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?

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