Monthly Archives: February 2019

Differentiation

Fifteen years ago, my dad told me that personalization was going to be the name of the game in education. As usual, he was right. What he calls personalization, we call differentiation. And it’s hard to do well. One of the things that I’ve struggled with is making differentiation easy for the teacher but not blatant to the student. We all know those students that shut down when they realize they are not at the same level as the others. That’s why I’ve started writing resources that look the same, but are at different Lexile levels. As Fountas and Pinnell have said repeatedly, a level is a teacher’s tool, not a child’s label. Read their blog post for more on that. https://fpblog.fountasandpinnell.com/a-level-is-a-teacher-s-tool-not-a-child-s-label  

My goal with these resources is that you will easily be able to teach essential and/or interesting content while simultaneously differentiating the reading level for your students. And, they will be practicing on-grade level comprehension standards at the same time. Give them a try, and let me know what you think. Also, what other topics would you like to see? I’m working on one about the Northwest Native Americans right now, and have a couple of other ideas, but I’d love to hear from you about what you need!

Click here to go to my TPT store where you can buy leveled texts. If you follow me on TPT, I will email you whenever I post freebies on my blog! In the meantime, please enjoy this freebie Biography about Neil Armstrong (only available here – on TPT, you have to pay!). There are three Lexile levels – 800, 900 and 1,000. In the Common Core State Standards grade bands, 800 is about the middle of fourth grade, 900 is about the middle of fifth grade and 1,000 is about the middle of sixth grade. I hope this helps you teach essential and interesting content and differentiate at the same time!

Happy teaching!

Susan

Who Am I?

So, I’ve been an educator since 1995. But I first fell in love with learning when my youngest sister started learning to read. I’m seven years older than she is, and I marveled at the magic of it all. One minute she was holding the books upside down and had no idea what the words said, and the next minute she was reading short sentences. I was hooked on the learning process from that moment on, and I’ve never stopped waiting for those aha moments!

I’ve been able to turn that passion and curiosity into a pretty great career, including time as a teacher coach and principal. This year I’m teaching 5th grade, but I loved my many years as a kindergarten teacher (and everything in between, although 2nd wasn’t my fave. Sorry, 2nd graders!) My proudest professional accomplishment was earning my National Board Certification in 2004, and then re-certifying in 2014. But my proudest professional moment happens all the time – whenever a child looks at me and goes, “Ah, I get it!” That’s what keeps me coming back and drives me to constantly create with my students, and yours, in mind.

Happy Teaching!

Susan

Every Journey begins with a step….

….. and this feels like a BIG step for me! Thanks for coming along!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

My pencils are sharpened and my fingers are itching!

I have always been a closet writer. I have years worth of journal entries, unfinished novels, poems and articles to prove it. My fingers are most at home on a keyboard.

But, I’ve never shared my writing with anyone over the age of 18. Sure, my students all know my stories, and my kids do too. Now, you will too. My hope with this blog is to share a bit of what I know, learn a bit about what you know, and along the way, we’ll figure out how to serve our students better. Let the journey begin!