Saturday, August 31, 2019

Making Words Lesson: Discovery

There is so much more to a Making Words lesson than just making words. Download a free script to this making words lesson here:

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reading Conference Form

Emalie Lindsey and I collaborated to make this reading conference form, and it's EASY to use! Simply do your running record in the big box and check the noticed reading behaviors in the boxes to the right of the running record. If you don’t notice anything, don’t check anything. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you PROMPT a child to do something, simply put a P by the prompted behavior. If the child can't read five words on a page, prompt that child to pick an easier book. The goal is to have a running record on every child every week -- it's so doable! That’s only five a day! The form is linked in my bio. You can find us on Instagram with this hashtag:  #learningwithleos
๐ŸŒผWhen you love what you do, it’s not work. Happy teaching!๐ŸŒผ

Monday, July 15, 2019

Making Words Lesson: Composer

Click image for a FREE Lesson Link.
This is a two-three day lesson. :)

Friday, July 12, 2019

Writing in the Content Areas

Handout Link:

Writer's Workshop Link:

Making 10s Card Game

Many years ago, Jen Mueller taught me a math trick involving making 10s and three cards. I couldn't remember how to play so I looked on YouTube and found a variation using two cards. I modified that variation to remove the face cards and 10s, and the trick still worked! All good ideas are meant to be shared and modified to help children learn. Your students will LOVE this card trick, but it's not a trick at all! It's all strategy!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Struggling Writers

Check back tomorrow morning for the information. Thank you for coming to my session.

Writing Conferences 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Help! [It Feels Like] My Entire Class Has ADHD!

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure. ~Ben Franklin

This is a wonderful 2 1/2 minute overview from Dr. Amen: I saw him speak several years ago in San Diego and would love to have my brain scanned. This man is amazing! If you're interested, I've included a longer video below -- it's about an hour, but it's worth watching!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Iowa Friends

Iowa Friends,

I hope spring arrives quickly for you. It looks like you have another round of ice/snow heading your way tonight. :-/

I think I have everything uploaded.  If you can't find what your looking for, email me, and I'll send it your way:

Thanks for coming to my sessions! Have a wonderful weekend!


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Digital Writing -- Iowa Literacy Conference

How would you rate your technology knowledge?

 Click the image below to access the data.

Our students are our future.

Want to increase test scores? Increase students' schema. Remember, students ARE NOT test scores.

Work smarter, not harder. Google Classroom is FREE and organizes everything for you. 

Less is more. It's not about how much technology you use. It's about how you use technology. Download this poster to learn more:  FREE Digital Poster from ISTE. 

If you're familiar with the ideas in the cloud below, I've linked a 2019 website that has 75 ideas.

Technology and Writing:  Review of Research (2019)

75 Digital Tools (2019)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Read Like a Writer -- Transitional Phrase Scavenger Hunt and MORE

How do you teach students to find transitional phrases beyond first, next, then, or finally? Have them look for a series of words at the beginning of a sentence followed by a comma that they think MIGHT be a transitional phrase. Then, have them replace the words with first, next, then, or finally. If it makes sense, it's probably a transitional phrase. :)

The Three Little SUPERPIGS by Claire Evans has lots of wonderful transitional phrases. :) 

Cause/Effect Text Structure Books:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Collective Teacher Efficacy

Quoting John Hattie, "Teachers need to say - I cause learning."

High expectations matter. Teaching is not just about the kids, the resources, the curriculum. We can't just close our doors and teach.  Collective teacher efficacy is part of a big story. It's not a thing just by itself. ~John Hattie

Teachers need to be having collaborative conversations without judgment. We need to bring artifacts and ask each other if this is reasonable growth for 10-12 weeks of learning.

John Hattie does a wonderful job defining collective teacher efficacy in this video.

 I cause learning -- and you do too. What we do matters -- and it matters every single day.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Missing Foundational Skills

I've been creating checklists for students in my RtI group.  My district has us give a Words Their Way spelling test that I wasn't all that excited to give at the beginning of the year, but the data it gave me changed my mindset! If you give an assessment and do nothing with the data, it's simply a waste of time. I linked the spelling test in the document below - it's FREE online through Pearson. It also has directions on how to administer it -- well worth the time to read and learn how to grade. If you give this, please don't teach the students how to spell the words on the list. Then, you'll only be grading how well they memorize. Give it COLD. Then, use the data to adjust your teaching. That's what good teaching is all about. Let me know if you have questions. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

For the LOVE of Reading...

I have a class of good readers, but do they LOVE to read? I've been focusing too much on teaching them HOW to read, but I'm not doing enough to foster their LOVE of reading. Sure, they love to be read TO ... but I want them to WANT to curl up and read instead of wanting to sit in front of a monitor and play a computerized game.

How do we balance everything? 

Recently, I've gone OLD-SCHOOL. :) After 15ish minutes of self-selected reading, we're doing music/mix/meet which is SO easy now that GoNoodle ( has so many fun Zumba and KidsBop songs available. 

When the music stops, students stop. When instructed, students find a partner or trio closest to them. [When you allow trios, no one is left out.] Then, talkers and listeners are assigned. The teacher says something like, "The person closest to the window is the talker." The listener simply has to listen. When instructed, he/she repeats back to the talker what was heard. I generally call on a few to share with the whole class. 

This is so easy to do -- I'm not sure why I ever stopped doing this on a regular basis. It used to be part of my daily routine. It's a great way to mix up the entire class [beyond their small groups], get oxygen to the brain [movement matters], and add some fun into reading time. You can foster the love of reading while teaching some soft skills too! 

What are you doing to foster the LOVE of reading in your classroom? I'd love to hear from you! 

Words Words Words

I love words, and my students do too! One of my favorite ways to teach word work is by having students go on scavenger hunts to find words. They also like to brainstorm in groups.

Padlet is one of the easiest ways to organize these hunts/brainstorms. You can make 40 Padlets for FREE too! Students simply click the plus sign and add their words to the right column. I password protect mine and click the button that lets me moderate answers -- gotta keep these kiddos as protected as we can when they're online.