Monday, November 24, 2014

"Ask Me" Brag Tags: Holiday Edition

I just finished a special "Holiday Edition" of my bestselling "Ask Me" Brag Tags!

Simple & motivational rewards for students! Print these "Ask me" brag tags out on card stock, slip them into badge holders, and keep them handy to simply & easily reward students for positive behavior. No more clip chart & no more treasure box is my ultimate goal! :)

Students can wear them around school for as long as you choose & hopefully, teachers & administrators will ask them about their tags! Simply take them up at the end of the day & repeat the following day.

Your kiddos will feel great taking a moment to brag about their awesome choices and it will motivate others to earn a tag of their own!

Special Holiday Edition tags include a total of 32 Tags: 

8 Back to School Tags that include:
Ask me... I am always prepared. I paid close attention today I earned this badge. I am the apple of my teacher's eye today. I used materials well. I've been wise today. I earned this badge.
...about the best handwriting ever.

4 Halloween-ish Tags that include:
"Ask me how I earned this boo badge!" with four different clip art cuties.

4 Christmas-ish Tags that include:
2 variations of "Ask me how I earned this badge."
Ask me how i earned the 2nd spot in line.
Ask me why the elf left this one for me!
2 Saint Patrick's Day Tags:
Ask me why the leprechaun picked me!
Ask me why my teacher thanks the lucky stars for me.
4 Thanksgiving-ish Tags that include:
3 Variations of "Ask me why I'm wearing this badge."
Ask me why my teacher is thankful for me.

4 Valentine's Day-ish tags that include:
2 Variations of "Ask me why I'm wearing this badge."
Ask me why I'm wearing this teddy bear.
Ask me why Cupid left me this badge!
2 Easter-ish Tags:
Ask me why the bunny left this for me!
ask me why I'm a great egg!

4 End of School Year Tags:
2 Variations of "Ask me why I'm wearing this badge."
Ask me how I rocked the school year.
Ask me how I did it!

Note: When putting them together, make sure you cut just outside or directly on the lines so that they fit securely in the badges. Or just laminate them, punch a hole, and slip them on a lanyard!

A few things I've learned from using them with the kiddos: 
1. The more blinged up the tags are, the more popular they are! Add some ribbon, a few shiny buttons, or even just a fancy string, and kiddos will get extra excited about earning a badge. 
2. The kids love to earn more than one badge and colleagues are more apt to notice them when a kiddo is wearing two or more badges!
3. The "second in line" badge is the favorite!!

These all include gorgeous hand-drawn art by the amazing Kate Hadfield over at and fabulous fonts by the talented Jen Jones over at Hello Literacy and yet more beautiful fonts by Kimberly Geswein

Click the pic below to visit my store and grab your copy of "Ask Me" Brag Tags: Holiday Edition!

Thanks so much!!
Jen ♥

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Simplifying Progress Monitoring UPDATED

In the wonderful land of education, we do a little thing called Progress Monitoring.  We also do a whole slew of other stuff, but I'm just going to wear one hat tonight.  

Progress monitoring for me has been a little underwhelming.  I haven't been real good at collecting solid data based on what my kiddos actually need.  That's not to say that I've not done a good enough job, I just haven't done quite what I wanted. 

So, I worked on this mighty little pack of stuff this weekend even though I said to myself, "Self, there is no more working on the weekends."  I obviously didn't listen.  But, it's for the kids!  And I really happen to love doing it.  So, next weekend there will be no working.  I promise myself.

Here's how progress monitoring is supposed to go:  teach, assess, track progress, reteach, reassess, track progress, etc... I get it.  I do.  All the while we are naturally making adjustments to our teaching methods, modes of instruction, hands-on materials, yadda yadda yadda.  You know how it works.

So, here's what it looks like for me NOW (in pictures because I love my ABM app):

Looks like fun, right?!  It has simplified my life. My hope is that it will make teaching to specific skills more time-efficient, and tracking progress monitoring day easier!  

Here's what's in the pack:

1.  Tracking sheets for monitoring progress.  They've been tweaked just a little since I took the screen shots so they don't look quite like this but contain the same information in a visually pleasing page.  There is one overall page for both literacy and math AND blank sets that you can customize.  The ones I set up for early reading follow our Istation goals so that I can directly track how these instructional goals are being monitored in the classroom and with Istation online.  I love that program, just by the way.  I've never had more real hard data so readily available at my hot little fingertips.  

AND 2..... also included are activities for each area of early reading (appropriate for PK-early 2nd grade) of Letter Knowledge, Phonemic Awareness, Alphabetic Decoding, Spelling, Comprehension, and Vocabulary.  They all take little or no prep and require nothing more than a dry erase marker and manipulatives if you choose!

These activities could be used in a variety of ways.  You can use them to practice skills, games to play one on one or in teams, bring in peer tutors, hand over to parent volunteers... your options are open.  Simply print, cut each page in half, laminate, and bind however you choose.  I put mine on rings and stuffed them inside tubs filled to the brim with manipulatives that can be used with each target skill.

Here a few examples of the pages included.  The activities listed are simply suggestions of activities that meet that targeted skill.  *The corresponding activities are not aligned with all suggestions.*

So.... each week, monitor the progress of your kiddos in whatever area they need extra practice and track ONLY that area.  When they've mastered it, move on to the next area until you get to the hardest skill.  

I've got one kiddo who is working on Letter Knowledge and only letter knowledge until I know she is ready to move further.  Keep it simple. Keep it meaningful.  Each tracking page has 10 weeks worth of space on which to track data.  So, when you walk into your RTI meeting or your parent conference, everything is on one little page.  

The first set of tracking pages is directly aligned with the activities included in the pack.  That way, if you choose to use only this pack to progress monitor, you can track growth within these specific skills.  The blank set (included) is easily tailored to your individual needs.

Here's the (almost) only page of hard data you'll need to take to your RTI meeting! Realistically, we always have more to share, I know!

Now, this pack includes activities to print & play with kiddos to build targeted skills in the areas of letter knowledge, alphabetic decoding, phonemic awareness, and vocabulary. Just print, cut, laminate, and play!  

I know that this is not every little teeny tiny thing you'll need for progress monitoring your kiddos, but it's a good place to start.  Visit my TPT store if you're interested!