Thursday, December 3, 2015

Currently December

Have I really not blogged anything since November? Yep! There's this BABY in my house these days! I don't know where the day goes, but it's GONE! I have PLANS to blog for y'all! I have some more freebies that are my gift to you for Christmas- but I have a BABY with PLANS of his own! Plans to eat, and not sleep. Plans to poop and plans to cry! This is the hardest job in the world and I absolutely love that I get to be his mommy!

So.... Currently he is sleeping!

But that could all change at any moment!

Going to try and finish this blog post before he changes my PLANS!  


Listening: My husband got home from work (I'm on maternity leave still) and praise GOD he swoops in and takes my little one from me!  I welcome break.  They are both currently taking a nap on the couch! 

Loving: I would love time to just be still! Sip some tea (lactation tea of course)- but still- it sounds heavenly! 

Thinking: As I said above... any time I have to do something else... I wonder how long I'll actually have to do it! What a different 10 seconds can make these days.  They say to sleep when your baby is sleeping and that is certainly good advice- but I don't sleep on command! I'm not tired when he's sleeping. I'm tired when he's up and fussy and crying!!!! Of course!

Wanting: When I say make dinner- I mean heat up dinner that friends made for us! :) 

Needing: My husband's sisters are coming into town tomorrow. I had wanted to have my tree up... that's not going to happen.  Alas... 

Real or Fake: I grew up with a fake tree. Married my husband and he is a real tree kind of guy.  But some years, my husband is gone, so I don't have a tree at all. This year- it's gonna be real- if I can ever get him to go get it with me!


There you have it folks! If you don't hear from me again this month- Merry Christmas!!!! It may be NEW YEAR gifts/freebies I give you! :)
Melissa

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Currently November

November... I've been waiting 9 months for November and it is finally here! Also finally here is Baby Leach! Or should I say, Wyatt Douglas Leach! Douglas is my maiden name, and Wyatt is a perfect QB name or bull rider eh? He's perfect y'all! And like the Carrie Underwood song says, he's "everything I never knew I always wanted!" 




















I am getting the hang of this motherhood thing and I am in HEAVEN!

So it's November... and I haven't done a currently in months!  So... here goes!


Listening: I have a BABY y'all! He is 13 days old! He's sleeping and I am constantly hearing him cry when he is not. So I am listening very intently to the baby monitor to make sure he's really crying before I go in there. I've gone in there a few times just to make sure he's breathing! #firsttimemom

Loving:  So I didn't just bring a baby home from the hospital- I brought home a DADDY! And such a good Daddy at that!  He is so hands-on. I've even called him a baby hog!  He is the swaddling expert, the sleeping expert, the diapering expert...if I wasn't breastfeeding- I fear I'd never get to hold him! Kidding! Well... kind of not!

Thinking: I've heard it, sleep when he sleeps, but you can't just SLEEP on demand. I am NOT doing laundry, or sweeping the floor or other stuff like that, but I might be eating, or showering, or doing a blog post. OK maybe that is not a good use of my waking time with a newborn- but it does makes me feel human.  He's fixing to go down in a few minutes and I'll be sleeping!  I know that I should... and I do... but not every time!

Wanting: I've never been someone who takes a lot of naps- I SLEEP for 8-10 hours! Well....that's not happening. The most I've been able to get is 3 hours! (Make that 3.5- thanks to last night)

Needing: My big outing today is to run to Target and get some "stuff" that we need.  Add to the list- every day there is something else that we add to the list not knowing that we would! :)  So.... he just went down for a nap... and I'm going to nap so I have energy for Target!

Yummy: I make a KILLER pecan pie!  Just writing about it makes me hungry. I think I need a snack before I take a nap.... bye y'all!
Melissa

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Guided Reading: Prompts for Comprehension

When teaching for strategy use, Fountas and Pinnell remind us that we should have a repertoire of strategies.  That is of course easier said than done.

Some of our strategies are at the word level when kids get stuck while reading.  Some however are at a larger text comprehension level.

If you don't have this repertoire- have no fear- you can print THIS and tape it to your table!



These prompts will help students go to a deeper level of text understanding as you coach for comprehension.

To get your FREE DOWNLOAD click here.

Cheers!


Monday, August 17, 2015

Get Your Work Stations ON

As promised... here are some new files to help you get your Work Stations on! Head over to my TpT store!

Need some Work Station signs?














Want to use a Work Board?












What about a Check Sheet? 













Want to read more about what I'm talking about... see other posts about Literacy Work Stations/Centers on Leach Teach!

Melissa


Melissa

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Freebie: Question Collector

A comprehension strategy used by readers is asking questions- before, during, and after reading. Prior to being able to pull this off with ease in text, students need an opportunity to just practice asking questions and getting in an "inquiry" state of mind.

One idea that I'm sharing FREE with you here is a Work Station for practicing questioning- called Question Collector.  Students can get in the habit of asking questions with photographs before transferring this idea to text!



Simple. Easy. Effective.

Free you ask? Yep!
How do I get my copy? Click HERE! If you download it, please be sure to comment and FOLLOW my store too!

Happy FRIDAY FREEBIE!


Melissa

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reading is Thinking

In Texas, teachers are required to teach explicit comprehension lessons.  The standards and expectations for these lessons can be found in our FIGURE 19 standards. Sounds like a top secret military instillation doesn't it? It's not! Instead- it is our goal to take what used to be TOP SECRET thinking and share it with students.  We used to keep all of our thinking secret- hidden- we wouldn't share it with students. Now, we have to!

One of the first lessons I use with students to assist in this kind of TOP SECRET comprehension instruction is Reading is Thinking: Creating a Reading Salad. This great idea came to me from Tanny McGregor's book Comprehension Connections.



When we read, we think! We think all kinds of things! Well... if we are proficient readers we do. Less proficient readers don't actually know that this is a "thing". They don't necessarily know that it is a good thing that readers do.  So it's time to TEACH!

You'll need:
A red bowl with the word THINKING written on it and red squares of paper inside
A green bowl with the word TEXT written on it and green squares of paper inside
Another large bowl (clear is preferred) where these papers will MIX
A text that you have read and prepared your thinking




Start Lesson:
Boys and girls, I want to talk with you today about something that happens when readers read. Readers think! While you are reading- there is another voice in your head- it's your voice- thinking! So I want to show you how this works today.  I'm going to show you how the words in the text make me think when I'm reading.

I'm going to show you that by making a reading salad.  So the words in the text (hold up green bowl) are like the lettuce. There's a lot of text just like there's a lot of lettuce in a salad.  Now look, the red (hold up the red bowl) that's when I'm thinking. Like tomatoes in a salad. Words in the text, will make me think different things. Let me show you what I mean. Watch- while the text and my thinking mix together like a salad.

Now you model! You have already prepared your text- every time you found yourself saying something in your head you'll tell kids about it.  "So... right here when the text said _______ (put in a green square) I thought _______ (put in a red square)." This continues until there's a lot of green and red in the salad bowl.

You can of course ask kids to participate after you model or you can save that for a later day. Perhaps the next day, you ask students to jot the words from the text and their thinking on red and green squares. Sharing in the conversation about the thinking that the text created for individual readers as a group.

Create an anchor chart- consider GLUEING students' read and green squares to onto the bowl.



This of course then leads to student independent work.  I've attached a FREEBIE for this! You can get your Reading Salad Recording Sheet HERE!  If you download it- I'd love your rating or your comment!



Happy Reading!

Melissa

Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Freebie: Reading in Different Voices

Here's another idea for the Fluency Work Station! Reading in Different Voices

K-1 version and one for older kiddos too! Visit my store for your FREE copy!





Also be sure to check out the FREE clip art at this site!
http://www.mycutegraphics.com/graphics/graphics.html
If you click around enough, you might find some other "voices".



Remember, fluency is MORE than rate/speed of reading! Have fun with it!


Melissa

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Freebie: Lots of Lists for the Writing Station

It's still Friday right? So it still can be a Friday Freebie? Whew!

I had a LOOOOOOOOOONG list of things I was going to get done today... and while I did a lot, it was NOT stuff from my list. Alas...

In preparing for another week of presentations I was looking at some things for Work Stations!

How 'bout this for a Friday Freebie?  LOTS OF LISTS!!!!!!


Students can be challenged to think of lists of things from this list!  Simple. Fun.  Those are the BEST kinds of Stations right? You try it- things that are cold?  GO!

Click here to print for FREE from my TpT store! Please take a minute to follow my store while you are there so you won't miss another Freebie!

Cheers!
Melissa

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Friday Freebie for Fluency

I've been busy working on a presentation for a district in Texas and in doing so, I've been creating a lot of new things! That means new and FREE things for you blog readers out there and lots of Friday Freebies!


Today I'm sharing a Friday Freebie for FLUENCY!  Fluency, the forgotten part of reading! Fluency, the thing we hope students just attain. Fluency, the skills of rate, accuracy and prosody, that NEEDS TO BE TAUGHT in order to be mastered with today's kiddos!

If you follow my blog, you know I believe in a Work Station/Center focused on Fluency work for students every week.  This is a FREEBIE that could easily integrate into a work station.

Introduce the activity using this text...


Then put THIS in the Work Station.



Once kids have mastered this practice, allow them to create their own. Try the same with sight words and sight word phrases!  Visit my TpT store for YOUR FREE COPY!

Cheers!


Melissa

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's JULY Y'all!

WOO HOO! July! July is summer... July is HOT... July is the 4th! July is family and friends and a roller-coaster of professional development and travel for Leach's Literacy Training.  I'm on vacation right now, but in 13 days I will be hitting the ground non-stop until teachers go back to school! I'm getting my REST now!

So it's time to blog for Farley's Currently.  All the bloggers are getting excited about the big conference in Vegas. I worked that conference for five years in a row.  I don't go anymore... but hearing everyone gearing up and packing certainly makes me miss it!  Have fun y'all!



Listening: There's this girl on HGTV who is from Detroit- accent and all- and she likes to bring old houses back to their original beauty. They are usually houses about to be condemned or torn down and I just love her show! That's what's on the TV, but the TV is right by the door to the porch, which is open (screen door closed) and the birds are making all kinds of noises at the feeders.

Loving: July means a lot of things and it also means a trip HOME TO MY MICHIGAN. Affectionately called the Mitten!  Oh Michigan!  The cooler temps! The green grass! All the trees! The sounds, smells, events, of my childhood. Every summer brings a trip home and I couldn't be more in love with my sweet state!

Thinking: So.... I'm pregnant! Yep!  Due early November! When I sit still (which isn't very often) but is happening now, that's when I feel him move (which only started a few days ago) and it is just amazing.  I'll be seeing some of you this summer and I will be big as a house! Just wait!

Wanting: So for the reason above (so much to do before November) and because I'm on vacation- time just needs to slow down!

Needing: I have a bunch of material to prepare for my summer trainings on Literacy Work Stations for teachers across the state of Texas... I have the files ready... I just need to print... but there is nowhere to print in this town! I'm in a small town Up North in Michigan... I have time to do it later... but I just want to do it NOW and have it off the to-do list.  Oh well.  I will just have to wait.

All STAR:  It is so hard to think of things I'm good at and could post without y'all thinking I'm full of myself.  I guess I could say that I'm good at laughing!  I love to laugh! And it's LOUD y'all! If you get embarrassed easily- I wouldn't hang out with me- or my laugh!

Melissa

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week

Just wanted to say... I appreciate you! All the hours before and after school. All the money out of pocket on school supplies. All the work you do in the summer to get ready. All the time you spend pinning and planning for your classroom.  All the blogs you read to be a better teacher!

I appreciate you!


I hope you have a great week- and I hope so many other people show their appreciation for you too!


Melissa

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Currently May

Thanks Farley for another month with Currently! Another month! Another month closer to SUMMER! I'm so looking forward to summer this year! Can't wait to meet new teachers with Leach's Literacy Training! I will be out there... and traveling all over the place!


Listening: It's one of the few things my husband and I can agree on. I'd really love to be vegging out with this season of Scandal... as I haven't seen a single show... but he hasn't gone out to mow the grass yes so I am "watching" diy while I work on my computer. 

Loving: Oh the weather is so beautiful.  Mid 80s... sunny! It's heaven!  

Thinking: I worked Saturday morning, so that made the weekend go by way too quickly if you ask me.  Trying to figure out how to make the most of the few hours I have left. 

Wanting: So my husband was supposed to be gone with work until mid May, so we thought this would be a good time to have the boat get some work done.  BUT... husband didn't go away. And the weather is gorgeous. If the boat wasn't in the shop we'd be in the water. 

Needing:  I have a STACK of books I want to read! I just can't bring myself to start! 

Summer: So excited to be going home to Michigan this summer. We always go, but this year we'll be there for almost THREE WEEKS!  Woo hoo!   I have a work trip to Hawaii that I am hoping works out.  And, the husband and I know we want to move, and I'm really dreaming that this summer (or like September) will be when the move actually happens?! One can dream....


Melissa

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday FREEBIE: Poetry Pals

Hey y'all! Happy FRIDAY! Did you hear me? It's FRI-DAY! Have you counted how many MORE Fridays you have this school year yet? I have. I have a countdown!

Since it's Friday, it's time for a FREEBIE!  I've been working on a professional development on Literacy Work Stations at night on the couch and in doing that, I've been creating some new resources to share with YOU!

I'm sharing Poetry Pals with you today!  I've used Poetry Pals for years in my classroom. I had a Poetry Station and this was always a choice along with other things of course!  Kids love it!

If you are a Daily Five person, this would be a perfect choice for Read to Someone! If you are in DC and use the Fluency Work Station- this is for YOU! You can get your FREE copy in my TpT store.

I hope you can use it/adapt it for use in your own classroom! Cheers! keep doing what you do!
Only ___ more Friday's!

Melissa

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Vocabulary Work Station

Hey y'all! I'm posting this on Easter evening. Hope you all had a very HOPPY day with family and friends.   Having that ONE extra day of the weekend really makes such a difference doesn't it?

Let the Sunday-itis begin... but before I go to bed and watch more television that I should (that's always my Sunday-itis symptom) I will give you guys a quick freebie!

Vocabulary has been a hot button topic with a few teachers in my districts lately.  And with the Common Core State Standards, it's something we need to be aware of as teachers and be explicitly teaching to our students.

More about vocabulary instruction and what words to teach can be seen in the document.

But hopefully, this document gives you an idea for a Vocabulary Work Station that will sustain itself for the rest of your school year!

Click here to get your FREE copy!
Cheers!

Melissa

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Currently

It is APRIL y'all. I was so caught up on the April FOOLS part of it that I forgot all about the Currently side of things.  I did spend the night making some cool new freebies for my blog! Be on the lookout in April...
Vocabulary Work Station
Poetry Pals Work Station
Book Pic of the Week

Now I digress. The reason I'm here is to post a currently... not tease you with FREE things that will be coming.  

Here goes...


Listening: This song is my theme song this week. I may listen to it 20 times today.  "I smile, even though I hurt, see, I smile. I know God is working, so I smile!"   

Loving: It is SPRING in Texas! You know what that means? If you are a Texan you do! It means Bluebonnets! Everywhere! It's truly beautiful to see these wildflowers.  If they grown in your yard, on the highway, wherever, people don't mow! Can't wait for pictures again this year. Happy SPRING Texans!

Thinking: We are moving into research in our curriculum, so I need to do some research on research for my teachers.  My goal is that they teach the specificity of the standards for research, not just research- there is a BIG difference.  

Wanting: For many reasons, that I can't go into on this blog, July 1st cannot get here soon enough! NO- it's not a due date for those of you always trying to hear that from me! HA!

Needing: Don't I say that every month on these blog posts? Sigh.  

EGGS-plain:My maiden name is Douglas.  It's a strong name! And God love my husband, and his family, but Leach... well... it's not as great as Douglas! But, in the blogging world, it did allow me a very cute blog name... LEACHTEACH.  

Melissa

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

STAAR TEST FUNK

Have y'all SEEN THIS??!!! OMG! I just love it!

Keep it moving! Share with a friend! I think our kiddos need to see this on Friday!  I put a copy of the lyrics (written by a teacher in Denton) in my Dropbox. You can download them here.

‘Cause STAAR test we’re gonna give it to ya’
It’s testing day and we’ve learned a lot
Don't believe me just watch (come on)


Melissa

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Website for K/1 Teachers

Oh y'all I just love this new site! It's the first time I've ever seen good examples of leveled texts for FREE READING online! Share this with families for sure. Put this in a work station. Good stuff y'all. Spread the Word!

Unite for Literacy Library



Melissa

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Do You Teach 4th Grade?

If you teach 4th grade... then you know you have TWO MORE WEEKS (one of those may be Spring Break) until the STAAR test!

The KEY to this week is to keep doing what you've done! Hopefully that means mini-lessons each day and time for kids to write every day while you give them crucial feedback in conferences! Sound familiar? Yep- I'm talking about Writer's Workshop. We can give them ONE MORE WEEK of Writer's Workshop!

In addition to this Writer's Workshop time, we can also give kids a little leg-up on the editing and revising portion of the test. First let me say, TEST PREP is not the ticket! But teaching that prepares... that's what I'm all about!

So... in preparing kids for the editing and revision portion of the test, I created the following activities. They are open ended editing and revision questions that will get kiddos looking closely at writing. Better yet- their ideas and thoughts will apply to their own writing too! It's a win-win!

 






Go ahead... get your FREE Editing and Revising passages with questions from my TpT store! There are five compositions for Expository and five compositions for Personal Narrative! Download BOTH!


Cheers!  Happy Writing and may the SCORES (THE FOURS) be with you!

Melissa

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fun FREEBIE!

Hello out there!

I wanted to share something FUN I found lately! Did you like playing UNO growing up?

Me too! So of course you can imagine my joy when I found THIS free TpT download! 


Get your FREE download at her store here

BUT to make it better... I shared the idea with my Kinder and First grade teachers who use Fundations... and one the FIRST GRADE teachers MADE a Fundations UNO!  
  
Hot diggity! You can your free copy of that here!

Have fun y'all! 

Melissa