forth. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  11. Graphic Organizers have worked for my students. I like to create interactive graphic organizers on smart board or PowerPoint. Good Luck with launching your blog!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and goodies!

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  13. Graphic Organizers have worked for my students. I like to create interactive graphic organizers on smart board or PowerPoint. Good Luck with launching your blog!

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  14. This year I discovered the book Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. I love her book! It has a great message to start the school year.

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  15. The kids write with black flair pens and then revise/edit with other colors. Makes assessing their work so much better!

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  16. I am absolutely loving all of the resources that this blog includes. I'm so glad you are able to get so many great teachers to work together to provide them.

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  17. I'm looking forward to reading this regularly!

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