23 02, 2017

Seven Tips for Teaching Guided Reading with Confidence

By |2019-09-02T22:28:17-04:00February 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|3 Comments


Image for tips for teaching guided reading

When I use to ask students about their favorite part of school, what do you think the overwhelming response was from them? Recess? Nope. Lunch. Guess again. Guided reading? YES!!!! Actually, they would not say guided reading. They would tell me things like spending time at the table with you reading. Gush! My heart would absolutely melt! Spending time reading with the teacher was their favorite part of school!

Now honestly, I can say, I sincerely lacked confidence in teaching guided reading when I first taught kindergarten many years back. Pretty much, I was thrown into a classroom that was formerly a storage room a week after school started because the enrollment was high. I was told to teach guided reading with only access to a room full of leveled readers. Thankfully, I had that! I discovered that I LOVED teaching children to read, even though I was not the best at it initially. For sure, I was a work in progress for a while. I can’t say I was an instant pro at it my first year. Hopefully, I did not scar those students from my first year of teaching kindergarten for life haha! I know I can’t be the only one to think that about their first year of teaching! It was not until my third year of teaching kindergarten that I finally felt confident at teaching children how to read.

To save you some trial and error, I want to share some of my teaching strategies with you that will hopefully help you to teach guided reading more confidently. 

Guided Reading Level Mastery Checklist

1. Regroup Frequently- Evaluate where students are frequently, and regroup based on those evaluations. Now I am not talking about giving them 100+ formal assessments. Teach, of course! Performance assessments are your guide and work seamlessly during guided reading as you teach. Checklists and running records are both great performance assessments to give you the feedback you need to adjust your reading groups as needed. That way, students are always being challenged at the appropriate level. Having a list of clear guidelines on when students should move up to another reading level helps a bunch too. You will still have to evaluate things like beginning sounds if they have not mastered those, but many things can be assessed through performance during a reading lesson to help you make decisions on regrouping.

Guided Reading Name and Alphabet ActivitiesAlphabet Activity

2. Build Up- It would not make sense to teach a student on paragraph writing if they did not know how to write words, nor would it make sense to teach a student how to read level C readers if they don’t have a firm foundation with the alphabet. Teaching effectively means finding out where the student is and guiding that student from there. If they know most of their alphabet letters and sounds and have a firm foundation with print concepts, give them level A. If they only know a handful of letters and sounds, that preschool level AA is going to help that sweetie a bunch! The child is going to build confidence, even if you have one or two children that have to spend the whole year on that level. I tell you, you will see growth when you continue to build from where they are. In my professional opinion, building up from where a student is with their reading development is by far the most effective strategy you can utilize when it comes to teaching reading. If you are doing that, students are going to flourish in reading.

Spend most time reading

3. Let them read. -Don’t fluff it full with other junk. From the research I read, they should be reading. Sure, you will need to include some things that support the learning of reading such as sight words and word work, but make sure the bulk of the time is spent on actually reading. Keep those other activities short and sweet.

Example of a Word Work Activity

4. Support Your Readers- Having that small group time to focus on word work activities to build up phonics skills, teach sight words, stretch comprehension, and to build and write sentences is very valuable to supporting the learning of reading.  Keep these activities short and sweet, of course. For example, one day, you may have students identify the missing letters out of three words. Another day, you may have the students mix and fix them. During word work, students may sort words that end with the b & d sound. Another day, they may build some CVC words. Since these activities are only focused on a small bit, they can be completed within a few minutes each. The goal is to support the reading, not take over the reading lesson.

Example of technology being used during guided reading

5. Keep it engaging- When completing sight word and work work activities, keep it hands-on and visual to keep your students engaged. Technology is also another engaging method to use. If you actually have enough tablets or iPads, I actually have a resource that includes digital formats. (It also includes everything printable too, so a teacher can be hybrid with it.)

Fun Guided Reading Strategy Posters

Click here to learn more about the guided reading bundle

6. Teach Reading Strategies with Memorable Characters- Children love characters. We know that a popular world renown cartoonist has proven that! You may have used the popular Lips the Fish and Eagle Eye reading strategies before. However, there are other reading strategies for decoding texts that students need to learn that lacked a fun character to help make it more memorable. I got to work and created some more characters to help teach those strategies. One character, my son helped me come up with the name, is Left-to-Right Gecko. This is simply teaching children the print concept of reading left-to-right.

7. Have fun! Young students love spending time with their teacher. (Remember my story at the beginning?) Just be authentic. Enjoy that time with your students. Laugh, be goofy, and make it a fun place to be. You will make a big impact just by being engaged with them as they read.

I hope these teaching strategies help you to soar with your guided reading instruction. Make sure to sign-up for email on the right, so you can receive more posts like this from me. Also, I have a guided reading sample of level B freebie for you when you sign-up for email!

Guided Reading Level B Sampler

Click here to get it

Thanks so much for stopping by the Candy Class!

Jolene  🙂

27 09, 2016

How to Not Teach a Boring Compound Sentence Lesson

By |2020-02-26T10:06:54-05:00September 27th, 2016|Grammar, Uncategorized|13 Comments


Hi everyone! Today, I wanted to share some ideas about teaching compound sentences in your primary classroom.

Ideas for Not Teaching a Boring Compound Sentence Lesson

Introduction of Fanboys

First off, students need to know those fanboys before diving into the realm of compound sentences. A simple way to do this with a hands-on twist is to have them make some fans with those bad boys. Students simply fold the paper seven times to make eight sections. Then they can write the coordinating conjunctions on the fan, squeeze the bottom together, and then fan away.

 Fanboys Fans for teaching compound sentences


 Activity Ideas for Compound Sentences

Idea #1 Silly Sentences

Write some simple sentences and the fanboys on some sentence stripes. Students connect the two simple sentences with one of the fanboys. Then they use pasta and lentils to add the punctuation. Finally, they add that capital letter at the beginning with a wikki stick or other letter manipulative of choice. Alternatively, you can have some sentences with capitals and others without it, and they piece those together.

Silly Sentence Idea for Teaching Compound Sentences

Idea #2 Create & Share Giggly Sentences

Each student creates their own simple sentence. I recommend encouraging silliness. Then they partner with someone else to form a compound sentence with their two simple sentences. They can record their newly formed sentences on a paper. After a few minutes, they rotate to pair up with another student and make another sentence. You can rotate as many times as you like.

Giggly Sentence Idea

Idea #3 Work with Compound Sentences in Multiple Ways

Students can identify if a sentence is simple or compound, rewrite two simple sentences into a compound sentence, add more details to a compound sentence, and rearrange compound sentences into other sentence formats.

Various Ways to Work with Compound Sentences

Click here for these task cards in a bundle or check out the digital ones here.

Idea #4 Butterfly Grammar Craft

Add simple sentences on each wing of a butterfly. Then the comma and conjunction can be added on the body of the butterfly to join the two simple sentences into one. I added a touch to this craft idea by making the butterflies body in the shape of a comma, but you can use any butterfly template or make your own easily for this craft. All I did was cut these out of some colored card stock. You could also use colored papered too.

Would you just prefer to have a template for the this butterfly craft template? You can find this in my Compound Sentence Bundle here. The craft is also linked in the bundle separately too.

Comma Butterfly for Teaching Compound Sentences


Click here for the Compound Sentence Bundle

I hope you enjoyed these ideas about compound sentences. Check out some of my other grammar posts, and make sure to subscribe to email for more ideas here. I promise I do not spam, and you can always unsubscribe at any time.

Compound Sentences 1B

Thanks so much for stopping by the Candy Class!  I hope you are enjoying my grammar posts and scooping up many ideas to jazz up your lessons.

Candy Class

Jolene 🙂


31 08, 2016

Ideas for Not Teaching a Boring Contraction Lesson & a Freebie

By |2019-03-12T21:06:01-04:00August 31st, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Hi everyone! Today, I want to share some ideas for teaching contractions that will help you cover all the bases of various learning styles, and yes, you read the title correct. I also have an exclusive and unique freebie in this post!


1. Start with a formal classroom introduction when teaching contractions. This can include an anchor chart and mini-lesson. A simple way is to start off by defining contractions. To strengthen those connections in the brain for the purposes of being able to recall the word contraction more easily, give a bit of a vocabulary lesson for the word contract, which means to become smaller or shrink. You can even strengthen those connections more with some sensory by giving students a string and having them contract their “snakes.” This is a good way to get the attention of those fidgety sweeties too. 😉 For guided practice, you can write the two words on the board that forms a contraction, and the class says the contraction as they contract with their strings. You can then write the contraction on the board. You could also just say the words and have students say the words back, but I think the more you involve the senses, the better they all remember. Also, this helps your visual learners too.

Teaching Contractions with Brain-Based Research Strategies

Here are some ideas for independent practice: 

2. Contract them on paper. This activity is very ideal for your kinesthetic learners! There is just something about physically contracting the paper into a contraction. You can write these yourself on paper and simply fold.

I decided to make have some fun with this concept by making some “boa contractions.” Kids love fun themes. I made sure to draw them up as friendly boa contractions. 😉

Boa Contraction Snakes for Kinesthetic Learning
Find the boa contractions by clicking here.

3. Make it relevant with a contraction hunt. Just like a lesson in geometry, you would show how shapes are all around. It’s important for students to be able to see how contractions are all around them. Students can hunt contractions as they read. You can always point out how contractions tend to be used most in quotes from characters in most books. This will help them to know where to look and give some extra attention to quotes! When you get ready to teach formal and information English, you got some prior knowledge you can tap on with this. 😉

Contraction Hunt

To hold students accountable and to add some more sensory for memory purposes (brain research strategies about using more senses), I recommend they write them down on a graphic organizer or in a notebook.

Contraction Activity: Scavenger Hunt While Reading


4. Hold your tongue. This really connects to relevancy above too, and it is a good activity for reaching your auditory learners. This is a one day activity that extends across their other activities. For the day, you encourage students to pay attention to how much they actually speak with contractions. When they hear themselves say a contraction, they must “hold their tongue”. Their tongue is actually this freebie bracelet I am providing below. Basically, they hold the tongue on the bracelet when they hear themselves saying a contraction while speaking. If they hear a friend saying a contraction, they can ask their friend to hold their “tongue.” It is a good idea to do this activity on a day where you know your students will be doing some social learning activities throughout the day. If you like, students can write some contractions on the bracelet portion before wearing it.  Click here to snag up the free contraction bracelet activity.

5. Write with contractions. I am all about moving students from foundational knowledge to higher order thinking. Therefore, I think it is always important to require some creativity and application rolled up into one from students. Writing is the perfect opportunity for this. You can write a list of word pairs for students to use and give them some writing prompts (your choice). I recommend students be encouraged to use dialogue containing contractions.

I have a fun writing activity where some boa constrictors have not been forming their contractions around Pet Town and have overtaken the town. Students create a writing piece about this and use contractions in their writing.

contraction blog 3

Writing with Contractions
Scavenging resources for teaching a concept can be daunting at times. I created this unit for teaching contractions that includes the anchor chart, a mini-lesson, the boa contractions, a contraction hunt activity, task cards, interactive notebook/journal options, no prep printables, the writing project, a quick check, and assessments! You can find Contractions: All You Need to Teach It Unit here. (Note: I came up with the string idea from number one after creating this unit, but you can squeeze the idea in there easily with the mini-lesson. All you need is some string, a dry erase marker, and a board.)

How do you like to teach contractions? Feel free to share your ideas for teaching contractions! Also, if you liked these ideas, make sure to sign-up for email on the right! I love sharing ideas, and I have more to come!
Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class!
Candy Class
Jolene 🙂
23 07, 2016

Assessing Students’ Technology Work

By |2019-03-12T21:06:01-04:00July 23rd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Assessing Students' Technology Work

Hi everyone! Today, I want to talk tech. Specifically, I want to talk about assessing students’ technology work.

I know many years ago when the technology was not as advanced as it was today, I was told by administration that I needed to incorporate more technology use in the classroom. How many of you have been there and been like with what software? I am sure I can’t be the only one! Here was me. A teacher told to do that and only given special software for students with IEP’s, in ESL classes, and one other software that was only good for whole instruction with a projector. What was I suppose to do for the rest of the students when it was time for them to use the computer? I was clueless and not as talented with creating digital anythings back then, and they did not offer us much more guidance than throw equipment at us with those limited software I just mentioned and preach to use the equipment. I was happy for the tools in my classroom. Oh yeah! I wanted to make the most of them. For sure! I did use a few free games at the time, but finding resources that offered a way for me to truly assess a student’s work on that computer was not there. My technology use in the class became a center for reinforcing skills, which was still good. I am no way complaining about that because my first year teaching had one of those green screen things, lol! Also, we don’t have to grade everything, and students do tend to stay more engaged on the computer. However, for something so engaging for student learning, it just would make sense to have a way to pop in and actually be able to assess their work on the computer to know they are spending quality time learning on the computer. (If anything, to make sure they are staying where I told them to go on the computer while I was busy with a reading group, lol!)

AND I think that is what I really like about using Google Apps for learning in the classroom. Their work is saved automatically, so you can pop up every now and then to make sure they are on track and having quality learning moments on the computer or tablet. Sure there are a lot of apps out there, but you can’t really go back on many of them to actually see the student’s work. That to me is a big drawback with lots of them. I mean, they do have their perks too. Students often are given automatic feedback on their work with many of those apps. They need that too. I would not say abandon ship on using apps with no assessment features. They have a place too. I just think there needs to be a balance struck there. We need to be viewing students work regularly to keep up with where they are and where they need to go. Sure, we got those big state tests, lol! 😉 Maybe the software actually gives you a vague teaching report too. However, us true teacher breeds know it is that day-to-day performance assessment that should be at the heart of how we drive instruction for the next week to come. I don’t know about you, but my best assessment comes from viewing authentic student work, not some vague report. This really gives me the best insight on what a student needs from me, so I can give them the best instruction possible. With students utilizing more and more technology in the classroom, Google Apps used in conjunction with Google Classroom, is really a great tool for performance assessments. After all, students don’t even have to save their work. It is saved for your viewing automatically.

Imagine students doing quality word work with digital magnetic letters, and you being able to go back and view how they did! Like so cool, you can’t even do that with real magnetic letters and dry/erase cards usually. All possible with Google Apps! See this video to see this in action. I am then able to go back and see student work on there!

Here is the link to my this resource and other resources created for Google Classroom use

Imagine students working with grammar and vocabulary digital cards, and you are able to go back and see their progress! Totally possible now! There really is so much students can now do digitally with you being able to assess their work, and Google Apps is a great resource for that! It’s going to help you be a better teacher because you are providing engaging work that can also be assessment driven!

What tools are you using to assess student work on the computer/tablet? How many of you are going 1:1 this year? I would love to have a conversation below in the comments! 🙂

I have joined in with a link up.

new logo 2-01

Jolene 🙂

20 06, 2016

An Organized School Year

By |2019-03-12T21:06:02-04:00June 20th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Organized Year 3

As I am wrapping up the school year, I’ve come to the realization that one thing I could have done better to make my year easier is be more organized. Sure, I survived off of checklists and sticky notes, but I really slacked this year with organization. BAD.

I depended on my dear friend memory too much, and well, she failed me!

Organized Year 2
Next school year, I am vouching to be better organized. I want a paper for all the important details.

And I don’t want it to look like a mount of paper chaos mess! I want cute binders to keep them in.

Have an Organized School with a Cute Teacher Binder

I also want to utilize technology more with keeping organized. I created these digital planners that can be used on a tablet!  (But I also made some editable printable ones in Powerpoint too.) I am super enthused for this. Hello, copy and paste for quicker lesson planning! Especially, if you work for one of those districts that makes you write a 10 page spread every week. Yup, I have been there! I still got papers. But when I need to reference my lesson plans, I don’t want to flip through smudgy sheets with wrinkled edges and lots scribble scratch! I want to go swipe, swipe, select as I stand there looking all tech nerdy and slightly ingenious. Joking on the how I look part haha! Honestly, I could care less about that, lol! What I do want is an easier organization system, and honestly, swiping on a tablet to reference my lesson plans is a smoother transition for me.

Yes, I will still have my dear old friend, teacher binder because sometimes I still need good old paper.  I got the standard things. Schedules. Check. Lesson Plans. Check. Calendars. Check. I’ve also added a yearly overview and peek at my week to have for quick references this year. Dear old paper has not become extinct for me quiet yet, but it may in the future as I get more use to being a paperless diva. 🙂

I am also a clipboard gal too.  A long time ago, I had a mishap where a child was suppose to go with the car riders, and I sent him to after school care (that involved a bus) that day (which is where he normally went except for that one day a week as a car rider.) After being hugely embarrassed and apologetic to the mom (who was very understanding), I vowed to myself, I would never let that happen again…and I did not. I put a mode of transportation with a daily checklist on my to do list, and every day the children were sent where they were suppose to go because I checked it off as I lined them all up in different lines. One line was for car riders, one for after school care, and so on. Attendance is also another must on a clipboard. If there is fire drill, the clip board is already there in my hands most of the time or just an arm reach away.

Organized Year 1B


Here is a video showing some of the forms I have created for improving classroom management. I also have daily forms that work well on a clipboard that I can check off.

You can find the teacher binder here.

The main thing is I want an easier organization system that is going to fit me. I am like a hybrid digital woman. I come from the age where we wrote our essays on paper, and I only first used the internet as a senior in high school. I was in my 20s when I first got internet in my home, so my mind still thinks somewhat better on paper with certain tasks, but sometimes I think better with utilizing some digital tools with it. So this year, this hybrid system is just what I need to stay organized the best. And most of all, I simply need an organization system that is going to help me keep my sanity.

Are you more a paper or a digital planner?

Organized Year 5

I would love to have a conversation about this in the comments below. Share your stories, please!

15 05, 2016

End of the Year Memory Video

By |2019-03-12T21:06:02-04:00May 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments


end of year blog pic 2

Hi everyone! I had an idea several months ago. What if students read through some or all of their memory books on video, and the video was shared with parents as a keepsake gift? Then I had to go make things complicated thinking it involved some app and possibly even screen shots to use that app. So I placed the idea on the shelf until recently when it occurred to me that the already existing “camcorder” on a phone or tablet was really all that was needed after all.

After you film the video, it can be uploaded to email and sent out to parents as an end of the year gift. Of course, some of you will want to be all fancy and edit the video…if you know how to do all that and got lots of hours of time…go for it, lol! However, that is not all needed to make it special. With the child sharing a special memory from school on video and something they learned, its enough to make any parent’s heart go pitter-patter and be thankful to have that moment in time of their child to look back on many years from now. And you can still tie it all into learning with some of those speaking and listening standards. 😉 Personally, I like the idea of using the video with a memory book that they hold up.
Of course, you don’t have to hide the child’s face like I did in my video. They can stand in front of the camera and present with their memory book in hand. You can find a ton of end of year memory books on TPT. I have one in my store too. It has a lot of page options to choose from and you can simply select the pages you want to use. These actually come in black and white. I might be adding the color pages as an option though.
end of year blogpost 1

I had a lot of fun coming up with page ideas for this book, and this page is my absolute favorite because of how it encourages and inspires children that good can come from any struggles they go through.

Oh, and I actually printed the photos on regular paper and attached them on the pages. However, students can totally draw there instead too.
Happy video recording!


Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class!


Jolene 🙂


30 03, 2016

Getting Started with Using Google Apps in the Classroom: A Round Up of Links

By |2019-03-12T21:06:03-04:00March 30th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

google classroom blogpost

 Hi everyone! I have set-up this blogpost to be a source for those who want to use Google™apps within their walls, but don’t know where to look to get started.

Now I really recommend you get with your tech department to set it up, but I have provided some links to some helpful tutorials below that will help you with using the resource. Your school will need to sign-up for it for you to have access to Classroom by Google. It is free though! However, currently, only non-profit educational institutions can use it, and I recommend that you have that set-up ahead of time before purchasing one of my resources that are compatible with it.

Google has this Classroom 101 video that you should definitely check-out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K26iyyQMp_g

This post from History from the Middle includes some step-by-step pictures of setting up and giving students assignments in Google Classroom:

Here is another one about Classroom and setting it up from Adventures in ISTEM:

This post has a video that shows you how to give an assignment. It also shows you how to make a copy for a student. This is important because you definitely don’t want your student editing your original file. I highly recommend you check out this video from Tools for Teachers from Laurah J.

This post from Chalk & Apples has some helpful tips for using the Google Classroom resource in your class and includes some lessons they learned the hard way, so you don’t have to do that!

This post from What’s New with Leah includes some troubleshooting tips.

This post from Secondgradealicious had some tips on passwords with younger learners.

This post from The Darling English Teacher includes some good points of why you should go digital:

Still want some more reasons to go digital? Check out this blog post by What’s New with Leah:

I hope these posts I found for you help you out a bunch! This certainly is not the full list of tutorials out there, and if you have questions, I encourage you to google it because you will be able to find access to tutorials that have images posted to help guide you through it more easily.

Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class!

Jolene 🙂

PS. Note, I am not affiliated or associated with Google™ or any product from them. Nor do they endorse this post. This is simply an informational post with link resources to help you in your digital teaching journey.

11 11, 2015

Prefix Thanksgiving Turkey Craft Freebie

By |2019-03-12T21:06:05-04:00November 11th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Tis’ the season to be thankful. One thing I am incredibly grateful for is the ability to share my talents with so many educators from all over. I am sharing this Thanksgiving Turkey turkey craft as a way to say thank you to everyone! I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving full of contentment and thankfulness. This freebie incorporates the prefix re-, and it is NO PREP! Gobble! Gobble! Woo! Hoo!

Click on the turkey picture or here to link to the freebie in my TPT store. I have some more crafty freebies planned, so make sure to sign-up for email on the right to know when I post something new.

new logo 2-01
Jolene 🙂


7 04, 2015

Learning with Straws from Your Craft Stash & a Freebie!

By |2019-03-12T21:06:06-04:00April 7th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hi everyone! I am linking up with other bloggers to share learning ideas that can be done with your craft stash. Now, this will be a 21-day event covering many different craft materials you might have stashed at your home. I will not be blogging for each of the 21 days, but I am signed-up to post for some of them. You don’t want to miss a day, so make sure to click on the image to hop on over to all the action. 
Today, I am sharing what I consider to be a very important activity that all K-2 grade students should participate in every day. This is something that has always been a must in my morning routines. This activity is counting the days of school to teach place value concepts. It just sets such a firm foundation with math concepts, and it only takes a very tiny amount of time each day. Additionally, the activity is just relevant to young learners and hands-on. Each day, you are building up place value skills one straw at a time. There are many ways the days of school can be counted. My favorite method has always been with straws using a place value chart.
Each day, a child adds a straw to the pocket. When there are ten straws, they are bundled together with a rubber band and placed in the tens place instead. On the tenth day of school, I emphasize that the ten straws is one group of ten ones, so there is a one placed in the tens place. I then bring up how there are zero ones in the ones place, so that is why there is a one in the ones place.
When the hundredth day of school rolls around, we then bundle the ten groups of ten straws into one. A one is placed in the hundreds place, and I explain how there is one group of one hundred straws or ten groups of tens.

I just created this blog exclusive freebie! I do request that if you feel generous, share the blog link instead of the resource please.Click here or on the picture to grab your copy of the build-a-place value chart. 


Thank you for stopping by The Candy Class! Make sure to sign-up for email on the right for a free set of those short & long vowel task cards.
Jolene 🙂


19 08, 2014

Gimme 5 Blog Hop

By |2019-03-12T21:06:07-04:00August 19th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Tomorrow there is another site wide sale going on! Yay! I love stocking up at site wide sales! My store will be 20% off tomorrow! (Spoiler Alert: I am about to release some new products hopefully before midnight tonight! The words Mega Bundle and Ultra Bundle will be in the title!)
Ok, my friend at Mrs. Hildebrand from a Grade 7 Heaven is hosting a Gimme 5 Blog Hop. You can link on any of the Gimme 5 images to her blog to hop on. She has a list of everyone participating there.
For my Gimme 5,look through my store and name 5 items that you would LOVE to have for a chance to win one of them! List them in the Rafflecopter to enter the contest. You will also get 5 entry points for liking my page on Facebook! (And you might want to like my TPT store anyway because I do 50% off most items when I first post them for a day or so.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here is a list of everyone participating. Click on the image to hop on.
Happy Hopping!