Looking for a quick and easy goodbye gift?  Look no further!

This spring I had a fantastic practicum student in my classroom twice a week.  She was eager to learn and so helpful in our class.  She really jumped right in and wasn't afraid to work with both small and large groups.  I knew I wanted to give her a memorable thank you gift.

My bestie found this idea on Pinterest (of course!).  I followed the link to OneFabDay.com to download the {FREE} tree template.  I put the tree picture on a PowerPoint slide and then added the text.  It's so easy to customize it to say whatever you'd like!  I made sure to print on card stock (two copies ~ in case I messed up the first one!).  Be sure that you leave some room around the edges if you plan to put it in a frame.  I had to cut my page down a little to make it fit in my 8x10 frame.

I used just a little bit of tempura paint.  I ALWAYS have baby wipes on hand when doing any sort of craft project!  

I painted one thumb yellow and one thumb green and guided my kids in placing their thumbprints on the tree.  I added their names with a very thin Sharpie marker.

The finished product!  
I just LOVE how it came out.

Who do you need to thank for helping your students grow?
We have been working so hard on building our fluency in first grade!

We all know that fluency is an important part of being a good reader.  But how, exactly, we build fluent readers isn't always clear.  This spring we have really been focusing on becoming more fluent.  I started by introducing the parts of fluency (accuracy, rate, expression, and punctuation).  We modeled and practiced during reading time, and then we were ready to take our show on the road!

We paired up with a 4th grade class and continue to visit daily to practice our fluency.  This takes us less than 10 minutes a day, including travel time to the 4th grade classroom!

We arrive with our fluency books and sit down right away with our partners.  I selected ability-appropriate passages for each student and put them together in a book.  
(Read on to see where I got my passages from!)

Our 4th grade partners get the timers ready.  We use iPads and iTouches to time with, but any timer or stopwatch will do!

We spend one week on the same passage.  Each day, we try to read more accurately and smoothly.  We focus on expression and punctuation as well.

Our 4th grade partners are responsible for underlining words we missed, and counting the words we got correct.  They give us feedback on what we did well, and suggest areas to improve.

Working with our 4th grade fluency partners has become such a fantastic part of our daily routine!  My kids get so excited to share with me that they read all the words correctly, or that they read the passage faster than the day before.  Our 4th grade partners seem pretty happy to help, too.  It's a win-win!

Cara Carroll's Rock Your Fluency ~ The Ultimate Bundle is a great resource that I have been using in my classroom.  She has some editable pieces in there that are particularly helpful.  This is where I pulled my fluency books from.  By buying the bundle, I was able to pull passages from the various levels (Pre-Primer through Third Grade Dolch).  I also used her fluency phrase cards to create a BOOM game to play during Word Work in Daily 5.

Katie's Comprehension and Fluency 101 is another great resource for fluency work.  There are some great fluency posters to help introduce the parts of being a fluent reader, as well as some fun whole-group games!

How do you build fluent readers in your classroom?

It's Teacher Appreciation week!  And what better way to celebrate than with a sale?!  Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing an amazing sale May 6-7th.  Some teachers (like me!) have already started the celebration.  Everything in my store is 20% off, wahoo!

Make sure you use the code TPTXO to get another 10% off!

Be sure to check out some of my best-selling products...

Happy Shopping!!!
I'm so happy that it's May!  The weather is finally getting a little more mild.  May and June are super busy months but there are so many fun activities both in and outside of school!  

Time to link up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for Currently...

Listening - Old School is on TBS.  This movie makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it!  I adore Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn.

Loving - My nieces will be visiting this week!  I'm so excited because I haven't seen them in what feels like forever.  The hard part will be that they will be an hour and a half away while I'm working during the week.  But they are planning a trip to visit my classroom and hang out so that makes me happy.  And I'll get to spend all of Mother's Day weekend with them.  WAHOO!!!

Thinking - So I signed up for the big race on Sunday.  10 miles of hills.  I think I might be crazy.  And I wish the race was tomorrow instead of Sunday because I'm going to be nervous and worried all weekend!  What have I gotten myself into?!!

Wanting - Now that it's May I'm ready to start making summer plans.  The countdown is ON for many of you, since your summer breaks start at the end of May.  I have until June 25th (ouch!) but I'm already in the mood to start planning some trips and fun times.
If you're planning your end-of-year activities for school, check out my End-of-Year Class Awards {Bright Chevron}...
I also have an End-of-Year Class Awards {Printer Friendly Version} if you're looking to save ink!

Needing - I am badly in need of a good night's sleep.  It's been a very long week.  I'm looking forward to curling up and sleeping in tomorrow!

Surprise - Well it's no surprise that I LOVE Susan's blog ~  T.G.I.F!  She is an amazing first grade teacher and blogger.  She shares AWESOME ideas and strategies.  Check her out!
Thank God It's First 


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